Sunday, October 01, 2006

Darfur in free fall? (Eric Reeves)

Three more reports from Eric Reeves that should be read in full:

Two Weeks After UN Security Council "Acts" on Darfur: Diplomatic Paralysis (September 14, 2006)
A Spectacle of Impotence at the UN: Darfur Security Remains Solely with AU (September 24, 2006)
Khartoum Strong-arms, Negotiates to Retain Control of Darfur Security (September 28, 2006)

The ongoing human catastrophe in Darfur has continued to accelerate, while the alleged "world community" is either paralyzed or, in some cases, actively collaborating with the criminals. As Reeves concludes his September 24 piece (A Spectacle of Impotence at the UN)
There is an irreducible truth in the present historic moment: the UN force authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1706 could save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives if rapidly deployed with adequate resources for military and security personnel. This force has been blocked by the same handful of National Islamic Front genocidaires that has for three and a half years relentlessly, systematically, and savagely targeted the non-Arab or African tribal populations of Darfur as a means of crushing the insurgency that emerged in February 2003. The ethnically-targeted nature of this well-orchestrated destruction has been documented in numerous human rights reports, assessment missions, and by a wide range of journalists and humanitarian workers. [....]

This regime is unwilling to accept any responsibility for such actions---past, present, or future. Instead, it lashes out viciously, blaming “Zionist Jews,” Israel, and human rights organizations for Darfur’s catastrophe: [....]

Such men will not be deterred from further genocidal crimes by the threat of sanctions, “targeted” or otherwise; they will never allow themselves to be seized by the International Criminal Court; and they live in no fear of an inevitably dilatory and incompetent deployment of some additional AU personnel. These men will not yield. If the world continues to defer to this defiance of international will, as represented in UN Security Council Resolution 1706, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Darfur and eastern Chad will die.

There are two brutal truths about Darfur; these are both of them.
Some highlights are below.

--Jeff Weintraub
====================
Two Weeks After UN Security Council "Acts" on Darfur: Diplomatic Paralysis
Eric Reeves
September 14, 2006

The cataclysm of human suffering and destruction in Darfur continues to grow, with no end or even mitigation in prospect. The Khartoum regime is currently accelerating its vast military offensives in North Darfur and eastern Jebel Marra, with large-scale civilian casualties and displacement. Evidence of deliberate, ethnically-targeted human destruction---particularly among the Fur communities---is reported almost daily. At the same time, Khartoum continues to defy the international community, adamantly refuses to accept the peacekeeping force specified in UN Security Council Resolution 1706 (August 31, 2006), and insists that a crumbling and demoralized African Union observer mission may accept neither a UN mandate nor UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations funding. For its part, China has made emphatically clear, as has the Arab League, that no UN force can deploy without Khartoum’s consent, ensuring that the accommodating language of Resolution 1706 (guaranteeing that Khartoum’s claims of national sovereignty will not be “affected” by the resolution) paralyzes any further UN action. And indeed, since passage of the US-British-sponsored resolution two weeks ago, there has been nothing but exhortation.

This paralysis continues even as humanitarian assistance is, according to Jan Egeland, in “freefall”:

“‘In many ways we are in a freefall in Darfur at the moment,’ UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland [said]. [Egeland also said that] if insecurity forces aid agencies to pull out of Darfur, a region the size of France, hundreds of thousands of people would be left with absolutely nothing. ‘There is still a possibility to avoid that, but we have very little time, in my view, to avoid a collapse in Darfur.’ Egeland urged China as well as Arab and Islamic states to help convince the Khartoum-based government that ‘we need this UN force to avoid a collapse.’” (Associated Press [dateline: Nairobi], September 13, 2006)

But there is simply no current prospect of this UN forces deploying, let alone in the “very little time” that Egeland rightly argues remains. [....] Moreover, even immediate deployment---by a large, robust force, armed with an appropriate mandate for civilian protection---could do nothing to save the hundreds of thousands who have already perished in three and a half years of genocidal conflict. Nor could it provide for more than the very gradual alleviation of current suffering among a massive population of over 4 million conflict-affected persons in Darfur and eastern Chad (the most current UN figure for the conflict-affected population in Darfur is 3.78 million; in eastern Chad, Darfuri refugees, Chadian Internally Displaced Persons, and other Chadian civilians affected by the Darfur conflict have produced a population that exceeds 350,000). And in the absence of near-term provision of security, humanitarian evacuations and withdrawals will continue, leaving many hundreds of thousands with no humanitarian access, and well over a million human beings with only the most limited and tenuous humanitarian access. These numbers grow daily. [....]

KHARTOUM WILL NOT BE MOVED BY WORDS OF ANY KIND

Kofi Annan offered some rhetorically compelling remarks to the UN Security Council on Monday (September 11, 2006):

“As access gets harder, the humanitarian gains of the past two years are being rolled back. Unless security improves, we face the prospect of having to drastically curtail an acutely needed humanitarian operation. Can we, in conscience, leave the people of Darfur to such a fate? Can the international community, having not done enough for the people of Rwanda in their time of need, just watch as this tragedy deepens? Having finally agreed just one year ago that there is a responsibility to protect, can we contemplate failing yet another test? Lessons are either learned or not; principles are either upheld or scorned. This is no time for the middle ground of half-measures or further debate.” (Briefing to the UN Security Council [New York], September 11, 2006)

“This is no time for the middle ground of half-measures or further debate.”

It is difficult to quarrel with these uncompromising words; but it is impossible to understand their implication if Annan insists that the UN will consider only consensual deployment, will act only if Khartoum’s genocidaires give the permission that they have most insistently denied: [....]

Not all are prepared to wait longer. A group of “eighteen international human rights, humanitarian, and conflict-prevention organizations” yesterday (September 13, 2006) “condemned the recent violence launched by the Government of Sudan in North Darfur and called for stepped up diplomatic pressure and for the rapid deployment of a robust UN peacekeeping force” (see full text of statement at Physicians for Human Rights website). These eighteen groups went further in specifying their assessments and recommendations, and concluded:

“In summary, we call on the international community to significantly intensify diplomatic efforts with the Government of Sudan while concurrently planning for the rapid deployment of an adequately funded and well-equipped UN force to protect the people of Darfur regardless of the acquiescence of the Sudanese Government.”

[Read the rest HERE]
====================
A Spectacle of Impotence at the UN: Darfur Security Remains Solely with AU
Eric Reeves
September 24, 2006

Khartoum triumphs in preserving the genocidal status quo

Despite glib talk in various quarters of a “partial” or “temporary” success this past week in renewing the African Union mandate for Darfur, the UN’s refusal to move toward urgent deployment of the Darfur protection force contemplated in Security Council Resolution 1706 (August 31, 2006) marks a moment of abject international failure. In the face of obdurate and defiant claims of national sovereignty by National Islamic Front President Omar al-Bashir, the world’s most powerful nations have decided to allow the protection of some 4 million vulnerable civilians in Darfur and eastern Chad to remain in the hands of the African Union---notionally as “preparation” for a follow-on UN force. But in fact al-Bashir and other senior members of the National Islamic Front regime continue adamantly in their refusal to accept a UN force under any circumstances, and remain equally insistent that security continue to be provided solely by the African Union. [....]

Certainly the AU has fully demonstrated that it cannot protect humanitarian operations, which continue to contract amidst intolerable levels of insecurity. Aid organizations have already withdrawn from huge (and growing) areas of Darfur, even as the need for food, clean water, shelter, and medical assistance grows relentlessly. After more than three and a half years of devastating violence and ethnically-targeted destruction, the vast majority of conflict-affected populations have no food reserves, no opportunity for significant agricultural production, and no security allowing them to deploy their superb coping skills: they grow more, not less dependent upon humanitarian assistance. And yet further significant humanitarian withdrawals and evacuations are now inevitable. [....]

THE PRICE OF ACQUIESCENCE

There is an irreducible truth in the present historic moment: the UN force authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1706 could save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives if rapidly deployed with adequate resources for military and security personnel. This force has been blocked by the same handful of National Islamic Front genocidaires that has for three and a half years relentlessly, systematically, and savagely targeted the non-Arab or African tribal populations of Darfur as a means of crushing the insurgency that emerged in February 2003. The ethnically-targeted nature of this well-orchestrated destruction has been documented in numerous human rights reports, assessment missions, and by a wide range of journalists and humanitarian workers. [....]

This regime is unwilling to accept any responsibility for such actions---past, present, or future. Instead, it lashes out viciously, blaming “Zionist Jews,” Israel, and human rights organizations for Darfur’s catastrophe:

“‘The main purpose [of UN peacekeeping deployment to Darfur] is the security of Israel. Any state in the region should be weakened, dismembered in order to protect the Israelis, to guarantee the Israeli security,’ [President Omar al-Bashir] said. Asked about Sunday's [September 17, 2006] Darfur peace rallies from Rwanda to San Francisco, Bashir said they were ‘invariably organized by Zionist Jewish organizations.’” (Reuters [UN, New York], September 19, 2006)

“Sudan’s president [Omar al-Bashir] claimed that human rights groups have exaggerated the crisis in Darfur to help their fundraising.” (Associated Press [dateline: UN, New York], September 20, 2006

But beyond this preposterous mendacity, the genocidaires in Khartoum share with one of Shakespeare’s greatest figures of evil, individually and collectively, the sense that
“I am in blood
Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.”
Such men will not be deterred from further genocidal crimes by the threat of sanctions, “targeted” or otherwise; they will never allow themselves to be seized by the International Criminal Court; and they live in no fear of an inevitably dilatory and incompetent deployment of some additional AU personnel. These men will not yield. If the world continues to defer to this defiance of international will, as represented in UN Security Council Resolution 1706, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Darfur and eastern Chad will die.

There are two brutal truths about Darfur; these are both of them.

[Read the rest HERE.]
====================
Khartoum Strong-arms, Negotiates to Retain Control of Darfur Security
Eric Reeves
September 28, 2006

The National Islamic Front will continue to determine the military and security dynamic throughout Darfur and eastern Chad

The recent and fulsome decision by the African Union to agree with Khartoum on the question of deploying a UN force to Darfur almost certainly ensures that the National Islamic Front regime retains unthreatened control over human security in this vast and acutely threatened region:

“Peacekeeping troops should not be sent to Sudan’s troubled Darfur region without the Sudanese government’s approval, the president of the African Union [Alpha Oumar Konare] said Monday [September 25, 2006]. ‘No soldier should go to Sudan without the permission of the Sudanese government because it’s not about making war with the Sudanese people but helping them.’” (Associated Press [dateline: Caracas, Venezuela], September 25, 2006)

Konare makes no mention of the fact that the “Sudanese government,” at least the ruling National Islamic Front (NIF) cabal, continues to “make war on the Sudanese people” of Darfur. Nor does Konare make mention of the fact that the NIF, which completely dominates the merely notional “Government of National Unity,” is waging an ever-more debilitating and brutal war on precisely those humanitarian organizations most determined to “help the Sudanese people.” Such truths are evidently too discomfiting for Konare and the African Union to accept, and so the organization has capitulated to the demand that has been central to Khartoum’s diplomacy throughout Africa, throughout the Arab world, and with all who can be strong-armed or intimidated or bribed: “support us in our insistence that there be no UN force in Darfur, or there will be dire consequences for our bilateral relationship.”

[Read the rest HERE.]

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