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Breakthrough in Darfur for UN-AU mission?

by Colman Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 09:56:06 AM EST

The BBC is reporting that Sudan has come to an agreement "in principle" with the UN on accepting "help" in Darfur.

BBC East Africa correspondent Adam Mynott says the UN is still insisting that it takes command and control of the peacekeeping mission.

Mr Bashir, however, stressed the UN's "assistance... to the AU mission".

"The government of Sudan welcomes all financial, material, logistic or technical assistance from the UN in order to strengthen the AU mission in Darfur," he told state TV.

"We reiterate our commitment to fully co-operate with the AU, the UN and the international community to implement the Darfur peace agreement."


I rather fear that this simply means that either the Khartoum government has achieved most of their aims or that they believe they are in danger of losing control of the situation in Darfur to other forces and want UN protection. We'll see, I guess.


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Better news, maybe.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 10:00:29 AM EST
Nothing will happen, just window dressing.

The genocide will continue.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 10:04:25 AM EST
Are you saying that the UN and the AU will not start to cooperate for whatever reason, or that even when they cooperate they will not be able to stop the genocide?
by Nomad on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 10:12:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would the Sudanese stop the killing? They want to kill these people and won't stop until they are done or someone stops them.

And why should anyone stop them? No one cares about black people without natural resources (or is there by any chance oil in Darfur?).

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 10:33:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters Alertnet: Oil discovery adds new twist to Darfur tragedy (15 Jun 2005)
The existence of big oilfields in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region has added a new twist to a bloody, two-year-old conflict, potentially turning the quest for peace into tussle over resources.

Sudan announced in April that its ABCO corporation (which is 37 percent owned by Swiss company Clivenden) had begun drilling for oil in Darfur, where preliminary studies showed there were "abundant" quantities of oil.

The news has prompted some humanitarian experts to wonder whether oil could be guiding Khartoum's actions in Darfur, where a scorched-earth policy against rebels' communities has left tens of thousands dead and forced at least 2 million from their homes.



Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 10:39:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh well, then at least there is a chance to get international intervention. The oil must be produced.

But of course that can also be achieved by letting the current genocide play out. Hopefully the Chinese will buy the oil fields so we'll feel we have to take them for ourselves, and stop the genocide as we happen to be around.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 10:50:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There already is international intervention. It's called the African Union - though they are heavily understaffed, severely stretched and poorly equipped.

You sound awfully cynical - although I always have troubles conflating cynism with realism.

by Nomad on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 11:01:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like I said, window dressing. What does the AU matter when they do no difference?

Last time I checked the Janjaweed were still playing "kill the men  and rape the women".

Some interesting, ah, cultural differences.

Turns out that while the Janjaweed Arab militia is raping the women in black villages, these Janjaweed women, sort of backup singers, sing songs making fun of the women getting raped.

Some of the insults in the songs are a little surprising. For example, one song goes, "You are gorillas, you are black, and you are badly dressed." Who would've thought these Sudanese peasants were such fashion snobs? It's not bad enough being raped and killed, but insulting somebody's clothes -- that's a low blow, ladies. Somebody better call the UN about this.

Rather awful, no? And no one does anything.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 12:11:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloody hell.

I'd appreciate it if you'd drop the disparaging tone considering the valiant efforts of the AU. How do you know so certain that the situation would not be worse (as hard as that is to imagine) without them? At least they try - something the western nations have utterly failed to do (again), even support the AU financially.

Sadly, your anecdote is nothing new: "They Sing When They Rape".

by Nomad on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 03:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry if I made you angry. It's just that the whole Darfur business depress me so very much.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 03:53:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not angry, just... piqued.

I haven't reached depressed yet. Darfur still kindles me to white hot rage.

by Nomad on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 06:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...something else entirely?

I hate it to trap people in just two possibilities.

by Nomad on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 10:13:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The real reason behind this seems to be that the Janjaweed have stepped up their raids in Chad, so this is no longer an "internal matter" and the Sudanese government cannot avoid being seen as the bad guys.

BBC news: Chad proposes anti-Sudan alliance (17 November 2006)

Chad has offered to send troops to the Central African Republic to help fight rebels it claims are backed by Sudan.

Since a rebellion began in Sudan's Darfur region nearly four years ago, violence has spilled over its borders into eastern Chad and northern CAR.

Prime Minister Pascal Yoadimnadji said as Sudan was attempting to destabilise both Chad and CAR there should be a "general mobilisation" of the people.



Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 10:22:25 AM EST
Internal affairs always have been problematic to get addressed by the UN. The tragedy, though, is that an internal affair in Africa is an internal affair because on the borders drawn during Europe's colonial dominance and anything but natural... What should be open war between two nations based on clan majority can in Africa be a civil war, hence internal...
by Nomad on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 11:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr Bashir, however, stressed the UN's "assistance... to the AU mission".

I suppose this means that Sudan still opposes the latest UN resolution expanding the UN's own mission?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 10:24:02 AM EST
Sudan will not permit any force in that has any real chance of stopping the genocide.

If a UN force enters the country with Sudanese consent, it will be a UN force too ineffectual to accomplish anything, just like the AU force.  It may even end up fighting the rebels instead.

We need a large, heavily-armed NATO-led force of 50,000 troops or more that is prepared to go to war with the Sudanese government.  The troops could come from countries as outlined below.

15,000 Africa
10,000 Asia, Latin America
 1,000 Canada
 4,000 Japan
15,000 EU
 5,000 Russia and Eastern Europe

These are admittedly not much more than wild guesses, but I think achievable with enough political will.

The US won't be able to send ground troops after the Iraq debacle, but might be able to help with logistical and air support.  The UK will have to withdraw from Iraq in order to do this, and Canada would need to pull out of Afghanistan.

China is the main buyer of Sudanese oil, but I think they'd back down if the rest of the world was really serious about intervening.

Darfur was an independent state in precolonial times and there is no reason for it not to be again.  After it is liberated, expect about 20,000 troops to remain for at least 10 years.

It was done in Bosnia.  It was done in Kosovo.  If it could work for white people, it can work for blacks.

by tyronen on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 01:07:34 PM EST
Why NATO-led? What's wrong with putting all those troops under UN command?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 01:10:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually you can do both.  Keep in mind that this is an offensive, Korean-War style operation, not ordinary peacekeeping.
by tyronen on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 01:29:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is generally called an "invasion".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 01:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it is not peacekeeping.

Is China really the only obstacle in the way of a UN security resolution authorising this?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 01:36:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China has threatened to veto any Chapter VII resolution authorizing invasive force.  Their policy has been to give Sudan a free hand in exchange for its oil.

Although to be fair, Russia isn't really all that much better, and perhaps it's wishful thinking to hope they would join in what would be, indeed, an invasion.

But again, they've been getting away with this because they know that neither Western nor Arab countries really give a rat's ass black African victims.  Likewise, Russia backed Serbia for a long time, but retreated when it became clear intervention was finally going to happen.

Keep in mind that we are already too late to stop genocide in Darfur - it is a done deal, and over 400,000 are already dead.  The question is how to stop it from spreading into Chad and CAR and turning the whole region into flames.  We could have another Congo on our hands here very soon.

by tyronen on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 05:14:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly, and from a realist point of view, trying to stop the conflict from becoming a regional war has a better shot at being accepted as a rationale for intervention than stopping genocide. So maybe the best that could happen is that the situation in Chad and the CAR heats up enough to prompt the UNSC to authorise an intervention with teeth. The problem is that the situation reaally has to boil over for this to happen. It's pretty hopeless.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 05:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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