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Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Sudanese Woman at IDP Camp in Darfur Posted by Hello

Is There No Threshold for Humanitarian Intervention in Darfur? 

Present realities make clear that there is not

Eric Reeves
October 18, 2004

The relentlessly grim news from Darfur, revealing a continuing deterioration in both security and the overall humanitarian situation, puts in final form the question that has been raised in some quarters for well over half a year:

"Are there no circumstances that must compel an international humanitarian intervention that is both adequate to protect all vulnerable civilian populations and capable of providing the transport and logistical capacity that is presently far beyond the UN and other humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur?"

For even a very small measure of the honesty that has too often been denied the people of Darfur must oblige the world to accept that the presently contemplated increase in African Union (AU) deployment is not sufficient to address the challenging and pervasive security issues in this vast region. Nor is there evidence of the capacity to provide, for the foreseeable future, 50,000 metric tons per month of food and critical non-food items for the increasingly desperate populations of Darfur and Darfurian refugees in Chad.

In short, by refusing to plan for or commit the resources necessary to a successful international humanitarian intervention in Darfur---efforts that are nowhere in sight---the world is indicating an acceptance of the genocidal status quo, in which incremental increases in humanitarian capacity are continually outstripped by increasing need. Moreover, extreme levels of insecurity in Darfur are attenuating present relief efforts, and this situation will not improve except in very limited ways even with the belated deployment of an augmenting AU force, which only fitfully moves toward readiness.

We must see in this implicit acceptance of the status quo---by the Bush administration, the UN, and the European Union---the international community acquiescing in ongoing genocide: Khartoum's murderous military actions, as well as those of its Janjaweed proxy, and targeted destruction of the agricultural production and resources of African tribal groups throughout Darfur.

This must be the lens through which we view the alarming new reports from Darfur: UN indications that an additional 220,000 Internally Displaced Persons have been created by recent violence, growing insecurity for humanitarian operations (some of which are now suspended), the threat posed by a polio outbreak, highly inflated food prices in markets (a terrible harbinger of famine, accompanied by the growing threat of a locust plague), growing rage in the camps for displaced, the looting and destruction of huge numbers of essential livestock, and an increasingly threatening situation on both sides of the Chad/Darfur border. The catastrophe is accelerating.

THE CURRENT DIPLOMATIC SITUATION: Naivasha

The early news from the resumed Naivasha talks between Khartoum's National Islamic Front regime and the southern SPLM is extremely poor. Khartoum's lead negotiator (powerful First Vice President Ali Osman Taha) clearly did not come prepared to make any meaningful concessions on the technical issues that are now holding up final agreement; indeed, he attempted to re-introduce issues that had been previously resolved in the various Naivasha protocols.

It now appears that Khartoum is bent on engineering the slow unraveling of the completed agreement (June 5, 2004) by means of intransigence in negotiating the implementing details. After only nine days, Taha has left the talks for the month of Ramadan, presuming that his mere appearance in Naivasha ensures that the Bush administration will certify this week that Khartoum "has engaged in good faith negotiations to achieve a permanent, just, and equitable peace agreement," and has not "unreasonably interfered with humanitarian efforts" (these specific determinations are required by the Sudan Peace Act of October 2002).

Taha's early exit for Ramadan (we should recall his similar exit from Naivasha last January to observe the Hajj) freezes all but the most technical negotiations---and leaves the peace agreement where it was last May, when the last of the protocols on outstanding issues of substance were signed. Without a completed peace agreement, there can be no formal preparation for a UN peace support operation, even as the overall military situation on the ground in southern Sudan becomes increasingly threatening. That Khartoum is using extended diplomatic "deliberation" as an excuse for indefinite delay is clear from a recent comment by Sayid el-Khatib, one of Khartoum's negotiators in Naivasha:

"'On our side, we think that we should exercise maximum prudence and wisdom so as not to alienate anybody,' Khatib said. 'The (rebels) seems to want to go about it aggressively; they want a very short timetable to have this [peace agreement] done.'" (Associated Press, October 16, 2004)

Given the more than two years of arduous and detailed negotiations that have already preceded the current Naivasha session, Khatib's "maximum prudence" is simply another way of declaring maximum delay. Moreover this delay has an ominous context: extremely reliable regional sources report a serious escalation of military conflict in the Akobo and Nasir areas of Eastern Upper Nile, and the Shilluk Kingdom (north of Malakal); large offensives have been initiated by Khartoum's regular and militia forces, even as peace talks are nominally continuing in Naivasha. This provides yet more evidence that Khartoum ultimately seeks to bring Eastern Upper Nile fully under its military control for purposes of securing the rich oil concessions currently being exploited by the state-owned oil companies of China and Malaysia.

[The main outstanding issues in Naivasha are: [1] funding of the southern Sudan defense force---clearly an obligation of the "Government of National Unity" previously negotiated; [2] disarming and integrating Khartoum's numerous militia forces in the south, grouped under the SSDF rubric (South Sudan Defense Forces)---this, too, was agreed to by Khartoum in the September 2003 protocol on security arrangements; [3] the deployment of Joint Integrated Units to eastern Sudan. Despite wire reports indicating progress on the latter issue, none was in fact achieved.]

It is increasingly difficult to see how a final peace agreement can be reached with Khartoum in the Naivasha talks, and certainly impossible to see how they can be completed in timely fashion. If, as many have recently argued with Norway's Hilde Johnson, the "road to peace in Darfur leads through Naivasha," then we must draw deeply discouraging conclusions about both a north-south agreement as well as the prospects for a meaningful cease-fire in Darfur.

THE CURRENT DIPLOMATIC SITUATION: Darfur

Peace talks between Khartoum and the Darfur insurgents, scheduled to begin next week in Abuja (Nigeria), offer little hope for diplomatic progress. Though some of this derives from the poor negotiating skills of the insurgency groups and the lack of a fully coherent political agenda, it is primarily a function of Khartoum's ability to substitute intransigence and disingenuous diplomacy for real negotiations.

The regime has certainly been encouraged by this past weekend's summit in Tripoli, bringing together the heads of Chad, Nigeria, Libya, Egypt and National Islamic Front (NIF) President Beshir. Though little help could have been expected from the weak and beholden government of Idriss Deby of Chad, or from Libyan President Muamar Ghaddafi, or Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, it is deeply disappointing that Nigerian president (and Chairman of the African Union) Olusegun Obasanjo is content to declare "in a joint statement issued after the overnight meeting [that] the regional leaders stressed their 'rejection of all foreign intervention in this purely African question'" (Agence France-Presse, October 18, 2004).

This represents Obasanjo's bowing to intense pressure on various fronts from the Arab League, and ultimately his judgment that what has occurred in Darfur is not distinct from other "African problems." In a nasty display of Realpolitik, he is evidently more interested in accommodating the NIF regime than in assessing meaningfully the realities in Darfur. Certainly if we take these various strongmen at their word (Darfur is "purely an African question") we may be sure that the genocide will not be meaningfully constrained. Obasanjo's priority is finally not the people of Darfur, but wielding power through the African Union.

All this occurs as the Khartoum regime that is directly responsible for genocidal destruction in Darfur faces no credible threats or consequences from other international actors. A European Union threat of sanctions was recently issued by Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot (who holds the rotating EU presidency) with a "two-month deadline" (Reuters, October 13, 2004); but this was followed almost immediately by a weak retreat in which Bot asserted that in fact "there is no timetable for sanctions" (Associated Press, October 13, 2004). This irresolute vacillation is of course carefully noted by Khartoum.

Moreover, veto-wielding China has made clear that it will block any UN Security Council resolution that goes beyond the unthreatening resolutions of July 30, 2004 and September 18, 2004:

"China, a permanent council member, said immediately after the vote that it would veto any future resolution that sought to impose sanctions on Sudan." (Associated Press, September 18, 2004)

Vague US and EU threats of an "oil embargo," which China would oppose even more vehemently, are so transparently empty as to encourage Khartoum rather than to deter its genocidal behavior. There is clearly insufficient understanding of China's voracious appetite for imported petroleum (imports have doubled over the past five years, and are up 40% in the first half of 2004). Secure sources of offshore oil are for China a top economic, and thus geostrategic, imperative. Sudan and Darfur are considered solely in this context by the Chinese government.

International weakness and ineptitude have led to the disingenuous suggestion that the only solution to the Darfur crisis is to work with Khartoum. In other words, the international community has managed to convince itself that without Khartoum's "cooperation," the very genocide the regime is deliberately perpetuating cannot be halted. So confident are the genocidaires in Khartoum of this international expediency that they have recently been emboldened to the point of openly sneering at the US, the EU, and the UN.

Beyond the abusive rhetoric, however, lies a blunt fact: the international demand that Khartoum disarm its brutal Janjaweed militia allies, and bring their leaders to justice, continues to be treated with contempt, despite the agreement to precisely this demand in a Joint Communiqué signed with Kofi Annan (Khartoum, July 3, 2004) and the subsequent codification of this demand in Security Council Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004).

Three and a half months after formally acceding to this demand, under UN auspices, Khartoum has done nothing to uphold its commitment. This is so even as humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur universally declare that the greatest obstacle to greater and more effective humanitarian response is the insecurity that is overwhelmingly a function of unconstrained Janjaweed militia presence in the rural areas and camp environs.

UN POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IS FAILING DARFUR

Kofi Annan has recently compounded the difficulty of humanitarian intervention by disingenuously and tendentiously conflating the US-led invasion of Iraq with the possibility of an international effort to protect more than 1 million civilians directly threatened by Khartoum's regular and proxy military forces, and to increase the clearly inadequate capacity for massive, ongoing humanitarian relief:

"The two conflicts [in Darfur and in Iraq] appear to have converged and they [Muslims throughout the world] see this every day on their televisions and tend to think this is an assault on Islam." (PA News [Scotland], October 18, 2004)

Besides the condescending implications of Annan's remarks, he is in fact encouraging the pervasive error that protecting the African tribal populations of Darfur is somehow an "assault on Islam," when of course both Arab and non-Arab populations in Darfur are Muslim. Annan also argues that:

"There is a feeling in the Arab world that one is going to repeat what has happened in Iraq, regardless of the objective and intentions." (PA News [Scotland], October 18, 2004)

Annan's task, however, is not to recycle ignorance and error but to correct it through strong leadership. His task is certainly not to obfuscate and depersonalize ("one is going to...") the arguments for humanitarian intervention---of precisely the sort he himself made on April 7, 2004, the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Rather, the task of leadership is to explain what the differences are between Iraq and Darfur. For Annan to accept casually the morally callous and intellectually specious conclusion of the Security Council---"there is this sense among the [UN Security Council] membership that it is best to send in African troops"---evades the responsibilities of leadership, even as it serves his ongoing political agenda vis-à-vis Iraq.

Whatever one thinks of the US-led war in Iraq, Annan's refusal to articulate the differences between this conflict and the urgent needs of Darfur is dismayingly expedient. Frustration over such political expediency is rising among humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur, and is perhaps best gauged by a recent comment from chief executive John O'Shea of the distinguished Irish organization GOAL: "The United Nations should be disbanded unless it can take 'meaningful action' to prevent genocide in Darfur, GOAL's chief executive said yesterday" (Irish Examiner, October 12, 2004).

THE ANSWER FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

These realities make fully clear the answer to any question about whether there will be a robust international humanitarian intervention tasked with saving hundreds of thousands of vulnerable civilians: there will not. This acquiescent decision has been made by political leaders at the UN, in the European Union, and in Washington. Though there has been no fully honest acknowledgement of this decision, it has all too clearly been made.

Certainly if present genocidal horrors are not sufficient cause for intervention, then it is impossible to imagine some future galvanizing development in Darfur that might be the final spur to action. 300,000 have died, and mortality rates are obscenely high; more than 2 million have been displaced within Darfur and into Chad; more than 2.5 million people are now directly affected by the conflict and in need of humanitarian assistance, and this number only grows. The Janjaweed continue their "reign of terror" in the rural areas and in the camps; many of these war criminals have now been recycled into the ranks of "police." Agricultural production is coming ever more fully to a halt, and food is becoming scarcer all the time. The social and cultural destruction of the African tribal groups of Darfur steadily increases, even as camps for the displaced look more and more like human warehouses.

And yet this is not enough to justify humanitarian intervention. That this is so, that massive, deliberate human destruction---animated by ethnic/racial hatred---is insufficient cause for intervention, must be stated fully and explicitly, rather than allowed to slip by as tacit acquiescence in genocide by a morally bereft "international community." Such abysmal failure cannot be judged by history alone: we must say it to ourselves, now.

For there can be no claim of ignorance or powerlessness. What is occurring in Darfur is all too well known, and the issue of intervention has been defined not by the absence of power but by a lack of will. As the first great episode of genocide in the 21st century grinds mercilessly onward, with ghastly visibility, we must assess all that we know and learn of Darfur in light of this now conspicuous decision not to intervene.

CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS: DETERIORATING SECURITY

It now appears that the current suspension of humanitarian assistance to the Ummbaru region of North Darfur, following the recent deaths of two aid workers for Save the Children (UK), will be temporary; but these tragic deaths powerfully underscore the vulnerability of humanitarian operations. Security issues are already seriously compromising humanitarian capacity in Darfur; additional deaths, accidental or deliberate, could produce a further reduction of aid delivery.

It has long been feared in the humanitarian community and official circles that Khartoum might deliberately orchestrate the killing of aid workers, particularly international ("expatriate") workers, as a means of diminishing the overall international presence in Darfur (where there are now some 700 international aid workers). Last month an expatriate worker for Caritas in Darfur was seriously wounded by unknown assailants. A number of drivers hired for humanitarian deliveries and convoys have been shot. In the wake of the massive destruction orchestrated by Khartoum and its Janjaweed allies, there has been a sharp increase in banditry.

Reuters recently reported on the assessment of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Manuel Aranda Da Silva:

"Security has deteriorated in Sudan's Darfur region in the past month and violence drove a further 220,000 people from their homes, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan said on Tuesday [October 12, 2004]."

"Shortages of funds and resources were the main problems a few months ago in what the UN calls one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. '[But] security is probably becoming the main constraint to the delivering of humanitarian assistance in Darfur,' he told Reuters in Khartoum." (Reuters, October 12, 2004)

The UN News Service recently reported of World Food Program efforts:

"The UN food relief agency warned today that the security situation in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region is so volatile that is hampering the delivery and distribution of food aid to the vast population of internally displaced persons." (UN News Centre, October 13, 2004)

The same dispatch also noted that "deliveries have been slower than expected because truck drivers are now using longer routes to avoid insecure areas" (UN News Centre, October 13, 2004).

And just today, the spokeswoman for the UN Advance Mission in Sudan declared that the UN,

"had continued to receive reports of attacks against internally displaced persons and harassment of relief workers in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. 'The situation has remained extremely tense over the past days,' Radia Achouri, spokesperson for the UN Advance Mission in Sudan, told IRIN."

"Attacks against IDPs in South Darfur State also seemed to be on the increase. Achouri said she had received a report about an attack on Tasha in South Darfur that took place on 5 October. On Friday [October 15, 2004], UN News had reported an attack against the village of Uma Kasara which took place on 2 October. Three policemen were reportedly killed, while 650 families had to flee as unidentified gunmen burnt their village. It said the IDPs had continued to arrive in Kalma, an overcrowded refugee camp close to the South Darfur state capital of Nyala, which already holds an estimated 60,000 people who fled their homes earlier."
(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, October 18, 2004)

THE GROWING FOOD CRISIS

As consequential as security issues are, there also appear to be signs of a deteriorating global food supply in Darfur. The International Committee of the Red Cross reports today (October 18, 2004) that:

"The price of basic food staples has risen dramatically. Millet and sorghum, for example, are now worth twice or even three times as much as last year. The decrease in production has led to a net loss of income for the households, making them even less able to deal with the inflation. The end result is that families have had to rely on the gathering of wild food, which in some cases now constitutes 85% of the food intake. This situation exposes the villagers even more to attacks, catching them up in a vicious circle of fear and hunger." (October 18, 2004, ICRC News: Sudan bulletin No. 16, 18 October 2004)

With approximately 2.5 million people in Darfur and eastern Chad increasingly in need of food assistance, inflation in food prices and growing insecurity make even more ominous the recent assessment by William Garvelink of the US Agency for International Development:

"'The crisis in Darfur has not yet peaked. We have not yet seen the worst.' Earlier this year, US AID predicted that between 80,000 and 300,000 people could die if the situation failed to improve in Darfur. 'We're now coming to the high side of that range,' Garvelink told reporters. After months of relying on scarce food handouts---when aid agencies have been able to reach refugee settlements---more than a million people in Darfur face severe malnutrition, Garvelink [said]. 'We're going to see a tipping point in December, January or February.'" (Associated Press, October 4, 2004)

A massive failure in humanitarian capacity is all too clearly in prospect, as suggested by UN spokeswoman Achouri:

"'If the situation continues like this we cannot keep up with this. We cannot keep up with the level of needs,' [UN spokeswoman Radhia Achouri] told reporters in Khartoum. The UN has said it has received just a little over half the required funds to meet the needs of the 1.5 million displaced in Darfur. More than 200,000 have also fled to neighboring Chad, encamped in the desolate eastern desert." (Reuters, October 6, 2004)

DEATH AND LOOTING OF AGRICULTURAL ANIMALS IN DARFUR: LONGER-TERM THREATS TO AGRICULTURE AND PEACE

There have been several recent reports on yet another extremely ominous development in the Darfur crisis, the high rate at which agricultural animals are dying. This augurs extremely poorly for resumed agricultural production. Today's Mail and Guardian (South Africa), citing wire reports from Deutsche Presse Agentur and the South African Press Agency, offers this grim picture:

"New arrivals in the remote area of Wad al-Bashir, where camps host more than 80,000 displaced people, say they are alarmed by the mounting number of animals dying there every day, especially donkeys. Every day more than 150 donkeys are dying in al-Fashir and Kabkabia provinces in northern Darfur, said Fatima Haroun and Adam Abakir, a middle-aged couple who arrived from the town of al-Fashir a week ago. [ ] Fatima said in Wad al-Bashir camp on Monday that of the family's 50 goats and 10 donkeys, all of the goats and five of the donkeys were taken away by the notorious Janjaweed militia. Donkeys are economically vital for the impoverished people of Darfur."

"Staff of an international NGO have also expressed alarm at the rising number of donkey deaths at the Abu Showk camp, which is situated outside al-Fashir town in northern Darfur state. Jeremy Hulme, a member of Spana, a society for the protection of animals, said that more than 8,000 donkeys have died recently in Darfur, something he attributed mainly to a lack of grazing land." (Mail and Guardian [South Africa], October 18, 2004)

The Washington Post reports today (dateline: Moyashwa Market, Nyala [South Darfur]) on a different aspect of the problem, viz. the huge numbers of cattle that have been looted, depriving displaced people of food security and wealth accumulated over generations. The consequences of Janjaweed looting of cattle from African tribal villages will be ongoing cycles of retribution throughout Darfur if the issue of compensation is not addressed:

"Another crime being committed in the [Darfur] region may prove just as difficult to reconcile: the widespread looting of livestock. Stolen animals worth millions of dollars have flooded markets like this one in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur province, according to international organizations and independent Sudanese investigators. At refugee camps [ ] threats of reprisals are openly discussed. Without a government willing to compensate them for their lost wealth, village elders said, revenge will become the only way to reclaim it."

"Most [looted cattle] have wound up in large markets across Darfur, including a massive slaughterhouse in El Obeid, the capital of the neighboring state of North Kordofan, investigators said."

"International aid organizations and a Sudanese group are investigating the thefts and trying to trace the profits to determine whether they have reached high levels of government. But many victims and traders said the money has largely stayed in the hands of the Janjaweed."

"'Janjaweed and Janjaweed leaders are getting rich off of this,' said Adam Azzim Mohamed, a professor at the University of Khartoum. 'There is an expression in Darfur that says, "A man is powerless without his herds." What people outside Sudan may not realize yet is how important the reprisals regarding these animals may be. There will not peace until the government sorts out this. Otherwise it can be very dangerous.' But so far, there are no signs that international pressure has stopped the livestock thefts."

"Government officials said police in Darfur were investigating reports of stolen herds and that victims would be compensated if their claims were proved. But human rights advocates and villagers said they saw no evidence of such an investigation. They countered that the Sudanese government has failed to hold anyone accountable for crimes, creating an atmosphere of impunity." (Washington Post, October 18, 2004)

The "climate of impunity" in Darfur that has recently been remarked by Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, obtains not only in the camps for the displaced in Darfur, but in the rural areas and among those increasingly few villages that have managed to escape the savagery of Janjaweed assaults and looting. Khartoum has done nothing to change this "climate of impunity" (the phrase was used by Arbour in her September 30 briefing of the Security Council)---and gives no sign of doing so. Even Kofi Annan has been forced to declare:

"Today, still increasing numbers of the population of Darfur are exposed, without any protection from their Government [the Khartoum regime], to hunger, fear, and violence. The numbers affected by the conflict are growing and their suffering is being prolonged by inaction. In a significant proportion of the territory security conditions have worsened. In the month of September the Government has not been able to fulfill its responsibilities and commitments to protect the people of Darfur." (Report of the Secretary-General to the UN Security Council, pursuant to Resolutions 1556 and 1564; October 4, 2004)

Despite this, Annan---who shamefully refuses to declare the direct responsibility of the Khartoum regime for the realities he deplores---disingenuously acquiesces before the wishes of a Security Council defined by the wishes of China, Pakistan, Algeria, Russia, and by strong Arab League lobbying. When Annan uncritically asserts "there is a sense among the [Security Council] membership that is it is best to send in African troops [to Darfur]," he has made himself complicit in the decision to consign Darfur to its genocidal fate.

DEPLOYMENT OF THE AFRICAN UNION FORCE

For there simply can be no denying that the AU force now contemplated is terribly inadequate to the critical security tasks at hand. Even Jan Pronk, Kofi Annan's special representative for Sudan, has recently admitted as much:

"Jan Pronk warned that a much larger force [than the proposed AU force] was needed to end the violence in the western Sudanese region. [ ] Mr Pronk told the BBC that the [AU] peacekeeping mission was a step in the right direction, but too small to oversee a faltering ceasefire. He said its priority should be to protect civilians in Darfur from continuing attacks by pro-government militias. 'They have to be stopped by a force which can act as a buffer,' he said." (BBC, October 16, 2004)

Even an augmented AU force cannot serve as such a "buffer. Indeed---critically---this force is being deployed without having secured a peacekeeping mandate from Khartoum. The acute numerical limitations of the force are revealed in details of an AU deployment document obtained by Reuters:

"A working paper circulated by AU officials at a meeting in the Ethiopian capital acknowledged that the current mission of 150 ceasefire monitors and 300 AU troops was too small to provide effective cover of a region the size of France. The paper, obtained by Reuters, proposed boosting the force by around 3,300 staff, comprised of 2,341 military personnel, 815 civilian police, 132 other civilian support staff and 32 staff to be stationed at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa." (Reuters, October 8, 2004)

This augmentation of the current force by 3,300 (and only 2,341 military personnel) is already significantly smaller than the 4,000 additional troops Nigerian president Obasanjo spoke of last week. Nothing in the planning document obtained by Reuters suggests how this force, without a peacekeeping mandate, can possibly take on the essential tasks in providing security within Darfur: [1] protecting vulnerable civilian populations in camps for the displaced and in rural areas; [2] providing security for humanitarian personnel and their transport corridors; [3] providing safe passage for starving civilians in vulnerable rural areas trying to reach humanitarian aid sites; [4] disarming the Janjaweed (this was explicitly demanded of Khartoum by UN Security Council Resolution 1556 [July 30, 2004]; the regime has made no effort to comply, as both Kofi Annan and Jan Pronk have recently reported to the UN).

To suggest that even an expanded African Union force can achieve any of these goals in a region the size of France---let alone all of them---is yet another way of acquiescing in genocide. A force at least five to ten times the size of what the AU has proposed is required. Again, this much is clear even to Jan Pronk:

"Jan Pronk warned that a much larger force [than the proposed AU force] was needed to end the violence in the western Sudanese region." (BBC, October 16, 2004)

Does this basic truth matter to those who speak as though an expanded African Union deployment obviated the need for urgent humanitarian intervention? Perhaps we should credit Kofi Annan with speaking at least a partial truth when he declares that "the international community has been reluctant to send another force to Sudan, another Islamic country" (PA News [Scotland], October 18, 2004). But this reluctance cannot be explained simply as hesitation to intervene in the wake of Iraq, though Annan's disingenuous conflation of Iraq and Darfur seeks to provide an excuse to the UN. Ultimately, the refusal to mount a humanitarian intervention that might save hundreds of thousands of lives in Darfur tells us most about how these lives---African, Muslim, geopolitically inconsequential---are valued.

In seeking to understand genocide in Darfur, and the international refusal to begin humanitarian intervention, this must be our fundamental point of reference.

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


Tuesday, October 12, 2004


site of another genocide: Auschwitz Posted by Hello

The Genocidal Status Quo in Darfur: 

An overview of the crisis at 20 months

Eric Reeves
October 12, 2004

CONTINUING INTERNATIONAL PARALYSIS

Though nominally speaking for the US government, Secretary of State Colin
Powell has come to represent the international community with his declaration in
Congressional testimony of September 9, 2004 that, "In fact, no new action is
dictated by this determination [of genocide in Darfur]" (Powell testimony,
September 9, 2004, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee). Consensus has grown
dramatically in recent months that military actions by Khartoum's National
Islamic Front regime and its Janjaweed militia allies in Darfur constitute
genocide---the deliberate and widespread destruction of the African tribal populations
of the region, "as such." But the current international response lacks both
sufficient urgency and truly robust commitment.

The primary efforts have been to engage in futile diplomacy with Khartoum, to
pass largely meaningless UN resolutions, to issue vague threats of sanctions,
and more recently, to place the burden of responding to Darfur's critical
security issues on a woefully inadequate African Union force. This force has been
unable to secure from Khartoum a peacekeeping mandate---and may not deploy until
early 2005. And while there have been significant increases in international
relief efforts in the region, these are sufficient for less than half the
conflict-affected population; in the coming months, without a forceful humanitarian
intervention, the mismatch between humanitarian capacity and humanitarian need
ensures that many tens of thousands of innocent civilians will die.

In short, none of the present actions defining an international response can
possibly stem the ongoing flood of human suffering and destruction. None can
address in serious ways the fundamental security issues defining the crisis in
Darfur. None offers hope for a reconstruction of Darfur's agricultural economy.
None provides a means of changing the grim future of camps for the displaced,
which loom increasingly as human warehouses for the survivors of genocide.

And none convinces Khartoum that it must respond in meaningful ways to various
international urgings and "demands."

Over the past seven months Khartoum has repeatedly and flagrantly violated a
cease-fire agreement for Darfur (signed in N'Djamena [Chad], April 8, 2004); the
regime has refused to honor commitments made to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
(July 3, 2004); and the regime has defied the demands of two UN Security
Council resolutions (No. 1556, July 30, 2004 and No. 1564, September 18, 2004). Most
recently British Prime Minister Tony Blair reiterated several of these demands
while in Khartoum (October 6, 2004). There is no reason to expect that Khartoum
will respond any more seriously to Blair's demands than it has to those of the
international community, and comments in the Arabic press suggest that the
regime is already hedging and trimming.

This is so even as the regime stands in continuing violation of many
international laws and Geneva Conventions. It is guilty of genocide that has resulted in
the deaths of as many as 300,000 human beings (see October 8, 2004 mortality
assessment by this writer; available upon request). The further consequences of
genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the violation of various
Geneva Conventions will ultimately be measured in terms of many tens of thousands
of additional deaths. The UN's World Health Organization currently estimates
that between 6,000 and 10,000 people are dying monthly in accessible camps, in
large measure because of Khartoum's previous deliberate and systematic
obstruction of humanitarian relief. The US Agency for International Development has
indicated that the food crisis in coming months is so dire that there will be many
additional tens of thousands of deaths from malnutrition and related diseases
in all regions of Darfur.

A UN spokesman for the UN World Food Program recently had the honesty to
declare that the crisis in Darfur will continue through 2005:

"'The aid crisis is going to continue at least until the end of next year
[2005],' [WFP spokesman Greg] Barrow said on Wednesday in a briefing for reporters
accompanying British Prime Minister Tony Blair to Sudan. This year's intense
media focus on Darfur and a stream of high-level foreign visitors had helped, but
the world must not forget the crisis when attention fades, he added. 'This is
a very, very precarious situation. The levels of humanitarian aid will need to
be sustained at or above the same level as this year.'" (Reuters, October 6,
2004)

The insecurity that has brought agricultural production largely to a halt in
Darfur continues to prevail in the rural areas, making a significant fall
planting impossible, and already compromising the chances for a successful planting in
spring 2005. Insecurity in the camps continues to put women and girls seeking
firewood (essential for cooking raw grains and flour) at risk of rape at the
hands of Khartoum's Janjaweed militia, now increasingly recycled into the ranks
of camp "police." Men who leave the camps face summary execution. These
desperate people are living in what UN High Commissioner for Human Right Louise
Arbour describes as "prisons without walls" (UN News Centre, September 27, 2004).

A recent press release by the UN Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women,
following her assessment mission to Darfur, comports all too fully with reports
by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations:

"Women and girls have suffered multiple forms of violence during attacks on
their villages, including rape, killings, the burning of homes and pillage of
livestock. Women have also been tortured during interrogation by security forces
for being relatives of suspected rebels. I heard numerous accounts of continuing
violence against the displaced women and girls allegedly by government-backed
militia and security forces."

"In particular, rape and beatings take place when women and girls leave the IDP
camps to fetch wood or other necessities. Consequently, many women and girls
endure the trauma of rape and loss, health problems and heightened risk of
HIV/AIDS infection, as well as domestic violence and poverty. The fact that women
head the majority of the households in the camps [exacerbates] their vulnerability
to violence and exploitation." (UN press statement [Geneva] by Yakin Ertürk, UN
Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women, October 11, 2004)

AFRICAN UNION FORCES: FAR FROM ADEQUATE OR READY

For lack of a willingness to contemplate alternatives, the international
community has placed inordinate hopes in an expansion of the present small African
Union contingent in Darfur. This will apparently entail supplementing the
current 100 monitors (and 300 troops protecting the monitors) by as many as 4,000
additional AU troops and military police. But there has been no progress in
securing from Khartoum an agreement to expand the mandate of these forces to include
peacekeeping. While accepting the number of monitors proposed, Khartoum's view
of the governing mandate was again made clear in very recent comments by
Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail:

"'We have no problem with the numbers. Till now the African Union (AU) are
talking about 3,500 to 4,000. It's up to them,' Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman
Ismail said in Khartoum. 'They said they want to bring monitors, they want to bring
some police, civilians, protection for forces, we have no problem,' he told
reporters." (Reuters, October 10, 2004)

The clear implication of Ismail's comments is that the AU force will have no
mandate to separate, engage, or disarm combatants---it will, in other words, have
no mandate to enforce the only meaningful demand of the first UN Security
Council resolution (No. 1556, July 30, 2004), which essentially reiterated the
demand made by Kofi Annan in Khartoum on July 3, 2004 (in a "Joint Communiqué"):

"6. [The UN Security Council] demands that the government of Sudan fulfill its
commitments to disarm the Janjaweed militias and apprehend and bring to justice
Janjaweed leaders and their associates...." (Security Council Resolution No.
1556, July 30, 2004)

The AU force will have no mandate to protect civilians caught up in violence,
and will be able to use weapons only in cases of clear self-defense. To be sure,
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has previously declared that Rwandan troops will
not watch idly as genocidal destruction occurs before their very eyes. But
Kagame's comments earned a swift and angry response from Khartoum, with the
clearly implied threat that any attempt by Rwanda or other AU countries to change the
deployment mandate unilaterally would result in expulsion.

Given the size of Darfur, the very large number of camps with extremely
vulnerable populations, the need to increase security for humanitarian aid personnel,
and the extremely difficult transport and logistical demands posed by this
region, it is doubtful that an expanded AU force can do more than increase camp
security and create a watchful presence in some areas. Such a force is an
important initial step, but by itself is completely inadequate to the needs of
Darfur---especially in light of Khartoum's energetic efforts to impede the operations
of presently deployed monitors. With additional transport and logistical
capacity, the AU force can do a better job of monitoring a meaningful cease-fire;
but there is no evidence that the present cease-fire has any real force.

In the case of ongoing atrocities by the Janjaweed, it is certainly important
that these be reported by the AU. But reports that have no consequences, that
bring about no substantial changes on the ground, are irrelevant to the task of
halting civilian destruction undertaken by Khartoum and its militia allies. It
is worth noting in this context that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Louise Arbour, in her report to the UN Security Council (September 30, 2004),
declared that her mission "received no credible reports of rebel attacks on
civilians" (Statement to the Security Council on Darfur [New York], September 30,
2004).

Given these prevailing conditions and Khartoum's larger genocidal ambitions, it
is hardly surprising that the regime is opposed to any deployment of an AU
force that has a civilian protection mandate that extends beyond the camp areas,
where the AU will seek to protect a vast population of displaced persons now
utterly food-dependent. Moreover, Khartoum is well aware that deployment of the AU
force is likely to take a number of months. As the Associated Press recently
reported:

"The United Nations and the United States expressed concern that it could take
until early next year to deploy a 4,000-strong African Union force to Sudan's
conflict-ridden Darfur region and called for much speedier action."

"UN envoy Jan Pronk said he was pressing Sudan and the 53-nation African group
to take a quick decision on an expanded mandate for the beefed-up force, but he
said even then the deployment could be delayed for several critical months.
With ceasefire violations continuing and no improvement in security for the
embattled civilians in Darfur, [Pronk] said the expanded AU force should be on the
ground in October. 'If we wait another month before AU forces would start to
come, you risk increasing insecurity.'" (Associated Press, October 6, 2004)

But the evidence strongly suggests that full deployment will not be in October
or November, and may very well reach to January or even February 2005. The AU
has virtually no transport or logistical capacity for its peacekeeping forces,
and despite promises from the US and other militarily capable countries, there
is no progress toward a rapid deployment. Lack of transport capacity and
equipment (especially communications gear) will also constrain the AU force once
deployed. General Romeo Dallaire, who commanded UN peacekeeping forces in Rwanda
during the genocide of 1994, recently noted that "moral condemnation, trade
penalties and military efforts by African countries are simply not going to be
enough to stop the killing---not nearly enough. I know because I've seen it all
happen before [in Rwanda]." (International Herald Tribune, October 5, 2004)

As an appropriate military response, which must supplement a vast increase in
humanitarian capacity, Dallaire proposes that,

"a mixture of mobile African Union troops supported by NATO soldiers equipped
with helicopters, remotely piloted vehicles, night-vision devices and long-range
special forces could protect Darfur's displaced people in their camps and
remaining villages, and eliminate or incarcerate the Janjaweed."

Reasonable differences may exist among military experts about the necessary
size and goals of the force Dallaire proposes. The role of military transport and
logistics in increasing humanitarian capacity must also be considered in any
organized effort. But there are presently no evident discussions of such issues,
leaving the African Union force as the default response to a crisis vastly in
excess of its capacity. The status quo prevails.

THE STATUS QUO

The number of displaced persons continues to rise, as violence persists
throughout Darfur. There is a terribly unchanging quality to news reports:

"Attacks by armed gangs on internally displaced persons and clashes between
armed groups have continued in the troubled Sudanese state of North Darfur,
creating 'a fragile security situation' and widespread fear among civilians living in
camps within the region, humanitarian sources said on Thursday [September 30,
2004]."

"According to another source, another group of 3,000 IDPs who had fled their
villages in early September and camped in El Bisharia, 2.5 km south of El Fasher,
had reportedly been forced to return to their villages about 10 days ago. But
after they arrived at their homes, many of them were attacked forcing some to
flee into the bushes or to El Fasher."

"[Humanitarian organizations] operating in South Darfur reported that on
Tuesday that renewed fighting had driven at least 5,000 people from their homes
within three days." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [Nairobi] October
1, 2004)

Though over 2,000 villages have now been destroyed, Janjaweed attacks continue
remorselessly:

"Thousands of terrified Sudanese are again straggling into refugee camps in the
Darfur region, driven from their villages by fresh violence that illustrates
the challenges of ending the conflict here. UN and relief officials said
Thursday that there'd been an upsurge in violence this week in southern Darfur. Hege
Ospeth, a spokesperson for Norwegian Church Aid, which runs a refugee camp in
Bashom, said 5,000 new refugees had arrived from 10 villages that had been
attacked by government-backed militias in the past week." (Knight Ridder news [Ishma,
Darfur], October 1, 2004)

The effects of such continued violence and displacement have led one UN
official to declare recently that "Darfur could continue to mushroom out of control
because of ongoing insecurities":

"Arab militiamen attacked villages in Sudan's North Darfur state as recently as
last month, according to residents who fled the attacks to camps for displaced
people. [ ] Residents of Abu Delig, about 50 km south of El-Fasher, capital of
North Darfur state, said their village was attacked by 150 military personnel
and aerial bombardment in late August to early September, said the official who
declined to be named. [ ] The residents described the attackers as
heavily-armed men wearing camouflage-style uniforms, a common description for the Janjaweed
militia." (Reuters, October 7, 2004)

"The [UN] official said she heard first-hand reports from residents of tens of
thousands of new displaced persons in government and rebel territory in North
and South Darfur state. The new figures have yet to be included in UN estimates
that 1.5 million people have been displaced by the conflict that erupted in
2003, she said. 'Darfur could continue to mushroom out of control because of
ongoing insecurities.'" (Reuters, October 7, 2004)

Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the UN advance mission in Sudan, has recently
indicated that the number of displaced persons could increase by 500,000---this
in addition to those poised to flee to Chad (Reuters, October 6, 2004).
Indeed, tens of thousands of people within 50 kilometers of the Chad/Darfur border
are reported by UN and humanitarian sources to be on the verge of flight into
Chad if security does not improve. For example, the highly vulnerable population
in the Masteri area of West Darfur was reported in late August to be poised to
flee into Chad to escape continuing predations by the Janjaweed:

"The UN High Commissioner for Refugees warned Friday [August 20, 2004] that a
further 30,000 displaced people were poised to flee over the border into
neighboring Chad, joining 200,000 refugees already there, because of the continuing
depredations by the militias." (Agence France-Presse, August 21, 2004)

More recently, officials of the UN High Commission for Refugees have offered an
even more dire prediction:

"The UN's co-ordinator for Chad, Kingsley Amaning, agreed with the prognosis
[about massive displacement into Chad]. But he also stressed that [a figure of
100,000] was the best-case scenario. '100,000 is the figure 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,' he told IRIN in an interview in his
office in the Chadian capital N'djamena." (UN Integrated Regional Information
Networks, September 27, 2004)

Kofi Annan's recent report to the UN Security Council may disingenuously
obscure the culpability of the Khartoum regime, but it cannot conceal the realities
of suffering and violence in the region:

"Today, still increasing numbers of the population of Darfur are exposed,
without any protection from their Government [the Khartoum regime], to hunger, fear,
and violence. The numbers affected by the conflict are growing and their
suffering is being prolonged by inaction. In a significant proportion of the
territory security conditions have worsened. In the month of September the
Government has not been able to fulfill its responsibilities and commitments to protect
the people of Darfur." (Report of the Secretary-General to the UN Security
Council, pursuant to Resolutions 1556 and 1564; October 4, 2004)

HUMANITARIAN ISSUES

A recent article in The Lancet, Britain's premier medical journal, highlights
not only important issues in mortality rates for Darfur (what is referred to as
a "demographic catastrophe"), but the psychological consequences of relentless
violence on civilians:

"One of the most serious and long-lasting consequences of [massive attacks
against life and property] may be widespread mental trauma among survivors and
witnesses." (The Lancet, October 1, 2004, "Violence and mortality in West Darfur,
Sudan (2003-04): epidemiological evidence from four surveys" (available online
at: http://www.thelancet.com/journal [requires (free) registration]).

The mental health of the displaced populations in Darfur is certainly one of
the most pressing issues, and must figure in any plan to restore Darfur's
traditional society and efforts to allow displaced persons to resume agriculturally
productive lives. In addition to the 300,000 people who have died in the
genocide, many hundreds of thousands of people bear the terrible scars of having seen
family members killed, dismembered, tortured, raped, and humiliated. Parents
have seen their children hurled alive into raging fires; fathers have been force
to witness brutal gang-rapes of their daughters; schools and educated civilians
have been deliberately targeted by Khartoum and the Janjaweed; mosques and
Korans have been deliberately desecrated as a means of impugning the religious
devotion of "African" Muslims. The possessions and savings of lifetimes, indeed
generations, have been systematically destroyed or looted.

It is not enough to speak of returning people safely to their villages: these
terrible emotional and mental burdens must be recognized and accepted as
creating problems that will continue far into the future. But there is little
evidence that the international humanitarian response extends even to providing
adequate food, clean water, shelter and medical treatment. UN humanitarian
organizations are sending urgent signals to precisely this effect:

"'If the situation continues like this we cannot keep up with this. We cannot
keep up with the level of needs,' [UN spokeswoman Radhia Achouri] told reporters
in Khartoum. The UN has said it has received just a little over half the
required funds to meet the needs of the 1.5 million displaced in Darfur. More than
200,000 have also fled to neighboring Chad, encamped in the desolate eastern
desert." (Reuters, "UN Warns Cannot Cope if Darfur Violence Continues," October 6,
2004)

If we look at the most recent humanitarian assessment from the UN Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA; assessment report released
September 16, 2004), it is clear that despite heroic efforts on the part of many
organizations, the percentages of Darfuris in need of food, shelter, primary
medical care, and clean water have remained essentially static ("Darfur Humanitarian
Profile," No. 6, September 16, 2004, pages 10-13). The percentage of those
receiving shelter has remained at just over 50% since June 2004; the percentages
of those with access to clean water and primary medical care are also unchanged
since June (approximately 40% and 50% respectively).

Though it is likely that the World Food Program's delivery of food to 1.3
million people in September will reverse the July to August decline in the
percentage of the needy population served (from 62% to 51%), this figure still
represents only about half the total of a rapidly increasing food-dependent population
in Darfur (in camps, in urban areas, and in inaccessible rural areas). As
people are increasingly driven by hunger to the camps, the percentage of registered
displaced persons who are provided adequate food rations will very likely again
decline. This is the import of recent comments by a senior official of the US
Agency for International Development in speaking of increasing mortality from
disease and malnutrition (and excluding mortality from violence):

"'The crisis in Darfur has not yet peaked. We have not yet seen the worst.'
Earlier this year, US AID predicted that between 80,000 and 300,000 people could
die if the situation failed to improve in Darfur. 'We're now coming to the high
side of that range,' Garvelink told reporters. After months of relying on
scarce food handouts---when aid agencies have been able to reach refugee
settlements---more than a million people in Darfur face severe malnutrition, Garvelink
[said]. 'We're going to see a tipping point in December, January or February.'"
(Associated Press, October 4, 2004)

"People were already weak from struggling through the early part of the summer
with little international help, and women and children would be particularly
vulnerable to food shortages. 'Woman and children will die at a much higher rate
than they are now,' Garvelink said." (Reuters, October 4, 2004)

[This is perhaps the best context in which to assess recent comments by
Khartoum's State Minister for Agriculture Al Sadig Amara, who recently declared that
because of regime policies, "no food gap will take place in Sudan" (Sudan Vision
Paper [Khartoum], from the October 11, 2004 UN Daily Press Review).]

Disease remains a major concern in the camps, with the malaria "high season"
underway and relentlessly claiming more lives. The spread of Hepatitis E seems
to have slowed, but the risk of explosive cholera and dysentery outbreaks
remains frighteningly high. October is also "high season" for polio, and with a
dozen confirmed cases in Darfur, there is considerable risk that despite the
current effort at Africa-wide polio vaccination, there could still be a large
outbreak of the crippling disease in rural and urban areas of Darfur.

WHAT DARFUR OBSCURES

International attention to Darfur, while ineffectual in addressing the engine
of genocidal destruction, must be wholly welcome. Partly as a result of this
increased attention, humanitarian capacity continues to increase, though only
incrementally and not nearly rapidly enough to forestall huge numbers of
casualties in the coming months. The more than 40,000 metric tons of humanitarian
transport capacity required monthly for food and critical non-food items---into and
within Darfur---are nowhere in evidence. Indeed, international contributions
to UN and other humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur are not half of
what is required to sustain present efforts. If we look at this is an ongoing
crisis, extending to the end of 2005, the task is even more daunting.

But despite the inadequacy of the international response, current attention to
Darfur seems to be at the expense of other sites of great human need in Africa,
and nowhere more dramatically than in northern Uganda. Here the consequences
of Khartoum's many years of support for the maniacal Lord's Resistance Army
(LRA) are painfully evident. UN Under-secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan
Egeland, whose voice within the UN has been strongest and most courageous over the
past year in speaking of Darfur, very recently highlighted the ghastly
consequences of human suffering and destruction wrought by the LRA:

"'The two million in northern Uganda live in sub-human conditions,' said UN
Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland. 'If they go out, they are killed as
much, or raped as much or worse, as in Darfur by the Lord's Resistance Army and
others.' 'The attention that I was very happy to see on Darfur we should be able
to raise equally with northern Uganda,' [Egeland] told reporters." (Reuters,
October 7, 2004)

But the distance between Egeland's "should" and the likely response of the
international community is immense, again in part because the UN and other
international actors are unwilling to bring sufficient pressure to bear on Khartoum to
halt its arms transfers, material support, and the offering of sanctuary
(including in Juba town) to Joseph Kony and the vicious thugs who make up the LRA.
The National Islamic front continues to use the LRA as a proxy military force to
destabilize southern Sudan, and as a point of diplomatic leverage in dealing
with the government in Kampala. Thus Khartoum's recent accusation of Ugandan
military aid to the SPLA and ultimately the Darfur insurgents must be of concern
not because it is true, but because it creates an ominous pretext for
"preemptive" military action at the same time that Khartoum's own military preparations
in the south have increased very significantly. Khartoum's propaganda organ,
the "Sudan Media Center" (SMC), declared recently:

"In a surprise and serious development, the Ugandan government last Monday
relocated heavy weapons to Sudan. Informed sources told SMC that relocation of
weapons was begun since two weeks across the region of Kaggum, to be relocated to
SPLM/A controlled areas. According to same sources, the weapons were provided
by Kampala to SPLM/A to launch military attacks against Sudanese armed forces,
to be concurrent with military operations in Darfur by Sudan Liberation Army and
Justice and Equality Movement." (Akhbar Al-Youm and Sudan Vision Paper
[Khartoum], UN Daily Press Review, October 11, 200

Such propaganda augurs poorly for the Naivasha talks and strongly suggests that
the LRA will be assisted by Khartoum in continuing its reign of terror. So
long as this is the case, northern Uganda will remain the site of unspeakable
atrocities and civilians will be forced to remain---as in Darfur---in camps
characterized by appalling conditions.

PROSPECTS

There are no reasons for optimism in surveying the current situation in Darfur.
The international community, in deferring to Khartoum's claim of "national
sovereignty," cannot provide either adequate humanitarian transport capacity or a
meaningful response to continuing levels of extreme insecurity. There is no
long-term planning for either the very high levels of humanitarian assistance that
will be required through 2005, or the significant resources that will be
required to allow agricultural production to resume in Darfur. The UN Security
Council is paralyzed by China's explicit threat to veto any further resolution that
would impose sanctions on the regime. The very substantial and unconstrained
European and Asian economic interests in Sudan ensure that talk of non-UN
economic sanctions rings hollow.

Weapons continue to flow into Khartoum---bankrolled by oil revenues that the
regime seems increasingly unwilling to share with the people of southern Sudan.
There are few signs that the National Islamic Front is genuinely committed to a
final peace agreement with the SPLM in Naivasha (Kenya), and fewer yet that the
international community is prepared to commit the critical resources that might
allow any peace agreement to survive the first year of implementation. Military
redeployments by Khartoum's forces in southern Sudan, along with large convoys
and barge shipments of weapons and military supplies, are ominous in the
extreme.

Similarly, the prospects seem very slight for meaningful negotiations in Abuja
(Nigeria) with the Darfur insurgents. Khartoum has peremptorily ruled out
meaningful political discussions, and seems concerned only to negotiate the
disarmament and "cantonment" of the insurgents. This remains a formula for diplomatic
stalemate, one that benefits only the regime.

Conditions in northern Uganda cannot improve meaningfully until the LRA is
destroyed, and this is unlikely to occur without Khartoum's ending all support for
this terrorist organization. The Ugandan military has recently made
significant progress, but this has happened previously and the LRA has been able to slip
away and reconstitute itself with Khartoum's assistance.

The fundamental requirement for peace in Sudan is a completed agreement in
Naivasha, and the opening up of the government to participation by not only the
SPLM but other southern parties, as well as the parties of the primarily National
Democratic Alliance (NDA). Khartoum well realizes that such political
pluralism spells the end of its current genocidal policies in Darfur, its support for
the LRA, and the regime's tyrannical control of wealth and power in Sudan. For
precisely these reasons, the final peace talks have been postponed as long as
possible, with the governing assumption that even if a peace agreement is
reached, Khartoum's opportunities for abrogating its terms will be many and without
international consequence.

Absent an international resolve to use coercive diplomacy to force a
fundamental change of governance in Khartoum, the vast human suffering and destruction in
Darfur, southern Sudan, northern Uganda, and elsewhere in Sudan will continue
indefinitely.

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

Friday, October 08, 2004


International Rescue Committee in Darfur Posted by Hello

DARFUR MORTALITY UPDATE 

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

Eric Reeves
October 8, 2004

Even as there is a growing body of evidence suggesting staggering
numbers of violent deaths in Darfur over the past 20 months, and even as
grimly authoritative predictions of accelerating mortality suggest that
there will be many tens of thousands of additional deaths in the coming
months, there is no analytic or synthetic news reporting on these
terrible realities and their implications for an understanding of what
is occurring in Darfur. Individual reports from extremely authoritative
sources are ignored or misrepresented, and no efforts to survey the
reports and data as a whole have figured in any news accounts of Darfur.
The effect is a massive understatement of the nature and
destructiveness of the catastrophe.

The most commonly cited number of deaths, in both wire reports and
newspaper accounts, is "50,000." This is a transparently untenable
figure, and severely misrepresents the import of a recent UN World
Health Organization (WHO) mortality update. In mid-September 2004 the
WHO announced that 50,000 people had died of disease since April 2004 in
camps for the displaced. But this has been perversely reported as a
total morality figure for all 20 months of the Darfur conflict, instead
of a five-month segment. Nor does the WHO figure make any attempt to
include the much greater number of violent deaths defining total
mortality in Darfur. As Dr. David Nabarro, head of WHO emergency
response efforts, insisted in a clarifying email to this writer:

"I fear that remarks I made at a Press Briefing on September 13th 2004
were misquoted. I said that we estimate that at least 50,000 Internally
Displaced Persons have died from disease (in some cases exacerbated by
malnutrition) since April 2004." (email to this writer, September 16,
2004)

To be sure, UN and humanitarian organizations have been slow to respond
to the challenges of mortality assessment, and public presentation of
the data and evidence at hand has often been ineffective. But it is
unconscionable that the lives of more than 200,000 people from the
African tribal populations of Darfur are, because of journalistic
slovenliness, being elided from present international awareness of this
already well-advanced genocide.

OVERVIEW

This present analysis of total mortality related to the Darfur conflict
concludes that the most appropriate figure for deaths from violence,
disease, and malnutrition---from February 2003 to the
present---approaches 300,000. Of these, over 200,000 have died from the
effects of violence; over 80,000 have died from disease and
malnutrition. The statistical extrapolations from the various reports
guiding this analysis are not complex; assumptions are made here with
conservative intent; there is necessarily a wide margin of error, though
the more distinct possibility is of significant understatement.

There is an inevitably heuristic quality to such an analysis:
assumptions are made that can be only partially justified, comparisons
that are subject to debate, and conclusions that should be challenged.
This writer welcomes all reasonable criticisms and suggestions, and
especially data and statistical perspectives relevant to this analysis.
A number of suggestions and criticisms that have come in the wake of six
previous analyses of mortality are incorporated here. Necessarily, any
assessment of mortality in Darfur is a work-in-progress.

Following an overview of the current situation in Darfur, especially as
it bears on prospective mortality, this assessment analyzes (i) current
mortality from violence, and (ii) current mortality from disease and
malnutrition, (iii) prospective mortality indicators.

THE CURRENT SITUATION IN DARFUR

The humanitarian situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate rapidly,
with a highly distressed and weakened displaced population that is not
receiving half the necessary food aid, or critical non-food items (clean
water sources, shelter, sanitary facilities). Moreover, as the deadly
mismatch between humanitarian need and humanitarian capacity continues
to grow in the coming months, the global Crude Mortality Rate (CMR) will
begin to surge. From Geneva, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the UN
Agency for International Development William Garvelink declared:

"'The crisis in Darfur has not yet peaked. We have not yet seen the
worst.' Earlier this year, US AID predicted that between 80,000 and
300,000 people could die if the situation failed to improve in Darfur.
'We're now coming to the high side of that range,' Garvelink told
reporters. After months of relying on scarce food handouts---when aid
agencies have been able to reach refugee settlements---more than a
million people in Darfur face severe malnutrition, Garvelink [said].
'We're going to see a tipping point in December, January or February.'"
(Associated Press, October 4, 2004)

"People were already weak from struggling through the early part of the
summer with little international help, and women and children would be
particularly vulnerable to food shortages. 'Woman and children will die
at a much higher rate than they are now,' Garvelink said." (Reuters,
October 4, 2004)

This grim forecast, perhaps statistically overstating what US AID data
presently demonstrate, is a function of a collapsing agricultural
economy, inadequate humanitarian transport and logistical capacity, a
lack of resources, and continuing insecurity. On this latter issue,
undeniable realities obliged Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his report
to the UN Security Council to speak with some refreshing honesty, noting
not only the increasingly desperate humanitarian situation but an
increasingly perilous security situation:

"Today, still increasing numbers of the population of Darfur are
exposed, without any protection from their Government [the Khartoum
regime], to hunger, fear, and violence. The numbers affected by the
conflict are growing and their suffering is being prolonged by inaction.
In a significant proportion of the territory security conditions have
worsened. In the month of September the Government has not been able to
fulfill its responsibilities and commitments to protect the people of
Darfur." (Report of the Secretary-General to the UN Security Council,
pursuant to Resolutions 1556 and 1564; October 4, 2004)

To be sure, even this damning commentary is not without some degree of
disingenuousness. Trapped by his own previous dishonest refusal to
state the most basic truth about the conflict in Darfur---that it
continues to be conducted in genocidal fashion by the Khartoum regime
itself, in concert with its Janjaweed allies---Annan speaks of the
regime "not being able to fulfill its responsibilities to protect" the
people of Sudan. Of course the regime is "able": it has simply chosen
to flout the demands of UN Security Council Resolutions 1556 and 1564,
as well as promises made to Annan himself on July 3, 2004 in Khartoum.
Certainly until the regime is held clearly accountable for its
fundamental responsibility in orchestrating genocide, it will presume
that no meaningful international action is impending.

And despite Annan's suggestion that violence in Darfur has recently
diminished somewhat, reports from the ground---from UN and relief
officials, as well as journalists---suggest quite the opposite:

"Attacks by armed gangs on internally displaced persons and clashes
between armed groups have continued in the troubled Sudanese state of
North Darfur, creating 'a fragile security situation' and widespread
fear among civilians living in camps within the region, humanitarian
sources said on Thursday [September 30, 2004]."

"According to another source, another group of 3,000 IDPs who had fled
their villages in early September and camped in El Bisharia, 2.5 km
south of El Fasher, had reportedly been forced to return to their
villages about 10 days ago. But after they arrived at their homes, many
of them were attacked forcing some to flee into the bushes or to El
Fasher."

"[Humanitarian organizations] operating in South Darfur reported that
on Tuesday that renewed fighting had driven at least 5,000 people from
their homes within three days." (UN Integrated Regional Information
Networks [Nairobi] October 1, 2004)

Though over 2,000 villages have now been destroyed, Janjaweed attacks
continue remorselessly:

"Thousands of terrified Sudanese are again straggling into refugee
camps in the Darfur region, driven from their villages by fresh violence
that illustrates the challenges of ending the conflict here. UN and
relief officials said Thursday that there'd been an upsurge in violence
this week in southern Darfur. Hege Ospeth, a spokesperson for Norwegian
Church Aid, which runs a refugee camp in Bashom, said 5,000 new refugees
had arrived from 10 villages that had been attacked by government-backed
militias in the past week." (Knight Ridder news [Ishma, Darfur], October
1, 2004)

The effects of such continued violence and displacement have led one UN
official to declare recently that "Darfur could continue to mushroom out
of control because of ongoing insecurities":

"Arab militiamen attacked villages in Sudan's North Darfur state as
recently as last month, according to residents who fled the attacks to
camps for displaced people. [ ] Residents of Abu Delig, about 50 km
south of El-Fasher, capital of North Darfur state, said their village
was attacked by 150 military personnel and aerial bombardment in late
August to early September, said the official who declined to be named. [
] The residents described the attackers as heavily-armed men wearing
camouflage-style uniforms, a common description for the Janjaweed
militia."

"The [UN] official said she heard first-hand reports from residents of
tens of thousands of new displaced persons in government and rebel
territory in North and South Darfur state. The new figures have yet to
be included in UN estimates that 1.5 million people have been displaced
by the conflict that erupted in 2003, she said. 'Darfur could continue
to mushroom out of control because of ongoing insecurities.'" (Reuters,
October 7, 2004)

Massive, violent human displacement informs both retrospective and
prospective morality assessments.

RETROSPECTIVE MORTALITY ASSESSMENT: VIOLENT DEATHS

The previous mortality analysis by this writer (September 15, 2004;
available upon request) highlighted several important new sources of
mortality data. The most important of these was a very extensive study
conducted by the distinguished Coalition for International Justice
("Documenting Atrocities in Darfur," available at:
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/36028.htm). On the basis of 1,136
carefully randomized interviews, conducted among the Darfuri refugee
population in Chad at a number of camp locations along the border, the
Coalition for International Justice (CIJ) found that "sixty-one percent
[of those interviewed] reported witnessing the killing of a family
member."

The total number of refugees in Chad is now greater than 200,000. If
we assume that this population of persons displaced from Darfur is
representative of many hundreds of thousands of violently displaced
persons within Darfur, then the total number people represented by the
CIJ study is over 1.5 million, and may reach to 2 million.

How do we establish the approximate figure for those people violently
displaced, either into camps, into towns, within inaccessible rural
areas in Darfur---or into Chad?

In its most recent "Darfur Humanitarian Profile," the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that 1.45 million
people have been displaced into accessible camps within Darfur; this
figure is based on food assistance registrations by UN and
nongovernmental humanitarian organizations ("Darfur Humanitarian
Profile," No. 6, September 16, 2004, page 5;
http://www.who.int/disasters/repo/14756.pdf). The OCHA report also
estimates that an "additional 500,000 conflict-affected persons are in
need of assistance" (page 9), and it is reasonable to assume that most
of these are displaced persons in inaccessible rural areas. (Even a
figure of 500,000 almost certainly understates the number of displaced
persons in rural areas.) Moreover, the OCHA report does not attempt to
assess either the host communities or the size of displaced populations
in the three state capitals (Nyala, el-Fasher, and el-Geneina) because
there are still no systematic food registrations in these large urban
areas.

Thus out of a total displaced population in Darfur of over 2 million,
we require an estimate of the number of persons who experienced violent
displacement of the sort that created refugees in Chad. Given the
extremely high level of village destruction throughout Darfur, and the
tenacity with which these people have sought to cling to their land and
livelihoods, displacement per se is a very likely indicator of violent
displacement.

Moreover, a recent epidemiological study published in The Lancet
(Britain's premier medical journal) offers clear evidence that
displacement is overwhelmingly related to violent attacks. In two
camps, Zalingei and Murnei, statistically rigorous assessments found
that "direct attack on the village" accounted for displacement of 92.8%
of the Zalingei population and 97.4% of the Murnei population (the
combined camp populations is approximately 110,000) (The Lancet, October
1, 2004, "Violence and mortality in West Darfur, Sudan (2003-04):
epidemiological evidence from four surveys" (available online at:
http://www.thelancet.com/journal [requires (free) registration]).

If we conservatively assume that 80% of the total displaced populations
that have remained in Darfur were driven to flee by "direct attack on
villages," the number of violently displaced persons is 1.6 million.

This yields a total figure of violent displacement, for Chad and
Darfur, of very approximately 1.8 million. The average family size in
Darfur is slightly more than five, suggesting that a population of 1.8
million represents almost 360,000 families. If randomized interviews by
the Coalition for International Justice (CIJ) find that "sixty-one
percent [of those interviewed] reported witnessing the killing of a
family member," then this yields a mortality figure for violent deaths
of over 200,000 human beings.

Caveats and other considerations:

There is some chance that despite randomizing of interviews in Chad,
and multiple camp locations at which interviews were conducted, overlaps
exist in the "family members" identified as having been seen killed.
This is a negligible number if "family" refers to nuclear family.
Indeed, the chances of overlap even for members of extended families are
quite small, given the diversity of interview locations.

More significant is the fact that those conducting interviews for the
CIJ found that interviewees often reported more than one family member
had been killed, often several more than one. Yet the statistical
derivation offered here presumes that only one family member has been
killed among the 61% who reported seeing (at least) one family member
killed.

Secondly, the study cannot take account of the number of families in
which all members were killed, and who thus had no reporting presence in
the camps where interviews took place. The CIJ study does report that
28% of those interviewed "directly witnessed" persons dying from the
consequences of displacement before reaching Chad. These deaths must be
considered the direct consequence of violence, if not violent deaths per
se, and would significantly increase violent mortality totals.

Moreover, the CIJ study indicates that 67% of those interviewed
"directly witnessed" the killing of a non-family member." As the raw
data from the CIJ study is soon scheduled for release, it may be
possible to put this extraordinary figure in a statistical context that
is yet more revealing of violent mortality. Given the number camp
locations (19), and the randomizing techniques used within the camps---

"refugees were selected using a systematic, random sampling approach
designed to meet the condition in Chad. Interviewers randomly selected
a sector within a refugee camp and then, from a fixed point within the
sector, chose every 10th dwelling unit for interviewing. [ ] One adult
[from the dwelling unit] was randomly selected [for interviewing]" (CIJ
study, page 5)---

---the figure of 67% of refugees "directly witnessing" the death of a
non-family member strongly suggests that assumptions made in this
analysis may lead to significant underestimation.

In light of these various CIJ findings, and data reported in The
Lancet, a figure of 200,00 violent deaths over the past 20 months of
conflict seems a conservative estimate. The Lancet article, which
concludes that West Darfur is the site of a "demographic catastrophe,"
has other important implications, some of which are noted below.

RETROSPECTIVE MORATLITY ASSESSMENT: DEATHS FROM
DISEASE AND MALNUTRITION

Journalists of all stripe have failed to understand the implications of
the recent UN World Health Organization (WHO) study of health-related
mortality in Darfur. Indeed, the study was extremely badly misreported
by both wire services as well as print and broadcast journalists. This
has had the extremely unfortunate effect of giving apparent UN authority
to a putative total morality figure of "50,000" deaths. What the WHO
study and accompanying public commentary represented---as explicitly
confirmed to this writer by David Nabarro, chief of emergency operations
for WHO---was a figure of more than 50,000 deaths from disease and
malnutrition since April 2004 in camps to which there is humanitarian
access.

Thus the now frequently cited UN figure of "50,000" does not include
violent deaths over the course of 20 months of extremely violent
conflict. It does not represent morality in Chad. It does not
represent mortality in areas inaccessible to humanitarian operations.
And it does not include deaths from disease and malnutrition prior to
April 2004 (again, the conflict began in February 2003). In short,
"50,000" is a number of highly limited relevance. Further, as Dr.
Nabarro confirmed to this writer by telephone communication, the WHO
figure for monthly mortality should be closer to 10,000 in the "6,000 to
10,000 deaths per month" range reported as coming from WHO. Only such a
higher number begins to take some account of populations more difficult
to access.

In the three weeks since WHO report was published, assuming a mid-range
figure for mortality in accessible areas, another 6,000 people have
died, suggesting that more 56,000 people have died in accessible areas
since April 2004.

Mortality in rural areas to which there is no access is best assessed
on the basis of the US Agency for International Development projections
("Projected Mortality Rates in Darfur, 2004-2005"
(http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/cmr_darfur.pdf).
We may use as a conservative denominator for these projections the
current figure of 500,000 inaccessible persons in need of humanitarian
assistance promulgated by OCHA. For the past four months, US AID
projections indicate an average Crude Mortality Rate of almost 9 per day
per 10,000 (for a population without humanitarian relief and
experiencing severe food shortages). In these 120 days, assuming a
constant denominator of 500,000, this suggests a total mortality of
approximately 50,000. These deaths would be primarily among very young
children, the elderly, and those made vulnerable from violent trauma.

Still, a figure of 50,000 may be too high for several reasons,
primarily the highly skilled foraging abilities of these people and the
use (and likely exhaustion) of food reserves. On the other hand,
insecurity produced by continuing Janjaweed predations would compromise
both of these food sources. If we assume (very conservatively) that a
figure of 50,000 overstates by 100%, this still leave a figure of 25,000
deaths from malnutrition and related disease over the past four months
in inaccessible areas of Darfur. Together with the figure deriving from
the WHO report and data, this suggests a total figure of 80,000 deaths
from malnutrition and disease since April 2004.

Still excluded is the number of deaths from disease and malnutrition
during the period February 2003 to April 2004. During this period
several humanitarian organizations reported high Crude Mortality Rates
at various junctures. Many thousands died in the camps, especially
children, though there is no systematic data that permits extrapolation
of a total figure. If we couple this knowledge with a figure of more
than 200,000 violent deaths, and more than 80,000 deaths from disease
and malnutrition (according to WHO and US AID), then a total mortality
figure for all of Darfur over the past 20 months is approximately
300,000.

PROPSECTIVE MORTALITY INDICATORS

Though the UN World Food Program heroically strove to increase the
total number of food recipients in September, reaching 1.3 million
people under extremely difficult circumstances, the UN target figure for
October is 2 million. This does not include more than 200,000 refugees
in Chad, where many camps actually report higher average Global Acute
Malnutrition rates for children under five than in Darfur itself.
Moreover, this new figure includes only a few of those who are beyond
humanitarian reach (again, OCHA's figure is 500,000).

The figure of 2 million also does not include large numbers of
displaced persons who have fled to urban areas rather than the camps, or
newly displaced persons. The larger urban areas (the three state
capitals of West, South, and North Darfur) present severe problems in
effectively registering displaced persons for food distributions. As
food prices begin to skyrocket in these towns, and foodstocks dwindle,
people will be forced to move to camps, further increasing the
assessable number of food-dependent people who must receive humanitarian
assistance.

Though there are of course different degrees of food-dependency, the
overall malnutrition rates for the total population presently in
need---approximately 2.5 million in Darfur alone---are climbing. This
is obscured by the fact that assessments of malnutrition take place only
in accessible camps, to which food can be transported: those in urban
areas or inaccessible rural areas do not figure in malnutrition
studies.

This is the real significance of the comments by US AID's Garvelink:

"'The crisis in Darfur has not yet peaked. We have not yet seen the
worst. [ ] After months of relying on scarce food handouts---when aid
agencies have been able to reach refugee settlements---more than a
million people in Darfur face severe malnutrition,' Garvelink told
reporters. 'We're going to see a tipping point in December, January or
February.'" (Associated Press, October 4, 2004)

For even in reaching 1.3 million people in September, the World Food
Program is providing food for only half those in need. To be sure, with
the impending end of the rainy season transport will become easier, as
roads dry out and a large dedicated truck fleet can move food to more
remote locations. But under-funding threatens the longer-term viability
of even present levels of inadequate capacity. UN spokeswoman Radhia
Achouri recently announced that, "the UN has said it has received just a
little over half the required funds to meet the needs of the 1.5 million
displaced in Darfur" (Reuters, October 6, 2004). But as indicated
above, the real figure is closer to 2.5 million in need of food and
humanitarian assistance; in this context, the UN has received less than
a third of what is needed need for the distressed populations of Darfur

Moreover, there is a much larger food crisis in Africa, with many
countries facing huge drought-related food deficits. Without much
greater donor response to the overall food needs of Darfur and the rest
of Africa, we may be sure that many hundreds of thousands of additional
deaths from starvation and disease will be recorded in the coming year.

For Darfur, the food requirements for 2.5 million people are over
42,000 metric tons per month (according to humanitarian logisticians,
the food requirements for 1 million people---cereal, pulses, oil---are
17,000 thousand metric tons per month). Critical non-food items
(medical supplies, shelter, water-purification) add substantially to
transport and logistical requirements. The 200,000 refugees in Chad are
not included in this figure, and add approximately 3.5 thousand metric
tons per month. There is nothing approaching 45,000 metric tons of
monthly capacity in the humanitarian theater at present, and it is
impossible to see how transport and logistical capacity can be increased
sufficiently without robust humanitarian intervention, far in excess of
what can be provided by even an augmented African Union force (which has
virtually no logistical or transport capacity even for its military
forces).

As a consequence, even those in camps with humanitarian access will
continue to die at very high rates, well above the threshold for a
humanitarian emergency. Shortfalls in food, in the context of a
collapsed agricultural economy (and a distinctly possible locust
plague), will take an ever greater toll as Darfur's overall population
weakens in coming months. We may not see the greatest mortality rates
until February 2005.

The threat of donor fatigue, or a loss of the present acute interest in
Darfur, is also of great concern, and has immense implications for
long-term mortality rates, as camps for the displaced become more
permanent---warehouses for survivors of genocide. A UN World Food
Spokesman offers a grim prospective view:

"UN World Food Programme spokesman Greg Barrow said the crisis [in
Darfur] would drag on because so many Darfur residents were still in
refugee camps, unable to harvest this year or plant crops for 2005.
'The aid crisis is going to continue at least until the end of next
year,' Barrow said. 'This is a very, very precarious situation. The
levels of humanitarian aid will need to be sustained at or above the
same level as this year.''' (Reuters October 6, 2004)

Associated Press also reported on Barrow's comments:

"'We are looking at a long-term situation there,' [Barrow] said.
'Possibly towards the end of next year and maybe even beyond, there
is going to have to be large-scale international humanitarian assistance
to help these people feed themselves.'" (Associated Press, October 6,
2004)

The chances of such long-term, very high levels of humanitarian
commitment are unlikely; perversely, such commitment would likely
diminish the ability of the UN and humanitarian organizations to respond
to crises elsewhere in the world.

Continuing violence in Darfur also defines prospective mortality
assessment. The Lancet article ("Violence and mortality in West
Darfur") gives us extraordinary insight into mortality rates for
those displaced persons from the time they are violently attacked to the
time they arrive at a camp (what is called the "village and flight
period"). Crude Mortality Rates (CMR) for the populations assessed in
the Zalingei, Murnei, and Niertiti camps were 5.9, 9.5, and 7.3
respectively (again, CMR is a measure of deaths per day per 10,000 of
affected population). The average CMR for people who were violently
forced to flee their villages is thus 7.6 for a population of 135,000
people (page 4). 3.0 is often considered a "catastrophic mortality
rate."

While the CMR declined by five-fold to eight-fold when displaced
persons entered the "in camp period," it remained above the levels
defining of a humanitarian emergency.

The implications are chiefly for those populations that continue to be
displaced by Khartoum and its Janjaweed militia forces: the people
attacked, during the period of attack and flight, will continue to
experience mortality at rates far above the "catastrophic level."

THE POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC CONTEXT

Khartoum has peremptorily refused to enter into meaningful political
discussions with the Darfur insurgency groups, even before negotiations
resume in Abuja (Nigeria) on October 21:

"[The government of] Sudan on Monday ruled out any notion of self-rule
for Darfur and said rebels in the western region would not secure the
same concessions agreed with southern rebels after two decades of war.
'There will be no question about power-sharing or wealth-sharing,'
[Agriculture Minister Majzoub al-Khalifa, head of the government's
Darfur peace talks delegation] said, referring to demands made by
rebels." (Reuters, October 4, 2004)

Nor is Khartoum willing to enter into meaningful discussions of the
essential security issues. A political settlement, essential to any
meaningful peace, seems a distant prospect---as does humanitarian
intervention to increase transport and logistical capacity and to
provide troops adequate to protect displaced civilians, humanitarian
workers, and to create safe corridors for people trapped in presently
inaccessible areas.

Indeed, so distant is the prospect of humanitarian intervention that
Khartoum's ambassador to the UN feels comfortable taunting the US for
simultaneously finding that genocide is occurring in Darfur and yet
refusing to intervene to halt this ultimate crime:

"Elfatih Mohamed Erwa was asked [about US declarations of genocide in
Darfur]: 'If it is really a genocide they should be committed to send
troops,' the Sudanese ambassador said. 'This is why I don't think
they're genuine about its being genocide.'" (Associated Press, October
6, 2004)

We must credit Erwa with raising an appropriate question. But the
genocide is all too real, and it is not simply the US Congress and
executive branch that have declared as much. In addition to numerous
human rights organizations, in addition to the Committee on Conscience
of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, in
addition to numerous genocide scholars and organizations, the government
of Germany and the Parliament of the European Union (by a vote of 566 to
6) have also declared that Khartoum's actions in Darfur are genocide.
No organization has credibly argued that genocide is not occurring in
Darfur, though Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres has
sadly disgraced itself with ill-conceived and politically motivated
comments about the issue.

Despite this rapidly growing consensus, the international failure to
respond to Rwanda in the spring of 1994 tells us all too much about the
fate of Darfur over the past year---and for the foreseeable future.
Here no voice carries more authority than that of Romeo Dallaire, who
wrote of Darfur recently:

"The UN, emasculated by the self-interested maneuverings of the five
permanent members of the Security Council, [has failed] to intervene. [
] When I read phrases [in UN Security Council Resolution 1556, July 30,
2004] like 'reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, unity,
territorial integrity and independence of Sudan' and 'expressing its
determination to do everything possible to halt a humanitarian
catastrophe, including by taking further action if required,' I can't
help but think of the stifling directives that were imposed on the UN's
department of peacekeeping operations in 1994 and then passed down to me
in the field."
(International Herald Tribune, October 4, 2004)

Present threats and exhortations, even the deployment of an expanded
African Union force, "are simply not going to be enough to stop the
killing---not nearly enough," Dallaire rightly argues.

There is still no evidence that this matters sufficiently.

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


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