<<previous  |  index  |  next>>

VI. AMIS II-E Performance Assessment

The AMIS mission up to early 2005 was beset by shortcomings in deployment footprint, troop strength, support to humanitarian organizations, protection of civilians, training, staff planning, rules of engagement, priority of tasks, mobility, communications, logistics, and collaboration with CivPol. Account has been taken of these problems in AMIS II-E, and it is clear that more AMIS troops on the ground have had an immediate and positive effect on baseline security where they are present. However, as noted above, the mission has not implemented its mandate in a proactive way, with the exception of firewood patrols and the presence of CivPol in internally displaced persons camps. External and internal factors still negatively affect AMIS II-E’s performance.

When compared with its predecessors, AMIS II-E has improved logistics planning and execution capacity, improved communications, and improved operational command and control. Each of these, if positively built upon, could contribute to creating the secure environment necessary for civilian protection and indirectly contribute to the peace process and disarmament. Specific areas where AMIS II-E is deficient and needs bolstering, as well as areas where AMIS II-E’s development is on track, are described below.

A. Planning and Logistics


A.U. mission planning activity was and is largely undertaken by ad-hoc A.U. staff from various military traditions rather than staff officers of a well-trained, cohesive, procedurally experienced military alliance. The A.U. staff is for the most part uncomfortable with the NATO/E.U. continental staff system and unfamiliar with the particulars of its diverse organization, and favors implementing work and planning through an institution that has much to learn and needs the experience to address both immediate and future challenges. To unfamiliar eyes this may appear a cumbersome process—inefficient, slow and imbedded with foreign perspectives—and may give the impression of a flawed or misguided mission and an ineffective force. It must be recognized that like any peace support operation, national agendas and national contingents are not homogenous. Each contingent has varying degrees of skill and will to execute the mission, and this is reinforced by national decisions on how to respond to critical situations as they arise. However, as more and more non-A.U. partner expertise and training creep into A.U. processes that already accommodate an understanding of the A.U.’s complex composition, adaptive change and growth will become evident and the strength of the operation to take on its own challenges will grow accordingly.

Logistics and Infrastructure

Most agree that the largest problem facing AMIS and AMIS II was logistics, and remains a challenge for AMIS II-E. The commonly held view is that logistical planning lagged significantly behind political and operational decision making processes (and in the case of CivPol was initially excluded almost entirely). African Union headquarters lacked the staff capacity to conduct well coordinated logistical planning on the scale needed for such an operation, but this is being addressed.

The criterion behind Sector site locations was population density. This made operational sense, since the role of MilObs, CivPol and humanitarian relief is focused on these population centers, driving the Protection Forces deployments. According to the military deployment plans for AMIS II and AMIS II-E, twenty-eight locations needed camps built or built up. A camp construction spreadsheet for July 25 suggests that twenty-seven were in progress. The construction plan accounted for “Austere Camps” first followed by upgraded versions known as “Final Camps.” As of the end of July all of the camps save one (Nyala Overflow) were complete enough to occupy (six had minor limitations). Of the 27 camps, and two-thirds were nearing Final Camp status.104 By January 2006, the Chairperson of the Commission reported that “camp development has proceeded in accordance with the planned capacity, although the pace of deployment of the additional force has resulted in the over crowding of some camps.”105 In addition, accommodation for CivPol camps had been provided in all sectors and group sites. However, only twenty-six of the proposed sixty-five “static police posts in the IDP camps and designated villages have been completed and are operational.” The January 2006 update cites some delays responsible for hindering the operational effectiveness of these posts, including a lack of language assistants and structural defects, both of which are reportedly being addressed. It should be understood that any delay in the accommodation of AMIS II-E personnel compromises the effectiveness and timely impact of the mission.106

Additionally, the force still lacks a full self-sustaining fuel capacity, and continues to have difficulties in fuel contracts and government of Sudan bureaucracy in approval processes. There are two main issues: lack of storage facilities in theatre, and problems transporting the fuel from Khartoum to Fashir and beyond. Problems with fuel may be heightened in the context of operationalization of the 106 APCs deployed in the eight AMIS sectors.  It is not clear how operating fuel for these vehicles will be transported into Darfur and out to the sectors.  Concerns have been expressed to Human Rights Watch that the Sudanese government or potentially the Chadian government could obstruct operational use of the APCs by interfering in efforts to get fuel stocks into Darfur and built up.107 Fuel provision is an issue currently being worked on by Canada.108

The contingent of each A.U. troop contributing country arrives with limited technology of their own for command and control, or mobility. This puts added demand on the international community to supply such equipment, train its users (or train the trainers), and demands that a sound operational logistic plan supports the operational plan.

B. Operations and Technology

Command structure and reporting

A noticeable dearth of A.U.-written documentation on AMIS, AMIS II and AMIS II-E exists. For example, at least one, if not three, full military estimates should have been completed for the mission and its military force deployment plans. As a result, among available sources no concrete criteria could be found which formed the basis for developing force structure, force deployments, force operations and force operating procedures (although they may exist). It is essential to note that the ceasefire commission headed by the force commander made sense when the original AMIS mandate was limited to MilObs and ceasefire monitoring, but once that mission was amended the Command Structure should have been also. The ceasefire commission aspect of the enlarged and amended AMIS IIE mission should have been re-named, and assigned to an Assistant Chief of Staff for Ceasefire Monitoring, or the Senior MilObs officer.  Failure to have made such changes impacts on the ability of AMIS II-E to correctly carry out its mission, since participation in creating a secure environment has been made a higher priority than cease fire monitoring. This failure impinged on the force commander’s ability to effectively manage both elements when being directed by different political staffs in the A.U.   The failure of this and other operations decisions strongly suggests that the leadership of AMIS is either politically handcuffed or poorly led internally. A force such as AMIS cannot hope to succeed under either circumstance.  A new force commander is expected to take up the post in January.

(For an organigram of the current mission command structure, see Annex 2 of this report, Figure 5.)

Within the mission the reporting process has been excessively convoluted: the requirement of having the parties to the conflict agree to findings before making final reports directly impacts on AMIS’ ability to obtain good information and to issue clear, timely factual statements about what has occurred.  Better reporting procedures would enhance MilObs contribution to the overall process.


A number of sources indicate that over and above the challenge of securing funding mentioned in the previous section, there is a problem in managing funds that already exist, and in securing pledged funds. The A.U. is in need of more money, and although donor pledges have helped, the expanded mission (particularly airlift costs) has really taken a toll on A.U. finances. One source noted that there have been no broken promises, but a need exists for the A.U. to meet its financial reporting and audit commitments to unfreeze various pledges.109 No evidence of malfeasance exists, but a lack of capacity to carry out those tasks is present, as the same A.U. personnel managing the Darfur mission are also required to produce reports for donors. Donor reporting is absolutely necessary since the A.U. is using public funds, but the international community needs to be aware of capacity issues.

A.U. troop contributing countries have sometimes struggled to identify and deploy properly trained staff officers, particularly those with appropriate language skills. Many A.U. officers are schooled in the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom or elsewhere, and have thus acquired the capacity for logistical planning for a large operation, but most troop contributing countries have previously contributed to U.N. missions that were often Western-led operations, thus leaving the A.U. troops with limited operational experience above the tactical level. The E.U./NATO sponsored staff officer training and MAPEX have helped to change that situation.

AMIS has one company-sized quick reaction force (QRF), based in Force headquarters in Fashir. AMIS should create within the existing force structure QRFs to operate out of each of the eight sectors of Darfur, and donors should equip them with sufficient rotary wing capacity and capability, i.e. transport and attack helicopters and other necessary equipment. This would serve as a powerful deterrent and send a message to the warring parties that the international community is impatient with continuing violence against civilians.

A source told Human Rights Watch that the Sudanese government is planning or has assigned a regular army officer, called a technical expert, to each AMIS sector headquarter. This move would provide the Sudanese government with insight into AMIS sector operations but it would also provide the government with opportunities for interfering with AMIS operational activities. Such measures on the part of the Sudanese government are disturbing and demonstrate its continuing attempts to hamper AMIS’s protection efforts. 110 

The AMIS civilian police (CivPol) component is critical for civilian protection, although its mode of operating with mistrusted Sudanese police is highly problematic.  The static CivPol posts as established are good, as they maintain a visible presence for IDPs which helps build trust and confidence. But the planned augmentation of AMIS II CivPol that called for the replacement of mobile patrolling of 25 major villages operating out of IDP camps with static posts by CivPols was delayed and has just begun.  To strengthen civilian protection, AMIS civilian police tasks should be reformulated to provide CivPol with powers of arrest, in addition to manning 24-hour police posts in internally displaced persons camps and some villages and patrolling with Sudanese police.


­The mobility factor is absolutely critical for reaching Full Operational Capability (FOC) and for addressing the changing nature of hostilities. This applies most particularly to helicopters and APCs. Helicopters, medium transport in nature, are for logistical re-supply, movement of MilObs and Protection Forces patrols. A significant improvement over AMIS II, the larger aerial capacity of AMIS II-E will have a multiplying effect that is in many respects equivalent in value to additional static troops.  The use of helicopters for logistics makes a great deal of operational sense, especially given the challenging terrain and the effect of weather on ground transportation, particularly of heavy re-supply loads. The MilObs will need to move around frequently to monitor the ceasefire and humanitarian relief. Protection Forces can be deployed into hot spots, or into areas to increase a presence, and a QRF inserted as necessary. The Canadian government has continued to donate helicopters, bringing the mission’s total to twenty-five.111

The March assessment called for attack helicopters. None were apparently offered by any government.  Attack helicopters are not usually found in international peace and security operations (PSOs) unless it is an intervention force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. AMIS is neither a PSO nor an intervention force, thus it seems donor countries reluctant to provide open offensive capabilities for AMIS forces. This may be a sound decision from a conflict management perspective, but the humanitarian community can rightly point to the limitations this places on AMIS II-E’s ability to respond to protect civilians.  If however, AMIS II-E is presented with open hostilities, stronger response capability like attack helicopters as a deterrent would be useful.

Similarly, the APCs provide a mobility capacity exceeding the value of a larger static footprint (although difficult to measure at this time). APCs carry the physical intimidation message, they offer protection for AMIS and civilians, they can cover long distances at relatively high speed, and, if necessary, they can provide firepower. APCs will significantly enhance the AMIS II-E capacity to fulfill its mission, once fully deployed and operational. As noted above, however, the 105 armored personnel carriers have just arrived in country. Moreover, according to one source, the APCs that are now in Darfur will likely not be used in a quick reaction force role in each sector. The placement of Sudanese government army technical experts in AMIS sector headquarters, mentioned above (see “Operations”) may have coincided with the government’s decision to allow the APCs into Darfur, and may account for AMIS’s reluctance to use the APCs in sector quick reaction force capacities to avoid government scrutiny.112

A related concern is the operational capacity of AMIS to deploy the APCs in the sectors and train personnel to operate them. The Sudanese government’s long delay in allowing these vehicles to enter Darfur has dramatically limited AMIS’ ability to carry out its mission tasks. Moreover, given the difficulty in mobility even for APCs in some areas of Darfur, valuable time has been lost for training of drivers and crew. By late December, although training for gunnery and driving had been completed for the APCs deployed, tactical training had yet to be completed.113  This could limit AMIS’s capacity to react quickly and robustly to unanticipated attacks and protect civilians.

Initially, the MilObs and small protection capability had a 60-70 kilometer range from a MilObs site. With the expanded MilObs and Protection Force footprint, coupled with allocation of APCs and helicopters, the area of influence for each site is or will be roughly 200+km. While more troops would provide a larger physical static presence, the AMIS II-E forces with its mobility capacity can cover all or most of Darfur. This should indicate how essential appropriate equipment can be for augmenting AMIS impact on the ground and in meeting specific and ever-changing threats to AMIS personnel, civilians and humanitarian workers.

The rainy season, roughly June to September renders mobility into some areas nearly impossible by road. Aerial capacity is severely limited as well at certain periods, grounding most helicopters in heavy rains. This environment demands an all-weather aerial and mechanical capacity for re-supply, pre-positioning and protection of stocks or repositioning, as well as force protection. No capability entirely ensures this, so an all-weather capability demands an array of vehicles and aerial platforms that collectively reduce the periods of inactivity due to environmental conditions. To date, AMIS II-E has limited equipment to address weather-related problems confronting operations.

C. Prognosis

Even after the full deployment of AMIS II-E has been achieved, the mission will likely require additional troops and resources, given the recent surge of attacks upon it and displaced civilians, and the likelihood of a further deterioration in security. Growing banditry and serious intra-rebel power struggles, impunity for the government-allied Janjaweed militias and a continuing government policy of attacking and subjugating civilians on the basis of their ethnicity or proximity to rebel areas will continue to worsen security in Darfur. AMIS should plan for expansion of the present mission to strengthen its response to immediate needs of civilian protection, whatever the third-phase expansion plans predicated on a political settlement.

In his April 2005 report to the A.U. Peace and Security Council, the CFC Chairman noted that “large-scale returns are not anticipated” during Phase II-E; rather, he identifies this as the aim of the possible follow-on operation, AMIS III, which would allow for returns and security throughout the Darfur region. If planned, it was recommended that this third phase—providing for some 12,300 personnel—be completed prior to the spring 2006 planting season. Measurement for success in Phase Three would be the reversal of ethnic cleansing; that is, the “return and resumption of livelihoods of IDPs and refugees with levels of security comparable to those which existed before the outbreak of the current conflict, in February 2003.”114 The implication of anticipating this third phase and the resulting stability was that a political settlement would accompany the increase in AMIS presence, allowing for the mission to assist in the resettling and securing of the entire region.115 In view of Darfur’s deteriorating security situation and given the need to reverse ethnic cleansing, AMIS must plan to increase troop levels, but it must also take immediate measures to improve protection. Future enhancements should not distract from what can be done now; AMIS cannot and does not need to wait for a political settlement to strengthen civilian protection.

The planning, logistical and operational issues discussed above suggest that when serious consideration is being given to expanding AMIS II-E to AMIS III, then engaging A.U. staff in researching logistics viability and resources availability need to begin immediately along with initial logistical planning, including potential contractual arrangements. The combat service support capacity imbedded at sector level and the new Joint Logistics Operation Center will greatly assist in this aspect of staff work and logistics coordination. An expanded AMIS force will require a commensurate expansion of AMIS logistical capabilities. 

The January 12 report of the Chairperson of the Commission to the A.U. Peace and Security Council states that the future of AMIS depended exclusively on the voluntary contributions of foreign partners, that “no commitment has been made by our partners for funding of the Mission beyond March 2006,” and that therefore “[t]he time has come to make a pronouncement on the future of the AU mission in Darfur and the ways and means to adapt it to the present challenges, including the hand-over to the United Nations at the appropriate time.”116 AMIS recommended that consideration be given to how an international presence can be sustained in Darfur in 2006 and beyond, considering all the viable alternatives and cognizant of the uncertainty of sustaining funding based on a system of voluntary contributions.117  It stressed that if other institutions are to be involved, contingency planning should begin now.

The deputy special representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Sudan, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, was quoted as telling the P&SC that the A.U. summit meeting in Khartoum on January 23-24 would need to make a recommendation to this effect to the U.N. Security Council,118 although it was also reported that the U.N. had already begun drawing up plans for deployment to Darfur, Secretary-General Kofi Annan telling reporters on January 12 that the U.N. was planning “an expanded force with troops from outside Africa.” and would be seeking the agreement of the Government of Sudan for this.119

Annan nevertheless warned that any takeover by the United Nations would take months, and that AMIS still urgently needed financial contributions.”120  AMIS also noted that any transfer would take time and that “it is inevitable that AMIS presence in Darfur will be maintained for the next 6-9 months.”121

[104]  Some discrepancies are noted in the logistical planning of camps. The July 25 spreadsheet depicts four sites not noted on the military CONOPS and omits nine camps designated by the COP. No explicit data has revealed the reason for the discrepancies, however, it may be merely different village name translation and/or operational decisions led to changes in sites, since writing of the COP.

[105]  African Union, Report of the Chairperson of the Commission (PSC/PR/2(XLV), January 12, 2006, p.15.

[106] African Union, Report of the Chairperson of the Commission (PSC/PR/2(XLV), January 12, 2006, p.17.

[107]  Human Rights Watch interview, Ottawa, December 12, 1005.

[108]  Human Rights Watch interview, Ottawa, December 13, 2005.

[109]  Human Rights Watch interview, Ottawa, October 6, 2005.

[110]  Human Rights Watch interview, Ottawa, December 12, 2005.

[111]  African Union, Report of the Chairperson (PSC/PR/2 (XLV)), January 12, 2006.

[112]  Human Rights Watch interview, Ottawa, December 12, 2005.

[113]  Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Foreign Affairs Canada Analyst/Sudan Task Force member, December 21, 2005.

[114]  African Union, Report of the Chairperson (CONF/PLG/3(I)), April 28, 2005.

[115]  HRW interviews, Addis Ababa, June 27-30, 2005; “Report of the Chairperson of the Commission, April 28, 2005.

[116]  “AU may hand over Darfur mission to UN,” Reuters, January 12, 2006, [online]

[117]  African Union, Report of the Chairperson  (PSC/PR/2 (XLV)), January 12, 2006.

[118]   “AU may hand over Darfur mission to UN,” Reuters, January 12, 2006.

[119]  “UN plans Darfur peacekeeper force,” BBC News, January 13, 2006, [online]

[120]  “UN plans Darfur peacekeeper force,” BBC News, January 13, 2006.

[121]  African Union, Report of the Chairperson (PSC/PR/2 (XLV)) January 12, 2006.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>January 2006