Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 28 June 2006

Meaning of Khartoum’s suspension of humanitarian access to Darfur

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The regime has a long and deadly history of such suspensions, both in southern Sudan and currently in eastern Sudan

By Eric Reeves*

June 28, 2006 — Khartoum’s decision to suspend for two days most UN humanitarian
operations in Darfur---including the World Health Organization, the UN
High Commission for Refugees, the UN Mission in Sudan, and others---had
little to do with the reason offered by the regime, viz., UN
transporting of Suliman Jamous, the recently rescued Sudan Liberation
Movement humanitarian official. Jamous had been imprisoned by the
increasingly brutal and tyrannical Minni Minawi, and on securing his
release the UN was understandably eager to afford him shelter from
re-capture. To be sure, Khartoum’s vicious Military Intelligence was
angry that the UN moved Jamous without permission. But the real purpose
of suspending UN humanitarian aid had little to do directly with the
rescue of a man who has been indispensable to humanitarian operations
throughout Darfur. Rather, Khartoum’s action was, in effect, a
pointed threat:

"We have the power to shut down humanitarian operations
overnight---and completely. The present suspension was simply a
warning, a reminder. But if we are pressed, if our most consequential
claims of national sovereignty are ignored, if the UN should demand that
we accept a force capable of protecting civilians and humanitarians,
then we will respond much more severely the next time."

There should be no doubt about the deadly seriousness of Khartoum’s
threat, or about the ghastly history that stands as its guarantor. The
National Islamic Front regime, which came to power by military coup 17
years ago this month, has a long and lethal record of humanitarian aid
obstruction, harassment, and denial---and has on many occasions directly
attacked humanitarian operations and workers (see below). Though we
have over the past three years seen much of this barbarous denial of
humanitarian aid as a weapon of war in Darfur, it is imperative to
recall what the NIF has done previously in southern Sudan, the Nuba
Mountains, and is currently undertaking in eastern Sudan.

For example, Manuel Aranda da Silva, UN humanitarian coordinator and
deputy special representative of the Secretary-General in Sudan, very
recently declared that in addition to paralyzing insecurity in Darfur,

"aid workers had also been stopped from moving in Sudan’s east, where
a similar conflict has simmered for a decade. Rebels there complain of
neglect by the central government. [ ] ’We have been denied access to
visit refugee camps [in eastern Sudan] and if we cannot have access then
we cannot provide assistance,’ Da Silva said. ’We will not be able
to continue in the east if we do not have freedom of movement,’ he
added." He said despite central government assurances that they would
implement a freedom of access agreement signed with the world body,
[Khartoum-appointed] local authorities in the east were not implementing
that deal." (Reuters [dateline: Khartoum], June 19, 2006)

The people in camps and rural areas in the east---Beja, Rashaida,
refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia---are among the most bereft and
endangered people in all of Sudan; global malnutrition rates
considerably exceed those in Darfur. And yet as part of its
"negotiating strategy" and its increasingly deadly war of
attrition, Khartoum’s ruthless leaders are willing to deny these
people humanitarian access, this despite explicit promises "that they
would implement a freedom of access agreement " signed with the UN.
Those looking to the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) to resolve the
humanitarian crisis in Darfur should study carefully Khartoum’s
behavior in eastern Sudan.

The UN Integrated Regional Information Networks reported on June 19,
2006:

"UN staff have expressed concern about an apparent aid blockade in
the troubled eastern region. In recent days, aid workers had been
refused access to the area, despite formal agreements with the Sudanese
government allowing them to work in the region, da Silva said. ’Since
the beginning of last week, we have been denied access to visit refugee
camps,’ he said. ’This is a very strange development. If it is not
solved very soon, we are going to have enormous problems in these
refugee camps in the east.’" [ ]

"Rebels in Sudan’s east have complained that the impoverished region
remains underdeveloped due to neglect by the central government. A
similar grievance sparked the Darfur rebellion, in which rebels,
complaining about political and economic marginalisation, attacked
government positions in the region." (UN IRIN [dateline: Khartoum],
June 19, 2006)

Da Silva declares it "very strange" that Khartoum would deny
humanitarian access to desperate civilians: it is strange only in a
moral sense, not an historical one. Khartoum’s genocidaires have a
long record of precisely such denial.

Voice of America also reports from Khartoum:

"Da Silva added that he is equally concerned over an aid blockade in
volatile Eastern Sudan. The UN has been refused access to the region by
the Sudan government in recent days. ’When it comes to the east, I am
very disappointed,’ he said. ’Since the beginning of last week, we
have been denied access to visit refugee camps. And if we cannot access,
then we cannot provide assistance.’" (VOA [dateline: Khartoum],
June 19, 2006)

This is indeed the very point of Khartoum’s denial of access---to
prevent innocent civilians, viewed as possible supporters of an
insurgency movement, from receiving life-sustaining aid.

Agence France Presse recently offered a detailed and particularly
well-informed account of the grim realities that to date have been noted
by very few observers (June 7, 2006 [dateline: Kassala, eastern
Sudan]):

"Helicopter gunships and a humanitarian crisis greet the few
Westerners who make it to Kassala, an East Sudan town far from the
Darfur region, where analysts say a bad situation could be about to get
worse. With international media and aid groups focused on war-torn
Darfur in the West, restrictions on journalists and humanitarian workers
travelling to the East mean that a crisis in many ways worse than
Darfur’s goes largely ignored."

"The crude mortality rate for this desert region [ ] is almost double
that of Darfur. There, 14,000 aid workers have been deployed to cope
with the humanitarian crisis, but only a small fraction of that number
work in the East, home to yet another Sudanese rebellion. A study
carried out last year found that acute malnutrition in the East stood at
around 19 percent, well-above the emergency level of 15 percent. In
Darfur the figure was less than 12 percent." [NB: the malnutrition
rate again exceeds 15% among many populations in Darfur---ER]

"[Only a few correspondents] manage to make it [to the East,] thanks
to World Food Program humanitarian flights. ’The East is one of the
least served areas [of Sudan],’ the International Crisis Group’s
Suliman Baldo told reporters. ’There are a lot of restrictions on
[humanitarian organizations] in the East, not like in Darfur.’ ’The
humanitarian needs are not receiving any attention so therefore it’s a
bad situation. It definitely needs to be highlighted...the lack of media
attention is also responsible.’"

It is quite extraordinary that the deeply informed Suliman Baldo can
compare eastern Sudan and Darfur, and assert that access in the latter
is relatively "easier"; for of course aid obstruction, harassment,
and insecurity define the realities confronting humanitarian efforts in
Darfur, as does Khartoum’s recent suspension of UN aid efforts. But
humanitarian assessments make clear how successful Khartoum has been in
shutting down aid to the people of the East:

"There has been no distribution of ’non-food items’ [medicine,
water purification, shelter, mosquito netting] in four years, and the
acquired items scheduled to be distributed are insufficient, according
to a June 2006 UN High Commission for Refugees [UNHCR] report on Sudan
operations."

"The [UN] World Food Program has reported a sharp increase in
malnutrition rates in eastern Sudan, and malaria cases are expected to
rise during the rainy season, which began this month. However, according
to UNHCR, ’the available mosquito nets are not sufficient to be
distributed to all needy people (children under five and pregnant
women).’"

"’These people, who have already gone through so much, need more
food,’ [UN WFP spokesman Trevor] Rowe said. ’It’s one thing to
survive on the minimum, but it’s another to survive on half of the
minimum’ [this is the current ration in eastern Sudan because of
funding shortfalls and Khartoum’s refusal to release additional food
from its enormous strategic grain reserve---ER]. WFP suspended its food
assistance in east Sudan, including for refugees, during the month of
May [2006], due to the unsolved travel permit issue and lack of access
to the camps,’ according to the UNHCR report." (Inter Press Service
[dateline: Johannesburg], June 20, 2006)

These travel permits, and thus humanitarian access, were denied by
Khartoum with the clear purpose of increasing human suffering and
destruction among these desperately needy people. This deliberate,
vicious obstructionism was recently reported as well by the US Agency
for International Development:

"UN Program Suspension in Kassala [Eastern Sudan]: According to the
UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), Sudanese government restrictions on UN
movement have led to the suspension of all non-lifesaving UN programs in
Kassala State. Local officials have sought to curtail UN activity on the
grounds that the [north/south] Comprehensive Peace Agreement [CPA] does
not call for any civilian UN activities in the east, only
military-related support for the CPA. [Khartoum-appointed] Authorities
refuse to recognize the UN unified mission approach and are demanding
that UN agencies abide by technical agreements that existed before the
establishment of UNMIS [as part of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement]." ("Sudan---Complex Emergency," Situation Report
#18, June 16, 2006)

This apparently technical obstructionism has terribly real consequences
for desperately needy human beings:

"According to a May 20, [2006] [UN] World Food Program [WFP] report,
restricted humanitarian access is limiting food distributions and may
prevent WFP from pre-positioning food aid for tens of thousands of
Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees in eastern Sudan in advance of the rainy
season. WFP reported that due to an impasse over travel permit
requirements, [Khartoum-appointed] government officials have denied WFP
staff access to sites in 35 separate incidents countrywide between
mid-March and mid-May. According to the report, 20 of the incidents
occurred in eastern Sudan, resulting in no WFP access to Red Sea State
and reduced access in Kassala." ("Sudan---Complex Emergency,"
Situation Report #18, June 16, 2006)

Khartoum is deliberately escalating malnutrition and human mortality in
eastern Sudan as part of a war of attrition against the people who are
perceived as supporting an insurgency movement (the Eastern Front). But
because eastern Sudan has little of the profile that Darfur has
achieved, these crimes against humanity continue unabated and
unchallenged.

The June 7, 2006 Agence France Presse dispatch also offered an
important overview of the background to the crisis in eastern Sudan:

"A recent report by international nongovernmental organizations
working in the region said: ’Eastern Sudan has not been a priority for
international and domestic humanitarian and political actors, leaving
the population there...extremely under-served.’ Chronic poverty and
neglect by the authorities prompted the region’s largest ethnic group,
the Beja, to take up arms against Khartoum in 1996, eventually forging
an alliance with the much larger, southern-based Sudan People’s
Liberation Movement (SPLM). In 2004, having formed a new alliance with
another marginalized minority, the Rashidiya Arabs, to create the
Eastern Front, the Beja pledged to step up their attacks from the
rebel-held town of Hamesh Koreb, just north of Kassala."

Eastern Sudan is a tinder-box, and the spark that will set off a new
conflagration of human suffering and destruction has been in evidence
for many months:

"Now, with the well-armed [southern] Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement/Army [SPLM/A] due to withdraw its forces under the terms of a
peace deal it signed with Khartoum early last year, there is a growing
fear that government forces will soon move in to wipe out the Eastern
Front. Aid workers fear civilians will bear the brunt of any such
offensive, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. ’Increased
instability will have an impact on the already fragile humanitarian
situation in the region,’ said Barabara Manzi of the UN’s Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs." (AFP, June 7, 2006)

In fact, the SPLM/A has now completely withdrawn from Hamesh Koreb:

"On Sunday, the SPLM/A officially pulled out its forces of
Hamishkorieb and handed over the area to the civilian administration of
Kassala State Hamishkorieb, about 500km northeast of Khartoum, was the
largest town controlled by the SPLM/A in eastern Sudan during the
21-year north-south civil war." (UN IRIN, June 13, 2006)

And as a particularly well-informed analyst notes of the increasingly
ominous military situation:

"’There has been an increased presence of SAF [regular Sudanese
Armed Forces] and PDF [Popular Defence Forces] forces in the region
[eastern Sudan], and they are occupying strategic positions.’" (UN
IRIN, June 13, 2006)

Even as Khartoum negotiates a "peace agreement" with the Eastern
Front rebels in Asmara (Eritrea), it is simultaneously waging war by
means of humanitarian obstruction and the assumption of militarily
critical positions in eastern Sudan. If war comes, given the proximity
of the strategic oil export pipeline and Port Sudan, it will be
extraordinarily violent, and civilian casualties will be massive. As
Julie Flint concluded in a superbly informed assessment of the crisis in
eastern Sudan (The Daily Star [Lebanon], February 7, 2006):

"Any counterinsurgency campaign in eastern Sudan will be run by those
who ran the war in Darfur. The security apparatus of the Sudanese state
is unchanged. Eastern Sudan is not only a challenge to the international
partners who drove through the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, turning a
blind eye to the death in Darfur. It is a litmus test for the unity
government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s ability to
make the leopard change its spots. Most importantly, it is life or death
for people who have already been patient long enough." ("The Looming
Conflict in Eastern Sudan," February 7, 2006;
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=22003).

With the SPLM withdrawal from Hamesh Koreb concluded, and with the
Movement now thoroughly irrelevant in northern Sudanese policy
decisions, the question seems increasingly not "if" but "when"
war in eastern Sudan breaks out. Though peace could certainly be
achieved in Asmara if there were good faith on Khartoum’s part, there
is no evidence of such; instead, we must look squarely at the regime’s
unblemished record of reneging on all agreements with all Sudanese
parties.

Again, the town of Hamesh Koreb is the most likely flash point for
conflict, as the International Crisis Group pointed out in January
("Sudan: Saving Peace in the East," International Crisis Group,
January 5, 2006, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3858&l=1).
More recently, the IRIN analyst points out that conditions have
deteriorated and tensions are running extremely high:

"’In Hamishkorieb town, there has been no provision of basic
services after the activities of the two remaining international aid
agencies in the area were suspended [by Khartoum] in January.’"

Such suspension of humanitarian aid, given the number of human lives
directly imperiled, demands a robust international response. Instead,
there is only weak and too often oblique criticism of
Khartoum---criticism that is neither reported prominently nor acted
upon. In the absence of a meaningful peace agreement and forceful
international pressure, eastern Sudan will explode. Here it hardly
helps that the rebel representatives negotiating in Asmara, like those
who negotiated the Darfur Peace Agreement with Khartoum in Abuja, are
badly divided:

"Another concern was that the representatives of the Beja Congress,
who were negotiating with the Sudanese government in the Eritrean
capital Asmara, were not necessarily representative of the entire rebel
movement, the analyst warned. Other rebel groups, such as the Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM), which is also active in Darfur, remained
outside the negotiations altogether. ’There are big divisions between
the Beja Congress in Port Sudan and the Beja Congress in Asmara and
communications within the movement are very poor,’ [the analyst] said.
’The Sudanese government is very concerned about what is going to
happen next, especially with regard to the other armed groups in the
area.’" (UN IRIN, June 13, 2006)

Of one thing we may be sure: if war comes, then humanitarian access
will be severed altogether, and civilian destruction will be massive.
Here, to see how Khartoum has most savagely interdicted and assaulted
humanitarian assistance as a weapon of war, we must look to southern
Sudan, where as many as 2.5 million people died in the course of 22
years of unspeakable violence and deprivation.

THE WAR ON HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN SOUTHERN SUDAN

Many of the weapons used against humanitarian assistance in southern
Sudan have been conspicuously in evidence in Darfur, mutatis mutandis.
There were during the civil war in the south countless dispatches of the
following sort:

"The UN food agency [World Food Program (WFP)] said the Sudanese
customs and agriculture authorities had blocked entry of the [5,000 tons
of] sorghum for six months for unclear reasons. The WFP said it had
communicated to the government its regret at the non-delivery of the
sorghum, which it had purchased from Ethiopia with a cash grant from the
Norwegian government" (Agence France-Presse, June 17, 2002).

But the reasons weren’t "unclear" at all---merely unspoken by the
UN out of perverse deference to Khartoum’s threats: throughout the war
the National Islamic Front regime remained determined to use the
manipulation of humanitarian aid, including food aid, as a way of
furthering its war on civilians and civil society throughout southern
Sudan. And the threat of denying humanitarian access altogether was
always clearly in play.

Sometimes---as in Darfur---the means were deliberate bureaucratic
obstacles to humanitarian aid; other times there were explicit flight
denials to areas in critical need (this was a major factor in the
horrific famine of 1998 in Bahr el-Ghazal Province). But there was no
mistaking the effects of manipulating and attacking humanitarian aid,
any more than there are today in eastern Sudan and Darfur. As this
writer argued in the Washington Post (July 6, 2002):

"The number is so shockingly large as to defy casual comprehension.
We must exercise both moral and statistical imagination to understand
the evil represented: 1.7 million human beings, the most recent UN
estimate for people in southern Sudan deliberately being denied
humanitarian aid by Khartoum’s National Islamic Front regime. Such
denial of food and medical assistance, given the distressed condition of
so many of these people, is nothing less than a terribly crude but
equally effective ’weapon of mass destruction.’"

This was at a time when the humanitarian organization Action Contre la
Faim (ACF) had issued an urgent alarm about the desperate food crisis in
the oil regions of Western Upper Nile province, with malnutrition among
children in the most affected areas up by 100% from the previous year
(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, May 8, 2002). These were
also the regions in which aid denials were concentrated.

There can be no re-writing or sanitizing this ghastly history; nor
should we doubt the willingness of Khartoum to re-engage in such
behavior---again, this is the real meaning of the suspension of UN
humanitarian aid in Darfur this past weekend. The lack of a forceful
response in southern Sudan has only emboldened the National Islamic
Front regime to believe that it may again engage in such deliberate
human destruction without risking more than "condemnation":

"The UN World Food Programme today [April 5, 2002] strongly condemned
the decision by the Government of Sudan to deny access of WFP flights to
43 locations in southern Sudan, which will prevent about 1.7 million
people from receiving humanitarian assistance."

"A number of the locations affected by the flight denial [ ] are
crucial to reach some of the most vulnerable populations frequently
displaced by insecurity. ’These flight bans can have a devastating
impact on entire populations,’ said Judith Lewis, WFP’s Regional
Director for East and Southern Africa. ’Extremely debilitated people
will be virtually cut off from basic assistance such as food and health
care.’ Most of the 43 locations to where flights have been denied are
located in areas where the populations are extremely vulnerable due to
insecurity and drought. These people rely heavily on relief assistance,
and the latest flight denial will result in further displacement of
thousands of people." (WFP press release, April 5, 2002)

Three months later, despite UN "condemnation," the situation was
largely unchanged. And in Darfur today, people are again "extremely
debilitated," and because of previous refusals to confront Khartoum
over its actions, the regime has again suspended, if this time briefly,
UN humanitarian operations.

Khartoum also violently attacked, on numerous occasions, humanitarian
workers and operations; a particularly savage example occurred on
February 20, 2002 in the village of Bieh:

"[In] the village of Bieh, in the heart of the oil regions,
Khartoum’s helicopter gunships attacked thousands of women and children
gathered at a UN World Food Program distribution center. It was broad
daylight, the center was well-marked, and there was no military activity
anywhere nearby. Yet from a low hover, one of the helicopter gunships
directed machine-gun fire and rockets into food-distressed civilians,
killing and wounding scores. All this was witnessed by UN personnel so
close they could see the faces of the pilot and gunner." (Eric Reeves,
Washington Post, July 6, 2002).

The regional reporting at the time was detailed and unambiguous:

"A Sudanese army helicopter fired five rockets at thousands of
civilians at a UN food distribution point, leaving 17 people dead, WFP
officials and Sudanese rebels said Thursday. The helicopter gunship
hovered over the UN agency’s compound Wednesday in Bieh, 1,000
kilometers south of Khartoum, and fired the rockets at civilians who had
gathered to collect food, said Laura Melo, a WFP spokeswoman based in
Nairobi, Kenya."

"The Sudan People’s Liberation Army, the main southern Sudanese rebel
group, confirmed the attack and reported 17 people killed, dozens
injured, many of them seriously. Melo said two WFP staffers were
overseeing the distribution and had counted 17 dead before they were
quickly evacuated by plane from Bieh following the attack. Aid workers
often use a compound in Bieh to provide aid to civilians suffering from
Sudan’s 19-year civil war, which has left more than 2 million people
dead from fighting or war-induced
famine."

"WFP had notified the Sudanese government of plans to distribute food
in Bieh, Melo said. ’All interventions are cleared ahead of time and
this one was also cleared,’ Melo said. The UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance in the Sudanese capital,
Khartoum, sent a letter of protest to the Sudanese government Thursday,
Melo said."

"’Such attacks, deliberately targeting civilians about to receive
humanitarian aid, are absolutely and utterly unacceptable,’ WFP chief
Catherine Bertini said in a statement. ’This attack---the second of
this kind in less than two weeks---is an intolerable affront to human
life and humanitarian work.’" (Associated Press [dateline: Nairobi],
February 21, 2002)

"The second of its kind in less than two weeks." In fact, the
aerial assaults on humanitarian operations were much more frequent than
suggested at the time by Ms. Bertini. As this writer had earlier
reported, again in The Washington Post, attacks, on both civilians and
humanitarians, were so systematic, so clearly targeting the survival of
the Dinka, the Nuer, and other southern tribal groups, that the actions
in aggregate constituted genocide:

"What makes the government’s air war on civilians so destructive is
not just the number of people killed and maimed by the shrapnel-loaded
bombs. The larger effect of these attacks is terror, and a dispersal of
the civilian population. The consequence is much less efficient
agricultural production in a land continually stalked by famine. This is
all quite deliberate on Khartoum’s part. Civilian destruction and
dispersal are the means of ensuring that the opposition military forces
in the south are denied food, or the aid of a cohesive society."

This is precisely the ethnically-targeted counterinsurgency strategy
that we have seen in Darfur, and its deployment should surprise no one,
given the previous failures of the international community to respond in
meaningful fashion to Khartoum’s relentless atrocities:

"To make sure of the genocidal efficacy of the bombing campaign, the
Khartoum regime has also escalated its assaults on humanitarian efforts.
It is attacking, with much greater frequency, the medical and food
relief programs of those trying heroically to save the people of the
south from disease and starvation. Many of the hospitals and clinics
that have been targeted are run by the world’s finest humanitarian
organizations."

"The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is but one
example. Its clinic at Chelkou, in one of the most distressed regions of
southern Sudan, was deliberately bombed on July 14 [2000]. Reliable
sources confirm that there was no military presence near Chelkou.
Moreover, as part of its standard protocol, the ICRC had fully apprised
the Khartoum regime of its presence in Chelkou and had secured
permission. It was bombed anyway."

"On July 25, [2000] some 200 miles to the southeast in the village of
Billing, the Khartoum regime again bombed the Red Cross. Pilots on the
ground, who had an approved flight plan from Khartoum, heard the bombers
coming and desperately spread out a large Red Cross flag on the ground.
It did no good. The bombs fell anyway." (Washington Post, August 15,
2000)

Months later, Khartoum was still directing assaults against
humanitarian operations:

"The International Committee of the Red Cross---the very symbol of
neutral, international humanitarian aid---was savagely attacked at its
medical base in Chelkou, southern Sudan, on January 12, [2001]. The
attack was carried out by militia forces allied with the radical
National Islamic Front regime that rules from Khartoum. All buildings
were destroyed, all expatriate workers withdrawn, villagers have been
killed, and the ICRC is deeply concerned about the fate of their
Sudanese workers."

"This act of barbarism by the Khartoum-backed Popular Defense Forces
(PDF) completely destroyed the ICRC medical facilities at an important
humanitarian site in the southern province of Bahr el-Ghazal. Reuters
newswire, as well as extremely reliable sources from the ground,
reported the destruction, as well as the likelihood of additional such
government-backed attacks on civilians and humanitarian relief."

"The ICRC medical facility at Chelkou had been the target last year
of a brutal bombing attack by the air force of the Khartoum regime.
Indeed, ICRC facilities at both Chelkou (Bahr el-Ghazal) and Billing
(Western Upper Nile) were targeted by the regime’s bombers. Evidently
not content with aerial bombardment, the regime has now loosed its
brutal PDF militia on Chelkou as well. This extraordinary escalation of
assaults directed against humanitarian organizations bodes extremely ill
for other relief efforts in southern regions, and for the hundreds of
thousands of Sudanese who depend on such relief." (Eric Reeves,
International Herald Tribune, January 23, 2003)

The implications for Darfur could hardly be clearer.

DARFUR AND THE FUTURE

Suliman Jamous has been widely reported as having rejected the
"Darfur Peace Agreement." There is no evidence of this, only the
word of his brutal captor, Minni Minawi---and even Minawi later denied
his claim that Jamous was trying to subvert the DPA, as does Jamous
himself. Suliman Jamous was imprisoned for refusing to bend to
Minawi’s increasingly tyrannical will, and refusing to participate
in Minawi’s dangerous exacerbating of ethnic tensions within the
insurgency movements. Minawi is ethnically Zaghawa, and divisions
between the Zaghawa and other non-Arab and African tribal groups,
especially the Fur, are growing at an alarming rate, even within the
camps for displaced persons. More and more, the Darfur Peace Agreement
seems to be a formula for disaster: the worst of the SLA commanders has
made a deal with a regime of genocidaires, who will support him
generously, even as his own people increasingly despise him. He may
control more guns (though even this grows increasingly doubtful as the
military elements of the insurgency continue to fragment), but he cannot
make peace in Darfur.

I conclude by correcting a point made in my immediately prior analysis
(June 24, 2006): it now appears that Khartoum does have a purported
"plan" to disarm the Janjaweed, and was prepared---though only at
the very last minute---to present the document in Asmara to the African
Union on June 23, 2006. But the administrative ineptitude of the AU was
on spectacular display, and a chaotic meeting of the "Joint
Commission" never effectively convened, and Khartoum’s
representatives left after two days, depositing the "plan" with the
Sudanese embassy. To this writer’s knowledge, no one has seen
Khartoum’s "plan," so it is impossible to say whether it is at all
substantive, or meets any of the planning requirements stipulated by the
DPA.

But the weekend suspension of UN humanitarian aid gives us a glimpse of
the most powerful weapon of genocidal war now at Khartoum’s disposal,
and it is no longer the Janjaweed. As we have seen in eastern Sudan,
southern Sudan, and the Nuba Mountains---which endured an unspeakably
destructive decade-long humanitarian blockade---there are many ways to
wage war on civilians. A shift in strategies may well be in the wind.

* Eric Reeves, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063
Email: ereeves@smith.edu. Website:
www.sudanreeves.org.



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Differences between Sudan government, SRF and FFC are the main issues of concern 2019-11-09 11:17:17 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman As the proverb goes, the difference of opinion does not spoil amity and does not spoil the friendliness issue. On the other hand, mere differences of point of view and (...)

Can women make the world more peaceful? 2019-11-06 11:31:03 By Paulino Akoon Yel Dut A genuine comprehensive analysis shows that involving women in peacebuilding increases the probability that violence will end in an easy manner. Hence we should thank (...)

Comments on "Déjà Vu: Preventing Another Collapse in South Sudan" 2019-11-06 05:30:03 By Steve Paterno As the dateline for the formation of the transitional government of national unity is looming, in accordance to the peace accord, it draws a lot of discussions and commentaries (...)


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Latest Press Releases


S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)


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