SUDAN WATCH: The role of Arab tribes in Darfur - Small Arms Survey: “Beyond Janjaweed: Understanding the Militias of Darfur”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The role of Arab tribes in Darfur - Small Arms Survey: “Beyond Janjaweed: Understanding the Militias of Darfur”

Many Arab tribes remained neutral during the escalation of the war in Darfur in 2003-04. In order to understand the rapidly evolving situation in Darfur, there is a need to better understand Arab communities.

Humanitarian organizations, for example, could do more to encourage the employment of representatives of local Arab tribes, who are currently under-represented among local staff. Moreover, international mediators should promote the inclusion of the concerns of Arab tribes in the Darfur peace process.

Source: swisspeace by David Lanz, September 15, 2009:
Sudan roundtable discusses the role of Arabs in Darfur
Role of Arabs in Darfur

On September 15 the biannual KOFF Sudan roundtable took place at swisspeace. The topic under discussion was the role of Arab tribes in Darfur.  The common narrative of the Darfur conflict describes Arab groups as perpetrators of a genocide spearheaded by the infamous Janjaweed militia and supported by the Sudanese government in Khartoum.   This narrative is problematic insofar as it brushes over the fact that many Arab tribes remained neutral during the escalation of the war in Darfur in 2003-04, and it also ignores the historic marginalization of Arab tribes in Darfur that made them vulnerable to government manipulation. Today, as the intensity of the Darfur conflict has diminished, some Arab militias have joined the rebellion, and an increasing number of intra-Arab clashes with considerable casualties are taking place in Darfur.
It was highlighted during the discussion that in order to understand the rapidly evolving situation in Darfur, there is a need to better understand Arab communities. A number of recommendations emerged in order to address the exclusion of Arab groups from international assistance and engagement in Darfur. Humanitarian organizations, for example, could do more to encourage the employment of representatives of local Arab tribes, who are currently under-represented among local staff. Moreover, international mediators should promote the inclusion of the concerns of Arab tribes in the Darfur peace process.

Sudan Platform

In order to consolidate the different activities of swisspeace on Sudan and to provide a more useful resource base for peacebuilding organizations in Sudan, swisspeace created the Sudan Platform. The Platform features a comprehensive compilation of books, articles, reports and news on Sudan as well as an updated list of Swiss actors in Sudan.

Links:

Sudan Platform www.swisspeace.ch/sudan

Since the Roundtable followed Chatham House Rule there are no references to specific organizations or speakers. http://www.gcsp.ch/e/about/CHRule.htm

Small Arms Survey:
“Beyond Janjaweed: Understanding the Militias of Darfur” http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/files/portal/spotlight/sudan/Sudan_pdf/SWP-17-Beyond-Janjaweed.pdf

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