(One Reason) Why Congo Peacekeeping Has Failed Again

Five-hundred Congolese women were systematically raped this summer in the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite the presence of the largest UN peacekeeping force in the world, made up of nearly 20,000 troops and personnel. "While the primary responsibility for protection of civilians lies with the state – its national army

and police force, clearly – we have also failed," said UN assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping Atul Khare. "We must do better,"

Effective international peacekeeping efforts are almost always led by a confident Western power offering expertise and support. Think of NATO's involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo. But that's not the case in the Congo, where it is poorer (and sometimes very internally troubled) countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Egypt, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Uruguay that are providing the most troops.

Sadly, though the Obama administration has promised to make peace in Central Africa a foreign policy priority, it has shown little interest in taking a leadership role in peacekeeping. Meanwhile, failures like this latest rape epidemic make it more and more probable that the shaky Congolese government led by Joseph Kabila will ask the UN to leave the country, even though the national government is really no better equipped to protect civilians.

More things the US can't do because we are so tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For more: See The Daily Beast's special package on women and girls in the DRC

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