Rwanda Pullout Driven by Clinton White House, U.N. Equivocation

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tags: Rwanda, Rwandan genocide

Newly declassified Clinton White House e-mails and notes detail a decisive U.S. role in the tragic pullout of United Nations peacekeepers during the first two weeks of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, according to documents and analysis posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah).

The documents show U.S. skepticism about United Nations peacekeeping operations as early as September 1993, as domestic political criticism of U.S. involvement, the specter of U.S. troops under UN "blue helmet" command, and budgetary constraints, led to a lengthy Clinton administration review and series of highly restrictive conditions for any future UN operation even before the Somalia "Black Hawk Down" disaster on October 3, 1993. On September 29, 1993, for example, senior National Security Council official Richard Clarke "intimated that Rwanda may be the case the NSC is looking for to prove the U.S. can say 'no' to a new peacekeeping operation."

The documents show the U.S. agreed to the Rwanda mission mainly because of a quid pro quo with France that would keep French troops engaged in the Somalia mission in exchange for U.S. support of the Rwandan mission; but even then, Defense Department officials had argued that the peacekeepers in Rwanda should be totally unarmed observers rather than combat-ready troops.

Read entire article at National Security Archive

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