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Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Darfur Posted by Hello

Khartoum's Strategy for Sustaining Genocide in Darfur: 

Present evidence of the regime's tactics and goals

Eric Reeves
September 28, 2004

Khartoum's National Islamic Front regime is acutely aware of growing
international condemnation of genocidal destruction in Darfur, and the increasingly
insistent (if variously motivated) calls for action. But the regime's response has
not been to halt the genocide, or to rein in the brutal Janjaweed militia that
continue to terrorize civilian populations, or to permit an African Union
peacekeeping force to provide security to more than 2 million internally displaced
persons. On the contrary, the regime is as committed as ever to the systematic,
deliberate destruction of the African tribal populations of Darfur and their
agricultural economy. These efforts have now enjoyed unconscionably great
success.

Signs of this ongoing success are everywhere. In the near- to medium-term, as
many as 150,000 people are set to flee from Darfur into Chad to escape
genocidal violence. Agricultural production has not resumed in Darfur, nor are there
signs that the means for such resumption are at hand, even if security were
improved. But in fact villages and rural areas remain far too insecure, and people
continue to flood into already vastly overcrowded camps for displaced persons.
Malnutrition is biting ever more deeply into the lives of people in these
camps, especially children under five. Fewer than half the people in need are
receiving food assistance. The UN's World Health Organization estimates, very
conservatively, that up to 10,000 are dying every month in the camps from disease
and malnutrition, and that more than 50,000 have died since April 2004
alone---and this is in camps to which there is humanitarian access. Camps without such
access, and the hundreds of thousands trapped beyond reach in rural areas of
Darfur, are experiencing much higher mortality rates.

Genocidal destruction has already claimed between 250,000 and 300,000 lives if
we assess both violent deaths as well as deaths from disease and malnutrition
over the past 19 months (see September 15, 2004 global mortality analysis by
this writer; available upon request). This total is now growing very rapidly, and
the deliberately engineered shortfalls in food evident throughout Darfur ensure
that the famine conditions on which the US Agency for International Development
has projected mortality rates will require an ever greater denominator (see
"Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005"
(http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf). Senior
relief officials indicate that the number of war-affected persons may climb to
over 3 million within a month, as assessments include more of the highly
distressed populations in remoter parts of Darfur.

NEW MEANS FOR SUSTAINING GENOCIDE

Darfur's rising profile and growing international outrage suggest that we may
see some shifts in the genocidal tactics that have guided Khartoum over the past
year.

The obstruction of humanitarian assistance will be less conspicuous, in part
because the rains and insecurity have already made delivery of aid terribly
belated as well as dramatically insufficient. Insecurity in the rural areas will be
allowed in ways that continue to paralyze agricultural production, as Khartoum
refuses to fulfill its July 3, 2004 commitment to UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan to disarm the Janjaweed. Additionally, Khartoum is content to see many tens
of thousands of increasingly desperate civilians flee to Chad through a
harrowing gauntlet of marauding Janjaweed forces. Further, the terribly threatening
policy of inducing or forcibly expelling displaced persons from camps in Darfur
will continue as circumstances permit (see below). And Khartoum will use
ongoing insecurity in many areas as cover for continuing efforts to obscure or
obliterate evidence of mass executions and other genocidal atrocities.

But the primary means by which genocide is sustained are now political and
diplomatic in nature. Realizing that maintaining the status quo ensures a final
solution to the insurgency in Darfur, Khartoum will play for time, make various
new commitments, renege and re-negotiate, and above all attempt to diffuse the
focus of diplomacy. Thus the regime will likely resume north-south peace
negotiations in Naivasha (Kenya) as a means of deflecting some attention from Darfur,
though without a real commitment to complete negotiations on a comprehensive
cease-fire or to implement previously negotiated agreements on security
arrangements. The Darfur peace talks that recently collapsed in Abuja (Nigeria) will
also likely resume at some point, though again the regime will make no good-faith
efforts to achieve a true political settlement or to address urgent security
issues. And no doubt "changing the subject" will extend to ongoing claims by the
regime of coup attempts in the capital city (a third "attempt" has conveniently
received extensive news coverage in recent days).

And while Khartoum may negotiate an increase in the number of African Union
(AU) forces deployed to Darfur, the regime will strenuously resist any expansion
of mandate to include peacekeeping. Meanwhile, the present AU monitoring force
will continue to face contrived fuel shortages and other obstacles, thereby
preventing the movement of investigators to sites of reported atrocities.

Significantly, Khartoum will also continue to use the current international
focus on Darfur as the occasion to increase military redeployments and supplies to
southern Sudan. According to the Verification and Monitoring Team (VMT) and
extremely reliable regional sources, the regime has also recently moved Janjaweed
forces from Darfur to Abyei, Eastern Upper Nile, and Southern Blue Nile (the
Damazin area in particular). Such actions are flagrant violations of the October
2002 cessation of hostilities agreement, now only fitfully monitored by the VMT
created in February 2003. Militia forces allied with the regime (the SSDF) are
being used as a means of forcing re-negotiation of the key protocol on security
arrangements, arduously negotiated in Naivasha (Kenya) a year ago. These
militia are now increasingly garrisoned in towns, instead of rural areas, so as to
make defection to the southern SPLM more difficult.

Those who doubt the genocidal resourcefulness of the National Islamic Front
(NIF) have clearly not observed this regime in action over the past 15 years of
tyrannical rule. The Nuba Mountains in the early 1990s and the scorched-earth
civilian clearances in the oil regions of southern Sudan beginning in the late
1990s should incinerate such doubt. But so long as there are those who accept
the NIF as a legitimate government, and as a negotiating partner to be "engaged"
in presumed good faith, the regime will take advantage of such naiveté to
advance its goals. Recent negotiations between Khartoum and Kofi Annan's special
representative Jan Pronk make this painfully clear.

THE AFRICAN UNION FORCE IN DARFUR

For some weeks now, Khartoum has signaled that it will accept an increase in
the number of African Union forces in Darfur, so long as there is no change in
mandate, i.e., the sole purpose of additional troops in the region would be to
protect the very small AU monitoring force (now numbering 154 observers,
according to Human Rights Watch). They would not be there as peacekeepers with a
robust mandate to protect civilians and provide security in the camp areas. Since
the 310 Nigerian and Rwandan troops presently deployed already have such
protection as their sole mandate, it is quite unclear how 3,000 to 5,000 additional
troops could be meaningfully deployed if such protection is their only mandate.

There are two explanations of the peculiar diplomatic dance that seems to be
going on, in which neither Kofi Annan nor Jan Pronk nor US Secretary of State
Colin Powell nor European Union leaders refer to a peacekeeping mandate---all
carefully avoid using the word "peacekeeping," and indeed Secretary Powell today
explicitly eschewed the word in a radio interview (transcript of Powell interview
on the Michael Reagan radio program, provided by the State Department,
September 28, 2004):

[1] There has been a "backdoor" arrangement made in which the AU troops will
be deployed, with the implicit understanding that they will in fact, if not in
name, have a peacekeeping/civilian protection mandate. The under-the-table quid
pro quo arrangement is that the international community will not refer to these
troops as "peacekeepers," thereby allowing Khartoum to save face and plausibly
deny that it has accepted any infringement on its national sovereignty (clearly
implied by an international "peacekeeping" force). This would account for the
public talk by Annan, Powell, and others about the urgent need to "protect
civilians in Darfur," even as it is clear that what they need are peacekeepers to
protect them from Khartoum's regular and Janjaweed militia forces.

[2] On the other hand, it is clearly possible, and indeed likely, that
Khartoum has entered into no such implicit understanding: the regime will allow the AU
force to deploy, but cleave insistently to the highly restricted mandate that
governs the 464 monitors/troops presently deployed. The regime will point to
repeated public statement by senior officials (including the lead negotiator in
Abuja, Nigeria) that have indeed been quite clear and insistent in refusing to
countenance any expanded mandate. The regime will work energetically to ensure
that this mandate is not exceeded, and will threaten to expel troops that seek
to perform other functions, including protecting civilians.

Whether there has been an under-the-table quid pro quo or not, Khartoum's
behavior is certain to be the same: restrict as much as possible the movement of
troops, create gratuitous logistical difficulties, and generally impede
operations. Khartoum's relentlessly effective obstruction of humanitarian aid from
November 2003 to July 2004 (and still continuing, if less conspicuously) offers the
best guidance in understanding how resourceful the regime can be.

To be sure, from the African Union perspective, this is a key first challenge
for the new organization in a peacekeeping operation in Africa. Much rides on
achieving a full measure of success in Darfur. Moreover, the international
community is clearly counting on deployment of AU troops that may be subsequently
augmented by Western logistics, transport, and material assistance. With the
full dissipation of previous talk of deploying non-African troops to Darfur (the
UK had earlier in the summer spoken of deploying a full brigade---5,000
troops), the AU force is the only near-term means of responding to extreme levels of
civilian insecurity and the primary tools of genocidal destruction. A failure
of the AU force to deploy effectively would bode poorly for future such
operations, and would leave the international community transparently impotent in the
face of continuing genocide.

But we must bear in mind that the 3,000 to 5,000 troops presently contemplated
are not nearly sufficient for a true peacekeeping mission in an area the size
of France---facing threats from not only the insurgency forces, but
regime-allied militia (Janjaweed) forces, pervasive banditry that has come in the wake of
conflict, as well as Khartoum's regular military, security, and "police" forces
(recent reports from the ground confirm that the new police forces are
predominantly either Janjaweed or paramilitary forces). Darfur itself is remote and an
extremely difficult theater in which to operate, and Khartoum is adept at
creating transport and other problems. Credible assessments by military experts
suggest that the necessary peacekeeping force is in the range of 50,000 troops.

Even full deployment, with a robust mandate, of the presently contemplated
force of 3,000 to 5,000 troops cannot stop the genocide---only mitigate human
destruction in the camps and secure some of the humanitarian operations and
corridors. Moreover, according to Secretary Powell the time-frame for deployment of AU
forces, which lack meaningful transport and logistical capacity of their own,
is likely two months, and this may well stretch into December 2004 (transcript
of Powell interview on the Michael Reagan radio program, provided by the State
Department, September 28, 2004).

THE JANJAWEED AS AN ONGOING INSTRUMENT OF GENOCIDE

"Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part" (Article 2, section [c] of
the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide)

The Janjaweed remain Khartoum's primary instrument of genocidal destruction,
though it should never be forgotten that this brutal militia force continues to
be armed, supplied, and supported by Khartoum, even as the regime makes fully
clear that these murderous men operate with full impunity. Genocide in present
circumstances will be sustained by the Janjaweed in several ways:

[1] Control of the camps for displaced persons through intimidation, including
executions and the use of rape as a weapon of war.

UN High Commissioner Louise Arbour is only the most recent in a very long
parade of human rights investigators to find that Darfur's camps are "prisons
without walls" (BBC, September 25, 2004). These reports began with the shocking
authority of an April 2004 UN inter-agency investigation of conditions at the
Kailek camp (South Darfur). Seasoned humanitarian workers found there "survivors of
acts of mass murder"---victims of war crimes that "are very painful for us, and
they remind us of the brutalities of the Rwanda genocide" ("Report: A United
Nations Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian needs assessment mission,
Kailek, South Darfur, 24 April 2004"; available upon request).

The UN team found that "the circumstances of the internally displaced persons
in Kailek [must] be described as imprisonment."

The team found that, "with a under five child mortality rate of 8-9 children
per day due to malnutrition, and with the Government of Sudan security
representatives permanently located in the town without having reported this phenomena to
the UN, despite it having taken place for several weeks, [this] also indicates
a local policy of forced starvation."

The team found that, "the numerous testimonies collected by the team,
substantiated by the actual observations on the ground, particularly the longstanding
prevention of access to food, alludes to a strategy of systematic and deliberate
starvation being enforced by the Government of Sudan and its security forces on
the ground."

The team found that, "the Government of Sudan has deliberately deceived the
United Nations by repeatedly refuting claims to the seriousness of the situation
in Kailek as well as having actively resisted the need for intervention by
preventing the UN access to the area."

And the team also found that, "despite having been directly informed of the
grave findings made by the UN mission in Kailek, the Government of Sudan continues
to stall any concrete actions related to this urgent relocation."

"Strategy of systematic and deliberate starvation," "imprisonment," a "policy
of forced starvation," an unreported "child mortality rate of 8-9 per day," and
the continued obstruction of humanitarian aid for this critically distressed,
forcibly confined population---and the explicit comparison, by professional
humanitarian aid workers, to Rwanda.
("Report: A United Nations Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian needs
assessment mission, Kailek, South Darfur, 24 April 2004"

[2] We do not know how many Kaileks there are or have been; but if security
has improved in many camps, this has been accompanied by an ominous new goal of
forcing displaced persons to leave the camps and return to "their villages." As
aid workers have repeatedly declared, such expulsions are death sentences,
given the ongoing presence of the Janjaweed and the total lack of food in destroyed
villages to which people have been forced to return. Despite Khartoum's
nominal agreement with the UN to abandon its previously official policy of forced or
induced expulsions, there are many signs that the regime continues to deceive,
bribe, intimidate, and coerce people into leaving. These efforts are reported
in considerable detail in a recent account by The Guardian (September 26, 2004,
dateline Darfur):
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/sudan/story/0,14658,1312891,00.html).

[3] While the Janjaweed are continuing brutal attacks against displaced
African populations throughout Darfur, the consequences in West Darfur are
particularly troubling. As the rains slowly come to an end over the next half-month,
Darfuri refugees in Chad will again become extremely vulnerable to attacks, as
presently rain-swollen wadis (river beds), which serve as a barrier to movement by
the Janjaweed, dry out. At the same time, many tens of thousands of displaced
persons in Darfur will also seek to make the crossing into Chad to escape
Janjaweed violence. A series of recent wire reports and UN dispatches make clear
that West Darfur and eastern Chad will be the site of especially intense
genocidal destruction.

Officials of the UN High Commission for Refugees have recently reported that at
least another 100,000 people will flee to Chad over the next seven months:

"100,000 is the figure [of Darfuris fleeing into Chad] we think we will reach
before the next rainy season, that is to say, May. And that's on the optimistic
side, it could be as many as 150,000, [UNHCR coordinator for Chad Kinsley
Amaning] told the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks in his office in the
Chadian capital of N'Djamena." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks,
September 27, 2004)

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees suggests the possibility of 170,000 new
refugees through 2005 (Associated Press, September 27, 2004), and even this may
well be an understatement.

Chad is already desperately overwhelmed by more than 200,000 refugees from
Darfur (perhaps as many as 230,000). Competition over water and grazing land has
led to increased tensions that could easily grow violent. An additional 150,000
to 170,000 food-dependent refugees, entering a region that has seen its meager
resources exhausted, could cause an explosion of violence.

Some refugees have recently attempted to return to Darfur, sometimes with the
encouragement of regime officials. But this is a cynically destructive ploy.
Associated Press reports from al-Geneina (West Darfur):

"Armed militiamen surged into a western border area where some Darfur refugees
attempted to return to their raided village, UN security officials said Sunday.
[ ] [Khartoum's] Social Affairs Minister Habib Mouktoun told [UN High
Commissioner for Refugees Ruud] Lubbers, 'and we are welcoming them.' But the movement
of armed militia, reported by UN refugee security authorities around the border
village of Abu Surug, could jeopardize efforts to convince refugees to go
home." (Associated Press, September 26, 2004)

A few refugees did attempt to return to Abu Surug, but were attacked by
Janjaweed. In a dispatch the following day (September 27, 2004), the Associated Press
again reported (from Seleah, West Darfur) on the fate of refugees in Chad
attempting to return to Darfur:

"Sudanese officials drove up to the creek near the Chad border where Alam
Abdulla Hassan was hiding with her family three months ago: 'It's safe now in
Darfur. You can go home,' Hassan recalls them saying. So the family of refugees [ ]
came back, and was attacked last Wednesday [September 22, 2004]." (Associated
Press, September 28, 2004)

Inside and around the camps of Darfur, security conditions remain brutally
forbidding. A 40-year old mother of seven, whose husband was killed by the
Janjaweed, declared simply, "If we leave the camp, we die" (Associated Press,
September 26, 2004).

[4] "UN Security officials in Darfur cited other alleged instances of
continuing unrest, showing a photograph of a wounded, bandaged 2-year-old boy.
Villagers said Janjaweed militia threw the boy into the flames of his home when they
torched his village of Jebal Marra last week [third week of September 2004]."
(Associated Press, September 26, 2004)

This ghastly Janjaweed tactic of burning children alive is reported on today by
the BBC:

"Trauma nurse Roberta Gately, who works for the International Rescue Committee
aid agency, tells BBC News Online about a horrific aspect of the conflict which
has not been widely reported---children being burnt alive." (BBC, September 28,
2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3698094.stm)

Such atrocities help to explain why most displaced persons within walking
distance of Chad are desperate to flee. From Riyad Camp (West Darfur) Reuters
reports that,

"some 10,000 people in this camp on the outskirts of the rundown capital of
West Darfur state [al-Geneina] say they remain hungry. They squat, waiting---for
help that may never come. 'We are waiting for the United Nations to come with
their forces,' said Ayoub Ismail. 'If they don't come, we will go to Chad.'
But the UN is not sending peacekeeping forces to Sudan's remote west."
(Reuters, September 26, 2004)

It is only acute fear of the Janjaweed that now prevents more people from
crossing into Chad; as malnutrition and disease claim more victims, more and more
people will overcome this fear, and risk death to reach what they believe will be
security and food across the border.

But the reality in Chad is far different, especially in camps close to the
Chad/Darfur border. The UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks reports not
only concern about the inhospitable and remote nature of the areas in eastern
Chad, but dismay at what are already chronic shortages of critical supplies:

"Even before a new wave of [up to 150,000] refugees, aid workers at the 10
Chadian camps along the eastern border with Darfur are already struggling to cope
with chronic shortages of water and shelter materials and a precarious supply of
food. Several [aid officials] admit in private that the situation is teetering
on the brink." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, September 27,
2004)

"Teetering on the brink"...of mass human destruction, deliberately orchestrated
by the regime in Khartoum over more than a year. These people will die not as
part of some natural calamity, nor as the victims of "collateral damage" in
war. They have been intentionally brought to this desperate situation by Khartoum
and its Janjaweed militia. The violence that is calculated to produce
displacement of the sort reported here is ongoing, its effects are clearly known and
intended, and its targets almost exclusively the African tribal populations of
Darfur.

KHARTOUM'S POLITICAL STRATEGY IN SUSTAINING GENOCIDE

As the number of war-affected persons in Darfur continues to climb, there is
less and less need for violence as a means of human destruction. The
war-affected population is now so large and vulnerable that absent immediate, substantial
humanitarian intervention, we may be sure that hundreds of thousands will die,
and that ongoing morbidity and deferred mortality will affect countless
thousands of other human beings. The very conservative estimate of war-affected
persons in Darfur in the most recent "Darfur Humanitarian Profile" (Number 6,
September 2004; UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) is over 2.3
million, including an estimate for previously unassessed areas
(http://www.who.int/disasters/repo/14756.pdf). This does not include the more
than 200,000 refugees in Chad, who bring the total to over 2.5 million in the
larger humanitarian theater. And there are many reasons for thinking that this
immense figure still understates considerably.

The status quo is fully adequate to genocidal ambitions, and as a consequence
Khartoum's political strategy largely entails sustaining present insecurity in
the camps and the rural areas of Darfur, forcing people into Chad, and allowing
genocide-by-attrition to proceed for the foreseeable future.

In the various negotiating venues in which Khartoum's diplomatic behavior can
be observed, it is clear that there is no significant movement toward a
political settlement with the Darfur insurgents, or toward meaningful negotiations
about security, or toward completion of a final peace agreement with southern
Sudan. The regime has manipulated talks in Abuja (Nigeria) with UN political
assistance, has reneged on every security agreement entered into with UN officials in
Khartoum, and has yet to give any indication of a willingness to resume final
talks in Naivasha (Kenya) to complete a comprehensive cease-fire agreement or to
negotiate modalities of implementation for the various protocols on security,
wealth-sharing, power-sharing, or any of the key issues.

Most recently, Ruud Lubbers, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has provided a
revealing example of what negotiations with the National Islamic Front are
likely to yield. From Abeche (Chad), Lubbers declared that "the Sudanese
government has seen the writing on the wall and is likely to grant some autonomy to the
violence-wracked Darfur region" (Agence France-Presse interview with Ruud
Lubbers, September 26, 2004). Lubbers went on to declare the Khartoum was
"increasingly buckling under world opinion": "[The government of] Sudan knows that and I
think will give Darfur limited autonomy under the framework of Khartoum's
territorial integrity" (Agence France-Presse, September 26, 2004).

The naive fatuousness of these comments is exceeded only by the danger they
represent to any international effort to bring effective pressure to bear on
Khartoum. For of course "autonomy" can only mean political autonomy, and thus can
have meaning only in the context of a political settlement. And it is precisely
a political settlement that Khartoum has resolutely refused to discuss in
negotiations in Abuja. Indeed, despite news reports suggesting that intransigence
on the part of the insurgents caused the collapse in the Abuja negotiations, it
was in fact Khartoum's refusal to engage in meaningful discussions of critical
security issues. Political issues were never truly broached. Lubbers'
suggestion that somehow autonomy has already been secured is inaccurate and
misleading.

To be sure, Khartoum's duplicitous foreign minister Mustafa Ismail declared in
an interview with Reuters at the UN in New York that,

"a federal system along the lines of Germany, Nigeria, the United States or
Canada would help the northeast African nation better cope with its vast size and
ethnic and religious diversity." (Reuters, September 27, 2004)

But this was purely for international public consumption; there is no reason
whatsoever to assume that the statement has any meaning in itself. Indeed,
federalism runs directly counter to the primary ideological and political goals of
the National Islamic Front for Sudan. Unsurprisingly, Ismail's reported support
for the notion of Sudanese federalism at the UN was immediately repudiated in
Khartoum, as Agence France-Presse today reports:

"Naguib al-Khair Abdel Wahab [of Khartoum's foreign ministry] was quoted as
saying that self-rule for the non-Arab minorities of Darfur was an issue that
would not be considered until a later stage in troubled peace talks with rebel
negotiators in Nigeria. He rejected calls from Lubbers, the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees who arrived here Monday, for an immediate pledge of a genuinely
federal constitution for all regions of Sudan to address the grievances of the
Darfur minorities, the Al-Sahafa reported. The government would insist on
'political arrangements which will be based on principles endorsed by the government in
the constitution and Naivasha protocols,' he said." (Agence France-Presse,
September, 28, 2004)

Not only does this make clear that Foreign Minister Ismail's comments at the UN
are hardly official policy, but Abdel Wahab's reference to a "federalism" based
on the Naivasha protocols is a bitter irony. For these protocols have yet to
be endorsed in a final peace agreement between Khartoum and southern Sudan.
Khartoum has suspended negotiations on the final procedural steps to establish a
comprehensive cease-fire and the actual means of implementing the Naivasha
protocols. And there is still no clear indication of when Khartoum will politically
commit to completing these negotiations. As SPLM spokesman Yaser Arman
recently noted:

"'We are worried about the maneuvers by the Khartoum side. There is a strong
tendency for them to buy time,' said [Arman]. [ ] Arman said the [SPLM] had
heard that the government [of Sudan] planned to send [First Vice President Ali
Osman] Taha to Kenya for only three days and then hand negotiations over to
committees, which might not finish until December." (Reuters [Cairo], September 26,
2004)

Such delay would permit Khartoum to continue to receive 100% of oil revenues
from current production in southern Sudan. Moreover, if the regime decides to
resume war in the south in order to seize control of all oil resources, the
current delay in securing a final peace agreement leaves in place a highly
advantageous "no war-no peace" situation. Most large-scale hostilities have stopped in
the south, though the Shilluk Kingdom has seen brutal violence and the
displacement of over 100,000 people, and serious fighting still occurs sporadically.
But Khartoum steadily continues to ship large supplies of armaments into
southern Sudan, and there are now numerous, highly authoritative reports of
substantial increases in weapons and ammunition flowing into oil-rich Eastern Upper Nile,
Nasir in particular.

THE INTERNATIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO CONTINUING
GENOCIDE IN DARFUR

By refusing to plan for humanitarian intervention, the international community
sends an unmistakable message to Khartoum: there will be no such intervention.
The massive increase in transport and logistical capacity necessary to provide
adequate food, medicine, shelter, and clean water will not be provided; the
military protection of displaced civilians and humanitarian relief efforts will
not be provided; restoration of security in the rural areas will not occur, and
thus the present camps will become relentlessly more permanent sites for
increasingly concentrated displaced populations.

An African Union force of 3,000 to 5,000 troops would certainly provide some
increased security in the region, though only if deployed with the peacekeeping
mandate Khartoum now so relentlessly refuses to accept. But such a force is not
nearly adequate to the demands of the required humanitarian intervention, nor
can it be deployed rapidly. It may eventually change in some measure the
genocidal status quo, but not in ways that can avert hundreds of thousands of
additional deaths over the near- and long-term.

Such an AU force certainly cannot restore security to the rural areas of
Darfur; it cannot provide the means for a resumption of agricultural production; it
cannot enforce a political settlement; it can at best, if it secures a robust
peacekeeping mandate, put a tense and fragile cease-fire partially in place,
perhaps by December 2004.

The international community must ask of itself, and be insistently asked: "Is
such a limited and slow-moving response to genocide acceptable? Are we prepared
to accept the future deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings
for lack of appropriate action?" The reluctance in so many quarters to ask
these questions explicitly provides us our grim answer.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

ereeves@smith.edu


Khartoum's Strategy for Sustaining Genocide in Darfur: 

Present evidence of the regime's tactics and goals

Eric Reeves
September 28, 2004

Khartoum's National Islamic Front regime is acutely aware of growing
international condemnation of genocidal destruction in Darfur, and the increasingly
insistent (if variously motivated) calls for action. But the regime's response has
not been to halt the genocide, or to rein in the brutal Janjaweed militia that
continue to terrorize civilian populations, or to permit an African Union
peacekeeping force to provide security to more than 2 million internally displaced
persons. On the contrary, the regime is as committed as ever to the systematic,
deliberate destruction of the African tribal populations of Darfur and their
agricultural economy. These efforts have now enjoyed unconscionably great
success.

Signs of this ongoing success are everywhere. In the near- to medium-term, as
many as 150,000 people are set to flee from Darfur into Chad to escape
genocidal violence. Agricultural production has not resumed in Darfur, nor are there
signs that the means for such resumption are at hand, even if security were
improved. But in fact villages and rural areas remain far too insecure, and people
continue to flood into already vastly overcrowded camps for displaced persons.
Malnutrition is biting ever more deeply into the lives of people in these
camps, especially children under five. Fewer than half the people in need are
receiving food assistance. The UN's World Health Organization estimates, very
conservatively, that up to 10,000 are dying every month in the camps from disease
and malnutrition, and that more than 50,000 have died since April 2004
alone---and this is in camps to which there is humanitarian access. Camps without such
access, and the hundreds of thousands trapped beyond reach in rural areas of
Darfur, are experiencing much higher mortality rates.

Genocidal destruction has already claimed between 250,000 and 300,000 lives if
we assess both violent deaths as well as deaths from disease and malnutrition
over the past 19 months (see September 15, 2004 global mortality analysis by
this writer; available upon request). This total is now growing very rapidly, and
the deliberately engineered shortfalls in food evident throughout Darfur ensure
that the famine conditions on which the US Agency for International Development
has projected mortality rates will require an ever greater denominator (see
"Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005"
(http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf). Senior
relief officials indicate that the number of war-affected persons may climb to
over 3 million within a month, as assessments include more of the highly
distressed populations in remoter parts of Darfur.

NEW MEANS FOR SUSTAINING GENOCIDE

Darfur's rising profile and growing international outrage suggest that we may
see some shifts in the genocidal tactics that have guided Khartoum over the past
year.

The obstruction of humanitarian assistance will be less conspicuous, in part
because the rains and insecurity have already made delivery of aid terribly
belated as well as dramatically insufficient. Insecurity in the rural areas will be
allowed in ways that continue to paralyze agricultural production, as Khartoum
refuses to fulfill its July 3, 2004 commitment to UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan to disarm the Janjaweed. Additionally, Khartoum is content to see many tens
of thousands of increasingly desperate civilians flee to Chad through a
harrowing gauntlet of marauding Janjaweed forces. Further, the terribly threatening
policy of inducing or forcibly expelling displaced persons from camps in Darfur
will continue as circumstances permit (see below). And Khartoum will use
ongoing insecurity in many areas as cover for continuing efforts to obscure or
obliterate evidence of mass executions and other genocidal atrocities.

But the primary means by which genocide is sustained are now political and
diplomatic in nature. Realizing that maintaining the status quo ensures a final
solution to the insurgency in Darfur, Khartoum will play for time, make various
new commitments, renege and re-negotiate, and above all attempt to diffuse the
focus of diplomacy. Thus the regime will likely resume north-south peace
negotiations in Naivasha (Kenya) as a means of deflecting some attention from Darfur,
though without a real commitment to complete negotiations on a comprehensive
cease-fire or to implement previously negotiated agreements on security
arrangements. The Darfur peace talks that recently collapsed in Abuja (Nigeria) will
also likely resume at some point, though again the regime will make no good-faith
efforts to achieve a true political settlement or to address urgent security
issues. And no doubt "changing the subject" will extend to ongoing claims by the
regime of coup attempts in the capital city (a third "attempt" has conveniently
received extensive news coverage in recent days).

And while Khartoum may negotiate an increase in the number of African Union
(AU) forces deployed to Darfur, the regime will strenuously resist any expansion
of mandate to include peacekeeping. Meanwhile, the present AU monitoring force
will continue to face contrived fuel shortages and other obstacles, thereby
preventing the movement of investigators to sites of reported atrocities.

Significantly, Khartoum will also continue to use the current international
focus on Darfur as the occasion to increase military redeployments and supplies to
southern Sudan. According to the Verification and Monitoring Team (VMT) and
extremely reliable regional sources, the regime has also recently moved Janjaweed
forces from Darfur to Abyei, Eastern Upper Nile, and Southern Blue Nile (the
Damazin area in particular). Such actions are flagrant violations of the October
2002 cessation of hostilities agreement, now only fitfully monitored by the VMT
created in February 2003. Militia forces allied with the regime (the SSDF) are
being used as a means of forcing re-negotiation of the key protocol on security
arrangements, arduously negotiated in Naivasha (Kenya) a year ago. These
militia are now increasingly garrisoned in towns, instead of rural areas, so as to
make defection to the southern SPLM more difficult.

Those who doubt the genocidal resourcefulness of the National Islamic Front
(NIF) have clearly not observed this regime in action over the past 15 years of
tyrannical rule. The Nuba Mountains in the early 1990s and the scorched-earth
civilian clearances in the oil regions of southern Sudan beginning in the late
1990s should incinerate such doubt. But so long as there are those who accept
the NIF as a legitimate government, and as a negotiating partner to be "engaged"
in presumed good faith, the regime will take advantage of such naiveté to
advance its goals. Recent negotiations between Khartoum and Kofi Annan's special
representative Jan Pronk make this painfully clear.

THE AFRICAN UNION FORCE IN DARFUR

For some weeks now, Khartoum has signaled that it will accept an increase in
the number of African Union forces in Darfur, so long as there is no change in
mandate, i.e., the sole purpose of additional troops in the region would be to
protect the very small AU monitoring force (now numbering 154 observers,
according to Human Rights Watch). They would not be there as peacekeepers with a
robust mandate to protect civilians and provide security in the camp areas. Since
the 310 Nigerian and Rwandan troops presently deployed already have such
protection as their sole mandate, it is quite unclear how 3,000 to 5,000 additional
troops could be meaningfully deployed if such protection is their only mandate.

There are two explanations of the peculiar diplomatic dance that seems to be
going on, in which neither Kofi Annan nor Jan Pronk nor US Secretary of State
Colin Powell nor European Union leaders refer to a peacekeeping mandate---all
carefully avoid using the word "peacekeeping," and indeed Secretary Powell today
explicitly eschewed the word in a radio interview (transcript of Powell interview
on the Michael Reagan radio program, provided by the State Department,
September 28, 2004):

[1] There has been a "backdoor" arrangement made in which the AU troops will
be deployed, with the implicit understanding that they will in fact, if not in
name, have a peacekeeping/civilian protection mandate. The under-the-table quid
pro quo arrangement is that the international community will not refer to these
troops as "peacekeepers," thereby allowing Khartoum to save face and plausibly
deny that it has accepted any infringement on its national sovereignty (clearly
implied by an international "peacekeeping" force). This would account for the
public talk by Annan, Powell, and others about the urgent need to "protect
civilians in Darfur," even as it is clear that what they need are peacekeepers to
protect them from Khartoum's regular and Janjaweed militia forces.

[2] On the other hand, it is clearly possible, and indeed likely, that
Khartoum has entered into no such implicit understanding: the regime will allow the AU
force to deploy, but cleave insistently to the highly restricted mandate that
governs the 464 monitors/troops presently deployed. The regime will point to
repeated public statement by senior officials (including the lead negotiator in
Abuja, Nigeria) that have indeed been quite clear and insistent in refusing to
countenance any expanded mandate. The regime will work energetically to ensure
that this mandate is not exceeded, and will threaten to expel troops that seek
to perform other functions, including protecting civilians.

Whether there has been an under-the-table quid pro quo or not, Khartoum's
behavior is certain to be the same: restrict as much as possible the movement of
troops, create gratuitous logistical difficulties, and generally impede
operations. Khartoum's relentlessly effective obstruction of humanitarian aid from
November 2003 to July 2004 (and still continuing, if less conspicuously) offers the
best guidance in understanding how resourceful the regime can be.

To be sure, from the African Union perspective, this is a key first challenge
for the new organization in a peacekeeping operation in Africa. Much rides on
achieving a full measure of success in Darfur. Moreover, the international
community is clearly counting on deployment of AU troops that may be subsequently
augmented by Western logistics, transport, and material assistance. With the
full dissipation of previous talk of deploying non-African troops to Darfur (the
UK had earlier in the summer spoken of deploying a full brigade---5,000
troops), the AU force is the only near-term means of responding to extreme levels of
civilian insecurity and the primary tools of genocidal destruction. A failure
of the AU force to deploy effectively would bode poorly for future such
operations, and would leave the international community transparently impotent in the
face of continuing genocide.

But we must bear in mind that the 3,000 to 5,000 troops presently contemplated
are not nearly sufficient for a true peacekeeping mission in an area the size
of France---facing threats from not only the insurgency forces, but
regime-allied militia (Janjaweed) forces, pervasive banditry that has come in the wake of
conflict, as well as Khartoum's regular military, security, and "police" forces
(recent reports from the ground confirm that the new police forces are
predominantly either Janjaweed or paramilitary forces). Darfur itself is remote and an
extremely difficult theater in which to operate, and Khartoum is adept at
creating transport and other problems. Credible assessments by military experts
suggest that the necessary peacekeeping force is in the range of 50,000 troops.

Even full deployment, with a robust mandate, of the presently contemplated
force of 3,000 to 5,000 troops cannot stop the genocide---only mitigate human
destruction in the camps and secure some of the humanitarian operations and
corridors. Moreover, according to Secretary Powell the time-frame for deployment of AU
forces, which lack meaningful transport and logistical capacity of their own,
is likely two months, and this may well stretch into December 2004 (transcript
of Powell interview on the Michael Reagan radio program, provided by the State
Department, September 28, 2004).

THE JANJAWEED AS AN ONGOING INSTRUMENT OF GENOCIDE

"Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part" (Article 2, section [c] of
the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide)

The Janjaweed remain Khartoum's primary instrument of genocidal destruction,
though it should never be forgotten that this brutal militia force continues to
be armed, supplied, and supported by Khartoum, even as the regime makes fully
clear that these murderous men operate with full impunity. Genocide in present
circumstances will be sustained by the Janjaweed in several ways:

[1] Control of the camps for displaced persons through intimidation, including
executions and the use of rape as a weapon of war.

UN High Commissioner Louise Arbour is only the most recent in a very long
parade of human rights investigators to find that Darfur's camps are "prisons
without walls" (BBC, September 25, 2004). These reports began with the shocking
authority of an April 2004 UN inter-agency investigation of conditions at the
Kailek camp (South Darfur). Seasoned humanitarian workers found there "survivors of
acts of mass murder"---victims of war crimes that "are very painful for us, and
they remind us of the brutalities of the Rwanda genocide" ("Report: A United
Nations Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian needs assessment mission,
Kailek, South Darfur, 24 April 2004"; available upon request).

The UN team found that "the circumstances of the internally displaced persons
in Kailek [must] be described as imprisonment."

The team found that, "with a under five child mortality rate of 8-9 children
per day due to malnutrition, and with the Government of Sudan security
representatives permanently located in the town without having reported this phenomena to
the UN, despite it having taken place for several weeks, [this] also indicates
a local policy of forced starvation."

The team found that, "the numerous testimonies collected by the team,
substantiated by the actual observations on the ground, particularly the longstanding
prevention of access to food, alludes to a strategy of systematic and deliberate
starvation being enforced by the Government of Sudan and its security forces on
the ground."

The team found that, "the Government of Sudan has deliberately deceived the
United Nations by repeatedly refuting claims to the seriousness of the situation
in Kailek as well as having actively resisted the need for intervention by
preventing the UN access to the area."

And the team also found that, "despite having been directly informed of the
grave findings made by the UN mission in Kailek, the Government of Sudan continues
to stall any concrete actions related to this urgent relocation."

"Strategy of systematic and deliberate starvation," "imprisonment," a "policy
of forced starvation," an unreported "child mortality rate of 8-9 per day," and
the continued obstruction of humanitarian aid for this critically distressed,
forcibly confined population---and the explicit comparison, by professional
humanitarian aid workers, to Rwanda.
("Report: A United Nations Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian needs
assessment mission, Kailek, South Darfur, 24 April 2004"

[2] We do not know how many Kaileks there are or have been; but if security
has improved in many camps, this has been accompanied by an ominous new goal of
forcing displaced persons to leave the camps and return to "their villages." As
aid workers have repeatedly declared, such expulsions are death sentences,
given the ongoing presence of the Janjaweed and the total lack of food in destroyed
villages to which people have been forced to return. Despite Khartoum's
nominal agreement with the UN to abandon its previously official policy of forced or
induced expulsions, there are many signs that the regime continues to deceive,
bribe, intimidate, and coerce people into leaving. These efforts are reported
in considerable detail in a recent account by The Guardian (September 26, 2004,
dateline Darfur):
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/sudan/story/0,14658,1312891,00.html).

[3] While the Janjaweed are continuing brutal attacks against displaced
African populations throughout Darfur, the consequences in West Darfur are
particularly troubling. As the rains slowly come to an end over the next half-month,
Darfuri refugees in Chad will again become extremely vulnerable to attacks, as
presently rain-swollen wadis (river beds), which serve as a barrier to movement by
the Janjaweed, dry out. At the same time, many tens of thousands of displaced
persons in Darfur will also seek to make the crossing into Chad to escape
Janjaweed violence. A series of recent wire reports and UN dispatches make clear
that West Darfur and eastern Chad will be the site of especially intense
genocidal destruction.

Officials of the UN High Commission for Refugees have recently reported that at
least another 100,000 people will flee to Chad over the next seven months:

"100,000 is the figure [of Darfuris fleeing into Chad] we think we will reach
before the next rainy season, that is to say, May. And that's on the optimistic
side, it could be as many as 150,000, [UNHCR coordinator for Chad Kinsley
Amaning] told the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks in his office in the
Chadian capital of N'Djamena." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks,
September 27, 2004)

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees suggests the possibility of 170,000 new
refugees through 2005 (Associated Press, September 27, 2004), and even this may
well be an understatement.

Chad is already desperately overwhelmed by more than 200,000 refugees from
Darfur (perhaps as many as 230,000). Competition over water and grazing land has
led to increased tensions that could easily grow violent. An additional 150,000
to 170,000 food-dependent refugees, entering a region that has seen its meager
resources exhausted, could cause an explosion of violence.

Some refugees have recently attempted to return to Darfur, sometimes with the
encouragement of regime officials. But this is a cynically destructive ploy.
Associated Press reports from al-Geneina (West Darfur):

"Armed militiamen surged into a western border area where some Darfur refugees
attempted to return to their raided village, UN security officials said Sunday.
[ ] [Khartoum's] Social Affairs Minister Habib Mouktoun told [UN High
Commissioner for Refugees Ruud] Lubbers, 'and we are welcoming them.' But the movement
of armed militia, reported by UN refugee security authorities around the border
village of Abu Surug, could jeopardize efforts to convince refugees to go
home." (Associated Press, September 26, 2004)

A few refugees did attempt to return to Abu Surug, but were attacked by
Janjaweed. In a dispatch the following day (September 27, 2004), the Associated Press
again reported (from Seleah, West Darfur) on the fate of refugees in Chad
attempting to return to Darfur:

"Sudanese officials drove up to the creek near the Chad border where Alam
Abdulla Hassan was hiding with her family three months ago: 'It's safe now in
Darfur. You can go home,' Hassan recalls them saying. So the family of refugees [ ]
came back, and was attacked last Wednesday [September 22, 2004]." (Associated
Press, September 28, 2004)

Inside and around the camps of Darfur, security conditions remain brutally
forbidding. A 40-year old mother of seven, whose husband was killed by the
Janjaweed, declared simply, "If we leave the camp, we die" (Associated Press,
September 26, 2004).

[4] "UN Security officials in Darfur cited other alleged instances of
continuing unrest, showing a photograph of a wounded, bandaged 2-year-old boy.
Villagers said Janjaweed militia threw the boy into the flames of his home when they
torched his village of Jebal Marra last week [third week of September 2004]."
(Associated Press, September 26, 2004)

This ghastly Janjaweed tactic of burning children alive is reported on today by
the BBC:

"Trauma nurse Roberta Gately, who works for the International Rescue Committee
aid agency, tells BBC News Online about a horrific aspect of the conflict which
has not been widely reported---children being burnt alive." (BBC, September 28,
2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3698094.stm)

Such atrocities help to explain why most displaced persons within walking
distance of Chad are desperate to flee. From Riyad Camp (West Darfur) Reuters
reports that,

"some 10,000 people in this camp on the outskirts of the rundown capital of
West Darfur state [al-Geneina] say they remain hungry. They squat, waiting---for
help that may never come. 'We are waiting for the United Nations to come with
their forces,' said Ayoub Ismail. 'If they don't come, we will go to Chad.'
But the UN is not sending peacekeeping forces to Sudan's remote west."
(Reuters, September 26, 2004)

It is only acute fear of the Janjaweed that now prevents more people from
crossing into Chad; as malnutrition and disease claim more victims, more and more
people will overcome this fear, and risk death to reach what they believe will be
security and food across the border.

But the reality in Chad is far different, especially in camps close to the
Chad/Darfur border. The UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks reports not
only concern about the inhospitable and remote nature of the areas in eastern
Chad, but dismay at what are already chronic shortages of critical supplies:

"Even before a new wave of [up to 150,000] refugees, aid workers at the 10
Chadian camps along the eastern border with Darfur are already struggling to cope
with chronic shortages of water and shelter materials and a precarious supply of
food. Several [aid officials] admit in private that the situation is teetering
on the brink." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, September 27,
2004)

"Teetering on the brink"...of mass human destruction, deliberately orchestrated
by the regime in Khartoum over more than a year. These people will die not as
part of some natural calamity, nor as the victims of "collateral damage" in
war. They have been intentionally brought to this desperate situation by Khartoum
and its Janjaweed militia. The violence that is calculated to produce
displacement of the sort reported here is ongoing, its effects are clearly known and
intended, and its targets almost exclusively the African tribal populations of
Darfur.

KHARTOUM'S POLITICAL STRATEGY IN SUSTAINING GENOCIDE

As the number of war-affected persons in Darfur continues to climb, there is
less and less need for violence as a means of human destruction. The
war-affected population is now so large and vulnerable that absent immediate, substantial
humanitarian intervention, we may be sure that hundreds of thousands will die,
and that ongoing morbidity and deferred mortality will affect countless
thousands of other human beings. The very conservative estimate of war-affected
persons in Darfur in the most recent "Darfur Humanitarian Profile" (Number 6,
September 2004; UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) is over 2.3
million, including an estimate for previously unassessed areas
(http://www.who.int/disasters/repo/14756.pdf). This does not include the more
than 200,000 refugees in Chad, who bring the total to over 2.5 million in the
larger humanitarian theater. And there are many reasons for thinking that this
immense figure still understates considerably.

The status quo is fully adequate to genocidal ambitions, and as a consequence
Khartoum's political strategy largely entails sustaining present insecurity in
the camps and the rural areas of Darfur, forcing people into Chad, and allowing
genocide-by-attrition to proceed for the foreseeable future.

In the various negotiating venues in which Khartoum's diplomatic behavior can
be observed, it is clear that there is no significant movement toward a
political settlement with the Darfur insurgents, or toward meaningful negotiations
about security, or toward completion of a final peace agreement with southern
Sudan. The regime has manipulated talks in Abuja (Nigeria) with UN political
assistance, has reneged on every security agreement entered into with UN officials in
Khartoum, and has yet to give any indication of a willingness to resume final
talks in Naivasha (Kenya) to complete a comprehensive cease-fire agreement or to
negotiate modalities of implementation for the various protocols on security,
wealth-sharing, power-sharing, or any of the key issues.

Most recently, Ruud Lubbers, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has provided a
revealing example of what negotiations with the National Islamic Front are
likely to yield. From Abeche (Chad), Lubbers declared that "the Sudanese
government has seen the writing on the wall and is likely to grant some autonomy to the
violence-wracked Darfur region" (Agence France-Presse interview with Ruud
Lubbers, September 26, 2004). Lubbers went on to declare the Khartoum was
"increasingly buckling under world opinion": "[The government of] Sudan knows that and I
think will give Darfur limited autonomy under the framework of Khartoum's
territorial integrity" (Agence France-Presse, September 26, 2004).

The naive fatuousness of these comments is exceeded only by the danger they
represent to any international effort to bring effective pressure to bear on
Khartoum. For of course "autonomy" can only mean political autonomy, and thus can
have meaning only in the context of a political settlement. And it is precisely
a political settlement that Khartoum has resolutely refused to discuss in
negotiations in Abuja. Indeed, despite news reports suggesting that intransigence
on the part of the insurgents caused the collapse in the Abuja negotiations, it
was in fact Khartoum's refusal to engage in meaningful discussions of critical
security issues. Political issues were never truly broached. Lubbers'
suggestion that somehow autonomy has already been secured is inaccurate and
misleading.

To be sure, Khartoum's duplicitous foreign minister Mustafa Ismail declared in
an interview with Reuters at the UN in New York that,

"a federal system along the lines of Germany, Nigeria, the United States or
Canada would help the northeast African nation better cope with its vast size and
ethnic and religious diversity." (Reuters, September 27, 2004)

But this was purely for international public consumption; there is no reason
whatsoever to assume that the statement has any meaning in itself. Indeed,
federalism runs directly counter to the primary ideological and political goals of
the National Islamic Front for Sudan. Unsurprisingly, Ismail's reported support
for the notion of Sudanese federalism at the UN was immediately repudiated in
Khartoum, as Agence France-Presse today reports:

"Naguib al-Khair Abdel Wahab [of Khartoum's foreign ministry] was quoted as
saying that self-rule for the non-Arab minorities of Darfur was an issue that
would not be considered until a later stage in troubled peace talks with rebel
negotiators in Nigeria. He rejected calls from Lubbers, the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees who arrived here Monday, for an immediate pledge of a genuinely
federal constitution for all regions of Sudan to address the grievances of the
Darfur minorities, the Al-Sahafa reported. The government would insist on
'political arrangements which will be based on principles endorsed by the government in
the constitution and Naivasha protocols,' he said." (Agence France-Presse,
September, 28, 2004)

Not only does this make clear that Foreign Minister Ismail's comments at the UN
are hardly official policy, but Abdel Wahab's reference to a "federalism" based
on the Naivasha protocols is a bitter irony. For these protocols have yet to
be endorsed in a final peace agreement between Khartoum and southern Sudan.
Khartoum has suspended negotiations on the final procedural steps to establish a
comprehensive cease-fire and the actual means of implementing the Naivasha
protocols. And there is still no clear indication of when Khartoum will politically
commit to completing these negotiations. As SPLM spokesman Yaser Arman
recently noted:

"'We are worried about the maneuvers by the Khartoum side. There is a strong
tendency for them to buy time,' said [Arman]. [ ] Arman said the [SPLM] had
heard that the government [of Sudan] planned to send [First Vice President Ali
Osman] Taha to Kenya for only three days and then hand negotiations over to
committees, which might not finish until December." (Reuters [Cairo], September 26,
2004)

Such delay would permit Khartoum to continue to receive 100% of oil revenues
from current production in southern Sudan. Moreover, if the regime decides to
resume war in the south in order to seize control of all oil resources, the
current delay in securing a final peace agreement leaves in place a highly
advantageous "no war-no peace" situation. Most large-scale hostilities have stopped in
the south, though the Shilluk Kingdom has seen brutal violence and the
displacement of over 100,000 people, and serious fighting still occurs sporadically.
But Khartoum steadily continues to ship large supplies of armaments into
southern Sudan, and there are now numerous, highly authoritative reports of
substantial increases in weapons and ammunition flowing into oil-rich Eastern Upper Nile,
Nasir in particular.

THE INTERNATIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO CONTINUING
GENOCIDE IN DARFUR

By refusing to plan for humanitarian intervention, the international community
sends an unmistakable message to Khartoum: there will be no such intervention.
The massive increase in transport and logistical capacity necessary to provide
adequate food, medicine, shelter, and clean water will not be provided; the
military protection of displaced civilians and humanitarian relief efforts will
not be provided; restoration of security in the rural areas will not occur, and
thus the present camps will become relentlessly more permanent sites for
increasingly concentrated displaced populations.

An African Union force of 3,000 to 5,000 troops would certainly provide some
increased security in the region, though only if deployed with the peacekeeping
mandate Khartoum now so relentlessly refuses to accept. But such a force is not
nearly adequate to the demands of the required humanitarian intervention, nor
can it be deployed rapidly. It may eventually change in some measure the
genocidal status quo, but not in ways that can avert hundreds of thousands of
additional deaths over the near- and long-term.

Such an AU force certainly cannot restore security to the rural areas of
Darfur; it cannot provide the means for a resumption of agricultural production; it
cannot enforce a political settlement; it can at best, if it secures a robust
peacekeeping mandate, put a tense and fragile cease-fire partially in place,
perhaps by December 2004.

The international community must ask of itself, and be insistently asked: "Is
such a limited and slow-moving response to genocide acceptable? Are we prepared
to accept the future deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings
for lack of appropriate action?" The reluctance in so many quarters to ask
these questions explicitly provides us our grim answer.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

ereeves@smith.edu


Saturday, September 25, 2004


Orphan in Sudan Posted by Hello

Friday, September 24, 2004

Current Proposals for Responding to Genocide in Darfur: 

A compendium and critique of suggestions from the international community

Eric Reeves
September 23, 2004

Various voices within the international community have proposed a number of
different responses to ongoing, massive genocidal destruction in Darfur. Whether
motivated by shame, human rights commitments, political expediency, or
humanitarian concerns, these proposals are now numerous enough and come from enough
different sources that they require some critical assessment, both as to efficacy
and practicability.

Dismayingly, a number of policy suggestions do not take sufficient cognizance
of political realities in Khartoum or the present circumstances defining human
destruction in Darfur. Nor is there sufficient understanding of Khartoum's oil
sector, or other key features of the economy that the National Islamic Front
regime has built over fifteen years of tyrannical rule. Moreover, there seems to
be a good deal of ignorance about how Khartoum has acquired weapons in the past
and how it intends to provision its armory in the future.

UN proposals, both as embodied in Security Council Resolution 1564 (September
18, 2004) and in statements/reports from the Office of the Secretary-General,
seem especially worrisome---both for their generally disingenuous character and
their serious miscalculations about the means to provide human security in
Darfur. The plan for creating "safe areas" in Darfur---designed by Kofi Annan's
special representative to Sudan Jan Pronk---seems particularly ill-considered.

Plans for humanitarian relief in Darfur too often fail to take a longer
prospective view of the crisis, and typically don't articulate the larger consequences
of the virtually total destruction of traditional African agricultural economy
and society. There is no conceptual plan for the ongoing relief efforts that
will certainly be required for more than a year, or an articulation of the means
by which some portion of the traditional agricultural economy of the region can
be rebuilt. African tribal groups must be allowed to return to their lands,
with adequate provisions for beginning productive lives again, or they will
simply be warehoused in camps for the displaced, or drift towards urban environments
where their agricultural skills and knowledge will be useless. Understanding
how difficult this task of return will be must define any meaningful plan for a
long-term peacekeeping force.

All of these issues should come into consideration during international
planning, and in coordination between humanitarian organizations, UN organizations,
and responding nations. Human rights groups should do a much better job both in
collating their findings and in articulating meaningful advocacy positions.
Presently the two most powerful human rights organizations, Amnesty International
and Human Rights Watch, are entirely too timid in making recommendations that
are commensurate in power with their highly impressive research on the ground.

PROPOSED RESPONSES TO THE DARFUR CRISIS

[1] An African Union peacekeeping force.

The deployment of a modestly large African Union peacekeeping force is
presently the default international policy response to security issues in Darfur. Such
a force---discussed in terms of 3,000 to 5,000 troops---would supplement the
roughly 300 troops presently deployed to protect the African Union "cease-fire"
monitoring team of 120 observers. Such an increased deployment would be of
considerable significance, and---with an appropriately robust mandate---could make
a substantial contribution to security in the camps.

But there are many obstacles to such deployment and many problems with such
heavy dependence on an exclusively African Union force. Few of these have been
addressed in comprehensive fashion. Certainly UN Security Council resolution
1564 is hardly an effective means by which to compel Khartoum to accept either a
larger force or a change in mandate; the resolution merely "welcomes and
supports the intention of the African Union to enhance and augment its monitoring
mission" (Paragraph 2), and "welcomes the Government of Sudan's willingness to
accept and facilitate an expanded African UN mission" (Paragraph 3).

The word "peacekeeping" never appears in the resolution, and both Kofi Annan
and Jan Pronk have studiously avoided an explicit call for a peacekeeping
mandate. This, of course, disingenuously skirts the central issue: Khartoum has for
two months now repeatedly, adamantly refused to countenance a peacekeeping
mandate for any augmented African Union force. Simply eliding this difficult fact
from discussions hardly removes the key obstacle. Moreover, there are no
explicit calls for a peacekeeping mandate coming from other members of the
international community---from the US Secretary of State Colin Powell (in his September
9, 2004 Senate testimony on Darfur), from the European Union, from various other
international actors. This convinces Khartoum that there is no will to make
such a demand, evidently for fear of being rebuffed. Without much greater
international pressure than is presently in evidence, the regime will continue to
resist strenuously the deployment of peacekeepers.

There are also exceedingly few discussions of the logistical and transport
requirements for 3,000 to 5,000 AU troops. We must remember that the AU has
virtually no logistical or troop transport capacity of its own, and any augmented
force would be deploying to one of the most remote and difficult environments
imaginable. Logistical and transport problems for the approximately 400 troops and
observers now in Darfur have proved thoroughly formidable, and Khartoum has
easily managed to keep the observers grounded when necessary by denying fuel and
creating other obstacles. Communications gear is woefully inadequate as well,
and this obliges the AU force to utilize helicopters to ferry reports and
intelligence rather than concentrate on investigating atrocities.

A force ten times the size of the present one, deployed to multiple locations
throughout Darfur (a region the size of France), would create very substantial
needs. In addition to transport and logistics (including an independently
controlled fuel supply), the force would require food, water, and other provisions,
as well as significant communications equipment. Breakdowns in transport
vehicles and other equipment must be anticipated. The costs over many months of
deployment will be large. To be sure, the willingness of the African Union is
clear, as are declarations of support from the UN and various. But this by itself
is not enough, as African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare told the
Associated Press:

"The African Union is ready to send 4,000 to 5,000 troops 'very soon---within
days, weeks,' African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare [said].' But
Konare said movement depends on logistical help from 'Europe, America and the
United Nations especially.' So far, he said, there has been just talk about
assistance." (Associated Press, September 22, 2004)

Until there are formal financial and material commitments, to a force that has
a clear peacekeeping mandate, the "African Union solution" to the Darfur crisis
is merely notional. Moreover, even the 3,000 to 5,000 troops presently being
discussed are very far from constituting a force adequate to the desperate
security needs for Darfur as a whole. Authoritative military assessments of what
would be required to secure the camps, provide protection to humanitarian relief
efforts, and begin to secure the rural areas are in the range of 50,000 troops.
No one is talking about this kind of deployment, which is to say that even the
deployment of the presently contemplated number of African Union forces, with a
yet-unsecured peacekeeping mandate, would be at best a very partial response to
the larger security issues in Darfur.

[2] Sanctions and embargoes

Various and typically vague proposals have been made to threaten the
intransigent Khartoum regime, which still gives no sign of reining in the brutal
Janjaweed militia force or curtailing its own genocidal ambitions. Indeed, as UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has confirmed during her recent
assessment trip to Darfur, the Janjaweed are now being recycled into the "police"
forces for the camps and the so-called "safe areas" that were negotiated by Jan
Pronk, Kofi Annan's special representative to Sudan:

"[Arbour] said that during a visit to North Darfur that refugees told her that
among the police guarding their camps were former members of the Janjaweed
militia that forced them to flee their homes. Arbour also accused the Sudanese
government of failing to do enough to protect refugees. 'There is a total sense of
impunity,' she said." (Agence France-Presse, September 21, 2004)

Here it should be noted that Arbour's finding has been widely reported
previously. And while it is important symbolically that the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights travel to Darfur, Arbour found nothing that has not been repeatedly
and authoritatively reported before. Her visit thus inevitably creates the
impression of UN temporizing for lack of a more effective response. We might note
that Arbour was accompanied by Kofi Annan's so far irrelevant special adviser
on the prevention of genocide, Juan Méndez. But lest the world think that the
UN might be in the process of actually determining whether genocide is
occurring, "Annan stressed [that Arbour and Méndez] are not determining whether or not
genocide has taken place" (UN News Center [New York], September 20, 2004).

But Darfur doesn't need additional human rights reporting for purposes of the
most robust and urgent action. The evidence, including overwhelming evidence of
genocide, is in hand. The nominal reason for the visit of Arbour and Méndez
was "to examine how to shield beleaguered civilians there from further militia
attacks" (UN News Center [New York], September 20, 2004). But the answer has
long been clear: a robust peacekeeping force with a mandate to protect civilians.
Such investigative trips add nothing to our understanding of the tasks at hand,
and indeed work to convince Khartoum that there are no real consequences for
continuing human destruction and abuse.

Can the Khartoum regime be pressured into accepting a peacekeeping force? Are
threats of an arms embargo or an oil embargo credible and efficacious? The
answer is clearly not. An arms embargo, of the sort recently called for by
Amnesty International and others, is particularly unlikely to change perceptions in
Khartoum. First, we should note that Khartoum is now largely self-sufficient in
the small- and medium-sized arms that have been provided to the Janjaweed in
such great quantities. Dual-use production facilities, such as the giant GIAD
complex outside Khartoum, have been constructed with petrodollars, and have had
the benefit of extensive Chinese and Russian military engineering expertise.
Arms production continues to grow rapidly; and as former National Islamic Front
ideological leader Hassan el-Turabi predicted in 1999, even Russian model T-55
tanks are now produced by Khartoum using oil revenues.

The only real point of military import pressure might be for servicing of the
helicopter gunships that have been used to such deadly effect in Darfur and
southern Sudan. But the Russian companies that supplied the helicopters are
committed contractually to service them, and Russia has recently made clear that it
is actually intent on expanding arms sales to Africa, including Sudan:

"Russia has been criticised for supplying warplanes to Sudan, where Arab
militias are attacking African villagers in the Darfur region and displaced villagers
say government aircraft have bombed their homes. Russia's arms export agency
said it wanted to do more business with Sudan and other African nations. 'One of
the key points of the Rosoboronexport Corporation marketing strategy is the
extension of the volumes, diversity and geography in defence sales to African
nations,' the agency said in a statement."
(Defence News, September 22, 2004 at Defencetalk.com, at:
http://www.defencetalk.com/news/publish/article_001927.shtml)

Moreover, long-time arms supplier China will certainly not observe an arms
embargo and would veto any UN resolution proposing such an embargo. And there are
other nations to pick up any unlikely slack: Bulgaria, Yemen, Ukraine, and
others. An arms embargo is a proposal with only symbolic value, and no chance of
being implemented.

Is an oil embargo practicable? Certainly there can be no doubting its
efficacy: Khartoum, with a huge level of external debt, is critically dependent on oil
revenues provided by the state-owned oil companies of India (ONGC), Malaysia
(Petronas), and China (China National Petroleum Corp.)---all operating in
southern Sudan. But there is not a shred of evidence that any of these Asian
countries would participate in an embargo, or that a UN resolution authorizing an
embargo would not be vetoed by China. Indeed, one only need consider the nature of
China's investment in Sudan and its growing dependency on foreign oil to see
how thoroughly impracticable an embargo is.

China controls between 40 and 50% of total oil operations in southern Sudan
(Western and Eastern Upper Nile). China now imports huge quantities of oil for
its rapidly growing economy, and consumption increases 10% annually. Sudan is
China's premier source of off-shore oil production. Even if every other country
in the world were to participate in an embargo, China alone could provide a
market for all of Sudan's current total export production (approximately 270,000
barrels/day). But China has partners in Malaysia and India that are just as
eager for oil, and just as willing to overlook massive human rights abuses.
Malaysia in particular has proved as much in southern Sudan for years.

An oil embargo (or "boycott") will not work, and it is disingenuous for world
leaders like Secretary of State Colin Powell and various senior officials in the
European Union to suggest otherwise. It is yet another example of an
apparently tough position that is transparently meaningless as a means of increasing
pressure on Khartoum.

OTHER MEASURES

Targeted sanctions---sanctions directed against particular members of the
National Islamic Front regime---have been proposed by several organizations,
including the International Crisis Group. While such sanctions (restricting travel
abroad, freezing foreign assets, suspending commercial relations with businesses
owned or controlled by the regime) would have some effect, it is doubtful that
by themselves they would have a serious impact on thinking in Khartoum. Assets
abroad have already been largely sequestered into inaccessible or invisible
accounts, and this process would accelerate if targeted sanctions appeared
imminent. And Khartoum's leaders have previously faced travel restrictions: following
the 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Mubarak (the UN
established that the regime was deeply involved), diplomatic sanctions were officially
imposed. These were to have included travel restrictions, but observance quickly
disappeared. Khartoum has not forgotten.

UN Security Council Resolution 1564 speaks of "an international commission of
inquiry" (Paragraph 12), a morally and historically essential task. But the
resolution merely "calls on all parties [in the Darfur conflict] to cooperate
fully with such a commission." Khartoum has heard, and ignored, many previous
"calls" from the UN. There is no evidence that the regime will "cooperate" now.
Rather, it will make symbolic gestures, but at the same time work relentlessly
(as it has for months) to obscure the sites of atrocities and mass executions.
The regime is brutally intimidating those in Darfur who attempt to speak with
outside investigators, and will continue to obscure evidence even as it stalls
any meaningful work by a commission of inquiry. The regime rightly fears the
findings of any such investigation, but this is not the same as feeling pressure
to change its present genocidal course of action. On the contrary, the
prospect of such a commission of inquiry provides incentive to accelerate the
obliteration of evidence and to consolidate the effects of months of vast civilian
destruction and displacement.

RESPONSES ON THE GROUND IN SUDAN

[1] Kofi Annan's/Jan Pronk's plan for "safe areas"

In a "Joint Communiqué"---signed by Kofi Annan and Khartoum on July 3,
2004---the groundwork was laid for what has developed into an extremely unfortunate
plan to create so-called "safe areas" in Darfur. The idea, broached in general
terms in the Joint Communiqué, was formalized in the August 5, 2004 "Plan of
Action," signed again by the Khartoum regime and by Jan Pronk, representing Kofi
Annan. This plan has been previously analyzed by this writer in considerable
detail (September 3, 2004; available upon request).

According to the exceedingly brief, but immensely destructive "Plan of Action
for Darfur,"

"the Government of Sudan would identify parts of Darfur that can be made secure
and safe within 30 days. This would include existing IDP camps, and areas
around certain towns and villages with a high concentration of local population.
The Government of Sudan would then provide secure routes to and between these
areas. These tasks should be carried out by Sudan police forces to maintain
confidence already created by redeployment of the Government of Sudan armed forces"
(text from "Plan of Action for Darfur," August 5, 2004 [Khartoum]).

As became clear only with Secretary-general Annan's report to the UN Security
Council on Darfur, the "safe areas" in the "Plan of Action" were conceived as
entailing "the securing and protection of villages within a 20-kilometer radius
around the major towns identified" ("Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to
[ ] Security Council Resolution 1556," August 30, 2004).

What does this language mean on the ground in Darfur?

Most ominously, the creation of "safe areas" not only threatens to consolidate,
indeed institutionalize the effects of Khartoum's campaign of ethnic clearances
and genocidal destruction, but it is being deliberately manipulated by Khartoum
for offensive military advantage. Human Rights Watch notes that, "These safe
areas could become a form of 'human shield.' This would allow the government to
secure zones around the major towns and confine a civilian population that it
considers to be supporting the rebels" ("Darfur: UN 'Safe Areas' offer no Real
Security," Human Rights Watch, September 1, 2004).

These "safe areas" are, as Human Rights Watch has also reported, "only a
slightly revised version of the Sudanese government proposal in early July [2004] to
create 18 'resettlement sites' for the more than 1.2 million displaced
Darfurian civilians" ("Darfur: UN 'Safe Areas' offer no Real Security," Human Rights
Watch, September 1, 2004). We should be suspicious of any such plan emanating
originally from the Khartoum regime. And we should be especially concerned about
the nature of the security that underlies "resettlement sites" or "safe areas."

For in fact, the "police" that have been deployed to the "safe areas,"
nominally to replace redeployed regular military forces of the regime, are not the
"credible and respected police force" the Joint Communiqué stipulates: they are
soldiers and other militarily trained personnel in the uniforms of "police." And
given the geographic latitude provided by the 20-mile radius stipulated in the
Plan of Action, these "police"/paramilitary forces have been extremely active:
not in securing the areas and protecting civilians but in consolidating and
expanding areas under Khartoum's military control.

Civilians, already vulnerable to the ongoing predations of Janjaweed militia
forces, have now---by virtue of these various UN negotiations---been made even
more vulnerable to violence from those "policing" the "safe areas." Moreover, as
Amnesty International points out, the very notion of "safe areas" suggests that
civilians not in these areas are somehow without protections. The entire plan
is a ghastly error in judgment, deriving from a wholly unjustified willingness
to believe that by demanding a "credible and respected police force," Khartoum
will somehow feel obliged to provide one. The fact that these "safe areas" are
little different from what Khartoum originally called "resettlement sites"
suggests that what Khartoum is "enforcing" is a permanent displacement and
destruction of the agricultural way of life of these African tribal peoples.

As Human Rights Watch declared in a more recent press release speaking to the
Pronk/Annan plan for "safe areas":

"The [Human Rights Watch] letter [to the UN Security Council] also charged that
proposed 'safe areas' could impede the return of civilians to their homes and
consolidate forced displacement and 'ethnic cleansing' initiated by [the
government of] Sudan." (Human Rights Watch press release, September 13, 2004)

Put another way, the "safe areas" and the camps that define so many of them are
in danger of becoming what UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan
Egeland recently referred to "as concentration-camp like areas" (UN Integrated
Regional Information Networks, September 1, 2004). In fact, we must see this
terrible reality as already too fully realized. This assessment has been echoed by
Andrew Natsios, administrator of the US Agency for International Development,
who declared: "The displaced people in Darfur told us repeatedly [ ] that the
cities and displaced camps have become prisons, concentration camps."

[2] Kofi Annan's/Jan Pronk's "hortatory strategy" in Khartoum

Reuters reports today that Jan Pronk has declared Khartoum "is obliged to ask
for international support if it cannot protect the nearly 1.5 million people
displaced [in Darfur]":

"'If you cannot do it (protect your population)...then you have to ask
international support. It's an obligation,' Jan Pronk told reporters in Khartoum. 'Are
you serious, are you sincere in requesting adequate international support?'"
(Reuters [Khartoum], September 23, 2004)

This recourse to moral exhortation, an urging of "obligations to protect," is
at this point in the crisis both shamefully disingenuous and deeply destructive
of diplomatic credibility. All this should highlight the significance of a
genocide determination and the importance of communicating with Khartoum in the
context of such a determination. For what could be more ludicrous than to urge
upon Khartoum's genocidaires a "moral obligation" to protect the very people the
regime has been systematically destroying for well over a year, both by means
of its regular armed forces, the Janjaweed militia, and the deliberate
obstruction of humanitarian relief?

The strategy that Annan and Pronk are evidently following is one of
"engagement," with the implicit assumption that Khartoum can be "engaged" in good faith.
This entirely unjustified assumption presumably accounts for Pronk's recent
declaration that a genocide determination in Darfur is "premature" (Reuters,
September 18, 2004). For of course determining that genocide was being committed by
Khartoum would make "engagement" with the regime transparently what it is: an
expedient, weak, and dishonest refusal to confront Darfur's realities.

Human Rights Watch recently found it "startling" that Kofi Annan's report to
the UN Security Council,

"fails to acknowledge what several UN agencies and scores of independent
reports have documented: the government of Sudan is responsible for these attacks
against civilians, directly and through the Janjaweed militias it supports." ("UN
Darfur Deadline Expires: Security Council Must Act," September 3, 2004 [New
York])

But finally, given the course of expediency and "engagement" that Pronk daily
makes more evident, there is nothing "startling" about this deliberate omission:
it is essential to the Annan/Pronk strategy. And Khartoum knows precisely how
to construe such expediency---for expediency offers the clearest signal that
there is no real pressure available through the UN, which in responding to the
Darfur crisis has become little more than a platform for exhortation. We catch a
glimpse of Khartoum's contempt for such weakness in a dispatch today from
Agence France-Presse, which reports comments by National Islamic Front (National
Congress) secretary general Ibrahim Omar:

"A top official from Sudan's ruling party says the Government will not disarm
'Arab tribes' in the troubled Darfur region, saying they were not all members of
the Janjaweed militia." (Agence France-Presse, September 23, 2004)

But this is simply nonsense. Nobody has declared that all "Arab tribes" are
part of the Janjaweed. In fact, the consensus figure for the number of Janjaweed
active in the Darfur genocide and coordinating militarily with Khartoum is
roughly 20,000. But there can be no doubt that the Janjaweed exist, and that they
are directly responsible (along with the Khartoum regime) for destroying
perhaps 75% of the villages in all of Darfur, for displacing 2 million human beings,
and for the deaths of more than 200,000 innocent civilians. The Janjaweed are
operating in concert with Khartoum, and more recently have increasingly filled
the ranks of "police" in the camps (see above).

But though Ibrahim Omar's comments may have nothing to do with the truth, they
do reveal how far Khartoum is from responding to its various commitments to the
UN, most conspicuously including the commitment made almost three months ago to
"immediately start to disarm the Janjaweed and other armed outlaw groups," and
"ensure that no militias are present in all areas surrounding IDP camps"
("Joint Communiqué between the Government of Sudan and the United Nations on the
occasion of the visit of the UN Secretary-General," July 3, 2004).

HUMANITARIAN RELIEF

The ineffective international political response to the catastrophe in Darfur
brings heightened pressure to bear on humanitarian operations. Present
humanitarian requirements for displaced persons in Darfur and refugees in Chad are well
in excess of 40,000 metric tons for food and non-food items (medicine, shelter,
water purification supplies, cooking fuel). This exceeds by more than 100%
present logistical and transport capacity. Moreover, funding for humanitarian
operations has been shamefully laggard, and at least two breaks in the "food
pipeline" are now forecast.

But most troublingly, humanitarian relief will have to continue for the
foreseeable future, or the international community will be consigning hundreds of
thousands of people to slow death from starvation. For agricultural production has
come to a halt in Darfur. There was no spring planting, and thus is no fall
harvest. No seeds have been culled for the next planting, and the prospect of
yet another missed planting season in spring 2005 is all too distinct. The
secondary planting season, which should already be underway in parts of Darfur, will
almost certainly be missed, creating yet greater food dependency.

Looming over this entirely grim situation is the difficulty of seeing how
African agricultural societies can be re-established in areas that have seen
unspeakable genocidal violence, village destruction, and a breakdown in African-Arab
relations and patterns of co-existence. Given present emergency conditions, the
absence of a reconstruction plan is entirely understandable. But the
humanitarian community must soon begin to address the question of how aid can be
sustained for next six months to a year, and how the agricultural economy of Darfur
can again become self-sufficient. The challenges can hardly be overstated.

MEANINGFUL ACTION

The only response that can change the fundamental dynamic of ongoing human
destruction is humanitarian intervention, in either a permissive or non-permissive
environment, with all necessary military support. A non-UN consortium of
nations, acting in concert with the African Union, must issue an ultimatum to
Khartoum demanding that it allow the deployment of a substantial peacekeeping force,
ideally of at least 20,000 troops initially, with more to follow. This will
require nations such as the US, Britain, Sweden, Germany, Australia, New Zealand,
Norway and others to commit the financial and material resources that will
permit the African Union to deploy. Rwanda, Nigeria, and Tanzania have offered to
commit the necessary troops, but they will require massive logistical and
transport assistance, and very substantial materiel.

Perhaps Canada, so long disgracefully immobilized in responding to Sudan's
crises, can also be brought along. To be sure, it is troubling that Prime Minister
Paul Martin yesterday baldly lied at the UN, declaring that the international
community "should have intervened last June when Canada called for it." Canada
made no such "call." But it is encouraging that Mr. Martin is now so emphatic,
even though his UN remarks contained no specifics about the nature of such
intervention, or precisely how it would be guided by the notion of a
"responsibility to protect," a Canadian-funded product that has so far had no impact on
Canadian foreign policy in Africa.

But the broad goals of a humanitarian intervention are clear, and these in turn
dictate the nature and mandate of any intervening military force, as well as
the degree to which transport and logistical capacity must be enhanced. The
situation on the ground will be determined to a very considerable extent by whether
Khartoum decides to create a permissive or non-permissive environment for
intervention. No environment will be completely "permissive" and in either event,
deployed troops must have robust rules of engagement with the Janjaweed,
"police" forces, other paramilitary forces, and Khartoum's regular army forces.

[1] Sufficient troops in an initial deployment to protect approximately 200
camps and vulnerable concentrations of displaced persons; all Khartoum's "police"
and security forces, including the Janjaweed, must be removed from the camps
and the camp environs;

[2] Concomitant deployment of sufficient troops to protect vulnerable
humanitarian workers and key humanitarian transport corridors;

[3] Dedication of transport and logistical resources to bring monthly capacity
for food and non-food items to 40,000 metric tons;

[4] A commitment to substantial repairs of the rail line running from Port
Sudan to Nyala; the rail line should be internationalized, and dedicated
exclusively to enhancing humanitarian transport capacity (without such augmented rail
capacity, transport costs over the next year and more will be exorbitant);

[5] Secondary deployment of troops sufficient to begin to secure villages and
farm-land that have been ravaged by the predations of the Janjaweed and
Khartoum's regular military forces; the return of displaced persons must be voluntary,
and robust protection must be provided to early returnees;

[6] Seeds, agricultural implements, donkeys, and sustaining food supplies must
be provided to returnees.

This is but an outline of the international response demanded by Darfur's
catastrophe. But even in outline, such a plan should oblige those proposing other
responses to explain how they will achieve the goals articulated here---or why
such goals can be allowed to go unmet. Humanitarian intervention is expensive,
difficult, and politically risky. In the face of massive genocidal
destruction, the world must ask if these are reasons enough for inaction.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

ereeves@smith.edu


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