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Friday, May 20, 2005

The "Two Darfurs": Redefining a Crisis for Political Purposes; 

Amidst genocide by attrition, expedient misrepresentations are proliferating

Eric Reeves
May 20, 2005

Despite the unrelenting genocidal destruction that continues daily in Darfur,
there is a growing effort in various quarters to re-define the crisis in ways
that would make it less urgent, less demanding of international humanitarian
intervention---less the deliberately engineered catastrophe that will now
inevitably produce obscene human mortality in the months and years to come. But the
grim realities of the actual Darfu make clear that despite the efforts to create
a factitious, less demanding "Darfur," the crisis continues throughout the
region and in many ways deepens. Thus we may be sure that if this contrived
"Darfur" comes to govern the response of the international community, the real Darfur
will have been dealt its deadliest blow since the outbreak of major hostilities
in February 2003.

A survey of recent reports and data appears below, including figures from the
most recent UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile (No. 13; representing conditions as
of April 1, 2005 but released May 12, 2005). Also discussed are the most recent
report on Darfur by the Secretary-General; news dispatches from the ground;
evidence of growing insecurity for humanitarian operations, as well as shortfalls
in humanitarian capacity; and the recent African Union decision to ask that
NATO augment AU deployment in Darfur only with enhanced logistical support.

But first an assessment of the "new Darfur."

THE "NEW DARFUR": NO LONGER GENOCIDE

What does and doesn't characterize the new "Darfur"? Conspicuously, the new
"Darfur" is not the site of genocide, despite massive evidence that the five
particular acts of genocide specified in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention
and Punishment of Genocide have all been committed, both by the military forces
of the Khartoum regime and its Janjaweed militia allies. Though this was
unambiguously declared by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in testimony
before the US Senate on September 9, 2004, there is now on the part of the Bush
administration only word-mincing and hesitation. Most conspicuously, Deputy
Secretary of State Robert Zoellick pointedly refused to confirm the US genocide
determination (Khartoum, April 15, 2005). President Bush, who had also previously
declared the realities of Darfur to be genocide, hasn't mentioned the word
"Darfur" in over four months---this despite Mr. Bush's now well-known maginalis
concerning genocide in Africa: "not on my watch!"

[An important "open letter" to President Bush, demanding that he do more to
halt genocide in Darfur, will be released (along with a full list of signatories)
at a media briefing hosted by Africa Action in Washington, DC on May 24, 9:30am
in the John Hay Room at the Hay Adams Hotel, 16th and H Streets, NW. The
letter has support from several members of Congress, as well as many national
organizations and religious denominations.]

But Mr. Bush has plenty of feckless company. The Parliament of the European
Union voted 566 to 6 (September 2004) to declare that Khartoum's actions in
Darfur are "tantamount to genocide"; there has been no meaningful comment or action
by the EU Parliament since. The German defense minister, speaking for the
German government, also declared that genocide was occurring in Darfur (September
2004); nothing has followed from this declaration, though it should be noted
that Germany's Siemens AG is one of the largest commercial partners of the
genocidal Khartoum regime. UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw recently (April 2005) said
genocide was occurring in Darfur (The Scotsman, May 3, 2005). Nothing
commensurate with such a determination has been evident in UK policy, and British
commercial firms (e.g., Weir Pumps [Glasgow]) continue to do business as usual with
Khartoum.

Much of this balking and dodging takes cover from a scandalously politicized
and deeply compromised assessment of violations of international law in Darfur by
a UN Commission of Inquiry (COI), which unpersuasively concluded that there is
insufficient evidence of "genocidal intent." The January 2005 COI report,
submitted to Secretary-General Kofi Annan (whose office assembled the Commission
team), is an intellectual disgrace, marred by egregious errors of logic, poor
legal reasoning, and critical failures in considering and gathering evidence (see
two-part critique by this writer at:
http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=489&page=1
and
http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=488&page=1).

A prominent feature of the effort to deny genocide in Darfur is an attempt to
use the decline in large-scale violence as evidence of the changed character of
human destruction. And to be sure there has been a diminishment---though far
from an elimination---of the violence that produced such extreme human
destruction in 2003 and 2004. But genocide has proceeded, massively, on the basis of
efforts by Khartoum to "deliberately inflict on the [African tribal groups of
Darfur] conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in
whole or in part" (UN Genocide Convention, Article 2, clause [c]).

Sometime in the summer of 2004 (we will never know precisely when), genocidal
destruction in Darfur became more a matter of engineered disease and
malnutrition than violent killing. In other words, disease and malnutrition proceeding
directly from the consequences of violent attacks on villages, deliberate
displacement, and systematic destruction of the means of agricultural production among
the targeted non-Arab or African tribal groups became the major killers.
Violence may still be the largest source of overall mortality among the
approximately 400,000 who have perished (see mortality assessment of April 30, 2005 by this
writer at:
http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=51&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0).
But there came a point within the last year in which ongoing genocide was no
longer primarily a result of direct slaughter, but of a cruel attrition.

The full nature of the genocidal ambitions of Khartoum and its Janjaweed
militia allies was long ago articulated unambiguously by former UN Humanitarian
Coordinator for Sudan, Mukesh Kapila. In March 2004, shortly before Khartoum's
actions forced Kapila to resign, he declared:

"'I was present in Rwanda at the time of the genocide [ ]. The only difference
between Rwanda and Darfur now is the numbers involved. [The slaughter in
Darfur] is more than just a conflict, it is an organised attempt to do away with a
group of people.'"

"The pattern of organised attacks on civilians and villages, abductions,
killings and organised rapes by militias is getting worse by the day and could
deteriorate even further. One can see how the situation might develop without prompt
[action]...all the warning signs are there."

The "developments" that Kapila so clearly foresaw have come fully to pass; if
genocide by attrition has replaced direct genocidal violence as the primary
source of human destruction, this does nothing to diminish or change the nature of
the ongoing crime.

HUMAN MORTALITY IN DARFUR

Global human mortality has become a significant, indeed controversial issue in
defining the Darfur crisis. There are several causes for this, including the
consistent failure of the UN to provide credible mortality figures. In January
2004 (sixteen months ago) the figure promulgated by the UN was a preposterous
3,000 deaths. When the figure was raised by UN officials to 10,000 in March 2004
(fourteen months ago), there were no accompanying data, statistical
explanations, or references. The same was true when the UN again arbitrarily raised the
figure to 50,000 in July 2004.

UN shortcomings in representing human mortality continued to be in evidence
throughout 2004. Far too little was done by the UN World Health Organization
(WHO) to explain that its figure of October 2004 (70,000 deaths) did not represent
a global mortality assessment but only an assessment of deaths from disease and
malnutrition (and to a very limited extent violence)---and only in the camps
for displaced persons to which the UN had access.

It remains unclear whether or not the most recent UN figure
promulgated---180,000 dead---includes violent mortality. This is because yet again no context,
methodology, data, or explanation was provided when the figure was offered.
Indeed, the figure appeared only one week after UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian
Affairs Jan Egeland had suggested a mortality range of between 210,000 and
350,000 (Reuters, March 9, 2005).

Even more scandalous than UN mortality figures, however, is the recent figure
promulgated by US officials, including again Deputy Secretary of State Robert
Zoellick: 60,000-160,000. The State Department document from which these figures
are derived---previously classified and de-classified only in response to a
sharply critical Washington Post editorial---is an obvious tissue of
unsubstantiated assertion (there are simply no citations or references), intellectual and
methodological confusion, factual error, and deliberate misrepresentation. Its
failings are so many and conspicuous that one must assume political motives
animated its composition and promulgation (this revealing travesty is available at
http://www.state.gov/s/inr/rls/fs/2005/45105.htm).

Even so, journalists seem unwilling to challenge either the State Department or
the UN---they refuse to demand actual figures, data, statistical derivations,
and citations. This is the same journalistic slovenliness that allowed the UN
WHO figure of 70,000 to stand for months---clearly inaccurately---as a global
mortality figure.

The issue of human mortality in Darfur is of very considerable significance:
only by understanding the nature and extent of human destruction to date can we
anticipate with any usefulness what lies in store for the region, especially as
access for journalists and human rights reporters is ever more effectively
constricted by Khartoum.

THE RHETORIC OF "CONTAINMENT"

What else defines a "new Darfur"? How is it described? Sadly, we have little
to choose between Khartoum's propagandistic efforts and the language of Jan
Pronk, Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Sudan:

"There is good news about Darfur. There is no bad news about Darfur more than
in the past. I think it is important to make it clear that there is stability as
far as relations between the government and the parties on the ground is
concerned. During the last couple of weeks, there were some attacks by militia but
not more than in the past." (Transcript of Pronk's press conference in Khartoum,
May 11, 2005)

This painfully disingenuous optimism was predictably picked up with delight by
several pro-regime newspapers in Khartoum (Alwan, Al-Ray Al-Aam, Al-Sahafa and
Al-Anbaa):

"The UN expressed satisfaction over the 'great' improvement in the security and
humanitarian situations in Darfur. The special envoy of the Secretary General
to the region, Alakhder Al-Ibrahimi, accompanied by the SRSG, Jan Pronk at the
outset of his visit to South Darfur State said, 'The UN acknowledges the
improvement in the situation in the region.'" (UN Daily Press Review, May 16, 2005)

The accuracy of Pronk's assessment will be addressed below.

At the same time, there is a growing refusal to state explicitly what has long
been recognized as Khartoum's direct support for and control of the Janjaweed
as a military proxy. Not only is Khartoum no longer being held to the singular
"demand" of UN Security Council Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004)---that the
regime disarm the Janjaweed and brings its leaders to justice---but the intimate
military relationship between Khartoum and the Janjaweed is consistently denied
through elision and indirection.

For example, Kofi Annan's most recent report to the Security Council (May 10,
2005), though providing a grim picture in the abstract of violence and
insecurity, does not once directly articulate the relationship between Khartoum and what
have now become simply "militia." But of course these "militia" were formerly
called by name: the Janjaweed. What is important, of course, is not the name,
but the fact that Annan's abbreviated designation has had the perverse effect
of suggesting that Khartoum is not militarily active in Darfur. Thus Annan's
opening comments on "Insecurity in Darfur" (Section 1):

"While April saw comparatively few systematic attacks, troop movements and the
illegal occupation of new positions increased, as did harassment, burning of
unoccupied villages, kidnapping, banditry [ ], attacks on civilians and rape by
militia." (Paragraph 2)

In other words, attacks on and rapes of civilians by the Arab militia formerly
designated as the Janjaweed "increased" in April. Harassment and "burning of
unoccupied villages" also increased, and these again are the characteristic
activities of the Janjaweed. But the closest Annan can come to acknowledging the
relationship between Khartoum and the Janjaweed is in the following, thoroughly
muffled account:

"Militia attacks [viz., Janjaweed attacks] are by far the greatest cause of
terror and suffering for civilians. For while it has been noted the Government
[of Sudan] has restrained its forces, it has still not taken action to stop
militia attacks and end the climate of impunity that encourages those responsible
for ongoing violations." (Paragraph 30)

But this account is disingenuous in suggesting that the "militia" may be
independent military agents. As Human Rights Watch and many other human rights
organizations and investigations have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, the
Janjaweed is Khartoum's military instrument, not an independent force. No doubt
some elements of the Janjaweed have become part of the larger problem of
"banditry" that is increasingly used as a catch-all term for variously motivated
violence, and as such are not controllable. But the essential truth of the situation
was definitively established by Human Rights Watch in July 2004, when the
organization obtained confidential Sudanese government documents that directly
implicated high-ranking government officials in a policy of support for the
Janjaweed:

"'It's absurd to distinguish between the Sudanese government forces and the
militias---they are one,' said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human
Rights Watch's Africa Division. 'These documents show that militia activity has
not just been condoned, it's been specifically supported by Sudan government
officials.'" ("Darfur Documents Confirm Government Policy of Militia Support,"
Human Rights Watch release, July 20, 2004)

Even when Darfur's victims use the term "Janjaweed" to describe such violent
attacks, UN officials increasingly won't. For example, the agent of action is
deliberately not described in a recent official release by the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (she offers an especially good example of the abuses of
language made possible by passive verb constructions):

"UNHCR is alarmed by the fact that abandoned villages in West Darfur are once
again being burned to discourage the people who once lived there from returning
home. [Last] week, a resident of Seraf Village [West Darfur] took our staff
inspect the village, which he said had been burned the previous Monday (April 18).
This man told us the 200 families of Seraf had fled attacks by Janjaweed
militias a year ago. Then on Monday last week, they saw smoke and feared their
village was being burned. All that remains now are broken grain storage jars and
blackened mud-brick shells of houses, the thatching having turned to ashes."

"This gratuitous act is clearly a message to the former residents not to return
home. We are concerned because acts like this---on top of the displacement of
some 2 million people from their homes---threaten to change the social and
demographic structure of Darfur irrevocably." (Official statement by UN High
Commissioner for Refugees Wendy Chamberlin, April 26, 2005)

But despite the deeply consequential nature of the violence described here,
only the victims use the word "Janjaweed"---not the very UN officials who
witnessed the consequences of Janjaweed actions. The effect is to relieve Khartoum of
responsibility for the actions of its military allies---actions that directly
advance Khartoum's genocidal ambitions in Darfur and that remain animated by the
regime's desire to reshape Darfur's demographic and political realities.

THE REAL DARFUR

If we leave the world of contrivance and disingenuousness, and look at reports
and dispatches that come from the ground in Darfur, a rather different crisis
emerges, one distinguished by immense and unrelieved human suffering, continuing
civilian destruction, and the prospect of massive mortality in the rainy season
that has now begun.

Even Kofi Annan, in his report to the Security Council, is obliged to
acknowledge some of the truths of the real Darfur:

"The month of April [2005] witnessed a sharp decline in the security of
humanitarian staff, operations and access, in particular in Southern Darfur. On
several occasions clearly marked humanitarian vehicles came under fire." (Paragraph
13)

Annan also notes that:

"Despite existing agreements on unimpeded access for humanitarian workers, NGOs
continued to be harassed by the local authorities, particularly in South
Darfur." (Paragraph 14)

The insurgency movements (the SLA and JEM) are also justly held accountable for
much of the insecurity that threatens humanitarian operations:

"SLA/JEM carried out a number of attacks on police and militia in April and
continue to take commercial, private and NGO vehicles at gunpoint on a scale that
suggest that these acts are approved by their leadership." (Paragraph 7)

As Annan also notes:

"Both the JEM and the SLA have demonstrated signs of deeper internal divisions
during the last month." (Paragraph 26)

These divisions augur poorly for the kind of discipline that will be necessary
if the insurgents are not to become an increasingly significant part of the
security crisis in Darfur---and a greater challenge to whatever force is deployed
to restore order in Darfur and allow for the resumption of agricultural
production.

It cannot be stressed often enough that nothing is more threatening to the
highly distressed populations of Darfur, both those displaced in camps and those
isolated in rural areas, than the collapse of humanitarian operations because of
insecurity. Jan Egeland has estimated that mortality could climb to 100,000
deaths per month in the wake of such a collapse (see Egeland's most recent
comment on this issue below).

Famine-related mortality is already far greater than is generally acknowledged
by the UN, and reflects significant shortfalls in humanitarian capacity. An
exceptionally well-informed dispatch was filed by Rick Hampson of USAToday (May
16, 2005) from Deleij, South Darfur:

"A Tufts University study released earlier this year says that because of
problems unprecedented even in Darfur's tortured history, 'regionwide famine appears
inevitable.' If so, the international community---already struggling to reach
the 2.6 million of Darfur's 6 million people who need help---may have to feed
and shelter even more. 'People are starving and no one is reporting it, because
technically they are not starving,' says Bir Chandra Mandal, the UN Food and
Agriculture Program emergency director in South Darfur. They die from
tuberculosis or malaria or diarrhea, their immune systems weakened by malnutrition. He
calls it an 'invisible famine.'"

The Tufts University study also declares:

"Never before in the history of Darfur has there been such a combination of
factors causing the failure of livelihood strategies and the loss of assets.
These factors include systematic asset-stripping [a euphemistic description of
Janjaweed attacks on villages---ER], [agricultural] production failures, markets
failures, failures of access to natural resources [ ]." ("Darfur: Livelihoods
Under Siege," Helen Young et al, Tufts University, February 17, 2005, page 2)

The prospects for agricultural production are particularly grim. There is no
evidence whatsoever that a spring planting will take place (the major planting
in the agricultural calendar):

"This year, most experts expect a smaller harvest [than last year's terribly
compromised harvest]. Darfur's roads are still so unsafe that a farmer would have
trouble getting a crop to market. 'Under those conditions, I'd only plant what
I could eat myself,' says Arif Hussain, head of the World Food Program [WFP]
Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping unit." (USAToday, May 16, 2005)

And humanitarian food relief is still far from adequate in capacity, and has
yet to reach more than 1.71 million needy Darfuris in a month. This is the
figure for February; according to a May 12, 2005 World Food Program press release,
140,000 fewer people (1.57 million) were reached in April (the most recent
reporting month). Moreover, as the USAToday dispatch from Darfur notes:

"Darfur's fragile food pipeline could be cut by a number of factors, especially
for hundreds of thousands living outside the camps and towns served by aid
agencies---the people who are most likely to die. In the spring Darfur's dry
riverbeds become torrents, its roads turn into streams. A drive that usually takes
four hours might take two days. So food trucks must reach Darfur before the
rains. The WFP says it has pre-positioned enough food; if not, it will have to rely
on costly airlifts that would compound its financial problems. Keith McKenzie,
UNICEF's special representative for Darfur, says: 'The food pipeline is in a
terrible situation.'"

The grim assessment by UNICEF's McKenzie is confirmed by any number of reports,
including the most recent from the UN Joint Logistics Committee (UNJLC),
Bulletin #59 (May 16):

"The security situation continues to hinder effective transport in South
Darfur. Sporadic outbreaks of fighting and attacks on humanitarian vehicles have
kept closed the three main road transport corridors for UN travel in the region:

Nyala [capital of South Darfur---Manawashi---el-Fasher [capital of North
Darfur]
Nyala---Kass---Nertiti---Zalingei---el-Geneina [capital of West Darfur]
Nyala---Labado---Ed Daen [key road juncture to the east of Nyala]"

This ongoing closure represents a potentially catastrophic blockage of the main
transport arteries in Darfur. As WFP Sudan director Ramiro Lopes da Silva
recently declared, "'such attacks only make drivers extremely reluctant to
transport food aid in Darfur and are making it very difficult to deliver enough food
before the rains'" (BBC May 12, 2005).

This is the context in which to assess the figures in the recently released UN
Darfur Humanitarian Profile (DHP) No. 13 (representing conditions as of April
1, 2005 but released May 12, 2005; at
http://www.unsudanig.org/emergencies/darfur/profile/index.jsp). Almost two
million people (1.96 million) are categorized as internally displaced: this does
not include the 200,000 refugees in Chad or the large displaced population in
inaccessible rural Darfur. Total displacement from the effects of conflict
exceeds 2.5 million. The DHP also indicates that 2.62 million people are now
"conflict-affected"---and again, this does not include the 200,000 refugees in Chad
or the very large conflict-affected population in inaccessible rural areas. The
total figure is certainly well in excess of 3 million, and growing rapidly.

And as the assessed number of conflict-affected people has grown, the UN
ability to teach them has diminished. DHP No. 13 shows a decline from 88%
"accessible by the UN" (January/February 2005) to 83% for March (page 11). And even with
access, UN provision of food, clean water, shelter, and primary medical care
continues to see very large shortfalls (43%, 43%, 25%, and 33% respectively).
These people will be acutely at risk from disease during the rainy season.

The DHP also notes,

"Trends reminiscent of the situation in Darfur prior to the signing of a Joint
Communiqué between the UN and the Government of Sudan in July 2004 have merged
with particularly worrying indications of an increase in travel permit and visa
restrictions reported. This development compounded with systematic arrest,
false and hostile accusations against humanitarian workers through national outlets
and outright attacks may very well set back [humanitarian achievements]." (page
3)

This assessment is picked up by Egeland in his statement to the Security
Council about "Challenges in Africa" (May 10, 2005):

"Humanitarian workers [in Darfur], in particular from NGOs, are being subjected
to a constant stream of harassment, threats, and attacks. Any further
deterioration could have disastrous consequences, including the withdrawal of hundreds
of humanitarian staff from smaller or larger areas of Darfur."

THE COMING RAINS: A SEASON OF DEATH

Despite claims in some UN quarters, it is impossible to believe that enough
food has been pre-positioned in Darfur in anticipation of the rainy season,
particularly in West Darfur, where transport is most severely affected by the rains.
Nor is there any evidence of the capacity to provide the more than 60,000
metric tons per month of food and critical non-food items that will be required by
the needy population of 3.25 million people that Lopes da Silva now acknowledges
must be planned for (WFP press release, May 12, 2005). And the actual figure
may be considerably greater: Egeland has several times suggested it could reach
to 4 million. And again, this does not include 200,000 refugees in Chad, who
will be cut off by the rains.

As a lack of food pulls more people into camps for displaced persons, as food
inflation makes more people dependent upon international food relief, security
issues in the camps continue to be a major concern. And for many, the camps are
all they have. Human Rights Watch finds that "an estimated 2,000 villages have
been totally or partially burned to the ground in these [Janjaweed] attacks"
(Human Rights Watch press release, May 9, 2005). The consensus among Darfuris in
exile with contacts inside Darfur is that over 90% of African villages have
been destroyed. Indeed, one reason violence has diminished is that the genocidal
destruction of villages and agricultural resources is so far advanced.

A final ominous note: amidst the many other emphatic warnings of security risks
to civilians and humanitarian workers, one issue stands out as profoundly
threatening. Khartoum continues with a policy of forced or induced movement of
displaced persons: from one camp to another, and from camps to former villages or
village sites. This ongoing policy of deportations, clear from several recent
humanitarian reports, holds the potential for extraordinary human destruction,
as those people moved involuntarily are at risk from both Janjaweed attack and a
lack of food. Certainly neither the present nor contemplated AU deployment can
begin to provide security for involuntary returnees, nor for humanitarian
access to those who return without sufficient foodstocks to survive through the
"hunger gap." As Annan notes in his report:

"Even if a secure environment were established throughout Darfur, the lack of
food security, the devastation of the economy, and the almost total disruption
of normal patterns of life would limit the number of returns in the near
future.'" (UN IRIN, May 11, 2005)

AN AFRICAN UNION DETERMINATION TO GO IT ALONE

It has been authoritatively reported to this writer that Kofi Annan declared to
the Security Council in January 2005 that it was "politically impossible" to
send troops into southern Sudan as part of a UN peace support operation without
using some of them to help bring peace in Darfur. Unsurprisingly, Annan has
changed his tune---as he has frequently on Darfur---and now asserts, in
disingenuous "diplomatese," that the UN operation in southern Sudan can offer no real
support to the AU in Darfur:

"'The operation in southern Sudan, which is the result of months of careful
planning, should not be compromised or unduly strained, especially not during the
delicate start-up process [by being tasked with responsibilities for Darfur],'
Annan said." (UN IRIN, May 11, 2005)

In the view of some, this change in attitude likely represents the growing
influence of Annan's chief of staff, Mark Malloch Brown. Malloch Brown for his
part is trying to pass responsibility for Annan's failure of leadership onto
Security Council members, who are certainly deserving of much blame, but not for
Annan's weak-hearted efforts to use for Darfur the opportunity provided by an
immense, indeed bloated deployment of forces to southern Sudan, where there has
been relatively much less fighting since October 2002:

"A top aide to [ ] Kofi Annan said the crisis in [Darfur] reflects a lack of
political will by UN member states. 'Everybody wants to stop Darfur (from)
happening. Nobody wants to put their own troops in harm's way,' Mark Malloch Brown,
Annan's chief of staff, told the House International Relations Committee on
Wednesday. Malloch Brown told the panel that 'all this talk we've had of UN
reform will ultimately amount to nothing if Darfur happens on our watch.'" (AP, May
19, 2005)

"'Darfur is the litmus test. It has the potential to be the Rwanda on our
watch,' [Malloch Brown ] said." (Reuters, May 19, 2005)

True enough, but Darfur is occurring on the "watch" of Kofi Annan, not just the
members of the Security Council. There can be no evading responsibility simply
by blaming others.

For its part, the AU has decided---or at least acquiesced in a decision by
Nigeria, Libya, and Egypt---to maintain the monitoring force in Darfur as an
exclusively "African" operation. The refusal to accept non-AU troops was made
insistently in a communiqué issued from a Tripoli summit hosted by Muamar Khaddafi;
this communiqué was subsequently echoed by AU President Alpha Oumar Konare (AP,
May 17, 2005). Only NATO logistical help will be sought in moving toward a
deployment goal of 7,500 hundred troops and police by August/September (notably,
the very height of the rainy season), and 12,500 by spring 2006---a full year
from now.

This prideful, finally callous AU insistence ensures that critical security
tasks will not me met, even with the various "force multipliers" that would come
with NATO logistics, transport assistance, and provision of equipment. Securing
the camps and camp environs; protecting humanitarian workers, convoys, and
operations; providing safe passage to vulnerable civilians in rural areas;
beginning the process of allowing civilians to return to their lands; and disarming the
Janjaweed: these collectively are tasks far beyond any plan or concept that has
been presented by the AU.

The pointed refusal of the Khartoum regime to allow Canadian military personnel
to deploy to Darfur---accepted without protest by the Canadian
government---augurs poorly for meaningful humanitarian intervention, and strongly suggests that
Khartoum will also block any effort by the AU to secure an appropriate civilian
protection mandate for its forces in Darfur. Knowing full well the extreme
improbability of timely AU deployment of the additional forces (it has taken well
over half a year to deploy approximately 2,500 personnel), Khartoum sees little
likelihood that genocide by attrition can be halted.

There is no reason to dissent from the regime's brutal assessment.

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

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