Friday, February 18, 2005

Darfur Genocide and the Current Faces of International Failure: 

A "perfect storm" of indifference and disingenuousness

Eric Reeves
February 17, 2005

Despite the current rhetorical sound and fury at the UN, nothing of
substance has yet emerged to signify that the situation on the ground in
Darfur will change soon. Genocide by attrition continues unabated, with
staggering total mortality to date; the humanitarian crisis deepens,
especially in the provision of food to badly weakened populations,
foreshadowing even greater mortality in the longer term; no significant
pressure has been exerted on Khartoum, pressure that might fundamentally
change the regime's behavior on the ground in Darfur; meaningful peace
negotiations, which address key issues of severe political and economic
marginalization in Darfur, cannot be achieved under current African
Union auspices; and the intense politicization of a possible
International Criminal Court referral for Khartoum's genocidaires has
too often been at the expense of meaningful discussion of humanitarian

Indeed, despite yesterday's strong language from UN Secretary-General
Annan and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, despite
yet another US-proposed resolution for UN Security Council
consideration, and despite the peculiar optimism of the belated UN
"Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 10" (which speaks to developments
only through January 1, 2005), Darfur's crisis continues to deepen. Any
global assessment of recent commentary and developments must discern a
pattern of disturbing disingenuousness, an expedient reaching for the
lowest common denominator of international agreement, and a profound
moral failure to value, as fully human, Darfuri lives---daily lost in
huge numbers amidst what Annan has accurately described as "little short
of hell on earth."


Dallaire, UN force commander in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, is
currently traveling the US in connection with the publication of his
memoir, "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda"
(2003). Citing the US commitment in Iraq, Dallaire draws an ominous
historical parallel:

"The Western world did not put enough resources into preventing the
Rwandan genocide because it was focused on tensions in Yugoslavia, said
Dallaire. Likewise, said Dallaire, Sudan is being sacrificed for another
conflict. 'We're not going to Darfur (because) we're so involved in
Iraq. There are no lessons learned in stopping the violence and rape
and decimation of an ethnic group.'" (Inter Press Service [IPS],
February 15, 2005)

Dallaire also speaks with unprecedented frankness about the role of
Annan in the Rwandan genocide (Annan appears, and merely innocuously, on
only four pages of Dallaire's 560-page book):

"Dallaire says he was told by Kofi Annan, then under-secretary-general
for peacekeeping operations, not to act on the information [i.e.,
intelligence about Hutu extremist plans for genocide]. Further, Annan
told him to give the data [from his confidential source 'Jean-Pierre']
to the leader of the official Hutu political party---and one of the
orchestrators of the secret plot. Dallaire deeply regrets not acting on
'Jean-Pierre's' advice and preventing the genocide: 'My failure to
persuade (UN headquarters in) New York to act on Jean-Pierre's
information still haunts me.'" (IPS, February 15, 2005)

We might wish for a fuller transcript of Dallaire's actual words, so
important is this assessment of Annan's role before and during the
Rwandan genocide; Inter Press Service (IPS), however, is the only
news-wire reporting on these extraordinary remarks. As Dallaire
continues with his book-related travel in the US, we must hope that this
most powerful voice receives due coverage.

But we do now have Annan's words concerning the current genocide in
Darfur, and though they have finally achieved an appropriate level of
expressed outrage, there is deep disingenuous in his suggested time-line
for what the world has known about Darfur, and the authority with which
we have known it. For using the report of the UN International
Commission of Inquiry (with a January 25, 2005 date of record), Annan is
clearly attempting to suggest that this Report marks a "terminus a quo,"
some point of departure in our understanding of Darfur's horrific
realities. This is not true, and Annan's suggestion to the contrary is
motivated at least in part by his desire not to be seen as having stood
idly by for so many months during which these realities were unfolding:

"'This report is one of the most important documents in the recent
history of the UN,' Annan said." (Reuters, February 16, 2005)

"'This report [of the International Commission of Inquiry] demonstrates
beyond all doubt that the last two years have been little short of hell
on earth for our fellow human beings in Darfur,' Annan said." (Agence
France-Presse, February 16, 2005)

But Annan's reference to the "recent history of the UN" is deliberately
misleading; certainly such "doubt" as Annan suggests in this comment was
incinerated long ago, indeed over a year ago, by continuous reports from
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis
Group, as well as subsequent reports from Physicians for Human Rights,
various UN human rights investigations, and the Coalition for
International Justice. There is virtually nothing new in the Report of
the Commission of Inquiry; indeed, it did scandalously little forensic
work, despite having forensic specialists on the Commission team, and
failed badly in not investigating the sites of reported mass executions
of non-Arab/African men and boys.

Annan declared, as if revealing something heretofore in doubt:

"The Commission has established that many people in Darfur have been
the victims of atrocities perpetrated on a very large scale, for which
the Government of Sudan and the Janjaweed are responsible." (UN News
Center, February 16, 2005)

But again, these atrocities and Khartoum's responsibility were long ago
established with full authority by numerous human rights investigations,
including investigations by UN human rights experts. The websites of
Human Rights Watch (see hrw.org/campaigns/darfur/index.htm), Amnesty
International (www.amnesty.org), and the International Crisis Group
(www.crisisweb.org) are filled with such reports. Here we must recall
that Annan declared on June 17, 2004, when many of these reports were
already extant, that "'based on reports that I have received, I am not
ready to describe [Darfur] as genocide or ethnic cleansing yet'" (Voice
of America, June 17, 2004; The Globe and Mail [Canada], June 19, 2004).
These remarks, either remarkably ignorant or deeply disingenuous, stood
in the starkest contrast to assessments coming earlier from the UN
humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, who in March 2004
explicitly likened ethnically-targeted human destruction in Darfur to
the Rwandan genocide, and from UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian
Affairs Jan Egeland, who had on a number of previous occasions
insistently described the actions in Darfur as "ethnic cleansing."

We should be grateful that Annan is finally describing truthfully the
nature of human destruction in Darfur; but this must not be the occasion
for a re-writing of the historical time-line defining our understanding
of this destruction. The belatedness of Annan's remarks cannot be
expunged by merely rhetorical means.


We catch another glimpse of the belatedness of Annan's remarks in
comments on the Report of the Commission of Inquiry coming from UN High
Commission for Human Rights Louise Arbour. Arbour commented in detail
on the horrific conditions at Kailek (March/April 2004):

"In one of the most chilling examples catalogued by the commission,
Government forces and Janjaweed militiamen twice attacked Kailek, a
village populated mainly by members of the ethnic Fur group, in South
Darfur. After the second attack, during which many civilians were shot
and killed, about 30,000 villagers were confined for 50 days within a
small area where they then endured 'the most abhorrent treatment,' Ms.
Arbour said."

"'Some men were singled out and summarily shot. There are reports of
people being thrown on to fires and burnt alive. Women and children were
separated out, confined in a walled area, and periodically taken away by
their captors to be raped, [with] some subjected to gang rapes.'" (UN
News Centre, February 16, 2005)

But we learned of these realities long before the UN Commission of
Inquiry reported on Kailek; and the suggestion by Arbour that the
realities of Kailek are in any way new, or receive new authority from
the Commission of Inquiry, appears but another disingenuous effort to
obscure how much we have known and how long we have known it.

This writer detailed conditions in Kailek on the basis of substantial
reports coming from Eltigani Seisi Ateem, former Governor of Darfur and
chairman of the Darfur Union (UK), beginning in March 2004:

"Two weeks ago the Janjaweed militia attacked the villages to the south
Kass. All the villages in the Shattaya and Hamiya areas have been
torched and a number of innocent civilians have been killed. The attack
on Sindo which I [Eltigani Seisi Ateem] have reported earlier has led to
mass displacement. Between 11,000 and 13,000 people have fled to Kailek
area where they have been surrounded by the [Janjaweed] militia."

"These people have no access to water or food as the militia has
prevented any supplies of water and food. We have just received
information that those who are now surrounded in Kailek are dying of
thirst and hunger. The situation requires immediate intervention to save
the lives of about 13,000 innocent civilians trapped by the Janjaweed
militia in Kailek, dying of thirst and hunger." (Received by e-mail,
March 24, 2004) (Analysis by this writer, March 25, 2004 at:

This analysis helped to galvanize a UN inter-agency investigation of
conditions at Kailek, an investigation whose conclusions were widely
disseminated at the time, by this writer among others:

"What did the UN team find in Kailek? It is important to note first the
team's keen awareness that it caught only a glimpse of the horrors in
the camps: 'We are sure that the team would have learned more about the
crimes committed against civilians in the region had it been granted
wider access to the areas of conflict. The stories that we have received
from the survivors of the acts of mass murder are very painful for us
and they remind us of the brutalities of the Rwanda genocide.' ('Report:
A UN Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian needs assessment
mission, Kailek, South Darfur,' 24 April 2004.)"

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

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

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

"The team found that, 'the Government of Sudan has deliberately
deceived the United Nations by repeatedly refuting claims to the
seriousness of the situation in Kailek as well as having actively
resisted the need for intervention by preventing the UN access to the
area.'" (Analysis by this writer, May 12, 2004 at:

The realities of Kailek were established definitively over nine months
ago: it is either culpable ignorance on the part of Arbour to suggest
that these realities have been reported with new authority by the
Commission of Inquiry---or an even more culpable disingenuousness. As
Darfur's realities intrude themselves ever more forcefully into
international awareness, their historical time-line must not be
re-written over the blood of the many hundreds of thousands who have
perished or been displaced and left totally bereft in this cataclysm of
genocidal destruction.


The US draft proposal for a new UN Security Council resolution on Sudan
faces almost certain defeat or major revision, given opposition from
veto-wielding China and Russia. But it is important to understand that
not only does this resolution fail to offer effective measures to halt
genocide in Darfur, but in acquiescing before the proposed peace-support
operation for southern Sudan (as fashioned by the UN Department of
Peacekeeping Operations), the US proposal does positive harm. Even in
the process, however, the draft proposal misleadingly attempts to
suggest that such a southern Sudan peace-support operation will have
significant implications for Darfur. This is untrue.

What is true is that the international community appears willing to
contribute forces to a peace-support operation in southern Sudan,
despite a cease-fire that has largely held since October 2002 (with
notable violations on the part of Khartoum and its militia allies), even
as it refuses to intervene to halt civilian slaughter and ongoing
genocidal destruction in Darfur. Let us at least be clear about the
choice that is reflected here.

The force for southern Sudan:

The Protocol on "implementation modalities" that became part of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement of January 9, 2005 (Nairobi) was signed on
December 31, 2004 by the Khartoum regime and the Sudan People's
Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) ("Agreement on Permanent Ceasefire and
Security Arrangements Implementation Modalities"). This key protocol is
the only language concerning a UN peacekeeping operation to which the
SPLM/A has committed itself and on which it has been consulted. The
Protocol stipulates:

"The Parties [Government of Sudan and SPLM/A] agree to request the UN
to constitute a lean, effective, sustainable, and affordable UN Peace
Support Mission to monitor and verify this Agreement and to support the
implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as provided for
under Chapter VI of the UN Charter;" (Section 15.1)

There is no evidence that the proposed UN peace support operation for
southern Sudan (UNMISUD) will be either "lean" or "affordable" for the
purposes that should guide deployment. It is thus difficult to see how
such an operation can be "sustainable." The force proposed in the
US-drafted Security Council resolution ("up to 10,000 uniformed
personnel, plus 715 civilian police, and an appropriate civilian
component") could hardly be more vaguely described. Moreover, though
articulated under the auspices of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the
proposed deployment of this force is not defined in terms that are
specific to the particular military situation in southern Sudan.

There is no indication of how UNMISUD would confront military
hostilities initiated by Khartoum-controlled militia forces, even as
this is distinctly the most likely source of cease-fire violations and
the greatest single threat to the peace agreement. The US proposal
speaks of a mandate to "monitor and verify the Ceasefire Agreement, and
support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement," and "to
observe and monitor the movement of armed groups," and to "investigate
violations of the ceasefire agreement" Section 2, (a)(b)(c), but not how
it would respond to violations that threaten the existence or viability
of the ceasefire.

The mandate includes "assisting in the establishment of the
disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program as called for in
the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and its implementation through
voluntary disarmament, and weapons collections and destruction." But
without much more specific rules of engagement, and a much clearer role
in the disarmament of the militias, the bulk of this vast UNMISUD force,
well in excess of 10,000, will have no role other than to protect
approximately 750 actual monitors on the ground.

Indeed, as described by Jan Pronk in a recent briefing of the UN
Security Council, UNMISUD will have 750 military observers, a
5,000-strong "enabling force," and a "protection component" of 4,000 (UN
Press Release [New York], February 7, 2005). But despite the Chapter
VII auspices specified in the US proposal, it is unclear how the mandate
articulated can be fulfilled by a force of such composition---except in
terms of observation and monitoring alone. Such observation and
monitoring are certainly of fundamental importance, and must without
question be provided. But a force well in excess of 10,000, costing
over $1 billion per year, without a meaningful mandate other than
observation, is the very opposite of "lean" and "sustainable,"
especially in the context of the overwhelming transitional needs of
civilian southern Sudan.

Here we might consider the almost total lack of funding for emergency
transitional aid in southern Sudan, particularly in the context of
returning displaced persons:

"Secretary-General [Annan] states that substantial aid is required to
resettle refugees and Internally Displaced Persons [in southern Sudan],
with between 500,000 and 1.2 million displaced people expected to return
to their homes this year alone." (UN News Service, February 3, 2005)

These 500,000 to 1.2 million bereft returnees represent a huge
financial challenge. How can a bloated and extremely expensive
peace-support operation, with no practicable mandate beyond monitoring,
be justified in the context of such desperate human need? Unless a much
clearer mandate is articulated, with specific goals and functions, this
force will reflect not the needs of southern Sudan but the very worst of
UN bureaucracy and inefficiency---it will be neither "lean" nor
"affordable" in any meaningful context of cost effectiveness.

Moreover, there are deeply troubling features to the nature and
composition of UNMISUD. Again, this force has been negotiated by the UN
Department of Peacekeeping Operations exclusively with the same Khartoum
regime that has been found by the UN Commission of Inquiry to be
responsible for massive and ongoing "crimes against humanity" in
Darfur---and which has been guilty of genocide in the Nuba Mountains and
the southern oil regions of Sudan. The SPLM/A has not been consulted or
included in the planning of the peace-support operation. This is
short-sighted and invites conflicting views of the UNMISUD mandate,
terms of deployment, and difficulties expected by the Parties to the
ceasefire agreement.

Further, the makeup of presently committed forces is troubling: India,
Malaysia, China, and Russia---all countries with very substantial
investments in Sudan's oil sector---are among the relatively few nations
that have volunteered forces. The presence of Pakistan and Jordan in
this mix is also a concern: Pakistan, which proved such an
obstructionist force on the Security Council last year in efforts to
confront the crisis in Darfur; Jordan, which supplied Khartoum with much
of the ordnance used by the regime's Antonovs in attacks on civilians
during the 1990s. There has been far too little effort to secure the
presence of countries that have not demonstrated a morally compromised
solidarity with Khartoum and which are not interested parties in
preserving oil development access.

The relevance of this force for Darfur:

Though the US proposal repeatedly refers to Darfur in the context of
UNMISUD, there is never any indication of how deployment in southern
Sudan will have any effect on the ground in Darfur. The proposed
resolution speaks of UNMISUD carrying out its mandate in "continuous
liaison with the AU Mission in Darfur"; but if the UNMISUD is
exclusively to monitor the ceasefire in southern Sudan, the significance
of "continuous liaison" is quite unclear.

Elsewhere the draft resolution speaks of UNMISUD in terms of "an
effective public information campaign in coordination with the AU."
This would seem to be the quintessence of UN "non-speak," and irrelevant
to the desperately real security needs in Darfur, needs far beyond the
capacity of the present (or contemplated) AU force.

The closest the draft resolution comes to speaking meaningfully about
the connection between Darfur and UNMISUD is: "[The Security Council]
requests the Secretary-General to brief the Council within 60 days on
options for how UNMISUD can reinforce the effort to foster peace in
Darfur, including through appropriate capacity building assistance to
the AU Mission" [3]. But what does this mean? How are we to imagine
that the "options" Kofi Annan will offer two months from now are
different from the "options" now evident on the basis of months of slow
and uninspired deployment by the AU?

The proposed US resolution is but another diplomatic place-holder: it
is neither specific nor resolute in moving the international community
toward humanitarian intervention in Darfur, the only "option" that gives
any promise of slowing the massive, ethnically-targeted human
destruction that has been clearly in evidence for over a year. The
proposed "arms embargo" will never be approved by China or Russia,
Khartoum's two key arms suppliers. And the carefully hedged, "targeted"
sanctions against Khartoum (Sections 11-13, Annex 1)---restrictions on
travel and potential asset-freezes---are of little more than symbolic
significance to a regime that has already declared it will strenuously
resist any international effort to have Sudanese nationals tried abroad
for crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes in Darfur.

It is easy for the resolution to "declare" in its penultimate paragraph
that the Security Council is determined "that perpetrators of the crimes
and atrocities identified by the International Commission of Inquiry
[for Darfur] must be brought to justice through international accepted
means and that the climate of impunity in Sudan shall end" (Section 19).

But without specifying the means for ending violence in Darfur; without
providing expanded humanitarian capacity; without suggesting
consequences for Khartoum's continuing flouting of the previous Security
Council "demand" that the regime disarm the Janjaweed and bring its
leaders to justice (the singular "demand" of Resolution 1556, July 30,
2004); without committing to anything more than vague support for a
clearly inadequate AU force, the US proposal seems little more than
vacuous rhetoric.

The same must be said of the transparently empty threat of "actions
relating to Sudan's oil sector" (Section 18). Though Kofi Annan is much
given to this threat, as was former US Secretary of State Colin Powell,
it is simply meaningless with China sitting on the Security Council.
Not only has Beijing made clear that it will veto any sanctions
provision that might include such "actions," the Chinese economy could
easily absorb every barrel of Sudanese crude available for export.
Since the Chinese are the dominant player in southern oil development
and production, and view Sudan as a strategic off-shore asset that must
be protected diplomatically at all costs, threats of "actions" against
"Sudan's petroleum sector" are far from threatening: they simply make
plain that the international community is content with posturing.


Because insecurity in Darfur is not seriously addressed by the US
proposal, nor by proposals from any other international actor, we must
assess the future of humanitarian aid delivery on the basis of current
conditions and capacity. The conclusions are unspeakably grim.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) reached 1.5 million recipients in
December, a figure that defines the humanitarian situation as rendered
in the UN's "Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 10." But this document has
a January 1, 2005 date of record. It thus does not reflect the
extremely ominous drop in food deliveries from January 1 to January 31,
2005: 300,000 fewer people received food (1.2 million according to
various UN sources), even as food needs became globally more acute in
the greater Darfur humanitarian theater. The International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC) declared in a recent report that it, "concurs with
WFP figures that estimate between 2.5 and 3 million people in Darfur
will need food assistance this year" ("Darfur: A deteriorating
situation," ICRC, February 9, 2005).

In short, a massive food deficit and the threat of famine loom ever
greater, and the UN's respected Food and Agricultural Organizations has
declared as much explicitly:

"'All the indicators are there for a famine,' says Marc Bellemans, the
Sudan emergency coordinator for the UN's Food and Agriculture
Organization. In a report to fellow UN agencies late last year, the FAO
warned 'a humanitarian crisis of unseen proportions is unfolding in the
Darfur region.'" (Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2005)

Despite these clear features of the humanitarian situation, Darfur
Humanitarian Profile No. 10 glibly suggests that "the catastrophic
mortality figures predicted in some quarters have not materialized"
(page 3), but gives no indication of what mortality data inform this
assessment. There is certainly nothing that speaks to mortality
assessments by this writer or Dr. Jan Coebergh (Parliamentary Brief,
February 2005; see http://www.thepolitician.org). There is no account
in this or any other UN Profile of violent mortality, mortality in
inaccessible rural areas, mortality in Chad, mortality from February
2003 through March 2004. We are offered simply the bald assertion that
"catastrophic mortality" has "not materialized," despite the
substantial number of reports and data suggesting that in fact mortality
is well in excess of 300,000. Perhaps those assembling the monthly
Darfur Humanitarian Profiles do not consider this figure catastrophic.

What cannot be concealed, even by the belatedness of the current
Profile's appearance, are dimensions of the humanitarian crisis that
ensure prospective human mortality in Darfur will certainly continue to
be "catastrophic," at least by most standards. An important factor in
amplifying the effects of famine mortality will be what appears to be an
impending second missed opportunity by international aid organizations
to pre-position food in Darfur prior to the rainy season (June/July
through September). Moreover, funding for food is far short of what is
needed, and the appropriate mix of foods---i.e., a diet that can sustain
human life---is clearly threatened. Two days ago WFP reported from
Geneva that any previous improvements in the provision of food would
soon be reversed:

"The United Nations urged donors on Tuesday to speed the flow of food
aid to Sudan's Darfur or risk worsening shortages in the conflict-ridden
region." (Reuters, February 15, 2005)

WFP spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume noted key deficiencies in the
food provided, deficiencies with extremely serious health implications
over the longer term: "In addition, much of the food aid received so far
had been in the form of cereals, but other commodities, such as beans,
sugar and salt, were in perilously short supply, she said." (Reuters,
February 15, 2005)

Yesterday, Voice of America reported another important part of
Berthiaume's comments:

"[Berthiaume said] it is crucial that the agency pre-position food
stocks before the rainy season that begins in July and August. 'And the
case is particularly critical in West Darfur where there are large areas
that will be cut off by the rain,' she said. "'The food aid requirement
at the peak of the hunger season in July and August is estimated at just
over 11,000 tons of food. So, that means that we need to pre-position
23,000 tons of food for July and August and that is on top of the
monthly requirement.'" (VOA, February 16, 2005)

There is nothing remotely approaching this transport or logistical
capacity for West Darfur.

Refugees International (RI), in an important and very recent Sudan
food-needs assessment, reports a number of deeply troubling
contingencies and considerations that figure nowhere in Darfur
Humanitarian Profile No. 10 or its assumptions about mortality:

"Without an increase in food commitments, WFP anticipates to run out of
food at the end of March for the South, Eastern and Central regions of
Sudan. If new commitments are not made for Darfur, food could run out
this summer. Moreover, the food needs in southern Sudan could rise
sharply if larger than expected numbers of refugees and internally
displaced people decide to return following the signing of a peace
agreement last month." ("Sudan: Food shortages spreading beyond
conflict areas," RI, February 16, 2005)

Assessing Global Acute Malnutrition, RI notes that while rates in camps
have improved:

"Outside of camps, however, malnutrition rates may run between 20% and
25%, and wild foods are turning up for sale in markets in North Darfur,
an indicator of severe food stress."

RI also notes with particular concern that "the WFP says that it
doesn't currently have enough food in the pipeline to pre-position all
the food it needs for the rainy season, when muddy roads make
transportation and deliveries difficult." This will be most
consequential for West Darfur, which has been spared much of the current
violence, but may because of its geographic remoteness during the rainy
season see the highest levels of mortality.


The US draft Security Council resolution does not meaningfully advance
the international response to massive genocidal destruction in Darfur.
The supposed connections between a bloated and vaguely tasked UN
peace-support operation in southern Sudan and the urgent human security
requirements in Darfur are facile and largely rhetorical. Though the
cessation of hostilities agreement in southern Sudan has largely held
since October 2002, more than 10,000 uniformed personnel are evidently
likely to be deployed for essentially monitoring purposes.

In Darfur, where the AU has managed to deploy only about 1,500 troops
over several months, violence directed against civilians continues
unabated in a climate of virtually total impunity. Khartoum flouts the
only meaningful demand that the UN Security Council has made (to disarm
its brutal Janjaweed allies and bring Janjaweed leaders to justice), has
accelerated its deliberate obstruction of humanitarian operations (see
February 10, 2005 "Darfur Humanitarian Update" by this writer at
and speaks contemptuously of international accountability.

These realities cannot be changed by rhetoric, by newly contrived
historical time-lines, by lowest-common-denominator UN resolutions, or
by the threat of international criminal trials---despite the inflated
claims by human rights organizations using Darfur as an occasion to
lobby for the International Criminal Court.

Absent robust humanitarian intervention, what is indeed catastrophic
human mortality---animated by genocidal ambitions---will continue
essentially unchecked.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

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