Saturday, February 05, 2005

UK Liberal Democrats call for no-fly zone over Darfur, Sudan

Britain's Liberal Democrat website Feb 3 noted a call for action on Darfur by Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, quoting him as saying:
"Why are troop numbers so low? Has the Sudanese Government been obstructive and if so what is being done about it? As a matter of urgency UN Security Council must institute sanctions, establish a no-fly zone for the protection of Darfur and provide logistical support for the deployment of the full force of military observers."
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Swedish officers to Sudan (one for Darfur!)

The Swedish Government decided Thursday to contribute six staff officers to the UN rapid deployment force SHIRBRIG in southern Sudan over a six-month period and one staff officer to the African Union's peace support initiative in Darfur.
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AU says force in Darfur reaches 1,400

Reuters report Feb 4 excerpt:
The African Union said on Friday its protection force in Darfur had reached 1,401 soldiers after the deployment of 339 troops from Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya. AU spokesman Assane Ba said South Africa and Tanzania were expected to soon provide 196 troops each, but no date for their arrival has yet been set.

The AU force in Darfur is ultimately supposed have 3,320 troops, but it has grown slowly because the pan-African body is relying on foreign aid to pay for it. So far, the AU has received $186.7 million of the $221 million it budgeted for the Darfur operations, Ba said. Contractors building the camps to house the troops are also still behind schedule, Ba said.
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Note, the AU has received a few hundred million dollars while only 1,000 AU soldiers are in Darfur. It's a nonsense for the AU to suggest that funding and the building of military camps are the reasons for the delay in deploying troops to Darfur. Personally, I think Khartoum is doing everything it can to thwart any troops entering Sudan. African leaders (the ones agreeing to send troops for Darfur) may be giving leeway to the regime in Khartoum. No other explanation makes sense.
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Cartoon: Call us back when you have some Europeans says UN

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Americans tell UN: Don't hide from genocide summarises what's at stake and invites Americans to tell the UN to take action.

[Cartoon and links via Instapundit and Parkview Blog, with thanks]
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Darfur rebel commanders quit SLA group

The UN inquiry into genocide in Darfur said the rebels have committed crimes too. The EU and UN have made clear that those brought to justice will include some on both sides.

Today, Fred at Rantburg writes a post on the news via Reuters that SLA commander Jumaa Mohamed Haggar said the military field command had renounced the leadership of the movement, which is based in the Eritrean capital Asmara.
"We will very soon be announcing a new secretary-general and chairman," Haggar's head of office told Reuters from Darfur yesterday. The SLA chairman and secretary-general both confirmed the statement but said it posed no threat to the movement.
Fred adds:

The humanitarian coordinator for the movement, Suleiman Adam Jamous, told Reuters he had travelled to meet the commanders, but was still waiting to start talks with them. "There are several commanders with Haggar. There may be 10 of them," Jamous said by telephone from Darfur, adding he did not think it was a serious threat to the movement. Asked why the commanders had said they had no confidence in the leadership, Jamous said: "Because of their absence I think."
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Note, Last summer, in my personal blog, I pointed to news reports that said Darfur rebel groups have bases or headquarters in Europe, and that Darfur rebel leaders visited governments in France, Germany and Britain for closed door talks in the run up to the final round of peace talks on Southern Sudan. After nine months of blogging almost daily on Darfur, and reading almost every news report that has appeared since then, I have yet to find information on how the SLA and JEM rebels are funded/supplied or the location of their European HQ's or who is behind them. It is well known the the US supported the Southern Sudan rebels SPLM.

The above report confirms there is a connection to Eritrea where the rebels' supplies may be coming from (when they are not looting food, petrol and trucks from the UN relief agency). UN food, supplies and vehicles are stolen so regularly, it makes one wonder if it is just another of the many ways in which the international community is "supporting" Sudan's rebels.

Who funds/supplies satellite phones and radios to Sudan's rebels? It has been reported the rebels have their ears glued to BBC radio news Arabic service and communicate with satellite phones. Also, Kofi Annan and Jan Pronk issue such odd statements at times, it seems as if they both use the press to convey cryptic messages to people on the ground in Sudan.

Sometime last year, Kofi Annan, in a UN Off the Cuff interview, revealed he uses the press to communicate to his people on the ground in Sudan [I regret not keeping the link].
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UN envoy: Darfur key to Sudan peace

Fred at Rantburg, in his latest post titled "UN envoy: Darfur key to Sudan peace", writes:
Actually, I'd say Khartoum is the key to Sudan peace. If Darfur was the only place on fire, then Darfur would be the key. But Bashir splits his time between oppressing people and putting down rebellions. You'd almost think the two were connected or something.
Fred notes that Jan Pronk, on calling for thousands of peacekeepers for Southern Sudan, said:
"I am convinced that without a solution in Darfur, the north-south will not remain a sustainable peace agreement."
Fred's reply:
"I dunno. I think that, rather than peacekeepers like they have in DRC, an army of occupation might be more to the point. They obviously are incapable of keeping their own house in order."
Several months ago, I suggested that Darfur should be turned into a UN Protectorate until Sudan could get its house in order. It would allow for the displaced Sudanese to return home to start planting their food and put their lives and livestock back together. If this goes on for much longer, they will be displaced for years and dependent on foreign aid. But when you think about it, if they were in the way in the first place, no country is going to rush in and risk their troops' lives to help Sudanese return home where they are not wanted by their own government.

Western countries weigh up the cost in terms of their own troops, if there were to be military intervention in the Sudan. There are well founded fears it would be seen as colonialism and trigger a holy war. Africa is a tinder box. So the international community puts its stock in the African Union. African solutions to African problems. But who knows, leaders of the African Union may be corrupt. Africans and Arabs often say it is none of our business. They appear to resent help from the West and say the West should not interfere. My hope is one day, they all walk out of Darfur into to Chad, and that African women start refusing to take violence anymore, rise up and band together to do something unique. I did read a report a while ago that explained how some groups of Sudanese women went on strike refusing sex with their partners. It sure got the menfolk's attention, quickly.

Today, the BBC reports news of protestors in Nigeria holding a Nigerian oil plant. One man has died. It shows a photo of Nigerian women standing up against an American oil giant.

Note, as an aside, the report states:
A spokesman from ChevronTexaco - which operates Escravos in partnership with the Nigerian government - said the incident was handled by the security forces, and refused to go into any more details. ChevronTexaco say they do not know why the villagers were demonstrating. But there has been a long standing dispute in the area, with local people claiming that the company has failed to honour of promises of community development which it made following the 2002 occupation.
Three years ago hundreds of women occupied the oil installation

I still suspect there may be oil and other riches in Darfur and, like the native Americans and aborignes in Australia, the African tribes and nomads are perceived as a nuisance, taking up precious resources and standing in the way of "progress".

The regime in Khartoum (many are educated, so they cannot plead ignorance) are so ruthless, they give Arab militias a free reign to commit atrocities. The Sudanese air force bombs civilians to eliminate the rebellion. Rebels are civilians, and civilians who are not rebels (mostly women and children) are seen as supporting an uprising against the regime in Khartoum that wants to hang on to power at any cost, no matter if it costs another 2 million lives.

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