Amidst genocide by attrition, expedient misrepresentations are proliferating
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 Darfur 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  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 Communiqu 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 communiqu issued from a Tripoli summit hosted by Muamar Khaddafi; this communiqu 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.
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