Dithering in DarfurSee just this Post & Comments / 1 Comments so far / Post a Comment /   Home
Monday June 26 2006
The latest Eric reeves post: June 24, Khartoum Adamantly Refuses Urgently Required UN Forces in Darfur, and the news is very bad.
And: June 16, The UN Security Council and a Final Betrayal of Darfur.
Friday June 23 2006
IRIN - Sudan, June 23: Concerns over implementation of Darfur peace deal.
IRIN - Sudan, June 21: Fragile situation in Darfur despite peace deal.
Wednesday June 14 2006
I am surprised to find that there is nothing new on Eric Reeves' site (which I previously endorsed) since May?
The Integrated Regional Information Networks, IRIN, site has good information. Despite being paid for by the UN they seem to take an independent line. A daily or weekly newsletter is also available there.
Sudan, June 7: No agreement on UN force in Darfur.
Sudan, June 12: Military planning team to visit Darfur.
The Americans and the rest of us had a feel-good moment in Abuja; then the war went ahead, changed only a little. Spiegel: The Black Janjaweed, Sudan's War within a War, (Archive), discussion.
A story worth repeating in Spiegel's article: what happened to Mohammed Djuma Mohammed. He is a village teacher and for the past two years has been living in Bredjing camp in Chad, only 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the border.
On March 18, as he walks his customary route to the schoolyard, a group of young men suddenly block his path. They say that they're from the SLA and that Mohammed is under arrest. They take him to a collection point where more than 200 other men are already cowering on the ground, kept in check by six guards. Two are carrying pistols, while the others wield clubs.
Finally the entire group begins to walk. After an eight-hour forced march, the group arrives in the town of Arkum. Within a short period of time, this method produces 3,716 young recruits. They're counted twice a day, are given meager rations of porridge and are routinely beaten. But the men spend most of their time in training: crawling across the ground, running, standing at attention. At some point they finally realize what their new surroundings mean. "You are now soldiers of the SLA," they're told, "and your commander is Chamis Abdullah Abakr."
But what the new recruits don't know is that Massalit leader Abakr has only recently split off from the rest of the SLA. They're unaware of the fraternal feud among blacks and of the fact that the war against the Arabs has long since morphed into the region's next conflict. But they are terrified. Whenever one of them tries to escape the horrors of the camp, the guards, wielding clubs, quickly drive him back in. The man is thrown into a hole in the ground filled with thorny brush. His screams are heard throughout the night.
Village teacher Mohammed is one of the lucky ones. He and two other men manage to escape the rebel camp after 10 days and return to the Bredjing refugee camp. But their lives are now filled with fear, and they quickly hide whenever even the most harmless pickups rush through the camp, stirring up clouds of dust.
Here's Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (there's a title for you!); and some of the Joint United Nations and African Union Technical Assessment Team arriving in Al Fashir:
May 5th wasn't it? When they signed the treaty? The DPA - Darfur Peace Agreement. Since then the UN has been doing their everlasting version of the Hokey Pokey. (I watched Romeo Dallaire's movie the other night; and it has brought the UN's complicity in Rwanda onto the front burner for me.) The 'technical assessment team' is now in Darfur; it looks like whatever evaluation and planning they are doing will be completed by the end of June. Then how long will it take to get actual troops on the actual ground I wonder? God knows.
Beautiful and expressive faces whatever horror is off the frame. Look at the outstretched hand of the woman in the last picture.
The picture below of the ladies holding up a sign saying "... IMPORTANT TO STOP THE WAR, WE DON'T WANT TO GIVE TROUBLE TO ANYONE" (yes, it looks like there is an apostrophe in 'DON'T') is from 2004. More recent pictures of people holding signs say things like "WE WANT EDUCATION" - the feminists have been at work there no doubt. The boys on the truck look too clean and tidy to me, posed I guess. The village pictured is Al Fāshir, el-Fasher, whatever (map in previous post), you can see the edge of the village with the camp behind. What the Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir has to laugh about I do not know.
Turns out it is the Chinese who are selling everyone guns, reading between the lines of my Globe: China's arms trade, (Archive).
Tags: Sudan, Darfur, UN, United Nations, Guehenno, Dallaire, China, Arms Trade, Bashir, Bredjing, Chad.