Crisis In Central African Republic Poses Challenge To France – And The World
France’s Hollande’s Hesitancy In Central African Republic Was A Mistake
Richard Gowan grades the efforts of French President Francois Hollande’s to bring peace to Africa and says that while he deserves credit for taking some action, his hesitancy to become involved in the Central African Republic was a mistake.
“In retrospect, Hollande’s caution may have been a mistake: International officials who have visited the CAR in the course of the year argue that it has slid from serious instability to outright anarchy, and restoring order will be concomitantly harder. That said, Paris had good reasons to concentrate its resources on Mali and little incentive to prop up Bozize, who had himself seized the presidency in a coup in 2003. Moreover, a small African peacekeeping force was already deployed in the CAR, although it proved unable to prevent Seleka from seizing power. South Africa, which had troops in the CAR at the time, lost 13 men in a skirmish with the rebels during their final advance on the capital.
‘Since then the situation in the CAR has deteriorated so severely that Hollande has little choice left except to intervene. To portray his decision to do so as decisive obscures the more prosaic reality that the president has, arguably for good reasons, put off the intervention as long as possible. In the meantime, he has learned some unpleasant truths about the limits of support France can expect from its allies for its African interventions,” he writes.
The United Nations, however, is struggling to figure out a way to avoid repeating history – and another genocide in Africa, reports The New York Times.
“The Central African Republic, with a population of 4.6 million, has been marred by coups, rebellions and lawlessness for many years. This year, the situation took a sharp turn for the worse when a rebel group known as Seleka, or “alliance,” ousted President François Bozizé. Since then, the mostly Muslim Seleka fighters have clashed with Christian militias. No one has come up with a reliable death toll.
“Western diplomats say they know there is no guarantee that the African troops will be able to restore law and order, and the resolution passed Thursday instructs the secretary general’s office to make contingency plans to deploy a larger peacekeeping force if necessary. What exactly would make that necessary remained unclear,” the paper reports.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.