Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 14 November 2005

Ghosts of Rwanda: The Failure of the African Union in Darfur (1)

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Ghosts of Rwanda: The Failure of the African Union in Darfur; An international abandonment of the "Responsibility to Protect" (Part 1 of 2)

By Eric Reeves

Nov 13, 2005 — The ghosts of Rwanda are stirring ever more ominously in Darfur. Differences in geography, history, and genocidal means do less and less to obscure the ghastly similarities between international failure in 1994 and the world’s current willingness to allow ethnically-targeted human destruction to proceed essentially unchecked. To be sure, the Hutu genocidaires in Rwanda accomplished their frenzied destruction of perhaps 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in approximately 100 days; the genocidaires in Khartoum’s National Islamic Front have been more patient, more calculating, more willing to accomplish their goals through "genocide by attrition." But their savage equivalent to the Hutu Interahamwe---the Arab tribal militias that have come to be called the Janjaweed---are no less efficient or relentless in their human destruction. And as the death toll in Darfur now likely exceeds 400,000, with human mortality poised to increase significantly in coming weeks and months, there is no clear evidence that Rwanda’s unspeakable slaughter will not eventually be numerically surpassed.

In 1994 the international community knowingly abandoned the clear targets of genocidal destruction, leaving in place only a hopelessly inadequate remnant of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), led heroically in failure by Lt. General Romeo Dallaire. Dallaire’s unsparing account of this international failure ("Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda") gives us what is in many ways the most relentlessly insightful chronicle of the decisions, equivocations, mendacity, and cowardice that left hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians to die by machetes, small arms, and innumerable other acts of individual and collective savagery.

In Darfur, we are witnessing an equivalently dishonest and cowardly failure. The international community has expediently chosen to rely exclusively on an African Union (AU) observer force to provide human security amidst violence that has never been controlled and is once again accelerating. The AU is no more capable of halting the ongoing destruction of primarily African tribal populations than Dallaire was able to halt the Interahamwe or deter the Hutu extremists of the Rwandan government and military.

Dallaire’s account of the actions and calculated inaction of the UN (including Kofi Annan, then head of UN peacekeeping operations), the Clinton administration in the US, France, Belgium, and many other international actors makes for excruciating reading. But a recent series of detailed, independent reports on the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) makes powerfully clear that current international failure to protect innocent civilians in Africa is distinguished only by different forms of unctuous pronouncement, a more ingenious expediency, a greater sophistication in dishonesty.

Any accurate history of the world’s response to Darfur, more than two and half years into genocidal conflict, will need to take careful account of extensively researched reports released this past week by Refugees International and the Brookings Institution/University of Bern (see below). In conjunction with a recent series of authoritative reports from the International Crisis Group, these assessments strip away all means of obscuring how fundamentally the AU in failing in Darfur, and how deeply complicit in this failure the international community has become.

OVERVIEW

The report from Refugees International is certainly the most aptly titled: "No Power to Protect: The African Union Mission in Sudan" (November 2005, at http://www.refugeesinternational.org/content/publication). Moreover, this report makes the most essential point on its opening page: "Darfur civilians have only the African Union Mission in Sudan to protect them right now; this is a choice that has been made by the entire international community" (page i). It is essential that any critical assessment of the AU---and such assessment must perforce be harsh---be seen also as an assessment of the international community that has, with full knowledge of what is occurring on the ground in Darfur, chosen to leave the security of Darfuri civilians, as well as international humanitarian organizations, exclusively in the hands of the AU.

The report from the Brookings Institution/Bern University ("The Protecting of Two Million Internally Displaced: The Successes and Shortcomings of the African Union in Darfur," November 2005, at http://www.refugeesinternational.org/content/publication) also makes a critical point, bearing directly on the nature of international failure:

"The world’s heads of state endorsed the emerging norm of a ’Responsibility to Protect’ from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, in the ’Summit Outcome Document’ at the September 2005 United Nations General Assembly." (page 1, citing World Summit Outcome, A/RES/60/1 [September 16, 2005], paragraphs 138-39)

Darfur, in less than two months time, has demonstrated just how far this "emerging norm" is from governing in any meaningful way the actions of the UN and the world’s most powerful nations.

But despite the implicit indictment of the international community contained in all these reports, detailed attention must be devoted primarily to the failings of the AU itself. For these are not accidental shortcomings or peripheral deficiencies: they are fundamental failings---military, political, diplomatic, and moral. And the failure only compounds itself, allowing genocide in Darfur to continue, with the terrifying specter of massive human destruction in coming weeks and months if the tenuous humanitarian lifeline is severed because of insecurity. Even without accelerating human destruction, the catastrophe in Darfur gives all signs of being perpetuated by uncontrolled violence. As the International Crisis Group declared in July ("The AU’s Mission in Darfur: Bridging the Gaps, at http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3547&l=1):

"Disturbingly, the daily death and suffering [in Darfur] is already becoming ’status quo’ for some relief agencies, and the situation has the potential to become another never-ending ’low intensity’ conflict in which the international community spends large sums each year keeping Internally Displaced Persons and refugees alive but otherwise fails to protect civilians and address the underlying political causes." (page 14)

This is an all too apt description of "genocide by attrition" in Darfur. For of course the ambitions of Khartoum’s National Islamic Front (NIF), increasingly dominant in the new "Government of National Unity," are clearly to preserve violent conflict, even at lower levels, in order to change the fundamental demographic, economic, and political realities in Darfur---this as a means of ensuring that Darfur poses no threat to NIF power and control of national wealth in Khartoum.

The ambition to "change the demography" of Darfur is declared explicitly in a document cited by the Brookings Institution/Bern University report (hereafter BR):

"The [Khartoum] government’s objective in this [military] campaign is clear. A document seized from a Janjaweed official that appears to be genuine orders all commanders and security officers in Darfur to: ’Change the demography of Darfur and make it void of African tribes.’ The document goes on to encourage ’killing, burning villages, farms, terrorizing people, confiscating property from members of African tribes and forcing them from Darfur.’" (BR page 8)

In fact, many such documents have been seized or obtained, by the AU, Human Rights Watch, and Darfuris (see, e.g. Nicholas Kristof, "The Secret Genocide Archive," New York Times, February 23, 2005; this writer has also received scanned and translated versions of a number of these documents).

Such documents serve as powerful, if ultimately gratuitous, corroborating evidence of genocidal intent on the part of the NIF and its Janjaweed militia proxy. They also serve to highlight a point made early in the BR:

"The African Union could not have chosen a more daunting conflict for such an [intervening] operation. Darfur is as large as France, with few passable roads, [and] rudimentary communications systems." (page 6)

In fact, as all reports make clear, the challenges to the AU mission are manifold, complex, extremely difficult, and yet also unsurpassably urgent. There is a significant distortion in the BR title, insofar as it seeks to define these challenges ("Protecting Two Million Internally Displaced"); for the crisis in Darfur demands much more than the protection of well over 2 million displaced persons (leaving aside the more than 200,000 refugees in eastern Chad who are again vulnerable to Janjaweed predations during the dry season).

To be sure, protecting this enormous population, in widely scattered areas, is a massive task unto itself. The UN estimated in August 2005 that there are 338 locations for "IDP Gatherings and Affected Populations" throughout Darfur (see map at http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/JOPA-6HAGPL?OpenDocument). It will require extraordinary efforts to secure the camps with Civilian Police (CIVPOL), an area in which the African Union mission is exceedingly weak (see BR pages 18-22; RI pages 16-18). It will also require equally extraordinary military efforts to secure the camp environs, where civilians---especially women and girls searching for firewood, water, and animal fodder---remain terrifyingly vulnerable to Janjaweed assaults.

Additionally, humanitarian corridors and convoys must be protected, along with humanitarian workers and operations. There are over 12,000 humanitarians in Darfur (including over 1,000 international aid workers); they are increasingly the targets of attacks by the Janjaweed, insurgency groups, opportunistic armed gangs, and "banditry" orchestrated by Khartoum’s intelligence services (see October 4, 2005 report by Juan Mendez, UN special advisor on the prevention of genocide, paragraphs 19 and 23, at http://www.h-net.org/ genocide/docs/mendez-report.pdf). In late September, the UN put non-essential personnel in el-Geneina (capital of West Darfur) on notice for evacuation because of rising insecurity (RI page 2). The ability of all humanitarians to travel on any of the roads leading out of el-Geneina has been severely curtailed by growing attacks, putting hundreds of thousands of needy civilians beyond humanitarian reach. Half of all South Darfur is presently inaccessible to humanitarian operations, and aid workers on the ground speak of increasingly restricted access.

Notably, there have also been quiet withdrawals of expatriate staff. RI speaks of "witnessing the site director for one of the [humanitarian organizations] sending three of her staff home to Europe" (page 2). Such withdrawals are of course unpublicized for a variety of reasons (the notable exception being the public withdrawal of Save the Children/UK a year ago following the deaths of three staff members in separate incidents). But these decisions to withdraw must be understood in the context of an unsparing assessment of deteriorating security throughout Darfur offered by Jan Egeland, UN humanitarian coordinator, in late September (violence against humanitarians has increased ominously in the intervening six weeks):

"’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.’" (AP, September 28, 2005)

The security challenges in Darfur also include protecting large and acutely vulnerable rural populations that are still not internally displaced. There is strong evidence that food deliveries to more remote areas are becoming increasingly endangered, as signaled recently by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). A recent attack on an ICRC convoy increases concern on this score, given the ICRC’s leading role in rural food deliveries.

Additionally, any civilians attempting to return to their land and villages must have especially effective security if they are not to be attacked by the relentlessly lurking Janjaweed; militia attacks on initial returnees would have a profoundly chilling effect on those remaining in camps, seeking to assess whether safe returns are possible.

Indeed, vigorous, widespread security will be required if displaced persons are to reclaim their land and villages. As the BR report notes:

"An enormous transfer of wealth has occurred. [The Janjaweed] have stripped two million people of their assets in an already desperately poor place. Prime farm land, seed and farming utensils have been seized from people whose survival depends on farming and now must rely on assistance from the international community. Livestock especially is central to the wealth of many Darfurians, yet experts estimate that the non-Arab population has lost 50 to 90% of its animals to government forces."

"Some fear that the government plans to remove the farmers of Darfur from their land forever. A Sudanese law that allows the government to take over land that has been abandoned for more than a year has never been applied before in Darfur. If this law is applied, millions could lose their land and fuel a cycle of revenge and violence, plus permanent dependence on international charity. This would cement the ethnic cleansing that a UN official maintains was the primary objective of the Khartoum government." (BR page 9)

The BR report also notes that "approximately 75% of all villages in Darfur were burned by February 2005, leaving precious little remaining to destroy; many experts believe this is the reason that large-scale violence subsided in early summer 2005 and not from any change in policy or sudden government beneficence or, in fact, AU intervention" (page 7).

At the center of all security issues is the ongoing military viability of the Janjaweed, and its role as a proxy force for Khartoum’s NIF. All recent reports on the AU in Darfur reiterate what has long been known about the intimate relationship between the Janjaweed and Khartoum’s regular military forces:

"This study will show that it is precisely the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed militias acting under its command and control or with its acquiescence who present the greatest danger to the approximately two million IDPs in Darfur." (BR page 2)

"The Government of Sudan armed, trained, and equipped Arab militias to fight as their proxy force in the [Darfur] region." (Refugees International report [hereafter RI], page 1)

"Most disturbing is the [Khartoum] government’s continued use of proxy militias and incitement of ethnic violence. Rather than disarming its allies, the Janjaweed militias, as it has pledged numerous times, it continues to recruit, train, financially support, and arm ethnically-based militias and polices forces." (International Crisis Group, "The AU’s Mission in Darfur" [hereafter ICG], pages 3-4)

Disarming the Janjaweed, "demanded" of Khartoum in July 2004 (UN Security Council 1556), is the central task in providing security in Darfur, despite Khartoum’s obduracy. None of the reports here reviewed offers the slightest evidence that the AU contemplates, or has the means for, addressing the root cause of insecurity in Darfur. This fundamental failing makes all civilian and humanitarian protection tasks inordinately more difficult.

In fact, only the International Crisis Group has the political courage to be fully explicit about the need to target the Janjaweed militarily:

"The best way to provide security [in Darfur] would be prudent but deliberate application of force against those directly responsible for the insecurity and atrocities." (ICG page 9)

Although "those directly responsible" would also include elements of the insurgency movements and lawless elements, the most obvious and significant target would be the Janjaweed militias. Skirting this basic fact vitiates a great deal of commentary on the security crisis in Darfur.

THE AFRICAN UNION COMMITS ITSELF

Despite these extremely daunting security demands, the AU Peace and Security Council committed to the Darfur mission with considerable---if wholly unjustified---confidence. Moreover, even as AU shortcomings became increasingly clear following initial deployment (60 military observers and a force of 300 soldiers to protect the observers, in July 2004), this confidence did not abate. Jean-Baptiste Natama, a senior AU political official, declared:

"’If the situation is getting worse, we are not going to pack our luggage and leave Darfur.... We are going to have a robust mandate to make sure we are not here for nothing. We should be able to bring peace, or impose peace.’" (New York Times, November 29, 2004; cited BR page 16)

"We are going to have a robust mandate"; "we should be able to bring peace, or impose peace." The utter failure of the AU to secure a "robust mandate" from Khartoum is the most consequential feature of what remains a "monitoring" rather than protection mission; and the manifest inability either to "bring" or "impose" peace in Darfur is a reality that even now the AU seems perversely unwilling to acknowledge---a prideful reticence that betrays the people of Darfur in deepest consequence.

Nor does the glibly disingenuous insistence on "African solutions for African problems" come only from AU officials. Leaders of AU member states have been equally insistent, including President Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Mbeki of South Africa:

"As South Africa’s President Thabo Mkeki explained, ’We have not asked for anybody outside of the African continent to deploy troops in Darfur. It’s an African responsibility, and we can do it.’" (RI page 1)

Mbeki is right only in declaring the AU has not asked troops from outside Africa. But genocide, whether in Darfur or anywhere in the world, is an international responsibility; the response to genocide must never be rendered parochial or we have lost completely the commitment embodied in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:

"The Contracting Parties [to the Genocide Convention] confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish." (Article 1)

Mbeki’s insistence that genocide in Darfur is "an African responsibility, and we can do it" is powerfully refuted by overwhelming evidence, assiduously assembled, in all the reports under consideration. Moreover, Mbeki is indulging in spectacular hypocrisy here, given South Africa’s reneging on its commitment to provide 700 civilian police, one of the most critically deficient areas in the AU Darfur mission.

AU MILITARY FAILURE DERIVES FROM AU POLITICAL FAILURE

Understanding the transparent dishonesty of Mbeki’s claim that the AU "can do it" entails first understanding how profoundly the AU has failed politically. For the character of the AU military mission in Darfur is ultimately a reflection of political failure---the unwillingness of AU leadership to confront Khartoum in any meaningful way on the essential issues of mandate for the mission, force and material requirements for the mission, and the NIF’s own complicity in Darfur’s genocide, including support for the Janjaweed militias most responsible for insecurity and ethnically-targeted human destruction.

By way of understanding how politically diffident the AU has been in its dealing with the NIF, we should note that at present not a single member state within the AU has objected to the next AU summit taking place in Khartoum (January 2006). By protocol, the host nation succeeds to the role of chair of the AU. This will make the NIF genocidaires leaders of the very organization charged with providing security in Darfur and negotiating a peace agreement. That members of the AU cannot find the political courage to change this outrageous prospect is perhaps the best measure of how abysmally the AU is failing Darfur.

But the failure to demand of Khartoum a mandate for civilian protection---let alone the peacemaking mandate the AU’s Natama spoke confidently of securing ("We should be able to bring peace, or impose peace")---is most defining of current AU limitations, and deserves particular scrutiny.

AU FAILURE TO SECURE AN APPROPRIATE MANDATE FOR THE DARFUR MISSION

The initial decision by the AU to settle for a monitoring, rather than civilian protection, mission grew out of the "cease-fire" negotiated between Khartoum and the insurgency movements in N’Djamena (Chad), April 8, 2004. Notably, the AU did not insist that the Janjaweed be a party to the "cease-fire," a state of affairs that continues to the present, creating a highly asymmetrical negotiating situation. Without including the Janjaweed---indisputably a critical military ally of Khartoum---discussions of troops dispositions, military stand-down, separation of forces, and a general cease-fire are hopelessly inadequate from the insurgents’ perspective.

To be sure, the deployment of only 360 personnel in July 2004 dictated the initial nature of the AU mission: such a force could do little more than observe, and as quickly became apparent, mere observing had virtually no effect on the actions of the Janjaweed, Khartoum, or the insurgents. But when the AU Peace and Security Council agreed on an expanded mission in Darfur (October 20, 2004), there was still no political will to demand of Khartoum a civilian protection mandate. Though the enhanced mission would eventually consist of 3,320 personnel (2,241 military, including 450 military observers, and 815 civilian police), there was only the very narrowest provision for protection of civilians: AU forces can "protect civilians whom it encounters under imminent threat and in the immediate vicinity, within resources and capability, it being understood that protection of the civilian population the responsibility of the government of Sudan" (point 7, paragraph 6, AU Peace and Security Council Communiqué, October 20, 2004).

There could no longer be any mistaking the crippling trade-off the AU was willing to make in enlarging its mission in Darfur: it would ask Khartoum for no strengthening of its mandate, thereby creating many of the weaknesses currently conspicuous even with a still larger deployment (6,700 personnel as of late October 2005). As the BR report notes, "Sudanese officials have adamantly insisted that any increase in troop numbers be allowed only if the mandate does not change" (page 17). So long as the AU has no mandate to protect civilians or humanitarians, so long as the AU cannot confront or preempt the Janjaweed in its brutal predations, Khartoum will not object to larger numbers of personnel.

There is brave talk in some quarters within the AU about creating an expanded mandate "de facto," and to a certain extent some troops on the ground have "interpreted" their governing mandate "creatively" (in the words of Baba Gana Kingibe, AU ambassador for Darfur). But this has had only limited effect, though appropriately celebrated by all the reports here under review (if notably without any truly meaningful quantitative benchmarks or terms of reference).

The fundamental military reality remains what it has been from the beginning: AU forces cannot possibly serve as a deterrent to actions by either the Janjaweed or Khartoum’s regular military. Moreover, the relatively lightly armed AU mission can always be intimidated in a particular encounter with hostile elements. As RI points out, "the Government of Sudan forces (and the other groups to a lesser extent) have weapons with much greater capabilities than the small arms carried by [the African Union]" (see RI page 13 for detailed account).

And even those military and transport capabilities the AU does have are frequently compromised by Khartoum, which has systematically denied reliable fuel resources for AU helicopters, and burdens helicopter pilots with gratuitously burdensome restrictions. This is crucial, since helicopters are typically the only means by which the AU forces can move rapidly over the great distances of Darfur:

"The AU is often unable to use its helicopters because the Government imposes severe flight restrictions on [the AU mission]; in addition, the Government permits only civilian pilots. Refugees International was told that the Government requires AU pilots to travel to Khartoum to re-certify their domestic flight credentials every two months." (RI page 13)

CONSEQUENCES OF AU POLITICAL FAILURE TO SECURE AN APPROPRIATE MANDATE

The decision by the AU in March 2005 to increase the Darfur force level to 7,731 (5,583 military, 1,198 civilian police) was again made without any commitment to secure from Khartoum a meaningful mandate for civilian or humanitarian protection. This has sent an unmistakable message to the National Islamic Front-dominated government: the AU lacks the political will to demand what all recognize is essential for human security in Darfur. Thus it should hardly be surprising that Khartoum has refused to grant entry to the 105 critically needed armored personnel carriers delivered by Canada to Senegal months ago:

"Even the equipment that is being donated or loaned is not getting to Darfur because the Government of Sudan. In June 2005, Canada loaned 105 Grizzly Armored Personnel carriers (APCs) to the AU; they first went to Dakar, Senegal so that [AU] troops could be trained on them. The Grizzlies would provide solid protection from even 12.7mm bullets for the five soldiers that can fit inside of them. They also come with their own 12.7mm machine gun on top and thus would be a huge boost to the [AU] combat capacities. However, the Government has been standing in the way of the Grizzlies’ delivery. Only in October 2005 has it agreed to allow 35 of these APCs to enter the country." (RI page 14)

There is no evidence that even now the 35 APCs have actually been delivered and deployed.

Khartoum has been emboldened to the point of denying such critical equipment because the AU has demonstrated it has no political will to confront the genocidaires. Here it is important to be clear that in the case of the Canadian APCs, the issue is not (in the eyes of senior Canadian government officials) a bilateral one between Canada and Khartoum, but rather an issue between the AU leadership and one of its member states.

In turn, the past weakness and lack of resolve on the part of the AU are increasingly likely to produce violent attacks against AU forces on the ground by emboldened military elements on all sides:

"With the growing number of attacks on the [AU mission] over the past few months, it appears that [the AU] is being tested by the armed factions to see if it is a force to be ignored or respected. As [the AU mission] is tested and found ineffective due to resource, training, and mandate constraints, their deterrence factor will decline and they will more often become targets, as will civilians under their protection. [ ] Unless this situation is remedied, the violence will thus likely grow in Darfur with more and more civilian and AU casualties." (RI page 21)

In this context, it should be noted that the attack which killed six AU personnel on October 8, 2005 (the first such casualties in the mission) has been declared by AU investigators to be the responsibility of "Arab tribesman" (an increasingly common means of referring to the Janjaweed). Initially the AU had blamed the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, but on the basis of further investigation and additional witnesses, investigators revised their assigning of responsibility (Reuters ["AU changes verdict on killings of troops in Darfur"], November 7, 2005).

Such attacks on AU forces, operating without an appropriate mandate or adequate equipment and manpower, will almost certainly increase in the near term. Ominously, as AU failures become more conspicuous, and frustration over AU impotence builds throughout the African tribal communities of Darfur, the insurgency movements are also more likely to target the AU. However misconceived, the sentiments of Mohamed Saleh, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement splinter group that kidnapped an entire AU patrol of 18 men on October 9, 2005, are increasingly representative: "’The AU have become part of the conflict. We want the AU to leave and we have warned them not to travel to our areas’" (Reuters, October 10, 2005).

INTERVENTION OR CONTINUED ACQUIESCENCE?

NATO this week issued an unprecedented expression of alarm over Darfur, even as it signaled pointedly that it could do no more until the AU found the political courage to ask for greater help, including NATO troops:

"NATO joined a growing chorus of alarm over rising violence in Sudan’s Darfur region on Wednesday but insisted it did not have a mandate for military intervention to help over-stretched AU troops. ’The AU is not as well equipped as a Western army might be. But there is no political will for any intervention force,’ said a NATO official who requested anonymity. He added that he meant the requisite will did not exist in either Sudan, Africa or the international community. ’NATO is doing what it has been asked to do---no more or less. There is no scope to do any more,’ he said, referring to current agreements with Sudan and the AU on its role." (Reuters [Brussels] November 10, 2005)

The real question for Western leaders, then, is whether belatedly to push the AU to accept its desperate need for assistance in halting genocide in Darfur. But judging by the tenor of comments coming from US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick during his recent trip to Sudan, this is a question that has already been answered:

"’It’s a tribal war,’ Zoellick said. ’And frankly I don’t think foreign forces want to get in the middle of a tribal war of Sudanese.’" (ABC News [on-line], November 9, 2005)

Even leaving aside the highly problematic characterization of conflict in Darfur, we must be struck by how Zoellick conveniently elides the fact that those really in the "middle of tribal war" are the millions of extraordinarily vulnerable Darfuri civilians who desperately need international protection. Zoellick evidently believes, illogically, that it would be impossible for the US and its allies to protect these defenseless people at the same time it seeks to improve the chances for successful peace negotiations:

"’I don’t think we can clean it [the crisis in Darfur] up because it’s not just a question of ending violence, it’s a question of creating the context for peace,’ Zoellick said." (ABC News [on-line], November 9, 2005)

"Ending violence" and "creating the context for peace" are indeed the essential tasks. But accepting Zoellick’s perverse and disabling logic in speaking of their mutual necessity ensures a continuation of the genocidal status quo, and makes terrifyingly clear that the only lesson of Rwanda is that there is no lesson. The transparent determination to avoid international humanitarian intervention, and the corresponding willingness to allow the AU to fail in Darfur, stir the most obscene ghosts of 1994.

We have learned nothing.

[This is the first of a two-part analytic review of recent reports on the shortcomings of the African Union Mission in Sudan.]

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



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