SUDAN WATCH: John Garang proposed joint force of 30,000 AU/GOS/SPLMA troops for Darfur

Friday, October 07, 2005

John Garang proposed joint force of 30,000 AU/GOS/SPLMA troops for Darfur

The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his report to the Security Council 12 September 2005, explains:
"In Darfur, the humanitarian community, made up of more than 12,500 aid workers, 13 United Nations agencies and 81 international non-governmental organizations on the ground, has been assisting an ever-increasing number of affected people, including close to 2 million internally displaced persons."
Also, recent news reports continue to say the number of African Union troops presently in Darfur is expected to increase this month from around 6,000 to 7,700 with an additonal 4,300 AU troops due early next year. If true, this would amount a total of 24,500 people on the ground in Darfur by early next year.

On a few occasions over the past year, noted here at Sudan Watch, John Garang proposed a force of 10,000 soldiers from his SPLM army, together with 10,000 each from Sudanese and AU forces, making a total of 30,000 troops, to help with security in Darfur as well as assisting Darfur and eastern Sudan to achieve a settlement along the lines of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for southern Sudan. If John Garang's offer could become a reality by early next year, it would mean more than 40,000 helpers on the ground in Darfur.

Following on from a few posts last April here at Sudan Watch and Passion of the Present (see links below), the time seems right to push for John Garang's vision to become a reality, ie a troika/triumverate/joint security force of 30,000 troops from Government of South Sudan, Government of Sudan and the African Union. It would be interesting to know the cost per annum of such a force. NATO is currently providing logistical support to the AU mission in Darfur.

The Genocide Intervention Fund aims to support African Union troops in Darfur. Hopefully, GIF will soon fix its online donating facility so anyone can donate, not just those located in the US and Canada. Maybe as a fundraising initiative, GIF could launch a global competition that bloggers could help promote and find sponsors willing to donate desirable prizes such as the latest Apple Mac laptops, iPods, etc.

Note, a report by Reuters Oct 7 says bandits have punched beaten and whipped aid workers attempting to deliver aid to hungry refugees in Darfur, part of a pattern of regular attacks, aid workers said. Excerpt:
In West Darfur 75,000 people are cut off without aid because of a recent escalation in ambushes on the road targeting aid convoys, U.N. official Andy Pendleton said.

"They are punched, beaten -- aid workers have been whipped by these bandits, intimidated," he said. "So of course you give them anything they want," he told Reuters on Thursday. The armed men loot valuable equipment and supplies from aid convoys.

Pendleton said he had been caught in cross fire in Darfur. If security did not improve and aid could not get through, refugees would become malnourished, he said.

Matthew Ryder, another aid worker in el-Geneina, said serious attacks happened as often as 2-3 times a week but were becoming less frequent because aid convoys had stopped using the roads south of the town.
The report also says:
The AU plans to increase its force up to 12,000 in early 2006. But many aid organisations refuse to have AU troops accompany their vehicles, fearing association with any troops would endanger their neutrality.
So, anarchy reigns. How is peace to be achieved without a decent security force in place? What about the oil companies, and other firms doing business/soon to do business with Sudan, would they help fund such a force or sponsor prizes for an online fundraiser by GIF to support African Union troops in Darfur?

[Any feedback, ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated. Please email me anytime. Thanks.]
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Previous posts:

April 21, 2005 Sudan Watch post: SPLM/A willing and ready to deploy 10,000 of its troops to Darfur.

April 21, 2005 Passion of the Present post by Jim Moore: "Sudanwatch on the SPLM's offer to help in Darfur..and hey, maybe the Genocide Intervention Fund should raise money for the SPLM/A to intervene in Darfur.. Ok, here is a really interesting idea, highlighted today by Ingrid Jones over at the terrific Sudanwatch. Now combine this with the Genocide Intervention Fund, and we might have something."

April 22, 2005 Sudan Watch post: Bloggers unite to support Darfur peacekeeping mission - a troika of 30,000 forces from Sudan, New Sudan and UN/AU.
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Web definition of troika and triumvirate

*troika, n. [Russ.], 1. a vehicle drawn by a team of three horses abreast. 2. the minimum coordinate set required to define a single point in three-dimensional space.

S: (n) triumvirate (a group of three men responsible for public administration or civil authority)
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AU mediator admits stagnation of Darfur peace talks

The African Union mediator in the Darfur conflict in western Sudan acknowledged on Friday Oct 7 criticism by UN chief Kofi Annan about the stagnation of peace talks between the government and rebel groups.

The UN secretary general, also speaking on Thursday, lamented the stagnation of the Darfur peace talks and said he would increase pressure on the parties to the conflict.

Annan warned there could be no comphrehensive settlement in Sudan without a resolution in Darfur.

Salim Ahmed Salim

Photo: Salim Ahmed Salim

"The talks are moving very slowly ," Tanzanian mediator Salim Ahmed Salim said in an interview with AFP. Oct 7, 2005 (Abuja)
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NATO commander hails security efforts in Sudan's Darfur

Allied and US military interest in Africa is "embryonic" but growing at a rapid pace, especially in support of security operations in Darfur, NATO's supreme allied commander (SACEUR), Marine General James Jones, told Congress September 28, 2005.

Gen James L. Jones EUCOM

Photo: Gen James Jones of EUCOM

In Darfur, Jones said, NATO's involvement "will help create relationships between key regional security organizations as NATO works with the African Union [AU] mission. Most [important], this engagement will ameliorate one of the world's worst humanitarian crises." [btw web definition of ameliorate is 'to make a situation better or more tolerable']

He told the senators: "Different agencies estimate that between 180,000 and 300,000 Sudanese have died, and more than 1.8 million people have been displaced from their homes. Some 200,000 refugees are estimated to have fled westward to neighboring Chad, while the vast majority of refugees remain trapped in Darfur camps and settlements." - (Washington File/ST) 8 October 2005.
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EU urges Sudan to end conflict in Darfur

Javier Solana, the European Union's security affairs chief, emerged from a meeting Oct 8 with First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit, optimistic that Europe's message was heard.
"He has committed himself" to ending the Darfur conflict, Solana told reporters of Kiir.
EU diplomats said Kiir told Solana that ending the Darfur turmoil was key to resolving other ethnic crises in this vast country.

The diplomats, who asked not to be named, said Kiir expressed concern that Darfur was having a spillover effect on ethnic tensions in eastern Sudan.

"If the war in Darfur continues, it may also affect the implementation of the CPA," a diplomat quoted Kiir as telling Solana.

Javier Solana, EU Security Affairs Chief

Photo: Javier Solana - who also was to have met President Omar al-Bashir Saturday 8 Oct 2005 but the meeting was cancelled due to an illness in the family, EU diplomats said. He later flew to Darfur, where the EU has to date spent A600 million (US$270 million) in support of the African Union peacekeeping operation. (AP/ST)
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Sudan's First VP to hand over Ugandan rebel leader to ICC

Sudanese First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit said Oct 8 he would hand over a Ugandan rebel leader to the International Criminal Court if he was found.

Kiir's remarks came days after it was announced that the ICC had issued arrest warrants for Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, and four of his deputies. Uganda's defense minister said Friday that he believed Kony was in southern Sudan.

General Salva Kiir

Photo: Salva Kiir

"I don't know where Kony is, and if I find him, I'll hand him over to the ICC," Kiir told reporters after meeting Javier Solana, the EU's security affairs chief Oct 8, 2005.

The LRA has bases in southern Sudan's Eastern Equatoria state, from which it launches cross-border raids against Ugandan forces. The group has also been blamed for some attacks against Sudanese civilians. - (ST) 8 Oct 2005
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UN wants pressure applied, like last summer

Jan Egeland, UN Switzerland

Photo (AP/Anja Niedringhaus): U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland gestures as he explains that escalating violence in Darfur is threatening to halt aid work as increasing numbers of international staff come under attack, during a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005.
'If it continues to escalate, if it continues to be so dangerous on humanitarian work, we may not be able to sustain our operation for 2.5 million people requiring lifesaving assistance,' Egeland tells reporters.
Note, here is the important part of the message: At the press conference Jan Egeland said:
"We need to have the same kind of pressure on the parties as we had last summer when world leaders really, really put their thumb and their pressure on the Government of Khartoum." Mr. Egeland said he no longer felt the same kind of pressure.
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Some comments received [following above post re the late John Garang's proposal for a tripartite force to help with security in Darfur as well as assisting Darfur and eastern Sudan to achieve a settlement along the lines of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for southern Sudan. If any more comments are received via email, they will be added to this list upon receipt of senders' permission]
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Oct 8 2005 Eugene at Coaltion for Darfur highlights 30,000 AU/GOS/SPLMA Troops for Darfur and the renewed call for more troops.
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Oct 8 2005 Luke at O Theophilus.com posts this: Hmm ... "A joint effort like that could be a huge step forward. Or a gigantic mess." [and picks up on a post at Uganda Watch noting Uganda rebel leaders named by ICC as world's most wanted men - he says About Time and links to more info]
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Oct 8 2005 email: 'Strangely, I believe this proposal was quickly dismissed because people didn't think everyone would buy-in to working with one other ... some felt that the SLA and, especially, JEM would obstruct the triumvirate ... others felt that the SPLM would not be willing or proactive to defend Darfurians when they are focused on establishing the nascent peace in the South ... Sen. Biden may have been supportive of this [JG's proposal].
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Oct 9 2005 Eric at Passion of the Present points out this blog author is inviting comments and suggestions re John Garang's proposal for a tripartite force to assist Darfur and eastern Sudan.
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Oct 9 2005 email from Eddie at Live From The FDNF: 'At the time Garang proposed it, it was feasible with him as the driving and guarantor force behind it. Without his presence, I really don't think the NIF fears anyone else from the South, not nearly in the manner that they respected and feared what Garang was capable of. More and more, this all reminds me of an African mirror version of Bosnia. We have out of control elements attacking peacekeepers, the impotence of the international community's response laid bear for all to see and essentially three (or more) sides that complicate matters, with two of the sides (in this case, the South and Darfur) very capable and willing to align against the other (the NIF). A phantom peace deal floats about, though it is much more alive and in action now than the Vance-Owen plan was for years in Bosnia. The only MAJOR difference here is the global media's MIA on Darfur, whereas in Bosnia it was all over for years on the horror of abandoning the Bosnians and Croats to the Serb war machine.'
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Oct 9 2005 email: 'I remember hearing concerns that the SLA and JEM would obstruct a triumvirate force, especially the GoS troops.'
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Oct 11 2005 email: 'There are too few people interested in genocide (?), as you point out. I just saw the AP report that John Bolton blocked a briefing to the UNSC about Darfur because he felt it is time to do something rather than just have briefings...

We'll see, so far they have done virtually nothing since Powell's genocide-statement more than one year ago.

I fear for Sudan, as there are so many unsolved issues (Beja, Darfur, Turabi/Islamist influence on the government, interference over the borders to Chad, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Uganda etc, leadership in the south, a lack of development of infrastructure etc in the South, ...). The AU forces have been relatively successful in Darfur, although suffering from a lack of personnel and resources, but the GoS and others seem to want to keep the issue open, so the atrocities there are continuing. I fear the people of the south will turn against their leaders, or make their leaders turn, as they get disappointed from lack of improvement in their lives. Currently, I see no possibility that a plebiscite or election will not turn down a joined Sudan.

I hope, but have turned more pessimistic the last couple of months, particularly since Garang's death.'
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