SUDAN WATCH: Readers' comments - Disingenuous Eric Reeves is more than annoying

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Readers' comments - Disingenuous Eric Reeves is more than annoying

Eric Reeves is disingenuous. In his latest rant entitled The "Perfect Storm" of Human Destruction Reaches its Crescendo, he calls for a UN peacekeeping force to deploy without delay but, once again, omits to mention the International Criminal Court and UN list of 51 suspected Darfur war criminals.

I challenge anyone pushing for UN troops in Darfur to please address the issue of Khartoum's fears, the UN list, the ICC and all of the Sudanese officials, locals and so-called "janjaweed" who are against foreign intervention. US President GW Bush has made clear that no American citizen will ever be tried by a foreign body. How would Americans feel if foreign troops forced themselves into the USA, armed with weaponary and a mandate to haul in top US officials, including the president, for questioning by the ICC?

How can Khartoum agree to UN troops coming face to face with anyone on the list? What are UN troops to do when faced with Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, haul him off for questioning and shoot/kill janjaweed when they attack in retaliation? And then what about risks to aid workers and humanitarian access and international personnel being dismissed from the country?

Eric Reeves fails to mention these issues because doing so would make his arguments fall apart. Knowingly, he misleads his readers by spinning fairy tales. Kristof et al do the same. Shame on them for failing to properly inform readers.


A few days ago, here at Sudan Watch, British blogger Daniel Davies of dsquared blog posted the following comment:
"God Reeves is annoying. I don't recall him ever having had a bad word to say about Minawi until he signed a peace agreement. And this is really quite disingenuous:

"Recent reports from the ground make clear that Minawi's rebel faction is actively coordinating with Khartoum's regular military forces in attacks on civilians and other rebel forces that have not signed the DPA."

Well, if you are enforcing a peace agreement, what do you do to people who break it? Any peacekeeping force (including the UN/NATO Khartoum decapitation operation of Reeves' dreams) would have to attack "other rebel forces" because people like SLA/Wahid are part of the problem. I am not aware of any more hard evidence for the accusation that the Khartoum military are attacking civilians than there was for the Chad invasion story that I see he is no longer pushing.
Thanks for that Daniel. Glad to know I'm not the only one saying such things. I find Eric Reeves more than annoying. He tells the rebels what they want to hear: Americans onside (read money) pushing for international troops. Why should holdout rebels sign peace deals and abide by ceasefires when they're encouraged to hold out for a better deal? Never mind the millions of Sudanese women and children imprisoned in refugee camps for years on end, waiting to return home.

Bush and Minnawi

Photo: President Bush shakes hands with SLA rebel group leader Minni Minnawi, in the Oval Office, 25 July 2006 (AFP) Jul 26 2006 Washington Post: Bush Meets Rebel Leader To Discuss Darfur Accord:
Bush met for about 40 minutes in the Oval Office with Sudanese Liberation Army leader Minni Minnawi. He was the lone rebel leader to agree in May to a U.S.-brokered peace accord to end what the United States calls genocide in western Sudan. The president asked Minnawi to support a U.S.-backed plan to bring African Union peacekeepers in Darfur under the blue flag and helmets of the United Nations, said Frederick Jones, a National Security Council spokesman. (From News Services)
Minnawi and Bashir

Photo: The leader of Darfur's Sudan Liberation Army, Minni Minawi, left, who signed Darfur Peace Agreement, shakes hands with Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir, right, Monday, Aug 7, 2006, in Khartoum, Sudan, after being appointed senior presidential Assistant and Head of the provisional authority in Darfur state. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)


The fledgling African Union Mission in Darfur (AMIS) can't deliver because it lacks training and equipment? Is this true? Sudan Watch archives contain many reports praising AU professionalism and diplomacy - and details of training and logistical support given to AMIS that's ongoing by NATO, UK, Canada, to name a few.

Here is a copy of a reader's comment 13 Aug 2006.

RA Soenke Franzen said ...
"Actually SPLA troops are not the answer to Darfur's problems, just as only South Africa might have the african troops needed.

From a military point of view the situation in the vast savannahs and semi-arid lands of Darfur need quick reaction forces, not truckmobile at best footsloggers.

Actually the ideal force mix would contain aero cavalry plus attack choppers, reconnaissance flights, some of the light and mechanized infantry the African Union has in place, plus at least one heavy armoured unit that could take on everything that might be met in Sudan.

Light armour like what Canada delivered to upgun the AU force can't suffice, because there are still some Milan missiles in Chad from the Toyota Wars.

If one wants to stop atrocities against civilians, one needs either a lot of troops or preferably a nimble and agile force. And unfortunately this can neither be delivered by the SPLA, nor the AU.

That is why a UN force with a robust mandate and preferably spearheaded by NATO troops would be so helpful. Not because the AU troops can't be trusted, but because they can't deliver, because they lack training and equipment."
Thanks Soenke. Enjoyed reading your comment. Sorry it fails to take into account (a) a UN Resolution (b) a UN peacekeeping mandate: Khartoum totally reject a UN force, especially one with a Chapter 6 or 7 mandate; (c) UN list of 51 names (d) ICC (e) Sudanese officials and locals against foreign intervention.

Khartoum demo

Photo: See full report June 26 2006 Thousands of protestors gathered in Khartoum to protest against UN and its proposed peacekeepers.


Photo: President Bush shakes hands with the First Vice President of the Government of National Unity of Sudan Salva Kiir, a former rebel who is also President of Southern Sudan, in the Oval Office, July 20, 2006 REUTERS/Jason Reed

For crying out loud - last month Darfur's worst-ever for violence towards aid workers - please don't waste any more time: back the African Union Mission in Darfur and provide the support they need. They deserve medals.

Like Drima says:

To the UN: For the Kazillionth time, REINFORCE THE AU TROOPS! That's all you need to do!:
Darfur previously = Disaster
Darfur now = Worsening disaster?
Darfur + UN troops = Bigger disaster
Darfur + UN troops + Al Qaeda = One big ass GIGANTIC Disaster !!!
Darfur + AU troops reinforced by UN & NATO = HUGE improvements.

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Blogger RASFranzen said...

Dear Ingrid,
I pointed out the militarily most efficient way to protect the farmer in the village and the nomad on the range.

And I pointed out that the SPLA would not be able to help very much ( if they brought a 100.000 men, that might be different, as they then could put a garrison into most if not all places)

Besides: The SPLA has more than enough enough problems at home (LRA, Nuer militias, Murle militias, Fertit militias, Abyei, transformation to a more professional standard of training and equipment)

I did not deal with UN resolutions etc., because these can be changed if there is good will.

But admittedly: It is unlikely that the militias involved ( so called Sudanese Army, Janjaweed, Darfur Movements) will want to change things. All of these are doing just fine, because a lot of aid means a lot of profit for war entrepreneurs.

Maybe you ought to take a look at

Francois Jean and Jean-Christophe Rufin, Economie des guerres civiles,
1996 ( I don´t know whether ther is an english version, a german translation was published 1999[Oekonomie der Buergerkriege])

to see why everybody besides the victims is so happy with the status quo.

best wishes
Soenke Franzen

Thursday, August 17, 2006  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Hello Soenke, thanks for the follow up. Yes I understand what you are saying but my point is: a UN resolution for a UN force in Darfur with Chapter 6 or 7 mandate would never be passed by China and Russia. I am interested in airing alternatives to a UN force. I hear what you say about aid and profit for war entrepreneurs (I've touched on such issues many a time). In essence, I guess what we are saying here is that the AU is in the best position to protect everyone in Darfur?

In Sudan and Chad, young Sudanese children are growing up in refugee camps with no education or prospects. Sudan is undergoing environmental changes (water will be a big issue). Oil companies will want to explore oil in various parts of Darfur. Who's to know the IDPs have homes and land to return to? How many years can the UN refugee camps be funded and feeding of 6m in need sustained?

Sudan has so much going for it with a great future ahead if only it would get educated. It seems to me most of the victims are interconnected with rebels via family ties, marriage etc. The victims follow tribal leaders. Surely the key to peace is in the hands of tribal leaders? Hopefully the Darfur Darfur Dialogue meetings will start soon. Meanwhile, there is only so much the international community can do for such a large African country: The AU (where's PAP and its President Mongella in all of this?) AMIS and tribal leaders hold the keys to peace and could be given all the support they need from the "international community" if only they could all pull together. If they don't want to do it for themselves, they ought to do it for the sake of Sudan's children and their future (which will be pretty bleak with growing shortages of water).

Thursday, August 17, 2006  
Blogger RASFranzen said...

Dear Ingrid,
the meddling of NGOs in the Southern War seems to me to have prolonged the conflict by supplying the besieged fortified cities and also by cheerleading Riek Machar and Lam Akol into the Nazir Coup.Also foreign aid enabled the GOS to make quite a bit of money and spend it on the war effort.

The Fench might still be sitting snug in Dien Bien Phu, if they had been supplied by Operation Lifeline Vietnam, plus even getting financed.

Many Southern Sudanese were saved at one point to then starve later in the war.

All in all things might have gone better for the civilian population without foreign aid making a longer war so attractive.

The otherwise rather impotent AU troops make war even more attractive, as their presence drives people into refugeee camps,where they can be even better exploited.

And this concentration gives the nomadic groups free range and pasture.
Being a Janjawid or Zaghawa rebel pays a nice dividend.

As for the Chiefs: In the South they played a very positive role, because they themselves were seen as comparatively unpolitical figures, not beholden to higher authorities. In Darfur things might be different, because of several Janjawid leaders being Omdas and Nazirs and also because Minnie Arkou Minnawie supposedly personally killed the Traditional Zaghawa Leader.

Maybe just like Germany´s 30 years war, the war will burn itself burn out in the end. But then there is an old saying:

God bless the war, because the peace will be terrible.

I am afraid that half-measures like the deployment of the AU, will lead to just that.

Thursday, August 17, 2006  

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