Darfur: An abject abandonment of the “Responsibility to Protect”
The UN and African Union yield to Khartoum’s genocidal tyranny in Banjul, Gambia
July 4, 2006
It is difficult to see how the people of Darfur, and the humanitarians struggling heroically to save them, could have been more deeply betrayed at the African Union summit in Banjul, Gambia (July 1-2). Bowing to Khartoum’s insistence that there be no meaningful international protection force deployed to Darfur, Kofi Annan instead requested that the exceedingly weak and increasingly inadequate African Union mission remain the only source of security in Darfur—this even as violence continues to escalate, the Darfur Peace Agreement (May 5) is collapsing precipitously, and ethnically-targeted human destruction is exported ever more consequentially to eastern Chad.
The news continues to be appallingly bleak on all fronts in Darfur, and yet the AU summit concluded by extending for six months the mandate of an AU force that is increasingly immobile, mounting fewer patrols, has largely abandoned the protection missions for women and girls gathering firewood essential for cooking, and is badly demoralized and fearful. Physical attacks on AU forces come from all quarters, as the mission has repeatedly been tested and found wanting. Appropriate logistical, transport, intelligence, and communications capacities are desperately lacking; manpower and firepower are completely inadequate to confront current violence or take on the new civilian protection responsibilities stipulated in the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA).
The AU itself, in moments of honesty, acknowledges both that it does not have the resources for the mission (or the ability to absorb them) and that there must be a UN takeover:
“‘We need to hand over the baton to the UN,’ [AU Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare] said. ‘There is a necessity today to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement…. The AU today does not have the resources to be there. We have to be clear about that…. We don’t have the capacity to face a peacekeeping situation or an extended conflict.'” (Associated Press [dateline: Addis Ababa], June 7, 2006)
Despite these radical and self-acknowledged AU shortcomings, Kofi Annan was reduced to pleading with the AU to continue to provide, exclusively, security for all of Darfur:
“UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked AU leaders at a weekend summit to extend their mission in Darfur, where it is trying to provide security for some of the 2.5 million people living in camps after being displaced by three years of murder, rape and pillage. ‘On the request of the secretary general, the African Union will continue to fulfill its mission until the end of the year,’ said Congo Republic president Sassou Nguesso, who holds the revolving AU presidency. Earlier Annan met Bashir on the fringes of the summit in Gambia, but failed to persuade him to allow UN troops into Darfur, whose crisis he called ‘one of the worst nightmares in recent history.'” (Reuters [dateline: Banjul, Gambia], July 3, 2006)
No matter that Annan had “previously described Bashir’s opposition to the UN force as ‘incomprehensible'” (Reuters [dateline: Banjul, Gambia], July 2, 2006). The AU will—precisely because of Khartoum’s “incomprehensible” opposition—remain the only force offering security to the people of Darfur (and eastern Chad), including the almost 4 million human beings the UN now estimates are “conflict-affected” and in need of humanitarian assistance. The vulnerability of this vast population must be seen in the context of intolerable levels of insecurity that have led to many humanitarian evacuations and withdrawals from Darfur, and which may lead to the wholesale collapse of humanitarian operations. As Jan Egeland, head of UN aid operations, warned a month ago:
“The UN will withdraw its aid workers from the troubled Darfur region of Sudan unless their security is ensured soon, UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland said on Wednesday [May 31, 2006]. ‘When we feel that we are gambling with the lives of our humanitarian workers, we will leave,’ Egeland told Reuters. ‘I hope it will be never but it could be next week.'” (Reuters [dateline: Paris], May 31, 2006)
International inaction to date, and declining humanitarian reach, ensure that many tens of thousands will die in the current rainy season (and “hunger gap”). In the event of full-scale withdrawal of humanitarian operations—daily more likely as chaotic violence escalates—the number of deaths will be in the hundreds of thousands.
CHAD FARES NO BETTER IN BANJUL
Moreover, in acquiescing before Khartoum’s “incomprehensible” opposition to a robust civilian protection force in Darfur, Annan, the UN, and the AU have also refused to take action to staunch the flow of genocidal violence across the border into neighboring Chad. This occurs despite Amnesty International’s recent call for,
“urgent action to be taken by the international community to protect civilians in eastern Chad from cross-border attacks originating in Sudan. ‘[The AU Summit in Gambia] is a key opportunity for both the African Union and the United Nations to deliver a coordinated and effective response to the long standing human rights crisis in Darfur—a crisis which is now spilling across the border into Chad, and could destabilise the region,’ said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International.” (Amnesty International, “Sudan/Chad: International action needed to protect civilians from cross-border attacks,” press release, June 29, 2006)
This “key opportunity” has now been squandered, and there is no evidence of any momentum toward deployment of a force that could provide security for either civilians or the extremely vulnerable humanitarian workers in eastern Chad (who would have to evacuate toward the west, an exceedingly difficult undertaking during the current heavy rainy season).
Amnesty rightly, if futilely, declares that:
“‘The Chadian government must step up to its responsibility to ensure the protection of its civilians and seek the assistance of an international force if necessary.’ Amnesty International’s call came as it released video footage graphically revealing the murder and destruction taking place alongside Chad’s border with Sudan, together with a report analysing the abuses and highlighting the failure of both governments to live up to their responsibilities. ‘The Chadian government has virtually abdicated responsibility for protecting its own citizens along the border with Sudan, leaving them vulnerable to attacks by the Janjawid militia and exploitation from the Sudanese armed groups present in eastern Chad.'”
“‘The Sudanese government is allowing Janjawid militia to attack Chadian civilians across its border with impunity—killing, looting and de-populating land along the border.’ ‘The Janjawid are targeting virtually defenceless communities—unhindered by the governments of either Sudan or Chad. Effective action must be taken now by the international community—before the situation deteriorates even further.'” (Amnesty International, “Sudan/Chad: International action needed to protect civilians from cross-border attacks, press release, June 29, 2006)
But such exhortation fell on deaf ears in Banjul. The list of actions specified by Amnesty figured in none of the decisions of the AU summit:
“The AU Summit meeting this week needs to send a clear signal to Sudan that it cannot continue to block the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation without consequences. The AU should establish a clear programme of action to pressure the Sudanese government, which could include sanctions as well as suspending the decision to allow Sudan to take the AU Chairmanship in 2007. The UN Security Council will consider this week the results of the UN assessment mission on the deployment of a peace-keeping mission to Darfur.”
“The unfolding crisis in eastern Chad indicates that time is running out, and it is imperative that Council members show greater resolve to pressure the Sudanese government to accept a peacekeeping operation in Darfur with a protection mandate and the ability to prevent the cross-border incursions. The human rights tragedy unfolding in eastern Chad is a direct product of the conflict in Darfur, and that makes it incumbent on the international community to address the human rights and humanitarian crisis on both sides of the border.”
“Not only must the UN Security Council show a greater readiness to address the protection vacuum in eastern Chad—it must do so urgently and not wait for the Sudanese government to move on Darfur. The civilians in eastern Chad are in desperate need of protection and should not be held hostage to the pace of negotiations with Khartoum.” (Amnesty International, “Sudan/Chad: International action needed to protect civilians from cross-border attacks, press release, June 29, 2006)
All true, and yet all without any consequence or even clear resonance within the AU or UN. Amnesty, like Human Rights Watch previously, has also provided compelling evidence of the ethnically-targeted nature of human destruction in Chad:
“Since September 2005 Janjawid attacks into eastern Chad have displaced between 50,000 and 75,000 people, who have moved further inland. Some 15,000 of them, cut off from any other escape route, have moved to Darfur. The displaced persons have little or no access to humanitarian assistance, and desperate to find some protection, are becoming a potential pool for recruitment by Darfuri armed groups based in eastern Chad.”
“[Amnesty International’s new report on Chad] also highlights an emerging pattern of coordination between the Janjawid and Chadian armed groups based in Darfur. As the latter mount attacks on the Chadian army along one part of the border, the Janjawid move in against the civilian population in another part, targeting specific tribes not allied to the Chadian rebels [i.e., non-Arab or African tribal groups].”
UN IRIN and Reuters both note comments made by Amnesty International on release of its new report, in particular the actions of Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militia:
“‘As they did in Darfur, they have targeted the sedentary farming populations in each area, killing, pillaging, and driving the villagers out,’ Amnesty International reported. Most of the victims were from the Dajo, Mobeh, Masalit and Kajaksa and other smaller sedentary groups [non-Arab or African tribal groups].” (UN IRIN [dateline: Nairobi/Dakar], June 29, 2006)
“‘The Janjaweed have already begun to clear themselves a living space in eastern Chad by permanently seizing land there,’ [Amnesty International Secretary General Irene] Khan said. ‘Things are getting worse. The situation in eastern Chad is deteriorating rapidly,’ she said, citing testimony from Chadian refugees who fled Janjaweed raids and returned to find the militia had occupied their territory. ‘They are saying the same things we heard in Darfur: “You are slaves, this is our land.”‘” (dateline: Dakar, Senegal, June 29, 2006)
Khan here is alluding to the many ethnically/racially derogatory epithets hurled at non-Arab or African peoples during the most violent phase of the Darfur conflict, and reported early on by Amnesty International:
“A refugee farmer from the village of Kishkish reported…the words used by the militia: ‘You are Black and you are opponents. You are our slaves, the Darfur region is in our hands and you are our herders.'” (Amnesty International, “Darfur: Too many people killed for no reason,” AI Index: AFR 54/008/2004, February 3, 2004, page 28; at http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAFR540082004)
“A civilian from Jafal confirmed [he was] told by the Janjawid: ‘You are opponents to the regime, we must crush you. As you are Black, you are like slaves. Then all the Darfur region will be in our hands. The government is on our side. The government plane is on our side to give us ammunition and food.'” (Amnesty International report, page 28)
More recently International Criminal Court lead prosecutor for crimes in Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, reported similar evidence emerging in his investigation:
“The UN-backed court probing war crimes in Darfur has documented thousands of civilian deaths, hundreds of alleged rapes and a ‘significant number’ of massacres that killed hundreds of people at once, the [ICC] top prosecutor said Wednesday [June 14, 2006]. Many witnesses and victims have reported that three ethnic groups in particular—the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa—had been singled out for attack in Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a report to the Security Council.” [ ]
“‘In most of the incidents…there are eyewitness accounts that the perpetrators made statements reinforcing the [ethnically] targeted nature of the attacks, such as “we will kill all the black” and “we will drive you out of this land,”‘ his report said.” (Associated Press [dateline: UN, New York], June 14, 2006)
These are the operational results of directives such as that which came from Khartoum’s most conspicuously and amply supported Janjaweed leader, Musa Hilal:
“The ultimate objective in Darfur is spelled out in an August 2004 directive from [Janjaweed paramount leader Musa] Hilal’s headquarters: ‘Change the demography of Darfur and empty it of African tribes.'” (Alex de Waal and Julie Flint, “Darfur: A Short History of a Long War,” page 39)
The evidence of genocide in Darfur has long been overwhelming, and agnosticism at this point is politically not intellectually motivated.
ACCELERATING CHAOS, WORSENING HUMANITARIAN CONDITIONS
The consequences of genocidal destruction are everywhere in evidence in Darfur, even as security continues to deteriorate and a number of humanitarian indicators have grown more ominous in recent weeks. Kalma Camp near Nyala (South Darfur) is the largest camp for displaced persons in Darfur and recent reports suggest an explosive situation. The UN’s Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reports:
“Violent attacks have increased in the largest camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the troubled western Sudanese Darfur region, according to observers. In Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, an analyst said the security situation in nearby Kalma camp had worsened since the signing of the Darfur peace deal on 5 May, adding that the worst attacks were taking place at night. ‘There has been an increased radicalisation of youth inside the camp,’ he said. ‘Many people don’t accept the Darfur Peace Agreement [DPA] or the security mechanisms of the DPA.'” [ ]
“On Friday, unknown gunmen killed the watchman of an international nongovernmental organisation inside Kalma camp. The following two nights, the compounds of other NGOs were robbed as well. In separate incidents on Friday, two IDPs were shot by armed men; both were wounded in the attacks. In previous attacks last week, an IDP shelter was looted and six armed men unsuccessfully attempted to steal a pumping machine at a water point.”
“A nighttime presence of African Union (AU) soldiers inside the camp was urgently needed, a regional observer said, but so far the cash-strapped peacekeepers were only undertaking daytime patrols.” [ ]
“‘The victims are primarily of Fur [the largest non-Arab or African tribal group in Darfur] origin,’ the observer said regarding the latest incidents in Kalma.” (IRIN, July 4, 2006)
The Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT) also reports today on these militia attacks against civilians in Kalma camp, almost certainly the Khartoum-backed Janjaweed:
“On 29 June 2006, in the early morning, unknown men armed with JM3 machine guns and Kalashnikovs attacked Kalma internally displaced camp in Nyala killing one person and injuring two others.”
“SOAT strongly condemns the continuing terrorisation of the civilian population in Darfur by armed militias and calls on the government of Sudan to immediately implement its obligations as agreed in the Darfur Peace Act (DPA). The continued targeting of the vulnerable IDP population at night by armed groups undermines one of fundamental principles of the DPA namely ‘To ensure that civilians are not subjected to violence, intimidation, threats and forced displacement'” (Article 23(217)). (SOAT Human Rights Alert: July 4, 2006)
The outbreak of cholera in Darfur also continues to grow more threatening, even as the rains become heavier and make it more difficult to maintain latrines and the integrity of water supplies. The weekly “fact sheet” from the US Agency for International Development is evidently sensitive to Khartoum’s desire that “cholera” be called “acute watery diarrhea,” but the tests for cholera have come back positive (bacteria proving impervious to verbal equivocation):
“Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) in Darfur. The number of reported cases of AWD continues to increase in several areas of South Darfur, and suspected cases have been reported in North Darfur. As of June 28, 153 AWD cases had been reported in South Darfur, including 30 cases between June 21 and 28. Water chlorination has begun in Nyala town. In North Darfur, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the North Darfur State Ministry of Health have begun awareness campaigns in collaboration with non-governmental organization partners to educate community leaders about cholera preparedness and control measures. On June 28, WHO reported that an AWD outbreak is suspected in Al Lait in the Um Kedadah locality of North Darfur, with three deaths recorded to date.” (June 30, 2006)
In yet another extremely serious development, a new alliance of Darfuri insurgents who reject the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) attacked the town of Hamrat al-Sheikh in North Kordofan Province (to the east of Darfur), and has explicitly renounced the April 2004 ceasefire (incorporated into the DPA):
“The Justice and Equality Movement formed a new alliance last week called the National Redemption Front (NRF) with a few breakaway SLA commanders and a small political party, the Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance. Adam Ali Shogar, one of the Sudan Liberation Army commanders in the NRF, told Reuters his forces were still in control of Hamrat al-Sheikh. ‘God willing, we will be on our way to Khartoum,’ he said. ‘The government has shown it is not committed to the 2004 humanitarian ceasefire so this deal now has no meaning.'” (Reuters [dateline: Khartoum], July 3, 2006)
The formation of the National Redemption Front only makes more uncertain the status of forces under the various commanders of the major insurgency groups (SLA/Minni Minawi and SLM/Abdel Wahid al-Nur), even as contradictory comments emanate from all quarters. In turn, chaotic violence creates a pretext for Khartoum to loose its own military forces, as well as its Janjaweed militia allies.
A RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT
In the wake of the AU summit in Banjul we must wonder what survives of the so-called “responsibility to protect” that was articulated this past September (2005) at the UN World Summit and accepted unanimously. All member states declared in this Summit document that they were,
“prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the UN Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case by case basis and in cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate, should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities manifestly failing to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity and its implications, bearing in mind the principles of the Charter and international law.” (Summit Outcome document, Paragraph 139)
Paragraph 139 stipulated no exception for Darfur, or Chad, or the increasingly threatened populations of eastern Sudan. Could there be a more conspicuous case demanding the actions specified in Paragraph 139? Kofi Annan declared not in a recent BBC interview:
“Acknowledging ‘similarities’ between Darfur and the Rwanda genocide in 1994, Mr Annan said ‘everybody’ is looking to see if world leaders will make good on their World Summit pledge last September to protect vulnerable communities. ‘You need political will,’ he said. ‘A certain political will is required for action—and I don’t think we have the kind of political will that is required to drive things home.'” (BBC, June 29, 2006)
Of course the political will has been all too frequently been lacking on the part of Kofi Annan himself, who seems incapable of sustaining his professed commitment to Darfur. In a January op/ed in The Washington Post Annan declared:
“The UN Charter gives the council primary responsibility for international peace and security. And in September, in a historic first, UN members unanimously accepted the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity, pledging to take action through the Security Council when national authorities fail.”
“The transition from the AU force to a UN peace operation in Darfur is now inevitable. A firm decision by the Security Council is needed, and soon, for an effective transition to take place.” (“Darfur Descending,” The Washington Post, January 25, 2006)
Half a year later, the “transition from the AU force to a UN peace operation in Darfur” looks anything but inevitable, even as conditions on the ground have deteriorated further since Annan noted that instead of improving (since his previous assessment mission to Darfur), conditions as of January 2006 had deteriorated, that Darfur was “descending”:
“People in many parts of Darfur continue to be killed, raped and driven from their homes by the thousands. The number displaced has reached 2 million, while 3 million (half the total population of Darfur) are dependent on international relief for food and other basics. Many parts of Darfur are becoming too dangerous for relief workers to reach. The peace talks are far from reaching a conclusion. And fighting now threatens to spread into neighboring Chad, which has accused Sudan of arming rebels on its territory.”
The total number of displaced is now closer to 2.5 million; the number in need of humanitarian aid in Darfur and eastern Chad now approaches 4 million; many more locations and civilians are beyond humanitarian reach; and fighting in Chad has increased dramatically. The badly failing Darfur Peace Agreement has done nothing to change these realities or the need for a force of the sort Annan described in January:
“Any new mission will need a strong and clear mandate, allowing it to protect those under threat, by force if necessary, as well as the means to do so. That means it will need to be larger, more mobile and much better equipped than the current African Union mission. Those countries that have the required military assets must be ready to deploy them.”
“Those countries that have the required military assets” are of course NATO countries; and no UN mission in Darfur and eastern Chad could possibly succeed without the resources that Annan, at least on this occasion, had the honesty to acknowledge.
But instead of being “inevitable,” a transition to a robust UN force, with all necessary military resources, has become completely and shamefully contingent upon Khartoum’s acceptance. Annan declared that a “firm decision by the Security Council is needed, and soon, for an effective transition to take place.” Half a year later a “firm decision” on transition is nowhere in prospect; instead, Security Council members and other UN officials trip over themselves to declare that no decision will be made that doesn’t accommodate the wishes of Khartoum’s genocidaires. Here the split between the National Islamic Front and the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (which has declared that it does not oppose a UN deployment) makes eminently clear that there is in Sudan no “Government of National Unity,” merely a continuation of NIF tyranny under the benign cover of a north/south peace deal that has left unchanged the control of national power and wealth.
What do members of the Security Council and other UN officials say about a UN peacekeeping deployment that Annan declared “inevitable” in January?
“The UK’s UN ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, who is leading the UN mission, said the council underlined to president [Omar el-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)
The US government has made various comments that echo those of the British ambassador. Most disingenuously, the State Department’s point-man on Darfur, Michael Ranneberger, recently declared:
“‘The African Union is doing great job in Darfur, but it is not set up to maintain forces for a sustained amount of time,’ Ranneberger [said]. ‘The African Union could form the core of the force. Sudan will simply need to cooperate.’ He said the United States expects the UN Security Council’s full support in the transfer [from an AU to a UN peacekeeping mission].” (United Press International, June 29, 2006)
Ranneberger’s assessment of the quality of AU performance is of a piece with his deeply disingenuous comment that “the United States expects the UN Security Council’s full support in the transfer.” Ranneberger, who is perhaps the most dishonest administration spokesman on Darfur, knows full well what the exceedingly difficult obstacles are at the UN Security Council, but simply passes speciously over them. And the notion that “Sudan will simply need to cooperate” avoids what is precisely the central issue in the current crisis.
UK Ambassador Parry’s comments were also echoed by UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno:
“‘The United Nations never imposes itself on any country,’ UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno told reporters after the joint team met Foreign Minister Lam Akol.” (Reuters [dateline: Khartoum], June 10, 2006)
More ominously, and much more compromising of Annan’s sense of “inevitability,” are very clear Chinese opposition to any deployment of UN forces over Khartoum’s objections and Russia’s insistence on obtaining Khartoum’s “consent and agreement”:
“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)
If the “responsibility to protect” civilians confronting genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes again humanity means anything, it means that the UN should have already intervened in Darfur, with or without the consent of those who have perpetrated these vast atrocities. That the “responsibility to protect” has devolved into a reliance on an African Union force that confesses it cannot undertake the tasks of civilian and humanitarian protection shows just how little commitment there was at the time of the September UN World Summit, and how very hollow a victory Paragraph 139 represents.
JAN PRONK AND “POLITICAL REALITIES” IN DARFUR
Because of its manifest weaknesses in providing real security and meaningful compensation, the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) has been overwhelmingly rejected by Darfuri people on the ground and in the camps. Moreover, the chaotic political picture of positions of various insurgency factions, leaders, and commanders refuses to come into focus. But in a shameful act of blaming the victims, Jan Pronk—Special Representative of the UN Secretary General—has recently sought to blame the collapse of the DPA on those who refuse to accept what they know to be a deeply inadequate document.
Pronk describes the actual DPA document as a “good text” (he of course endorsed it at its signing), and an “honest compromise,” guided by “objective rational calculations.” The problem, Pronk asserts, is that this fine specimen of an agreement has been undone by the people of Darfur, who in rejecting it are guided by “subjective emotional perceptions and aspirations” (Jan Pronk website, June 28, 2006, at www.janpronk.nl). How, we might wish to ask Mr. Pronk, are the demands for reasonable security guarantees, with meaningful guarantors, “subjective emotional perceptions and aspirations? Pronk himself admits,
“None of the deadlines agreed in the text of the agreement have been met. The African Union is in charge, but it clearly lacks the capacity and the resources to lead the process of implementation. [ ] The military positions of the parties have not yet been verified; the demilitarized zones, the buffer zones and the humanitarian routes have not yet been demarcated. As a result of this the humanitarian assistance to people in areas to which we did not have full access during he war, cannot be resumed, despite the agreement on paper. The preparations of the Darfur-Darfur dialogue have not yet started.”
And yet those Darfuris surveying the situation Pronk describes, and rejecting the DPA, are somehow guided by “subjective emotional perceptions and aspirations.” Having enthusiastically endorsed an agreement that is now conspicuously failing, Pronk is indulging here a shamelessly expedient exercise in self-exculpation. Perhaps this is ultimately understandable, since he will certainly require more than ordinary dispensation to be exonerated from the culpable dishonesty, equivocation, miscalculation, and sheer incompetence that he has demonstrated for the past two years in his present role. All we learn of real significance from Pronk’s disgraceful exercise is in his concluding sentences:
“An official joint high level delegation of the UN and the AU which had come to Khartoum in order to discuss the role of the two organisations in the implementation of the DPA was told by President Bashir that he would not agree with a transition towards a UN peace keeping force in Darfur. ‘This is final,’ he said and he repeated these words several times.”
In fact, Bashir has been enthusiastically joined in this refusal to accept a robust UN force in Darfur—by Major General Saleh Abdalla Gosh (head of the Mukhabarat, Khartoum’s brutally efficient security apparatus) and by National Islamic Front veteran and interior minister, Zubier Bashir Taha. What Gosh and Taha have in common is their deep mutual complicity in genocidal violence in Darfur: they are, for example, number one and number two on the list assembled by a UN Panel of Experts tasked with determining those in the Khartoum regime who are responsible for “impeding the peace process” and “failure to take action to identify, neutralize, and disarm non-state armed militia groups in Darfur [i.e., the Janjaweed]” (Confidential Annex to the Final Report, “List of Individuals Identified by the Panel of Experts,” UN Panel of Experts on Darfur, January 2006). The language coming from Gosh, one of the primary architects of the Darfur genocide, is instructive:
“The head of Sudan national security and intelligence organ, Lt General Salah Abdalla Gosh has declared on Wednesday 28 June  his outright rejection of deployment of international peace-keepers in Darfur: ‘If the choice is between recolonialisation of Sudan and incursion into its soil by foreign troops, then interior of earth is better than its surface,’ [Gosh] said.”
“Gosh received messages of support and allegiance at his headquarters, on behalf of president Omer al-Bashir, from ten thousand members of the security organ and Popular Defence Forces, the Sudanese al-Ray al-Aam daily newspaper reported.” (Sudan Tribune [dateline: Khartoum] June 29, 2006)
Supported by the likes of Saleh Abdallah Gosh and Zubier Bashir Taha, President Omar el-Bashir has proved in Banjul as good as his word in rejecting, finally and definitively, a UN or international role in protecting civilians and humanitarian workers in Darfur; and the world community has found nothing to say in return. Amidst the ghastly silence of international impotence, the suffering and destruction in Darfur and eastern Chad only accelerate, making a mockery of any profession of an “international responsibility to protect.”