UN Troops ‘Mandated’ to Protect South Sudan Civilians, But Didn’t

Huge 'Peacekeeping Mission' Did Nothing to Keep the Peace

With the previous South Sudan civil war ending with a huge civilian death toll, a large UN “peacekeeping” force, the UNMISS, remained in place, with a formal mandate to defend civilians “by any means necessary.”

Not that they did so. Indeed, while UN officials are talking up the need for even more troops, the reality of the situation is that the UNMISS troops did literally nothing during the fighting over the last week, which left upwards of 300 dead.

Indeed, the UN troops made a point of saying their troops were out yesterday on patrol for the first time in several days, going out only after the ceasefire was already in place, and discovering that their warehouses had been totally looted in the meantime.

The UN kept adding more troops to UNMISS throughout the last civil war, to no real effect, and with growing concerns another civil war is about to break out, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is keen to double down on that, even though once again, the UNMISS troops didn’t even feign an attempt to do something about the violence.

With several Western nations having put their stamp on the virtues of an independent South Sudan, there is considerable international interest in stabilization, at least in theory. In practice, however, no one knows how that would be achieved, and instead are just putting all their eggs into the basket of a UN deployment that’s grown in size and impotence throughout the nation’s brief history.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.