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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

South Sudan in the Shadow of Darfur: 

Khartoum Exploits Genocide to Diplomatic Advantage

Eric Reeves
October 4, 2004

Even as the humanitarian crisis in Darfur deepens, and as international
diplomatic energies seem to have been exhausted in passing two weak UN
Security Council resolutions, the crisis in the peace process for
southern Sudan goes largely unnoticed. But ignoring the imperative of
achieving a final, fully secured agreement between the Khartoum regime
and the southern opposition Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) is
diplomatically short-sighted. As Norwegian International Development
Minister Hilde Frafjord Johnson declared at a recent conference on
Darfur and Sudan in Oslo (Norway): "The road to peace in Darfur goes
through Naivasha." There can be little disputing the accuracy of this
assessment, but it has a grim corollary: without a completion of the
peace talks in Naivasha (Kenya) between Khartoum and the SPLM, there
will be no peace for Sudan. As John Ashworth of Sudan Focal Point
forcefully observes:

"There will be no peace in Darfur, nor Sudan as a whole, nor northern
Uganda, nor indeed the region, unless peace is cemented in southern
Sudan." ("A View of Sudan from African: Monthly Briefing," September
29, 2004)

Despite this imperative, Khartoum has relentlessly held up final
negotiations on a peace agreement that was substantively completed in
May 2004 with the signing of various protocols governing wealth- and
power-sharing, security arrangements, and the status of three disputed
areas (Abyei, the Nuba Mountains, and Southern Blue Nile). Four months
after the signing of these protocols in Naivasha, there has been no
progress on the two outstanding technical issues that are holding up a
formal peace settlement: a comprehensive cease-fire and modalities of
implementation for the various protocols. Khartoum has throughout the
summer declared that it will not complete peace negotiations until it
has "resolved" the crisis in Darfur. The implications of this genocidal
resolution are now all too clear.

What, then, should we make of Khartoum's sudden decision to renew
negotiations in Naivasha on October 7, 2004? Or National Islamic Front
president Omer Beshir's sudden public declaration that: "The Khartoum
government 'is ready to sign the peace agreement [with southern Sudan]
today rather than tomorrow'" (Agence France-Presse, October 3, 2004)?
For of course the Darfur crisis has hardly been resolved, despite
massive genocidal destruction. What is revealed in Khartoum's recent
announcements is purely expedient calculation. For the regime is well
aware that reporting requirements specified by the Sudan Peace Act
(signed into law in October 2002) demand that the US State Department
and the President certify by October 22, 2004 that Khartoum "has engaged
in good faith negotiations to achieve a permanent, just, and equitable
peace agreement," and has not "unreasonably interfered with humanitarian
efforts."

In order to avoid the consequences specified in the Sudan Peace Act,
the regime has now agreed to negotiate, just long enough, to secure a
positive assessment. According to highly reliable sources in
Washington, the State Department has been too preoccupied to respond
meaningfully to this impending deadline, and will commit neither the
resources nor the personnel to provide a full and revealing account.
Certainly the Africa Bureau at the State Department has no means of
diplomatically accommodating an honest assessment of Khartoum's
negotiating behavior, or to explain how a regime guilty of genocide can
be a partner in peace. Moreover, it has been clear for almost a year
that the regime has been "unreasonably interfering with humanitarian
efforts" throughout Darfur. As a consequence, the State department has
taken the path of least resistance, setting the bar extremely low, and
making no real effort to present an accurate historical account of the
past four months.

Here we should recall the shameful dishonesty that marked the first
episode in State Department and White House assessments of the National
Islamic Front in April 2003. Now, again lacking a comprehensive
diplomatic vision of how to respond to Khartoum's intransigent behavior,
the State Department has settled on a course of expediency and
disingenuousness. The impending positive certification for Khartoum
will clearly be contrived, unfairly equating the diplomatic behavior of
Khartoum with that of the SPLM.

But of course, as has been the case on so many previous occasions,
Khartoum has an unerring nose for both the expedient and the
disingenuous. Thus chief NIF negotiator and powerful first
Vice-President Ali Osman Taha is reportedly prepared to spend only three
days in Naivasha to negotiate a comprehensive cease-fire and modalities
of implementation before turning the negotiations back to Khartoum's
technical committees---whose capacity for delay and obfuscation is
limitless. The regime is confident that it can delay meaningful
negotiations of the final technical issues until at least December 2004,
and beyond if necessary.

This should be contrasted with the public statements by the SPLM over
the past two months, and especially with the language accompanying the
renewal of the cessation of hostilities agreement:

"It is perplexing for the Government of Sudan to link the resumption of
the IGAD [Naivasha] sponsored peace process with the resolution of the
conflict in Darfur." (Statement of Samson Kwaje, Official Spokesman for
the SPLM/A, September 1, 2004)

Chairman John Garang has also made it publicly clear that he and senior
SPLM leadership are prepared to stay in Naivasha as long as necessary to
complete the arduously negotiated peace agreement (which began with the
Machakos Protocol of July 2002---now over two years ago). Garang has
repeatedly made calls to Vice President Taha, urging immediate
resumption of peace negotiations. Khartoum has offered no response.
The US State Department has been similarly unsuccessful in securing from
Khartoum commitments to resume negotiations in Naivasha. So, too, has
chief IGAD mediator Lazaro Sumbeiywo of Kenya.

There is certainly no evidence that the SPLM has obstructed a
resumption of negotiations. On the contrary, the SPLM and the people of
the south have every reason to wish for an expeditious completion of the
final agreement: in the absence of such agreement, 100% of oil revenues
from southern oil production continue to flow to Khartoum, even as the
regime continues a steady and increasingly ominous military buildup in
the south. Moreover, it is clear that Khartoum has no wish to have
southern representation in a national government while Darfur rages.
Any genuine political pluralism would make it exceedingly difficult to
retain consensus on present genocidal policies.

KHARTOUM'S DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO SECURE THE
STATUS QUO

Khartoum is intent primarily on preserving the status quo: creating the
appearance of a still imminent peace agreement in Naivasha, while
continuing to orchestrate vast human destruction in Darfur. Khartoum
refuses to rein in the brutal Janjaweed militia, which continue their
extraordinary brutal and murderous predations throughout Darfur. And
Khartoum continues its own military policies of civilian destruction,
increasing the already massive genocidal toll. In Khartoum's thinking,
if the Darfur insurgents can be controlled (the regime's chief demand is
that the insurgents disarm and agree to be confined to "cantons" in
Darfur), then the systematic destruction of agricultural production in
Darfur should ensure that the population of the region will remain
food-dependent and concentrated in camps that become steadily more
permanent---human warehouses for the survivors of genocide.

Diplomatically, this preservation of the status quo entails Khartoum's
creation of multiple negotiating forums whereby the regime can be seen
as making concessions or commitments in one arena, even as it reneges
and backtracks in others. The Darfur insurgents will face brute
obduracy in Abuja (Nigeria) when talks resume (presently scheduled for
October 21st), as well as Khartoum's efforts to exclude one of the
groups (the Justice and Equality Movement) altogether; the SPLM will
confront deliberate delays on Khartoum's part in Naivasha; the National
Democratic Alliance (the umbrella organization for northern opposition
parties) will be wooed duplicitously in Cairo---and the UN and Kofi
Annan's special representative Jan Pronk in Khartoum will continue to
refine a "plan of action" (August 5, 2004) that features an ominous
provision for "safe areas" in Darfur. New agreements will be signed,
specious new promises made (e.g., "federalism" for Darfur)---and nothing
will change.

But looming over all this diplomatic bad faith is a single governing
reality: all that can forestall an eventual re-igniting of war in the
south, with unprecedented levels of violence, is a completed formal
peace agreement in Naivasha, and the immediate deployment of a large and
robust UN peacekeeping force, as well as international commitments to
very substantial emergency transitional aid.

None of these key ingredients of genuine peace in southern Sudan is in
evidence, and the likelihood of expanded war in Sudan continues to
grow.

OVERVIEW OF CURRENT DARFUR SITUATION

In addition to its terrible burdens of suffering and death, Darfur must
now apparently also bear the gratuitous burden of fatuous commentary
suggesting that things aren't really so bad, but are only represented in
dire terms by officials of the US Agency for International Development,
evidently for political purposes. The distressing warnings concerning
Darfur's fate, according to Peter Beaumont of the Sunday Observer (UK),
have been "widely exaggerated," even as the "[Darfur] crisis is being
brought under control" (The Observer, October 3, 2004). Mr. Beaumont
finds various reasons and unnamed sources for skepticism over a US
determination that genocide is occurring in Darfur, and suggests
contempt for US AID mortality figures, implying in his concluding
sentence that these figures have been deliberately inflated for
political purposes:

"Both [US AID Administrator Andrew] Natsios, a former vice-president of
the Christian charity World Vision, and [Assistant US AID Administrator
Roger] Winter have long been hostile to the Sudanese government." (The
Sunday Observer, October 3, 2004)

Mr. Beaumont gives little evidence of understanding any of the issues
in Darfur he purports to speak about; he is reliably reported to have
been tendentiously selective in his choice of sources. One consequence
of this ignorant tendentiousness is his brief and careless impugning of
the motives of Roger Winter, which is nothing short of a scandalous
libel given Mr. Winter's unrivalled contributions, for more than 20
years, to the cause of a just peace in Sudan.

Certainly it would seem that Mr. Beaumont counts himself among those
who take a friendly, "non-hostile" view of the genocidaires in
Khartoum---men who are guilty of genocide in the Nuba Mountains, and who
orchestrated massive scorched-earth civilian clearances in the oil
regions of southern Sudan. These are the same men who have for more
than a decade systematically obstructed humanitarian aid to many
hundreds of thousands of civilians, and ordered the deliberate aerial
bombardment of schools, hospitals, churches, and humanitarian aid
operations.

Mr. Beaumont has evidently contented himself with a few easy interviews
that suit his perverse thesis: the Darfur crisis is "being brought under
control." But it seems clear he hasn't interviewed people like Kadija
Abdula, who speaks for many tens of thousands of Darfuri women in
describing the ongoing actions of Khartoum's regular military forces and
the brutal Janjaweed militia it has armed and supplied:

"'They came in the morning,' she whispers, 'all of them in uniform,
with Land Cruisers and camels. The local police ran away, and we were
left there, defenceless, as they went from house to house. I ran with
the other women and the children to the nearby woods to hide, but they
caught us. There where seven of us, and they took us all. I was held in
one of our houses for two days, while they raped me.'"

"She is unable to make eye contact, and struggles to make the words
come out of her mouth. In the tight knit world of a Darfur village, she
hates herself, feeling shameful to even have to tell this story. After
her ordeal she was unable to walk, and a relative rescued her by night,
bringing her on a donkey to the camp, Otash, on the outskirts of Nyala
where she now stays."

"Asked what she thinks the future holds and her voice finally rises: 'I
am not even safe here, we are beggars in our own land. Look at this
shelter, I sleep under plastic, we get food once every three months, you
talk of the future, what future is there? I don't even want to see
today.'" (The Scotsman [UK], October 2, 2004)

It is doubtful that Kadija Abdula, or the other women who continue to
be subject to the most brutal use of rape as a weapon of war, feel that
the crisis in Darfur is being "brought under control."

It seems equally certain the Mr. Beaumont did not interview people such
as Hussein Muhamed:

"Only 12, Hussein Muhamed sits in the shade of his small hut, dressed
in a pair of long khakis, a lost soul sidelined in a refugee camp full
of them. His scrawny legs are burned so deeply, from ankle to hip, that
he hobbles like an old man---a grisly testament to the day
government-backed militiamen called the janjaweed raided his village."
'They grabbed me and yelled: "You are the son of slaves",' recalled
Hussein, who is lean and shy with dull, charcoal eyes. 'Then, they threw
me into the fire.'" (Knight Ridder news service [Nyala], July 31, 2004)

Reports of the Janjaweed burning children alive have increased at the
very time Mr. Beaumont finds the "crisis being brought under control."

Certainly human rights reports don't suggest a "crisis being brought
under control." On the contrary, dozens of such reports make clear that
the human rights catastrophe in Darfur continues unabated. The most
recent report by Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
finds, as have many others, that "there remains a climate of impunity in
Darfur," with the Khartoum regime "conveying neither a sense of urgency
nor an acknowledgment of the magnitude of the human rights crisis in
Darfur" (Statement to the Security Council on Darfur, September 30,
2004). She also reports her concern that "forced relocations [are]
being carried out"; such "forced relocations" of internally displaced
persons represent one of the gravest threats facing the people of
Darfur, as villages and foodstocks have been destroyed, and the
Janjaweed attack these most vulnerable people at will.

Ms. Arbour's report is echoed by Juan Mendez, Special Adviser on the
Prevention of Genocide, who declares that "crimes against humanity, war
crimes, and breaches of the laws of war have probably occurred on a
large and systematic scale," and that "we do not believe that we have
turned the corner on preventing further violations" (Statement by the
Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to the Security Council,
September 30, 2004).

But for the assured Mr. Beaumont, none of this appears to matter. He
has his quote from an unnamed UN World Food Program official to settle
the issue of humanitarian conditions in Darfur:

"The nutritional survey of Sudan's Darfur region, by the UN World Food
Programme, says that although there are still high levels of
malnutrition among under-fives in some areas, the crisis is being
brought under control.
'It's not disastrous,' said one of those involved in the WFP survey."
(The Observer, October 3, 2004)

Here we might bear in mind some of the findings of the UN Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in its most recent
"Darfur Humanitarian Profile" (No. 6, released September 16, 2004).

The percentage of the conflict-affected population in Darfur receiving
food aid declined from 62% in July to 51% in August ("Darfur
Humanitarian Profile," No. 6, September 16, 2004, page 10). A much
greater decline will be reflected in the next "Humanitarian Profile" as
the World Food Program must increase its targeted population from 1.2
million to 2 million in October. Perhaps if Mr. Beaumont were to read a
bit more widely, and depend a bit less on the statement of a single
unnamed WFP official, he would at least see the challenge in explaining
how a crisis is in the process of being resolved if the percentage of
those receiving food aid is declining precipitously.

It is certainly the view of US AID Administrator Natsios and Assistant
Administrator Winter that hundreds of thousands of people without food,
and with no means of agricultural production or opportunity to forage,
are defining of a crisis. But evidently Mr. Beaumont has a different
definition.

The percentage of conflict-affected persons receiving shelter and
essential non-food items has remained at approximately 50% since
June---meaning that the rest of the population must go without ("Darfur
Humanitarian Profile," No. 6, page 11). The percentage of those with
access to clean water was only 40% in August; the percentage was the
same for those with access to sanitary facilities (Darfur Humanitarian
Profile," No. 6, page 12). The percentage with access to primary health
care is approximately 50%---unchanged since June.

Mr. Beaumont evidently is able to live comfortably with only half the
needy people of Darfur receiving food and shelter; and perhaps clean
water and sanitary facilities are viewed by Mr. Beaumont as luxuries.
But then it's not at all clear that Mr. Beaumont has any notion of the
numbers of people involved. He certainly doesn't cite a single figure
related to any issue other than mortality---and here he clearly has not
availed himself of either the recent epidemiological research published
by The Lancet (October 1, 2004) or by the UN's World Health Organization
(September 15, 2004), or any of the other studies that have significance
for calculations of mortality.

Thus Mr. Beaumont is content to see a crisis "being brought under
control" even as OCHA estimates that there are 1.45 million persons in
Darfur who have been displaced from their homes, nearly all through
violence or threat of violence. Another 400,000 are affected as
vulnerable members of host communities, and OCHA estimates that yet
another 500,000 conflict-affected persons are presently beyond the reach
of humanitarian aid. This is in addition to the more than 200,000 that
the UN High Commission for Refugees estimates have been forced to flee
to Chad.

There are more than 2.5 million conflict-affected persons in Darfur and
Chad, agricultural production has come to a halt, concentration camps
are without adequate sanitation or water or shelter---and are boiling
with rage. Women and girls are at risk of rape if they leave the camps
to collect firewood; men and boys face execution. All this and Mr.
Beaumont of the Sunday Observer writes comfortably of a crisis being
brought under control. Evidently African lives are not valuable enough
to Mr. Beaumont to require any research before suggesting that what the
Parliament of the European Union recently declared to be genocide in
Darfur (by a vote of 566 to 6), is actually a situation well in hand.

Mr. Beaumont chooses to ignore other of Darfur's realities as well: the
extremely grave threat of a major locust infestation, consuming what
food might remain in rural areas; the uncontrolled spread of Hepatitis E
in camps; what OCHA describes as "military aggression against
civilians---including air attack, helicopter strikes against [OCHA lists
various villages and camps]---[that] shows the same almost daily pattern
of violence against civilians established since last year" ("Darfur
Humanitarian Profile," No. 6, page 17). Most significantly, Mr.
Beaumont gives no evidence of understanding the scale of the mismatch
between humanitarian need and humanitarian capacity. He seems
contentedly ignorant of the need to move more than 40,000 metric tons of
food and non-food items per month for the foreseeable future, when not
half this capacity presently exists.

Mr. Beaumont seems to inhabit the casually lazy moral universe in which
glib anti-Americanism justifies any thesis, even if the effect of his
thesis is to elide the destruction and suffering of more than 2 million
African people. For the sake of Darfur, we must hope Mr. Beaumont's
universe is not excessively populated.

OTHER VIEWS OF THE DARFUR CRISIS

Insecurity remains the great threat to humanitarian operations, and
thus to the hundreds of thousands of human lives that Mr. Beaumont has
consigned to survive on his factitious optimism about the "crisis being
brought under control." The international aid organization CARE offers
a deeply discouraging view:

"The humanitarian agency CARE said on Monday that insecurity was
worsening in the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur and warned that
those displaced by the conflict would not be able to return to their
homes in the near future unless security was restored. 'Insecurity in
Darfur is increasing, leaving victims of violence more vulnerable and
more desperate. Unless the Government of Sudan, supported by the African
Union [AU] and the international community, can ensure safety and
security in the region, people will continue to live in fear and be
unable to move out of their dismal, temporary housing and return home.'"
(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, October 4, 2004)

But the African Union, which presently enjoys only verbal support from
the UN and most Western nations, is still unsuccessfully attempting to
expand its present cease-fire monitoring team and protection forces
(approximately 400 personnel). The number apparently settled on is
between 3,000 and 4,000, including police personnel. This is quite
inadequate to the immense and critical tasks throughout Darfur, though
such deployment would at least represent a start. Timely deployment
seems highly unlikely, however: US Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke
in a recent radio interview of a two-month time-frame for deployment.
Even by the conservative estimates of the UN World Health Organization,
this is 20,000 lives later.

But the key question is whether the deployed force will have a
peacekeeping mandate, or merely an observational mandate. Khartoum has
long insisted that it will not accept peacekeepers, and as possible
deployment draws nearer there is no sign that this has changed. Final
terms of the mandate will no doubt involve minor concessions by
Khartoum, but robust rules of engagement that would allow military
confrontation of the Janjaweed will not be accepted by the regime. As
the BBC reports, Khartoum has made clear that "[African Union] troops
will not be allowed to use force against combatants" (BBC, October 1,
2004).

Though an AU force is the default policy for an international community
that refuses to intervene to halt genocide, the failure to secure an
appropriate mandate prior to deployment augurs extremely poorly for the
success of the mission.

Humanitarian conditions in the greater Darfur humanitarian theater
continue to deteriorate, pace Mr. Beaumont. Total mortality for the
past twenty months now exceeds 250,000 human beings (a new mortality
analysis will be released by this writer October 8, 2004). The
organizations and governments determining that genocide is occurring
continue to grow in number and authority, including most recently the
Government of Germany, the Parliament of the European Union, the US
government, and the Public International Law and Policy Group ("Genocide
in Darfur: A Legal Analysis," September 2004).

SOUTHERN SUDAN IN ECLIPSE

Darfur's extraordinary urgency only partially explains the lack of
concerted international effort to force Khartoum to return to the
negotiating table at Naivasha, and to complete an agreement in which all
outstanding issues of principle and substance have already been
resolved. Clearly there is no international willingness to exert
sufficient pressure on the regime to complete negotiations. This derives
from a poverty of diplomatic imagination, the intrusive commercial
interests of various European and Asian multinational corporations, and
a shameful lack of resolve. Khartoum must be confronted with
consequences, diplomatic and commercial, that make further delay simply
too painful. But even this will be meaningless without prompt and
effective planning by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations for a
robust, large, and well-equipped peace support operation.

Similarly, commitments must be secured for the costly and demanding
transition from war to peace in southern Sudan. 21 years of unspeakable
violence have left the south with an agricultural economy in shambles
(and here we should bear in mind the apparently similar fate of Darfur);
a total lack of investment of national resources has left the region
without a real economy, without communications or transport
infrastructure, and for the most part without schools or hospitals.
Ominously, as many as 1 million of Sudan's 3.5 to 4 million internally
displaced persons will attempt to return to their homes in the south in
the first year following a completed agreement. This will completely
overwhelm present and contemplated humanitarian capacity. The
likelihood of conflict over scarce resources is high, with potentially
destabilizing consequences for the entire region.

Dennis McNamara, the special UN adviser on displacement, declared at
the end of August that "some of the displaced (people) from the south
have started to go back because of the preliminary agreements. 100,000
have so far gone back so far this year,' McNamara told a press
conference in Nairobi" (UN News Service, August 30, 2004). Hundreds of
thousands of additional displaced persons could "flood back to the south
of Sudan":

"'We are not ready for that at all, we are not equipped, we are not on
the ground, agencies are prepared but we don't have the funds, donor
interest is on Darfur, and agencies have diverted resources to Darfur. [
] 'We need to steer up in the south.'" (UN News Service, August 30,
2004)

To those wondering why southerners might flee into such desperate
circumstances, it is worth looking at one of the consequences of
Khartoum's forcible imposition of shari'a (Islamic law) on southern
women in greater Khartoum. A decaying institution called Maygoma is
what can only be called a "baby dump," a ghastly place where terrified
unmarried southern women are forced to leave their infants for fear of
punishment for adultery, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 100
lashes (a punishment easily fatal). The children brought to Maygoma are
among the 100 abandoned on the streets of Khartoum every month. A
dispatch from Hope and Homes for Children (July 19, 2004) describes the
"dark and smelly corridors where 260 abandoned babies lie, their eyes
staring blankly and their mouths usually silent. [ ] The young
residents die like flies."

This is but one of countless examples of the brutalized existence that
the National Islamic Front has imposed on displaced southerners living
in Khartoum---primarily in squalid camps that the regime steadily pushes
further and further from Khartoum itself.

MILITARY ALARM BELLS IN THE SOUTH

Compounding the difficulty of making a genuine peace are increasingly
ominous signs of Khartoum's aggressive military preparations in southern
Sudan. Extremely reliable regional sources, as well as SPLM sources,
confirm that very recent barge movements into Juba were loaded primarily
with military equipment and troops. New barge movements and convoys
have also been reported moving into Malakal, again with military
equipment and troops. Similarly, Nasir (Eastern Upper Nile) has
received new armaments from Khartoum, including tanks and
rocket-launchers. Yuai, an area controlled by one of Khartoum's militia
leaders, is now receiving military supplies several times a week.
Highly authoritative reports, from the Verification and Monitoring Team
(VMT) and other regional sources, continue to confirm Khartoum's
redeployment of Janjaweed militia forces from Darfur to Abeyi, Eastern
Upper Nile, and Southern Blue Nile (the Damazin area in particular).

All of these movements of troops and military equipment, as well as the
increasingly entrenched garrisoning of militia forces, are in clear and
consequential violation of the October 15, 2002 cessation of hostilities
agreement. We may be sure that none of these violations---relentlessly
ignored by both the VMT and the ineffectual Civilian Protection
Monitoring Team---will figure in the US State Department and
Presidential determination. This in turn gives Khartoum strong
encouragement to continue with such violations, which are steadily
changing the military dynamic in southern Sudan. Instead of preparing
for the withdrawal of forces, as stipulated in the September 2003
protocol on security arrangements, Khartoum gives every sign of trying
to use military leverage to change the geography of southern Sudan.

Malakal and the Shilluk Kingdom of Central Upper Nile (where over
100,000 have been displaced and many killed) are particular targets; the
UN Daily Press review (September 23, 2004) cites the Khartoum Monitor's
report that there have been fresh militia attacks on displaced persons,
and that according to Bishop Vincent Majwok of the Catholic Diocese of
Malakal, "the attacks are well coordinated and organized," and "have
recently burned to the ground both villages and crops" (UN Daily Press
Review, September 23, 2004).

The oil regions of Eastern Upper Nile, where the Chinese-dominated
"Petrodar" has created an extensive networks of roads with clear
military potential, have received especially large infusions of weapons
and troops, suggesting that Khartoum, if it can delay or simply ignore a
peace agreement, is intent on absorbing this promising oil production
area.

"NO WAR, NO PEACE" ENSURES WAR

The relentless expediency and lack of moral resolve characterizing UN
and Western diplomatic engagement with Khartoum makes war more likely,
not less likely. If genocide in Darfur is not sufficient to precipitate
humanitarian intervention; if Khartoum senses that it may pick and
choose between diplomatic venues as circumstances dictate; if the regime
can slowly change the military dynamic in southern Sudan as Darfur is
gradually destroyed; if the world allows delay, obfuscation, and
duplicity to remain the primary tools governing Khartoum's diplomacy;
then we may expect that a regime that shows no concern for the African
or marginalized populations of Sudan will continue to seek the moment of
maximum military advantage in southern Sudan.

Unless a peace agreement between Khartoum and the SPLM is fully secured
in the very near term, with a robust UN peace support operation at the
ready and very substantial commitments to emergency transitional aid,
war will resume on terms highly advantageous to Khartoum. The present
human destruction in Darfur will again be mirrored in southern Sudan.

This is the nature of the National Islamic Front regime. It either
faces coercive diplomacy, backed by credible threats of severe
consequences---including regime change---or it will persist as it has
during its entire fifteen years in power. There are those such as Mr.
Beaumont of The Observer who are clearly willing to look on the "bright
side of genocide"; the people of Sudan must pray that such moral myopia
does not prevail.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

ereeves@smith.edu

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