At the same time, the National Islamic Front regime also misses key deadlines in the “Darfur Peace Agreement”
June 24, 2006
For those vaguely hopeful that genocidal destruction in Darfur might somehow be halted by a UN peace support operation, or that there would be good faith observance of the terms of the Abuja (Nigeria) “Darfur Peace Agreement,” this has been a very bad week. Blaming a conspiracy of Jewish groups for the large chorus now calling for humanitarian intervention in Darfur, President Omar al-Bashir felt particularly unconstrained in expressing his views about a UN peace support operation in the increasingly violent region:
“Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has escalated his rejection of the UN deploying peacekeepers in Darfur, saying they would be neo-colonialists and accusing Jewish organizations of pushing for their deployment.” [ ]
Speaking of a UN deployment, al-Bashir declared:
“‘This shall never take place,’ al-Bashir told reporters at a press conference with South African President Thabo Mbeki Tuesday. ‘These are colonial forces and we will not accept colonial forces coming into the country.’ ‘They want to colonize Africa, starting with the first sub-Saharan country to gain its independence. If they want to start colonization in Africa, let them chose a different place.'” (Associated Press [dateline: Khartoum], June 21, 2006)
“‘We do not reject the United Nations, but in no way will we accept UN troops because…these troops have an imperial and colonial agenda. Changing this mission to the United Nations will never happen, never ever happen,” [al-Bashir] said.” (Reuters [dateline: Khartoum], June 20, 2006)
There was also explicit comment from Foreign Minister Lam Akol on UN deployment under Chapter 7 authority of the UN Charter (such authority is essential, and all that could provide a UN peace support operation with the necessary resources and mandate). In an interview with London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat (June 17, 2006) Khartoum’s foreign minister declared:
“[Akol]: The Sudanese government has categorically rejected a role by the UN under Chapter 7. But it is possible for the UN to play a role in supervising the implementation of the peace agreement after holding negotiations with us.”
“[Question]: Will rejection of the UN troops under Chapter 7 be valid tomorrow as it was valid yesterday?”
“[Akol]: This is completely rejected and out of the question after signing the peace agreement (on Darfur).”
As the International Crisis Group reports in an important new study of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), there is a significant and revealing context for Khartoum’s adamant rejection of a UN force and any consideration of a UN Chapter 7 mandate:
“A meeting in Brussels on 8 March  achieved a breakthrough between the AU, Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha, and key international partners of the AU, including the European Union, US and UN. Taha committed Khartoum to consider the handover of the AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur to the UN if a peace agreement was reached in Abuja and indicated the UN could begin to plan for such a mission.” (International Crisis Group “Darfur’s Fragile Peace Agreement,” June 20, 2006, at http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=4179)
Of course despite Taha’s promise Khartoum continued to refuse entry to a UN peacekeeping assessment mission for months, and only a May 16 UN Security Council resolution, passed under Chapter 7 authority, succeeded in gaining access for the UN mission. Significantly, the one-week deadline set by the resolution was (deliberately) not met by Khartoum, which has taken considerable comfort in the words of the Chinese deputy UN Ambassador, who declared on the occasion of the vote for Chapter 7 authority that, “[this vote] should not be construed as a precedent for the Security Council’s future discussion or adoption of a new resolution against [sic] Sudan.” China may have permitted Chapter 7 to be invoked on this occasion; but when it comes to deploying actual troops to Darfur, Chapter 7 authority will not be an option. Russia has indicated a similar unwillingness to consider Chapter 7 authority for a UN peace support mission in Darfur:
“Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Konstantin Dolgov, told reporters there was strong Sudanese opposition to putting a peacekeeping force in Darfur under Chapter 7, ‘and we have to respect this position, because we have to have consent and agreement of the government.'” (Associated Press [dateline: Khartoum], June 6, 2006)
In short, having pocketed the Darfur Peace Agreement, and the international praise that came for signing this deeply flawed agreement, Khartoum now gives no sign of seriously considering an appropriate UN force or mandate, and every sign of confidence that with Russian, Chinese, and Arab diplomatic support, it will be able to ignore indefinitely the UN’s self-abasing pleas. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has promised to talk again with al-Bashir at next week’s African Union summit in Banjul, Gambia (July 1-2). But this new importuning has as its conspicuous context repeated UN and AU declarations that any mission to Darfur will be only with Khartoum’s consent:
“The UK’s UN ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, who is leading the UN mission [to Sudan], said the council underlined to president [Omar al-Bashir] that a UN takeover of peacekeeping in Darfur ‘could only happen with the consent of the government.'” (Associated Press [dateline: Khartoum], June 6, 2006)
“Jan Pronk, the top UN envoy in Sudan, said in a statement Wednesday that [head of UN peacekeeping Jean-Marie] Guehenno and the Security Council delegation had stressed that ‘the UN will not intervene in the country,’ nor will it deploy troops, without the consent of the Sudanese government.” (Associated Press [dateline: Khartoum], June 21, 2006)
“[Jean-Marie Guehenno] also insisted that UN peacekeepers would ‘only go to Darfur in full cooperation from the Sudanese government.'” (Associated Press [dateline: Khartoum], June 22, 2006)
“So long as the government of Sudan is not prepared to accept a peacekeeping operation in Sudan, there is no peacekeeping operation in Sudan—just as simple as that,’ [Guehenno] said.” (UN transcript of press conference by the AU and UN Technical Assessment Mission to Darfur [Khartoum], June 22, 2006)
“The AU’s top diplomat, Alpha Oumar Konare, visited Darfur on Tuesday and said nothing could be done without the consent of the Sudanese government. ‘Nobody can impose anything on Sudan,’ he told reporters in El Fasher.” (Reuters [dateline: Khartoum], June 20, 2006)
Convinced by these repeated professions that it may reject any UN deployment that has a real ability to halt the violence in Darfur—or to undertake the various critical tasks of civilian and humanitarian protection, or to arrest war criminals and genocidaires on behalf of the International Criminal Court—Khartoum has the luxury of contemplating a range of responses, presciently outlined in the recent International Crisis Group (ICG) report:
“Over the longer term, Khartoum’s delaying tactics seem intended to achieve one of three possible outcomes, all of which would be disastrous for the people of Darfur:
“ Prevent a transition from [the AU mission] to a UN mission. Khartoum is aware that this is probably not realistic, given the international environment, but continues to hedge, presumably to extract concessions on the mandate, composition and operations of the eventual UN force.
“ Limit a UN mission to a Chapter VI mandate, which would severely compromise its capacity to protect civilians and probably render compliance with the DPA entirely voluntary, while denying the force meaningful capacity to prevent or respond to ceasefire violations. Given the likely persistence of violence in Darfur for the foreseeable future, it would also expose peacekeepers to higher risk.
“ Postpone deployment long enough for the DPA to unravel or become unenforceable. Khartoum enjoys military superiority and has divided the rebels during the negotiations. It may seek to buy time and relative freedom of action to alter the situation on the ground significantly before UN deployment.” (page 16)
THE DARFUR PEACE AGREEMENT ALREADY COMPROMISED
Al-Bashir’s vicious bombast of this past week did much to obscure what is perhaps the more significant news: the Khartoum regime has missed the first key deadline stipulated in the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), signed in Abuja on May 5, 2006 (with additional days added to the “starting time” as the AU futilely sought to make the agreement more inclusive of the Darfuri rebel movements). Thus by June 22, 2006 Khartoum’s National Islamic Front regime was obliged to,
“present to the Ceasefire Commission a comprehensive plan for neutralising and disarming the Janjaweed/armed militia specifying actions to be taken during all phases of the Ceasefire. This plan shall be presented before the beginning of Phase 1 (i.e., within 37 days of the signing of this Agreement [i.e., June 22, 2006]) and implemented within the timeframes specified in this Agreement.” (Paragraph 314, Darfur Peace Agreement)
“This plan shall include milestones to be achieved by the Government of Sudan and certified by the AU Mission in Sudan in accordance with the timelines in this Agreement. These milestones shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
“[a] The Government of Sudan shall restrict all Janjaweed/armed militia and [the paramilitary] Popular Defense Forces to their headquarters, garrisons, cantonment sites or communities and take other steps to contain, reduce and ultimately eliminate the threat posed by such forces.
“[b] The Government of Sudan shall completely disarm the above forces of heavy weapons.
“[c] Consistent with Article 30, paragraph 457, the Government of Sudan shall ensure that no Janjaweed/armed militia pose a threat to the Movements’ assembly and disarmament.” (Paragraph 315, DPA)
Not only has this “comprehensive plan” not been presented by Khartoum, two days after the deadline—and almost two years after the UN Security Council first “demanded” that Khartoum disarm the Janjaweed—but there is no sign that such a detailed “plan” will be forthcoming. And if a “plan” is eventually presented, there is simply no reason to believe that it will govern Khartoum’s actions any more than an explicitly stipulated deadline of the DPA has. In its predictable fashion, Khartoum is testing the international waters to see what the response will be to missing the first significant deadline in the peace agreement. Given the resounding silence from the UN, the EU, and the US, the regime will draw the only conclusion possible: the DPA is a document that needn’t be taken seriously, and it changes military realities in Darfur only on paper.
Other DPA deadlines have slipped as well, further reflecting a lack of AU administrative capacity and Khartoum’s notorious ability to stall and forestall meaningful international action. June 22, 2006 was also to have marked the date for demilitarized zones to have been set up around camps for more than 2 million acutely vulnerable internally displaced persons; this is nowhere close to being achieved. The UN’s Integrated Regional Information Networks provides a useful overview of the rapid collapse of the Darfur Peace Agreement:
“‘There is nothing, there is no progress on the implementation of the DPA,’ Hafiz Mohamed, Sudan programme director for the London-based advocacy group Justice Africa, said. ‘That is a great worry—a lot needs to be done.'”
“A Transitional Darfur Regional Authority was to be launched and a rebel leader was to be nominated as Senior Assistant to the President on 16 May  and a complete ceasefire was set to begin on 19 May —but both deadlines passed without action. A 15 June  deadline for the setting up of a Darfur Reconstruction and Development Fund and a Preparatory Committee for the Darfur Dialogue and Consultation was missed as well.
“‘For there to be peace, the deadlines set by the Darfur Peace Agreement must be followed,’ said Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director of Human Rights First. ‘It is now more than a month since the agreement was signed and there has been no announcement of any action on any of the key provisions. Despite a signed peace agreement, the people of Darfur still live in a violent limbo, and their confidence in the process continues to fall.’
“According to the DPA, the Sudanese government was also supposed to present a comprehensive plan for disarming the Janjawid militia on Thursday and the AU mission was expected to produce a final map indicating areas of control, buffer zones, demilitarised zones, and redeployment zones—but the plans for these key security arrangements have not been put forward so far. ‘In the month since the peace agreement was signed, the people of Darfur have not seen a cessation of violence. Instead, in some parts of Darfur there’s actually been a major escalation of the violence,’ Byrnes noted.” (June 23, 2006)
Reuters notes that, “Implementation of the deal has already fallen behind schedule as a Darfuri presidential adviser has not been appointed and the transitional regional authority has yet to be formed” ([dateline: Khartoum], June 18, 2006).
Moreover, even were there signs of commitment to the agreement on the part of Khartoum—and there are none—the opportunities for reneging are all too many. As ICG observes, any “plan for neutralizing and disarming the Janjaweed/armed militia” is all too easily circumvented, including by means that Khartoum’s genocidaires have already begun to utilize:
“[The term] ‘Janjaweed’ remains poorly defined. The government has already hidden considerable numbers by admitting them into the formal security services, like the Popular Defence Forces, the Border Intelligence Units, and the Central Reserve Police (the riot police). One observer estimates that nearly half the Janjaweed have already been disguised this way. Although the DPA requires downsizing of these forces, with the exception of the riot police, to their pre-conflict level, it leaves responsibility solely to the government, with no provisions for monitoring compliance.”
“Concerns about the potential for the Janjaweed to act as spoilers were validated almost immediately. On 8 May , Janjaweed militia reportedly attacked villages near Buram, in South Darfur. On 15 May , Janjaweed killed eleven civilians in attacks against villages around Kutum, North Darfur. The following day, they burned villages around Donkey Dereisa, south of Nyala in South Darfur. On 17 May , Janjaweed fired at an AU patrol. The UN and the AU said on 21 May  that at least 60 people were killed the previous week in attacks for which the Janjaweed were primarily responsible. The SLA/Minni Minawi faction accused the government of breaching the peace agreement, claiming that Janjaweed and government forces jointly attacked its positions at Dar es-Salaam in North Darfur on 21 May .” (page 5)
Julie Flint, an extraordinarily well-informed source on Darfur and co-author of “Darfur: A Short History of a Long War,” noted recently:
“The government’s behavior in the 40 days since it signed the agreement has been equally deplorable. On June 10,  as the United Nations Security Council met in Fasher, government forces and Janjaweed attacked Galol in central Darfur. One of the founders of the SLA, a man who supports peace, e-mailed me that day: ‘Thirty civilians have been killed and many injured while the UN ambassadors are in Fasher. The government does not respect or care about the international community.'” (Daily Star [Lebanon], June 20, 2006)
It is not simply that Khartoum does not “respect or care about the international community”: the regime has nothing but contempt for the UN and other international actors. A brutally destructive attack on civilians the very day the UN Security Council was meeting in el-Fasher (capital of North Darfur) is entirely in character. As ICG notes in its report, despite Khartoum’s signing of the DPA the regime continues to flout its terms and previous international commitments:
“The Janjaweed and other government-supported militias remain the most pressing threat to security in Darfur, and civilians will not begin to feel safe until they are dealt with. The government has agreed in writing to identify, neutralise and disarm its proxy militias on five previous occasions and has been ordered to disarm them in multiple UN Security Council resolutions since July 2004. However, it continues to arm and recruit militias and support their operations even in the weeks since signing the DPA. Likewise, the government’s support for the attempted coup in Chad on 13 April 2006 and its continued backing of Chadian rebels are clear indications that it still regards a military solution to the conflict as a viable option. ‘Why should we be impressed that the National Congress Party [i.e., the National Islamic Front] has just committed to disarm the Janjaweed for the sixth time?’, an observer asked Crisis Group. ‘Is there a new reason to believe they’ll implement it this time?'” (page 4)
Of course there is no reason to believe that Khartoum will respect its obligations, nor any reason to doubt ICG’s judgment that Khartoum “still regards a military solution to the [Darfur] conflict a viable option.” Indeed, even the head of UN peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno, noted following his recent assessment mission to Darfur that the risk “of a new cycle of violence, especially after the rainy season, is quite real” (transcript of June 22, 2006 interview, Khartoum). The International Rescue Committee, with an active humanitarian presence on the ground in Darfur, also notes that “there are signs that both the Government of Sudan and the rebels are re-arming and re-stocking weapons and ammunition” (“Darfur, Sudan,” June 2006, page 1).
Even in the face of ongoing and threatened violence, the only force on the ground remains the woefully inadequate AU mission. The AU’s already well-chronicled weaknesses have been further highlighted in the wake of the DPA. A dispatch from North Darfur by the Financial Times (UK) offers some telling details:
“It started as a typical market day for refugees in a camp in north Darfur. Adults busy trading, children playing in the sandy terrain. But it was a day that was to turn into tragedy. A group of boys was playing football on the camp’s fringes when eight Arab militiamen, known as Janjaweed, rode by on camels and horses. Two of them stopped and began shooting, killing a four-year-old and a 10-year-old. Sudanese police and unarmed AU police were stationed at the camp, but took no action, the camp’s residents say. Instead, the incident last year came to symbolise what they see as the AU’s impotence.” (June 22, 2006)
The same dispatch notes:
“Western military personnel attached to the AU say poor leadership has exacerbated the pan-African body’s problems, adding that the mission’s impact could have been greater. They say that while there are some good commanders on the ground, the operation has lacked a sound overall command structure and suffered from incompetence.”
Certainly the people of Darfur, particularly those in camps for displaced persons, have long since lost patience with AU impotence and lack of capacity. Jean-Marie Guehenno, head of UN peacekeeping, has made it clear that his assessment mission found strong support for a robust international force to replace the AU. This is even more true for the many hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than 1 million conflict-affected persons in Darfur and eastern Chad, who have no access to humanitarian aid, or only extremely tenuous access.
It has not been sufficiently remarked of the Darfur Peace Agreement that it actually stipulates a new civilian protection role for the AU force; in responding to violence by recalcitrant parties, the AU may resort to a number of “strategies”:
“In addition to the non-military means described above, these strategies [for dealing with armed groups and militia] shall include interdicting supplies of arms and ammunition; the creation of additional buffer zones; concentrated deployment of AU personnel; strengthening the capabilities of the AU mission; forcible disarmament; and robust protection by the AU mission of civilians, humanitarian organizations, and humanitarian supply routes.” (DPA, Paragraph 337)
But this new mandate, superseding the extremely narrow mandate of the AU as a purely monitoring mission, is conspicuous mainly by virtue of its being unexercised. There is no evidence whatsoever that the newly empowered AU mission has any capacity to undertake these tasks, in particular the “robust protection of civilians and humanitarian organizations.” Nor is there any evidence that the AU has the administrative capacity or communications and transport abilities to fulfill the plethora of organizational tasks stipulated in the DPA.
Again, ICG offers all too telling an overview of the fundamental limitations to the AU mission:
“The DPA’s greatest failing is its lack of modalities and implementation guarantees for disarmament of the Janjaweed militias and the voluntary and safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their villages. Its comprehensive ceasefire and security arrangements require the parties to disarm themselves, a task usually left for peacekeepers, while authorising the AU mission to verify and monitor the processes of their redeployment, assembly and disarmament. This requires robust monitoring but the African Union mission has too few troops, with too little mobility and firepower and inadequate intelligence capabilities, to do it properly. Members of the AU mediation team and AU mission officials in Abuja admitted openly that the AU mission as currently constituted cannot fulfill these tasks.” (page 4)
ICG notes additionally that the AU, despite the urgent need to strengthen its mission in Darfur, is politically still undecided on a UN handover, even as it lacks the capacity to move swiftly in deploying desperately needed additional battalions of troops:
“Without immediate support, the AU mission will fail even to begin its multiple DPA tasks and thus indirectly endanger the peace agreement. To meet the challenge, AU mission has indicated that it needs five additional battalions within two months. The AU’s international partners have agreed to provide strategic transport, train AU commanders to take charge of the increased capabilities and troops, and certify elements for absorption into a UN peacekeeping operation.”
“Alarmingly, some experts have now begun to argue that the inability to agree quickly on implementation concepts may mean that the first of the five battalions cannot be deployed before October and the final one until February or March 2007.” (pages 15-16)
This time-frame is unconscionably dilatory in light of current insecurity, which puts hundreds of thousands of civilians acutely at risk of violent attack and endangers the humanitarian operations on which almost 4 million conflict-affected persons grow increasingly dependent in Darfur and eastern Chad.
The UN for its part is hardly a beacon of hope, given political realities in the Security Council. ICG offers a painfully insightful overview of these realities and the stalemate they are all too likely to produce:
“[The UN Security Council] remains divided: China and Russia, as well as some non-permanent members, have already echoed Khartoum’s objections to a Chapter VII mission and repeatedly blocked strong pressure, such as targeted sanctions against senior Khartoum or rebel officials, despite the prolonged crisis and the evidence of non-compliance with Council demands. The difficulties are likely to become more acute when the mandate and the objectives of the UN mission are considered. The brittle DPA has such an array of possible spoilers that anything less than a large, full-fledged Chapter VII mission instructed to protect civilians and help implement the peace agreement would multiply the risk of failure of both the UN operation in Darfur and the peace process as a whole. Sudan’s government can be expected to seek to exploit divisions within the AU and the wider international community, as well as between the two, to delay, weaken, and perhaps even derail the UN mission.” (page 15)
Delay now equals death in Darfur, and yet the formula for delay is ever more rigidly in place: UN and international actors assure Khartoum that there will be no effective peacemaking mission in Darfur without the regime’s consent, even as the regime insists ever more adamantly that it has no intention of giving this consent. The AU is fundamentally without the resources to enforce the terms of the DPA or demand that the parties meet the deadlines stipulated in the agreement—and is certainly unable to take on additional responsibilities of civilian and humanitarian protection. Nor can the AU absorb effectively or in timely fashion the significant resources that are required for this exceedingly difficult mission.
Darfur’s increasing violence recently led Jan Egeland, head of UN aid operations, to say that humanitarian organizations were on the very brink of withdrawal:
“‘When we feel that we are gambling with the lives of our humanitarian workers, we will leave,’ Egeland [said]. ‘I hope it will be never but it could be next week.'” (Reuters [dateline: Paris], May 31, 2006)
This comes in the wake of his earlier declaration to the Security Council following his assessment mission to the region:
“‘I think it’s a matter of weeks or months that we will have a collapse in many of our operations.’ ‘As I told the Security Council today, I don’t think the world has understood how bad it has become of late.'” (UN IRIN, April 21, 2006)
Certainly there has been no meaningful improvement in international response in the ensuing two months—and the collapse of aid operations looms ever closer even as the rainy season settles more fully upon Darfur and eastern Chad, as does the acute risk of a massive cholera epidemic.
Darfur seems destined to garner less and less news attention, even as it enters its season of greatest human destruction to date. As many 500,000 have already died in the course of three and a half years of devastating conflict and murder, disease and malnutrition (see my April 30, 2006 mortality assessment at http://www.sudanreeves.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=102). But additional hundreds of thousands of human beings may die in the coming months. These deaths will have, however, a grim sameness to them. Moreover, we may be sure that the UN Security Council will not again visit Khartoum, and that the sheer monotony of human suffering and destruction will command less and less attention. Genocide by attrition is the opposite of the “telegenic” or the “news-defining.” We may also be sure that as circumstances permit, Khartoum will gradually restrict news access, even as humanitarians are less and less able to bear witness to human destruction in Darfur.
To be sure, there may be less of the ethnically-targeted mass murder recently reported by International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo:
“The Office has so far documented (from public and non-public sources) thousands of alleged direct killings of civilians by parties to the conflict. The available information indicates that these killings include a significant number of large-scale massacres, with hundreds of victims in each incident. The Office has selected several of these incidents for further investigation and analysis. A large number of victims and witnesses interviewed by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) have reported that men perceived to be from the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa groups were deliberately targeted. In most of the incidents where the OTP has collected evidence there are eye-witness accounts that the perpetrators made statements reinforcing the targeted nature of the attacks, such as ‘we will kill all the black’ and ‘we will drive you out of this land.'” (“Third Report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to the Security Council,” June 14, 2006, page 2)
“A significant number of large-scale massacres, with hundreds of victims in each incident”; the targeting of civilians from the non-Arab or African Fur, Massalit, and Zaghawa tribes; racial insults and epithets hurled during murderous attacks: those resorting still to the euphemizing phrase “ethnic cleansing” must claim here that this does not provide evidence of “genocidal intent.”
For its part, the UN Commission of Inquiry report on Darfur, which expressed doubt as to whether there was sufficient evidence of “genocidal intent,” may wish to reconsider its finding in light of what the International Criminal Court has discovered, even as the ICC has had no access to Darfur and the UN Commission of Inquiry did. But then the UN Commission of Inquiry had no wish to embarrass the UN Secretariat with a genocide finding, knowing full well that the Security Council would be stymied by Chinese and Russian blocking actions, even were there an unambiguous finding of genocide (see my two-part analysis of the UN Commission of Inquiry report, February 2005, at http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=489&page=1
If we have any doubt that there is an unwillingness, in many quarters, to confront genocide honestly, we haven’t far to look. For though President Bush makes frequent reference to genocide in Darfur in his speeches, we gain some sense of how attenuated the ultimate human evil is in Bush’s eyes when he speaks of his motivation in using the term “genocide”:
“I declared Darfur to be genocide because I care deeply about those who have been afflicted by these renegade bands of people who are raping and murdering” (Associated Press, June 21, 2006)
“Renegade bands” of rapists and murders? This is a disgracefully long way from the clarity and authority with which former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke to the US Senate in September 2004: “genocide has been committed in Darfur, and that the government of Sudan and the Janjawid bear responsibility.” The Janjaweed are not simply “renegades” in Darfur; as Human Rights Watch has compelling demonstrated, along with many other organizations, the Janjaweed are an organized extension of the Khartoum regime’s genocidal counterinsurgency policy in Darfur (see especially “Entrenching Impunity: Government Responsibility for International Crimes in Darfur,” Human Rights Watch, December 2005).
By diminishing the nature of the monstrous crimes in Darfur, even as he curries domestic political favor by using the word “genocide” when so many governments still profess diffidence, Bush gives us the perfect portrait of a vast human catastrophe being managed rather than directly addressed. But he has much company—more than enough to sustain Khartoum’s unchanged genocidal ambitions.
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