SUDAN WATCH: Speaking of Darfur's tribal war in terms of Arabs vs Africans is not accurate - Reinforced AU troops are the best option

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Speaking of Darfur's tribal war in terms of Arabs vs Africans is not accurate - Reinforced AU troops are the best option

Please don't miss the following piece. I'm interrupting a blogging break to leave it at the top of this page. I agree with everything it says (except I'm not on any side, only that of defenceless women, children, elderly and infirm). It's a copy of commentary by Drima, author of The Sudanese Thinker, published in the comments at his blog entry A Reply To Michael Herzog Aug 4, 2006:
When talking about this conflict and describing it in the context of a genocide, we need to cover a few things first. I have generally done that already in my reply to Michael.

On the micro level we could consider this as a genocide waged by some tribes against other tribes. Most if not all tribes in Darfur are a mix of Arab and African. Some have a skin darker than others. Speaking in terms of Arabs VS Africans is not accurate. However speaking about it in terms of tribes would be much more accurate.

The Khartoum government is not interested in wiping out a certain ethnic population. They're only interested in smashing the rebellion and staying in power. This is not motivated by racial factors. It's about power and wealth. Even with the African south it was mainly about power, wealth, religion, and then race.

For years Darfur was impoverished as corrupted politicians of Khartoum kept big money to themselves while investing the rest mainly in Khartoum and ignoring the rest of Sudan. In Khartoum there are many Darfurians living side by side with northerners. Hell, even here on my university campus there are many Darfurians (Fur, Zaghawa tribes etc). We're all good friends and get along fine. Moreover if you ask any of them, they'll tell the notion that an Arabs VS Africans genocide is not true. They'll all agree it's about power and wealth.

There are certainly Darfurians who do claim it as a genocide and they're smart for doing that. The Darfurians doing this are the rebels and those supporting the rebels. I believe that's how the media picked it up as a genocide in the first place. Keep in mind that many non-Darfurians (including oppostion parties like Al-Umma) do this too as they relate to the rebels' cause. They even support UN troops coming in.

(Remember that on a political level I support anything against the current criminal regime. However don't forget to look at Darfur from a humanitarian perspective. UN troops coming in won't make things more humanitarian in Darfur. UN troops coming in will mean war and more death for innocent civilian Darfurians. Is that the price supporters of UN troops are willing to pay?).

When I was in Portland, Maine my aunt told me that many Darfurians there pushed the idea it's a genocide too. The reason simply being that they know the word "genocide" will attract huge attention and strengthen their cause. It certainly did. Shlemazl, that's where well meaning Jewish organizations come in. They can relate to the painfull word "genocide". Some women my aunt knows in Maine also told her they lied on their asylum forms saying they got raped and tortured just to get refugee status.

The main goal of the rebels when they started was seperation or proper representation in Khartoum and fair wealth sharing. Oil, minerals and uranium being discovered in Darfur was a huge catalyst. However the bigger and more important catalyst was when peace was signed with SPLM and they got what they wanted for years ie. fair power and wealth sharing.

With regards to the conspiracies behind the international community's intentions, I posted something previously about it entitled The Agenda Behind Darfur.

In it I explain why I now too believe an agenda does exist to some extent. I also think those behind it might have manipulated the term "genocide" for their own benefits. Bacon Eating Jew, this is where you have a point about Sudanese people generally being only keyed up about Israel. Read the post and you'll know what I mean.

This brief description doesn't do the real situation justice but I hope it gives you a better and clearer understanding. Keep in mind that in the past Darfur existed as a prosperous sultanate ruled by the great Sultan Dinar. It was only made a part of Sudan quite recently during the 20th century. As such demands for seperation are quite natural. With seperation however Khartoum will say bye bye to the Darfurian oil.

Finnpundit, I've thought about what you said previously regarding China's role. I didn't pay much attention to it previously but now I am. I'll be posting something about China in the coming days. I think in terms of securing oil reserves for years to come, Sudan seems to be stuck in a tug of war between China and the US. The energy consumption of both nations is increasing and as such they'll need to secure sufficient supplies for years to come.

Reinforced AU troops are the best option. Opposition and cultural sensitivities towards "white" UN troops make them undesireable. Take into account what Al-Qaeda said too about Darfur. Plus, UN troops did squat in Congo and Rwanda.

Don't you find it funny how the whole world including the UN jumps on the current madness in the M.E. when the number of people who died in Darfur in the last 3 years are probably more than all those who died in Palestine's conflict with Israel in the past 50 years?

By the way, I'm trying to come up with something to bring more attention to the Darfur cause. I also want to counter the idea of supporting UN troops. I want to let people know there's a better alternative which is pushing the UN & NATO to reinforce the AU troops instead. Any ideas?

I have one. I'm thinking of writing a brief email about this and sending it out throughout the blogosphere. The email would ask the receiver to forward it around. The impact of this will depend on the number of people I send it to. I've started going through blogs and collecting email addresses with the hope of making a huge and super long list. My realistic aim is to get 500-1000 emails. Any help with more productive ideas would be very appreciated.

The challenge for me is to fix the distorted perception people have of the conflict and convincing them reinforced AU troops are a better option. One big challenge I tell ya. Sigh! Again any help is welcome.
Related reports

Aug 4 2006 Pronk says Sudan's response to UN takeover of AMIS could not be misunderstood: "We are against such a transition. This is our final answer"- Bashir

Aug 4 2006 Jan Pronk Weblog: Is there a Plan B? Most victims are Africans, pursued and killed by Arab militia and Arab Janjaweed

Aug 4 2006 Arab militia and Arab janjaweed: How to tell the difference between the two?



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