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Khartoum solution for Darfur : Preserving the genocidal status quo

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A Final Solution for Darfur: The View from Khartoum;
Preserving the genocidal status quo works to consolidate NIF power

By Eric Reeves

Oct 9, 2005 — The argument that a new "Government of National Unity" (GNU) in Sudan might change Khartoum’s diplomatic or military thinking about Darfur has now been fully exposed as an expedient fiction on the part of the US, the European Union, and the African Union. Despite completed formation of the GNU, only the National Islamic Front (which has sought to rename itself the National Congress Party) dictates military policy on the ground in Darfur and diplomatic strategy in Abuja, Nigeria. There is no government by consensus; there is no representation of the views of the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement on Darfur; there is only continued NIF tyranny and the preservation of a genocidal status quo that is gradually eliminating Darfur as a threat to the NIF’s ruthless arrogation of national power and wealth. This is the final solution to what the NIF perceives as its "African problem" in Darfur, and it is taking place before our very eyes.

RECENT MILITARY ACTIONS

The most conspicuous evidence of NIF control of military actions in Darfur comes in the form of renewed use of helicopter gunships against Darfuri civilians (see extended analysis of the most recent attacks at http://www.sudanreeves.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=71). The full scale of these attacks has only recently come into view, with reports from the AU, the UN High Commission for Refugees, and other agencies offering fuller accounts of attacks on civilians by Khartoum and its Janjaweed allies. Much of what we know, however, comes from the extraordinary October 1, 2005 press conference and release by Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Darfur:

"On 18 September 2005, simultaneous attacks at Khartoum Djadeed, Sandego, Khasantongur, Tary, Martal and Djabain resulted in the death of 12 civilians, 5 seriously wounded, and the displacement of about 4,000 civilians. Heavy and small weapons mounted on vehicles were reportedly used by the Government of Sudan, in close coordination with about 300 Janjaweed Arab militia. Most of the displaced people moved to ZamZam and Tawilla Internally Displaced Persons camps." (Transcript of Kingibe press conference, Khartoum, October 1, 2005)

"On 28 September 2005, just four days ago, some reportedly 400 Janjaweed Arab militia on camels and horseback went on the rampage in Arusharo, Acho and Gozmena villages in West Darfur. Our reports also indicate that the day previous, and indeed on the actual day of the attack, Government of Sudan helicopter gunships were observed overhead. This apparent coordinated land and air assault gives credence to the repeated claim by the rebel movements of collusion between the Government of Sudan forces and the Janjaweed/Arab militia. This incident, which was confirmed not only by our investigators but also by workers of humanitarian agencies and NGOs in the area, took a heavy toll resulting in 32 people killed, 4 injured and 7 missing, and about 80 houses/shelters looted and set ablaze."

"The following day, a clearly premeditated and well rehearsed combined operation was carried out by the Government of Sudan military and police at approximately 11am in the town of Tawilla and its IDP camp 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 IDP camps. Indeed, the remains of discharged explosive devices were found in the IDP camp. During the attack, thousands from the township and the IDP camp and many humanitarian workers were forced to seek refuge near the AU camp for personal safety and security."

"Finally, yesterday, 30 September 2005, we received reports that at about 1230 hours, machine gun and small gun fires were heard loudly in Shearia town and two helicopter gunships were reportedly seen dropping bombs in the direction of Ato village, some 5km south of Shearia. We are still investigating to establish the extent of any casualty and damage. Even as I speak now AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) troops are closely monitoring the situation in Kabkabiya, Rokiro, Golo and Nertiti where increased activities of bands of [Khartoum-allied] militias dressed in green khaki indicate they are pressing to attack."

With respect to detentions of AU patrols in insurgency-controlled territory, Kingibe reports:

"The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) commanders have often cited lack of prior notification, and more significantly the use by Government of Sudan forces of vehicles painted in AMIS colours, which makes it extremely difficult for them to distinguish friend from foe. In these latest incidents, we indeed observed some Government of Sudan vehicles painted in white colour, giving credence to the claim by the SLA. We, therefore, view as unacceptable and in violation of all established norms and conventions the use of a neutral parties colours by belligerents as is done by the Government of Sudan forces. This practice of painting some of the vehicles in AMIS colours was witnessed during the attack on Tawilla, and a couple of days earlier in Shangil Tobaya. We urge the Government of Sudan forces to stop forthwith this unethical practice in order to maintain the integrity and neutrality of the AMIS in Sudan forces." (Transcript of Kingibe press conference, Khartoum, October 1, 2005)

It is important to note that what Kingibe reports as the "rampage in Arusharo, Acho and Gozmena villages in West Darfur" entailed a massive assault on the Aro Sharow camp for displaced persons, where 4,000-5,000 innocent civilians were made to flee, at least 34 were killed, and (according to the UN High Commission for Refugees) approximately one quarter of the flimsy shelters in the camp were destroyed in the assault. Such an attack on an IDP camp is unprecedented, even for Darfur.

It is also important to understand how authoritative this particular AU report is. Speaking of the attack on Aro Sharow displaced persons camp in West Darfur, Kingibe declared in his press conference: "This incident [was] confirmed not only by our investigators, but also by workers of humanitarian agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the area."

Since the use of helicopter gunships against civilians conspicuously requires clearance from senior officials in the NIF military/security commands (given the notoriety achieved by these deadly killing machines in reports from human rights groups and various observers on the ground), it was hardly surprising that the NIF simply denied that their helicopters were used in such attacks. The NIF leadership assumed, with good reason, that as in the past, the international community would protest only meekly, if at all, and the AU report would be filed under the category of "inconclusive findings."

But the AU struck back at NIF lies in extraordinary fashion, not only reiterating its claim about NIF military complicity in multiple attacks, from the ground and the air, but asserting that it had video and photographic evidence of Khartoum’s use of helicopter gunships and was prepared to make this evidence public if necessary:

"The African Union mission in Darfur is prepared to produce film and pictures to prove Sudan’s security forces are attacking civilians there, despite Khartoum’s denials, the AU mission chief said on Wednesday. Baba Gana Kingibe [ ] told reporters he had confidence in an AU report that all parties to the conflict were breaking the truce and that the violence had included attacks by government helicopter gunships."

"’We reported what we have observed. The report we received from the field said helicopter gunships were observed overhead in two different locations in Darfur,’ Kingibe told reporters at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. ’We have films and pictures. We do not make a statement of that nature, grave as they are, without evidence. If necessary we are ready to show them,’ he said."

"He added without elaborating that Sudanese government forces had attacked not only refugee camps but also compounds that house some AU troops in Darfur’s Tawilla district." (Reuters [dateline: Addis Ababa, AU Headquarters], October 5, 2005)

Overshadowed by these attacks was a serious Janjaweed assault on civilians in Chad:

"Monday [September 26, 2005], 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 [UK], September 28, 2005)

This wanton assault by Khartoum’s militia proxies has led the Government of Chad to close its consulate in Darfur, as well as the Sudanese consulate in Abeche (eastern Chad):

"Chad has decided to close its consulate in al-Geneina, in Darfur, and the Sudanese consulate in Abeche. The Sudanese ambassador to Ndjamena was today summoned to the Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was informed of the decisions. According to Radio France Internationale, the closure is as a result of the attack against the Chadian village of Madayouna last week. Some 75 people, including 55 villagers, were killed by men from Sudan." (Sudan Tribune, October 4, 2005)

Additional military attacks in Darfur have also very recently been documented. The Darfur Relief and Documentation Center (Geneva) reports that it received information on additional attacks the day after Kingibe’s press conference:

"The Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre received information that on Sunday October 2, 2005 at about 6am, the government army supported by the Janjaweed militia attacked Bollay village (about 70 km south of Kabkabyia), North Darfur State. They killed 7 persons and injured more than a dozen others. They looted property and burned most of the villages in the surrounding area. This attack rendered more than 6,000 individuals as internally displaced persons. They were forced to flee their destroyed villages to the southern part of the Jabal Mara massive. It was reported that the government army resumed the use of military aeroplanes against civilian targets in Darfur." (Darfur Relief and Documentation Center release, Geneva, October 3, 2005)

The cruel aftermath of recent NIF and Janjaweed attacks on civilians in Darfur is also becoming clearer. The US Agency for International Development reports that "the September 18 [2005] attacks on 10 North Darfur villages" has led to "the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reporting that approximately 4,000 new Internally Displaced Persons had arrived in Dali camp, near the town of Tawilla, since the attacks" (Fact Sheet for September 30, 2005). The UN World Food Program global report #40 (September 30, 2005) reports that violence in North Darfur has produced large numbers of new IDPs in ZamZam and other camps near al-Fasher (capital of North Darfur):

"The Government of Sudan Military Commander assured the [WFP and UN Field Security Coordination Office] security mission that the area was safe and the situation under control. However, it was confirmed that an estimated 10,000 people fled to nearby internally displaced persons camps, with significant IDP influxes into ZamZam camp."

VIOLENCE BY THE SUDAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT/ARMY

It must be stressed that the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) is now deeply complicit in Darfur’s rapidly escalating insecurity. And on October 8, 2005, the SLA/M assaulted an AU convoy in North Darfur, killing three AU soldiers and two civilian contractors; these are the first such casualties since AU deployment. This is an extraordinarily serious development, and threatens a mission already badly under-manned and under-equipped, without an appropriate mandate, and without operational cohesion, adequate logistical or transport capacity (in part because of deliberate NIF obstructionism; see below), or administrative capacity.

Just as ominous is an October 9, 2005 AU report on a large kidnapping in West Darfur: "’18 (AU) personnel including military observers, civilian police, a US representative and a Justice and Equality Movement (rebel) representative are held hostage today,’ the acting head of the AU in Sudan, Jean Baptiste Natama, told Reuters."

At this time, responsibility for the kidnapping is unclear, though a BBC report (October 9, 2005) suggests "the kidnappers were believed to be members of a dissident faction of Darfur’s rebel Justice and Equality Movement" [i.e., the National Movement for Reform and Development (NMRD)].

But even beyond the unforgivable attack on the AU monitoring force, elements of the SLA/M are increasingly threatening or assaulting humanitarian operations, engaging in opportunistic "banditry," and generally ignoring the urgent need to create a coherent diplomatic position for Darfuris in Abuja. Tensions between SLA/M Chairman Abdel Wahid Mohamed al-Nur and Secretary-General Minni Arcua Minnawi only intensify, as do strains between Minnawi and SLA/M field commanders in Darfur. Ethnic polarization (Abdel Wahid is a Fur, Minnawi is a Zaghawa) seems to be increasing dangerously, which only contributes to NIF efforts to "divide and conquer."

Popular support for the insurgency movements is rapidly waning as living conditions for Darfuris continue to deteriorate with no sign of improvement. The smaller Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), with its ties to Islamic ideologue Hassan al-Turabi in Khartoum and a broad national political agenda, has never had deep popular support in Darfur, and has even less now. And while previous military confrontations between the SLA/M and the JEM---extremely serious in early summer---seem to have diminished significantly, they could easily flare again as well. Minnawi and others in the SLA/M seem convinced that they can eliminate the JEM as a military rival, and thus severely curtail the movement’s political influence in Abuja.

The larger effect of SLA/M violence in Darfur no longer serves any liberation cause, but only makes Khartoum’s task of preserving current levels of insecurity, and thus the genocidal status quo, all the easier. If the SLA/M cannot unify its political efforts in the immediate near term, its military actions will only serve NIF ambitions.

CONTINUING PATTERNS OF GENOCIDAL VIOLENCE

The recent NIF military attacks are significant in themselves, but are even more significant in what they reveal of how military decisions are now made in the new "Government of National Unity," viz. in precisely the same way they were in the previous "government." In fact, the previous government was nothing more than a security cabal, preserving the tyrannical rule of essentially the same members of the National Islamic Front who came to power by military coup in 1989, deposing an elected government, and deliberately aborting the most promising chance for peace in Sudan since independence in 1956. These are the same men who orchestrated the genocidal jihad against the people of the Nuba Mountains in 1992, genocide against the mainly Nuer inhabitants of southern oil regions in 1997, and now genocide against civilians from the African tribal groups of Darfur.

The National Islamic Front determines policy in Darfur, and to argue otherwise is extraordinarily disingenuous. Only if we understand this political reality is it possible to see the full implications of the escalating violence threatening civilians and humanitarian workers. A Reuters dispatch from Riyad Camp, near el-Geneina in West Darfur, gives a telling account of what is experienced by all too many of the more than 2.5 million displaced Darfuris:

"Arab militias attack the Riyad camp in the Sudanese region of Darfur daily, beating residents and raping women with impunity, camp residents said. Many said African Union forces monitoring a shaky ceasefire in the region have not done enough to stop violence against around 15,000 refugees at the Riyad camp, just outside West Darfur’s capital el-Geneina."

"’Daily they come in and beat our people. But no one does anything,’ said Darfuri Yehya Ahmed. ’They come on horses and camels. They rape our women and try to scare us away to force us to go home,’ the elderly camp resident told Reuters. ’They (the AU troops) just come and write reports which don’t go anywhere,’ he said. ’They have been here now for more than a year and still we live in terror---we cannot go home.’" (Reuters [dateline: Riyad Camp, West Darfur, October 6, 2005)

Other reports from West Darfur gives a clear indication of why Jan Egeland, head of UN humanitarian operations, recently issued an extremely ominous warning:

"’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)

Reuters again reports on the conditions in West Darfur, especially the growing violence against humanitarian workers:

"Bandits have punched beaten and whipped aid workers attempting to deliver aid to hungry refugees in Sudan’s remote Darfur region, part of a pattern of regular attacks, aid workers said. In West Darfur 75,000 people are cut off without aid because of a recent escalation in ambushes on the road targeting aid convoys, UN official Andy Pendleton said. ’They are punched, beaten---aid workers have been whipped by these bandits, intimidated,’ he said."

"UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres, whose agency has about 40 expatriates deployed in Darfur, mainly in el-Geneina, said he hoped a withdrawal of UNHCR staff would not be necessary. But he told reporters in Geneva the situation there was ’extremely worrying.’"

Is this merely opportunistic violence? When these actions so clearly serve the NIF’s longstanding efforts to obstruct humanitarian assistance, it is difficult to believe that the "banditry" is not being encouraged, a suggestion made (if necessarily obliquely) by an aid worker in el-Geneina (capital of West Darfur):

"Matthew Ryder, an aid worker in el-Geneina, said serious attacks happened as often as 2-3 times a week but were becoming less frequent because aid convoys had stopped using the roads south of the town. He said many attacks were by bandits but there was also a pattern of political violence. ’We can say there’s a great deal of banditry---but just banditry? I think that’s naive,’ Ryder said." (Reuters [dateline: el-Geneina, West Darfur], October 7, 2005)

By the phrase "political violence" Ryder appears to suggest that political purposes are served by the intimidation, humiliation, and physical injury of humanitarian aid workers. Certainly the primary beneficiaries are Khartoum’s genocidaires, and their pursuit of a "final solution" for Darfur. Here it is especially important to see how deliberately the NIF continues, quite visibly, to obstruct humanitarian relief and the efforts of the African Union force. Two recently reported examples are especially telling.

Reuters again reports (dateline: Addis Ababa) that the AU’s "Kingibe has complained that 105 armoured vehicles donated by Canada were sitting in a dock in Dakar, Senegal, because the AU had not received permission to bring them into Sudan" (Reuters, October 5, 2005). Had the NIF any interest in seeing an effective AU mission in Darfur, it would not continue to deny access to these essential vehicles. It of course has no such interest.

The UN World Food Program, in its September 30, 2005 global assessment (No. 40), reports a characteristic example of humanitarian interference by the NIF-run "Humanitarian Affairs Commission":

"Complicating the situation [in West Darfur] is the Humanitarian Aid Commission’s (HAC) recent institution of daily HAC permit applications for missions outside the capital [el-Geneina]. The UN Mission in Sudan and Office for the Coordination of humanitarian Affairs are pursuing the matter."

This is entirely gratuitous, and entirely characteristic, obstruction of humanitarian operations. Examples could be multiplied endlessly, with the collective effect of highly significant attenuation of overall humanitarian efficacy and capacity.

NIF CONTROL OF DIPLOMACY IN ABUJA, NIGERIA

Just as clear as NIF control of a genocidal military policy in Darfur is NIF determination to control fully the diplomacy in Abuja that seeks to end conflict in Darfur. While the southern SPLM has sought to join the negotiations---it is a nominal partner in the Government of National Unity, and nominally controls the First Vice-Presidency and the Foreign Ministry---they have been told categorically there is no role in Abuja other than as observers, seconding the NIF negotiating positions. The SPLM has so far rightly refused to attend the talks merely as a rubber-stamp for NIF diplomacy, even as nothing could reveal more clearly the limits of SPLM participation in a "national" government. The most critical issue in Sudan outside the south has been entirely commandeered by the NIF. If the SPLM does decide simply to make an appearance in Abuja, with no real voice in the negotiating position of Khartoum, it will be confirming its figurehead role in the GNU.

Negotiations in Abuja are going very badly, in large measure because of disarray among the insurgency movements, in particular the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M). But even were the rebels in Darfur to coalesce around clear and unified diplomatic positions, with reasonable and well-articulated views on security issues and power- and wealth-sharing, there is no likelihood that the NIF will negotiate in good faith. For now, though, the NIF feels no need to do more than give the appearance of being prepared to talk in Abuja: for no serious negotiations are taking place. Indeed, even the AU, which provides diplomatic auspices for negotiations in Abuja, recently agreed:

"The AU mediator in the Darfur conflict in western Sudan acknowledged on Friday criticism by UN chief Kofi Annan about the stagnation of peace talks between the government and rebel groups. ’The talks are moving very slowly,’ Tanzanian mediator Salim Ahmed Salim said."

"The talks are meant to deal with power-sharing and security issues but divisions within the SLM, Darfur’s main rebel group, have been holding up talks, Salim said. ’We began well with the workshops which went very well for seven days, but then it took another seven days to insist and improve the degree of unity of SLM,’ Salim said." (Agence France-Presse, October 7, 2005)

As an important and extremely well-researched report from the International Crisis Group reveals in grim detail, the obstacles to SLM unity are far greater than Salim acknowledges (see "Unifying Darfur’s Rebels: A Prerequisite for Peace," October 6, 2005 [Brussels], at http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=3723). But again, even assuming rebel negotiating unity, there is no reason to assume a more reasonable, less genocidal Khartoum government to negotiate with. The recent events on the ground in Darfur reveal a status quo that works inexorably to NIF advantage in a ghastly reshaping of the political, economic, and demographic realities in Darfur. Genocide by attrition continues, and it is only a matter of time before the NIF’s obscene goals are fully achieved.

SILENCING THE WITNESSES TO GENOCIDE

Our ability to understand what is occurring in Darfur, including the NIF-orchestrated violence that has brought humanitarian organizations to the brink of possible withdrawal, has recently suffered another severe blow at the hands of Khartoum’s still remarkably efficient security apparatus. Amnesty International reports (October 6, 2005) on the NIF’s shameless effort to silence the Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT), perhaps the most resourceful and detailed human rights voice reporting on Darfur’s atrocities over the past year:

"Amnesty International has learnt today that the Sudanese Government has launched legal proceedings against one of the country’s leading human rights groups Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) in apparent attempt to silence the organisation. According to local press reports, Sudan’s Bureau of Crimes Against the State began proceedings against SOAT for spreading false information at the end of August but did not inform the organisation. If found guilty, members of the organisation could face more than 5 years in prison."

"’The Government seems intent upon silencing an organization which has done so much to raise awareness of the human rights situation in Sudan,’ said Kolawole Olaniyan, Director of Amnesty International’s Africa programme. ’This latest development must be seen in the wider context of continued harassment of and attacks on human rights activists in Sudan as well as severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly.’" (Amnesty International, AFR 54/160/2005, October 6, 2005)

The fact of a new "Government of National Unity" is as inconsequential in reshaping domestic security policy in Sudan as it is in changing genocidal ambitions in Darfur. SOAT will now be silenced for issuing numerous, detailed, highly authoritative reports on attacks that were never investigated by the African Union, and which could not be documented by either Western human rights groups or news organizations. A report of September 1, 2005 offers an example of SOAT’s singularly important work:

"Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT)
Human Rights Alert: 01 September 2005
Darfur: Attack on Amar Jadeed Village

"On 19 August 2005, armed men on horsebacks allegedly attacked and looted Amar Jadeed village, North West of Labado, Shearia province, Southern Darfur state. The attack took place at approximately 01.00am when the villagers were sleeping. During the attack, three of the villagers were killed and tens were wounded. The militias also looted 630 camels.

"The details of the villagers killed are as follows:

- 1. Alsayid Yagoub Hessain Neel
- 2. Adam Abdella De’aina
- 3. Nasr Aldean Mohamed Bokhari

"Following the attack, the militias travelled to the North towards Niteaga, Shearia province where there has been confirmed reports of a gradual build-up of Janjaweed militias in the area. The Birgid tribe Administration have reported the attack on Amar Jadeed and the amassing of Janjaweed militias in Niteaga to African Union observers in the region and to the Governor of Shearia, however no action has thus far been taken.

"SOAT strongly condemns the attack on Amar Jadeed village resulting in the death of three people. SOAT calls on the Government of Sudan to immediately disarm the Janjaweed militias and any other militias operating in Darfur; undertake an investigation into the attack on Amar Jadeed village, and the amassing of armed Janjaweed militias in Niteaga ensuring that the perpetrators are brought before a court of law."

ENABLING THE GENOCIDAIRES

The voice of SOAT is being silenced by Khartoum’s genocidaires. But there is no excuse for the silence and disingenuousness of those who have declared genocide to be occurring in Darfur, but who now seem to regard this judgment as an inconvenience. The Parliament of the European Union voted in September 2004 (over a year ago) to declare that the realities in Darfur are "tantamount to genocide" (the vote was 566 to 6). The German Defense Minister declared genocide was occurring in Darfur, also in September 2004; so too did British Foreign Minister Jack Straw this summer. The US Congress declared in a unanimous, bipartisan, bicameral resolution (July 2004) that genocide was occurring in Darfur. So too did the Bush administration: former Secretary of State Colin Powell in September 2004 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; President Bush subsequently.

These governmental bodies have a great deal of nongovernmental company, including the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (which has issued an unprecedented genocide finding for Darfur), the US Committee for Refugees, Physicians for Human Rights, Africa Action, Justice Africa (UK), Yad Vashem (Jerusalem), Genocide Watch, and the Campaign to Prevent Genocide. Particularly notable public voices declaring Darfur’s realities to be genocide include Bill Schulz, head of Amnesty International/USA, the distinguished international jurist Richard Goldstone, John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group, and Samantha Power, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "’A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide." The vast majority of genocide and human rights scholars regard Darfur as the site of genocide.

But instead of action to stop genocide, by those with power to halt what they have rightly identified, we have only expedient international reliance on an embattled AU monitoring force in Darfur, a force that cannot protect itself, let alone the millions of Darfuris currently at risk, or the humanitarian operations on which more than 3.5 million people are currently dependent.

No matter that the NIF continues to flout the only meaningful "demand" made of it by the international community, viz. UN Security Council Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2005), "demanding" that Khartoum disarm the Janjaweed. No matter that the NIF’s "Humanitarian Affairs Commission" continues to create numerous bureaucratic obstacles for humanitarian organizations. No matter that the NIF obstructs the entry into Sudan of 105 armoured vehicles destined for AU military personnel, such as those recently killed in ambush. And no matter that the AU is neither militarily nor politically capable of responding to the Darfur crisis, and lacks a mandate to protect civilians and humanitarian workers.

Despite these indisputable realities, it is painfully clear that the international community will offer no more than current NATO and EU logistical and transport assistance to the AU. This guarantees that the genocidal violence and insecurity will continue. The implications of this acquiescence are captured all too well in the conclusion to today’s Washington Post editorial on Darfur:

"What about supplementing African Union troops with NATO ones? To be sure, NATO resources are stretched thin by Iraq and Afghanistan, and Western leaders are tempted to regard Sudan as marginal to their interests. But NATO was born---indeed, the idea of ’the West’ was born---out of the ashes of Hitler’s genocide. If it refuses to fight the modern echoes of that barbarism, what does the West stand for?" (Washington Post, October 8, 2005)

What indeed?

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



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