October 4, 2004
Even as the humanitarian crisis in Darfur deepens, and as international diplomatic energies seem to have been exhausted in passing two weak UN Security Council resolutions, the crisis in the peace process for southern Sudan goes largely unnoticed. But ignoring the imperative of achieving a final, fully secured agreement between the Khartoum regime and the southern opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is diplomatically short-sighted. As Norwegian International Development Minister Hilde Frafjord Johnson declared at a recent conference on Darfur and Sudan in Oslo (Norway): “The road to peace in Darfur goes through Naivasha.” There can be little disputing the accuracy of this assessment, but it has a grim corollary: without a completion of the peace talks in Naivasha (Kenya) between Khartoum and the SPLM, there will be no peace for Sudan. As John Ashworth of Sudan Focal Point forcefully observes:
“There will be no peace in Darfur, nor Sudan as a whole, nor northern Uganda, nor indeed the region, unless peace is cemented in southern Sudan.” (“A View of Sudan from African: Monthly Briefing,” September 29, 2004)
Despite this imperative, Khartoum has relentlessly held up final negotiations on a peace agreement that was substantively completed in May 2004 with the signing of various protocols governing wealth- and power-sharing, security arrangements, and the status of three disputed areas (Abyei, the Nuba Mountains, and Southern Blue Nile). Four months after the signing of these protocols in Naivasha, there has been no progress on the two outstanding technical issues that are holding up a formal peace settlement: a comprehensive cease-fire and modalities of implementation for the various protocols. Khartoum has throughout the summer declared that it will not complete peace negotiations until it has “resolved” the crisis in Darfur. The implications of this genocidal resolution are now all too clear.
What, then, should we make of Khartoum’s sudden decision to renew negotiations in Naivasha on October 7, 2004? Or National Islamic Front president Omer Beshir’s sudden public declaration that: “The Khartoum government ‘is ready to sign the peace agreement [with southern Sudan] today rather than tomorrow'” (Agence France-Presse, October 3, 2004)? For of course the Darfur crisis has hardly been resolved, despite massive genocidal destruction. What is revealed in Khartoum’s recent announcements is purely expedient calculation. For the regime is well aware that reporting requirements specified by the Sudan Peace Act (signed into law in October 2002) demand that the US State Department and the President certify by October 22, 2004 that Khartoum “has engaged in good faith negotiations to achieve a permanent, just, and equitable peace agreement,” and has not “unreasonably interfered with humanitarian efforts.”
In order to avoid the consequences specified in the Sudan Peace Act, the regime has now agreed to negotiate, just long enough, to secure a positive assessment. According to highly reliable sources in Washington, the State Department has been too preoccupied to respond meaningfully to this impending deadline, and will commit neither the resources nor the personnel to provide a full and revealing account. Certainly the Africa Bureau at the State Department has no means of diplomatically accommodating an honest assessment of Khartoum’s negotiating behavior, or to explain how a regime guilty of genocide can be a partner in peace. Moreover, it has been clear for almost a year that the regime has been “unreasonably interfering with humanitarian efforts” throughout Darfur. As a consequence, the State department has taken the path of least resistance, setting the bar extremely low, and making no real effort to present an accurate historical account of the past four months.
Here we should recall the shameful dishonesty that marked the first episode in State Department and White House assessments of the National Islamic Front in April 2003. Now, again lacking a comprehensive diplomatic vision of how to respond to Khartoum’s intransigent behavior, the State Department has settled on a course of expediency and disingenuousness. The impending positive certification for Khartoum will clearly be contrived, unfairly equating the diplomatic behavior of Khartoum with that of the SPLM.
But of course, as has been the case on so many previous occasions, Khartoum has an unerring nose for both the expedient and the disingenuous. Thus chief NIF negotiator and powerful first Vice-President Ali Osman Taha is reportedly prepared to spend only three days in Naivasha to negotiate a comprehensive cease-fire and modalities of implementation before turning the negotiations back to Khartoum’s technical committees—whose capacity for delay and obfuscation is limitless. The regime is confident that it can delay meaningful negotiations of the final technical issues until at least December 2004, and beyond if necessary.
This should be contrasted with the public statements by the SPLM over the past two months, and especially with the language accompanying the renewal of the cessation of hostilities agreement:
“It is perplexing for the Government of Sudan to link the resumption of the IGAD [Naivasha] sponsored peace process with the resolution of the conflict in Darfur.” (Statement of Samson Kwaje, Official Spokesman for the SPLM/A, September 1, 2004)
Chairman John Garang has also made it publicly clear that he and senior SPLM leadership are prepared to stay in Naivasha as long as necessary to complete the arduously negotiated peace agreement (which began with the Machakos Protocol of July 2002—now over two years ago). Garang has repeatedly made calls to Vice President Taha, urging immediate resumption of peace negotiations. Khartoum has offered no response. The US State Department has been similarly unsuccessful in securing from Khartoum commitments to resume negotiations in Naivasha. So, too, has chief IGAD mediator Lazaro Sumbeiywo of Kenya.
There is certainly no evidence that the SPLM has obstructed a resumption of negotiations. On the contrary, the SPLM and the people of the south have every reason to wish for an expeditious completion of the final agreement: in the absence of such agreement, 100% of oil revenues from southern oil production continue to flow to Khartoum, even as the regime continues a steady and increasingly ominous military buildup in the south. Moreover, it is clear that Khartoum has no wish to have southern representation in a national government while Darfur rages. Any genuine political pluralism would make it exceedingly difficult to retain consensus on present genocidal policies.
KHARTOUM’S DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO SECURE THE
Khartoum is intent primarily on preserving the status quo: creating the appearance of a still imminent peace agreement in Naivasha, while continuing to orchestrate vast human destruction in Darfur. Khartoum refuses to rein in the brutal Janjaweed militia, which continue their extraordinary brutal and murderous predations throughout Darfur. And Khartoum continues its own military policies of civilian destruction, increasing the already massive genocidal toll. In Khartoum’s thinking, if the Darfur insurgents can be controlled (the regime’s chief demand is that the insurgents disarm and agree to be confined to “cantons” in Darfur), then the systematic destruction of agricultural production in Darfur should ensure that the population of the region will remain food-dependent and concentrated in camps that become steadily more permanent—human warehouses for the survivors of genocide.
Diplomatically, this preservation of the status quo entails Khartoum’s creation of multiple negotiating forums whereby the regime can be seen as making concessions or commitments in one arena, even as it reneges and backtracks in others. The Darfur insurgents will face brute obduracy in Abuja (Nigeria) when talks resume (presently scheduled for October 21st), as well as Khartoum’s efforts to exclude one of the groups (the Justice and Equality Movement) altogether; the SPLM will confront deliberate delays on Khartoum’s part in Naivasha; the National Democratic Alliance (the umbrella organization for northern opposition parties) will be wooed duplicitously in Cairo—and the UN and Kofi Annan’s special representative Jan Pronk in Khartoum will continue to refine a “plan of action” (August 5, 2004) that features an ominous provision for “safe areas” in Darfur. New agreements will be signed, specious new promises made (e.g., “federalism” for Darfur)—and nothing will change.
But looming over all this diplomatic bad faith is a single governing reality: all that can forestall an eventual re-igniting of war in the south, with unprecedented levels of violence, is a completed formal peace agreement in Naivasha, and the immediate deployment of a large and robust UN peacekeeping force, as well as international commitments to very substantial emergency transitional aid.
None of these key ingredients of genuine peace in southern Sudan is in evidence, and the likelihood of expanded war in Sudan continues to grow.
OVERVIEW OF CURRENT DARFUR SITUATION
In addition to its terrible burdens of suffering and death, Darfur must now apparently also bear the gratuitous burden of fatuous commentary suggesting that things aren’t really so bad, but are only represented in dire terms by officials of the US Agency for International Development, evidently for political purposes. The distressing warnings concerning Darfur’s fate, according to Peter Beaumont of the Sunday Observer (UK), have been “widely exaggerated,” even as the “[Darfur] crisis is being brought under control” (The Observer, October 3, 2004). Mr. Beaumont finds various reasons and unnamed sources for skepticism over a US determination that genocide is occurring in Darfur, and suggests contempt for US AID mortality figures, implying in his concluding sentence that these figures have been deliberately inflated for political purposes:
“Both [US AID Administrator Andrew] Natsios, a former vice-president of the Christian charity World Vision, and [Assistant US AID Administrator Roger] Winter have long been hostile to the Sudanese government.” (The Sunday Observer, October 3, 2004)
Mr. Beaumont gives little evidence of understanding any of the issues in Darfur he purports to speak about; he is reliably reported to have been tendentiously selective in his choice of sources. One consequence of this ignorant tendentiousness is his brief and careless impugning of the motives of Roger Winter, which is nothing short of a scandalous libel given Mr. Winter’s unrivalled contributions, for more than 20 years, to the cause of a just peace in Sudan.
Certainly it would seem that Mr. Beaumont counts himself among those who take a friendly, “non-hostile” view of the genocidaires in Khartoum—men who are guilty of genocide in the Nuba Mountains, and who orchestrated massive scorched-earth civilian clearances in the oil regions of southern Sudan. These are the same men who have for more than a decade systematically obstructed humanitarian aid to many hundreds of thousands of civilians, and ordered the deliberate aerial bombardment of schools, hospitals, churches, and humanitarian aid operations.
Mr. Beaumont has evidently contented himself with a few easy interviews that suit his perverse thesis: the Darfur crisis is “being brought under control.” But it seems clear he hasn’t interviewed people like Kadija Abdula, who speaks for many tens of thousands of Darfuri women in describing the ongoing actions of Khartoum’s regular military forces and the brutal Janjaweed militia it has armed and supplied:
“‘They came in the morning,’ she whispers, ‘all of them in uniform, with Land Cruisers and camels. The local police ran away, and we were left there, defenceless, as they went from house to house. I ran with the other women and the children to the nearby woods to hide, but they caught us. There where seven of us, and they took us all. I was held in one of our houses for two days, while they raped me.'”
“She is unable to make eye contact, and struggles to make the words come out of her mouth. In the tight knit world of a Darfur village, she hates herself, feeling shameful to even have to tell this story. After her ordeal she was unable to walk, and a relative rescued her by night, bringing her on a donkey to the camp, Otash, on the outskirts of Nyala where she now stays.”
“Asked what she thinks the future holds and her voice finally rises: ‘I am not even safe here, we are beggars in our own land. Look at this shelter, I sleep under plastic, we get food once every three months, you talk of the future, what future is there? I don’t even want to see today.'” (The Scotsman [UK], October 2, 2004)
It is doubtful that Kadija Abdula, or the other women who continue to be subject to the most brutal use of rape as a weapon of war, feel that the crisis in Darfur is being “brought under control.”
It seems equally certain the Mr. Beaumont did not interview people such as Hussein Muhamed:
“Only 12, Hussein Muhamed sits in the shade of his small hut, dressed in a pair of long khakis, a lost soul sidelined in a refugee camp full of them. His scrawny legs are burned so deeply, from ankle to hip, that he hobbles like an old man—a grisly testament to the day government-backed militiamen called the janjaweed raided his village.” ‘They grabbed me and yelled: “You are the son of slaves”,’ recalled Hussein, who is lean and shy with dull, charcoal eyes. ‘Then, they threw me into the fire.'” (Knight Ridder news service [Nyala], July 31, 2004)
Reports of the Janjaweed burning children alive have increased at the very time Mr. Beaumont finds the “crisis being brought under control.”
Certainly human rights reports don’t suggest a “crisis being brought under control.” On the contrary, dozens of such reports make clear that the human rights catastrophe in Darfur continues unabated. The most recent report by Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, finds, as have many others, that “there remains a climate of impunity in Darfur,” with the Khartoum regime “conveying neither a sense of urgency nor an acknowledgment of the magnitude of the human rights crisis in Darfur” (Statement to the Security Council on Darfur, September 30, 2004). She also reports her concern that “forced relocations [are] being carried out”; such “forced relocations” of internally displaced persons represent one of the gravest threats facing the people of Darfur, as villages and foodstocks have been destroyed, and the Janjaweed attack these most vulnerable people at will.
Ms. Arbour’s report is echoed by Juan Mendez, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, who declares that “crimes against humanity, war crimes, and breaches of the laws of war have probably occurred on a large and systematic scale,” and that “we do not believe that we have turned the corner on preventing further violations” (Statement by the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to the Security Council, September 30, 2004).
But for the assured Mr. Beaumont, none of this appears to matter. He has his quote from an unnamed UN World Food Program official to settle the issue of humanitarian conditions in Darfur:
“The nutritional survey of Sudan’s Darfur region, by the UN World Food Programme, says that although there are still high levels of malnutrition among under-fives in some areas, the crisis is being brought under control.
‘It’s not disastrous,’ said one of those involved in the WFP survey.” (The Observer, October 3, 2004)
Here we might bear in mind some of the findings of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in its most recent “Darfur Humanitarian Profile” (No. 6, released September 16, 2004).
The percentage of the conflict-affected population in Darfur receiving food aid declined from 62% in July to 51% in August (“Darfur Humanitarian Profile,” No. 6, September 16, 2004, page 10). A much greater decline will be reflected in the next “Humanitarian Profile” as the World Food Program must increase its targeted population from 1.2 million to 2 million in October. Perhaps if Mr. Beaumont were to read a bit more widely, and depend a bit less on the statement of a single unnamed WFP official, he would at least see the challenge in explaining how a crisis is in the process of being resolved if the percentage of those receiving food aid is declining precipitously.
It is certainly the view of US AID Administrator Natsios and Assistant Administrator Winter that hundreds of thousands of people without food, and with no means of agricultural production or opportunity to forage, are defining of a crisis. But evidently Mr. Beaumont has a different definition.
The percentage of conflict-affected persons receiving shelter and essential non-food items has remained at approximately 50% since June—meaning that the rest of the population must go without (“Darfur Humanitarian Profile,” No. 6, page 11). The percentage of those with access to clean water was only 40% in August; the percentage was the same for those with access to sanitary facilities (Darfur Humanitarian Profile,” No. 6, page 12). The percentage with access to primary health care is approximately 50%—unchanged since June.
Mr. Beaumont evidently is able to live comfortably with only half the needy people of Darfur receiving food and shelter; and perhaps clean water and sanitary facilities are viewed by Mr. Beaumont as luxuries. But then it’s not at all clear that Mr. Beaumont has any notion of the numbers of people involved. He certainly doesn’t cite a single figure related to any issue other than mortality—and here he clearly has not availed himself of either the recent epidemiological research published by The Lancet (October 1, 2004) or by the UN’s World Health Organization (September 15, 2004), or any of the other studies that have significance for calculations of mortality.
Thus Mr. Beaumont is content to see a crisis “being brought under control” even as OCHA estimates that there are 1.45 million persons in Darfur who have been displaced from their homes, nearly all through violence or threat of violence. Another 400,000 are affected as vulnerable members of host communities, and OCHA estimates that yet another 500,000 conflict-affected persons are presently beyond the reach of humanitarian aid. This is in addition to the more than 200,000 that the UN High Commission for Refugees estimates have been forced to flee to Chad.
There are more than 2.5 million conflict-affected persons in Darfur and Chad, agricultural production has come to a halt, concentration camps are without adequate sanitation or water or shelter—and are boiling with rage. Women and girls are at risk of rape if they leave the camps to collect firewood; men and boys face execution. All this and Mr. Beaumont of the Sunday Observer writes comfortably of a crisis being brought under control. Evidently African lives are not valuable enough to Mr. Beaumont to require any research before suggesting that what the Parliament of the European Union recently declared to be genocide in Darfur (by a vote of 566 to 6), is actually a situation well in hand.
Mr. Beaumont chooses to ignore other of Darfur’s realities as well: the extremely grave threat of a major locust infestation, consuming what food might remain in rural areas; the uncontrolled spread of Hepatitis E in camps; what OCHA describes as “military aggression against civilians—including air attack, helicopter strikes against [OCHA lists various villages and camps]—[that] shows the same almost daily pattern of violence against civilians established since last year” (“Darfur Humanitarian Profile,” No. 6, page 17). Most significantly, Mr. Beaumont gives no evidence of understanding the scale of the mismatch between humanitarian need and humanitarian capacity. He seems contentedly ignorant of the need to move more than 40,000 metric tons of food and non-food items per month for the foreseeable future, when not half this capacity presently exists.
Mr. Beaumont seems to inhabit the casually lazy moral universe in which glib anti-Americanism justifies any thesis, even if the effect of his thesis is to elide the destruction and suffering of more than 2 million African people. For the sake of Darfur, we must hope Mr. Beaumont’s universe is not excessively populated.
OTHER VIEWS OF THE DARFUR CRISIS
Insecurity remains the great threat to humanitarian operations, and thus to the hundreds of thousands of human lives that Mr. Beaumont has consigned to survive on his factitious optimism about the “crisis being brought under control.” The international aid organization CARE offers a deeply discouraging view:
“The humanitarian agency CARE said on Monday that insecurity was worsening in the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur and warned that those displaced by the conflict would not be able to return to their homes in the near future unless security was restored. ‘Insecurity in Darfur is increasing, leaving victims of violence more vulnerable and more desperate. Unless the Government of Sudan, supported by the African Union [AU] and the international community, can ensure safety and security in the region, people will continue to live in fear and be unable to move out of their dismal, temporary housing and return home.'” (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, October 4, 2004)
But the African Union, which presently enjoys only verbal support from the UN and most Western nations, is still unsuccessfully attempting to expand its present cease-fire monitoring team and protection forces (approximately 400 personnel). The number apparently settled on is between 3,000 and 4,000, including police personnel. This is quite inadequate to the immense and critical tasks throughout Darfur, though such deployment would at least represent a start. Timely deployment seems highly unlikely, however: US Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke in a recent radio interview of a two-month time-frame for deployment. Even by the conservative estimates of the UN World Health Organization, this is 20,000 lives later.
But the key question is whether the deployed force will have a peacekeeping mandate, or merely an observational mandate. Khartoum has long insisted that it will not accept peacekeepers, and as possible deployment draws nearer there is no sign that this has changed. Final terms of the mandate will no doubt involve minor concessions by Khartoum, but robust rules of engagement that would allow military confrontation of the Janjaweed will not be accepted by the regime. As the BBC reports, Khartoum has made clear that “[African Union] troops will not be allowed to use force against combatants” (BBC, October 1, 2004).
Though an AU force is the default policy for an international community that refuses to intervene to halt genocide, the failure to secure an appropriate mandate prior to deployment augurs extremely poorly for the success of the mission.
Humanitarian conditions in the greater Darfur humanitarian theater continue to deteriorate, pace Mr. Beaumont. Total mortality for the past twenty months now exceeds 250,000 human beings (a new mortality analysis will be released by this writer October 8, 2004). The organizations and governments determining that genocide is occurring continue to grow in number and authority, including most recently the Government of Germany, the Parliament of the European Union, the US government, and the Public International Law and Policy Group (“Genocide in Darfur: A Legal Analysis,” September 2004).
SOUTHERN SUDAN IN ECLIPSE
Darfur’s extraordinary urgency only partially explains the lack of concerted international effort to force Khartoum to return to the negotiating table at Naivasha, and to complete an agreement in which all outstanding issues of principle and substance have already been resolved. Clearly there is no international willingness to exert sufficient pressure on the regime to complete negotiations. This derives from a poverty of diplomatic imagination, the intrusive commercial interests of various European and Asian multinational corporations, and a shameful lack of resolve. Khartoum must be confronted with consequences, diplomatic and commercial, that make further delay simply too painful. But even this will be meaningless without prompt and effective planning by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations for a robust, large, and well-equipped peace support operation.
Similarly, commitments must be secured for the costly and demanding transition from war to peace in southern Sudan. 21 years of unspeakable violence have left the south with an agricultural economy in shambles (and here we should bear in mind the apparently similar fate of Darfur); a total lack of investment of national resources has left the region without a real economy, without communications or transport infrastructure, and for the most part without schools or hospitals. Ominously, as many as 1 million of Sudan’s 3.5 to 4 million internally displaced persons will attempt to return to their homes in the south in the first year following a completed agreement. This will completely overwhelm present and contemplated humanitarian capacity. The likelihood of conflict over scarce resources is high, with potentially destabilizing consequences for the entire region.
Dennis McNamara, the special UN adviser on displacement, declared at the end of August that “some of the displaced (people) from the south have started to go back because of the preliminary agreements. 100,000 have so far gone back so far this year,’ McNamara told a press conference in Nairobi” (UN News Service, August 30, 2004). Hundreds of thousands of additional displaced persons could “flood back to the south of Sudan”:
“‘We are not ready for that at all, we are not equipped, we are not on the ground, agencies are prepared but we don’t have the funds, donor interest is on Darfur, and agencies have diverted resources to Darfur. [ ] ‘We need to steer up in the south.'” (UN News Service, August 30, 2004)
To those wondering why southerners might flee into such desperate circumstances, it is worth looking at one of the consequences of Khartoum’s forcible imposition of shari’a (Islamic law) on southern women in greater Khartoum. A decaying institution called Maygoma is what can only be called a “baby dump,” a ghastly place where terrified unmarried southern women are forced to leave their infants for fear of punishment for adultery, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 100 lashes (a punishment easily fatal). The children brought to Maygoma are among the 100 abandoned on the streets of Khartoum every month. A dispatch from Hope and Homes for Children (July 19, 2004) describes the “dark and smelly corridors where 260 abandoned babies lie, their eyes staring blankly and their mouths usually silent. [ ] The young residents die like flies.”
This is but one of countless examples of the brutalized existence that the National Islamic Front has imposed on displaced southerners living in Khartoum—primarily in squalid camps that the regime steadily pushes further and further from Khartoum itself.
MILITARY ALARM BELLS IN THE SOUTH
Compounding the difficulty of making a genuine peace are increasingly ominous signs of Khartoum’s aggressive military preparations in southern Sudan. Extremely reliable regional sources, as well as SPLM sources, confirm that very recent barge movements into Juba were loaded primarily with military equipment and troops. New barge movements and convoys have also been reported moving into Malakal, again with military equipment and troops. Similarly, Nasir (Eastern Upper Nile) has received new armaments from Khartoum, including tanks and rocket-launchers. Yuai, an area controlled by one of Khartoum’s militia leaders, is now receiving military supplies several times a week. Highly authoritative reports, from the Verification and Monitoring Team (VMT) and other regional sources, continue to confirm Khartoum’s redeployment of Janjaweed militia forces from Darfur to Abeyi, Eastern Upper Nile, and Southern Blue Nile (the Damazin area in particular).
All of these movements of troops and military equipment, as well as the increasingly entrenched garrisoning of militia forces, are in clear and consequential violation of the October 15, 2002 cessation of hostilities agreement. We may be sure that none of these violations—relentlessly ignored by both the VMT and the ineffectual Civilian Protection Monitoring Team—will figure in the US State Department and Presidential determination. This in turn gives Khartoum strong encouragement to continue with such violations, which are steadily changing the military dynamic in southern Sudan. Instead of preparing for the withdrawal of forces, as stipulated in the September 2003 protocol on security arrangements, Khartoum gives every sign of trying to use military leverage to change the geography of southern Sudan.
Malakal and the Shilluk Kingdom of Central Upper Nile (where over 100,000 have been displaced and many killed) are particular targets; the UN Daily Press review (September 23, 2004) cites the Khartoum Monitor’s report that there have been fresh militia attacks on displaced persons, and that according to Bishop Vincent Majwok of the Catholic Diocese of Malakal, “the attacks are well coordinated and organized,” and “have recently burned to the ground both villages and crops” (UN Daily Press Review, September 23, 2004).
The oil regions of Eastern Upper Nile, where the Chinese-dominated “Petrodar” has created an extensive networks of roads with clear military potential, have received especially large infusions of weapons and troops, suggesting that Khartoum, if it can delay or simply ignore a peace agreement, is intent on absorbing this promising oil production area.
“NO WAR, NO PEACE” ENSURES WAR
The relentless expediency and lack of moral resolve characterizing UN and Western diplomatic engagement with Khartoum makes war more likely, not less likely. If genocide in Darfur is not sufficient to precipitate humanitarian intervention; if Khartoum senses that it may pick and choose between diplomatic venues as circumstances dictate; if the regime can slowly change the military dynamic in southern Sudan as Darfur is gradually destroyed; if the world allows delay, obfuscation, and duplicity to remain the primary tools governing Khartoum’s diplomacy; then we may expect that a regime that shows no concern for the African or marginalized populations of Sudan will continue to seek the moment of maximum military advantage in southern Sudan.
Unless a peace agreement between Khartoum and the SPLM is fully secured in the very near term, with a robust UN peace support operation at the ready and very substantial commitments to emergency transitional aid, war will resume on terms highly advantageous to Khartoum. The present human destruction in Darfur will again be mirrored in southern Sudan.
This is the nature of the National Islamic Front regime. It either faces coercive diplomacy, backed by credible threats of severe consequences—including regime change—or it will persist as it has during its entire fifteen years in power. There are those such as Mr. Beaumont of The Observer who are clearly willing to look on the “bright side of genocide”; the people of Sudan must pray that such moral myopia does not prevail.
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