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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

DARFUR, Sudan: The dying is only just beginning 

Darfur in the UN's Geopolitical Calculus:
How the international community is acquiescing in genocide by attrition

Eric Reeves
November 23, 2004

The recent unanimous UN Security Council Resolution on Sudan (No. 1574,
November 19, 2004) marks an extraordinary triumph for the National Islamic Front
regime in Khartoum, and it has been appropriately celebrated in the regime's
state-controlled press. Official commentary, as well as Saturday editorials in
Al-Ayam and Al-Rai Al-Aam, were effusive in praising the UN Security Council's
"progressive move toward supporting Sudan" (UN Daily Press Review, November 20 and
21, 2004).

Such a reaction to the UN resolution is hardly surprising. By demoting massive
genocidal human destruction in Darfur as the primary agenda item; by settling
for yet another paper promise from Khartoum to complete the Naivasha peace
process (stalled for half a year by Khartoum's refusal to negotiate a comprehensive
cease-fire and modalities for implementing the protocols signed May 26, 2004);
and by moving from a strategy of coercive measures and demands upon Khartoum to
cynical offers of various financial inducements, the Security Council has fully
convinced the regime that despite the bluster concerning Darfur from various
Western nations and UN officials, there will be no meaningful international
response to genocide.

In short, Khartoum got precisely what it wanted, indeed demanded. For the
regime was prepared to scuttle the highlighted event of the Nairobi Security
Council meeting if the Council had proved insufficiently accommodating. The Los
Angeles Times is just one of many sources for the following diplomatic threat from
Khartoum:

"Khartoum has sought to use its participation in the peace talks with the
southern rebels to avoid reproach over Darfur. The government's main negotiator, Ali
Osman Mohammed Taha, even threatened not to come to Nairobi if the Security
Council put too much emphasis on the violence and humanitarian crisis in Darfur."
(Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2004)

In the end, Khartoum had no cause for concern. In a conspicuous moment of
dishonesty, the new Security Council resolution shamelessly declares that it
"recalls" various previous resolutions, including Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004).
Evidently "recollection" is very partial, for there is no sign that the members
of the Security Council recall their singular "demand" in Resolution 1556: that
Khartoum disarm the Janjaweed and bring the leaders of this brutal militia
force to justice. The Security Council is no longer "demanding" what is essential
in restoring security to Darfur, even as the Council hypocritically "expresses
its serious concern at the growing insecurity and violence in Darfur."

Instead of identifying the Janjaweed, or declaring the well-established
connections between Khartoum and the Janjaweed (including close military coordination,
and the common basing of Janjaweed and the regime's regular military forces),
the Council can bring itself only to "condemn all acts of violence and
violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by all parties" (Security
Council Resolution 1574, November 19, 2004).

The genocidal acts of the Janjaweed and the Khartoum regime have been rendered
here, as well as in comments from the office of the Secretary-General, morally
equivalent to those of the Darfuri insurgents, whose military actions are a
response to decades of political and economic marginalization, as well as the
impunity accorded by Khartoum to Arab militia groups that have for years attacked
African tribal villages.

As has been the case so many times in the past, the achievement of "moral
equivalence" is for Khartoum an extraordinarily important diplomatic victory. Here
again, the genocidaires and their victims are rendered indistinguishable.
Small wonder that China, Russia, Pakistan, and Algeria found no need to abstain in
this resolution, and that Khartoum moved from its strenuous objection to
previous resolutions to an enthusiastic welcoming of the most recent.

As US ambassador to the United Nations John Danforth all too aptly
characterized the resolution, "'There is nothing threatening about it,' Danforth said"
(Associated Press, November 18, 2004).

NON-DIPLOMATIC RESPONSES TO UN SECURITY COUNCIL ACQUIESCENCE

Unwilling and thus unable to confront Khartoum any longer over the human
catastrophe in Darfur, international diplomacy has now devolved to the point of
passing weakly hortatory resolutions, promising money to this obscenely profligate
regime, and reiterating support for a slowly deploying African Union force that
is fundamentally inadequate to any of the growing security challenges within
Darfur (in a telling vignette, a humanitarian organization operational in Darfur
recently "passed the hat" to collect money to purchase boots for a particularly
ill-equipped group of AU troops). Unsurprisingly, the response of human rights
groups and humanitarian groups to the Security Council Resolution has been
scathing.

"'From New York to Nairobi, a trail of weak resolutions on Darfur has led
nowhere,' said Caroline Nursey, from Oxfam." (Financial Times, November 19, 2004)

"'There has been lots of talk over the last year, and commitments from all
sides to end abuses, but security in Darfur has not improved. In fact, in the last
two months it has started to deteriorate,' Caroline Nursey, Oxfam's regional
director, said. The charity's Brendan Cox, who was attending the Security
Council meeting, accused the UN of failing the people of Darfur. 'The atmosphere at
the meeting here in Nairobi is very flat. Nobody seems very concerned,' he said.
'The only people who will benefit from this meeting are the travel agents and
those people who will collect their free air miles. There is no optimism about
the outcome of the meeting. We are expecting an even weaker draft resolution
than before. It will probably be passed, but it will not make any difference.'"
(The Scotsman, November 19, 2004)

Human Rights Watch declared even before passage of the resolution that
"security in Darfur is a 'farce'" (New York Times, November 15, 2004); in a November
19, 2004 response to the Security Council resolution, Human Rights Watch insisted
that:

"The UN Security Council has retreated from its previous stance to hold the
Sudanese government accountable for the ongoing human rights abuses in Darfur,
Human Rights Watch said today. A new resolution was passed today by a unanimous
vote of the Security Council's 15 members. While today's resolution recalls prior
Security Council resolutions passed in July and September, it leaves out the
explicit demand in those resolutions for Khartoum to disarm and prosecute the
government-backed Janjaweed militias."

"In addition, the new resolution omits language in the Resolutions 1556 and
1564 that specifically threatened 'further measures,' including the possibility of
sanctions. Instead, it includes a much milder warning to 'take appropriate
action against any party failing to fulfill its commitments.'"

"'We fear that the Sudanese government will take this resolution as a blank
check to continue its atrocities against the civilian population in Darfur,' said
Jemera Rone, Human Rights Watch's senior Sudan researcher." ("Darfur: U.N.
Backtracks in Sudan Resolution," Human Rights Watch [Nairobi], November 19, 2004)

Oxfam International declared yesterday:

"The European Union must immediately take robust action to force the warring
parties in Darfur to comply with their commitments to protect civilians in
Darfur, urged international agency Oxfam. The call came as EU Foreign Ministers meet
to discuss the crisis at the General Affairs Council meeting today. 'The
European Union must step in to the void left by the UN Security Council's failure,
and take action to stop the violence in Darfur,' said Jo Leadbeater, Head of
Oxfam's EU Advocacy Office." (Oxfam International Press release, November 22, 2004)

The Scotsman cited a recent letter sent by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins
Sans Frontières to the UN:

"Six months ago, Médecins Sans Frontières briefed the Security Council on the
massive suffering and death in Darfur which had resulted from militia attacks on
villages and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Despite several resolutions and pledges since then, neither the government of
Sudan nor the international community has provided sufficient assistance and
security to the people in Darfur. After over 18 months, people's lives are still
under daily threat." (The Scotsman, November 19, 2004)

THE DYNAMICS OF INSECURITY IN DARFUR

It is not enough for the Security Council and other international actors simply
to lament the growing insecurity in Darfur, or to note the obviously dire
implications for humanitarian efforts, which continue to fall further and further
behind human needs. There must be an understanding of why insecurity has
accelerated so rapidly in recent weeks, and what is required to begin to restore
security in parts of Darfur. Though there are reasons why the international
community is unwilling to accept this basic obligation to assess Darfur honestly, and
even more reasons for continued inaction, none will pass any serious moral
scrutiny.

Increasingly, the US, the UN, and other international actors have taken to
blaming the insurgency groups for the violence that rages in Darfur. Having proved
incapable of restraining Khartoum or the Janjaweed, despite the "demand" of UN
Security Council Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004), many have found that the most
convenient response is to hold the insurgents responsible for continuing
fighting and insecurity. The expedient calculation here is that rather than reveal
their impotence---and rather than offer an honest assessment of the dynamics of
violence and insecurity---international actors can shirk responsibility for
responding to Darfur's catastrophe simply by shifting the focus of blame. This is
disingenuous and misguided on numerous counts.

People like Charles Snyder, the senior State Department official with
responsibilities for Sudan, seem to have forgotten that the US government has found that
the assaults by Khartoum and the Janjaweed constitute genocide. Secretary of
State Colin Powell declared as much unambiguously in his Senate testimony of
September 9, 2004 (even if he would go on to say that "nothing new follows from
this determination [of genocide]"). President Bush has declared that the
massive, ethnically targeted human destruction in Darfur is genocide. So, too, have
both houses of Congress---unanimously.

But despite the fact that Khartoum's genocidal campaign has claimed over
300,000 lives (see November 16, 2004 mortality assessment by this writer; available
upon request); that as many as 2.5 million people have been displaced by
Khartoum's orchestrated mayhem (see below); and that 3 million people are now
conflict-affected and in need of humanitarian assistance---despite this massive
campaign of human destruction and displacement, Snyder, UN political officials, and
other Western governments purport to be surprised that the two insurgency groups
are not prepared to take at face value Khartoum's renewed pledge to abide by a
cease-fire (the Abuja [Nigeria] accord of November 9, 2004).

For context, let us recall the events that followed within hours of Khartoum's
agreeing in Abuja to "take all steps required to prevent attacks, threats,
intimidations and any other form of violence against civilians" ("Protocol on the
Improvement of the Humanitarian Situation in Darfur," Abuja, November 9, 2004):
the El Geer camp for displaced persons saw brutal forced movement of civilians,
tear-gas used on women and children lining up at a health clinic, men badly
beaten, and a rubber bullet fired at a BBC reporter near a UN vehicle.

Let us also recall how widely and systematically Khartoum has violated the
April 8, 2004 cease-fire, and with what extraordinary impunity.

Let us also recall that the consensus among Darfuris in exile, with contacts
inside Darfur, is that 90% of African villages have now been destroyed, reducing
very substantially the need for the kind of organized military violence against
civilians that the US, the UN, and the international community have proved so
hopelessly inept in halting for well over a year.

Why should the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army or the Justice and Equality
Movement believe that now it will be different? that now the international
community is determined to halt the violence, and ensure that Khartoum will respect the
terms of the April 8, 2004 cease-fire, terms that have proved meaningless
enough that Khartoum agreed to reiterate them in the November 9, 2004 Abuja security
protocol? In fact, the international community has done nothing meaningful to
address the issue of cease-fire violations, ongoing predations by the
Janjaweed, extreme insecurity in the camps and camp environs, or to protect the
civilians trapped in inaccessible areas.

Nor has international community committed to a meaningful provision of the
troops or equipment that might reduce violence. An African Union force of 3,500
troops and monitors---even if it is fully deployed (and it is not at all clear
that the task will be completed before February 2005)---will be without the
equipment, logistics, transport, or mandate to respond in any effective fashion to
current violence. The insurgents know this perfectly well, and they also know
that Khartoum has been reassured by the most recent Security Council resolution
that no one is serious about disarming the Janjaweed.

In such a context, what possible justice can there be in blaming the insurgents
for attacking military targets in Darfur, including police stations? (Police
stations are, given the relationship between security and military organs in
Darfur, not truly civilian targets.) To be sure, this can never be an excuse for
abductions or attacks on civilians, or the threatening of humanitarian workers;
nor can there be any excuse for the looting of humanitarian convoys.

But to expect that the Darfuri insurgents will put any stock in international
promises or negotiated agreements is either foolish or disingenuous, and quite
conceivably both. Moreover, under acute military pressure, and confronting an
increasingly desperate supply situation, the insurgents are evidently beginning
to splinter, and command-and-control is slipping away. This is entirely
predictable if we look at comparable situations historically, and must be measured as
one of the costs of deferring full-scale humanitarian intervention for so many
months after its need became obvious.

We have long since passed the point at which anything other than a large,
robust, and fully credible peace-making force can restore security in Darfur. To
pretend otherwise is simply part of the inevitable search for self-exculpation in
the face of unchecked genocide. It is difficult to imagine a more disgraceful
expenditure of energies in light of current realities.

THE REALITIES OF INSECURITY IN DARFUR AT PRESENT

As a result of ongoing fighting and consequent insecurity, humanitarian efforts
are beginning to falter badly. From the ground, at least in certain contexts,
it will inevitably appear that all combatants are equally responsible, despite
the realities suggested above. Thus today's report from the UN Integrated
Regional Information Network:

"The humanitarian agency Save the Children said on Monday that its staff had
been forced to flee the town of Tawilla in the troubled Darfur region of western
Sudan when fighting broke out between government forces and rebels, despite an
existing ceasefire agreement. 'Both sides have demonstrated utter disregard for
the ceasefire,' Toby Porter, director of emergencies at Save the Children said
in statement issued by the agency. 'Yet again, innocent civilians, particularly
women and children, are suffering at the hands of the rebels and their own
government, and still the international community fails to protect them.'" (UN
Integrated Regional Information Networks, November 23, 2004)

But the IRIN dispatch goes on to note Khartoum's renewed use of aerial military
assaults, despite the regime's pledge at Abuja to "refrain from conducting
hostile military flights in and over the Darfur Region" ("Protocol on the
Enhancement of the Security Situation in Darfur," Abuja, November 9, 2004):

"[The Save the Children] statement said that an aerial attack by the government
[of Sudan], including one bomb which landed 50 meters from a Save the
Children/UK feeding centre, forced more than 30 of its staff to flee into the desert.
African Union helicopters were used to evacuate the Save the Children staff to
safety." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, November 23, 2004)

This attack offers a clear glimpse of the savagery and cynicism of the Khartoum
regime in continuing genocide in Darfur, and reflects the most callous attitude
toward the safety of humanitarian workers and operations. This is what the UN
Security Council is unwilling to confront or respond to.

In the same dispatch, IRIN notes:

"In a related development, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has said that
reports of violence against women and children in and around IDP camps in Darfur
appeared to be on the increase. UNICEF's Executive Director Carol Bellamy said in
New York last week that reports by aid-agency monitors 'strongly dispute claims
[by Khartoum] that the situation is under control.' She said aid agencies in
Darfur have expressed dismay at the increasing number of people arriving in the
camps, as well as a surge in violent incidents in and around the camps
themselves."

"A UNICEF statement said armed militias were raping girls and women in Darfur
as a tactic to terrorise and humiliate individuals as well as families and
communities. UNICEF also lamented that children had, in a series of incidents, been
loaded on to lorries and transported to a new camp without their parents, while
others had been injured during government attempts to relocate people from
camps." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, November 23, 2004)

These unpunished actions---turning camps into sites of violence, rape,
humiliation, and forcible displacement of children without their parents---are the
actions of Khartoum's regular military and security forces and the Janjaweed. They
are most emphatically not the actions of the insurgents. The failure to accept
this as the broader context for understanding ongoing violence in Darfur
reveals only willful ignorance.

DISPLACEMENT TOTALS FOR DARFUR AND CHAD

This writer estimated in last week's Darfur mortality assessment that "well
over 2 million people have been internally displaced or made refugees [in Chad]"
(November 16, 2004) This and other figures have been greeted in some quarters
with considerable skepticism. Significantly, the UN World Food Program has
today radically revised upwards its estimate of internally displace persons,
indicating a total of 2 million people by December (Agence France-Presse, November
23, 2003):

"World Food Program (WFP) executive director James Morris said that estimate on
the region's torrents of displaced people was a staggering 300,000 people
higher than a WFP estimate issued just one week ago." (Agence France-Presse,
November 23, 2004)

This figure of 2 million is for internally displaced persons in Darfur; it does
not include the more than 200,000 who have already fled to Chad (with between
100,000 and 200,000 poised to flee to Chad in the coming months, according to
officials of the UN High Commission for Refugees), and it does not include the
very large population of displaced persons in areas that are presently
inaccessible (and unassessed). If we aggregate the new WFP number and reasonable
estimates for this last population group, it is clear that an estimate of "well over 2
million people internally displaced or made refugees [in Chad]" is terrifyingly
accurate.

The people displaced continue to be overwhelmingly from the African tribal
populations of Darfur. And as long as insecurity remains so extreme, as long as
the Janjaweed are not militarily neutralized, as long as Khartoum feels
unconstrained in using its aerial military assets---even when in dangerously close
proximity to known humanitarian operations---displacement will continue within the
populations that are in inaccessible rural areas.

As Human Rights Watch emphatically declared on the release of its newest report
on Darfur ("'If We Return We Will Be Killed': Consolidating Ethnic Cleansing in
Darfur," November 15, 2004; full report available at
http://hrw.org/backgrounder/africa/darfur1104/):

"Unless the international community squarely faces the fact that Khartoum is
using both militias and its military to target ethnic groups in Darfur as it did
in the south [of Sudan], the appalling violence will continue."

Security Council Resolution 1574 of last week gives no sign whatsoever of
squarely facing these basic realities.

WHAT ARE THE DIMENSIONS OF THE CATASTROPHE THE SECURITY COUNCIL HAS CHOSEN TO
MAKE A SIDESHOW?

A number of recent signs and sobering reports give a yet fuller sense of the
challenges to humanitarian relief in Darfur. Of particular concern is the threat
of drought, reported today in emphatic fashion by Andrew Natsios, Administrator
of the US Agency for International Development:

"Sudan's Darfur region [ ] faces a new threat---a drought that has all but
wiped out this year's harvest, the top US aid official says. Andrew Natsios, head
of the US Agency for International Development, said farmers who stayed on their
land during the 21-month conflict are now beginning their major harvest, but
they're expected to reap just 10 percent to 15 percent of the normal yield.
'They have enough production from this crop to last perhaps until March, but
certainly not until the end of December' 2005, when the next harvest will be
completed, he said."

"The dearth of rain is already having an impact because 'the boreholes, the
wells, are drying up from water much earlier,' [Natsios] said." (Associated Press,
November 23, 2004)

And this account is of those who were able to stay on the their land; as
indicated above, far more than 2 million have been displaced and have no means of
food production. This comes in the wake of extremely ominous reports on food
availability and prospects.

The US Agency for International Development notes in its most recent "fact
sheet" that the "World Food Program anticipates that the December caseload of 2
million beneficiaries will rise in 2005 to reach 2.3 million people," and this
does not include the 200,000 refugees in Chad (US AID "Darfur: Humanitarian
Emergency" fact sheet, November 19, 2004). (The World Food Program reached only 1.1
million people in October, a decline of 175,000 from September.) US AID also
reports "some areas of total crop failure in the normally fertile Jebel Marra
region." The Jebel Marra region is probably the most fertile in all of Darfur;
crop failures in this region indicate how badly agricultural production has
collapsed.

This is confirmed in the most recent "Food-Needs Assessment: Darfur" from the
International Committee of the Red Cross (October 2004). Surveying villages in
all three of Darfur's administrative states, the ICRC found:

"The situation assessed in the survey was found to be alarming as coping
mechanisms developed over years of drought and conflict had been nearly exhausted.
Most rural communities assessed were found by the survey to be suffering from
food shortages, which are expected to become worse in the longer term."
("Food-Needs Assessment: Darfur" from the International Committee of the Red Cross,
October 2004, page 2)

And in a dismayingly familiar conclusion, the ICRC found:

"Rural communities are currently affected by both drought and conflict, but it
is the latter that prevents these communities from using their normal
drought-time coping strategies." (page 14)

"Levels of physical insecurity were found to be the main cause of food
shortages as people are reluctant to venture outside their villages for fear of attack"
(page 2)

We need to be more explicit than the ICRC here: these "fears of attacks" are
fears of attacks by the Janjaweed, Khartoum's most powerful genocidal instrument.
It is not enough to say with the ICRC that "insecurity is the root cause of the
collapse of agriculture, pastoralism, and trade in Darfur" (page 2). We must
also say that this insecurity has identifiable causes, and
that---overwhelmingly---these causes are attacks by the Janjaweed and Khartoum's regular military
forces. The vast majority of insecurity in Darfur derives not from conflict
between the Darfuri insurgency groups and Khartoum's opposing military forces: it
derives from relentless, deliberate, ethnically targeted attacks on civilian
noncombatants from Darfur's African tribal populations.

The ICRC food assessment also offers us some chilling glimpses of impending
food shortages in rural Darfur. Food markets are already seeing severe inflation
in food prices of "150% to 300%" (page 9). And in concluding that "food
insecurity was an obvious and vast problem among the resident rural population," and
that "coping mechanisms were about to be exhausted," the ICRC declared bluntly
that "Darfur is experiencing a long-term major food crisis" (page 14). In the
early months of 2005, there will be large additional displacements in rural
areas because there is simply no more food (page 11).

ACQUIESCING IN GENOCIDE

The vast human destruction in Darfur is now being accomplished primarily by
virtue of insecurity that directly threatens not only the lives of Darfuri
civilians but humanitarian personnel and operations. The attenuation of humanitarian
relief, in the context growing shortages of food, will be translated into
additional hundreds of thousands of deaths in the coming months and years. This is
genocide by attrition.

That Khartoum intends to diminish international humanitarian presence, and thus
increase human destruction, is clear beyond doubt---and continues to be
demonstrated on an almost daily basis. Two weeks ago it was the UN High Commission
for Refugees (UNHCR) forced to withdraw staff from Nyala because of Khartoum's
actions:

"UNHCR said today it is temporarily withdrawing some key international staff
from strife-torn South Darfur because Sudanese authorities are preventing them
from carrying out vital protection work on behalf of thousands of internally
displaced people. Jean-Marie Fakhouri, UNHCR's operations director for the Sudan
situation, said UNHCR staff had been restricted to Nyala for nearly three weeks
on orders of Sudanese officials following an incident on October 20 when UNHCR
and other UN colleagues intervened to stop the involuntary relocation of
displaced people." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, November 12, 2004)

Yesterday, in a press release from Save the Children, we learn of "an aerial
attack by the Government [of Sudan], including one bomb which landed 50 metres
from a Save the Children UK feeding centre, forced over 30 of our staff to flee
the town into the desert" (Save the Children press release, November 22, 2004).

Such aerial military attacks represent intolerable security risks to
humanitarian personnel and UN operational personnel.

Moreover, life-threatening insecurity in the camps for displaced persons and in
rural areas makes physical survival increasingly tenuous. Physical insecurity,
directly and indirectly, has been the overwhelming source of human destruction
in Darfur, and this insecurity has been overwhelmingly the responsibility of
the Khartoum regime. UN Security Council pretense and "diplomatese" cannot
change this fundamental fact. US, UN, and other international efforts to create a
contrived moral equivalence between the insurgents and Khartoum, a factitiously
equal responsibility for violence and insecurity, is disingenuous and
expedient. It reflects nothing so much as the international failure to compel Khartoum
to disarm the Janjaweed and provide meaningful protection to vulnerable
civilians.

As has long been clear, Khartoum has no intention of protecting the African
civilian populations; on the contrary, the regime has largely achieved success in
Darfur by destroying and displacing these people by genocidal means. The
present splintering of the insurgency groups likely portends precisely the military
victory that Khartoum's genocide was designed to achieve. Indeed, this
fissuring within the insurgency movements, produced in part by a lack of effective
political and military command structure, may intensify dangerously as physical
survival becomes as important as military action.

These realities seem not to register with the likes of Charles Snyder of the
State Department, John Danforth, the foolishly complacent US ambassador to the
United Nations, the ever-expedient Kofi Annan, or his special representative Jan
Pronk. Nor are the countries of the European Union or other international
actors willing to respond meaningfully to Darfur's vast crisis. Indeed, though
some European governments insistently declare in sanctimonious terms their "deep
concern" over Darfur, this has not led them to constrain the commercial,
financial, and economic activities of their multinational corporations operating in
and supporting the genocidal National Islamic Front regime (see
www.divestsudan.org).

Recently the American Catholic Task Force in Africa issued a pleading letter to
President Bush, his cabinet members, and leaders in the US Senate: "We call
upon you to exert the full influence of the US government to halt...the genocidal
killings, rapes and other forms of violence and abuse of fundamental human
rights being inflicted upon the people in the Darfur region of Sudan" (Letter of
October 19, 2004, American Catholic Task Force).

But this, like so many others, is a call in vain. The US-convened Security
Council meeting in Nairobi has made painfully clear that nothing will be done to
change the fundamental dynamics of insecurity in Darfur---and thus the genocide
will continue remorselessly. 300,000 have already died; as many as 2.5 million
have been displaced; and 3 million are conflict-affected and in need of
humanitarian assistance. But we know now that this assistance will not be adequate,
and thus we may be sure that at least 30,000 human beings will continue to die
monthly for the foreseeable future.

We have seen precisely this ghastly indifference and obfuscation in Africa
before, and no one speaks more authoritatively of international failure in Rwanda
than Romeo Dallaire, the general in charge of the UN peacekeeping force during
the 1994 genocide. General Dallaire has recently found a more articulate voice
on Darfur, but his first public utterances were among his most powerful:

"'What should be done is an outright intervention,' he said. 'When I compare it
to Rwanda, there are so many similarities it makes you sick.' Khartoum, he
said, is 'getting away with slaughter and genocide,' while the world reacts, much
as it did then, with embargos and restrictions, [Dallaire said]." (The Toronto
Star, September 21, 2004)

Disgracefully, a complacent international community can't bring itself even to
impose "embargoes and restrictions." On the contrary, as UN Security Council
Resolution 1574 of November 19, 2004 proves beyond reasonable doubt, there will
be no actions of consequence to compel Khartoum to halt genocide in Darfur. We
are as far today from humanitarian intervention as we were when the genocide
became apparent a year ago.

The dying is only just beginning.

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

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