- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
South Sudan has offered to send African Union troops to Somalia to back the weak interim government.
South Sudan, which became independent on 9 July, made the offer on the day it joined the African Union (AU). The AU has 9,000 troops in Somalia, but it says it needs up to 20,000 soldiers to repel the Islamist group, al-Shabab.
Deng Alor Kuol, South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister, said the new state was prepared to bolster the force to show its commitment to peace in Africa.
"It is part of our responsibility to help our Somali brothers and sisters to achieve peace," he told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme. "We, as Africans, must be in the lead to alleviate problems before we ask the Western world, or anyone else, to come and help us."
Since South Sudan is likely to continue to requre quite a bit of international assistance for its development and security in the coming years, the government consider this a wise investment meant at building up international good will. It can also be a sound economic move.
International peacekeeping missions, including the AU’s force in Somalia, are generally funded by Western nations and manned by developing ones. Peacekeeping is often a valuable source of revenue for cash-starved governments. As David Bosco recently wrote, " In a very real sense, the rich world has hired Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Egyptian, Nigerian and Nepalese troops to grapple with some of the world’s most intractable conflicts."