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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Khartoum Continues Genocidal Assaults on Darfur Civilians, 

According the international community a well-earned contempt

Eric Reeves
January 30, 2005

Reports of large-scale military assaults on civilians in Darfur, by both
Khartoum's regular forces and its murderous Janjaweed militia allies, have been
continuous for many weeks. Bombing attacks, ground assaults, and comprehensive
village and town destruction have sustained the National Islamic Front regime's
genocidal policies toward non-Arab/African tribal populations and villages. These
attacks include the razing of the town of Labado town on December 16, 2004, an
event that made progress impossible in negotiations that had convened at the
very same time in Abuja, Nigeria, under African Union auspices (the destruction
of Labado was part of a larger military offensive by Khartoum, clearly timed to
begin immediately before the talks and thus to paralyze them). To date there
has been no diplomatic progress in halting genocidal violence in Darfur; next
month's scheduled talks, again in Abuja, offer little promise.

Even as meaningful diplomacy is nowhere in evidence under AU auspices, so the
ineffectiveness of the AU monitoring force on the ground in Darfur has been
highlighted by Khartoum's most recent military attacks, attacks so brazen as to
have captured again some significant news-wire attention. A compendium of these
attacks is included below, since there has been a good deal of inaccurate or
contradictory reporting.

But it is worth noting in particular the aerial bombing attack against the town
of Shangil Tobaya (approximately 40 miles south of El Fasher, the capital of
North Darfur state) on January 26, 2005. Jan Pronk, UN special representative to
Sudan, is reported by the BBC to have said the attack left 100 civilians dead.
Pronk's comments on wider destruction are also reported by the BBC:

"[Pronk] said the government bombers and helicopter gunships fly regularly over
north and south Darfur, and 40 villages had been hit by pro-government
militia." (BBC January 28, 2005)

These forty villages had been attacked by "government-linked Janjaweed militia
[ ] in the area around Labado in South Darfur" (BBC, January 28, 2005).

Incomprehensibly, Pronk had just a few days earlier declared that:

"'fighting between government and rebels troops in Darfur has decreased in the
past month, but Arab militias still attack, rape, and abducted villagers in the
troubled region," Pronk said." (Associated Press, January 23, 2005)

We must wonder seriously about either the peculiar ignorance or the expedient
motives that lie behind such a gross inaccuracy.

The most revealing feature of Khartoum's bombing attack against Shangil Tobaya
is the regime's subsequent refusal to allow the African Union monitoring force
to investigate:

"African Union monitors have been trying to investigate the report air attack
on the town of Shangil Tobaya since Wednesday [January 26, 2005, the day of the
attack], where 100 people are believed to have died. The were turned away by
Sudanese soldiers on Thursday [January 27, 2005], an AU official told the BBC
earlier." (BBC, January 28, 2005)

This obstruction of the AU monitoring team continues a longstanding pattern on
Khartoum's part. Indeed, as an AU helicopter flew to investigate following the
Labado attack of December 16, 2004, it was fired upon while over territory
controlled militarily by Khartoum. This forced the return to base of the AU
helicopter, and there is still no full account of the Labado attack (though the New
York Times filed an important dispatch from Labado on January 24, 2005, giving
an excellent assessment of what occurred).

Khartoum's reasons for obstructing investigations of the attacks on Labado and
Shangil Tobaya are perfectly clear: under the terms of the third cease-fire
agreement, signed on November 9, 2004 in Abuja, the regime committed to halting
offensive military flights over all of Darfur. This commitment is most
conspicuously violated by aerial assaults on non-Arab/African civilians and villages,
though of course this is not "offensive military action" in the ordinary
sense---only in the context of genocidal ambitions.

HUMANITARIAN IMPLICATIONS

These attacks have other consequences as well. The UN reports that:

"Fighting in districts [near Shangil Tobaya] of South Darfur last week caused
more than 9,000 people to flee their homes, a UN spokesman said Wednesday
[January 26, 2005]." (Associated Press, January 28, 2005)

This adds to a still-growing population of displaced persons in Darfur and
Chad, which now numbers approximately 2.4 million (1.65 million in accessible camp
areas in Darfur according to the UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 9, December
1, 2004; more than 200,000 refugees in Chad; an estimated figure of 500,000
displaced persons in inaccessible rural areas; an estimated 50,000 additional
displaced persons since December 1, 2004). In turn, continued displacement adds to
the humanitarian requirements for Darfur, even as humanitarian capacity is
falling further and further behind increasingly desperate needs. Insecurity
consequent upon Khartoum's unconstrained military actions is of course a major factor
limiting humanitarian capacity:

"This [attack on Shangil Tobaya] is the latest of several serious ceasefire
violations in recent days that are having a devastating effect on civilians, and
severely disrupt our relief operations," [Kevin M. Kenney, Director of the
Coordination and Response Division of the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian affairs] said." (UN New Service [New York], January 27, 2005)

Jan Egeland, UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs is reported as
declaring that:

"The high level of insecurity in the western Sudanese region of Darfur is
seriously hampering the ability of international humanitarian organizations to
deliver aid to many internally displaced persons." (UN Integrated Regional
Information Networks, January 29, 2005)

Egeland's comments also offer a measure of how seriously inadequate present
humanitarian relief efforts are:

"'In December [2004], the World Food Program managed to reach 1.5 million
people, a significant achievement, but still 500,000 less than the target for
December,' Egeland told the [UN Security] Council." (UN Integrated Regional
Information Networks [IRIN], January 29, 2005)

And a figure of 500,000 people certainly vastly understates food needs in
Darfur. Indeed, the most recent UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile (No. 9, dismayingly,
that of December 1, 2004) finds a conflict-affected population (displaced
persons and affected residents) of approximately 2.3 million people. This does not
include the more than 200,000 refugees in Chad nor the hundreds of thousands of
civilians in inaccessible rural areas of Darfur.

This latter population should be cause for the most urgent concern. They have
had no benefit of food assistance; the agricultural economy of Darfur has
collapsed, and there is no prospect of revival or a significant harvest in the
foreseeable future; and the continuing marauding predations of the
Janjaweed ensure that these people, while expert foragers, have little
opportunity to use their well-honed survival skills.

Egeland proceeded to offer the UN Security Council an even bleaker assessment
of food distribution for January 2005:

"'In January, [the World Food Program] has reached about 900,000 so far, only
about 50% of the target,' he noted, adding that access problems were resulting
in significant shortfalls in other critical sectors as well." (UN IRIN, January
29, 2004)

In fact, the population targeted for food distributions was 2.2 million in
November 2004 (UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 9; page 12, Chart 8). This means
that the real shortfall in December was at least 700,000 among those actually
assessed by the UN World Food Program. And food need and dependency only
increase throughout Darfur. A figure of 900,000 recipients for January thus
indicates that over 1.3 million people in desperate need have not been provided food in
the current month. And again, this figure does not take into account the
hundreds of thousands of civilians at risk in inaccessible rural areas of Darfur.

Thus when we assess the consequences of Khartoum's continuing aerial and ground
attacks on villages, we must include not only the immediate casualties, not
only the many tens of thousands of newly displaced persons, but the effects on
humanitarian aid deliveries that are already desperately inadequate and leave well
over 1.5 million people without any food assistance at all. Certainly overall
food insecurity continues to deteriorate rapidly, as had been predicted by the
International Committee of the Red Cross (October 2004) and other humanitarian
organizations. The US Agency for International Development-funded Famine Early
Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) has warned that "the situation in North and
West Darfur [is] extremely food insecure" UN IRIN, January 20, 2005).

All these developments reflect a larger policy of genocide by attrition.
Khartoum is well aware of the precarious humanitarian situation and the consequences
of physical insecurity for humanitarian delivery; it is for this very reason
that the regime deliberately seeks to exacerbate insecurity, to increase
displacement, and to disrupt humanitarian relief. This brutal strategy also explains
Khartoum's actions towards Sudanese nationals working with international
humanitarian relief efforts:

"Aid agencies in Sudan's Darfur region are concerned at systematic arrests and
harassment of their staff working in the strife torn region, a UN official said
on Wednesday." (Reuters, January 19, 2005)

Collectively, these are actions that,

"deliberately inflict on the [non-Arab or African tribal groups of Darfur]
conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or
in part" (language adapted from the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article 2, clause [c]).

No news reporting on these attacks---both those of recent weeks and those over
the course of the past 20 months of genocidal counter-insurgency warfare---will
be complete without a full account of their larger civilian impact.

OTHER ATTACKS IN RECENT WEEKS

Reports of bombing and ground attacks by Khartoum and the Janjaweed have come
in a welter of news-wire and UN reports, some contradicting one another, some
conflating the same events, others geographically inaccurate or imprecise. This
reflects a lack of news presence on the ground, disarray among UN
spokespersons, and a general lack of attention to Darfur by news media in the weeks
following the signing of a north/south peace agreement (Nairobi, January 9, 2005).

Given the very considerable significance of these ongoing attacks by Khartoum
and the Janjaweed, and their devastating effects upon the non-Arab/African
tribal populations of Darfur (and increasingly the citizenry of Darfur as a whole),
it has seemed worth surveying and synthesizing the reports in aggregate. It is
of course true that fighting occurs between Khartoum's forces and the
insurgency movements, and that the insurgencies themselves have many times inaugurated
hostilities. Moreover, the actions of particular insurgents in relation to
humanitarian aid efforts, especially in the highjacking of convoys and the
abduction or murder of Sudanese nationals serving as aid workers, deserves harsh and
unambiguous condemnation. The leadership of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army
and the Justice and Equality Movement is failing the people of Darfur in not
halting these terrible actions.

But there is only one air force in this war; only Khartoum deploys Antonov
bombers and helicopter gunships. That these are used as instruments of deliberate,
large-scale, ethnically-targeted civilian destruction and displacement is the
essential fact of this genocidal war. Herewith the most authoritative and
consistent reporting on aerial and ground attacks over the past several weeks.

From the New York Times, presently representing an almost singular news
presence on the ground in Darfur:

"As many as 25 [villages] have been burned to the ground in recent days in this
restive patch of Darfur [Labado is east of Nyala, capital of South Darfur
state." (New York Times [dateline: Labado], January 24, 2005)

The attack on Labado is rendered with particular authority:

"[Khartoum's assault included] pounding Labado with helicopter gunships and
mortar fire. When the smoke cleared, nearly 100 people were dead, according to
village leaders. More than 20,000 town residents fled with the 20,000 residents of
a refugee camp at the edge of town. What happened next is unclear, because few
residents remained to witness it, but today the town is in ruins. Its school
and hospital are destroyed. All of its shops and homes have been looted. Nearly
every hut has been burned." (New York Times, January 24, 2005)

The attack on Hamada is also rendered with particular authority:

"On January 14, [2005] an attack on the town of Hamada left more than 100
people dead, including many women and children, said foreign military [i.e., African
Union] and aid officials in Darfur. Thousands more have fled their homes."
(New York Times [dateline: Labado], January 24, 2005)

This account comports with that offered by the Sudan Organization Against
Torture (SOAT), an increasingly important source of information from the ground in
Darfur, though there is a two-day discrepancy in the date of the attack
(unsurprising for a number of reasons in this part of Darfur---or perhaps representing
two different attacks, a distinct possibility):

"On 16 January 2005, the air forces and the Janjaweed militias attacked and
destroyed Hamada, Birgid tribe village, 50 km northeast of Nyala, Southern Darfur
state using Antonov aircrafts. Reportedly, at least 69 civilians were killed
and 10s were wounded during the attack including five children. The details of
the civilians killed and wounded are as followed [SOAT lists the names of many of
those killed and wounded]." (SOAT, "Darfur: Hamada Village Destroyed," January
19, 2005)

Amnesty International also reports that "over the past ten days, a bombing on
Hamada village killed at least 69 civilians and village near Malam [see below]
were burned in Darfur." (Amnesty International release, January 27, 2005)

UN Spokesman George Somerwill, while not confirming the identity of the
attacking force, confirmed the level of destruction:

"'It has been confirmed that Hamada village was nearly totally destroyed and
that up to 105 civilians may have been killed with the majority of victims being
women and children,' spokesman George Somerwill told reporters at the UN
offices in Khartoum. He did not say whether rebel or pro-government forces were
responsible." (Associated Press, January 28, 2005).

But given the involvement of Antonov bombers reported by SOAT and Amnesty
International, there is no question about Khartoum's responsibility for this attack.
(Hamada is a village lying approximately 30 miles northeast of Nyala, capital
of South Darfur; it is an area in which there are numerous camps for displaced
persons.)

In a Reuters dispatch the Hamada area is again the focus:

"A UN assessment team was sent last week to the area of Hamada, Juruf, and
Gemiza villages in south Darfur state, where the government launched a military
campaign in December [2004] it said was to clear the roads of banditry. Aid
community sources [i.e., officials of humanitarian organizations working in Darfur]
and rebels have said planes bombed the area on January 19, 2005." (Reuters,
January 26, 2005)

Khartoum is reported by Reuters to "deny dropping bombs," despite the
confirmation of bombing attacks from humanitarian sources. This third date for bombing
attacks (the New York Times reports a bombing on January 14, 2005; SOAT January
16, 2005), strongly suggests repeated use of Antonov bombers against these
civilian targets, though confirmation is impossible without greater access for AU
investigators.

Other geographical names are used by wire-service news in reports that are not
fully clear about the relation between these locations and those indicated
above. For example, Reuters reports:

"European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he was shocked by
reports of the bombing of a village named Rahad Kabolong in North Darfur." (January
28, 2005)

But since Rahad Kabolong lies so very close to the significant town of Shangil
Tobaya, which is also site of a camp for displaced persons, it is not clear
whether Solana is referring to the attack on Shangil Tobaya (see above), or to a
more specific targeting of Rahad Kabolong.

The same Reuters dispatch also reports:

"Sources in Sudan's aid community [i.e., officials with humanitarian
organizations on the ground in Darfur] said Thursday [January 27, 2005] the government
had bombed al-Malam on the border between North and South Darfur. [ ] 'African
Union observers in Darfur were denied access to investigate the death and damage
caused by aerial bombings,' the AU source, who declined to be named, told
Reuters at [AU] headquarters in Addis Ababa." (Reuters [dateline: Addis Ababa]
January 28, 2005)

It would seem imperative to establish whether attacks reported on Shangil
Tobaya (see above) and al-Malam represent different attacks, or coordinated attacks
in close geographic proximity. (Mallam camp for displaced persons lies
approximately 20 miles southwest of Shangil Tobaya [North Darfur] in the Malam
district of South Darfur state.) But this will not happen so long as "African Union
observers are denied access to investigate the death and damage cause by aerial
bombings." This is of course an admission of guilt by Khartoum; but the regime
calculates that there will be fewer consequences if investigations can be
forestalled and full, detailed accounts of all its attacks is made impossible.

Indeed, domestically the regime goes so far as to deny altogether that the
bombings have even occurred: Associated Press reports today that Khartoum's
governor for North Darfur State has said reports of bombings were "fabricated by
foreigners," "lies diffused by the [humanitarian] organizations and the Western
media," (AP citing SUNA report, January 30, 2005).

GROWING INTERNATIONAL DISPOSITION TO "MORAL EQUIVALENCE"

Indeed, with good reason, the regime is confident that it can conceal enough,
or create sufficient ambiguity amidst the chaos of violence, so that it will be
held responsible for only a small fraction of its military assaults. The
evidence of success lies in a growing international willingness to indulge in the
language of "moral equivalence" in speaking of Khartoum's genocidal actions.
Here Kofi Annan again leads the way:

"The secretary-general calls on the government of Sudan and the rebel movements
in Darfur immediately to comply fully with their commitments under the
cease-fire agreement and all relevant Security Council resolutions, [Annan's spokesman
Fred] Eckhard said." (Reuters, January 28, 2005)

Unnoted by Eckhard on behalf of Annan is Khartoum's refusal to abide by the
singular "demand" of UN Security Council Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004), that
Khartoum disarm the Janjaweed and bring Janjaweed leaders to justice. Khartoum
had promised as much to Annan in the "Joint Communiqué, signed by the regime in
Khartoum on July 3, 2004.

The Bush administration also seems increasingly comfortable with a view of
"moral equivalence:"

"'We've been appalled by the violent clashes and blatant violations of the
cease-fire that have been happening in Darfur. All the parties, the government of
Sudan, the militias that are allied with the government, and the rebels are to
blame for this increase in violence. It must stop immediately. As we've always
said, people who have been involved in this violence must be held accountable,'
[said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher." (Voice of America, January
27, 2005)

But of course Boucher gives no evidence of a US commitment to any plan that
might actually increase security, or monitoring effectiveness, or contribute to a
restraining of Janjaweed predations. Nor does he suggest any way in which the
US can effectively "hold accountable" those responsible for the violence.
Indeed, the Bush administration is clearly considering vetoing a UN Security
Council referral to the International Criminal Court (see below). But most
consequentially, Boucher does not distinguish between the violence of genocidaires, and
the violence of insurgency movements growing out of desperate political and
economic marginalization, and Khartoum-sanctioned violence against non-Arab/
African villagers going back many years. This will inevitably have the effect of
encouraging Khartoum in its present policies of disproportional violence, and in
particular genocidal violence against non-Arab/African civilians.

Foreign Minister Jack Straw makes the British contribution to "moral
equivalence":

"The international communication cannot look away at this point. I have asked
our [Britain's] Permanent Representative in New York to raise this action
[Khartoum's bombing of civilian targets]---and those of the rebels---in the Security
Council.'" (Reuters, January 28, 2005)

Aside from the implicit equating of Khartoum's genocidal actions with the
military actions of the rebels, it is worth noting the desperate inaccuracy of
Straw's statement: the international community has more than fully demonstrated its
ability to "look away" from Darfur---at least if we assume that "looking" and
"acting" are in some way related. The international community, after many
months of supposed engagement with the catastrophe in Darfur, is content to see
Khartoum flout the "demand" of Security Council Resolution 1556; deeply disrupt
humanitarian aid deliveries; and violate various cease-fire agreements in
massively disproportional fashion.

By way of response---beyond the provision of humanitarian assistance that falls
far short of actual need---the "international community" is content to look on
as an African Union monitoring force of fewer than 1,300 personnel stands as
the only means of providing security in an area the size of France, without a
peacekeeping mandate, and without a mandate for even civilian protection (other
than to protect civilians who are physically immediate present and in imminent
danger, and only if such protection is militarily possible, i.e., if the risk of
reprisal for protective efforts is judged not to be excessive).

We catch a glimpse in a recent Los Angeles Times dispatch of just how eager
Khartoum is that this language of "moral equivalence" take hold. Commenting on
the as yet unreleased findings of a UN Commission of Inquiry into atrocities in
Darfur (see below), Khidir Haroun Ahmed, Khartoum's ambassador in Washington,
DC, recently declared:

"'If the international community acknowledge that rebels had also committed war
crimes, not just the government and militias, then it would be 'very logical'
to send all the cases to the International Criminal Court.'" (Los Angeles Times,
January 29, 2005)

Khartoum's ambassador reflects the thinking within the National Islamic Front
regime itself: "if we achieve 'moral equivalence' in the discourse of the
international community, and in referrals to the International Criminal Court, and in
other ways as well, then we have no fear of being held asymmetrically
responsible for genocide. This will all conclude with a general condemnation, and our
singular evil will remain unpunished."

Such thinking presumes either that an ICC referral will be blocked---either by
the US or China or Russia---or that the ICC will move so slowly that true
accountability will not come within a consequential time-frame. Such thinking is
almost certainly correct.

THE UN COMMISSION OF INQUIRY FOR DARFUR

A subsequent analysis will follow from this writer when the findings of the UN
Commission of Inquiry are publicly released. But we already catch a glimpse of
how compromised a document this is in a highly revealing dispatch from the Los
Angeles Times. On the basis of interviews with well-informed UN diplomats,
this dispatch reports that there will be no finding of genocide, but rather,
"there was evidence of crimes against humanity with an ethnic dimension"---no
genocide, but "individuals who may have acted with a "genocidal intention." (Los
Angeles Times, January 29, 2005)

If the Los Angeles Times account is correct, then it is transparently clear
that with the release of the UN report we will have entered some semantic
fantasy-land, where adjectives apply to intentions, but not to the actual crimes
committed---where the very high threshold of "crimes against humanity" may be
achieved, and with "an ethnic dimension," but without genocide being committed.

Moreover, in an extraordinary revelation of how politicized the UN report has
already become, the Los Angeles Times reports:

"The commission, headed by Antonio Cassese, an Italian judge, had to reconvene
after the report was completed because of disagreements over whether to
identify implicated government officials who may be in charge of implementing Sudan's
new peace plan with its southern rebels, said diplomats familiar with the
discussions." (Los Angeles Time, January 29, 2005)

It is exceedingly difficult to credit with either intellectual or moral
integrity a report that is governed by "disagreements over whether to identify
implicated government officials who may be in charge of implementing Sudan's new peace
plan"---rather than the facts and evidence as we have them.

It should also be noted that this group of just five individuals cannot
possibly have done research equivalent to that of the Coalition for International
Justice (CIJ), or of the numerous human rights reports of the past two years. In
particular, the 1,136 interviews assembled by several teams of CIJ interviewers
(with variously relevant expertise---forensic, academic, and judicial) and a
full complement of translators along the Chad/Darfur border represents an
empirical data-base that is simply not attempted by the UN team, which evidently
functioned on an ad hoc and spontaneous basis in collecting evidence (by way of
contrast, see methodological section of CIJ report at
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/36028.htm).

For the moment, however, it is imperative that we focus on the politicizing of
a genocide determination, a process that has been in indirectly in evidence in
many quarters, but is now explicitly so:

"The commission had to reconvene after the report was completed because of
disagreements over whether to identify implicated government officials who may be
in charge of implementing Sudan's new peace plan with its southern rebels."

First of course we must ask what the "implicated government officials" (i.e.,
members of Khartoum's National Islamic Front [NIF] regime) are "implicated" in.
Is it "the crimes against humanity with an ethnic dimension" the Los Angeles
Times reports? Or perhaps these NIF officials are among the "individuals who may
have acted with a 'genocidal intention,'" though not part of a genocide that
has been determined not to exist?

Certainly Khartoum is aware that is holds a powerful political and diplomatic
card with its nominal commitment to a north/south peace agreement. And the
regime has already begun to play this card:

"Sudan's ambassador to Washington, Khidir Haroun Ahmed, said he understood that
the names would not be disclosed until a court had concluded that there was
evidence for prosecution. 'It would not be in the benefit of peacemaking to jump
to hasty conclusions and blame the government without 100% evidence because that
will weaken the government as a partner for peace,' he said." (The Los Angeles
Times, January 29, 2005)

Representing the NIF in Washington, Ambassador Khidir Haroun Ahmed is assuming
that the "court" (whether the ICC or an ad hoc tribunal of the sort evidently
preferred by the Bush administration) will not move expeditiously---and then
arguing that any premature disclosure of the names of Khartoum officials would
"weaken the government as a partner for peace."

In other words, the reported political debate within the UN Commission of
Inquiry is reflected exactly in these ominously threatening words ("push us too hard
on Darfur and you'll loose your 'partners' in the north/south peace agreement")
from Khartoum's Washington-based diplomat.

But it is simply not the task of a UN Commission of Inquiry into genocide to
make political calculations about the actions or attitudes of the those whom all
extant evidence makes clear are the genocidaires.

Nothing further can be said prior to the public release of the commission's
report, but the Los Angeles Times has given us very considerable reason for
caution in accepting this report as fulfilling any true mandate of inquiry. This
writer recently predicted that the commission report would be caught up by other
features of the growing politicization of a Darfur genocide determination,
noting in particular:

"the demurral or refusal to speak honestly about genocide in Darfur---by the
Arab League, by the African Union, and by influential AU leaders (such as
President Obasanjo of Nigeria)---will have far more to do with what is said than the
overwhelming evidence of the crime of genocide. The expedient calculation is
likely to be that given a referral to the ICC on the basis of 'crimes against
humanity,' there is no need to roil the international diplomatic waters with the
searing honesty of a genocide determination." (January 24, 2005)

There evidently is indeed a finding of "crimes against humanity, with an ethnic
dimension." There is also apparently a recommendation of referral to the ICC,
which should be strongly supported on a wide variety of grounds. But such
referral is certainly not enough, not nearly enough, to stop the genocidal
realities that cannot be even partially obscured by the UN commission's recourse to
semantic contortions.

ABANDONMENT

Darfur's African peoples have been abandoned, despite the rhetorical sound and
fury that continues to represent a morally cheap substitute for meaningful
action. There is not nearly enough food for people who are desperately needy.
Insecurity acutely threatens many hundreds of thousands of civilians throughout
the greater Darfur humanitarian theater, as well as the operations of
increasingly attenuated relief efforts. 1,300 African Union personnel cannot begin to
staunch the violence that is at once disproportionately the responsibility of
Khartoum and its Janajweed militia allies, and asymmetrically beneficial to the
regime's larger ambition to sustain present genocide by attrition.

No political expediency or semantic disingenuousness by a UN Commission of
Inquiry can change these fundamental realities. Nor can we hope for more from
those who are actively cultivating a moral equivalence between Khartoum's
genocidaires and the insurgency movements of Darfur, however culpable the latter are in
their military behavior, especially toward humanitarian relief efforts.

In short, we will see no progress in halting genocide without the emergence of
real international leadership, with a moral commitment to stopping genocide
regardless of difficulties, political obstacles, or geopolitical and economic
self-interest. Such leadership is nowhere in sight---at the UN, in Washington,
within the European Union, or within the African Union.

Darfur has been abandoned.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

ereeves@smith.edu
www.sudanreeves.org





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