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Friday, July 30, 2004

DARFUR MORTALITY UPDATE: JULY 30, 2004 

Current data for total mortality from violence, malnutrition, and
disease

Eric Reeves
July 30, 2004

There have been two recent estimates of total mortality in Darfur, both
many times higher than the previous UN figure of 10,000. This latter
figure was first offered, without accompanying explanation, in March
2004 and has remained unchanged for the past four months. Unfortunately
both new figures also come with too little explanation of statistical
methodology or of the data actually used in calculating mortality.
Moreover, both estimates continue to understate the degree of human
destruction in Darfur. For a collation of the most comprehensive data
available from humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur, as well
as epidemiological data governing the mortality projections of the US
Agency for International Development, suggests that current mortality
exceeds 150,000 dead.

This figure is of course an estimate---a tenuous extrapolation from the
very limited data available, and cannot be confirmed or made more
precise until security in Darfur permits much more comprehensive
statistical sampling. The margin of error is very wide. But the figure
offered here does attempt to include populations within camps for the
displaced as well as those outside the camps. It includes not only the
1.3 million that the UN estimates are internally displaced in Darfur,
but the more than 200,000 who have fled to Chad. It also attempts to
take some cognizance of the larger total population of African tribal
groups in Darfur---a population that is very seldom referred to globally
in any statistical context.

In other words, the large mortality number offered here implicitly
presumes (as do US AID mortality projections) that our focus must be on
the entire population at risk in Darfur, not simply those who have been
counted as displaced or assessed as "war-affected" (many organizations
on the ground, overwhelmed by the critical tasks at hand, have simply
stopped counting or registering new displaced persons). For there is a
good deal of evidence that the estimated figure of 1.3 million
internally displaced persons in Darfur is far below the actual number;
there is also a good deal of evidence that the number of "war-affected"
persons has grown to well in excess of the 2.2 million announced by the
UN, the US, and the European Union in Geneva almost two months ago (June
3, 2004).

The population of Darfur is roughly 6.5 million; over 4 million are
from the "African"/"non-Arab" tribal groups that have been so
relentlessly targeted by Khartoum and its Arab militia allies. These
people make up the overwhelming majority of those killed, displaced, and
at risk. Thus the unstated but highly troubling implication of a figure
of 1.5 million displaced (internally and into Chad) is that more than
2.5 million have not been displaced---are somehow still living in their
villages and smaller towns, as well as the larger towns of Darfur.
Given the massive scale of destruction of African villages---now clearly
evident from recent satellite photography and from numerous reports on
the systematic nature of African village destruction in the rural areas
of all three states in Darfur Province---a figure of 2.5 million
"non-displaced" persons seems thoroughly untenable.

This is the context in which to assess the meaning of the June 3, 2004
estimate of 2.2 million "war-affected" persons. Given the global
population numbers for the Darfur region, the number of "war-affected"
persons must be accelerating quickly, and indeed must now far exceed 2.2
million. Any surviving foodstocks are rapidly disappearing or have
already disappeared; host families for many of the displaced persons now
find themselves without food; and the ability to forage for the foods
normally eaten in times of severe food scarcity is meaningless given the
continuing predations of Khartoum's proxy militia force, the Janjaweed.
Insecurity has hopelessly compromised the superb coping skills of the
rural African tribal populations of Darfur. Overall levels of morbidity
and malnutrition within the growing "war-affected" population, likely
well in excess of 2.5 million, are climbing extremely rapidly.

NEW ESTIMATES

[1] UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland declared on
July 23, 2004 that the mortality figure for Darfur "could be as high as
50,000" (Agence France-Presse, July 23, 2004). Dismayingly, there was
no statistical explanation offered or differentiation within the overall
figure between deaths from violence and deaths from malnutrition and
disease. Moreover, Egeland's statistical preface to his
estimate---"Among the one million people [who are displaced]" (Agence
France-Presse, July 23, 2004)---is a dismayingly inaccurate
characterization of the number of displaced persons in Darfur and Chad:
the number is certainly at the very least 50% higher than the one
Egeland offered as context for his estimate. As a consequence of this
casual but highly significant understatement of a key figure in Darfur's
crisis, it is difficult to see this mortality estimate as the result of
a rigorous statistical analysis.

A much more likely explanation is that Egeland's figure is simply a
minimal (i.e., institutionally acceptable within the UN) increase,
serving Egeland's larger and more urgent purpose of making clear that
things are continuing to deteriorate badly in Darfur:

"'There is a false impression now that things are improving in Darfur
because we, the humanitarian community, are able to deploy much stronger
than before,' Mr Egeland said. 'The outlook at the moment is actually
bleak, the deaths are increasing,' he said." (Agence France-Presse, July
23, 2004)

[2] The US Agency for International Development yesterday (July 29,
2004) estimated that 80,000 have died in Darfur (Deutsche Presse Agentur
[dpa], July 29, 2004). This estimate is a good deal more compelling,
largely because it does differentiate between mortality from violence
and mortality from disease and malnutrition.

Even the US AID figure is likely low, however, particularly in its
estimate of deaths from violence (given as 30,000). At the same time,
there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that the US AID estimate of
deaths from disease and malnutrition (given as 50,000) is appropriate
for the present; this may even be the figure Egeland had in mind when he
offered his own estimate.

But the US AID figure for violent deaths seems to ignore the
implications of the only publicly available study to date on this
subject, conducted by Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres
(MSF) and the epidemiological research center "Epicenter." The June 21,
2004 report ("Emergency in Darfur, Sudan: No Relief in Sight") studied
violent deaths in West Darfur State, and arrived at a key finding:

"A recent survey conducted by MSF and the epidemiological research
center Epicentre in the town of Mornay, West Darfur State, where nearly
80,000 people have sought refuge, found that one in 20 people were
killed in scorched earth attacks on 111 villages from September 2003
until February 2004. Adult men were the primary victims, but women and
children were also killed. Today, one in five children in the camp are
severely malnourished while irregular and insufficient food
distributions do not come close to meeting the basic needs of people
weakened by violence, displacement, and deprivation." (Doctors Without
Border/Medecins Sans Frontieres, "Emergency in Darfur, Sudan: No Relief
in Sight," June 21, 2004; release at
http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/pr/2004/06-21-2004.shtml).)

If we make the very conservative assumption that the Mornay region has
been especially violent, and that the 1 in 20 figure overstates by 50%
the global death rate for armed killings in Darfur, this still implies
(for a crudely estimated total average displaced population of 1.2
million, including refugees in Chad) that over 40,000 people were
violently killed between September 2003 and February 2004 (this
represents a weekly casualty figure of approximately 1,500).

In the five months (22 weeks) since the end of February, violent
killings have continued to be reported on a very wide-scale throughout
Darfur, especially February to April, subsiding recently only because
the destruction of African villages is now largely completed. Even so,
an African Union fact-finding mission declared today there has been
continued significant deterioration in the security situation in Darfur
in recent weeks (Reuters [Accra], July 30, 2004), and accounts of highly
destructive Janjaweed assaults also continue to be reported throughout
Darfur. CBS News and Associated Press report today:

"'The [Janjaweed] attackers looted the market and killed civilians [in
the village of Suleia, West Darfur], in some cases, by chaining them and
burning them alive,' according to the [African Union monitoring team]
report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press on
Thursday." (CBS News and Associated Press, July 30, 2004)

Many people were of course killed violently before September 2003 (the
insurgency conflict broke out in February 2003; Janjaweed attacks on
civilians accelerated dramatically in the late spring/early summer of
2003).

All of these data aggregated (including the implied weekly casualty
rate) suggest a very approximate figure of 80,000 killed violently in
the course of the war.

SUMMARY

If we accept the US Agency for International Development figure of
50,000 dead from disease and malnutrition, and the implications of the
MSF study of violent death, we arrive at a total of 130,000 dead. This
writer estimated on July 15, 2004 that the total mortality in Darfur was
135,000. The difference here is well within the very wide margin of
error for such statistical calculations. At the same time, US AID's
"Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005" (
http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf)
suggests a daily mortality rate that has now reached 10 persons per day
per 10,000 of affected population. Assuming an affected population of
over 2 million (people presently in urgent need of food and medical
assistance), this suggests a daily death rate of 2,000 human beings (see
July 15, 2004 analysis by this writer of the population figure
appropriate to deploy in this statistical projection; available upon
request). These data aggregated suggest that total mortality in Darfur
as of July 30, 2004 is over 150,000.

[Note: US AID's "Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005," which
projects both mortality and Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM), continues
to be borne out in surveys of nutrition throughout Darfur. Indeed,
malnutrition is tracking higher than US AID projections. Studies of
particular note include: [1] an assessment by Action Contre la Faim
(ACF) in the Abu Shouk camp for the internally displaced [North Darfur],
indicating Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates of 39 percent and
Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) of 9.6 percent (July 2004); [2] Save the
Children study (June 17, 2004) of malnutrition and food insecurity in
Malha, North Darfur (assessment teams found an acute crisis in
nutritional status with GAM rates of 33 percent and SAM rates of 5.4
percent); and [3] a nutritional study by Doctors Without
Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres during April and May 2004 ("On the
Brink of Mass Starvation," May 20, 2004), conducted at Garsila, Mukjar,
Bindissi, Deleij, and Um Kher (West Darfur). 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)."

Global Acute Malnutrition and human mortality correlate extremely
highly in famine conditions.]

SKEPTICISM

There are many who are skeptical of the high mortality figure offered
here. Where skepticism can be explained, assumptions reasonably
questioned, statistical inferences challenged, data shown to be
inaccurate, this writer welcomes responses and corrections. Many those
skeptical are apparently in the UN, and their data would be especially
welcome. But perhaps it is appropriate to point out that for over four
months many within the UN have contented themselves with a figure of
10,000 dead for all of Darfur---for more than 17 months of extraordinary
violent and destructive conflict, including mass executions, and
involving huge numbers of displaced and endangered persons, living in
highly traumatic circumstances. What accounts for this dramatic and
consequential understatement of human loss of life?

It is sadly the case that we learn too much about the inadequacy of UN
statistical and logistical comprehension of the Darfur crisis from a
very recent comment by Dr. David Nabarro, head of UN World Health
Organization (WHO) "Health Crises Operations":

"Dr. Nabarro says WHO did not think the situation in Darfur would
become as desperate as it is. He says the agency underestimated the
difficulty of getting enough water supplies and of improving sanitation
facilities in the camps." (interview with Voice of America, July 18,
2004)

This is simply disgraceful incompetence. Indeed, it is clear that
various of the UN organizations---including the UN World Health
Organization, the UN World Food Program, the UN High Commission for
Refugees, and the UN High Commission for Human Rights---have at times
performed poorly in responding to Darfur, and at times extremely poorly.
All who are working to mitigate the Darfur crisis must hope that this
does not continue to translate into the promulgation of figures that are
clearly untenable.

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


Thursday, July 29, 2004

Southern Sudan is also a victim of genocide in Darfur: 

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

Eric Reeves
July 28, 2004

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

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

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

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

DARFUR POLITICAL UPDATE

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

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

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

DARFUR HUMANITARIAN UPDATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DARFUR INSECURITY

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

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

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

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

SOUTHERN SUDAN: Eastern Equatoria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Popwojo [Shilluk Kingdom]:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FACE OF EVIL

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

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

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

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


Monday, July 26, 2004

Belated International Political Response to Darfur Catastrophe 

Still Without Sufficient Coherence, Comprehension, or Moral Urgency
Eric Reeves
July 25, 2004

GENOCIDE IN DARFUR

The recent flurry of international pronouncements in response to
massive genocidal destruction in Darfur must, despite its terribly
belated nature, be welcomed as a necessary first step in generating an
appropriate response by the world community. Of particular note is the
unanimous vote in the US Congress, "declaring that the atrocities
unfolding in Darfur, Sudan, are genocide" (July 23, 2004 in both the
Senate and the House of Representatives). This bicameral, bipartisan
resolution "reminds the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of their legal
obligations under the Convention," and "urges the [Bush] Administration
to call the atrocities being committed in Darfur, Sudan, by their
rightful name: genocide" (Senate Congressional Resolution 124 and House
Concurrent Resolution 467).

Moreover, the July 26, 2004 edition of the Christian Science Monitor is
reporting that the Committee on Conscience of the US Holocaust Memorial
Museum will tomorrow (Monday, July 26, 2004) "label Darfur a
full-fledged 'genocide emergency,' the first such warning in its history"
(Christian Science Monitor, July 26, 2004).

Just as important as these declarations concerning genocide in Darfur
is the willingness signaled by the United Kingdom and Australia to send
troops to Darfur as part of an international humanitarian intervention.
This declared willingness is a particularly significant political
decision on the part of the government of Tony Blair. It is extremely
important that others nations join quickly in making clear that credible
means of humanitarian intervention in Darfur do in fact exist.

These international commitments must be complemented by immediate
efforts to support the African Union monitors and military support
personnel presently being deploying to Darfur. This force of 350
soldiers and monitors is very significantly under-equipped, and urgently
needs much greater helicopter transport capacity and significantly
improved communications gear. It also requires robust diplomatic and
political support in confronting the almost inevitable efforts at
obstruction on the part of the Khartoum regime. This support should
begin immediately and take the form of emphatic public declarations of
support as well as concrete offers of logistical and material
assistance.

THE URGENT TASKS AT HAND

The larger near-term goals of humanitarian intervention are clear: [1]
to protect the highly endangered civilian populations displaced in
Darfur (both in camps and in rural areas where terrified people are too
fearful to move for fear of attack by Khartoum's Janjaweed militia
forces); [2] vastly increasing humanitarian logistics and transport
capacity. The distinguished International Rescue Committee (IRC) has
led nongovernmental organizations in the effort to highlight the
importance of the latter urgent need. In a press release of July 23,
2004 ("Relief Efforts for War-Displaced in Darfur and Chad Must Be
Doubled Now"), the IRC has urged the humanitarian effort "ramp up the
logistical capacity to double the delivery of aid."

This doubling of capacity is the minimum necessary, the IRC stresses,
given any reasonable assessment of present humanitarian capacity and
growing humanitarian need. IRC president George Rupp has declared that
"even with UN and international aid groups ramping up humanitarian
assistance, current capacity in the region is by best estimates meeting
only 40 percent of the critical needs of the displaced population."
As the IRC press release continued:

"The international humanitarian response to the crisis in Darfur,
Sudan, and eastern Chad must be boosted immediately and dramatically to
save hundreds of thousands of lives that may be lost because of rising
levels of disease and malnutrition. IRC health teams in Darfur and Chad
report increasing cases of diarrhea and dysentery and the growing threat
of cholera and other predatory diseases such as measles and typhoid.
According to the World Health Organization, a cholera epidemic striking
up to 300,000 could break out within weeks now that heavy rains have
begun." (International Rescue Committee press release, July 23, 2004)
Ominously, reports from the Kalma camp near Nyala (with a population
that has doubled in recent weeks to about 70,000) indicate that there
has in fact been an outbreak of cholera; present medical capacity is
completely inadequate to such a population in present circumstances.

World Vision reports in its July 22, 2004 press release that cholera
bacteria are already in the camps, and a report form the Glasgow
(Scotland) Mail reports today that a cholera epidemic is impending:
"World Vision say the outbreak is expected in Darfur's Kalma camp,
which houses 60,000 refugees. One family has been quarantined after a
child had symptoms and experts warn 3,000 people could contract the
disease immediately. World Vision's health specialist in Darfur, Dr
Mesfin Teklu, said: 'If an outbreak happens, it will prove disastrous.'"

(July 25, 2004, at:
http://www.sundaymail.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=14458968&method=full&siteid=86024&headline=fears-over-cholera-disaster-name_page.html)

The IRC specifically calls on the UN Security Council, UN member states
and the larger international community to explore a series of options
"for delivering assistance in a permissive and a non-permissive
environment." By a "non-permissive environment," the IRC is referring
to the highly likely refusal of the Khartoum regime to permit this
critically necessary increase in humanitarian capacity, which may
require military assistance and protection. This forthrightness from
the humanitarian community is long overdue, and the IRC deserves great
credit for speaking so directly and honestly to the present crisis.

Among the options recommended by the IRC:

[1] "Accelerate diplomatic, political and military efforts to improve
security and access within Darfur";

[2] "Strengthen the mandate of the African Union Protection Force to
include protection and assistance for the civilian delivery of
humanitarian aid";

[3] "Consider a no-fly zone over Darfur and along the Chad/Sudan
border to protect civilians and permit the scaling up of rescue and
relief operations";

[4] "Ramp up the logistical capacity to double the delivery of aid.
Seek additional civil and military logistical and material support from
UN member states to ensure the civilian delivery of aid."

THE IRRELEVANT DEBATE ABOUT SANCTIONS

Yet despite this compelling articulation of urgent needs---needs that
must be met in order to save hundreds of thousands of lives---much
international debate continues to focus on the issue of sanctions
against the Khartoum regime. This is so despite a clear signal from
Russia (currently completing a lucrative sale of highly advanced MiG-29s
to Khartoum) that it is opposed to sanctions, as is China (Khartoum's
largest oil partner). But even without such opposition, it should be
evident to all that this debate is quite irrelevant to the situation on
the ground in Darfur. Khartoum has successfully impeded humanitarian
access for so many months, the UN and others in the international
community have so badly failed in adequately anticipating the current
level of crisis, insecurity continues to be so destructive throughout
Darfur, that the diplomatic efficacy of any sanctions regime is utterly
beside the essential point.

Recent comments by US, French, the German, and Dutch officials seem to
be speaking to an entirely different crisis:

"It's too early for sanctions against Sudan for human rights abuses in
Darfur but the international community will take them unless the
situation in the region improves, Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot has
told his Sudanese counterpart." (Reuters, July 25, 2004)

Foreign Minister Bot seems perversely unaware that it is not "too early
for sanctions" but transparently too late, unless we are willing to
watch in leisure the destruction of hundreds of thousands of innocent
human beings while "pressure" is applied to Khartoum from afar. For the
regime has already made clear that it is not prepared to control the
continuing violence of the Janjaweed. Recently reported arrests and
punishments of supposed Janjaweed militiamen, in trials completely
lacking in transparency, are exercises in propaganda, not serious
efforts to restrain the Janjaweed. We get some sense of the real
meaning of Khartoum's efforts from the Sudan Human Rights Organization

(SHRO)-Cairo, which reported yesterday that:
"This week, the Sudan Government put to trial hundreds of citizens
accused of the Janjaweed militia membership before a special court in
Nyala. Many of these citizens received prompt death sentences or
amputations, as publicly announced by the South DarFur Chief Judge."
Noting many highly irregular judicial procedures, SHRO-Cairo also
reports:

"The occurrence of these rush trials in the midst of serious national
and international concerns about the involvement of senior executive,
security, and political leaders of the government in the DarFur Crisis
and the Janjaweed attacks against the innocent citizens of DarFur
violates the principles of proper trial, and is seriously hurting the
ongoing fact-finding efforts in the region."

SRHO-Cairo also notes that "the rushing of the South DarFur Judiciary
to sentence citizens accused of the Janjaweed militia crimes against
humanity by secretive non-public special courts with death sentences and
amputations without proper legal procedure" makes a mockery of due
process.

(Sudan Human Rights Organization-Cairo, report released July 23, 2004)
This comports all to well with a dispatch from Eltigani Ateem Seisi,
former governor of Darfur, who reports that on July 23, 2004:

"Sudan TV aired a programme on Darfur [that] showed a number of the
Janjaweet allegedly convicted by the courts in Nyala for attacking and
torching villages in the area. We now have credible news that all the
prisoners shown in that programme were convicts who have been in Nyala
prison for over three years and have nothing to do with the Janjaweet.
It is a further attempt by the Sudanese government to deceive the
international community and thwart the international pressure." (e-mail,
received by this source July 25, 2004)

These judicial travesties are the perfect exemplum of how Khartoum
expects to be able to respond to international demands that the
Janjaweed be disarmed and controlled.

Just as disturbingly, the regime continues to make fully clear its
determination to obstruct humanitarian operations. Yet another example
of the regime's resourcefulness in this arena is cited in the most
recent US Agency for International Development (US AID) "Fact Sheet" on
Darfur, reporting that its Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART)
presently in Darfur finds that Khartoum is now,
"imposing rigorous registration requirements that hinder qualified
health workers from entering Darfur. These regulations are severely
affecting relief agencies' capacity to respond to disease outbreaks
anticipated in the coming weeks." (US AID "Fact Sheet #15,"
Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency, July 23, 2004)

And most ominously, Khartoum continues to give evidence that it is now
set upon a policy of forcing highly vulnerable populations out of camps
for the displaced back into rural areas that are completely lacking in
security. This extremely serious new development is again highlighted
in the most recent US AID "Fact Sheet" [July 23, 2004]:

"The humanitarian community is concerned that the Government of Sudan
(GOS) is planning to forcibly return internally displaced persons
(IDPs). Although not yet implemented, the Wali (Governor) of West Darfur
informed the U.N. that 25 percent of the population of Mornei (nearly
20,000 people) would be relocated. In North Darfur, the Wali announced
the GOS intention to move approximately 200,000 IDPs [from]
approximately eight sites near urban centers. On July 18, [2004] the
GOS officials in South Darfur announced plans to begin immediate
evacuation of IDPs from the Kass schools, allegedly following requests
from the IDPs to be relocated." (US AID "Fact Sheet #15,"
Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency, July 23, 2004)

US AID and others report that internally displaced persons insistently
and fearfully deny any such requests to be "relocated."

Sanctions against Khartoum as a response to such present critical
threats to over 2 million people are a shameful irrelevance. The
putative pressure of sanctions simply cannot feed people, or provide
them with medical treatment, clean water, or shelter. Nor can it
produce security in Darfur. To pretend otherwise is a callous and
disingenuous refusal to confront the situation at hand. The world must
either respond to the massive, deliberate destruction of the African
tribal peoples of Darfur---"as such"---or we are acquiescing in
mortality rates that are presently claiming almost 2,000 people per day
according to data from the US Agency for International Development
(these data are borne out by several recent studies of Global Acute
Malnutrition by humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur).
For it cannot be stressed too often that the present immense
humanitarian crisis in Darfur is not accidental, the work of natural
forces, or even a cataclysmic example of so-called "collateral damage."
The destruction and violence that has displaced at least 1.5 million
people within Darfur and into Chad, that has produced almost 150,000
casualties to date, and that is set to take enormous tolls among the
aggregated populations of "war-affected persons" (presently at least 2.3
million), is deliberate---it is, as the US Congress declared in a moment
of extraordinary bipartisan, bicameral resolve, "genocide." (The
sources for and statistical analyses underlying these figures are
available upon request.)

Though there continue to be perplexing expressions of doubt about
genocidal intent, these doubts simply cannot withstand the overwhelming
evidence of deliberate, systematic, and ongoing efforts by the Khartoum
regime to accelerate the very destruction that is so clearly in
evidence. That this destruction has purposely focused on the African
ethnic tribal groups---the Fur, the Massaleit, the Zaghawa, and
others---is simply beyond reasonable dispute.

THE TEMPTATIONS TO TEMPORIZE

Despite the moral clarity of the obligation to intervene in Darfur,
various international actors are showing signs of temporizing or simply
ignoring evidence available. The European debate about sanctions
against Khartoum (see above) is but one version. Egypt, guided by a
Sudan policy that is viciously expedient to the core, declared yesterday
that:

"Sudan should be given time to implement its commitments to the United
Nations and the United States over the situation in the troubled western
Darfur region, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Saturday.
Ahmed Abul Gheit. [ ] 'We cannot tell Sudanese officials, "you have
signed with us today and tomorrow you should immediately achieve
complete calm,"' the Egyptian minister said." (Agence France-Presse,
Cairo, July 24, 2004)

The time frame-frame suggested here is disingenuously forgiving. UN
Secretary-general Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Colin Powell made
clear weeks ago their expectation that Khartoum immediately begin to
disarm and neutralize the Janjaweed: to date, nothing has changed.
Indeed, security for humanitarian operations has deteriorated over many
weeks. Various promises have been given by the regime for months now;
not one of them has been kept. Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and
Egypt are perfectly prepared to countenance the genocidal destruction of
African populations in Darfur, as Egypt has for decades in the Nuba
Mountains and southern Sudan.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) can hardly be accused
of temporizing; on the contrary, a recent propaganda "report" (published
by Khartoum's South African embassy website) has nothing but praise for
the regime:

"Contrary to the reports of international organizations and the
international media, the mission found the Government of Sudan to be
exerting all possible and sustained efforts, within their own scarce
resources, to peacefully resolve the Darfur crisis and to achieve a
comprehensive and lasting peace in the region."

"The mission did not find any evidence of there being the 'worst
humanitarian situation in the world' or any comparison whatsoever with
the well-documented and substantiated genocide and ethnic cleansing
which occurred in Rwanda in 1994.

"The Government of the Sudan was also found to be actively involved
with, fully cooperating with and facilitating the work of international
and regional organizations as well as national and international NGO's
in the provision of urgently required humanitarian assistance to the
IDP's in the Darfur region."

(Available on the website of the Khartoum embassy in South Africa:
http://www.sudani.co.za/Peace%20Effords/Report%20of%20the%20OIC%20mission.htm).
Such disgusting mendacity, while obviously useless in assessing the
situation in Darfur, gives some indication of the international
political obstacles to an appropriate response in Darfur. The Arab
League for its part is all too well represented by Egyptian views.
To its great credit, the African Union is undertaking an unprecedented
"peace-monitoring mission" in Darfur, and while this doesn't
represent full African unanimity, it is an effort that must be supported
in all possible ways, and made into a bridgehead for much more robust
intervention. They key here will be to ensure full diplomatic and
political support, as well as substantial logistical and material
assistance. But this force can only be a bridgehead: it cannot possibly
help in the massive augmentation of logistics and humanitarian transport
capacity called for by the International Rescue Committee. Nor can it
do anything but begin the equally massive task of providing physical
security to the more than 1.5 million people displaced by the predations
and violence of the Janjaweed and Khartoum's regular military forces.
Here, as the Washington Post rightly argued in an editorial today,
Colin Powell and the Bush administration---"which has been generous with
relief and which has led the charge for tough action at the United
Nations" is "guilty of equivocation" ("Mr. Powell's Mistake," Washington
Post editorial, July 25, 2004):

"The equivocation hinges on the question of who must restore peace in
Darfur. On Thursday Secretary of State Colin L. Powell offered his
answer: 'The burden for this, for providing security, rests fully on the
shoulders of Sudan's government.' This view conveniently absolves
outsiders of responsibility for getting a civilian protection force into
Darfur and reassures Security Council members such as China and Russia
that Sudan's sovereignty will be respected. But it is naive. [ ]"
"Asking a government like [the Khartoum regime] to provide security in
Darfur is like calling upon Slobodan Milosevic to protect Albanian
Kosovars. The real solution is the reverse of the one Mr. Powell appears
to believe in. Rather than summoning Sudan's government into Darfur to
protect refugees, the United States should be calling upon the
government to pull back from the region. Just as was the case in Kosovo,
security in Darfur is going to require a foreign presence, preferably an
African one that builds on the small African Union observer mission that
is already in the region. Mr. Powell may fear that calling for such a
force is risky: What if no Africans come forward, and the job of
peacekeeping falls to the United States? But the secretary must weigh
that risk against the opposite one. What if Sudan's government maintains
control of Darfur and uses it to exterminate hundreds of thousands of
people?" (Washington Post, July 25, 2004)

These are precisely the terms in which we must think about the issue of
security in Darfur, which by all accounts continues to deteriorate, with
significantly increased threats to humanitarian personnel, vehicles,
even convoys. In moving the international community toward such
thinking about human security in Darfur, Secretary Powell must also
expedite the genocide determination currently being undertaken by the
State Department.

Mr. Powell recently declared, in commenting upon the State Department
investigation of genocide, that "'the initial reporting that I have
received is very disturbing as to the actions of the Janjaweed and how
the Janjaweed were supported by the government of Sudan'" (Associated
Press, July 22, 2004). But this is already a full month after
Pierre-Richard Prosper, US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, testified
to the Congress:

"'I can tell you that we see indicators of genocide and there is
evidence that points in that direction,' said Pierre Prosper, the US
ambassador-at-large for war crimes." (Agence France-Presse, June 24,
2004)

In this same Congressional testimony, Ambassador Prosper troublingly
declared that State Department lawyers and investigators "are not in a
position to confirm" a genocide determination, for "in order to do so,
Darfur needs to be opened up" (Agence France-Presse, June 24, 2004).
Yet again, it becomes difficult to know whether this commentary on the
Darfur crisis is ignorance or disingenuousness. For of course Khartoum
will not "open up" Darfur to US investigators involved in a genocide
determination: to expect such is absurd. To make a genocide
determination in any way contingent upon such an "opening up" is
perverse and unjustified delay.

NOW

There is no time for confusion, disingenuousness, or lack of moral
clarity. All available evidence clearly indicates that genocide is
occurring; moreover, there is no disconfirming evidence. The deliberate
effects of this genocide are accelerating mortality rates and a growing
mismatch between humanitarian capacity and humanitarian need. If the
international response is governed by irrelevant debates about
sanctions, dilatory gathering of evidence, or indeed anything other than
the immediate need to plan for robust humanitarian intervention, with
all necessary military support, then this response is but a ghastly
reprise of the world's failure in the face of Rwanda's genocide in
1994.

For there is no lack of evidence, no lack of clarity, no lack of
statistical data pointing to the imminent, deliberate destruction of
hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings.
Every day of inadequate response brings us closer to the point,
sometime in the next six months, when US Agency for International
Development mortality data indicate that 20 human beings per 10,000 of
"war-affected" population will die per day. With a "war-affected"
population of well over 2 million, this means that we are relentlessly
approaching the point at which approximately 5,000 people will be dying
daily.

This was the world in the spring of 1994; this is the world as we find
it in July 2004.

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


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Learning from Past Failures 

"It is imperative that we learn the lesson from past failures
to respond in time to evolving, genocidal evil." (Yad Vashem
[Jerusalem], July 18, 2004, urging "immediate, concerted" international
action in Darfur)

Eric Reeves
July 21, 2004

OVERVIEW OF AN EXPLODING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

The rapidly gathering pace of genocidal destruction in Darfur is ever
more widely evident. The mismatch between humanitarian capacity and
humanitarian need daily becomes more deadly, even as those most
responsible for humanitarian planning have not yet fully acknowledged
this widening gap. Nor have we been afforded by the various
organizations of the UN, by other international humanitarian actors and
donors, or by the US Agency for International Development sufficiently
clear, coherent, and comprehensive statistical accounts of human
displacement, destruction, and humanitarian need. In particular, we
need a much clearer global estimation of those in Darfur (and Chad)
presently in need of food aid, as well as medical treatment, clean
water, and shelter (whether these people are presently accessible or
not). We must also be provided a much clearer sense of how rapidly this
estimated population is expected to increase.

Most urgently, we need a clearer articulation of the challenges posed
by the basic logistical demand in the Darfur crisis, viz. provision of
transport capacity to move 16,000 metric tons of food (grain, pulses,
oil) per 1 million people in need per month. And once the challenges
are fully articulated, what are the credible means of addressing them?


In addition to this massive food demand, there is an urgent need to
move---as soon as possible---thousands of metric tons of shelter,
medical supplies, water-purification equipment, and cooking fuel.
Moreover, transport capacity entails not merely movement into the Darfur
region, but subsequent distribution to the locations of those most
desperately in need.

If we assume---as a great deal of evidence suggests we should---a
population of more than 2 million people in need food and non-food aid,
then we must be thinking of monthly transport capacity for between
35,000 and 40,000 metric tons. Given the virtually total lack of food
production in Darfur, we must also assume that these requirements extend
well over a year into the future.

These are huge quantities, with a very lengthy time-frame. They will
require massive transport capacity, relatively efficient and coordinated
operations on the ground, as well as appropriate levels of security for
both humanitarian and transport personnel. None of these requirements
is remotely in evidence or in prospect. Nor, in fact, is there any
evidence that sufficient quantities of food and medicine have actually
been purchased or found committed funding (this latter fact obliges the
US Agency for International Development to predict that there will be a
break in the "food pipeline" as early as September 2004 (US Agency for
International Development "fact sheet" for "Darfur---Humanitarian
Emergency," July 16, 2004).

These are matters of utmost consequence to many hundreds of thousands
of people at acute risk in Darfur. To the extent we fall short of
meeting these immense logistical and humanitarian material requirements,
people will die proportionately. If we provide only half the food and
non-food items that are needed, then slowly but surely over 1 million
people will die. Food and non-food items may be divided among this
already weakened population: this simply distributes the risk of
morbidity and mortality more widely. It does not change the grim
underlying calculus. The people of Darfur need food, medicine, water,
and shelter---as do all human beings.

By refusing to acknowledge fully and frankly the quantitatively stark
nature of the present needs of these Darfurian human beings, the UN and
other international humanitarian actors are contributing to a climate in
which it is possible to avoid discussing the overwhelming need for
humanitarian intervention. But there is simply nothing else that can
bring humanitarian capacity and need into equilibrium. To be sure,
perhaps when total mortality grows beyond its present approach to
150,000 deaths (see mortality assessment by this writer, July 15, 2004;
available upon request) to 250,000, there may be a sufficient sense of
urgency. Or perhaps it will require 500,000 deaths. Indeed, perhaps
the post-Rwandan threshold is 1 million deaths. But will the world look
away from such massive, racially/ethnically animated human destruction
indefinitely?

KHARTOUM'S SPONSORSHIP OF ETHNICALLY/RACIALLY
MOTIVATED HUMAN DESTRUCTION

However we may answer this terrifying question, there is right now---if
we will only look with some attention---far more than enough evidence to
establish both the general scale of this crisis as well as its very
precise cause in the massive insecurity that continues to prevail
throughout Darfur. This insecurity is a function of racially/ethnically
animated violence and destruction that has as its proximate cause
Khartoum's Janjaweed Arab militia groups. But as Human Rights Watch
establishes still more compellingly in its important report of yesterday
("Darfur Documents Confirm Government Policy of Militia Support," July
20, 2004), Khartoum is deliberately and systematically using the
Janjaweed for its own purposes of racial/ethnic destruction (report at:
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/07/20/darfur9095.htm).

"Sudan Government documents incontrovertibly show that government
officials directed recruitment, arming and other support to the ethnic
militias known as the Janjaweed, Human Rights Watch said today. The
government of Sudan has consistently denied recruiting and arming the
Janjaweed militias, including during the recent visits of U.S. Secretary
of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan."

"Human Rights Watch said it had obtained confidential documents from
the civilian administration in Darfur that implicate high-ranking
government officials in a policy of militia support. 'It's absurd to
distinguish between the Sudanese government forces and the
militias---they are one,' said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of
Human Rights Watch's Africa Division. 'These documents show that militia
activity has not just been
condoned, it's been specifically supported by Sudan government
officials.'"

"Human Rights Watch said that Sudanese government forces and
government-backed militias are responsible for crimes against humanity,
war crimes and 'ethnic cleansing' involving aerial and ground attacks on
civilians of the same ethnicity as members of two rebel groups in Darfur
[i.e., the Fur, the Massaleit, and the Zaghawa "ethnicities"]."
("Darfur Documents Confirm Government Policy of Militia Support," July
20, 2004)

What is the nature of the violence being perpetrated by the Janjaweed?

Amnesty International has very recently released a new and powerful
indictment ("Rape as a Weapon of War [in Darfur]," July 18, 2004), a
report that once again reveals the extraordinary brutality of Khartoum's
Janjaweed militia allies---a brutality that includes the raping of
eight-year-old girls as well as unspeakable accompanying violence
against female victims. Moreover, interview after interview highlights
yet again the vicious racial/ethnic hatred animating the Janjaweed,
Khartoum's continuing military weapon of choice:

"The words of members of the Janjawid as reported by a group of Masalit
women in Goz Amer refugee camp, interviewed by Amnesty International in
May 2004:

"'You blacks, you have spoilt the country! We are here to burn you....
We will kill your husbands and sons and we will sleep with you! You are
our wives.'" ("Rape as a Weapon of War," July 18, 2004, page 23)

"M., a Masalit chief of the village of Disa, reported that during
attacks in June 2003 that [the Janjaweed said]:

"'You are complicit with the opponents, you are Blacks, no Black can
stay here and no Black can stay in Sudan.'" ("Rape as a Weapon of War,"
July 18, 2004, page 24)

"M., a 50-year-old woman from Fur Baranga, reported:

"'The village was attacked during the night in October 2003, when the
Arabs came by cars and on horses. They said 'every black woman must be
killed, even the children.'" ("Rape as a Weapon of War," July 18, 2004,
page 23)

The New York Times has also recently offered a savagely revealing
portrait of Janjaweed violence:

"Days after the American secretary of state and the United Nations
secretary general ended their tour [in early July 2004], witnesses said,
gunmen stormed a girls' school in the desert region of Darfur, chained a
group of students together and set the building on fire. The charred
remains of eight girls were still in shackles when military observers
from the African Union [cease-fire monitoring team] arrived on the
scene." (New York Times (dateline: Nyala, Darfur] July 18, 2004)

INSECURITY AND THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

At the same time that Khartoum continues to use the Janjaweed as a
military means of attacking African tribal groups, it is also
accelerating its policy of forced expulsion of displaced persons who
have sought refuge in camps. Mornei, a camp of approximately 80,000
displaced persons, has been particularly targeted, even as satellite
photographic maps of destroyed villages in Darfur reveal Mornei (also
"Murnei" and "Mornay") to be in the most ravaged part of West Darfur
State:

"On 17 July [2004], agencies received 'alarming' reports that the
governor of Western Darfur State and the local humanitarian aid
commissioner were planning to relocate 25 percent of the Internally
Displaced Persons [IDPs], or 1,000 families, from Murnei to 'predestined
relocation sites.' Murnei, one of Darfur's biggest camps, is home to
about 80,000 IDPs." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, July
20, 2004)

Though this forced expulsion from Mornei may have been temporarily
suspended, it comports all too well with publicly articulated ambitions
on the part of the Khartoum regime. In the context of announcing
previous "success" (i.e., that "86% of the Internally Displaced Persons
had already returned to their villages"), Interior Minister Abd al-Rahim
Muhammad Husayn---who is also Khartoum's "special representative on
Darfur"--- declared that,

"it was 'most important' to get people to return to their villages.
Each state---Darfur region has three---had its own plan of return." (UN
Integrated Regional Information Networks, July 12, 2004)

But the inevitably immense and rapid destructiveness of this policy has
been repeatedly stressed recently by humanitarian workers and UN
organizations. The UN Integrated Regional Information Networks reports
(July 20, 2004):

"'The government wants them to go home, the UN wants them to stay,'
said [a humanitarian aid worker]. 'There is no food [in the villages]:
they will go back to die.' If [Internally Displaced Persons from the
camps] are forced to return, they will have no food sources for at least
the next 15 months, until after the next harvest in autumn 2005.
Furthermore, it is impossible to distribute food in each of the hundreds
of villages from which the Internally Displaced Persons have fled." (UN
Integrated Regional Information Networks, July 20, 2004)

However deliberately destructive this policy may be, it has another
sinister purpose, as Amnesty International suggests in a press release
today (July 21, 2004), viz. to "ease the international scrutiny of [the
Khartoum government's] actions in Darfur and to give an excuse for
removing the numerous humanitarian organizations at present working in
the Darfur camps" (Amnesty International press release [London], July
21, 2004).

In furtherance of such a policy, the regime has also brazenly shut down
(for "resurfacing") the critical runway at al-Geneina, capital of West
Darfur---and in the process is denying all humanitarian flights the
ability to land. So far this extraordinarily consequential shutdown has
been greeted with silence on the part of the international community.
This in turn works to assure Khartoum that there will be no real
pressure to grant unfettered humanitarian access.

Such dramatic interference with humanitarian transport occurs even as
security threats to humanitarian personnel and humanitarian convoys are
on the rise, with the clear prospect of a forced withdrawal by many
organizations in the event of fatal attacks on professional expatriate
personnel. Such withdrawal would cripple the entire humanitarian
operation in Darfur. This is the real meaning of UN Undersecretary for
Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland's recently declared fear:

"'my worst scenario [is that] that the security will deteriorate, that
we will step back at a moment we have to actually step up [emergency
relief]'" (BBC, July 14, 2004).

Attacks on humanitarian workers, drivers, and convoys have been
definitively associated with Khartoum's Janjaweed militia, and Khartoum
may deliberately orchestrate a fatal Janjaweed attack on expatriate
humanitarian professionals as a means of sabotaging operations.

UN FAILURES TO PLAN EFFECTIVELY FOR THE DARFUR CRISIS

Humanitarian operations face other obstacles as well. In addition to
present shortcomings of planning, logistical clarity, and population
assessments, various UN organizations are revealing more and more of
their previous planning failures. In a breathtaking example of
incompetence or disingenuousness, Dr. David Nabarro, head of the UN's
World Health Organization's "Health Crises Operations," is reported as
declaring that:

"The UN World Health Organization did not think the situation in Darfur
would become as desperate as it is. [Nabarro] says the agency
underestimated the difficulty of getting enough water supplies and of
improving sanitation facilities in the camps. As a result, he says, the
amount of available cholera vaccine is not enough to meet the needs."
(Voice of America, July 18, 2004)

This unforgivable "underestimating," and failure to anticipate
obviously impending realities on the ground, will likely cost many
thousands of lives. Despite months of warnings from various quarters
about the implications of heavy seasonal rains in Darfur, and the
obviously rapidly growing camp populations---without sanitary
facilities---Dr. Nabarro is only now discerning the "possibility that
cholera might arise with the terrible death rates of the kind that we
saw in Goma [Democratic Republic of Congo]."

But why didn't the example of Goma prompt more serious efforts to
anticipate the very needs that are now so palpably threatening? Why is
this only now occurring to Dr. Nabarro? In the aftermath of the Rwandan
genocide in 1994 hundreds of thousands of people fled to Goma in
neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. An outbreak of cholera killed
about 1,000 people a week (Voice of America, July 18, 2004). Was this
not lesson enough?

Even more deadly will be the consequences of the failure on the part of
the UN World Food Program (WFP) to pre-position large quantities of food
supplies in the major towns in Darfur. This failure occurred despite
the urgent pleas from humanitarian organizations on the ground, over
many months, requesting that the WFP massively increase the quantities
of pre-positioned food in anticipation of the rains, as well as the host
of current logistical difficulties all too predictably being
encountered. Malnutrition is now soaring in large part because of this
failing, and the diseases that prey on malnourished populations will
soon be claiming over 2,000 lives a day, according to data from the US
Agency for International Development ("Projected Mortality Rates in
Darfur, 2004-2005, at
http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf).

The predicted break in the "food pipeline" this September (see above)
also reflects in part UN shortcomings, primarily an inability to work
effectively to solicit necessary financial commitments. But here of
course the real failure is on the part of potential donor nations that
refuse to provide appropriate levels of assistance. While the US, the
UK, Norway, and the Netherlands have done their part, France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, and the richer Arab countries are all failing miserably.
Though there is a short window of opportunity in which to avert this
break in the food pipeline, funding commitments that will allow for
present commodity purchases are urgently required, given the time-lag
between funding of food shipments and their actual arrival in the
humanitarian theater of operations.

GLOBAL NUMBERS IN DARFUR

The international community needs a much more detailed, or at least
coherent and transparent, articulation of various figures defining the
Darfur crisis. Of particular importance is clarity about the needs of
the more than 2.3 million people now defined as "war-affected" (most of
whom are completely beyond humanitarian reach). What percentage of this
population needs food aid now? How can populations outside the camps be
fed? How rapidly is food dependency growing within this population?
What are reasonable estimates for the number of "war-affected" persons
one month out? two months? three months?

What percentage of people in the camps, formally counted and otherwise,
are presently without any clean water, shelter, and latrines, as the
rains turn these camps into open sewers? How long do we expect to leave
people in these conditions? What percentage of the camp populations can
be treated for cholera or dysentery? What capacity for malaria
treatment will be on hand in August, when the disease starts to explode
with the mosquito populations now hatching?

Too many insufficiently answered questions.

What is the global figure for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in
Darfur? The figure stood at 1 million in late April 2004, according to
the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN
Integrated Regional Information Networks [Nairobi], April 21, 2004).
That figure was raised by the UN to 1.2 million in late June, and on
July 8, 2004 Tom Vraalsen, the U.N.'s special envoy for humanitarian
affairs to Sudan, declared that "more than 1.2 million [are] internally
displaced" in Darfur (Reuters, July 8, 2004). But yesterday OCHA
estimated that the population of Internally Displaced Persons in Darfur
increased by 100,000 over the past month (UN Integrated Regional
Information Networks, July 20, 2004), would suggest that the total
figure is now approximately 1.3 million---plus the approximately 200,000
who are refugees in Chad.

But as great as this aggregated number of 1.5 million is---representing
people critically in need of humanitarian aid---there are a great many
people in Darfur who haven't figured in any of these estimates and
assessments---or in the calculation of humanitarian assistance required.
The estimates of those who have fallen entirely between the "assessment
cracks," who are nowhere accounted for, range from 300,000 (the internal
working number at the World Food Program) to 500,000. And beyond this
population, there is the very large number of people who may not have
been displaced, or who are living with friends or kinsmen, but have
exhausted their food reserves, have no access to their land, and
desperately need food assistance as well.

Is the population of "war-affected" already much greater than 2.3
million? One senior aid official estimates that the population may
reach to 3 million by October: are there contingency plans for such a
distinct possibility?

THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS HAS BEEN DELIBERATELY
PRECIPITATED

Too many of these questions about humanitarian capacity and need, as
well as the size of the affected populations, cannot be answered because
of the consequences of continuing insecurity throughout Darfur. But
nothing can obscure the most obvious conclusion deriving from all
available evidence: absent robust humanitarian intervention, with fully
adequate military support, we cannot possibly meet the present or future
needs of the people of Darfur.

For we must never lose sight of the fundamental fact that these
desperate human needs for food, water, medical treatment, and shelter
derive directly from deliberate military policies, directed against
civilian populations, by the Khartoum regime and its Janjaweed militia
proxy. This is the particular value of yesterday's Human Rights Watch
report, establishing so authoritatively the clear and direct connection
between the Khartoum regime and the Janjaweed. The complementary value
of the Amnesty International report of July 18, 2004 lies in
illuminating yet again the vicious racial/ethnic hatred animating the
actions of Khartoum's chosen instrument of human destruction.

We are, in short, obliged to think in the terms that Israel's Yad
Vashem has invoked. Entrusted with documenting the history of the
Jewish people during the Holocaust, Yad Vashem solemnly declared this
week:

"During the era of the Holocaust the world was slow to respond to news
about the murder of six million Jews. In the 1990s, unrestrained
genocide occurred in Rwanda with little or no international
acknowledgement of it until after it had ended. It is imperative that we
learn the lesson from past failures to respond in time to evolving,
genocidal evil. Yad Vashem urges the leaders of the nations of the world
to take immediate concerted action to halt the tragedy in Darfur before
it devolves further, to provide effective humanitarian aid to the region
and to punish the perpetrators of the heinous crimes that are being
committed there." (July 18, 2004)

But the descent into the abyss continues. Meaningful "concerted
action," action that will do all that is necessary to provide necessary
humanitarian relief, is nowhere in sight. "Evolving, genocidal evil"
is directly before us---will it truly be seen?

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


Saturday, July 17, 2004

A Policy of Forced Expulsion 

"This enforced movement of people is very, very, very, very worrisome
at the moment"---Jan Egeland, UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian
Affairs, commenting on the expanding forced expulsion of displaced
populations from Darfur camps

Eric Reeves
July 17, 2004

A POLICY OF FORCED EXPULSION

There can be no doubting the catastrophic effects of what is daily more
obviously Khartoum's grim plan in Darfur. Responding to growing
international awareness of conditions among the immense concentrations
of African tribal populations in camps throughout Darfur, Khartoum has
decided to expel forcibly these people, demanding that they return to
"their" villages. In fact, the vast majority of these villages have
already been destroyed by Khartoum and its Janjaweed militia allies.
What remain are scattered towns and concentrations of villages, fully
under the control of the Janjaweed and Khartoum's security forces.
These will become the new "homes" for the displaced populations, where
they will no longer "need" humanitarian assistance, and this in turn
will obviate the necessity of an international presence in Darfur.

Jan Egeland, UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs, clearly sees
evidence of this, as indicated in an Associated Press dispatch of July
15, 2004:

"Thousands of Sudanese who fled their homes because of attacks by
government-backed militias in the Darfur region are being forced to
leave refugee camps and return to their villages, the U.N. humanitarian
chief said.
[Egeland] said the United Nations has received reports of 'big
pressure' forcing people from camps in western Darfur. 'This enforced
movement of people is very, very, very, very worrisome at the moment,'
he said. 'This is one of the key points to monitor in the next days and
weeks---that return is voluntary, and that security is re-established
for the civilian population.'" (Associated Press, July 15, 2004)

But of course security is not in the process of being "re-established";
on the contrary, it continues to deteriorate rapidly, as Egeland himself
had indicated the previous day in a BBC dispatch ("Darfur security
'deteriorating'"):

"The United Nations' top emergency relief official has warned that the
security situation in Sudan's Darfur region is becoming more difficult.
Jan Egeland, who has just visited Darfur, said relief supplies had been
looted and humanitarian workers attacked by militia." (BBC, July 14,
2004)

Today (July 17, 2004), the BBC notes "that there have been reports that
Janjaweed raids have intensified this week [July 10 to July 17, 2004],
despite government claims to be disarming the militia." The US Agency
for International Development Darfur emergency "fact sheet" for July 16,
2004 also cites UN reports of various serious incidents of Janjaweed
violence over the past week, directed against civilians near camps for
the displaced (US AID "fact sheet," "DARFUR---Humanitarian Emergency,"
July 16, 2004).

These and numerous other reports and assessments define, with
compelling authority, the nature of the extreme physical insecurity
currently prevailing within the rural areas and near the camps in
Darfur. It is into these environments that Khartoum is now officially
committed to forcing populations expelled from the camps (see statements
from Khartoum's Minster of the Interior and Chair of the Humanitarian
Affairs Commission [HAC] in July 15, 2004 analysis by this writer;
available upon request).

The consequences of forced mass expulsions in the context of such
pervasive insecurity are clear:

"Humanitarian workers fear that a forcible mass return of some 1.2
million Internally Displaced Persons in Darfur could result in enormous
fatalities." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, July 13,
2004)

Many hundreds of thousands of people would see a dramatic increase in
levels of insecurity, as well as be faced with a lack of humanitarian
access and food aid. Most would likely die, even as the mortality rates
within populations in the camps themselves are already very high and
rising precipitously. In these camps, various logistical and security
issues have grown steadily more acute, giving threat of even more
precipitously rising mortality rates.

For a pervasive lack of security threatens the people of Darfur in
others ways as well. Undersecretary Egeland is reported as declaring
that, "Darfur was becoming too dangerous for aid workers" (BBC, July 14,
2004). And in a chilling moment of speculation, Egeland described, "'my
worst scenario [is that] that the security will deteriorate, that we
will step back at a moment we have to actually step up [emergency
relief]'" (BBC, July 14, 2004).

CONSEQUENCES OF INSECURITY

All evidence, from a variety of authoritative sources on the ground in
Darfur, suggests that this "worst scenario" is playing out at greater
speed and with greater ferocity than even Egeland has suggested. In
addition to Janjaweed attacks on civilians, individual humanitarian
vehicles, humanitarian personnel, and even entire humanitarian convoys,
this brutal militia force has set up a greatly increased number of
check-points on key humanitarian road corridors. Aid workers are
reporting increasing threats and hostility at these check-points, and
these threats in turn work to compromise in dramatic fashion the present
humanitarian capacity, already woefully inadequate to current
humanitarian need.

Moreover, there are growing numbers of informed reports from the ground
in Darfur that the Janjaweed are rapidly being incorporated into both
the "police" forces of Darfur, as well as Khartoum's regular military.
Despite Khartoum's various promises to disarm the Janjaweed (promises
publicly reneged upon in some regime-controlled newspapers), the reality
is otherwise, as the UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks
suggested with its July 12, 2004 dispatch from al-Geneina:

"[Sources] working in Darfur say little has actually been done to match
what they describe as [Khartoum's] 'rhetoric.' Local sources told IRIN
that the Janjawid were simply being incorporated into the army and the
paramilitary Popular Defence Forces (PDF), to officially remove them
from the public eye. The UN has also received reports of the same tactic
in recent weeks." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
[dateline: al-Geneina] July 12, 2004)

INCREASINGLY DEADLY MISMATCH BETWEEN
HUMANITARIAN NEED AND HUMANITARIAN CAPACITY

Moreover, even as security deteriorates in many ways, the mismatch
between humanitarian need and capacity continues to grow more deadly.
The problem is compounded by UN assessments that seriously understate
the scope of this need, especially concerning the size of populations in
desperate need. John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group has
just completed a very significant assessment mission inside rebel-held
territory in Darfur, and writes in the New York Times of his findings:

"While Western dignitaries visited the camps teeming with refugees from
Darfur and elsewhere, I encountered large numbers of displaced civilians
inside the rebel-held areas of Darfur, where no camps exist and not a
drop of international assistance has been delivered. There are
potentially hundreds of thousands of survivors who have fallen through
the cracks. Some of them say they are afraid to travel to
government-controlled camps and unable to make it to the border. They
are running out of food." (New York Times, July 15, 2004)

In fact, private conversations with well-placed sources within the
humanitarian community indicate a growing consensus that there are at
least several hundred thousand people presently in the desperate
situation described by Prendergast. This is one reason we must regard
with deep skepticism present UN World Food Program assessments of the
number in critical need of food aid throughout Darfur. These assessments
are based on surveys done in areas to which there is access, or on the
basis of the displaced populations in camps to which there is at least
tenuous access. They thus leave out of consideration huge numbers of
people of the sort Prendergast encountered. One human rights source,
recently back from the region, estimates that the number of people
unable to trek to the Darfur/Chad border or beyond the reach of
humanitarian relief is in the range of 500,000 (Darfur has a total
population of approximately 6,500,000 in its three states).

There are also numerous credible reports of large numbers of displaced
persons settling on the outskirts of camps, though not formally
registered or figuring in humanitarian assessments and estimates. Camps
themselves are growing far more rapidly than are the humanitarian
resources slowly and belatedly making their way into Darfur. A UN News
Center dispatch yesterday (July 16, 2004) concerning the Kalma camp near
Nyala offers a shocking example:

"In South Darfur, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
are concerned about a sudden rise in the number of internally displaced
people at a camp at Kalma. There are now 70,000 residents at the camp,
with more people arriving every day---compared to 30,000 at the end of
last month." (UN News Centre, July 16, 2004)

A precipitous increase of 40,000 people, in a camp that was already
overwhelmed by 30,000 residents, is a formula for catastrophe. A large
malaria outbreak could, without sufficient clean water or medical
resources, quickly takes the lives of over 10,000 in this one camp alone
(the camp was deliberately located in a low spot in the area, ensuring
that water would collect and mix with human and animal sewage during the
rainy season).

The lack of adequate food supplies on the ground in Darfur is suggested
by the soaring rates of malnutrition being reported by humanitarian
organizations: Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) rates (statistically, a
third of these people will die) have exceeded 5% in some populations; at
least two humanitarian organizations are reporting Global Acute
Malnutrition (GAM) rates that have reached 50% in some populations.
This is the portrait of a famine accelerating.

INSECURITY AND GENOCIDE

Prendergast's findings also make clear that security for civilians
remains non-existent in much of Darfur:

"I was not prepared for the far more sinister scene I encountered in a
ravine deep in the Darfur desert. Bodies of young men were lined up in
ditches, eerily preserved by the 130-degree desert heat. The story the
rebels told us seemed plausible: the dead were civilians who had been
marched up a hill and executed by the Arab-led government before its
troops abandoned the area the previous month. The rebels assert that
there were many other such scenes." (New York Times, July 15, 2004)

It is to these rural areas---defined by mass executions, the most
violent use of rape as a weapon of war, the absence of an international
presence, and the almost total lack of food---that Khartoum is seeking
to expel the African tribal populations that have already been forced to
flee from the destruction of their villages, and then to seek the
tenuous security of "camps."

Insecurity is not an accidental by-product of the war in Darfur: it is
the primary instrument of genocide. And the Janjaweed, so consistently
and authoritatively reported as working militarily hand-in-glove with
Khartoum's security and regular military forces in Darfur, are the
primary means of insecurity, the primary weapon by which Khartoum has
conducted its genocidal war on the African peoples of Darfur.

The forces of the Janjaweed have burned over 2,000 villages throughout
Darfur; they have slaughtered, raped, tortured, and abducted many scores
of thousands of human beings; they have displaced approximately 1.5
million people, putting them at acute risk from famine and
famine-related disease. The Janjaweed have systematically destroyed
foodstocks, seedstocks, water wells and irrigations systems,
agricultural implements, and livestock---and in the process created a
"war-affected" population of 2.3 million people.

The cruelty of the Janjaweed, as well as the militia's intimate
relations with Khartoum's leaders, is suggested in an extraordinary
interview published yesterday (July 16, 2004) by The Guardian (UK).
Perhaps the most notorious of the Janjaweed leaders, Musa Hilal, was
interviewed at length in Khartoum, under the most lavish of
circumstances, revealing a great deal about Hilal's "comfort level" in
the capital city.

[It should be said that it is one thing for a distinguished newspaper
to conduct such an interview, with very clear news value and offering a
deeply revealing look into the heart of evil in Darfur; it is quite
another for US charge d'affaires (and thus senior US diplomat in
Khartoum) Gerald Gallucci to conduct a discussion with such a war
criminal and terrorist. That Mr. Gallucci very recently conducted such
a discussion, in an official US capacity, should be the cause for the
greatest consternation and demands explanation. Musa Hilal heads the US
State Department's list of suspected war criminals in Darfur.]

The Guardian found this Janjaweed leader, "dressed in a crisp white
robe and prayer cap," sitting in a plush chair as he "patted his
nephew's head and offered sweet pastries" (The Guardian [dateline:
Khartoum] July 16, 2004). The interviewer later noted:

"In Khartoum Mr Hilal showed no fear of being arrested. There were no
bodyguards and no security checks at the gates of the walled compound.
When the interview concluded, he was relaxed enough to joke about the
Janjaweed with the Guardian's photographer." (The Guardian [dateline:
Khartoum] July 16, 2004).

But The Guardian also establishes beyond reasonable doubt that Hilal
was the commander during the notorious atrocity at Tawilah in February
2004, described at the time by the UN's Integrated Regional Information
Networks:

"In an attack on 27 February [2004] in the Tawilah area of northern
Darfur, 30 villages were burned to the ground, over 200 people killed
and over 200 girls and women raped---some by up to 14 assailants and in
front of their fathers who were later killed. A further 150 women and
200 children were abducted." (UN Integrated Regional Information
Networks, March 22, 2004)

As evidence of Hilal's central role in this atrocity, The Guardian
notes:

"The Guardian has established from witnesses in the town of Tawilah in
north Darfur, which was attacked in February, that Mr Hilal has
commanded Janjaweed forces in the field. Saddiq Ismail, 45, a retired
teacher in the town, said Mr Hilal had arrived [to lead the atrocity] by
helicopter [[NOTE: this can only have been a helicopter from the
Khartoum regime's regular military forces---Eric Reeves]], accompanied
on the ground by five Landcruisers and gunmen on horses and camels.
'Musa Hilal was dressed in military uniform [NOTE: this uniform was
certainly provided by the Khartoum regime's regular military
forces---Eric Reeves]]. He was directing his men. He is the leader and
gave all the orders,' Mr Ismail said." (The Guardian [dateline:
Khartoum] July 16, 2004).

The Guardian also reports on Hilal's broader role: "Witnesses have
identified [Hilal] as the coordinator of attacks in which civilians have
been massacred and raped in front of their families, and their villages
burned." (The Guardian [dateline: Khartoum] July 16, 2004)

Moreover, The Guardian finds yet further evidence of the animating
racism/ethnic hatred that lies behind such brutal assaults:

"The Guardian has spoken to a deserter from a training camp run by Mr
Hilal, who said the Janjaweed commander whipped up racial hatred among
his fighters. When the recruits first arrived in the camp, at Mistriyah
in north Darfur, Mr Hilal made a speech in which he told them that all
Africans were their enemies." (The Guardian [dateline: Khartoum], July
16, 2004)

The Guardian notes in this context that, according to the deserter
interviewed, Hilal used the derogatory Arabic word "Zurgha" ("Blacks")
to describe African populations.

This is genocide unfolding. By means of this brutal militia force, and
its savagely cruel commanders, Khartoum has created such levels of
civilian destruction and displacement, has generated such extreme levels
of insecurity, has so completely compromised food production and
humanitarian relief capacity, has created such deadly concentrations of
people now living in appalling health conditions, that the genocide
can't be stopped. The nature of current discourse within the UN,
both in New York and within the various agencies, as well as the lack of
meaningful international leadership, has created a political vacuum in
which no steps are being taken toward the humanitarian intervention
required to mitigate the consequences of this engineered genocide.

This may still be "Rwanda in slow-motion"; but we are daily coming
closer to "real time."

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

ereeves@smith.edu


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