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Thursday, December 30, 2004

A peace "agreement" between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation 

A peace "agreement" between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement/Army:
Has the regime done anything but change the subject?

Eric Reeves
December 29, 2004

FRAMING THE QUESTION

What should we make of the various announcements that a final peace
agreement between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement/Army (SPLM/A) will be signed in Nairobi within the next two
weeks? Is such an agreement, which could easily have been reached
months ago, anything other than a cynically timed diplomatic ploy,
designed to deflect international attention away from the regime's
accelerating genocidal destruction in Darfur? Such questions can only
be answered on the basis of recent history, particularly the history of
the past two and a half years: from the time the National Islamic Front
(NIF) regime nominally committed to self-determination for Southern
Sudan (in the Machakos Protocol, July 2002) to the present apparent
culmination of diplomatic efforts.

Most notably, this has been a period marked on Khartoum's part by
relentless deceit, delay, obfuscation, reneging, mendacity, and bad
faith. The regime has in particular systematically, continuously, and
consequentially violated the cessation of hostilities agreement, signed
with the SPLM/A on October 15, 2002. The regime has similarly violated
the February 4, 2003 "Addendum" to the October 15th agreement, an
"Addendum" necessitated by Khartoum's massive, authoritatively
documented violations in the oil regions, especially during January
2003.

The forceful investigations of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team
(CPMT) were an especially authoritative source of documentation for
violations from January through early March 2003 (this writer was also
able to interview at the time a number of wounded civilians, including
children, targeted by Khartoum's deadly helicopter gunships). None of
the terms of the agreements has been kept by Khartoum, including a
commitment to halt work on the militarized oil road south of Bentiu in
Western Upper Nile.

Large-scale civilian destruction by Khartoum and its militia allies has
also been documented earlier this year in the Shilluk Kingdom, a
conspicuous violation of both the October 2002 cessation of hostilities
agreement and the February 2003 "Addendum." The Shilluk, like the Dinka
and Nuer, are part of the larger Nilotic tribal group in Southern Sudan;
the Shilluk Kingdom comprises an area mainly north of Malakal town in
Upper Nile Province. The defection of Shilluk commander Lam Akol from
the Khartoum regime back to the SPLM/A in October 2003 does much to
explain, though certainly cannot justify, Khartoum's decision to launch
intense military offensives in this area, with deliberately destructive
consequences for civilians.

The CPMT, though now badly compromised by political expediency, was
still able to assess earlier in 2004 the effects of Khartoum's military
offensive in a series of "sitreps" (situation reports). These included
the following excerpts (March/April 2004):

"Popwojo [Shilluk Kingdom]: Assessed as 97% destroyed (Photo 4); CPMT
witnessed/photographed fresh grave mounds (Photo 5);

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);

[***NB***] 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.

[***NB***] 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)

Another Khartoum-initiated attack is described in the same "sitrep":

"Nyilwak: Assessed as 75% destroyed (Photo 1); eight civilian men (aged
18-60) killed while trying to flee (CPMT witnessed/photographed fresh
grave mounds [Photo 2] and interviewed surviving family members);

Close to 30 civilians wounded; exact count not yet established because
of widespread displacement;

Reportedly several thousand head of cattle had been stolen and taken to
Malakal; reportedly all grain stocks had been stolen or burnt;

[Humanitarian] compounds and clinic (VSF Germany and World Vision) have
been looted and razed (Photo 3);

Thousands of civilians displaced and in urgent need of humanitarian
intervention." (Malakal Area Destruction SITREP # 2; March 31, 2004)

These are the actions of a regime that had committed to:

"To retain current military positions"; "Refrain from any offensive
military action by all forces," "including allied forces and affiliated
militia"; "Refrain from any acts of violence or other abuse on the
civilian population."
(Section 3 of the "Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] between the
Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A on Resumption of Negotiations on
Peace in Sudan," October 15, 2002])

There have also been numerous, consequential violations of the terms
governing work of the UN's Operation Lifeline Sudan, the umbrella for
humanitarian operations in Southern Sudan: these violations all
represent a refusal to honor another key term of the October MOU:

"The parties shall allow unimpeded humanitarian access to all areas and
for people in need, in accordance with the Operation Lifeline Sudan
Agreement." (Section 5)

The relentless, flagrant nature of these violations on the part of
Khartoum's regular and militia forces---committed with impunity, with a
cessation of hostilities agreement nominally still in force---suggests
the highly limited value of any agreement the NIF regime may be prepared
to sign under diplomatic duress and by way of shifting attention from
genocide in Darfur.

THE RESPONSE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO VIOLATIONS OF AGREEMENTS
IN SOUTHERN SUDAN

For its part, the international community is most conspicuously defined
by its consistent refusal to hold Khartoum accountable for its
violations of the many agreements signed since the Machakos Protocol.
There has also been an expedient international willingness to allow
Khartoum to play off negotiations concerning Darfur against what has
only in recent stages come to be called the "Naivasha peace process"
(Nakuru, for example, was a previous Kenyan diplomatic venue marked by
such failure that we never hear of it). This behavior on the part of
the international community, unsurprisingly, encourages Khartoum in the
belief that this impending peace agreement can also be reneged upon,
continually trimmed and compromised, and abandoned whenever convenient.

For what will prevent the NIF from abrogating a Southern Sudan peace
agreement, assuming it is finalized? Put differently, what guarantees
are required for a sustainable peace? what resources must be in place
on the ground? And just as urgently we must ask how the international
community can ensure that an agreement signed by Khartoum in Nairobi
does not have the effect of consigning Darfur's civilian population to
continuing genocide by attrition. For there should be no mistaking the
nature of present realities in Darfur, realities that will be entirely
unchanged by any diplomatic ceremony in Kenya. There is certainly no
prospect for the resumption of meaningful negotiations in Abuja
(Nigeria) between Khartoum and the insurgency movements, on either
security or political issues. Indeed, it is clear that all-out fighting
has resumed in the wake of a complete breakdown in the Abuja
negotiations.

Darfur is illustrative of the difficulties in securing a truly
meaningful north/south agreement in other ways as well. For there is no
evidence of an international will to intervene to protect civilians or
humanitarian operations, despite the growing insecurity that threatens
both. The quite confused signals coming recently from the UK government
are symptomatic of broader indecision and diffidence. The Independent
(UK) reported (December 26, 2004) that 3,000 British troops were being
prepared for humanitarian intervention in Darfur; but a spokesman for
the Blair government promptly denied the account.

This most recent posturing should be filed with the account that
surfaced this past summer: "General Sir Mike Jackson, the head of the
Army, said in August that the Army could find a brigade of troops [5,000
soldiers] for a humanitarian mission to Darfur" (The Independent,
December 26, 2004). And yet another report earlier this fall indicated
that the UK might commit 8,000 troops to Darfur for peacekeeping, but
only after a peace agreement had been negotiated---a development that is
nowhere in sight. These are ultimately meaningless gestures; indeed,
they amount to mere saber-rattling that only convinces Khartoum there
will be no timely international effort to halt the genocide, despite the
enormous numbers of victims.

PRELIMINARY REQUIREMENTS FOR A MEANINGFUL PEACE IN SOUTHERN SUDAN

If the agreement between Khartoum and the SPLM/A is to have any
meaning, there are two primary conditions that must obtain; neither is
in evidence.

[1] PEACE-SUPPORT OPERATION: There must be a timely and robust
peacekeeping force, defined by an appropriate mandate, fully equipped
and staffed, with the means to investigate all reported violations of
the Security Protocol, signed originally in September 2003, included
within the May 26, 2004 signing of various protocols in Naivasha, and
formally to be included in the final peace agreement. Current reports
indicate UN plans for a force size of 7,000 to 10,000. This number is
sufficient only if the forces are skilled and well-trained, containing
an appropriate contingent of personnel with experience or knowledge of
Southern Sudan.

Moreover, peacekeepers must be fully provided with all necessary
transport and communications capacity. The absence of these key
logistical elements has led to gross inadequacies in the performance of
the vastly undersized African Union monitoring force in Darfur. For its
part, Khartoum has carefully taken note of the ease with which the
effectiveness of the AU force has been undermined by logistical
problems---problems of a sort that can easily be manufactured in still
larger Southern Sudan. The regime has also for several months been
redeploying Janjaweed militia forces from Darfur to various garrison
locations in Southern Sudan, Abyei, and Southern Blue Nile.
Confirmations of these redeployments are numerous and highly
authoritative.

The success of the peacekeeping mission in Southern Sudan will depend
to a considerable degree on rapid deployment. It will also be essential
to establish in the very near term effective liaison with civil society
leaders, especially in northern Bahr el-Ghazal, Western and Eastern
Upper Nile, and the Juba area. Moreover, the contested Abyei region,
Southern Blue Nile, and the Nuba Mountains all received less than
satisfactory outcomes in the Naivasha negotiations, and are potential
flash-points of renewed conflict, particularly Abyei and the Nuba
Mountains. They must receive particular attention from peacekeepers.

Among leaders from the Nuba Mountains there is considerable resentment
of the terms of the final agreement, and this will likely result in
various challenges in coming months. This writer well remembers his
experience in the Nuba in January 2003, and the fierce determination by
both military and civil society leaders not to be left out of any new
agreement. There was a very strong belief that the Nuba had been
excluded both in pre-independence negotiations (1955) and in the
ill-fated Addis Ababa peace accord of 1972---and an equally strong
resolve that this would not occur again.

If the international community is serious about deploying an effective
peacekeeping force, it must ensure that these potential flash-points
receive particular scrutiny. It is also essential that Khartoum be
encouraged to redeploy its regular military forces out of Southern Sudan
as rapidly as possible. The dominant military force in Southern Sudan
must consist of the various "Joint Integrated Units" (teams consisting
of Khartoum's regular armed forces and those of the SPLA) stipulated in
the Security Protocol. To the degree Khartoum argues that its slow
redeployment of troops is a function of lack of funding, these funds
must be found (e.g., from increasing oil revenues) so as to accelerate
such redeployment, and prevent de facto control of Southern Sudan by the
remnants of Khartoum's regular forces. The sooner that Khartoum's
massive military build-up in Southern Sudan, reaching back to the
"cessation of hostilities agreement" of October 2002, is reversed,
the sooner it will be possible to ascertain whether there is any real
commitment to the key terms of the peace agreement.

Another key test will be the ability of a peacekeeping force to oversee
the disarmament of militias, armed and sustained by Khartoum, in
Southern Sudan (such disarmament is stipulated in the Security
Protocol). Khartoum has long supplied, armed, and controlled most of
these militias. These are forces, now including elements of the
Janjaweed, that must be disarmed; otherwise the regime will have a
potent, long-term military tool for destabilizing Southern Sudan even
after a peace agreement.

The peace-support operation should comprise two forces. The first
element should consist of several thousand monitors, located throughout
Southern Sudan and the contested areas, with particular concentrations
in the areas noted above.

These monitors must be deployed in accompaniment with a brigade-sized
rapid reaction force, spread between several strategic locations. This
reaction force should have fully adequate helicopter transport
capability, as well as the mandate and weaponry ensuring that those who
might violate the formal ceasefire agreement will face an unsustainable
military response. Since it is distinctly likely that ceasefire
violations will be initiated by Khartoum-allied militias, Khartoum must
even now be seriously pressured to stop supplying these forces, and to
begin the difficult process of disarming them. This requires a reversal
of the flow of weaponry and deployment policies that have been clearly
in evidence for months.

[2] TRANSITIONAL ASSISTANCE: It is not enough merely to provide a
peace-support operation for Southern Sudan: there must be very
substantial emergency transitional assistance to allow for the
resumption of agriculturally and economically productive lives.
Currently there are still over 3 million Southern Sudanese living as
internally displaced persons (IDPs), a tremendous number of
them---perhaps 2 million---living in squalid camps around Khartoum.
There is strong evidence that as many as 1 million of these IDPs, from
throughout northern Sudan, will be moving back to their homelands in the
first year following a peace agreement. Over 100,000 have moved back
this year according to UN and other estimates (especially in Bahr
el-Ghazal).

These people, many with only the most meager of possessions and obliged
to run a gauntlet of Arab and other militias intent upon stripping
remaining assets, will be returning to a part of the country that has
been brutally ravaged by war for twenty-one years, and that has never
seen a fair share of Sudanese wealth for economic development,
education, or basic infrastructure requirements. The oil regions of
Upper Nile Province in particular have endured terrible scorched-earth
warfare for a number of years, and will be especially inhospitable to
returning indigenous people.

Financial commitments to emergency transitional aid are presently
woefully inadequate, and there is no prospect of appropriate levels of
funding coming from wealthier European, Asian, or Arab nations, or those
nations that have benefited most from rapacious oil development in
Southern Sudan (Canada, China, India, and Malaysia in particular). The
US for its part is far from fulfilling the promise made by former
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner:

"[The United States] stands ready to support reconstruction and
development in post-war Sudan.... [If peace comes] there will be a large
peace dividend for reconstruction and development if, but only if there
is peace." (Congressional testimony before the House International
Relations Committee, May 13, 2003)

Nothing in past or present budgetary requests by the Bush
administration begins to suggest that these promises are being kept in a
meaningful way. Obviously funding critical transitional aid for
Southern Sudan will be neither cheap nor easy. But as expensive as such
aid may be, resumed war will be far more expensive---no matter what
calculus of costs we use.

What in particular must be done? The US Agency for International
Development provided a superb overview in a document published over a
year ago: "The Sudan Interim Strategic Plan, 2004-06" (available at:
www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/sudan_isp.pdf).
Articulating as its central goal establishing the "foundation...for a
just and durable peace with broad participation of the Sudanese people,"
this extensive report lays out the key areas in which transitional aid
will be essential---offering headings for key objectives, with
particular needs organized under these rubrics.

One heading is "Increased Use of Health, Water and Sanitation Services
and Practices." This will entail "increased use of health, water and
sanitation services and practices"; "increased access to high-impact
services"; "increase Sudanese capacity, particularly women's, to deliver
and manage health services"; "improved access to safe water and
sanitation." Another heading speaks to establishing a "Foundation for
Economic Recovery." This entails responding to the "food security needs
of vulnerable communities"; "market support programs and services
introduced and expanded"; "transparent policymaking and processes
encouraged." And yet other headings are "Improved Equitable Access to
Quality Education" and "More Responsive and Participatory Governance."

As more particular context for these goals, especially those of
"economic recovery," we should keep in mind the agricultural base of
micro-economies throughout southern Sudan, and understand that this
means in large measure economies in which cattle have always been of
central importance. The re-stocking of herds is essential, as is timely
provision of veterinary inoculation against prevalent diseases. So, too,
is the provision of agricultural implements, a tremendous number of
which have been destroyed in the war.

In the area of health care, we should recall how deeply compromised
even emergency humanitarian medical assistance has become. Despite the
agreement that created Operation Lifeline Sudan in 1989---at the time a
precedent-setting arrangement for humanitarian access---health
facilities and delivery capacity have been seriously diminished in
recent years. A telling account of the disastrous fate of emergency
health care in Western Upper Nile---most of it directly related to oil
development---was provided by Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans
Frontiers: "Violence, Health, and Access to Aid in Unity State/Western
Upper Nile" (MSF, April 2002,
www.doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/reports/2002/sudan_04-2002.pdf).


The urgent need for dramatically increased sources of potable water,
especially in Western Upper Nile, yet again highlights the tremendous
pressures that will be exerted by the return of hundreds of thousands of
IDPs and refugees---many having originally fled the most ravaged areas
of Southern Sudan. It is to these areas that they will be seeking to
return.

All of these represent key needs if Southern Sudan is to withstand the
serious challenges that will inevitably confront any peace agreement.
For a signed agreement will not in itself ensure anything---will not in
itself bring stability or a full military stand-down, by all parties, in
this part of the country. Peace has a realistic chance in Sudan only
with a full commitment to support, on a transitional basis, these
essential areas of development and reconstruction.

The international community must accept that Khartoum has gone this far
down the road of negotiations only because it must---because of domestic
demands for peace, military pressure from the insurgency movements in
Darfur, and because of unusually concerted attention to Sudan's civil
war. With considerable encouragement from recent diplomatic history,
Khartoum held out until it was simply not possible to hold out any
longer.

We may be sure, then, that sustaining peace in Sudan will likely be as
much about overcoming the obstacles Khartoum puts up as about positive
efforts at reconstruction and development. Only the most relentless
pressure on members of this regime in any "national government," only
the clearest signaling of consequences for failing to honor the terms of
this peace agreement, can work to make the expenditures of wealth and
distribution of power truly meaningful in Southern Sudan and other
marginalized areas.

The battle is only half won with a peace agreement; if the struggle for
peace is not completed, then we may be sure that there will be a
relentless slide back toward war. And surely there could be no crueler
fate for Sudan than to see a peace agreement wither because it was not
supported financially at the critical moment of transition from peace to
war. The massive commitments to reconstruction in post-war Iraq and
Afghanistan, many tens of billions of dollars, amply demonstrate our
capacity for helping Sudan. If the US reneges on its promises, refuses
to accept the compelling moral challenge presented by Sudan's
transitional needs, then it will share deeply in the blame for any
renewed war.

THE SPLM/A AMONG KHARTOUM'S GENOCIDAIRES: HOW WILL THE KILLING IN
DARFUR BE HALTED?

One reason that Khartoum has delayed a final peace agreement so long is
that there is no obvious way in which the proposed new "national
government" (per the terms of the Power-sharing Protocol, January 2004)
can accommodate SPLM views of genocide in Darfur. Nor is there any
obvious way in which John Garang, Chairman of the SPLM, can take up his
post as Vice President in a government that continues to be responsible
for massive human destruction of precisely the sort that has defined
Southern Sudan for so many years. Khartoum put off negotiations for
many months (which it did without consequence), and in this time had
hoped to find a final solution to its "Darfur problem."

But in fact, civilian destruction has accelerated---35,000 now die
every month and total deaths number approximately 400,000 (see December
14, 2004 morality assessment at www.sudanreeves.org), even as the
insurgencies continue to demonstrate their military determination and
resilience. But there is also a growing desperation that has resulted
in increased looting of humanitarian convoys, both for food and
vehicles. Such actions must be unequivocally condemned, and it is
incumbent upon the leadership of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and
the Justice and Equality Movement to halt such deeply destructive
actions, actions inevitably most consequential for desperate civilians.

At the same time, we must recognize that the notional cease-fire that
emerged from the Abuja Accord (November 9, 2004) is now utterly
worthless, despite its recent reiteration by both parties. Moreover,
despite suggestions that the insurgents are trying with their actions to
provoke an international intervention, the preponderance of evidence
indicates just the opposite. The insurgents, convinced that the
international community is content to allow genocidal destruction to
proceed without meaningful action, are fighting with an increasingly
desperate air. But such desperation cannot in itself confer legitimacy
upon actions taken in perceived service of their military cause,
especially attacks on international humanitarian convoys.

Moreover, it is extremely short-sighted of the insurgents not to
recognize that these attacks are profoundly counter-productive. Indeed,
violence that threatens humanitarian aid in Darfur only assists Khartoum
in its larger genocidal aims. The Independent (UK), citing a senior aid
official, puts the matter with acuity:

"The aid agencies are wary of criticising the Sudanese government in
public, but a senior official said: 'We are going to continue to see the
humanitarian organisations drawing back. It is simply too dangerous.
This means that the Sudanese government is effectively winning in its
campaign to keep independent observers out of Darfur. It'll also be even
more of a humanitarian disaster than it is now. It is astonishing the
outside world does not realise this.'" (The Independent, December 26,
2004)

But if the "outside world" doesn't realize what is happening, or rather
refuses to look, humanitarian organizations certainly understand the
situation on the ground:

"International charities working in Darfur are considering drastically
reducing their presence in the wake of Save the Children's decision to
pull out, and the murder of yet another aid worker [the Doctors Without
Borders (MSF) worker killed by Khartoum's forces in an assault on
Labado, South Darfur, December 17, 2004---ER]."

"A number of organisations are reviewing their positions after a week
which saw a further unraveling of security in what the United Nations
has called the 'world's worst humanitarian crisis.' [ ] Oxfam staff now
only fly by UN helicopters because the roads are considered too
dangerous. A small African Union force, deployed to monitor a fragile
ceasefire, grounded all its helicopters after one was damaged by ground
fire." (The Independent, December 26, 2004)

Khartoum is now looking for the most advantageous pretexts for attacks
and counter-attacks against the insurgencies; the net result is not a
military stand-off, but the furthering of civilian destruction. For
example, the UN News Center reported yesterday:

"About 260,000 people in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region will miss
their food ration this month because the UN's World Food Program has
been forced to suspend its relief convoys after rebels yesterday
launched a large-scale attack on a nearby town and government forces
retaliated." (UN News Center, December 28, 2004)

These people, already displaced and vulnerable because of earlier
violent attacks by Khartoum's regular forces and its Janjaweed allies,
are now extremely vulnerable, and desperate for food as well as other
forms of humanitarian aid. They are directly threatened by current
violence, and countless thousands will die without food and assistance.

WHAT WE HAVE KNOW ABOUT DARFUR, AND WHEN WE KNEW IT

These basic facts are too well known; and in the absence of a robust
international peacekeeping force, we must accept as an inevitable
conclusion that the world is prepared to look on while this massive
human destruction, genocidal in nature, continues. The African Union
force, both as presently deployed (approximately 1,000 personnel) and as
contemplated at fully deployed strength (approximately 3,500 personnel)
is transparently inadequate to address the multiple and daunting
security tasks in Darfur.

Total mortality in the region is now approximately half that of the
Rwandan genocide---400,000 human beings (again, see most recent
[December 14, 2004] mortality assessment by this writer at
www.sudanreeves.org). The UN, the US, the European Union refuse to
accept these terrible statistical realities, even as they are conducting
no comprehensive mortality studies that might give a clearer sense of
the scale of Darfur's genocide. It is difficult to resist the
conclusion that this refusal to estimate total mortality derives from an
unwillingness to see rendered a more accurate account of what is
transpiring before our very eyes. Darfur is Rwanda in slow motion---or,
as Alex de Waal of Justice Africa has recently suggested, it is
genocidal destruction in Southern Sudan speeded up.

However we characterize Darfur's genocide, it provides an impossibly
difficult context in which to imagine a "national government" being
formed. Comments from various international actors, suggesting
wishfully that conclusion of a formal north/south peace agreement in
Kenya will somehow conveniently provide the template for an end to
conflict in Darfur, reflect either ignorance or disingenuousness. For
despite the superficial plausibility of such a notion, Khartoum has done
nothing to suggest how the Naivasha process can be adapted to
negotiations with Darfur's insurgency movements. On the contrary, the
regime has sent a number of very strong signals to the opposite effect.

In any event, negotiations to end genocide in Darfur could stretch for
months; but the present monthly mortality rate of 35,000 could easily
grow to 100,000 deaths per month if humanitarian aid is suspended: this
is the figure indicated by Jan Egeland, UN Undersecretary for
Humanitarian Affairs, in an interview of December 16, 2004 (Financial
Times [UK]). To pretend that a timely response to Darfur's catastrophe
lies implicit somewhere in a Kenyan signing ceremony is simply a moral
grotesquerie. It is as true now as it was a year ago: without robust
international humanitarian intervention, there is nothing that will stop
massive genocidal destruction.

We have known this all too well, as we have known the real nature of
the relationship between Darfur and negotiations in Naivasha. We have
chosen not to act upon that knowledge:

(On Genocide in Darfur)

Eric Reeves
December 30, 2003 [sic]

from Africa InfoServe (Sudan publications of AfricaFiles.org)
http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=4075

[excerpt]

"It is intolerable that the international community continues to allow
what all evidence suggests is genocide. For surely if we are honest
with ourselves we will accept that the term 'ethnic cleansing' is no
more than a dangerous euphemism for genocide, a way to make the ultimate
crime somehow less awful. As Samantha Power has cogently observed, the
phrase 'ethnic cleansing' gained currency in the early 1990s as a way of
speaking about the atrocities in the Balkans---'as a kind of euphemistic
halfway house between crimes against humanity and genocide.' But
linguistic half-measures are not enough when the question is whether an
'ethnical [or] racial group' is being destroyed 'in whole or in
part'---'as such' (from the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).

"The present realities in Darfur must urgently be rendered for the
world to see and understand---fully, honestly, and on the basis of much
greater information than is presently available. In turn, these
realities must guide a humanitarian effort that will not allow
Khartoum's claim of 'national sovereignty' to trump the desperate
plight of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians caught up in a
maelstrom of destruction and displacement. [ ]

"Indeed, the logic of the situation is so compelling that one can only
surmise that the failure of the international community even to speak of
the possibility of a humanitarian intervention in Darfur derives from
some morally appalling failure of nerve, and an unwillingness to roil
the diplomatic waters with a peace agreement [apparently] so close
between Khartoum and the SPLM/A. [ ]

For unless the international community shows its concern for the
various marginalized peoples of Sudan, peace will be only very partial
and ultimately unsustainable."
*****************************
Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063
ereeves@smith.edu
www.sudanreeves.org




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