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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Southern Sudan is also a victim of genocide in Darfur: 

The international community is failing to respond to Khartoum's continuing
military attacks on civilians in Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria

Eric Reeves
July 28, 2004

While the extraordinary urgency of the crisis in Darfur has finally begun to
garner serious, if so far ineffective, international attention, the various
crises of southern Sudan are not receiving either sufficient notice or response. In
a perverse reversal of the situation that obtained during the Naivasha (Kenya)
peace process---when negotiations between the Khartoum regime and the Sudan
People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) worked to eclipse genocide in Darfur,
as well as mute international criticism---Darfur is now obscuring the ongoing
civilian destruction and displacement that is again accelerating in southern
Sudan (and northern Uganda).

For it is hardly lost on the National Islamic Front regime that the
international community is simply unable to respond to two critical arenas of human
suffering and destruction in Sudan at the same time. While fighting off a meaningful
response to genocide in Darfur (with abundant help from various members of the
UN Security Council, the Arab League, the leaders of Egypt and Pakistan, and
from the Organization of the Islamic Conference), Khartoum has resumed
large-scale support for the maniacal Lord's Resistance Army, has continued to exacerbate
a major humanitarian crisis in the Shilluk Kingdom of north-central Upper Nile,
and now benefits from an ominous Chinese expansion of a dual-use road network
in Eastern Upper Nile (all discussed in greater detail below).

In short, the costs of Khartoum's genocidal destruction of the African tribal
populations of Darfur must also be measured in terms of southern lives that
continue to be destroyed or displaced because of the narrow range of international
attention. As Darfur suffered in the shadows for so many months, so southern
Sudan is again enduring an eclipse of interest and attention---all that might
hold Khartoum to the terms of the cessation of hostilities and peace agreements
it has signed. The Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) and the
Verification and Monitoring Team (VMT)---tasked with investigating attacks on civilians
and violations of the October 2002 cessation of hostilities agreement---have
again proved themselves largely worthless and unforgivably belated.

Unchecked at present in its various southern military ventures, Khartoum will
draw the inevitable conclusion: Darfur has freed the regime from the need to
complete the (still preliminary) Naivasha agreement of May 26, 2004, or to
negotiate a permanent cease-fire and modalities of implementation, or to honor the
terms of the cessation of hostilities agreement. The longer-term assumption by
Khartoum will be that the diplomatic pressures that brought about the Naivasha
agreement are unlikely to be marshaled again, and that if the Darfur genocide can
be allowed to accomplish itself, the regime will be able to resume efforts to
consolidate political power, attenuate the meaning of the various Naivasha
protocols, and eventually establish a de facto north/south border that includes
virtually all the contested oil regions.

DARFUR POLITICAL UPDATE

Lacking political will, and burdened by the various obligations of Iraq, the
Bush administration has yet to make a determination about whether the realities
in Darfur constitute genocide, and has failed to articulate a policy response
that is remotely adequate to the accelerating humanitarian crisis. This is so
despite the unanimous resolution passed by the Congress on July 22, 2004,
declaring that genocide is occurring in Darfur, and calling on the administration to
say as much. For the moment, the administration is merely treading water,
proposing to the UN a resolution that may (and only may) impose some sanctions, but
only after another month (and another 50,000 lives lost). There is in this
resolution nothing that responds to the massive and growing mismatch between
humanitarian need and humanitarian capacity in Darfur.

Indeed, the third iteration of the US resolution nominally responding to the
urgent crisis in Darfur, and put before the UN Security Council just today, is
significantly weaker than the previous versions. In addition to "underscoring
Sudan's sovereignty" (Voice of America, July 28, 2004), the new version of the US
resolution eliminates the previous call for a "special [UN] adviser on genocide
[in Darfur]" (Voice of America, July 28, 2004). This weakening of the US
resolution is unmistakably an accommodation of the callous wishes of other Security
Council members, as well as a reflection of the lobbying efforts by countries
like Pakistan, Egypt and other members of the Arab League, and the Organization
of the Islamic Conference. The painful weakness of the resolution signals the
end of any real possibility for a UN authorization of the humanitarian
intervention in Darfur that is now so conspicuously necessary.

In turn, the inescapable conclusion is that with no UN authorization for
humanitarian intervention in prospect, the nations of Africa, North America, Europe,
Australia, and New Zealand must forge a coalition of mutual moral resolve---a
multilateral commitment to do all that is necessary to avert the destruction of
hundreds of thousands of human beings for lack of adequate international
humanitarian capacity, and to provide security for the more than 1.5 million uprooted
and acutely vulnerable members of the region's African tribal groups.

DARFUR HUMANITARIAN UPDATE

The deadly mismatch between humanitarian need and humanitarian capacity has
recently been repeatedly and emphatically highlighted by humanitarian
organizations actually on the ground in Darfur:

[1] In a July 26, 2004 press release ("Aid Effort Nowhere Near Enough, Says
President of MSF"), Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
declares:

"Despite the increased political and media attention being given to the crisis
in Darfur, Western Sudan, the international medical relief agency, Doctors
Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), says that the desperate condition
of the people there is not improving."

"MSF's International President, Dr. Rowan Gillies, who has just spent a month
working in the clinics and camps in Darfur, said, 'What you see there is
widespread suffering, inadequate relief efforts and continuing violence.' Despite
greater access to the area, more agencies and aid workers arriving, the urgent
needs are still not being met. 'Hardly anyone is getting the care civilians should
get in a conflict,' said Dr Gillies. 'And there are pockets of real disaster,
where people are at grave risk of dying in large numbers.'" (Press release
[London/New York], July 26, 2004 at:
http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/pr/2004/07-26-2004_pf.html

[2] Voice of America reports today (July 28, 2004) that the humanitarian
organization Oxfam "says the needs of the displaced people in Sudan's Darfur region
far surpass available supplies. [From a camp near al-Fasher, Adrian MacIntyre
of Oxfam says] 'The scale of the crisis that we're trying to respond to here is
absolutely massive...they lack food; they lack shelter; they lack medicine. And
Oxfam specializes in these emergency situations in providing clean water and
sanitation facilities. That's absolutely essential to prevent the spread of
disease, like cholera, like typhoid and other life threatening illnesses." (Voice
of America, July 28, 2004)

[3] In a press release of July 23, 2004 ("Relief Efforts for War-Displaced in
Darfur and Chad Must Be Doubled Now"), the IRC urged the humanitarian effort
"ramp up the logistical capacity to double the delivery of aid." IRC president
George Rupp has declared that "even with UN and international aid groups ramping
up humanitarian assistance, current capacity in the region is by best estimates
meeting only 40 percent of the critical needs of the displaced population."

"The international humanitarian response to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, and
eastern Chad must be boosted immediately and dramatically to save hundreds of
thousands of lives that may be lost because of rising levels of disease and
malnutrition. IRC health teams in Darfur and Chad report increasing cases of diarrhea
and dysentery and the growing threat of cholera and other predatory diseases
such as measles and typhoid. According to the World Health Organization, a
cholera epidemic striking up to 300,000 could break out within weeks now that heavy
rains have begun." (International Rescue Committee press release, July 23, 2004)

It should be obvious all who are honesty that this is not a crisis that can be
resolved by means of sanctions, even sanctions targeted against specific
members of the Khartoum regime. While useful over the long term in building up
diplomatic leverage, sanctions are simply irrelevant in providing food, medical
supplies, clean water, and shelter. Nor is there any evidence that the threat of
sanctions will improve security in Darfur: Khartoum promised both UN Secretary
Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell weeks ago that it would rein
in the Janjaweed militia responsible for most of the insecurity in Darfur. This
has not happened, continuing the regime's intransigent refusal to honor the
terms of the April 8, 2004 cease-fire agreement.

The UK and Australia have usefully made it clear that they are willing to send
troops for humanitarian intervention in Darfur---Britain as many as 5,000. But
yesterday, in yet another display of dangerously consequential political
diffidence, US Secretary of State Powell peremptorily and gratuitously dismissed
these critically important gestures as "premature." In turn, the Washington Post
asks appropriately in an editorial today ("How Many More Deaths?" July 28,
2004):

"...but how long is Darfur supposed to remain patient? Until 100,000 die? Or
200,000? The rich world's governments are free to make that choice." (Washington
Post, July 28, 2004)

And since we may be sure than more than 100,000 have already died, and since
present mortality exceeds 50,000 per month, we may extend this line of
questioning. "When, Mr. Powell, is militarily supported humanitarian intervention no
longer 'premature'? How many hundreds of thousands of lives must be lost? Must
the threshold be half a million? a million?" Even in asking such questions we
have settled upon an obscene calculus that is part of a moral universe we must
hope is very little populated.

DARFUR INSECURITY

Insecurity continues to ensure that nominal humanitarian access to much of
Darfur is utterly meaningless. Janjaweed attacks continue to be reported
throughout Darfur, as do attacks on humanitarian vehicles and convoys. Many hundreds of
thousands of civilians continue to be at risk from murderous Janjaweed attacks,
both in camps and in rural areas. Janjaweed incursions into Chad are also
continuing, according to Chad's Prime Minister Moussa Faki (Agence France-Presse,
July 28, 2004).

While the African Union considers expanding the role of the cease-fire military
support mission to Darfur (the contingent of 300 soldiers agreed to at the AU
summit still has not been deployed, in part for lack of transport and logistical
capacity), its small observer force on the ground recently conducted an
investigation that yielded an especially revealing portrait of Janjaweed violence.
Reuters yesterday (July 27, 2004) reported that:

"Arab militia burned alive shackled villagers during an attack violating a
fragile truce in Sudan's Darfur region, African Union (AU) cease-fire monitors
said. In a document seen by Reuters on Tuesday, the observers said they had
investigated three allegations of cease-fire violations since their deployment on
July 11 [2004]. They said a fact-finding team dispatched to Suleia concluded that
the Darfurian village was attacked on July 3 [2004] 'by militia elements
believed to be Janjaweed.' The document said the attackers 'killed civilians, in some
cases by chaining them and burning them alive.'" (Reuters [Nairobi], July 27,
2004)

Among the dead, according to highly informed sources, were eight schoolgirls,
chained together in their school-house; only their charred remains awaited the
African Union investigating team. This is the "military" force that the
Khartoum regime has chosen to arm, supply, coordinate with, and protect by a host of
means. More significantly, this is the same regime that has conducted equally
savage war, by the same brutal means, against civilians in southern Sudan for
its entire existence.

SOUTHERN SUDAN: Eastern Equatoria

Several recent dispatches from the Equatoria Defense Forces (EDF), now part of
the SPLM/A, indicate a highly significant military offensive, involving
Khartoum's regular military forces (including helicopter gunships), in coordination
with large elements of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA is responsible
for large-scale murder, many thousands of child abductions, notorious acts of
barbaric savagery, and the displacement of well over 1 million human beings in
northern Uganda and southern Sudan. One of the world's greatest humanitarian
crises festers endlessly because of Khartoum's ongoing logistical and material
support for this maniacal terrorist group.

Khartoum's active role in supporting the LRA has been well established over a
number of years, and shows no sign of truly ending, despite various promises and
commitments (see February 24, 2004 analysis by this writer). The LRA---which
has no coherent or meaningful political agenda---has been used continuously both
as a means of threatening the Ugandan government of Yoweri Museveni and as a
proxy militia force against southern Sudanese. This is the context in which to
assess the July 26, 2004 press release by the Equatoria Defence Forces. Though
there is presently no independent confirmation, there is no reason to doubt the
accuracy of this detailed account:

Equatoria Defence Forces (EDF)
PRESS RELEASE
July 26th, 2004

"On Saturday 24th July 2004, EDF forces of the SPLA moved back into Moti after
our gallant forces made a tactical withdrawal from the village in the
afternoon of 23rd July 2004 following heavy fighting with Ugandan LRA rebels who were
aided by Government of Sudan logistics and helicopter gunships."

"Early on Thursday 22nd July 2004, the LRA rebels had been transported by
Government of Sudan Army trucks from bases somewhere near Juba to Kor Lakabata near
Moti from where they launched an attack on Moti at 5:00 am on 23rd July, 2004.
Also on Thursday a Government of Sudan Antonov military transport plane and two
helicopters gunships had been circling over Moti suggesting that an attack was
imminent. Civilians were immediately evacuated from Moti by our soldiers."

"During the fighting on 23rd July 2004, helicopter gunships of the Government
of Sudan Army strafed EDF/SPLA positions and the Government of Sudan bombarded
our positions with heavy artillery from Government of Sudan army barracks in
Torit. The LRA forces numbered about 2000, and these combined with all the
support from the Government of Sudan meant our forces had no choice but to make a
tactical withdrawal form Moti. We then continued to pound the LRA while they razed
Moti down and the LRA moved out and continued to march southwards into
SPLA-controlled areas."

"The LRA force is now marching towards Katire where we got forces and we expect
a clash in Katire within a short time from now. It seems the LRA are trying to
move back into Imatong Hills with Government of Sudan help, an area from which
they had been evicted by EDF and Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) in
March/April this year. [ ]

"There is now widespread hunger in the area. All food-stocks have been burned
or looted by [LRA] rebels. Many of the cattle, goats, and sheep had been
looted. Crop seeds which would have been planted but delayed by drought are now
destroyed and so the situation can only get worse. All the huts/buildings had been
razed or burnt to the ground by the LRA rebels. Hence thousands of people have
been displaced without shelter. Also there are no medical facilities for these
displaced people."

(Equatoria Defence Forces (EDF), PRESS RELEASE, July 26th, 2004)
SOUTHERN SUDAN: Upper Nile (Shilluk Kingdom)

The UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported on July 23,
2004 a very significant uptick of violence in the Shilluk Kingdom. In providing
context for this violence, IRIN noted findings from March and April of this
year, including those of the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference and the normally
inert CPMT:

"Isaac Kenyi, the executive secretary of the Sudan Catholic Bishops'
Conference, undertook a fact-finding mission to the area and estimates that as many as [
] 100,000 [civilians had been] forcibly displaced."

(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported on July 23, 2004)
IRIN also reported that:

"Government [of Sudan]-allied militia raids on Alek village, home of the
revered Shilluk king, Kwango, incited further inter-tribal animosity. The king's home
was burnt to the ground and hundreds of his cattle were looted. The king, or
Reth, plays a central role in the Shilluk political and legal administration. One
of the eight sacred Shilluk shrines of Nykango, the historical spiritual leader
who led the Shilluk tribe across Africa, was also left in cinders." (UN
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported on July 23, 2004)
We know a good deal more about the situation in the Shilluk Kingdom of Upper
Nile by virtue of a series of April 2004 "situation reports" ("sit reps")
produced by the CPMT (based in Rumbek, southern Sudan, and Khartoum). In assessing
the consequences of attacks by Khartoum-backed militia forces in the Shilluk
Kingdom, CPMT reported:

"Popwojo [Shilluk Kingdom]:

"Assessed as [more than] 97% destroyed (Photo 4)
"CPMT witnessed/photographed fresh grave mounds (Photo 5)
"Village pastor/school teacher identified each grave by name and discussed the
manner in which he found the bodies
"Thousands of civilians displaced and in urgent need of humanitarian
intervention (numbers given by witnesses in this village estimate displaced at 19,100
between the villages on Diny and Popwojo)"

"A CPMT member with 18 months of CPMT field investigative experience described
this as the worst systematic destruction/displacement of civilians he has
personally observed since the formation of the CPMT in August 2002."

"A second CPMT member with over 8 years of Sudan experience and 16 months with
CPMT described the Government of Sudan offensive in the Malakal area as
reminiscent of the devastating 'clearing' of the oil region in the Western Upper Nile
in the late 1990s."

(Malakal Area Destruction SITREP # 2; March 31, 2004)
The CPMT "sit reps" comported fully with a report issued at the same time by
the Right Reverend Daniel Deng, Bishop of Renk (Episcopal Church of Sudan), and
chairman of the church's Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Committee (report
from the Right Reverend Daniel Deng, April 14, 2004):

"Having just visited Malakal Diocese from 4th-12th April on behalf of the
Episcopal Church of Sudan, Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Committee, I am writing
to appeal against recent activities of government-backed militia in the area."
"From March 26, 2004 through until the second week of April, Shilluk land was
invaded by the government militia. The villages on the west bank of the Nile
have been all burnt down by the government militia. 22 villages were burnt down
during the period of two weeks [Reverend Deng provides the names of the
villages in his dispatch; available upon request]. 12,335 persons have been displaced
to Malakal town, a great number of people have been killed and no one has
reported about their fate. The UN World Food Program, SCC, and other
non-governmental organizations are now very busy running up and down feeding the displaced
people. These people had been well-settled in villages for a long time, but now
they are re-displaced again, just at the time the country is waiting for a
peace agreement to be signed."

"When this event took place, the whole town was watching across the river,
seeing how the Shilluk people were being killed by the government militia. In full
view, the militia were going around with guns and shooting people. Soldiers
were there just watching like at a football match. The government army garrison
on the West bank of the Nile did nothing to intervene to save the life of the
citizens under their care. This has made us to conclude that it was the
Government who carried out the killing. The militia who carried out the killing were
part of the Sudan army because all the militia have been promoted into the
government army. In consequence they get direct orders from the senior army
commanders."

"The silence of the Upper Nile State Government, the Coordinating Council of
the South and the Federal Government of Sudan has showed that the Sudan
Government is responsible for the burning of villages, the killing and the displacement
of more than twelve thousand people of the Shilluk Kingdom." (Report of the
Right Reverend Daniel Deng, April 14, 2004; received via e-mail, April 15, 2004)

THE FACE OF EVIL

There are many other developments in southern Sudan deserving of extremely
close international attention and urgent response. Eastern Upper Nile, for example
is now criss-crossed by Chinese-built all-weather roads, nominally for oil
development purposes but also capable of projecting very large military forces in
very short time, whatever the season. This fundamentally changes the military
situation on the ground in this part of southern Sudan, and poses extremely
serious risks to the civilian population in the area. These people, with almost no
humanitarian services, have already suffered terribly during the course of the
war, and perhaps most invisibly of all the southern Sudanese populations.

Khartoum certainly calculates that a rapid military assault would be largely over
before it became known and understood outside regional information circles.
There are also extremely ominous reports from the Ngok Dinka region of Abyei,
on the Kordofan/Bahr el-Ghazal border (this areas was the focus of extremely
difficult negotiations in the Naivasha talks). Movement of Missiriya Arab
populations into various Ngok enclaves, Missiriya construction of schools and drilling
of water bore-holes, as well as Missiriya militia actions in concert with
Khartoum's regular forces have been recently reported by highly reliable sources.
These actions work to undermine the extremely arduous negotiations on Abyei at
the Naivasha talks.

If there can be no denying that Darfur is the presently Khartoum's most
conspicuous face of evil, it is far from being alone in Sudan. Khartoum---sensing
weakness and lack of focus on the south---sees a perverse advantage in the high
profile that Darfur. For if the only international response to massive genocidal
destruction is the imposition of sanctions, of limited efficacy, with no
immediate amelioration of the vast humanitarian crisis by which the genocide is being
accomplished, Khartoum has won two victories---in Darfur and in the south.
The world seems disinclined to do what is necessary to deny the regime these
victories. We will be able to measure the consequences of this moral and
political failure in deaths throughout Sudan.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063
ereeves@smith.edu


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