<$BlogRSDURL$>

Saturday, May 29, 2004

US holds key to peace in Sudan 

Boston Globe

By John Eibner and Joe Madison | May 29, 2004

SUDAN'S Islamist government and the secular Sudan People's Liberation Army have passed another milestone in a long and tortuous peace process. On Wednesday, Vice President Ali Osman Taha and SPLA Chairman Colonel John Garang signed the last of six protocols that collectively constitute a framework for a comprehensive peace agreement for Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains. They are now poised to conclude negotiations by establishing modalities for implementation and international monitoring.

On paper, the protocols appear to lay the foundation for an end to 21 years of apocalyptic civil war between successive Arab-Muslim-dominated governments and the predominantly black, non-Muslim rebels of Southern Sudan. The South is due to receive autonomous, Shariah-free government during a six-year interim period. Free elections are scheduled within three years. Southern Sudan is promised a referendum on independence at the end of that period.

The greatest beneficiary of peace should be the South. There, the war assumed genocidal proportions: Over two million black non-Muslims perished, over four million were displaced, and tens of thousands enslaved. For Southern Sudan, the protocols open a door to economic development and self-determination. They also provide the North with a historic opportunity to free itself from a destructive jihad declared against restive non-Muslim communities.

The Bush administration deserves credit for creating conditions for a serious peace process. Despite a parade of initiatives over the years, no significant progress had been made until 2001 when President Bush appointed former Senator John Danforth as special envoy. Congress also played a crucial role. With broad bipartisan support, it passed the Sudan Peace Act in 2002. This legislation identified Sudan's government as the perpetrator of acts of "genocide" and gave the president the carrots and sticks he needed to ensure progress.

The key question now is whether the six protocols will lead to stability, or become, like the Oslo Accords, a byword for failed diplomacy. The biggest obstacle to success is the belief of Northern Sudan's ruling class in its manifest destiny to Islamize and Arabize the multicultural country. Cultural and religious assimilation in Sudan is the legacy of 1,300 years of Arab colonialism and has been pursued by successive governments since independence in 1956. General Bashir's dictatorship promotes Islamization and Arabization in the context of a totalitarian ideology of jihad. Fundamental ideological change in Khartoum is a precondition of sustainable peace.

Khartoum's war against Muslim black African tribes in Darfur demonstrates its lack of commitment to peace. Since the end of last year, government offensives have displaced over one million civilians, and have resulted in the death of tens of thousands. Captive women and children are subjected to ritual gang-rape. UN officials now use terms such as "war crimes," "crimes against humanity," "reign of terror," and "ethnic cleansing" to describe the deeds of Bashir's troops.

The continuing enslavement of tens of thousands of black non-Muslims and Khartoum's persistent denial of this "crime against humanity" is further indication that institutionalized racism and religious bigotry have not been overcome. In December 2002, Danforth identified the eradication of slavery as vital. Yet Khartoum has made little progress in facilitating the liberation of slaves -- despite having received millions of US dollars from the international community for that purpose.

In the South, the greatest long-term danger to peace comes from the possibility of nonaccountable government, a breakdown of the fragile institutional and economic infrastructure, and a descent into tribalism. Khartoum expects this and is prepared to exploit the poverty of the South, using its immense power of patronage over key Southern politicians and tribal militias -- to undermine the peace process, especially future implementation of the right of self-determination.

If these enormous obstacles to a lasting peace are overcome, it will be because of continuing US engagement. The Bush administration must compel Khartoum to end all campaigns of terror. It should also advance representative and secular constitutional government, in accordance with Bush's declared commitment to encourage democracy. As long as Sudan's pro-democracy movement and substantial religious and ethnic minorities are marginalized, peace will be very fragile indeed.

President Bush should be prepared to employ throughout the interim period the punitive measures provided by the Sudan Peace Act to ensure that both sides honor their word. The eradication of slavery will require an effective monitoring mechanism at the State Department. Without a strong US commitment to guarantee the six protocols, a lasting peace in Sudan is likely to prove illusory.

John Eibner, a member of the human rights organization Christian Solidarity International, and Joe Madison, a Washington-based syndicated radio commentator, are co-founders of the Sudan Campaign coalition.

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/05/29/us_holds_key_to_peace_in_sudan/



Friday, May 28, 2004

The Data of Destruction: Accelerating Genocide in Darfur 

Eric Reeves
May 27, 2004

Yesterday's historic peace signing in Naivasha (Kenya) between
Khartoum's National Islamic Front regime and the Sudan People's
Liberation Movement/Army must be hailed for two reasons.

First, whatever the chances that peace will actually be realized, such
an agreement is the necessary first step in revealing fully to the
international community the dimensions of Khartoum's intransigence. A
regime that has never abided by any agreement with any Sudanese
party---not one, not ever---is not likely to begin now. But the
international spotlight on bad faith, in the wake of such enormous
diplomatic investment in fashioning the Naivasha peace agreement, may
make Khartoum's intransigence too conspicuous, even for the most
willfully ignorant among the world community.

Certainly without a robust, fully equipped, and adequately staffed
peace-support operation---of a sort nowhere in evidence---the peace
agreement will collapse within a year. The same is likely true if there
is not a massive infusion of emergency transitional aid to sustain the
war-ravaged south during the beginning of a fragile interim period.
Adequate resources must be put in place to accommodate the millions of
Internally Displaced Persons who will seek to return to their homes in
the south, perhaps 1 million in the first year alone. This will
overwhelm humanitarian capacity, and set the stage for destabilizing
competition for scarce resources---food, water, land, and agricultural
opportunity.

But the agreement in Naivasha is important for a second reason: it
removes any excuse for further expediency on the part of the
international community in responding to the human catastrophe in
Darfur. Though there are substantial negotiating difficulties that
remain in producing a final peace agreement between Khartoum and the
SPLM/A---including the merging of various protocols, establishing the
terms of a comprehensive cease-fire, and negotiating "modalities of
implementation"---there are no issues of principle remaining.

What remains in the wake of the historic Naivasha agreement is a
question of equally historic significance: will the international
community finally respond to Khartoum's genocidal destruction of the
African peoples of Darfur?

How this question is answered will go a long way toward telling us how
likely it is that this same international community will see the
Naivasha agreement become the basis for a just and sustainable peace for
the people of southern Sudan. Moreover, as Human Rights Watch observed
yesterday, "the [Khartoum] government's campaign of 'ethnic cleansing'
in Darfur raises real questions about whether Khartoum is really willing
to comply with today's peace accord in the south" (Press Release, Human
Rights Watch, May 26, 2004).

Though the urgency of commentary on Darfur continues to grow, it is
still not commensurate with the realities on the ground. For this
reason the absolute moral necessity of immediate humanitarian
intervention has continued to be obscured. But there must be no
mistaking what is happening now, not in a "future" that seems
continually to slide further forward in time. For the terrible future
that awaits Darfur will grow out of genocidal realities that are all too
clear at present, this very day.

Only if guided by such clarity can we understand why the International
Crisis Group recently declared that, "in the best-case scenario, 'only'
100,000 people are expected to die in Darfur from disease and
malnutrition in the coming months; sadly, there is little reason for
even this desperate optimism" ("End the slaughter and starvation in
western Sudan," May 16, 2004). Only if guided by such clarity of vision
will we see the conditions that have generated the terrifying
conclusion, drawn expertly from current data, of the US Agency for
International Development: the "cumulative death rate" for the
"vulnerable group" (presently estimated at over 1.2 million by US AID
and at approximately 2 million by the UN) "would be approximately 30%
over a nine-month period" (see data at
http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf).

The future, in short, may entail the deaths of half a million people.
Even the US State Department, which has so consistently failed to speak
with appropriate urgency about Darfur during the Naivasha negotiations,
is acknowledging as much. Reuters quotes a "senior statement department
official"---almost certainly Assistant Secretary of State for African
Affairs Charles Snyder---declaring that "literally hundreds of thousands
of people could die in the course of this summer" (Reuters, May 21,
2004). And the peak mortality rates---perhaps 3,000 people a
day---won't be reached until December, according to the data from US
AID.

Those dying from engineered famine and epidemics will be,
overwhelmingly, the African peoples of Darfur, primarily the Fur, the
Zaghawa, and the Massaleit. They will die because their deaths are the
ambition clearly defining the war Khartoum has chosen to wage in Darfur,
a military campaign "deliberately inflicting on [these African groups]
conditions of life calculated to bring about [their] physical
destruction" (Article 2, clause [c] of the 1948 UN Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).

Every single human rights report on Darfur---whether from Amnesty
International, Human Rights Watch, the UN, or those humanitarian
organizations that have borne witness to massive human rights
abuses---makes clear the concerted, systematic,
racially/ethnically-based nature of the human destruction being wrought
by Khartoum and its Janjaweed allies in Darfur. Whether the language
chosen is "ethnic cleansing" (UN, US State Department, Human Rights
Watch), "crimes against humanity," "ethnic-based murder," "ethnicide,"
the realities described are remarkably unvarying and clearly match the
language centrally defining of the Genocide Convention.

What are these realities at present?

In the waning days of May, it is clear that there has been no spring
planting, and thus there will be no fall harvest. Most of the displaced
have lost all or most of their cattle and other livestock, including
essential donkeys. Water wells and irrigations systems have been blown
up or poisoned, foodstocks, seeds, and agricultural implements
destroyed. All this ensures that the resumption of productive
agricultural lives for these people will be extremely difficult even
next fall (for the smaller-scale winter planting season). And without
physical security, so completely compromised by the unconstrained
predations of Khartoum's Janjaweed militia in the rural areas, where
thousands of villages have now been torched and looted, there can be no
foreseeable return to agricultural production and self-sufficiency.

It is distinctly possible that many of these people will never return
to agricultural life, a prospect that suggests we are witnessing the
destruction not simply of peoples, but the African cultures of Darfur,
tied intimately in so many ways to rural life, landscape and
agricultural cycles.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres finds that "the whole
population [of Darfur] is teetering on the verge of mass starvation,"
and offers a grim overview in a recent release:

"Water systems, crops and livestock were looted or destroyed during
attacks on villages. People have not been able to plant and no harvest
is expected this year. The whole population faces food shortages and is
in danger of starvation in the very near future unless substantial food
distributions can be organized. As people are weakened by hunger, they
will only become more vulnerable to disease. Threats of malaria and
diarrheal diseases will only increase with the onset of the rainy
season, and the death and suffering could escalate to catastrophic
proportions."
(Press Release, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres; May
20, 2004)

How many people are at risk? The most salient fact in recent days is
the dramatic increase in numbers. The New York Times reports:

"Jan Egeland, the United Nations under secretary general for
humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council that the numbers of
people needing 'acute assistance' in Darfur had risen in recent weeks to
2 million from 1.2 million." (New York Times, May 27, 2004)

And this figure is does not include the refugee population in Chad,
which continues to grow rapidly as people flee the ongoing violence
orchestrated by Khartoum. A spokesperson for the UN World Food Program
recently indicated that the organization was bringing its estimate of
refugees in line with that of Refugees International, a figure of
approximately 200,000 rather than the suspiciously static figure of
110,000 that has been cited for months (UN Integrated Regional
Information Networks, May 21, 2004). Since the plans of the UN High
Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have been governed by this lower
number---unchanged for months---we must seriously question how
adequately UNHCR has responded to the crisis in Chad, whatever the
logistical and financial difficulties.

This refugee population in Chad is at ever greater risk, both because
so many have not been moved away from the Chad/Darfur border and because
access to most of these extremely vulnerable people will shortly be
ended by seasonal rains, now moving northward. Moreover, ominous
military volatility in the border region is reported in a recent update
from the US Agency for International Development:

"The Sudanese border with Chad north of [al-]Geneina has become
increasingly unstable. International media sources and other field
reports indicate concentrations of Jingaweit and regular [Government of
Sudan] forces, including military helicopters, in the areas. Reports
also indicate that Chadian forces have mobilized along the Chad side of
the border. Due to escalating insecurity, many humanitarian
organizations in eastern Chad have moved personnel away from the 600km
border."
(US AID: "Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency," Fact Sheet, May 21, 2004)

Inside Darfur, reports of intense military activity continue, despite
Khartoum's various commitments under the April 8, 2004 cease-fire
agreement. These activities---reported by many humanitarian
organizations, the US Agency for International Development, and directly
to this writer by sources in Chad---contribute to an ever-greater
population of displaced and war-affected. US AID recently spoke of,

"reports from the field indicat[ing] that [Government of Sudan]
military and opposition forces are still active throughout the three
states of Darfur. Relief agencies report that [Government of
Sudan]-supported Jingaweit militias have increased attacks against
civilians, resulting in increasing numbers of Internally Displaced
Persons." (US AID: "Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency," Fact Sheet, May 21,
2004)

Human Rights Watch reported yesterday:

"As recently as yesterday [May 25, 2004], Arab militias attacked five
villages 15 kilometers south of Nyala in Darfur, killing 46 civilians
and wounding at least nine others, according to local sources. The
militias, known as Janjaweed, were accompanied by government soldiers in
three Land Cruisers armed with antiaircraft artillery." (Press Release,
Human Rights Watch, May 26, 2004)

This is precisely the sort of attack predicted in a dispatch to this
writer from the Darfur Diaspora Association on May 19, 2004 (analysis
available upon request). At the time, a large contingent of Janjaweed,
estimated at around 2,000 and clearly recently armed and supplied by
Khartoum, had been deployed in several areas near Nyala town, poised to
begin a new campaign of civilian slaughter and destruction. On May 17,
2004 the village of Kashallingo (11 kilometers south of Nyala) was
destroyed and fifteen civilians were killed by the Janjaweed. The
inhabitants of approximately 30 other villages in the area were given an
ultimatum: "leave your villages or you will be killed." Several people
were either killed or raped as the Janjaweed made clear their
seriousness about the current campaign.

As a consequence of threats and the burning of Kashallingo,
approximately 10,000 civilians have now been forced to relocate to a new
concentration camp in the Mussaoi area (approximately 5 kilometers
southeast of Nyala). The actions and movements by the Janjaweed and
Khartoum's regular military forces strongly suggest a new campaign of
civilian destruction, which will focus on Fur villages in the area
between Kundwa and the Hajair locality (approximately 80 kilometers
southeast of Nyala). This represents a large swathe of geography in
South Darfur that has heretofore not been subject to the scorched-earth
warfare so evident throughout most of Darfur.

In addition to the attacks reported by the Darfur Diaspora Association
and Human Rights Watch, Eltigani Ateem, former governor of Darfur, has
today communicated to this writer further details of military attacks on
villages in the Nyala area ("committed with the full knowledge and
backing of Khartoum authorities"), as well as soaring mortality
rates---particularly among children---in the areas of Shattaya and
Kailek.

The latter is site of the now notorious concentration camp, where a UN
inter-agency investigative team found in late April 2004 "a strategy of
systematic and deliberate starvation," a policy of "imprisonment," a
"policy of forced starvation," an unreported "child mortality rate of
8-9 per day," and the continued obstruction of humanitarian aid for this
critically distressed, forcibly confined population. This assessment
led these professional humanitarian aid workers to make explicit
comparison to the Rwandan genocide.
("Report: A United Nations Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian
needs assessment mission, Kailek, South Darfur, 24 April 2004")

Eltigani Ateem reports today, on the basis of telephone conversations
to persons in Nyala, that humanitarian access to the displaced persons
in the Shattaya and Kailek areas "is still impossible because of the
many hurdles created by the Sudanese authorities."

This account, in turn, comports all too well with many others
indicating that Khartoum, despite recent promises to expedite
humanitarian access, is yet again failing to honor its commitments.
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres recently reported:

"Despite promises by the Sudanese government to expedite the provision
of assistance, bureaucratic barriers placed in front of aid agencies
significantly inhibit immediate action. The government has also not
taken action to stop the violence against civilians. The aid community
and the United Nations have so far failed to be present and provide
adequate levels of desperately needed food, water and shelter."
(Press Release, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres; May
20, 2004)

Jan Egeland, UN Under-secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, said
yesterday that:

"The Sudanese government had failed to keep its promises to disarm the
militias and deploy police and was obstructing delivery of food and
other assistance by imposing travel restrictions on foreign relief
organizations." (New York Times, May 27, 2004)

And the UN News Centre reported yesterday:

"Having lifted restrictions on humanitarian visits to the internally
displaced people (IDPs) under attack in its western Darfur area, the
Sudanese Government has imposed other restraints which, along with
insufficient external funding, effectively impede timely assistance, the
United Nations humanitarian coordinator [Jan Egeland] said today." (UN
News Centre [New York], May 26, 2004)

Unfettered humanitarian access---they key to saving hundreds of
thousands of lives---continues, as it has for months, to be
systematically obstructed by Khartoum as a weapon in its war against the
African peoples of Darfur.


****************

What the world knows and what the world is prepared to do seem
hopelessly at odds in Darfur. Too few will acknowledge what the
International Crisis Group has compellingly argued:

"To move large amounts of food and medicine, the international
community needs either to get unimpeded and monitored access via the
rail line, identify new cross border routes from neighbouring countries
or SPLA-controlled territory, or create---and be prepared to protect---a
major humanitarian air lift. And none of this will matter unless there
are guaranteed safe concentration points for the Internally Displaced
Persons---including from government air strikes and Janjaweed
attacks---on the ground."
(International Crisis Group, "Sudan: Now or Never in Darfur," May 23,
2004)

Instead of planning for humanitarian intervention in order to save
hundreds of thousands of lives, the UN Security Council is culpably
dithering---"strongly condemn[ing] acts that jeopardize a peaceful
solution to the crisis," but failing to assign responsibility for these
"acts." Concerning humanitarian access, the Security Council could
bring itself to say only that it "was seriously concerned about
continued logistical impediments prohibiting a rapid response in the
face of a 'stark and mounting' crisis" (UN Security Council, 4978th
Meeting; May 26, 2004).

This is simply not enough, indeed it is woefully, shamefully without
appropriate urgency given the massive human destruction that has begun
and will only accelerate until there is more than "serious concern."
Such "concern" should have been registered many months ago; now it is
simply a diplomatic placeholder.

Secretary-general Kofi Annan has offered little more. He is reported
today as also "concerned over the grave humanitarian and human rights
crisis in the Darfur"; his spokesperson in New York told reporters
that:

"Mr. Annan has received 'numerous communications from individuals,
groups and organizations all over the world' asking him to ensure that
emergency assistance is delivered to those in need and calling for
action to prevent the situation from deteriorating further."

[Kofi Annan can "receive further communications" at: inquiries@un.org]

"'The Secretary-General fully shares the concerns of the public at
large, and in that regard would like to inform all those who wrote to
him that he has been following the situation in Darfur very closely and
with great concern,' [Spokeswoman] Okabe said. She recalled that in the
early days of the Darfur crisis, he engaged the Sudanese Government, as
well as others, and sought a political settlement to the problem. 'He
regrets that those efforts could not help in preventing the grave
humanitarian emergency and the massive violation of human rights in
Darfur.'" (UN News Centre, May 27, 2004)

But Mr. Annan also now "regrets" his failure to do more in Rwanda.
Expressions of "regret" and "concern" are meaningless at this critical
moment. All that matters are the actions ensuring humanitarian
assistance to people who are threatened with genocidal destruction. His
pledge to "designate an envoy, who will represent him at the political
talks due to resume in N'djamena, Chad, shortly," is shockingly lacking
in urgency and appropriateness. For Khartoum will happily continue
further meaningless negotiations in Chad, indeed declared as much in an
Al Sahafa newspaper headline (Khartoum):

"[Khartoum] Government stresses that Darfur talks will continue in
N'Djamena: The government has confirmed that negotiations with Darfur
rebels will continue in N'Djamena [Chad]." (Al Sahafa [Khartoum] UN
Daily Press Review, May 25, 2004)

Nothing meaningful can come from negotiations under such enfeebled
auspices, and for just this reason the Khartoum regime is "stressing"
that it will accept only this diplomatic venue.

Ultimately the crisis in Darfur does require a political settlement,
and a suitable diplomatic venue must be found. But the task at hand is
to save lives---hundreds of thousands of lives. Those who fail to
accept their responsibility in this task will be complicit in genocide.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

ereeves@smith.edu

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Khartoum's National Islamic Front: On the Verge of Signing a "Peace" Agreement,  

But the Engineers of Human Destruction Continue Apace in Southern Sudan
and Darfur

Eric Reeves
May 25, 2005

For months the prospect of an imminent peace agreement between
Khartoum's National Islamic Front and the southern opposition (the
SPLM/A) has muted international criticism of the regime's genocidal war
in another arena, the far western province of Darfur. This has worked
to limit the world's understanding of the scale of catastrophe in
Darfur. But as Darfur's genocide has finally begun to come into view
(despite Khartoum's contrivances and obstructionism), this has in turn
had the perverse effect of obscuring the intense human destruction and
displacement that have recently accelerated in southern Sudan, and the
Shilluk Kingdom of Upper Nile Province in particular.

Yet again, Khartoum has counted on the expediency of an international
community seeking to consummate peace negotiations in Naivasha (Kenya)
at all costs and, in the process, ignoring all that might roil the
diplomatic waters. In banking on this ongoing expediency, the National
Islamic Front regime has been richly rewarded. For despite the terrible
reports from the Shilluk Kingdom (a large area north of the town of
Malakal in Upper Nile Province), there has been virtually no
international news coverage---only reports from Sudan Focal Point (South
Africa), the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, Catholic
Information Service for Africa, and a very few other regional sources.


But the picture in aggregate should be extremely disturbing to those
seeking to assess Khartoum's willingness to make a genuine peace on the
eve of what does finally appear to be a signing ceremony (tentatively
scheduled for May 26, 2004, according to wire reports citing the Kenyan
foreign ministry).

Catholic Information Services for Africa reports from Nairobi:

"[General Secretary of All African Conference Churches (AACC) Rev Dr
Mvume] Dandala, who had returned from a tour of Sudan, revealed that
government backed militias were raiding villages in the Upper Nile
around Malakal with equal zeal as that of Darfur."

"'Within the last four days, homes of an estimated 23,000 villagers
have been razed in the Upper Nile, and more militias are now moving to
Northern part of the Upper Nile.' The church leader said the situation
in Darfur together with the Upper Nile was a genocide in the making and
resembled Rwanda ten years ago when the world merely watched as tragic
events took place."
(Catholic Information Service for Africa [Nairobi], May 21, 2004)

The UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks also reports:

"The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) called on Thursday for an
investigation into what it said were 'reports of crimes against humanity'
in southern Sudan's Upper Nile state. It said attacks by armed militias
had led to the displacement of 150,000 people."

"'While the graphic media reports have caused all of us, the world
over, to focus attention primarily on the Darfur, we were informed that
militias are raiding villages in the Upper Nile around Malakal with
equal zeal as that of Darfur,' AACC General Secretary Rev Dr Mvume
Dandala told a news conference in Nairobi."

"Mvume led a team of AACC officials who visited Sudan last week. 'The
AACC believes there are strong grounds for investigating and monitoring
reports of crimes against humanity in Sudan,' he said." (UN Integrated
Regional Information Networks, May 20, 2004)

IRIN continues:

"Since early March, between 50,000 and 150,000 people have been
displaced by a series of militia attacks in the Upper Nile area known as
the Shilluk Kingdom. Most of the displaced have moved to government
garrison towns, the Nuba mountains, the Panaru area, a group of islands
in the swampy area between the White Nile and Lol rivers, and northern
Sudan. With sketchy information from the area and few humanitarian
actors on the ground, the numbers and whereabouts of the displaced
remain uncertain."

"Three international NGOs---Tearfund, VSF-Germany and World
Vision---and the UN (except for the garrison town of Malakal) have had
to pull out of the area." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks,
May 20, 2004)

Sudan Focal Point (South Africa) confirms these findings, reporting
that 120,000 people have been displaced from their homes on the west
bank of the Nile. Military operations, directed against the civilian
population, have been undertaken by militia forces controlled and
supported by Khartoum and its regular armed forces (Sudan Focal Point,
April 2004).

Many of the civilians displaced have moved into Malakal, and this has
overwhelmed the town's capacity for humanitarian response. The larger
situation in this part of Upper Nile is, without substantial
intervention, clearly yet another immense humanitarian crisis in the
making. Khartoum's military activities in creating this crisis are all,
of course, clearly in violation of the October 15, 2002 cessation of
hostilities agreement with the SPLM/A, as well as the February 4, 2003
addendum to the October 15, 2004 agreement. Khartoum's signatures on
these two agreements---both hailed at the time by the international
communities---have proved worthless.

The question this forces is why we should expect anything different in
Naivasha. The answer is that we shouldn't, at least in the absence of
very substantial emergency transitional aid, from European and North
American donors, and full humanitarian access to all regions of southern
Sudan. The UN Integrated Regional Information Networks has noted, for
example, reports that more than 100,000 Internally Displaced Persons
returned to Bahr el-Ghazal between January and March of 2004, in
anticipation of a peace agreement (UN Integrated Regional Information
Networks, May 14, 2004). Conclusion of a peace agreement will see
perhaps 1 million more people return to southern Sudan in the first
year, overwhelming present capacity, already stretched very thin and
without access to many parts of the south.

A peace agreement will also be meaningless without a robust
international peace support operation of a sort not nearly ready to be
deployed. Such a force---with adequate manpower, transport capacity,
communications gear, security arrangements, and knowledgeable
personnel---is nowhere in evidence. Khartoum is well aware of this lack
of preparedness, and is likely to use it to military advantage in the
ways we have seen in recent months in Upper Nile (including also the
Akobo area of Eastern Upper Nile, where civilians have also been
attacked by Khartoum-backed militias; Agence France-Presse, May 11,
2004).

Moreover, even if there is a signing this Wednesday, it will be of
specific protocols---on power-sharing, the contested area of Abyei, and
another on the contested areas of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue
Nile. [See Agence France-Presse, May 24, 2004] These protocols will
then have to be combined with previous protocols (including
wealth-sharing and security arrangements) to produce a final agreement.
And this will then be followed by the negotiation of a comprehensive
cease-fire and so-called "modalities of implementation"---the
fine-grained details of how the peace will actually begin.

This provides a great deal of scope for Khartoum to stall, renege, and
continue with its present policies of civilian destruction. Khartoum
will also be afforded opportunity to continue with specific projects of
Islamicizing and Arabizing parts of the south, in effect "annexing" them
to northern Sudan. Malakal is the clearest example, but there are others
(Sudan Focal Point, April 2004). Here we should also bear in mind the
reports that were finally forced from the largely ineffectual Civilian
Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) in southern Sudan in late March 2004.
Khartoum's brutally orchestrated destruction in the Shilluk Kingdom was
described in the following terms:

"A CPMT member with 18 months of CPMT field investigative experience
described [Khartoum's military offensive] as the worst systematic
destruction/displacement of civilians he has personally observed since
the formation of the CPMT in August 2002."

"A second CPMT member with over 8 years of Sudan experience and 16
months with CPMT described the Government of Sudan offensive in the
Malakal area as reminiscent of the devastating 'clearing' of the oil
region in the Western Upper Nile in the late 1990s."
(Malakal Area Destruction SITREP # 2; March 31, 2004)

This was occurring even as various officials of the Khartoum regime
were declaring that a peace agreement was imminent, as these same
officials have for months. Indeed, it may be instructive to look back at
earlier comments, now months ago, by National Islamic Front leaders:

"Next week could see the signing of a final agreement on the questions
of sharing of power, sharing of resources and the three contested areas,'
[NIF President Omer] Beshir was quoted as saying." (Agence
France-Presse, December 30, 2003 [Khartoum])

Mustafa Ismail, NIF foreign minister, declared in Cairo in mid-January:

"'I am optimistic that in a short while we will manage to sign the
peace accord,' he said, adding the time-frame proposed up until now was
the end of January. 'We are continuing to hope (to be able to respect
the deadline), but in my opinion, even if we exceed this date, it will
not take much time' to conclude a settlement, the minister said. 'I'm
not speaking of months, but perhaps weeks.'" (Agence France-Presse,
January 13, 2004 [Cairo])

Dozens of examples of such disingenuousness and outright prevarication
could be adduced.

************************

Moreover, we must keep clearly in mind that a peace signing in Naivasha
won't do anything to end the conflict in Darfur. Indeed, we may expect
Khartoum to trumpet the Naivasha agreement as a sign of its "peaceful
ways." Coupled with what International Crisis Group has rightly
described as Khartoum's "cynically late" promises of humanitarian access
to Darfur, the regime will yet again go on the "charm offensive" (see
International Crisis Group, "Sudan: Now or Never in Darfur," May 23,
2004). And the first response of many in the international community to
Khartoum's mere promise of expedited access---access that comes much too
late for many tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of
civilians---is all too predictably ebulliently optimistic.

[The International Crisis Group declared in a May 16, 2004 release
("End the slaughter and starvation in western Sudan") that, "in the
best-case scenario, 'only' 100,000 people are expected to die in Darfur
from disease and malnutrition in the coming months; sadly, there is
little reason for even this desperate optimism."]

For what is being welcomed are merely words from Khartoum, but words
that have the effect of removing the immediate pressure on the UN and
others to act in some truly effective manner---and to confront the
urgent need for humanitarian intervention. The UN, despite strong
language in some quarters, has been all too clearly averse to
criticizing Khartoum with appropriate vigor for its massive, systematic
obstruction of humanitarian access over many months.

The enthusiastic response that has greeted Khartoum's promise of
improved humanitarian access---"systematically" denied for months,
according to a senior UN official and others---is not only expedient, it
is appallingly callous. For the humanitarian crisis has now clearly
grown to proportions that cannot possibly be dealt with simply because
Khartoum may, and only may, partially ease visa and travel restrictions
for a period of time. We have only to survey recent humanitarian
assessments to see how relentlessly Darfur slides toward utter
catastrophe.

A recent press release on Darfur from Doctors Without Borders/Medecins
Sans Frontieres (May 20, 2004) reports:

"A recent nutritional survey shows dangerously high levels of
malnutrition and mortality and a rapidly deteriorating food security
situation. With already high levels of excess deaths and malnutrition,
the whole population is teetering on the verge of mass starvation."

"The nutritional study was conducted among 921 children and their
caregivers in five locations---Garsila, Mukjar, Bindissi, Deleij, and Um
Kher---where nearly 150,000 displaced people have sought refuge from
extreme violence. The study revealed that global acute malnutrition
affects 21.5% of the population while 3.2% suffer from severe acute
malnutrition. The mortality rate for children under five years of age is
5.2 deaths per 10,000 people per day while the rate for those over five
years of age is 3.6 deaths per 10,000 people per day. Both rates are
more than double the emergency thresholds."
(Press Release, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres; May
20, 2004)

MSF also reports:

"In addition to the scale of the current crisis, the nutritional study
indicates how the situation is set to further deteriorate unless urgent
action is taken. Water systems, crops and livestock were looted or
destroyed during attacks on villages. People have not been able to plant
and no harvest is expected this year. The whole population faces food
shortages and is in danger of starvation in the very near future unless
substantial food distributions can be organized. As people are weakened
by hunger, they will only become more vulnerable to disease. Threats of
malaria and diarrheal diseases will only increase with the onset of the
rainy season, and the death and suffering could escalate to catastrophic
proportions."

"Despite promises by the Sudanese government to expedite the provision
of assistance, bureaucratic barriers placed in front of aid agencies
significantly inhibit immediate action. The government has also not
taken action to stop the violence against civilians. The aid community
and the United Nations have so far failed to be present and provide
adequate levels of desperately needed food, water and shelter."
(Press Release, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres; May
20, 2004)

Moreover, the humanitarian crisis in Chad---growing out of the huge
stream of refugees driven by Khartoum and its militia proxies from
Darfur---also continues to expand. A spokeswoman for the UN World Food
Program recently indicated that the organization was bringing its
estimate of refugees in line with that of Refugees International, viz. a
figure of approximately 200,000 rather than the stale figure of 110,000
that has been cited for months (UN Integrated Regional Information
Networks, May 21, 2004). And as fighting continues, as attacks by
Khartoum's Janjaweed militia continue, so too does the refugee flow into
Chad.

For its part, the UN High Commission for Refugees has performed very
poorly in responding to this crisis, and there will soon be no way to
move these people away from the highly insecure border area---or to
provide them with overland humanitarian aid delivery, once the east/west
roads are fully closed by seasonal rains.

The US Agency for International Development (US AID) finds in its May
21, 2004 update ("Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency") that:

"reports from the field indicate that [Government of Sudan] military
and opposition forces are still active throughout the three states of
Darfur. Relief agencies report that [Government of Sudan]-supported
Jingaweit militias have increased attacks against civilians, resulting
in increasing numbers of Internally Displaced Persons." (US AID:
"Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency," Fact Sheet, May 21, 2004)

In an extremely ominous development, confirmed by humanitarian sources
on the ground in Chad directly to this writer, US AID reports that:

"the Sudanese border with Chad north of [al-]Geneina has become
increasingly unstable. International media sources and other field
reports indicate concentrations of Jingaweit and regular [Government of
Sudan] forces, including military helicopters, in the areas. Reports
also indicate that Chadian forces have mobilized along the Chad side of
the border. Due to escalating insecurity, many humanitarian
organizations in eastern Chad have moved personnel away from the 600km
border."
(US AID: "Darfur: Humanitarian Emergency," Fact Sheet, May 21, 2004)

Khartoum is not only precipitating a dangerous international
confrontation, its bellicose actions on the Chad/Sudan border are deeply
exacerbating the humanitarian crisis that it has exported to its
neighbor. This is hardly a regime to be congratulated on promising, and
only promising, to expedite travel for the humanitarian personnel who
have deliberately, unconscionably been impeded for months.

And in Darfur itself the catastrophe only deepens. The UN now estimates
that there are over 1 million people internally displaced in Darfur, and
that the "war-affected" population has climbed precipitously to 2
million (it was 1.1 million in the UN's April assessment). The
International Crisis Group (ICG) declared urgently on May 23, 2004 that,
"what UN officials have already called the worst humanitarian situation
in the world today could claim an additional 350,000 [lives] in the next
nine months, mainly from starvation and disease. Many more will die if
the direct killing is not stopped" (International Crisis Group, "Sudan:
Now or Never in Darfur," May 23, 2004).

ICG noted by way of introduction that,

"a month after the international community solemnly marked the tenth
anniversary of the Rwanda genocide in April 2004 with promises of 'never
again,' it faces a man-made humanitarian catastrophe in western Sudan
(Darfur) that can easily become as deadly. It is too late to prevent
substantial ethnic cleansing, but if the UN Security Council acts
decisively--including by preparing to authorize the use of force as a
last resort---there is just enough time to save hundreds of thousands of
lives directly threatened by Sudanese troops and militias and by looming
famine."
(International Crisis Group, "Sudan: Now or Never in Darfur," May 23,
2004)

Most significantly, ICG has begun to talk seriously about the
requirements of humanitarian intervention:

"To move large amounts of food and medicine, the international
community needs either to get unimpeded and monitored access via the
rail line, identify new cross border routes from neighbouring countries
or SPLA-controlled territory, or create---and be prepared to protect---a
major humanitarian air lift. And none of this will matter unless there
are guaranteed safe concentration points for the Internally Displaced
Persons---including from government air strikes and Janjaweed
attacks---on the ground."
(International Crisis Group, "Sudan: Now or Never in Darfur," May 23,
2004)

There is no comprehensive plan for adequate humanitarian relief in
Darfur, or for the protection of the approximately 1 million civilians
now forced into concentration camps characterized by appalling
conditions and soon to be sites for massive outbreaks of disease;
starvation among these badly weakened populations has also begun. The
UN daily bears greater responsibility for failing to confront these
realities and act on them with vigor and sustained commitment, as well
as close coordination with non-UN humanitarian efforts.

Despite Khartoum's recent announcement, humanitarian access continues
to be severely impeded. This duplicitous regime must not be allowed to
delay access further and this requires immediate planning for robust
humanitarian intervention. The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
must move from their present acquiescent posture and begin to plan for
such intervention. The UN Security Council must either move rapidly to
endorse such intervention or it will be as complicit in the genocidal
destruction of hundreds of thousands of Africans as was the UN Security
Council of April 1994.

*********************

In the largest sense, the problem throughout Sudan remains what it has
been since the National Islamic Front seized power in a military coup
fifteen years ago (June 30, 1989), deposing a deeply flawed but elected
government---and thereby deliberately aborting a nascent but promising
peace process with southern Sudan. For this military coup installed a
vicious, ruthlessly survivalist regime, one animated by racism and a
brutal project of Islamicizing and Arabizing as much of this part of the
world as possible.

The regime has never been forcefully confronted by the international
community as a whole, and has as a consequence acted with a sense of
brazen impunity. Now flush with petrodollars pumped from oil
concessions in southern Sudan, Khartoum has the economic power---despite
its massive external debt---to buy protection in the form of commercial
contracts, many with European countries that refuse to criticize the
regime's worst offenses. Khartoum has also been able to wield its oil
wealth and oil prospects in whatever fashion is most likely to secure
international protection.

The regime has also assiduously cultivated relations with both the Arab
League and the Organization of Islamic Countries, and the continuing
support of both these international organizations only emboldens
Khartoum in its most savage internal policies of civilian destruction.
(See editorial critical of Arab League acquiescence in the destruction
of Darfur: Daily Star [Lebanon], May 25, 2004.)

The regime must either be confronted with the clear prospect of
concerted international action, both in enforcing the terms of agreement
in Naivasha and in securing fully adequate humanitarian relief in Darfur
(including an overland route from Port Sudan), or it will behave as it
has for years---lying, reneging, dissimulating...and killing the African
peoples of Sudan in vast numbers.

The genocidaires in Khartoum cannot be reformed; they cannot be made
citizens of the international community; they must be confronted, denied
further genocidal opportunities, and face sweeping sanctions unless they
allow for real political pluralism in Sudan, a pluralism that the
National Islamic Front cannot withstand and still remain a viable
political force in Sudan. Such pluralism most naturally begins with the
inclusion of the SPLM/A in a new national government following a peace
agreement in Naivasha; but the other marginalized voices of Sudan must
be heard and represented as well.

The extreme improbability of such international action ensures that
Sudan, even following a "peace" agreement in Naivasha, will continue to
manufacture new killing fields for the foreseeable future.

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

Monday, May 24, 2004

"A slow-motion genocide"  

The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Monday, May 24, 2004

"A slow-motion genocide"

by Eric Reeves

http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/othercolumns/index.ssf?/base/opinion/1085304716315960.xml

In the Darfur region of far western Sudan, a cataclysm of human
suffering is slowly coming into the world's view. The war that is the
engine for this destruction pits Khartoum's National Islamic Front
regime against rebel insurgency groups, although in Darfur the conflict
is not between Khartoum and the non-Muslim rebels of southern Sudan.

In fact, in a perverse irony, the north-south conflict appears to be on
the verge of resolution. But because this agreement makes no provision
for other marginalized populations and regions in Sudan, many of these
people believe that they will continue to be excluded from political
power and economic development. The Darfur insurgents are demanding
greater political and economic justice.

Darfur is almost impossibly remote; Khartoum's brutal regime has
counted on this fact in attempting to crush the insurgency without
international scrutiny. The regime is battling long-neglected and abused
African tribal populations, virtually all of whom are Muslim. Fighting
broke out in February 2003, and following initial victories by
insurgency groups, Khartoum changed strategies, seeking not to destroy
the military opposition but its civilian base of support.

Khartoum recruited the Janjaweed, militia forces drawn from the largely
nomadic Arab populations of Darfur. Working in concert, Khartoum's
regular military and the Janjaweed have engaged in what Jan Egeland,
United Nations Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs, has called a
"scorched-earth" campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Thousands of villages have been systematically destroyed. Human Rights
Watch and Amnesty International report mass executions of African men;
women and girls are often gang-raped; food stocks, seeds and
agricultural implements are burned; and cattle are looted. Water wells
and irrigation systems are blown up or poisoned by
corpses---extraordinarily destructive acts in this arid region.
Khartoum's bombers attack not only villages but fleeing civilians.

The United Nations estimates that more than 1 million people are
internally displaced in Darfur, and Refugees International estimates
another 200,000 people have fled into Chad. The United Nations also
estimates that 2 million people in Darfur are "war-affected"---this is
the population now vulnerable to famine, disease and exposure. Khartoum
is using the denial of humanitarian access as a weapon of
war---"systematically" denying aid to the African populations of Darfur,
one senior U.N. official has asserted.

The consequences are all too apparent. The U.S. Agency for
International Development recently published data indicating that
without humanitarian access, between 300,000 and 400,000 people will die
of starvation and disease by next spring. At the peak of the famine
thousands will die every day, as was the case in Rwanda exactly 10 years
ago.

These African tribal populations---primarily the Fur, the Massaleit and
the Zaghawa---will also be victims of genocide. For we must remember
that the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention specifies not simply acts of
direct human destruction, but those which "deliberately inflict on [an
ethnic or racial] group conditions of life calculated to bring about its
physical destruction in whole or in part." This is precisely what
Khartoum has done.

The displaced populations have been forced to seek refuge in what can
only be called concentration camps. There is no humanitarian access to
most of these camps, even as their populations continue to swell. Food
and water are exceedingly scarce and often deliberately denied. There
are no sanitary facilities, and people are dying in large numbers from
disease. The impending seasonal rains will bring an explosion of
water-borne diseases. U.N. officials have described conditions in the
camps as imprisonment, with a policy of "systematic starvation." The
Janjaweed, often the sole authority, are guilty of unspeakable
cruelties, including executions and rape.

What is the answer to this humanitarian crisis, described by U.N. and
humanitarian officials as the greatest in the world?

Humanitarian intervention is all that can provide the food and medical
supplies that are rapidly being exhausted. And these supplies cannot be
transported through Chad once seasonal rains close the only roads
presently open. A multilateral force, ideally under U.N. auspices, must
internationalize Sudan's rail line, which runs from Port Sudan on the
Red Sea through Khartoum and on to Nyala, a regional capital in Darfur.
From there, overland and air transport becomes practicable, if
difficult. The concentration camps must be liberated and put under
international protection.

The only long-term solution is a negotiated settlement between the
insurgency groups and the repressive Khartoum regime. This will require
substantial international diplomatic investment and a willingness to
follow through with robust monitoring. The Janjaweed must be disarmed
and brought under control or the African peoples will be too fearful to
resume agricultural production.

Peace between Khartoum and the southern opposition will be a
significant achievement, but it will mean little if genocide continues
in Darfur.

[Reeves is a professor at Smith College and has written extensively on
Sudan. He testified on Sudan before the House International Relations
Committee in March.]

Thursday, May 20, 2004

US Congress Calls on Khartoum 

US Congress calls on Khartoum "to grant full, unconditional,
and immediate [humanitarian] access to Darfur," even as the regime deliberately
blocks US aid efforts and officials: The Genocide Accelerates

Eric Reeves
May 19, 2004

The international community must quickly decide whether Khartoum's National
Islamic Front regime has any intention of granting unfettered humanitarian access
to Darfur, the key to saving hundreds of thousands of human lives. In making
this decision, the world is obliged---if it is honest--to accept that there is
to date absolutely no evidence that Khartoum has any intention of granting such
unfettered access. On the contrary, there are a great many continuing reports
that humanitarian aid and personnel are being obstructed in highly
consequential ways. This is true even as people have now begun to perish in large numbers
from lack of food and medical supplies.

If the international community decides that Khartoum has, in fact, no intention
of providing the humanitarian access required for the "world's greatest
humanitarian crisis" (the characterization of various UN officials), this forces a
stark question: will there be a humanitarian intervention to provide the means by
which hundreds of thousands of lives may be saved? Or is the international
community prepared to acquiesce in the deliberate, systematic denial of
humanitarian aid to the African tribal groups of Darfur? Will the world again acquiesce
in genocide?

There can be no further delay, moral hesitancy, disingenuousness, or
agnosticism about the unqualified urgency of humanitarian aid deliveries. Moreover, we
must accept the impossibility of providing fully adequate deliveries by any
overland and air transport routes presently being contemplated---certainly not once
the seasonal rains begin to sever overland routes from Chad. Failure to plan
now for robust humanitarian intervention, with all necessary military security,
is but another form of acquiescence, another way of declaring that these
African lives don't merit the sort of intervention we saw in Kosovo, when European
lives where threatened by genocide.

Some who have no wish to act in Darfur under any circumstances will hide behind
the need to work through the UN Security Council. And to be sure the Security
Council should provide the auspices for humanitarian intervention, and should
be given an appropriate time in which to decide on such a course of action. As
Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group, recently declared:

"The last best hope, if force is to be avoided, is for the Security Council to
take hold of the situation, apply whatever further pressures short of force
that can be applied, and spell out unmistakably in a resolution that the option of
military force is very much on the table if Khartoum's behavior does not
rapidly improve." (The International Herald Tribune, May 14, 2004)

But all evidence suggests that there will be nothing but dithering and
disingenuousness from the Security Council. In the wake of full briefings by
high-level UN experts on both human rights and humanitarian conditions in Darfur,
presenting clear evidence of "crimes against humanity" and an extreme humanitarian
crisis directly related to Khartoum's conduct of war in Darfur, the Security
Council could not bring itself even to condemn Khartoum, let alone issue an
ultimatum on humanitarian access. It committed only to continued "monitoring" of the
situation (May 7, 2004).

The political and diplomatic realities within the UN Security Council are all
too clear. The Council is presently chaired by Pakistan, one of the nations
most deeply culpable in the Darfur fiasco at the annual meeting of the UN
Commission on Human Rights. China is a permanent member, with veto power over all
Security Council resolutions, and has relentlessly protected Khartoum for years. It
can hardly be doubted that Beijing will veto any resolution calling for
humanitarian intervention in what is far and away its premier source for off-shore
oil.

The chances of an appropriate Security Council resolution, responding fully to
Darfur's needs, are vanishingly small. Either there is an alternative,
credible multilateral plan for humanitarian intervention, or such intervention will
not occur, and the genocide will accomplish itself ever more fully. The Security
Council should be given at most two weeks in which to respond adequately to the
crisis, or detailed, credible plans for non-UN multilateral humanitarian
intervention must be publicly announced as a last threat to gain Khartoum's attention
and force acceptance of unfettered humanitarian access. If this fails,
intervention must begin immediately.

Let none mistake such a proposal as absurd naiveté on the part of this writer:
I am fully aware of how remote the chances are that the United States, France,
Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Canada, and others will intervene in Darfur,
even if the consequences of not intervening include massive genocidal destruction.
Rwanda, whose genocide was occurring ten years ago on this very date, should
have incinerated any belief that the world would somehow always do the right
thing in the end. It is nonetheless important that as the history of genocide
continues to be written, as we add new chapters to this most ghastly chronicle of
human callousness and moral diffidence, there be no possibility for any claim of
ignorance or any lamenting the lack of logistically feasible options for
intervention.

For we know full well what the language of the 1948 UN Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of Genocide declares:

"In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed
with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or
religious group, as such:

[a] Killing members of the group;

[b] Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

[c] Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to
bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

[d] Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group [in Darfur
this should be considered to include using rape as a weapon of war, impregnating
young girls, and branding (and thus viciously stigmatizing) women who have been
raped---ER];

[e] Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

We know that every single one of these "acts" has been committed, on a massive
scale, by Khartoum and its Janjaweed militia allies with the clear intent to
destroy, in whole or in part, the African tribal peoples of Darfur, primarily the
Fur, the Massaleit, the Zaghawa.

We know that mortality rates from Khartoum's obstruction of humanitarian aid
are set to rise precipitously in the near future. The International Crisis Group
was reported yesterday by the UN Integrated Regional Information Services as
declaring:

"'In the best-case scenario, "only" 100,000 people are expected to die in
Darfur from disease and malnutrition in the coming months; sadly, there is little
reason for even this desperate optimism,' ICG said in an appeal entitled: 'End
the slaughter and starvation in western Sudan,' launched on Sunday." (UN
Integrated Regional Information Networks, May 18, 2004)

We know that mortality projections from the US Agency for International
Development and recent Congressional testimony by Assistant US AID Administrator Roger
Winter indicate that by December of this year, there will be a global acute
malnutrition rate of approximately 40% among the affected populations in Darfur,
and a "cumulative death rate [of] approximately 30% of the vulnerable group over
a 9-month period." Since the vulnerable group is presently estimated at 1.2
million and growing rapidly, this indicates a total casualty figure of between
300,000 and 400,000 human beings, and quite possibly higher (see data for
"Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur," from the US Agency for International
Development: http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf and
Congressional testimony of US AID Assistant Administrator Roger Winter at
http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/286369e1835b007e85256e8d00691b9b?OpenDocument).

We know that the number of those classified as "war-affected" continues to rise
at alarming rate, with clear implications for overall mortality figures; this
is the importance of an announcement on May 17, 2004 by the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

"More than 2 million people are now affected by the conflict in the Darfur
region of western Sudan, where government-allied Arab militia have been carrying
out a campaign of violence against the black African population, according to the
latest update from the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). [
] The latest Darfur Humanitarian Profile estimates that more than 2 million
people are being affected by the conflict, compared to 1.1 million reported in the
April profile." (UN News Service [New York] May 17, 2004)

We know that this staggering increase from April represents one of the most
urgent signals to date that mortality rates throughout Darfur will very soon begin
to soar.

And we know that there are not remotely enough pre-positioned food and medical
supplies for the victims of genocidal war in Darfur. We know that there is no
present plan for access, no projected overland route to replace the corridor
from Chad that will soon be severed by seasonal rains---none that has been
accepted by Khartoum. We know that humanitarian workers are being denied travel
permits by Khartoum, even as these workers are essential for effective humanitarian
aid delivery. We know that Khartoum is in fact "systematically" denying
humanitarian access to the targeted populations (the characterization is that of UN
officials).

The problem is not what we don't know with full certainty. The problem is what
we won't do knowing these terrible realities, even as their urgency grows
daily. This is indeed "Rwanda in slow motion," as John Prendergast recently argued
in Congressional testimony (May 6, 2004). We will not be able to look back and
say that there wasn't sufficient time to act (though this was of course
disingenuous even during the Rwandan genocide): there is and has been more than enough
time---many months now---to research, to assess, and to determine on an
appropriate course of action.

Any professed agnosticism is now itself complicity in genocide.

With a sense of the urgency of Darfur's crisis, the US Senate and the US House
of Representatives very recently passed resolutions "call[ing] on the
Government of Sudan to grant full, unconditional, and immediate access to Darfur to
humanitarian aid organizations" (Senate Concurrent Resolution 99 and House
Concurrent Resolution 403, 108th Congress, 2d Session). The two resolutions went on to
"encourage the Administrator of the United States Agency for International
Development to work with donors to develop a plan to pre-position and deliver
humanitarian assistance to Darfur." Both resolutions "strongly condemn the
Government of the Republic of the Sudan and militia groups supported by the Government
of Sudan for attacks against innocent civilians." And both resolutions "call
on the Secretary of State to develop a plan for further bilateral and
multilateral action in the event the Government of Sudan fails to immediately undertake"
to provide humanitarian access and to permit monitoring of the April 8, 2004
cease-fire agreement.

But as welcome as these words are---passed by unanimous consent in the Senate
and by a vote of 360 to 1 in the House---they will have meaning only if they are
taken seriously at the highest levels of the Bush administration. Bizarrely,
Secretary of State Powell, while giving no evidence of planning for either
"bilateral" or "multilateral" action in response to Darfur, yesterday rewarded the
genocidaires in Khartoum by removing the regime from "the US list of countries
considered uncooperative in the war on terrorism" (Associated Press, May 18,
2004). The move was justified by a Bush administration official as "a very small
carrot, a gesture of goodwill" (Agence France-Presse, May 18, 2004). But other
authoritative reports indicate that this was a concession demanded by Khartoum
in negotiations at Naivasha to end its war against the people of southern
Sudan, or at least to sign a peace agreement.

Such expediency has been the major reason that Khartoum's genocidal actions in
Darfur have received no appropriate criticism from the US or others in the
international community. And perversely, ever attuned to the gains that can be
extracted from the expedient, Khartoum has clearly delayed consummating peace in
Naivasha, continually suggesting that an agreement is imminent, precisely
because this cynical manipulation of the peace process has so effectively muted
international criticism of the regime's genocide in Darfur.

Foreign policy is not made by the Congress, it is made by the Executive branch
of US government. Though Congressional outrage no doubt reflects the
sentiments of Americans knowledgeable about Darfur, resolutions have no legal
consequence and neither constrain nor determine Presidential or State Department policy.

For this reason, we must ask how appropriate was Secretary Powell's timing in
announcing this "gesture of goodwill" to Khartoum's genocidaires? For context,
we might consider [1] the continuing, deliberate obstruction of key US aid
workers seeking access to Darfur, and [2] the extremely authoritative reports from
the Nyala area (South Darfur) of new and accelerating attacks on civilians in
villages to the south of Nyala town, where some 2,000 Janjaweed militia have
massed, receiving direct logistical and military supplies from the Khartoum
regime. This Janjaweed force has in recent days forced more than 10,000 villagers
from the region southeast of Nyala into a new concentration camp (Mussaoi), some
5 kilometers southeast of Nyala (see below).

Just the day before Secretary Powell's "gesture of goodwill," the State
Department declared the following (Agence France-Presse, May 17, 2004):

"The United States denounced the Sudanese government for issuing US relief
workers with 'useless' travel permits for the strife-torn region of Darfur that
effectively prevent them from leaving Khartoum. The State Department said 11
members of a US disaster response team now in the capital had been granted three-day
passes to visit Darfur after intense pressure from Washington, but noted that
the gesture was hollow because the Sudanese government requires 72 hours advance
notice before traveling.

"'It's Orwellian,' a senior State Department official said of the move after
deputy spokesman Adam Ereli outlined the situation to reporters and suggested the
incident was another example of Sudan hindering humanitarian access to Darfur.
'The 11 people in Khartoum did receive travel permits; however, the permits are
only valid for three days and the government of Sudan requires 72 hours notice
to travel, so that sort of renders the permits useless by the time they are
received,' Ereli said.

"'By the time you travel, your permit's no longer valid,' he said with obvious
exasperation. [ ] This is really, I guess, more of the same, making it
difficult for humanitarian workers to do their job and it's disappointing. There are
people suffering in Darfur. It's urgent that humanitarian workers be allowed to
go there.'

"Sudanese authorities in Khartoum handed the passes to the US relief team
Saturday but demurred when confronted by the convergence of their expiry date and
the advance notice requirement, the State Department official said.

"'They gave us the permits on Saturday and said: "Now you can give us your 72
hours notice to go." Our guys looked at them and said: "That means we can't use
them," and they said: "That's not our problem",' the official explained."
(Agence France-Presse, May 17, 2004)

Such brutal cynicism, such complete indifference to human need and to US
efforts to alleviate this need, such purposeful obstruction of humanitarian relief:
how is a "gesture of goodwill" warranted in such circumstances?

Just as disturbing is very recent intelligence that comes to this writer from
Ahmed Abdalla, co-chair of the Darfur Diaspora Association, who spoke by
telephone yesterday to contacts in his native Nyala town. A large contingent of
Janjaweed, estimated at around 2,000 and clearly recently armed and supplied by
Khartoum, are in several areas near Nyala town, and have begun a new campaign of
civilian slaughter and destruction. Two days ago (May 17, 2004), the village of
Kashallingo (11 kilometers south of Nyala) was destroyed and fifteen civilians
were killed by the Janjaweed. The inhabitants of approximately 30 other
villages in the area have been given an ultimatum: "leave your villages or you will
be killed." Several people were either killed or raped as the Janjaweed made
clear their seriousness about the current campaign.

As a consequence of threats and the burning of Kashallingo, approximately
10,000 civilians have now been forced to relocate to a new concentration camp in the
Mussaoi area (approximately 5 kilometers southeast of Nyala).

The Janjaweed were first seen massing in Kundwa forest (approximately 10
kilometers southeast of Nyala), and are now reported also at Kulkolya (10 kilometers
west of Nyala), as well as at the airport in Nyala town (to which National
Islamic Front President Omer Beshir paid a brief hortatory visit today, and was in
turn greeted enthusiastically by the Janjaweed). There are a number of highly
ominous indications that these actions and movements are the beginning of a new
campaign that will attack Fur villages in the area between Kundwa forest and
the Hajair locality (approximately 80 kilometers southeast of Nyala).

This represents a large swathe of geography in South Darfur that has heretofore
not been subject to the scorched-earth warfare so evident throughout most of
Darfur. A very large population is at critical risk, even as there is still no
peace monitoring force in Darfur---yet another conspicuous failure on the part of
the international community. We know as much as we do, in this case and in
many others, only because of the extraordinarily dangerous telephone
communications coming out of Nyala from people desperate to let the outside world know what
is happening. In a shameful mockery of the courage of these people, there is no
organized international mechanism for receiving and assessing their reports.

To be sure, both House and Senate resolutions "call on the Government of Sudan
to grant full, unconditional, and immediate access to Darfur to [ ] an
international monitoring team in compliance with the temporary cease-fire agreement
that is based in Darfur and has the support of the United States and the European
Union." But such "calls" are no more efficacious than those for unfettered
humanitarian access. Nothing of significance is being done or is being
planned---by the US or the European Union or the African Union---to accelerate deployment
of a meaningful cease-fire observation team in Darfur. The shameful
abandonment of the African tribal peoples of Darfur to their terrible fate is again all
too fully in evidence.

We know too much of what will fill the pages when the next chapter in the
history of genocide is written. We know too much about the likelihood that hundreds
of thousands of innocent human beings will die because of who they are, because
of the racial and ethnic hatred that the Khartoum regime has stoked and
manipulated for military purposes. We know too much about their losses, their
suffering, and the agony of their impending deaths.

We know nothing about how this moral failure can be explained.

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


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

WSJ: See No Evil in Sudan 

18 May 2004
The Wall Street Journal
A18

After the genocide in Rwanda a decade ago, the world's moralists said "never again." Well, it is happening again, this time in Sudan, but once more the United Nations, the Arab world and Europe are failing to speak up, much less to act.
As the rainy season starts again in that East African nation, the U.S. Agency for International Development -- the largest food donor to Sudan -- fears hundreds of thousands of people will die over the next nine months. This is no ordinary famine but part of the Sudanese regime's campaign against the African tribes in Darfur, a "strategy of systematic and deliberate starvation," according to a U.N. report that was initially suppressed so as not to offend Khartoum. Already some 30,000 people have been killed by Sudanese troops and Arab militias known as the Jingaweit.

The attacks often start with air bombardments, followed by ground troops and the Jingaweit. Women and even little girls are routinely raped. The attackers burn villages and destroy water supplies and food stocks. The result is the depopulation of wide swathes of land, which the Arab tribesmen then take over. Already one-fifth of the population in an area the size of France is on the run.

Some 120,000 have escaped to neighboring Chad, where aid agencies are at least allowed to feed the hungry, though the rain will make this a logistical nightmare. Especially worrisome is the fate of about one million refugees displaced inside Sudan. Aid workers are begging Khartoum for access to the region, but even those few supplies allowed into Darfur are often looted by the militia.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has raised the alarm about Sudan, but once again the "international community" is proving to be feckless, and the Bush Administration has been isolated in its attempts to raise international pressure on Khartoum. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights has refused to condemn the Sudanese regime. But what can you expect from a body that includes Cuba, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and, yes, Sudan? When Sudan was re-elected to the Commission on May 4, the American envoy was alone in walking out on what he called this "absurdity."

Meanwhile, Sudan is protected at the morally alert Security Council by China, which supplies the regime with arms and has oil interests there. Fellow Muslim nations Pakistan and Algeria are also loudly silent. Even the Europeans display little interest, arguing that "politicizing" Darfur could threaten a peace deal to end a separate conflict between the regime and rebels in the south.

Given how much time and political capital the U.S. has invested in those peace talks, this is laughable. The U.S. wants tougher action precisely because of its concerns for the peace talks. If Khartoum can get away with ethnic cleansing in Darfur, what hope is there for any peace deal with the south? Whether the issue is Iran, Syria, Iraq or now Sudan, Europe always favors the softer approach, preaching "constructive dialogue" while the killing continues.

The depredations at Darfur are the same ones Khartoum practiced in its 20-year war against the south. An estimated two million people died there as Africans were butchered and enslaved. Khartoum entered into peace negotiations only because the southern rebels had become too strong. That conflict pitted Muslim Arabs in Khartoum against black Christians and Animists, but in Darfur the black Africans are also Muslims, though mostly belonging to the Sufi sect. Yet the Muslim world and Arab League remain silent about this slaughter of their co-religionists.

The Khartoum regime knows that an America already tied down by two wars cannot intervene militarily in Darfur. So it kills with impunity as the rest of the world turns away, saving its outrage for the abuses by a few Americans at Abu Ghraib.

Stopping Genocide in Darfur: What Must Be Done 

Eric Reeves
May 17, 2004

All reports from Darfur, public and confidential, make clear that the
massive humanitarian crisis continues to deepen at an alarming rate.
The region, including the border region inside Chad, is slipping further
into a famine that will claim hundreds of thousands of lives. This is
the predictable, indeed designed outcome of Khartoum's genocidal conduct
of war in Darfur over many months, both with its regular forces and by
means of its Janjaweed allies.

Notably, in a BBC interview following a recent meeting with British
Foreign Minister Jack Straw, Khartoum's Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail
pointedly described the Janjaweed militia as in military "alliance" with
the regime in conducting war in Darfur (BBC, May 13, 2004). Ismail is
also reported by Agence France-Presse as asserting that "pro-government
militias in strife-torn Darfur region would not be disarmed as long as
weapons remained in the hands of rebel forces" (Agence France-Presse
[Cairo], May 14, 2004). It is of course the Janjaweed that are
responsible for so much civilian destruction, for creating conditions of
utter terror in the rural agricultural lands, and that have so willingly
become the "Gestapo" forces in the ghastly concentration camps that
continue to grow and multiply.

[In a shameless, if unsurprising, contradiction, Ahmed Mohamed Haroun,
National Islamic Front state minister for internal affairs, said today
that "the Darfur region was stable after the military quelled a revolt
there and security would now be maintained by police" (Reuters, May 17,
2004.]

The "systematic" denial of humanitarian access (the characterization is
that of the UN and virtually all humanitarian organizations); the
burning of thousands of villages; the destruction of foodstuffs, seeds,
agricultural implements and donkeys; the dynamiting, bombing, and
poisoning of wells and irrigation systems; the looting of herds of
cattle; and the creation of what a UN human rights team recently called
a "reign of terror" in the rural areas, precluding any planting prior to
the rainy season, and thus ensuring that there will be no harvest in the
fall: these are the weapons of genocidal war that are now taking a toll
that is increasing daily. Without humanitarian intervention, the death
rate will rise to between 2000 and 3000 civilians per day by December.
Total casualties may exceed 400,000 human beings (see data for
"Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur," from the US Agency for
International Development:
http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf
and Congressional testimony of US AID Assistant Administrator Roger
Winter at
http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/286369e1835b007e85256e8d00691b9b?OpenDocument).

There is no longer any credible alternative to humanitarian
intervention, given the paucity of pre-positioned foodstocks and medical
supplies in Darfur and the impending seasonal rains that will soon sever
the road corridors from Chad into Darfur. There will be no harvest next
fall and the likelihood of a fall planting for next spring depends
wholly on the ability of the international community to disarm the
Janjaweed and restore security to the rural agricultural areas. If
there is no planting in the fall, hundreds of thousands of acutely
vulnerable people will have their vulnerability extended for many
months. There will be many, many more deaths.

An overland transport route capable of supplying humanitarian aid must
be secured in the very near-term, as the dwindling foodstocks in Nyala
and al-Fashir are almost exhausted. Air transport of food and supplies
is really only a stop-gap measure for a crisis of this magnitude, and is
not practicable over the longer-term. Leaving aside diplomatic
considerations of the sort that have done so much to obscure both the
urgency of the crisis and the culpability of the Khartoum regime, and
ignoring the callous inclinations and abysmal performance of the UN
Security Council to date, the most obvious route from a logistical point
of view is the rail line that runs from Port Sudan to Khartoum and on to
Nyala via El Obeid. This presents a series of difficult
problems---logistical, military, and of course diplomatic (see
below)---even as it holds promise of fully adequate transport capacity.

But we can no longer avoid the necessity of deciding whether or not we
will intervene to save the hundreds of thousands of lives that will be
lost without robust action. As Gareth Evans, President of the
International Crisis Group, courageously wrote several days ago:

"The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, has called it 'ethnic cleansing.'
President George W. Bush has condemned the 'atrocities, which are
displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians.' Others are starting to
use the word genocide. Whatever you want to call what is going on today
in Darfur, in western Sudan, the time for forceful outside intervention
is unmistakably approaching." (The International Herald Tribune, May
14, 2004)

Evans went on to make clear that in all likelihood it will be necessary
for the UN Security Council to "authorise the application of military
force on 'responsibility to protect' principles" and "[provide] the
necessary political will and military resources to hold [the Khartoum
regime] comprehensively to account." (The International Herald Tribune,
May 14, 2004)

But while the Security Council must certainly be urged to act, and
given a chance to act, such action is highly unlikely. That Pakistan is
currently chairing the Security Council gives but an inkling of how long
the odds are against any "authorization of the application of military
force" that is opposed by Khartoum.

But inaction by the United Nations must not mean that there is no
international response on the basis of the "responsibility of protect"
principles that Evans articulates in his analysis. Racially/ethnically
animated slaughter and starvation in Darfur continue and must be
stopped. But they can be stopped only with humanitarian intervention.
This is the context in which we should note the growing urgency of the
comparisons to Rwanda. The US Committee for Refugees recently added its
voice to many others, declaring:

"In 1994 President Clinton failed to act to stop genocide in Rwanda
when 800,000 people were slaughtered in 100 days. The world knew about
Rwanda then and it knows about Darfur now. Visiting Rwanda in 1998,
Clinton 'apologized,' saying we 'did not immediately call these crimes
by their rightful name: genocide.' For the sake of his name in
history, Mr. Bush must avoid ever having to make a similar apology over
Darfur." (US Committee for Refugees, Washington, DC, May 12, 2004)

The moment of historical truth has arrived: either we act now to
mitigate this growing catastrophe, or we will see the horrific mortality
projections of the US Agency for International Development realized.
For the numbers at risk from genocidal destruction are not diminishing,
despite the growing visibility of Darfur, but rather continue to grow:
the UN recently raised its estimate of the number of Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Darfur to over 1 million (Paragraph 13,
"Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: Situation of human
rights in the Darfur Region of the Sudan," May 7, 2004). Refugees
International has recently urged that the number of refugees in Chad be
revised up dramatically from the UN figure of 110,000 (a figure now over
two months old, even as refugees have continued to stream across the
Darfur/Chad border at many points):

"The number of refugees who have fled to Chad to escape fighting in the
Darfur area of western Sudan could be has high as 200,000, nearly double
the official estimate of 110,000, Refugees International reports. The
sharply higher figure is based on the observations of Refugees
International advocates in Chad, as well as informal estimates by the
United Nations. UN officials in Chad told Refugees International that
the number of refugees in Chad may be approaching 200,000, as violence
and starvation in Darfur continue to drive refugees out."

"Refugees International strongly urges the UN and aid agencies to
revise their figures for Darfur refugees in Chad upwards to 200,000.
Current UN planning is based on a figure of 110,000, and with the rainy
season looming, failure to pre-position supplies based on the actual
figure will leave refugees vulnerable to shortages of food and medicines
in the coming months." (Refugees International, May 11, 2004; see
http://www.refugeesinternational.org/cgi-bin/ri/other?occ=00859)

Christine Foletti of the International Committee of the Red Cross told
an Australian news agency that "over the past two weeks one refugee camp
had grown from 7,000 to 24,000 people" (AAP, May 16, 2004). But these
frightening increases are being reported even as there is not nearly
enough presently funded transport capacity to move existing refugee
populations further into Chad and away from the dangerous border areas,
or to provide these camps with food, water, and medical supplies. With
the rains imminent, transport opportunities will shortly end.

Highly authoritative reports from within South and West Darfur reaching
this writer also indicate that more and more of those displaced within
Darfur are being forced into concentration camps of the sort recently
reported by the UN at Kailek (see analyses of the brutal conditions in
the Kailek camp by this writer; available upon request). Unless control
of these camps is very soon secured by international military
intervention, tens of thousands of people will be exterminated through
starvation, lack of water, disease, and executions. Moreover, a growing
number of those seeking to report on the terrible conditions in Darfur
are being imprisoned, as Amnesty International recently reported:

"Nureddin Mohammad Abdel Rahim, omda (mayor) of Shoba; Bahr al-Din
Abdullah Rifah, omda of Jabalsi:

"The two men named above, each of whom is the omda (mayor) of his
village, were reportedly arrested in North Darfur state on 9 May [2004]
after a meeting called by the International Committee of the Red Cross,
where they had given information on burnt villages, killings and mass
graves in a region where many villages have been destroyed and villagers
killed in attacks by government aircraft and, particularly, by
government-supported militias. The two have no access to lawyers or
their families, and are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment."
(Amnesty International, May 10, 2004)

Further, unless there is a humanitarian intervention, the increasingly
explosive military situation along the Chad/Sudan border threatens to
spark a full-fledged international conflict. Highly authoritative
reports from the ground inside Chad suggest that a number of factors
could dramatically escalate the violence already occurring on a regular
basis. The destabilizing effects of such violence in Chad should be of
considerable international concern. Of particular note are the reports
of growing numbers of Janjaweed incursions into Chad (see UN Integrated
Regional Information Networks, May 14, 2004).

******************

What are the advantages and the difficulties of a humanitarian
intervention that takes the form of [1] internationalizing the rail line
from Port Sudan to Nyala, and [2] taking military control of all camps
for the displaced in Darfur and creating of them true safe havens for
the displaced and the imprisoned?

Advantages

Rail transport has huge capacity, and could easily manage even the vast
quantities of food that will be required to avert major famine in Darfur
over the next year or longer. Tens of thousands will die no matter what
the international response, already shamefully belated. But hundreds of
thousands of lives can be saved. Rail is also the cheapest form of
transportation.

Distribution from Nyala to the camps nearby and to more outlying areas
could be accomplished by overland routes where possible (using
four-wheel-drive trucks) and by air where this is not possible. Since
the rail line runs through El Obeid, site of a major air base and a
location already being used by the UN's World Food Program (WFP), air
transport would be possible using even the largest of the WFP's
transport planes (e.g., the giant Hercules aircraft that are the
backbone of airlift operations in southern Sudan). Smaller capacity
planes could use the airport in Nyala for more targeted air drops. Such
air drops would require the presence of humanitarian personnel in places
presently too insecure; consequently, there must be a sufficient
military presence to protect all aid workers deployed throughout the
region.

Securing the concentration camps and ensuring that they are safe havens
for the displaced and imprisoned is of critical importance; this will
save many thousands of lives, possibly tens of thousands of lives that
are now at growing risk from starvation, lack of water, disease (set to
increase dramatically with the onset of the rains), and execution. More
broadly, security throughout the agricultural areas of Darfur is the
only long-term solution to the region's food problems. But taking
control of the camps is the first essential step in creating this
security.

Over the longer term the international community must force Khartoum to
disarm the Janjaweed, despite what Foreign Minister Ismail calls the
regime's "alliance" with these murderous predators. If Darfur is to
become self-sufficient in food, such disarmament is essential.

Difficulties

Internationalizing and securing the rail line from Port Sudan to
Darfur, if Khartoum proves intent on militarily opposing this plan, will
require considerable military resources. These will not be so much for
military security on board the trains themselves, but for preventing the
track lines from being cut by explosives. Khartoum's regular and
militia forces are both likely sources of risk if the regime is
determined to resist the transport of humanitarian supplies. Moreover,
substantial amounts of rail line repair equipment and supplies must be
on hand to minimize the impact of the rail line being cut at any point.
Fast-moving aerial military resources, with sophisticated communications
and "look-down" ability, will be essential in this task. Khartoum must
also be put on notice that various of its unrelated military resources
will be struck if the regime attacks, directly or by proxy, the rail
line.

The rail line already needs substantial work between Ed Da'ein and
Nyala. Moreover, the trains themselves are in critical need of
American-made spare parts. These must be supplied on an urgent basis,
requiring that President Bush exempt these parts from current US
sanctions against Sudan. A detailed inventory of such parts must be
kept and the parts themselves removed if the crisis in Darfur ends and
Khartoum is still subject to US sanctions.

Internationalizing the rail line must mean that it will be used only
for humanitarian transport: no non-humanitarian items would be permitted
on the trains.

The Janjaweed have been heavily armed by Khartoum, and could present a
significant threat to humanitarian operations and personnel in Darfur.
But there is also good reason to believe that the Janjaweed would cease
military resistance quickly if confronted with a well-trained,
appropriately armed, and sufficiently robust military contingent with
forceful rules of engagement. Confrontations would be inevitable, but
the Janjaweed are no match for professional Western soldiers. Disarming
the Janjaweed as well as the interdiction of further armaments flowing
from Khartoum should be a clear part of the mandate of any international
military force stationed in Darfur itself.

Where would the necessary military resources come from? One
possibility would be an emergency assembly of one of the "battle groups"
that were approved today by the European Union defense ministers. To be
deployed to "international hotspots," these 1500-strong military
contingents "would be deployable within 10 days and able to stay on the
ground for a few months" (EU BusinessWire, May 17, 2004; at
http://www.eubusiness.com/afp/040517132350.cr0bwv7s). Strikingly, an
aide to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said just today:

"A typical scenario in which they would be deployed would be in
response to a UN request, said an aide to Solana. 'If the UN Security
Council for example asked for support to protect a humanitarian mission
in Darfur, Sudan, we would be ready to respond to the request.'" (EU
BusinessWire, May 17, 2004)

Given the critical situation in Darfur, there must be urgent planning
for an ad hoc creation of just such a "battle group"---of appropriate
size, utilizing the EU military planning to date, with an emergency
assembly of troops and equipment. And even if the UN Security Council
fails in its moral assessment of what is demanded in Darfur, there are
other possibilities for sponsoring multilateral humanitarian
intervention.

*******************

There are other difficulties that will confront any form of
humanitarian intervention; these will be addressed in subsequent
analyses. And there are also alternative overland transport routes
presently under consideration (from Libya, for example). But the
logistical difficulties presented, and the lack of adequate transport
capacity, seem insuperable problems if the international community is
determined to avoid hundreds of thousands of deaths. Given the immense
human stakes, it is critically important that humanitarian need define
political/military possibilities, and not the reverse.

And because present and impending deaths are so numerous, and because
of the abstraction that attends so much discussion of how to respond to
the crisis in Darfur, the question to the international community should
be framed in two ways:

More generally, "Are we prepared to acquiesce in Khartoum's engineered
famine---a massive episode in human destruction that is genocidal in
nature? have we really learned nothing from Rwanda?"

More particularly, "Are we prepared to accept countless versions of the
story of Kaltuma Hasala Adan?" (from The Economist, May 13, 2004):

"Her children's bodies were rotting in the village wells, where Arab
militiamen had thrown them to poison the water supply. But Kaltuma
Hasala Adan did not flee her home. Leaving her crops and livestock would
condemn the rest of the family to death, she reasoned. So she stayed put
for four months, despite her government's strenuous efforts to terrorise
her into flight.

"Her village was first attacked in January. An air raid caught her
unawares: as the bombs fell, she ran around in confusion. When
[Khartoum's] bombers had completed their return pass, the horizon
filled with dust, the ground shuddered, and a host of mounted militiamen
charged through the village, killing all the young men they could find.
During that first attack, Kaltuma's 18-month baby, Ali, was killed by
shrapnel. Two weeks later, her oldest son, Issa, 15, was made to kneel
in line with other young men before being shot in the back of the head.
Her husband disappeared the same day.

"For four wretched months, Kaltuma lived with both ears strained for
the faint drone of bombers, poised to dash with her three surviving
children to a hiding place in a dry river bed. Then the janjaweed---an
Arab militia that kills for the Sudanese government---rode up to finish
the job. They razed her village entirely. She fled from the embers of
her hut and trekked for four days through the desert."

The comparisons between Rwanda and Darfur are indeed being made more
frequently, more urgently; but this only makes present inaction the more
profoundly inexplicable. Certainly such comparisons by themselves are
of little use to Kaltuma Hasala Adan, and the many hundreds of thousands
who have also been forced to flee into the desert. If she could frame
for us her one question, it would certainly be, "why will you not help
me?" We are, shamefully, without an answer.

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


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?