Darfur – A plan

Human Rights Watch: Crisis in Darfur

This was in the works for a long time. They had been waiting for a chance to strike out at these organizations.
A senior aid official, speaking anonymously about the expulsion of relief groups from Darfur by the government of Sudan.  full story.
Bashir wants foreign aid halted in Sudan
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said he would like foreign aid groups to stop distributing supplies within a year as to “clear our country of any spies,” in a move that threatens to further exacerbate one of the world’s worst humanitarian situations. Bashir said Sudanese nongovernmental organizations would take over aid efforts. AlertNet.org/Reuters (3/16) 
UN Security Council reaches deadline on next steps for Sudan
A coalition led by China and Libya and also including Vietnam and Uganda led UN Security Council discussions about the fate of Sudan to deadlock last week. It insisted the indictment against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir be deferred to allow for the Security Council to intervene to prevent a growing humanitarian crisis. As the few remaining humanitarian groups in Sudan were expelled after the decision by the International Criminal Court to pursue an arrest warrant against Bashir, representatives from Iran, Syria, Hamas and Palestinian Jihad arrived in Khartoum in a show of solidarity with the embattled dictator. The New York Times (3/6)
Doctors Without Borders
takes another hit in Sudan as Khartoum orders the French section of MSF to pack its bags. “The decision to expel the French section of MSF, brutal and sudden, follows the expulsion yesterday of the organization’s Dutch section. MSF is appalled by this order, which clearly holds the needs of the population of Darfur hostage to political and judicial agendas.
Bashir, Sudan defiant after ICC warrant

Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir smiled, danced and spoke out in defiance a day after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest for war crimes. The warrant represents a conspiracy to recolonize his nation, Bashir said, while the Sudanese government charged aid groups had made false reports of genocide and rape to the ICC and ordered several of them to leave the country. The New York Times (3/5) , CNN (3/5) , Reuters (3/5)

12 February
You’re under arrest, Mr. President
Noah Weisbord
(IHT) The International Criminal Court has announced plans to issue an arrest warrant against Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, in what would be the first international arrest warrant ever issued against a sitting head of state.
Preliminary evidence linking the atrocities in Darfur to the government in Khartoum supports genocide charges against Bashir. But since the ICC has no police force, it is difficult to imagine how he will be apprehended.
UN extends Darfur peacekeeping mandate, with U.S. exception
The United Nations Security Council voted Thursday to extend the mandate of peacekeeping troops for Sudan’s Darfur region, though Council members remained divided in their response to an International Criminal Court indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The U.S. abstained from the final vote over concerns war crimes indictments associated with the conflict might not be pursued. The New York Times (8/1)
Bashir warrant divides Security Council
Libya and South Africa, backed by Russia and China, are seeking a Security Council vote to prevent the International Criminal Court from indicting Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes. Additionally, they seek language preventing the indictments in any reauthorization of the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission, which expires Thursday. The U.S., France and others are opposed to including language about the indictment. Under UN rules, ICC investigations and prosecutions can be suspended by a Security Council vote. AlertNet.org/Reuters (7/28)
I too accuse him of crimes against humanity
Twice I begged him to stop collaborating with the Lord’s Resistance Army and to return the abused children

Stephen Lewis
For those of you who think that Darfur is the only killing field for Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the indicted President of Sudan, let me add a note for the record.
BBC: Sudan’s Darfur conflict
CBC: The crisis in Darfur, a timeline
In 2003, militants accused the government of President Omar al-Bashir of neglecting the region and oppressing black Africans in favour of Arabs in the state of Darfur. Over half of the people in the area are subsistence farmers, with the rest being nomadic or semi-nomadic herders.
The government, caught by surprise by the militants’ attacks, had very few troops in the region. In response, it mounted a campaign of aerial bombardment in support of ground attacks by an Arab militia, the Janjaweed, that it had recruited from local tribes.
More than 2.5 million people have fled their homes since the fighting began.
July 13
China ‘is fuelling war in Darfur’
The BBC has found the first evidence that China is currently helping Sudan’s government militarily in Darfur.
Foreign Affairs May/June 2008
Summary: While the crisis in Darfur simmers, the larger problem of Sudan’s survival as a state is becoming increasingly urgent. Old tensions between the Arabs of the Nile River valley, who have held power for a century, and marginalized groups on the country’s periphery are turning into a national crisis. Engagement with Khartoum may be the only way to avert another civil war in Sudan, and even that may not be enough.

August 6, 2007
Mr. Bush, Here’s a Plan for Darfur

Frustrated by the genocide he is tolerating in Darfur, President Bush has suggested to aides on occasion that maybe the U.S. should just send troops there.
He alluded to that when he told a woman in Tennessee who asked him about Darfur: “The threshold question was: If there is a problem, why don’t you just go take care of it?” Mr. Bush was talked out of the idea by Condi Rice, who told him that the U.S. just couldn’t start another war in a Muslim country. So, as Mr. Bush told the questioner: “I made the decision not to send U.S. troops unilaterally into Darfur.”
That was the right decision. The Sudanese regime would use our invasion as a rallying cry against infidels and make the crisis harder to resolve.
But the upshot was that Mr. Bush, lacking a military option, hasn’t taken up other options. He seems genuinely appalled by the horrors of Darfur — he raises them regularly with foreign leaders, even when aides haven’t put them on his talking points — yet he has done little, apparently because he doesn’t know quite what to do. So here are some practical suggestions.
First, the administration should invest far more energy toward seeking a negotiated peace between rebels and government — the only long-term solution to the slaughter. Instead, the diplomatic focus has been on U.N. peacekeepers, and they are a terrific addition but not a solution in themselves.
The preliminary step is for the rebels to form a united negotiating front, and they are now meeting in Tanzania to do so. The U.S. desperately needs to assist that process to the hilt.
Second, we should back an international appeal for Sudan to release Suleiman Jamous, an elder who is one of the best hopes for uniting the rebel factions and leading them to peace.
Third, we need to work with other countries to insist that Sudan stop importing tens of thousands of Arabs from neighboring countries to repopulate those areas where it has slaughtered the local population. These new settlements seal the demographic consequences of genocide, outrage the survivors and make peace harder to achieve.
Fourth, we need to increase intelligence coverage over the area, and release occasional satellite photos so that Sudan knows it is being watched. Releasing a photo of the beleaguered Gereida camp, for example, would reduce the chance that Sudan will slaughter its 130,000 occupants.
Fifth, Mr. Bush can join Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown in the trip they have discussed to Chad. They should also publicly invite the leaders of China and Egypt, two countries that are critical to pressuring Sudan, to join them.
Sixth, the U.S. can quietly encourage Muslim leaders to push for peace. Malaysia’s prime minister, who is also the head of a group of Islamic countries, has prepared a peace proposal, and Saudi Arabia is interested in helping.
Seventh, Mr. Bush can use the bully pulpit. He can give a prime-time speech or bring Darfuri refugees to the White House for a photo-op.
Eighth, the U.S. should begin contingency planning in case Sudan starts mass slaughters of people in camps, or in case Sudan resumes its war against its south. If the former, we could secure camps and create a corridor to bring survivors to Chad; if the latter, we should arm South Sudan and perhaps blockade Port Sudan.
Ninth, we need to work much more with China, which has the most leverage over Sudan. The goal should be to get China to suspend arms transfers to Sudan until Khartoum makes a serious effort at peace.
Tenth, we can work with France to stabilize Chad and Central African Republic. President Sarkozy is pushing for European peacekeepers to rescue both countries after Sudanese-sponsored proxy invasions, and he deserves strong support.
Finally, we should work with Britain and France to enforce the U.N.’s ban on offensive military flights in Darfur. At a minimum, we should seek U.N. sanctions for Sudan’s violations. In addition, when Sudan bombs a village, we can afterward destroy one of its Chinese-made A-5 Fantan fighter bombers that it keeps in Darfur.
Many aid workers disagree with this suggestion, for fear that Sudan will retaliate by cutting off humanitarian access. But after four years, I think we need to show President Omar Hassan al-Bashir that he will pay a price for genocide. And he values his gunships and fighter bombers in a way he has never valued his people.
April 2007
The Real Roots of Darfur
The violence in Darfur is usually attributed to ethnic hatred. But global warming may be primarily to blame.

(The Atlantic) To truly understand the crisis in Darfur—and it has been profoundly misunderstood—you need to look back to the mid-1980s, before the violence between African and Arab began to simmer. Alex de Waal, now a program director at the Social Science Research Council, was there at that time, as a doctoral candidate doing anthropological fieldwork. Earlier this year, he told me a story that, he says, keeps coming back to him.
De Waal was traveling through the dry scrub of Darfur, studying indigenous reactions to the drought that gripped the region. In a herders’ camp near the desert’s border, he met with a bedridden and nearly blind Arab sheikh named Hilal Abdalla, who said he was noticing things he had never seen before: Sand blew into fertile land, and the rare rain washed away alluvial soil. Farmers who had once hosted his tribe and his camels were now blocking their migration; the land could no longer support both herder and farmer. Many tribesmen had lost their stock and scratched at millet farming on marginal plots.
The fighting in Darfur is usually described as racially motivated, pitting mounted Arabs against black rebels and civilians. But the fault lines have their origins in another distinction, between settled farmers and nomadic herders fighting over failing lands. The aggression of the warlord Musa Hilal can be traced to the fears of his father, and to how climate change shattered a way of life.

2 Comments on "Darfur – A plan"

  1. Diana Thébaud Nicholson August 7, 2007 at 5:06 pm ·

    6 August 2007
    RCI reports: Some dozen Darfurian factions have agreed after four days of negotiation in Arusha on a common negotiating position for talks with the Sudanese government aimed at ending more than four years of conflict in the western region of Darfur. The talks in Arusha were sponsored by the UN and the African Union. The world body’s envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, says the groups agreed on power- and wealth-sharing, security, land and humanitarian issues. Mr. Eliasson says he expects the negotiations with the government in Khartoum to start in two or three months. The government has said it [is] prepared to talk with the insurgent groups but won’t change what was agreed in a peace accord with the chief rebel organization in 2006.

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