Sunday, June 26, 2005

Rape as a Strategic Weapon of War in Darfur :: sudanreeves.org :: Sudan Research, Analysis, and Advocacy 

Rape as a Strategic Weapon of War in Darfur :: sudanreeves.org :: Sudan Research, Analysis, and Advocacy

Friday, June 10, 2005

3.5 Million Darfuris Need Food According to the UN World Food Program :: sudanreeves.org :: Sudan Research, Analysis, and Advocacy 

3.5 Million Darfuris Need Food According to the UN World Food Program :: sudanreeves.org :: Sudan Research, Analysis, and Advocacy

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Darfur Posted by Hello

3.5 Million Darfuris Need Food According to the UN World Food Program; 

They cannot be fed with investigations by the International Criminal Court

Eric Reeves
June 8, 2005

The mismatch between humanitarian capacity and human need grows more deadly by
the day in Darfur. The most recent warnings of this mismatch come in a June 2,
2005 announcement from the UN's World Food Program (WFP): "the number of people
in Sudan's Darfur region who need food has jumped to 3.5 million---more than
half the population---as rural families join refugees in the hunger line, the UN
said on Thursday [June 2, 2005]" (Reuters, June 2, 2005). Holdbrook Arthur,
regional director for WFP in East and Central Africa, bluntly declared: "We are
talking about 3.5 million, including the local population who have lost or are
dramatically losing their livelihood because of insecurity." Jamie Wickens,
WFP's associate director of operations, declared: "The rural population is
becoming more and more food insecure. The are in the same situation as internally
displaced persons" (Reuters, June 2, 2005).

The figure of 3.5 million represents a huge and unanticipated increase from the
WFP projected estimate of 2.8 million people made at the beginning of the
current year. Indeed, the UN's Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 14 (the most recent,
representing assessments as of May 1, 2005) speaks of "WFP plans to scale up
operations targeting 3.25 million (worst-case scenario) by August 2005" (page 9).
But even in December/January there was no evidence of the tonnage capacity
required for such a vast population: 2.8 million people require almost 50,000
metric tons of food per month (humanitarian logisticians estimate 17,000 metric tons
of food per month per million of population in need). Capacity in Darfur has
been in the range of 30,000-35,000 metric tons per month over the past half

3.5 million people represent a requirement of almost 60,000 metric tons of food
per month. And this does not include critical non-food items (medical
supplies, shelter, water purification equipment, blankets, cooking fuel). Nor does
this figure of 3.5 million include the approximately 200,000 refugees in eastern
Chad. Some people in this huge population are not completely without food
resources, but food scarcity is increasing rapidly after two failed harvests (Darfur
Humanitarian Profile No. 14 [DHP 14] speaks of "a near total crop failure" in
2004). Moreover, inflation in food prices puts food beyond the financial reach
of more and more non-displaced persons, even as rural populations are unable to
re-engage in agricultural production because of extreme insecurity.

Malnutrition rates are rising alarmingly in some locations, and the traditional
"food gap" has only just begun. DHP 14 notes that:

"Several nutrition surveys conducted in various parts of the region in January
and February resulted in Global Acute Malnutrition rates between 4.9% and 10%.
In March and April these rates increased to 14% to 25%."

Even assuming a "conflict-affected" population of 2.7 million (the figure cited
in this most recent UN Profile), 45% of the population is without access to
clean water, a rapidly growing health crisis in itself; and almost one third of
the camp populations are without adequate sanitary facilities, a hugely
threatening issue in the rainy season.

In short, there is an enormous deficit in humanitarian delivery capacity, as
well as a disgraceful shortfall in international funding, and an impending
logistical nightmare with the early onset of seasonal rains. Human mortality among
this population, clearly at acute risk, will be staggering in the coming months.


Much has been made of the June 6, 2005 announcement by the International
Criminal Court that investigation of Darfur atrocities has commenced (the UN Security
Council has referred violations of international law occurring in Darfur to the
ICC). But as important as this may be as a matter of principle and
international law---and as a long-term deterrent to war crimes, crimes against humanity,
and genocide---the announcement does nothing to change the situation on the
ground in Darfur.

Indeed, as a number of humanitarian organizations have reported, the ICC
referral has only heightened security concerns in the theater of operations.
Moreover, there has been a recent and significant increase in Khartoum's harassment of
humanitarian workers and operations, including last week's arrest of two senior
officials of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the
organization with the largest and most important presence in Darfur.

All this comes at a time when the first heavy rains of the season have been
reported in West Darfur, with evidence strongly suggesting a generally early
arrival of the seasonal rains. Logistical difficulties will only increase over the
next four months of increasingly disabling rainfall. The modest
pre-positioning of food and non-food items throughout Darfur, and recent improvements in
sanitary facilities and disease control, will be overwhelmed by transport
difficulties, deterioration of sanitary conditions within the camps, and the continuing
influx of rural populations drawn to the camps by hunger and the desperate need
for security.

There were no major outbreaks of cholera or dysentery last rainy season (2004),
with less than half the current camp population. It is unlikely that the
displaced people of Darfur will be so fortunate this season. Moreover, much of the
population is more distressed than last year, with those most recently arriving
in the camps often the weakest and most malnourished. Malaria, measles,
meningitis, and a stubborn presence of Hepatitis E are only some of the health
threats that loom ever closer.

Extreme insecurity remains the fundamental issue constraining humanitarian
capacity, and though the causes of this insecurity are now more diffuse, and
increasingly the responsibility of the insurgency movements, it remains the case that
the National Islamic Front (NIF) regime in Khartoum has done nothing to improve
security, either in the camps or in rural areas. US Deputy Secretary of State
Robert Zoellick has expediently declared his agnosticism about Khartoum's role
in directing the Janjaweed militia forces it has so clearly supported for over
two years: "[Zoellick] said it was hard to say whether the pro-government
militia [the Janjaweed] were still receiving instruction from Khartoum" (Associated
Press [dateline: al-Fasher], June 3, 2005). This flies in the face of all
evidence, and an assessment offered less than a month ago by a senior UN official:

"Pro-government Arab fighters are still targeting civilians in Sudan's Darfur
region and rape, kidnapping and banditry actually increased in April, [Hedi
Annabi, UN assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping] told the Security Council
on Thursday [May 12, 2005]." (Reuters, May 12, 2005)

Khartoum's "instructions" to attack the non-Arab or African tribal populations
of Darfur are in fact standing orders, and have been for two years. There is
no need to reiterate the "instructions" contained in a document leaked by
African Union personnel to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times in February of this
year (Kristof had the document vetted by a number of Sudan experts, all of whom
found it authentic):

"The [AU] archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a
janjaweed official that apparently outlines genocidal policies. Dated last August
[2004], the document calls for the 'execution of all directives from the president
of the republic' and is directed to regional commanders and security officials.
'Change the demography of Darfur and make it void of African tribes,' the
document urges. It encourages 'killing, burning villages and farms, terrorizing
people, confiscating property from members of African tribes and forcing them from
Darfur.'" (New York Times, February 23, 2005)

If we are in any doubt about who these "regional commanders" are or how clearly
they define the activities of the Janjaweed, we need only recall another
extraordinary set of documents, secured by Human Rights Watch last July:

"Human Rights Watch said it had obtained confidential documents from the
civilian administration in Darfur that implicate high-ranking government officials in
a policy of militia support. '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.'"

"Human Rights Watch said that Sudanese government forces and government-backed
militias are responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes and 'ethnic
cleansing' involving aerial and ground attacks on civilians of the same ethnicity
as members of two rebel groups in Darfur." (Human Rights Watch, July 20, 2004)

The burden of proof is clearly on those who would argue that Khartoum has made
any effort to disarm or control the Janjaweed, as "demanded" by the UN Security

"[The UN Security Council] demands that the government of Sudan fulfill its
commitments to disarm the Janjaweed militias and apprehend and bring to justice
Janjaweed leaders and their associates who have incited and carried out human
rights and international law violations and other atrocities." (UN Security
Council Resolution 1556, July 30, 2005)

Certainly Janjaweed attacks continue in Darfur, as the Sudan Organization
Against Torture reports today (June 8, 2005):

"On 26 May 2005, armed militias on camels, reportedly the Janjaweed militias
wearing military uniform, attacked Um Dom village in Ishmael area, Nyala
province, South Darfur state, wounding at least two men. The militias looted
approximately 185 livestock." (SOAT, Human Rights Alert: June 8, 2005)

What is represented by Zoellick's agnosticism about the ongoing relation
between Khartoum and the Janjaweed is impotence---the refusal to acknowledge that the
US and its European allies are finally unwilling to force Khartoum to comply
with the singular UN Security Council "demand" of note. Khartoum for its part,
having openly flouted the UN "demand" for months, is now convinced that are no
consequences for its intransigence. Zoellick, despite his professed
agnosticism, may find it politically useful to declare that:

"'we [the US] are sending a very strong message to the government of Sudan
that we want them to stop the militias. They have a responsibility...and we also
want them to move to disarm the militias,' Zoellick told reporters in
el-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state." (Agence France-Presse, June 3, 2005)

But Khartoum hears this only as more words, of precisely the sort the regime
has ignored without consequence for almost a year.


Khartoum's refusal to disarm or control the Janjaweed---coupled with increasing
fragmentation among the insurgency groups and a dramatic increase in
opportunistic banditry (the product of a general climate of impunity that the Janjaweed
has left in its broad and violent wake)---ensures that insecurity remains the
major obstacle to humanitarian relief operations and efforts to expand capacity.
One response has been the increased use of very expensive air transport for
food and other items that could be trucked into and within Darfur if there were
not such danger attending overland routes. Thus the International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC) recently announced a massive increase in the use of air

"The [ICRC] said Saturday it had begun airlifting food supplies to refugees in
the violence-wracked Darfur region, saying a rising number of attacks on aid
convoys made it too risky to move the food by road."

"[The ICRC said] the airlift had been prompted by dwindling food supplies and
the growing number of people dependent on food aid. 'This situation is
underscored by increasing insecurity on the roads from Khartoum to Darfur where attacks
on aid convoys are on the increase.'" (AP, June 4, 2005)

And in an ominous moment of honesty, the ICRC spoke for international aid
efforts in Darfur generally, at least with currently prevailing insecurity:

"'We cannot do more, we are reaching our limit logistically,' [Dominik
Stillhart, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan for the past two years,] said."
(Reuters, June 2, 2005)

Other signs of the need to rely on air transport---generally about five times
more expensive than overland trucking---come from the UN's World Food Program
(WFP), which is already flying 5,000 metric tons of food per month from Libya
into Darfur. Reuters reports on WFP's appeal for additional funds for Darfur food

"Its massive aid operation, hit by a chronic lack of trucks and attacks on its
land convoys, will also start flying mobile teams to remote areas to distribute
rations, [WFP regional director for East and Central Africa Holdbrook] Arthur
said." (Reuters, June 2, 2005)

This is clearly in anticipation of the need to deliver much more food by
airdrop in the coming months, which will be necessary given the unrelenting
insecurity on the ground. A UN "sit rep" of June 2, 2005 suggests the role of Khartoum
and the Janjaweed in debilitating attacks on trucking:

"North Darfur: on 1 June [2005], three WFP-contracted trucks were stopped 10
kilometers south of Malha by three armed men in uniform. The occupants of the
trucks were robbed of their personal belongings and allowed to continue."

The most recent UN Joint Logistics Committee Darfur Bulletin (#62, June 7,
2005) reports that the obstruction of major overland transport routes in South
Darfur (the transport hub for Darfur) continues:

"[UN security personnel] continue to assess the three main truck routes for UN
movement. The routes Nyala-Manawashi-Fasher;
Nyala-Kass-Nertitie-Zallingi-Geneina; and Nyala-Labado-Muhajaria-Ed Daen routes remain "NO GO."

Khartoum has also stepped up its obstruction, harassment, and intimidation of
humanitarian workers and operations. Even after signaling that MSF personnel
would not be prosecuted, Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail was unapologetic for the
arrests of the two senior MSF workers in Darfur, and clearly suggested that
other organizations would be held "accountable":

"Striking an unapologetic note after the arrest of two foreign aid workers,
Sudan's foreign minister Wednesday warned international organizations not to
meddle in the country's affairs or tarnish its image. 'Organizations operating in
Sudan should observe the country's national security in their dealings and they
should not be seen to tarnish Sudan's image through issuance of false
information,' Ismail said [alluding to the charges against MSF because of their
clinically authoritative report on rape in Darfur]."

"'We would like to see this episode [the arrest of MSF workers] ending with a
confirmation of Sudan's sovereignty and independence, and an end to all attempts
seeking to smear or tarnish the image of Sudan by some organizations,' Ismail
said" (AP, June 1, 2005)

Khartoum's brazen contempt for humanitarian efforts is also reflected in
outrageous new charges for air transport of relief supplies:

"The Sudan Civil Aviation Authority has started imposing landing, navigation,
parking and security charges in the amount of approximately [$1,710 USD] per
flight for an IL-76, with varying rates for other aircraft. These charges were
imposed without advance notice in the Darfurs on aircraft chartered by [the US
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance] to deliver humanitarian supplies, and on UN
World Food Program aircraft flying in from Chad." (UN Joint Logistics Committee
Darfur Bulletin, #62, June 7, 2005)

Khartoum also continues to obstruct the free passage of humanitarian supplies
through Port Sudan (UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 14 [DHP 14], page 10).
And most significantly, Khartoum is clearly behind and (multiple intelligence
sources indicate) responsible for a sharp uptick in attacks against humanitarian
workers and convoys. DHP 14 notes that "the specific targeting [of humanitarian
convoys that] is unprecedented and a development of utmost concern" (page 4).

It is important to bear in mind that as much as violence and insecurity affect
humanitarian operations, and thus threaten the greatest number of lives,
violence and official harassment directed against individual Darfuris continues on a
terrifying scale as well. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times reports
recently from Kalma camp (South Darfur):

"Refugees fleeing to Kalma from a village called Saleya described how nine boys
were seized by the janjaweed, stripped naked and tied up, their noses and ears
cut off and their eyes gouged out. They were then shot dead and left near a
public well. Nearby villagers got the message and fled."

"Aid workers report that in another village, the janjaweed recently castrated a
10-year-old boy, apparently to terrorize local people and drive them away."
(New York Times [dateline: Kalma camp, South Darfur], June 7, 2005)

Other means are more subtle, but no less deadly. Kristof was able to file an
earlier dispatch from the Kalma area, noting the representative difficulties
facing a woman from one of Darfur's African tribal groups, "Magboula." She had
earlier been gang-raped by eight Janjaweed before making it to Kalma camp. But as
Kristof discovered,

"the Sudanese government is blocking new arrivals like her from getting
registered, which means they can't get food and tents. So Magboula is getting no
rations and is living with her children under a straw mat on a few sticks. [A] few
days ago, Abdul Hani, Magboula's baby, died." (New York Times, May 31, 2005)

There are countless "Magboula's" struggling against the genocidal ambitions of
Khartoum and its murderous Janjaweed allies. DHP 14 speaks of "systematic
sexual assaults [that] continue unabated in and around Internally Displaced Persons
gatherings, suggesting that continued international pressure and Government of
Sudan pledges to end impunity and violations have had only a very limited
effect" (page 4).

Large numbers of displaced Darfuris continue to be victims of Khartoum's policy
of forced expulsions and deportment from camps, a policy reported by many
humanitarian organizations, though typically not for attribution for fear of
retaliation by regime officials. Those forced to leave the relative security of the
camps for their former villages or other sites, without food or security, are at
extreme risk of starvation and Janjaweed attack. Despite vigorous protests
from the international community, Khartoum continues with this savagely callous


Though a great deal of hope has been expressed in the wake of the June 6, 2005
announcement that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has begun its
investigation of violations of international law in Darfur, the Khartoum
regime---several of whose senior members are on the list of 51 names referred to the
ICC---has been consistently and adamantly contemptuous, indeed threatening. In the
domestic press the comments have been particularly strenuous:

"Sudan stressed on Monday [June 6, 2005] that a probe by the ICC into alleged
war crimes in Darfur could torpedo efforts to achieve peace in the country. 'It
is surprising that the ICC declaration was made while a government delegation
is preparing to head to Abuja for talks with rebels on Friday to seek a
political settlement,' said Najeeb el-Kheir Abdu-el-Wahab, minister of state of the
Foreign Ministry. He said such a move by the ICC could poison the atmosphere for
the talks and send a wrong signal to rebels." (al-Sahafa Paper, UN Daily Press
Review, June 7, 2005)

The message is clear: any aggressive move toward prosecution by the ICC will
lead Khartoum to stall on the diplomatic front, even as it is clear to all that
only a negotiated settlement provides a long-term solution to Darfur's

Officially, and for the international community, the regime is just as adamant:

"Also Wednesday [June 8, 2005], the government gave its first Cabinet-level
response to this week's decision by the ICC to begin investigating war crimes in
Darfur, as the UN Security Council had mandated it to do. 'Our decision not to
hand any Sudanese national for trial outside the country remains valid and has
not changed,' Justice Minister Ali Karti was quoted as saying by the official
Sudan Media Center." (AP, June 8, 2005)

None of this is new of course: senior members of the NIF regime have for weeks
been saying as much. What the ICC announcement has done is make clearer
Khartoum's determination, as well as the ways in which the regime might undermine ICC

"'There are a number of things [the Khartoum regime] can do,' one lawyer at the
court here said. 'Khartoum officials cannot stop the process, but they can
stall and buy time.'" (New York Times [dateline: The Hague], June 7, 2005)

The New York Times dispatch concludes:

"Prosecutors can act only after a government shows itself unwilling or unable
to conduct credible trials in its own courts. If Sudan goes through with its
own trials, international prosecutors would be forced to take time to show that
those trials were not credible. Proceedings would be delayed further if they
have to prove a government cover-up or that officials were shielding crucial

We catch a glimpse of Khartoum's strategy in forestalling the workings of the
Court in a Reuters dispatch:

"'If [the ICC investigators] want to observe what is going on from the ICC and
others, they are welcome (but) if they want to start trials of the Sudanese
this is not acceptable,' Majzoub al-Khalifa, the head of the government's Darfur
talks team, said. 'The investigation is part of the trial system.'" (Reuters,
June 6, 2005)

In other words, if the "investigation is part of the trial system", and ICC
trials of Sudanese are "unacceptable," the investigations will ultimately be
regarded as "unacceptable," and impeded and frustrated by Khartoum in all the ways
it has perfected not just in Darfur but in other crisis areas of Sudan.


Khartoum's opposition to ICC investigation and prosecution derives in large
measure from the fact that senior regime officials are among those under sealed
"indictment" in The Hague. Given the regime's chains of command and the lines of
authority and reporting, as authoritatively detailed by the UN Commission of
Inquiry, we may be sure that those indicted include First Vice President Ali
Osman Taha (with primary responsibility for Darfur policy), NIF head of Security
and Intelligence, Saleh 'Gosh' (the genocidaire recently flown to Washington, DC
by the CIA for discussions of international terrorism), and Interior Minister
Abdel Rahmin Mohamed Hussein (architect of the policy of forcible returns and
expulsions in Darfur).

But beyond the regime's powerful and ruthless instincts for self-preservation
lies a calculated policy of minimizing the international presence in Darfur.
This policy is animated by the belief that if such presence can be attenuated,
and eventually eliminated, there will be a corresponding diminishment of
international attention and pressure on the regime. Thus the conspicuous effort to
keep journalists and human rights reporters out of Darfur, the harassment and
sanctioned attacks on humanitarian convoys and workers, and the adamant refusal to
countenance troops or personnel not part of the African Union.

The AU for its part, along with the Arab League, has done all too much to
assist Khartoum in resisting the necessary international response. The AU waited an
unconscionably long time before admitting it did not have the resources to
deploy sufficient troops, police, and other personnel to Darfur---and still refuses
to recognize that it cannot provide sufficient numbers. Moreover, the 7,500
figure, planned for deployment by September, is still woefully inadequate to the
critical security needs of the region. As the International Crisis Group has
recently argued:

"The AU may have the best will in the world, but with the kind of support now
on offer it is simply not able to do what is necessary, with the requisite
urgency, to prevent tens of thousands more lives from being lost. Thus far, in an
understandable effort to maintain the mission's African face, the AU and its
international partners have been very clear about not wanting to put Western
troops on the ground. Yet if all other military protection options fail, as it looks
like they will, a multinational intervention force may be needed to fill the
gap until the AU can take up the entire task." (Gareth Evans, President of the
International Crisis Group, The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2005)

As the ICG's Evans also notes, the AU still has not secured an adequate mandate
for its operations in Darfur. It has been unwilling or unable to demand of
Khartoum a mandate for civilian protection, and thus officially remains a
"monitoring" presence in Darfur. Compounding the difficulty of securing a robust
international response, guided by an appropriate mandate, are key members of the
African Union---notably Nigeria, Egypt, and Libya---that have insisted Darfur is
an "Africa only" problem.

Egypt and Libya are also part of the Arab League, which is even more vicious in
its expedient effort to reject international efforts to halt genocide. Amr
Mussa, former Egyptian foreign minister and now head of the Arab League, offers a
chilling example of a refusal to recognize the ethnic character of human
destruction in Darfur, despite overwhelming evidence on this issue from scores of
human rights reports and other analyses and dispatches from the ground:

"'I cannot see any justification for concentration on differences between the
Arab and African tribes in Darfur,' [Mussa] commented. 'We reject plans for
driving a wedge between these two groups of tribes who are now mingling and
intermarrying with each other,' Mussa added." (Agence France-Presse, June 4, 2005)

If we carefully parse the meaning of this deeply and cruelly disingenuous
description of the Darfur conflict, we must see that what Mussa and the Arab League
(and thus Egypt) are saying is that "ethnic conflict in Darfur is a contrivance
of Western nations"; in fact, Mussa suggests, there is nothing but ethnic
harmony ("mingling" and "intermarrying"), and if there is presently some unpleasant
violence and deprivation, this does not require international intervention,
which would be the equivalent of "driving a wedge" between happily "mingling" and
"intermarrying" tribal groups. In short, Mussa is warning that any
internationalizing of the Darfur crisis will be viewed by the Arab League and Egypt as an
infringement on their hegemonic interests in Sudan.

Clearly Mussa doesn't care about the truth, or reports like those from human
rights organizations such as Amnesty International. More than a year ago
Amnesty was only one of several important organizations chronicling ethnic hatred
gone mad in Darfur:

"A refugee farmer from the village of Kishkish reported...the words used by the
[Janjawid] militia: 'You are Black and you are opponents. You are our slaves,
the Darfur region is in our hands and you are our herders.'"(Amnesty
International, "Darfur: Too many people killed for no reason," February 3, 2004, page 28)

"A civilian from Jafal confirmed [he was] told by the Janjawid: 'You are
opponents to the regime, we must crush you. As you are Black, you are like slaves.
Then all the Darfur region will be in our hands. The government is on our side.
The government plane is on our side to give us ammunition and food.'" (page 28)


Khartoum has in too many ways already prevailed in its genocidal endeavors,
both by human destruction deliberately orchestrated in concert with the Janjaweed
and by means of the obstruction, harassment, and intimidation of relief
efforts. Extreme insecurity ensures that overall humanitarian capacity will be
seriously insufficient throughout the current rainy season and "hunger gap." Human
mortality, already at roughly 400,000 (see April 30, 2005 mortality assessment
by this writer at
will increase by obscene monthly increments. The collapse of agricultural
production throughout Darfur, and the destruction of the means for resuming such
production, ensure that the catastrophe will deepen for the foreseeable future.

Despite the clear culpability of Khartoum, the UN Security Council resolutely
refuses to take any meaningful action---either to secure compliance with
previous demands or even to impose sanctions already voted. Human Rights Watch
recently reported:

"On March 29, [2005] the UN Security Council authorized sanctions on
individuals responsible for violating international law in Darfur; the penalties include
asset freezes and travel restrictions. Under Resolution 1591, the UN
secretary-general must appoint a panel of experts in consultation with a committee made
up of all the members of the Security Council, all within 30 days from the date
the resolution was passed. Two months after the resolution, the matter remains
pending in the Security Council committee, and no one has been appointed to the
panel of experts." (Human Rights Watch press release, June 2, 2005)

In southern Sudan, increasingly overlooked by the international community
despite its desperate emergency transitional needs in the wake of the January 9,
2005 peace agreement, the regime characteristically ignores its most basic
responsibilities, even as famine has begun to bite deeply in Bahr el-Ghazal.

"Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the UN advance mission in Sudan, has said
there is famine in some regions in southern Sudan. At a media conference today
[June 8, 2005] she said the UN would work hard to meet the requirements of the
regions suffering from food shortage in the coming period.
Donors promised $4.5 billion to bolster the [north/south] peace deal at a
conference in Oslo in April, but warehouses at the Kenyan border town of Lokichoggio
used as a staging post for aid dropped by UN cargo planes are almost empty."
(Sudan Tribune, June 8, 2005)

Elsewhere Deutsche Presse Agentur reports further international failure to
support southern Sudan and the peacekeeping mission there:

"The German government fears a UN peacekeeping mission in war-torn Sudan is
being jeopardized by Khartoum's interference and by foot-dragging by countries
that have pledged to send troops to the war-town nation, according to a published
report Saturday. [ ] The vanguard of the German contingent received visas for
only a four-week stay in Sudan, despite the fact that the peacekeeping mission
is scheduled for six years, [Der Spiegel] magazine quoted Defence Ministry
sources as saying."

"In addition, other countries have reneged on their troop commitments to the
extent that, of the originally planned 10,000 troops, only about 1,500 are now
actually expected to be on the ground in Sudan." (dpa, June 4, 2005)

How seriously does the international community regard the crisis in Darfur?
the challenges of sustaining peace in southern Sudan? These callous attitudes
and grim facts speak all too incisively.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Darfur Posted by Hello

Khartoum's Continuing Assault on Humanitarian Aid Workers: 

A campaign of intimidation in the context of international

Eric Reeves
June 1, 2005

Khartoum's National Islamic Front regime has in the past two days
arrested the two top officials working in Darfur and Sudan for the Nobel
Peace Prize-winning humanitarian organization Doctors Without
Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, specifically MSF-Holland). For
emphasis, the regime's security forces also arrested the translator for
Kofi Annan following the UN Secretary-General's interview with rape
victims in Darfur, including a pre-pubescent girl. If we are to
understand the implications of these extraordinarily brazen actions, we
must see not simply how they extend an official policy of harassing and
intimidating aid organizations, as well as stifling their efforts to
convey the full genocidal horror that continues in Darfur. The meaning
of these arrests, ordered on purely contrived grounds, derives
ultimately from Khartoum's profound contempt for the international

The regime is openly contemptuous of international humanitarian
operations in Darfur, and has relentlessly obstructed them for over a
year and a half. The regime is equally contemptuous of all
international human rights organizations, as well as the international
news media and their fitful efforts to reveal the truth about human
suffering and destruction in Darfur. The regime is particularly
contemptuous of the International Criminal Court, to which the UN
Security Council has referred massive "crimes against humanity"
following the report of a Commission of Inquiry (January 2005). These
crimes certainly including acts by senior officials of this same brutal

The regime is also contemptuous of the African Union and its all too
limited efforts to provide a deterrent to ongoing genocide in Darfur:
the regime has blocked investigations by the AU, has permitted hostile
military actions against AU personnel, and has refused to grant a
mandate for meaningful civilian protection.

And the regime is contemptuous of the UN, which has through various of
its senior officials conveyed weakness and inconsistency. For its part,
the UN Security Council has passed six resolutions, none of which has
convinced the Khartoum regime that there are consequences for genocidal
actions. The "demand" of Security Council Resolution 1556 (July 30,
2004)---that Khartoum disarm its vicious Janjaweed militia allies and
bring their leaders to justice---has for almost a year been an object of
especially conspicuous contempt.

Most broadly, the regime is contemptuous of the African peoples of
Sudan, whether in Darfur, southern Sudan, or other marginalized regions
of Africa's largest country (including the increasingly restive east).
This is one context in which to understand the virtually simultaneous
announcements by National Islamic Front foreign minister Mustafa Ismail
and by the UN's World Food Program (WFP): Ismail announced that oil
production would climb to 500,000 barrels/day in August of this year,
ensuring a massive growth in revenues for the regime; WFP announced that
funding for emergency humanitarian food aid for southern Sudan is
woefully inadequate and that many thousands of lives are already at
acute risk. This occurs at the beginning of the "hunger gap" prior to
fall harvest, with very little food in prospect (UN IRIN, May 27, 2005).

Moreover, the increasing number of returning internally displaced
persons and refugees will place inordinate strains on humanitarian
resources in southern Sudan. The UN's respected Food and Agriculture
Organization has estimated that "580,000 displaced persons were expected
to return to the south after the rainy season" (UN IRIN, May 27,
2005)---these in addition to the more than 200,000 who have already
returned to the south.

Intensifying famine conditions in the south, particularly Bahr
el-Ghazal Province---site of Khartoum's engineered famine of 1998, which
may have claimed more than 100,000 lives---have been overshadowed by the
crisis in Darfur. But this must not diminish Khartoum's conspicuous
failure to respond, and the regime's gross mismanagement of national

For despite a massive increase in oil revenues (Sudan already produces
approximately 300,000 barrels/day, having exported none prior to August
1999), the most urgent food needs of the primarily Dinka people of Bahr
el-Ghazal are essentially ignored. And yet the NIF regime last year
completed purchase of 12 MiG-29's from Russia, and announced plans to
purchase 12 more (see Christian Science Monitor, August 31, 2004 at:
csmonitor.com/2004/0831/p01s02-wogi.html and
www.airforce-technology.com/projects/mig29/). This profligate
acquisition of one of the world's most advanced fighter aircraft comes
in place of food purchases and investment in the agricultural sector of
Sudan, which even a white-washing International Monetary Fund (IMF) has
conceded is badly undercapitalized. Khartoum pleads poverty when it
comes to feeding Sudan's people, even as it makes hugely and
gratuitously expensive military purchases.

This, too, bespeaks the regime's contempt---for the IMF and for those
international actors willing to overlook genocidal destruction in the
interest of securing financial and commercial advantage in dealing with
this newly oil-rich regime.


Why is Khartoum so confident in its contempt? Why does it feel
sufficiently emboldened to arrest senior officials of Doctors Without
Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres, an emergency medical relief
organization which collectively has 3,300 personnel in Darfur,
representing almost a third of the aid workers in the humanitarian
theater? Why, despite specific promises of protection, does the regime
promptly arrest a translator for the UN Secretary-General on his recent
visit to Darfur? Most fundamentally, why does the regime continue, with
an obvious sense of impunity, its current policy of genocide by
attrition in Darfur?

The answers are painfully, disgracefully obvious. Khartoum continues
its genocidal policies in Darfur---including the obstruction of
humanitarian assistance---because these policies have for more than two
years constituted a brutally successful counter-insurgency strategy,
destroying or displacing as many as two-thirds of the non-Arab or
African tribal populations perceived by the regime as supporting the
insurgency movements. For its part, the international community has
been content with what has been essentially moral exhortation and
condemnation. No meaningful sanctions have actually been imposed or are
in prospect. The ICC referral has perversely succeeded only in
providing Khartoum an incentive for greater violence and contempt. And
NATO logistical assistance to the African Union will offer only
incremental improvements in human security.


Assuming a pre-war population in Darfur of six million, and a non-Arab
or African percentage of very roughly 60-65%, this suggests an
ethnically-targeted population of 3.5 to 4 million. Over the past 28
months, approximately 400,000 people have been killed by violence, as
well as by disease and malnutrition that are the direct results of
violence (see April 30, 2005 mortality assessment by this writer at
Approximately 2 million Darfuris are now registered in camps for
displaced persons in Darfur (UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 13,
April 1, 2005), and another 200,000 are refugees in Chad. The number of
unregistered displaced persons in camps and surviving in inaccessible
rural areas may only be estimated, but is likely in excess of 300,000
(see April 30, 2005 mortality assessment).

In short, almost 3 million people have destroyed or displaced. This is
the primary reason for the diminishment in violence that is so often
cited as evidence of an "improving" situation in Darfur. In fact, this
"improvement" simply reflects the consolidation of the consequences
of ethnic destruction and displacement.

And the dying is far from over, despite the diminishment of violence.
The number of conflict-affected persons in Darfur and eastern Chad is
now estimated by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs at 2.82 million (US Agency for International Development "fact
sheet" for Darfur, May 27, 2005). Various UN officials have indicated
that those in need of food aid will climb to over 3 million in the
current rainy season (which is largely coincident with the traditional
"hunger gap" between spring planting and fall harvest). Because the
entire population of Darfur is now affected by the collapse of the
agricultural economy, as well as the disruption of both trade and
traditional camel and cattle migration routes, Arab tribal populations
will also be affected (it is important to bear in mind that only some of
the many Arab groups in Darfur have been recruited into the Janjaweed).
The total of those in need of food assistance may exceed 4 million
according to Jan Egeland, head of UN humanitarian operations.

Many of those who presently most need aid are either inaccessible in
rural areas, or are denied humanitarian assistance by the regime. The
New York Times' Nicholas Kristof reports from Nyala (having secured
entry only by accompanying Kofi Annan):

"The Sudanese government is blocking new arrivals like [a displaced
African woman named Magboula] from getting registered, which means they
can't get food and tents. So Magboula is getting no rations and is
living with her children under a straw mat on a few sticks." (New York
Times [dateline: Nyala, South Darfur], May 31, 2005)

The rainy season will also certainly bring an increase in disease among
camp populations that have more than doubled in size in the past year
and have been seriously weakened by malnutrition. The stubborn
Hepatitis E infection (with very high mortality among pregnant women)
continues to be a significant health issue. Cholera and dysentery loom
again as the greatest health threats in camps that have seriously
deficient sanitary facilities, although outbreaks of meningitis, polio,
and measles are cause for extremely serious concern. Malaria will also
claim significant numbers of lives with the first hatch of mosquitoes.

Khartoum is well aware of all these sources of ongoing human
destruction, and this is the context in which to assess the meaning of
the arrests of senior MSF personnel for a March 8, 2005 MSF report on
the extremely well-documented phenomenon of rape of women and girls by
the Janjaweed and Khartoum's regular armed forces. Almost three months
after publication, MSF has been singled out by Khartoum for harassment
and intimidation; this is a direct assault on the largest and most
important humanitarian presence in Darfur.

As Human Rights Watch observed prior to the arrests, in a May 24, 2005

"The UN has estimated that as many as 3.5 to 4 million people in Darfur
will not have enough to eat in the next few months. The Sudanese
government has recently stepped up its bureaucratic war on the vast
humanitarian relief effort that is attempting to help millions of
Darfurians. Since December [2004], the Sudanese government has been
trying to intimidate some humanitarian agencies in Darfur through
arbitrary arrests, detentions and other more subtle forms of harassment."
(Human Rights Watch press release, May 24, 2005)

But given high levels of insecurity, even unfettered humanitarian
access ensures only that the camps for displaced persons will become
more efficient "human warehouses"---and stronger magnets for starving
people in rural areas, where there is no possibility of planting or food
production. As the International Committee of the Red Cross grimly

"During the last planting season [spring/summer 2004], less than 30% of
arable land was cultivated. This proportion is set to decline further
[during the current planting season]."

And the collapse of the agricultural economy is reflected in other dire

"Like agriculture, trade in goods and cattle has dramatically declined
in Darfur. Migration routes continue to be blocked owing to the
hostilities. Accessibility to grazing areas must be restored to prevent
further loss of livestock." (ICRC press release, May 28, 2005)

The success of Khartoum's genocidal counter-insurgency strategy is
already assured.


Nothing does more to convince the genocidaires in Khartoum of their
impunity than the clear shift in US policy on Darfur, and Sudan more
generally. The point-man within the Bush administration has been Deputy
Secretary of State Robert Zoellick. It was Zoellick who on April 15,
2005 (in Khartoum) pointedly declined to reaffirm the unambiguous
genocide determination by former Secretary of State Colin Powell before
the US Senate on September 9, 2004:

"Genocide has been committed in Darfur, and the government of Sudan and
the Janjaweed bear responsibility."

[Under obvious political duress, President George Bush today (June 1,
2005) finally reiterated the US genocide determination of last
September. It has been, according to Kristof in his New York Times
column of yesterday, 142 days since Bush last mentioned Darfur, and then
only in passing. We are fully justified in our skepticism about how
seriously the President regards genocidal destruction of Darfuris, and
US contractual obligations to halt this destruction under 1948 UN
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Recent statements by his two senior State Department officials only
confirm such skepticism.]

It was also Zoellick who attempted to diminish mortality in Darfur by
declassifying a scandalous State Department report that purported to
demonstrate that deaths in Darfur were in the range of 63,000-146,000.
But the report (still posted at
http://www.state.gov/s/inr/rls/fs/2005/45105.htm) is a travesty, a
disgrace to reason and ultimately to justice for those Darfuris who have
died. It contains not a single reference or citation, and offers not a
single statistical derivation; as the State Department offers it, and
Zoellick invokes it, the report is nothing other than bald numerical
assertion with tendentious and frequently erroneous characterizations of
the crisis in Darfur.

[The State Department "report" has been incorporated into another
highly tendentious document ("Darfur: Counting the Deaths," May 26,
2005, CRED, Brussels), which will be analyzed by this writer in a
forthcoming mortality assessment.]

And most recently, Zoellick has effectively removed all pressure on
Khartoum to engage in meaningful negotiations with the insurgents in
Darfur by declaring that the very regime responsible for ongoing
genocide "was now 'working hard' for a political solution to restore
order in the troubled western region [of Darfur]" (Agence France-Presse,
May 27, 2005).

AFP appropriately notes that Zoellick's comments "contrasted with the
US position earlier this year, expressing 'grave concerns' over violence
in Darfur, sticking by its description of genocide, and proposing new UN
sanctions against Khartoum."

We may reasonably ask how a regime that continues to be guilty of what
the President has today again declared to be genocide can also be
"trying to work cooperatively," and "working hard for a political
decision." What is the point of contact between "political cooperation"
and ongoing responsibility for the deliberate, ethnically-targeted
destruction of the African peoples of Darfur---"as such"?

Khartoum has certainly banked this grotesque assessment, along with
broader international willingness to support---at least
diplomatically---the north/south Comprehensive Peace Agreement (signed
in Nairobi on January 9, 2005) at the expense of speaking honestly about
genocide in Darfur. This expediency, in evidence since early 2004, has
been fully discerned by the regime.

Khartoum has also carefully watched the recent summit in Addis Ababa
(home to the African Union), chaired by Kofi Annan and AU Chair Alpha
Oumar Konare. Khartoum saw the insistence, repeated both by Konare and
other AU officials, as well as NATO officials, that the force on the
ground in Darfur would not include any non-African troops. NATO's role
would be confined to logistics, transport, and advising. Most
significantly, there was no call for an expanded mandate for the current
or deploying AU personnel: the AU's will remain a monitoring mission,
tasked only with reporting on the observance of an increasingly
irrelevant cease-fire agreement.

Why would the AU not demand of Khartoum a mandate that explicitly
included civilian protection and the protection of humanitarian
operations? The obvious answer is that there is no political will
within the AU to make such a demand of Khartoum, which would certainly
reject it. Rather than create a "non-permissive environment," the AU
has taken the expedient path of least resistance, arguing that the mere
presence of AU personnel will deter violence.

To a very limited extent this is true, as suggested by the effects of
the presently deployed 2,400 AU personnel. Where these personnel are
present, violence is less likely, though there have been a great many
reported instances in which attacks by Khartoum and the Janjaweed (not a
party to the cease-fire) have been completely undeterred by AU presence.
For example, Reuters recently reported (May 29, 2005) on the
observation of a returned resident of Labado (a significant town in
South Darfur that was destroyed in January despite the presence of the

"'Just a week ago [the Janjaweed] burned a village not three kilometers
(two miles) from here. The AU could see them coming,' said Juma'a
Eissa, one of the residents [of Labado]. 'But they didn't stop it, they
just made a report.'" (Reuters [dateline Labado, South Darfur], May 29,

But even the 7,500 troops planned for deployment by August are not
remotely sufficient to address the multiple security tasks that Darfur
presents. Nor indeed, is the total of 12,000 that the AU plans to
deploy a year from now (spring 2006).

There are over 150 camps for displaced persons in Darfur: they and
their environs must be secured against the ongoing predations of the
Janjaweed; a large police force is also required to reduce the
dramatically increasing tensions between deeply frustrated camp
residents and Khartoum's security forces. Recent deadly clashes in
Kalma camp (May 20, 2005) and Abu Shouk camps---two of the
largest---highlight this critical need. So too does the brutal assault
on the people at Soba camp outside Khartoum, in which over 30 people
were killed in furtherance of the regime's policy of forcible expulsion
and relocation. Such a policy of forcible relocation is being deployed
with deadly consequences throughout Darfur as circumstances permit, and
must be ended quickly and definitively or deaths (particularly
starvation) will grow rapidly.

Humanitarian corridors must be secured. The UN Joint Logistical
Committee for Darfur continues to report that the key road arteries from
Nyala (the capital of South Darfur and a transport hub) continue to be
"red no-go": these include the roads to al-Fasher (capital of North
Darfur), to al-Geneina (capital of West Darfur), and Ed Daen, the key
juncture to the east of Nyala (UNJLC Darfur Bulletin #61, May 30, 2005).
Many roads are so insecure that the UN's World Food Program finds it
difficult or impossible to hire drivers for convoys.

Rural populations are still completely vulnerable to Janjaweed attacks,
and the AU cannot deter these attacks or even report them all.
Moreover, the involvement of Khartoum's regular forces, including
helicopter gunships, continues, despite US State Department declarations
that all such attacks have ceased. The Scotsman (UK)---which has been
impressively authoritative in its dispatches on Darfur---yesterday
reported on confidential AU documents, chronicling Khartoum's brazen
defiance of UN resolutions and its commitment to the "cease-fire," and
thoroughly belying claims by the US's Zoellick of "political cooperation"
on the regime's part:

"Confidential AU reports have provided damning new evidence of the
involvement of Sudanese government forces and their Janjaweed militia
allies in the murder and rape of civilians in the Darfur region. AU
monitors have collected photographic evidence of Sudanese helicopter
gunships in action attacking villages, and their reports conclude that
the Sudanese government has systematically breached the peace deals that
it signed to placate the UN Security Council."

"Reports from Darfur indicate that air attacks on villages have
continued amid defiance of UN resolutions calling on the Khartoum regime
to disarm the Janjaweed, with the latest helicopter attack in South
Darfur reported to have taken place on 13 May [2005] as the UN
secretary-general, Kofi Annan, was preparing to visit the province.
Pictures taken by AU monitors document attacks by a Sudanese helicopter
gunship on the village of Labado in December, a month after the Sudanese
government gave an assurance that there would be no more such attacks.
The Sudanese government markings are clearly visible on the tailfin of
the helicopter."

"The government in Khartoum has consistently denied using air attacks
against villagers, insisting that they have only been used defensively
against attacks by rebel forces. The US and British governments have
accepted Sudanese assurances that there have been no air attacks since
February, but the anti-genocide Aegis Trust---which is campaigning for
an enlarged AU force to be sent to Darfur---claims it has received
reports of a bombing raid involving an Antonov aircraft on 23 March
[2005] and a helicopter attack in south Darfur on 13 May [2005]
witnessed by AU monitors." (The Scotsman, May 31, 2005)

Again, it is important to bear in mind that Darfur is the size of
France: the AU does not receive all reports of military attacks by the
Janjaweed and Khartoum's regular forces, nor is it capable with its
present deployment of investigating all reports it receives. It is
extremely unlikely that the May 13, 2005 helicopter gunship attack
actually witnessed by AU monitors is a singular event. On the contrary,
we may be certain that Khartoum has devised means of tracking monitors
and directing their attacks in places away from observing eyes.

There can be no denying that violence has diminished in Darfur, chiefly
because such a high percentage of the potential targets have already
been destroyed, and the victims displaced or killed. But this must not
be mistaken for an end to genocide, both violent and in the form of
attrition that has emerged as the greatest ongoing source of human


The largest security tasks in Darfur, impossible even with the
deployment of AU forces projected for a year from now, are [1] disarming
the Janjaweed, and [2] providing protection to those who wish to leave
the camps and return to their villages or the burned-out remains.
Khartoum has made clear over the past ten months that it has no
intention of disarming the Janjaweed; its only response to the singular
demand of UN Security Council Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004) is to
re-cycle some of the Janjaweed into the paramilitary Popular Defense
Forces and "police" for the camps. Disarming the Janjaweed is far
beyond the capability and mandate of the AU force.

So, too, is guaranteeing the security of those returning to their
village sites in an effort to resume agriculturally productive. The
difficulty of this task is highlighted by Janjaweed actions recently
reported by the UN High Commission for Refugees:

"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. [On Monday, April 18, 2005, villagers from
Seraf, West Darfur] 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. [A]cts 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)

Indeed, the consolidation of genocidal changes in demography, land
ownership, and local political power gives us a clear glimpse of the
purpose animating Khartoum's actions and its support for the Janjaweed.


The case for international humanitarian intervention remains as clear
as ever. Without such intervention, hundreds of thousands of Darfuris
will die in the coming months and years, compounding the staggering
catastrophe and moral failure to date. At least one distinguished
nongovernmental organization that has followed the Darfur crisis from
the beginning has now spoken out forcefully on the requirements of such
intervention. In a letter to world leaders, Gareth Evans, President of
the International Crisis Group (ICG), highlights "two areas in
particular that immediately demand a bold new approach: the mandate of
the international troop presence, and its size and capacity":

"The current mandate of AMIS [African Union Mission in Sudan], as
authorised by the AU Peace and Security Council, focuses on monitoring
and verification, leaving to the Sudanese government the basic
responsibility to protect civilians and humanitarian workers. 'Khartoum
has utterly failed in its responsibility to protect its own citizens,'
says Evans. 'And AMIS's own [civilian] protection role is so highly
qualified as to be almost meaningless.'"

Crucially, ICG anticipates Khartoum's threat to create a non-permissive
environment for this force, and offers the only appropriate

"The force's mandate must be strengthened both to enable and to
encourage it to undertake all necessary measures, including proactive
action, to protect civilians in Darfur. Khartoum's reluctance to accept
an expanded mandate must be met with a decision to commence planning for
the deployment, should this become necessary, of a fully-mandated
protection force in a non-permissive environment."

"On the force's size and capacity, it is clear the current security and
humanitarian situation in Darfur demands a much greater presence than is
currently in train. Crisis Group's own estimate is that a minimum
presence of 12,000-15,000 personnel is needed within the next 60 days.
'It has become apparent that the AU, with the best will in the world,
will be unable, without substantial further international support, to
deploy an effective force of anything like this size in anything like
this time-frame,' says Evans."

And ICG is also realistic about the role of non-African personnel:

"Ideally, the gap would be filled by more African personnel with strong
international support; but if this proves unworkable in the short time
available, a multinational bridging force will be the only solution to
tackle Darfur's most urgent protection needs. NATO would appear to be
the best equipped organisation to provide, and lead, the additional
troops required in the necessary numbers and within the necessary
time-frame." (International Crisis Group media release, May 25, 2005)

Though the "minimum" for which ICG argues is still inadequate to the
security needs of Darfur, it represents a critically important
willingness to think in terms not of AU capacity, or the lowest common
political denominator at the UN, but realistically about the essential
features of true civilian protection in Darfur.

Here the ICG is joined by the Aegis Trust (UK), which has coordinated
the Protect Darfur Campaign (see http://www.protectdarfur.co.uk/). In a
letter to all members of the UN Security Council, James Smith, Chief
Executive of the Aegis Trust, writes that "Darfur requires a peace
support operation of at least 25,000 troops." Citing both a "ratio of
troops to population" and a "ratio of peacekeeping troops to hostile
forces," the letter finds that "on both ratios the current (c. 3,000)
and future (c. 7,000) sizes of the peacekeeping force are extremely

We may hope that such realistic assessments of security and human
protection needs in Darfur guide future deliberations about peacekeeping
in the region. Tragically, the recently concluded summit in Addis Ababa
gives no sign that the African Union will accept such guidance.


Whether or not Khartoum backs down from its outrageous arrests of
senior officials of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres,
the significance of these arrests---and that of Kofi Annan's translator
in South Darfur---will be lost on no one who honestly assesses the
behavior of this regime since the outbreak of major hostilities in
February 2003. We could not have a more brazen and threatening
statement of Khartoum's intention to keep international relief as fully
under its vicious control as possible. Such control will take the form
of intimidating arrests, serious ongoing harassment through the domestic
press and on the ground in Darfur, the denial or delay of visas and
travel permits, and most seriously (according to both UN intelligence
and other sources assessing security in Darfur), the sanctioning of
Janjaweed and other violence against humanitarian workers.

Khartoum's pretext for the arrests of MSF officials is preposterous in
all respects. MSF's fine report of March 8, 2005 ("The Crushing Burden
of Rape: Sexual Violence in Darfur," at
http://www.msf.ca/press/images/070305_darfur_sexualviolence.pdf) offers
unprecedented clinical evidence that allows us to infer that many
thousands of African Darfuri women and girls have been raped as a weapon
of war. But in fact the MSF report was not groundbreaking and is
important chiefly because it consolidates some important data and
provides detailed clinical evidence in support of what was already known
of rape as a weapon of war. Rape, including numerous specific
instances, has been widely reported by human rights organizations, the
UN, and international journalists. (See especially "The Use of Rape as
a Weapon of War in the Conflict in Darfur, Sudan," October 2004;
Jennifer Leaning, MD and Tara Gingerich, JD [Harvard School of Public
Health], with Physicians for Human Rights).

The real meaning of Khartoum's arrests is that the regime clearly sees
no reason to change its genocidal ways. It has been evident for almost
a year that, going forward, most genocidal deaths would be primarily the
result of disease and malnutrition. To see in this "less violent"
genocide some form of "political cooperation" is unsurpassable
expediency. The only goal of such expediency is to ensure that Darfur
remains an "Africa only" problem, and that the obligations of a Western
response are limited to logistics, transport, and other "stand-off"
forms of assistance.

Confident that the AU has neither the manpower, the training, the
resources, nor the mandate for civilian and humanitarian protection in
Darfur, Khartoum need only control humanitarian access and operations to
sustain the genocide. It is to this end that the regime has arrested
senior MSF personnel and the translator for the most senior UN official.

There can be no excuse for misunderstanding this blunt statement.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

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