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Insecurity may stop Humanitarian aid to Darfur at any time

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"[Humanitarian assistance to Darfur] could all end tomorrow---[the threat of insecurity] is as serious as that," Jan Egeland, head of UN humanitarian operations, September 28, 2005.

By Eric Reeves

October 1, 2005 — It is no longer possible to escape the full implications of international acquiesce in the fiction that African Union forces can provide adequate security for civilians and humanitarian workers in Darfur. Rapidly escalating violence, in many different forms, has pushed humanitarian organizations to the very brink of emergency withdrawal, revealing just how incapable the AU force really is. The consequences of such humanitarian withdrawal will be catastrophic---ultimately measuring in the hundreds of thousands of lives lost. Although mortality already approaches 400,000 over the course of more than two and a half years of violent conflict---and ensuing disease and malnutrition---the greatest phase of human destruction may only now be commencing.

Complicit in the variously disingenuous comments coming from UN political officials, European and US leaders, and AU political leadership, the international community has allowed Darfur to approach the very brink of massive human destruction, with no resources in readiness to supplement the woefully inadequate AU (monitoring) force on the ground. The implications of this disastrous failure in response are now magnified by an unprecedented attack on an undefended camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Aro Sharow (September 28, 2005), killing 34 men and, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees, destroying approximately one quarter of the flimsy living quarters for between 4,000 and 5,000 defenseless displaced persons. Aro Sharow is approximately 15 kilometers north of the town of Saleah, which is approximately 60 kilometers north of el-Geneina (capital of West Darfur).

The full nature of the attack---the most serious of several extremely threatening military assaults (see below)---was reported today by the AU monitoring force as involving both Khartoum’s (i.e., the National Islamic Front’s) regular military forces and the Janjaweed. Baba Gana Kingibe, the AU special representative to Sudan, told reporters in Khartoum that:

"Sudanese government troops have attacked civilians in the Darfur region with ’overwhelming’ force in apparent coordination with nomadic militia forces known as the Janjaweed, the African Union said today. About 400 Janjaweed fighters on camels and horseback attacked the Aro Sharow refugee camp in western Darfur, killing 34 people September 28 [2005] as government helicopters flew overhead, said Baba Gana Kingibe, the union’s special representative to Sudan." (Bloomberg News [dateline: Khartoum], October 1, 2005)

Associated Press reports that in addition to Aro Sharow, the nearby villages of Acho and Gozmena were also attacked (beyond those killed, seven are currently reported missing) (Associated Press [dateline: Khartoum], October 1, 2005)

In more general terms, in speaking of Khartoum’s role in the escalating violence in Darfur, Kingibe declared:

"Government forces have ’resorted to the violent, destructive and overwhelming use of force not only against rebel forces, but also on innocent civilian villages and the IDP camps.’"

In one of the most disturbing elements of the Bloomberg dispatch, the role of Musa Hilal, the most infamous of Janjaweed leaders, is highlighted in revealing terms. It should be recalled that Musa Hilal has regularly been welcomed in Khartoum by officials of the National Islamic Front, and transported to and from Darfur in NIF military aircraft. Hilal’s is certainly among the 51 names referred by a UN Commission of Inquiry to the International Criminal Court in January 2005 for massive crimes against humanity in Darfur:

"There are reports that the leader of Janjaweed, Musa Hilal, led the attack on Aro Sharow, Kingibe said. One of Musa Hilal’s sons was reportedly killed in a September 19 [2005] attack by Darfur’s biggest rebel movement, the Sudan Liberation Army, or SLA, on the government-held garrison town of Sheiria, Kingibe said, while another was abducted."

In other words, the National Islamic Front (NIF) evidently supported an attack on 4,000-5,000 innocent displaced persons to serve the revenge of one of its most valuable and brutal militia leaders:

"If the government claims its latest attacks are in retaliation for the Sheiria assault, ’this cannot be justified given the deliberately calculated and wanton destruction wrecked by the disproportionate use of force on innocent civilians and Internally Displaced Persons in their camps,’ the African Union envoy said." (Bloomberg [dateline: Khartoum], October 1, 2005)

Several other extremely serious military attacks are also reported by the African Union, in particular an attack on the ravaged town of Tawilla, west of el-Fasher (capital of North Darfur), in which Khartoum painted its military vehicles to resemble those of the African Union. Associated Press reports:

"The African Union has accused Sudanese government forces of attacking civilians in Darfur, committing acts of ’calculated and wanton destruction’ that have killed at least 44 people and displaced thousands more during the past two weeks."

"Government forces have also painted their military vehicles in the white colors of the African Union cease-fire monitors ’in violation of all established norms and conventions,’ the chief African Union envoy to Sudan, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, told a press conference in the Sudanese capital on Saturday [October 1, 2005]."

"Kingibe gave four instances of Sudanese army troops conducting what he called ’coordinated offensive operations’ with the Janjaweed Arab militia since September 18 [2005] in Darfur. On Thursday, government troops and police raided the town of Tawilla and the adjacent camp for displaced people in North Darfur. ’The government of Sudan forces used approximately 41 trucks and 7 land cruisers in the operation, which resulted in a number of deaths, massive displacement of civilians, and the destruction of several houses in the surrounding areas as well as some tents in the Internally Displaced People’s camps,’ Kingibe said."

"Some of the government vehicles were painted in the white color of the African Union mission. ’During the attack, thousands from the township and the IDP camp, and many humanitarian workers, were forced to seek refuge near the African Union camp,’ he added." (Associated Press [dateline: Khartoum], October 1, 2005)

LARGER IMPLICATIONS

Much has been made recently of the role of Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) violence in threatening humanitarian aid in Darfur, as well as souring the negotiating atmosphere in Abuja, Nigeria. And the SLA---far and away the largest of the insurgency movements---is indeed deeply culpable on both counts, particularly the faction with greatest strength on the ground, that of SLA Secretary-General Minni Arcua Minnawi (who was almost certainly responsible for initiating the attack on Sheiria). The SLA leadership has just concluded a conference inside Darfur, involving both Minnawi and SLA Chairman Abdel Wahed Mohamed al-Nur, though deep divisions between the two men and their respective factions, as well as growing tension between Minnawi and his commanders, suggest that the chances for a unified diplomatic position in Abuja are slim.

But Khartoum’s unprecedented attack at Aro Sharow, as well as the other coordinated attacks by NIF regular forces and the Janjaweed, are likely to unify all elements in the Darfuri insurgencies in the conviction that Khartoum has no interest in a just peace. We must recall here that in December 2004, on the very eve of what seemed at the time key negotiations in Abuja, the NIF launched a major military offensive in Darfur, collapsing the talks.

Characteristically, Jan Egeland, head of UN humanitarian operations, has taken a leading role in speaking honestly about the larger implications of escalating violence for humanitarian operations:

"’My warning is the following: if [insecurity] continues to escalate, if it continues to be so dangerous on humanitarian work, we may not be able to sustain our operation for 2.5 million people requiring lifesaving assistance,’ said Jan Egeland, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. ’It could all end tomorrow---it’s as serious as that,’ he told reporters at UN offices in Geneva." (Associated Press and other wire services, September 28, 2005)

In fact, the number of conflicted-affected persons in Darfur was 3.4 million human beings as of August 1, 2005 (Chart 1, UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 17 [DHP 17], page 3). Moreover, as DHP 17 also indicates, this grim total has increased steadily for over a year, at an average rate of more than 150,000 per month. Well over 3.5 million people are now in need, primarily of food. Acute medical, shelter, and water needs are also being experienced by many hundreds of thousands of displaced persons.

Egeland is reported as saying,

"the surge in violence also [is] increasingly being directed at international aid workers, whether by rebel forces, the government-backed militia, ethnic gangs, armed bandits or even government forces. ’In the last few days, we have seen colleagues being harassed, attacked, robbed or abducted every day it cannot continue,’ he said. ’Truck drivers are now refusing to deliver lifesaving assistance to many areas, threatening our humanitarian operations and the lives of tens of thousands of displaced.’" (Associated Press, September 28, 2005)

This assessment is borne out by countless reports from humanitarian organizations on the ground, as well as in the regular security "situation reports" (sit reps) from UN officials in the region. Oxfam is only one of the major humanitarian organizations describing extreme insecurity:

"Nicki Bennett, based in Nyala [South Darfur] for Oxfam, said: ’The security situation in Darfur remains extremely volatile---people still face the threat of horrific violence on a daily basis, and insecurity is also hampering humanitarian access.’ [ ] The humanitarian situation has [also] been worsened by rains, which have flooded many of the camps. Medical workers say outbreaks of malaria and diarrhoea are increasing, but [because of insecurity] they are not able to get medicines to the worst-affected areas." (The Independent [UK], September 30, 2005)

Numerous road corridors have been severed; increasingly Sudanese truck drivers refuse to move humanitarian cargo for fear of attack (approximately 50 aid convoys have been attacked since the beginning of August 2005); and aid workers are retreating to more secure locations, often leaving vulnerable civilians wholly without assistance.

Many Darfuri civilians were contemplating fleeing to Chad even before the recent violence (Aro Sharow is, for example, just a few kilometers from the Chad/Darfur border). But the 200,000 Darfuri refugees in Chad already find themselves in intense competition with the indigenous population for the extremely scarce natural resources (water, animal fodder, arable land) in this desolate region. A large new influx of refugees would be deeply destabilizing.

Nor does flight into Chad guarantee safety. Another extraordinary development in the violence escalating throughout Darfur occurred on September 26, 2005, when a Janjaweed force crossed the border into Chad to attack civilians and loot cattle. The Independent (UK) reports:

"Monday, the janjaweed, in uniform and on horseback, crossed the border and killed 36 people in Chad. The Chad army, which claims to have killed seven of the attackers, said the janjaweed crossed the border to steal livestock." (The Independent, September 28, 2005)

The UN’s Integrated Regional Information Networks reports:

"Chadian President Idriss Deby on Thursday blamed the Sudanese militia known as the Janjawid for this week’s over-the-border-assault that killed dozens of civilians in eastern Chad. ’We are now absolutely certain that it is the Janjawid that carried out this incursion, as in the past, for reasons we do not know.’ Deby told Radio France Internationale. Chad has said that armed men in military uniform launched an attack in the eastern Ouaddai province on Monday, killing 36 herders and stealing livestock. Eight insurgents and two Chadian soldiers were killed in an ensuing clash, a government statement said." (UN IRIN, September 29, 2005)

Whatever the motives of the individual Janjaweed attackers, the motive of the NIF in permitting these attacks is certainly clear: to send a message to President Deby of Chad not to aid the insurgency groups in Darfur, which include many Zaghawas (Deby’s own tribe):

"One analyst said that in blaming the Janjawid---and not directly fingering the Sudanese government---Deby appears to want to paint himself as neutral in the long-standing conflict in Darfur and maintain a delicate balancing act. ’This was a nice show of neutrality,’ said Roland Marchal, Africa specialist [ ] in Paris. ’Deby was very prudent not to implicate the government of Sudan. In the end, he is responsible for the country’s relations with Sudan.’" (UN IRIN, September 29, 2005)

Even so, Khartoum’s refusal to disarm the Janjaweed---"demanded" by the UN Security Council in July 2004 (UN Security Council Resolution 1556)--- the NIF’s complicity in this very dangerous international incident, reveals again the high political stakes in the Darfur conflict.

THE NATIONAL ISLAMIC FRONT AND THE JANJAWEED

Many Western officials refuse to accept the ongoing violent collusion between the NIF and the Janjaweed, arguing that whatever the NIF intended in loosing this terrible instrument of genocidal destruction, the instrument now can’t be controlled. In a recent interview on PBS’s NewsHour, the US State Department’s Charles Snyder offered a characteristic assessment. Citing supposed indications that the NIF is "trying to stop, restrain, not supply" the Janjaweed, Snyder insisted that "there’s elements that clearly they don’t control," but that the US "accepts" the NIF is "not supplying [the Janjaweed] anymore," and is "not encouraging them, certainly at a central government level" (Public Broadcasting Service, The NewsHour, September 23, 2005).

But this conveniently disingenuous assessment is thoroughly belied not only by clear evidence of ongoing NIF logistical support for many elements of the Janjaweed, but by the attacks on Aro Sharow, neighboring villages, and on Tawilla, all involving NIF regular armed forces, including helicopter gunships. These military resources could only be deployed with the knowledge and approval of senior NIF security officials. Far from disarming or withholding supplies from the Janjaweed, the NIF military machine continues to integrate the Janjaweed into its genocidal assault on the non-Arab or African tribal populations of Darfur---even defenseless populations in displacement camps.

It is certainly the case that elements of the Janjaweed, which was never a fully or centrally organized military force, have resorted to "banditry" and opportunistic violence. And these elements may be beyond easy control or disarmament. But as Juan Mendez, special advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the prevention of genocide, has recently asserted, "we don’t see a serious good-faith effort on the part of the government [of Sudan] to disarm [the Janjaweed]" (transcript of Mendez interview, UN Mission in Sudan, Khartoum, September 26, 2005).

But it is the ability of NIF-supported Janjaweed leaders like Musa Hilal to mount large attacking forces, with support from Khartoum’s regular military, that most thoroughly belies assessments such as Snyder’s. If such attacks have diminished in number, the assault on Aro Sharow demonstrates that the NIF remains perfectly prepared to join militarily with Janjaweed forces in pursuance of its genocidal policies.

THE ISSUE OF AFRICAN UNION CAPACITY

The State Department’s Snyder exemplifies not only US disingenuous, reflected also in comments by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and in recent Senate testimony by Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, but a broader international unwillingness to speak honestly about the capacity of the African Union. Snyder in particular, when asked a direct question during his PBS NewsHour interview ("In the US opinion, do you think that the African Union has enough resources to follow through with this peace agreement?"), gave an especially revealing "yes," clearly indicating that the US---like other Western governments---is willing to accept the AU as the only source of security on the ground in Darfur:

"Do they [the AU] have the political will? Yes. Do they have the raw material? Yes. [ ] [Was the plan to use the AU] perfect? No, but I think in balance it worked." (Public Broadcasting Service, The NewsHour, September 23, 2005)

As to AU logistical failures, inadequacies of communication, failure to deploy in timely fashion, dramatic understaffing, command and control problems, administrative shortcomings, corruption within the ranks---they are described as "teething pains." But we must ask, then: Is Darfur really an appropriate context in which to oversee an initial deployment by the fledgling AU Peace and Security Commission, accepting failures which have already cost many tens of thousands of innocent lives as mere "teething pains"?

Snyder’s assessment is both disingenuous and deeply expedient. If the AU has the political will, why is South Africa---arguably the politically most important country in Africa---now reneging on its commitment of more than 700 military police to the AU deployment in Darfur? This represents almost 10% of the planned deployment, announced last spring---7,700 personnel. There are also reports, coming from well-placed sources, that South Africa may actually withdraw some currently deployed forces. And no other African nations are offering any replacement forces. This is hardly evidence of the "political will" Snyder speaks of.

As to what Snyder calls the "raw materials": The AU currently has approximately 5,500 deployed personnel, but there is no indication of where the more than 2,000 additional planned troops/police will come from. Nor is there any indication that the AU has overcome the various funding problems, problems in securing a consistent fuel source, and other logistical/transport issues that saw deployment grind to almost a halt during the heavy rains of August and September. Despite the dishonesty on the part of US, EU, and AU officials, there simply can be no denying that the largely static AU force is radically undersized and under-equipped.

Jan Egeland, UN head of humanitarian affairs, spoke to this issue with characteristic bluntness in his Wednesday interview:

"African Union troops or some other force need to be boosted to three times the strength of the current peacekeeping force, Egeland added." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, September 29, 2005)

This would translate into a force-size in excess of 16,000 personnel---in line with what was recommended by the International Crisis Group in a July 6, 2005 analysis of Darfur (ICG [Nairobi/Brussels], "The AU’s Mission in Darfur: Bridging the Gaps," July 6, 2005; at http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=3547). Of course, we must recall that the AU force is not a "peacekeeping force": it has a mandate only to monitor a non-existent cease-fire; beyond this, it may protect only civilians threatened in the AU’s immediate proximity, and if militarily practicable. Any truly meaningful deployment would have to begin with an appropriate mandate, something the AU has not had the political will to demand of Khartoum.

As Egeland is also reported by Agence France-Presse as saying:

"’There are now in excess of 5,000 troops, which is better than they were last year, but it’s still incredibly behind what it should be,’ [Egeland] said. ’I still cannot believe how a hundred world leaders can say the biggest priority on earth is to get a large AU force in place and then, years after the crisis started, we still have a very inadequate force in place.’" (AFP, September 29, 2005)

Such bracing honesty, and the wholly obvious inability of the AU to reach a force-level half of what Egeland describes, highlights international disingenuousness in responding to genocide in Darfur. And Egeland does not hesitate to put the issue even more forcefully:

"’My question is, is this a repeat of the so-called safe areas of Bosnia again? We keep people alive, we give them food, we give them medicine, schools, but we do not protect them, or protect our own unarmed staff. Then the massacres happen,’ [Egeland] added." (UN News Center, September 28, 2005)

Egeland’s is precisely the question to ask, at least in part because of the efforts last summer by Jan Pronk, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special representative to Sudan, to create just such "safe areas" in Darfur. In negotiating with Khartoum, Pronk agreed in an August 5, 2004 memorandum to give up on the UN Security Council "demand" that the NIF disarm the Janjaweed, this in return for Khartoum’s agreeing to the nominal "safety" of certain camps and humanitarian corridors. The NIF promptly used the "safe areas" agreement negotiated by Pronk to mount offensive actions against the insurgents in areas adjacent to the "safe areas." The UN had quietly abandoned the Pronk plan by September 2004, but the damage had largely been done, and the key "demand" of the Security Council had been squandered. A year later, the NIF has imposed a de facto "safe areas" mentality on humanitarian workers.

Pronk’s numerous errors and miscalculations in dealing with the NIF regime should long ago have seen him removed from his extraordinarily important position. Instead, he continues to accommodate Khartoum, only to be treated with the contempt accorded the weak and irresolute. Voice of America recently reported on Mr. Pronk’s dismay when a "UN policy meeting in Darfur had been disrupted by Sudanese national security forces. [Pronk] called the disruption a flagrant violation of the relationship between the UN and Sudan" (Voice of America, September 28, 2005). But it is Pronk who has done more than any other UN figure or international diplomat to convince the NIF, which still dominates the new "Government of National Unity," that there will be no consequences for such "violations."

Indeed, that Pronk retains his UN position sends a signal to the NIF that no real pressure will be forthcoming. Yet again, Jan Egeland, speaking from the humanitarian side of the UN, makes the essential point here: "[the situation calls for] the same kind of pressure [ ] that we had last summer when world leaders really put their thumb and their pressure on the Government of Khartoum" (UN News Center, September 28, 2005). Egeland overstates the pressure that was actually applied (the dissipation of pressure was in large part a function of Pronk’s expediency), though it was certainly much greater than what is in evidence today. Since September 2004, all talk of economic sanctions has disappeared, and the supposed travel restrictions and asset-freezes for those guilty of prolonging the conflict in Darfur have been revealed as so much vacuous UN Security Council rhetorical posturing.

Moreover, in a perverse irony, the formation of a "Government of National Unity"---which now includes the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement as well as some other political elements in Sudan---has actually relieved some of the pressure on the National Islamic Front. The NIF’s governing "partners" are being held up as representing the benign future for Darfuris if an agreement is reached in Abuja (no matter that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Khartoum and the SPLM is in deep trouble; see "Slow Collapse of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement," September 24, 2005 at http://www.sudanreeves.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=70). Even more disingenuously, these "partners" in the "Government of National Unity" are held up by the international community as sources of pressure on the NIF to negotiate a just peace in Darfur. This fails completely as an assessment of what political power the NIF retains in the new government, and how little has been surrendered in the way of military power and control of the security services.

These problems will almost certainly reveal themselves even more clearly in the impending response by Khartoum to growing unrest in Eastern Sudan. In an important dispatch by The Economist [dateline: Hameshkoreib, Eastern Sudan], we are given a glimpse of another enormous powder-keg, generated by years of Khartoum’s neglect, marginalization, as well as military and political abuse, which has already led to the formation of another significant rebel group, the "Eastern Front":

"’We’ve learnt the lessons of Darfur,’ says Sheikh Ali, who runs the town of Hameshkoreib, in eastern Sudan, for the rebel Eastern Front. ’This government [the NIF] only listens to people who carry guns.’ What he means is that, while Sudan’s main southern rebel movement has, after some 30 years of on-off fighting, won a deal that promises autonomy and perhaps even eventual independence for the south, other disaffected regions must now fight for similar concessions. While strife in Sudan’s western province of Darfur continues, a growing rebellion in the east is further weakening the central government in Khartoum---and could even cause the delicate north-south deal to unravel." [ ]

"The Eastern Front was set up last year as an alliance between two eastern tribal rebel groups, the Rashaida tribe’s Free Lions and the Beja Congress. They were later joined by the Darfuris’ Justice and Equality Movement. The rebels’ gravest threat is to block the flow of oil, which is exported through Port Sudan at a rate of 300,000 barrels a day. The government also plans to build a second refinery nearby that would double the output of Sudan’s refined oil within three years. That plan, too, could be stymied. The government is rattled. A senior intelligence official privately admits that it already has three times more troops in the east than in embattled Darfur. It is vital, he adds, that government forces retake the eastern areas from which the SPLM has withdrawn." [ ]

"The strife in Darfur is by no means over. Peace in the south is fragile. And now, to make matters worse, the easterners are demanding a bigger slice of the cake, both in budget revenue and government posts---and say they will fight to get it. Sudan is barely holding together." (The Economist, September 29, 2005)

DIPLOMACY IN ABUJA

Reports from diplomats and others in Abuja make clear that there are currently no negotiations underway---no meetings, no discussions, no progress whatsoever toward a political solution. In short, the present situation on the ground in Darfur will remain unchanged by developments in Abuja for the foreseeable future. And even a negotiated settlement would hardly be a means in itself for a halt to the violence, even if we accepted that the National Islamic Front was committed for self-interested reasons to such a settlement (there is no evidence whatsoever of such commitment, and the recent attacks strongly suggest that Khartoum has no intention of allowing for real diplomatic progress).

To date, the only negotiating achievements of the AU, which provides diplomatic auspices at Abuja, are a meaningless cease-fire (only very partially monitored by the AU) and a "declaration of principles," a document so vague that it cannot possible create momentum for further agreements. The NIF perceives how little pressure is being exerted in Abuja, how unwilling the world is to supplement AU efforts on the ground in Darfur, and draws the inevitable conclusions. If Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick was right in his recent Senate testimony---"Ending violence in Sudan’s Darfur region...is in the hands of negotiators"---then there can be no hope for many hundreds of thousands of Darfuris (Washington File, September 28, 2005 [Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State]).

IS THERE NO THRESHOLD FOR HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION?

In an extraordinary moment in his PBS NewsHour interview, the State Department’s Charles Snyder speaks to the implications of NATO assistance in the deployment of AU forces to Darfur:

"There’s now at least that relationship between NATO and the AU so that if [things] went particularly wrong, NATO is around now, and that wasn’t true in the earlier build-up." (Public Broadcasting System, The NewsHour, September 23, 2005).

What precisely are we to make of the phrase "particularly wrong" in the context of Darfur? Snyder doesn’t say, but the clear implication is that things aren’t now "particularly wrong." Perhaps Mr. Snyder considers human mortality approaching 400,000 only "generically wrong." (For August 31, 2005 mortality assessment by this writer, see http://www.sudanreeves.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=67; notably, a forthcoming study by a major human rights organization will offer data strongly supporting the central finding that more than 200,000 have died from violent causes alone in the course of the Darfur conflict). Perhaps Mr. Snyder also believes that a crisis in which over 3.5 million people are conflict-affected (more than half the population of Darfur) is also only "generically wrong."

But if this is so, if Darfur must cross some ghastly new threshold of human suffering and destruction for the role of NATO to become more directly that of protecting civilians and humanitarian operations, it would appear from recent events that Mr. Snyder and his State Department colleagues will not have long to wait. But in waiting, the US, its allies in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the AU, the Arab League---all will be waiting for a situation that will see catastrophic monthly mortality totals. If humanitarian personnel are forced to withdraw on an emergency basis, there will be immediate and devastating consequences for the provision of food, medicine, water, shelter, and the security that has derived simply from the presence of courageous humanitarian workers. Any re-starting of humanitarian operations would be extraordinarily difficult and slow-moving.

Things have gone "particularly wrong" in Darfur by any morally intelligible criteria. Massive, ongoing genocidal destruction---with no diplomatic solution or even progress in sight---is "particularly wrong." If we have entered an era in which this is not so, then Mr. Snyder is spokesman for a world order that only the most callous dare contemplate.

- Eric Reeves
- Smith College
- Northampton, MA 01063
- Tel: 413-585-3326
- Email: ereeves@smith.edu
- Website: www.sudanreeves.org



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