Eric Reeves, 11 May 2013
I'm often asked, "Is the Darfur situation still awful? is it still a humanitarian crisis?" It's a painful question to have to answer, if only because of the difficulty in providing even a superficial overview of such unfathomable human suffering and destruction; or the brutality of Khartoum's war of attrition against humanitarian relief efforts; or the massive and continuing displacement of civilians (more than 1.3 million since 2007). And it is just as difficult to give an adequate account of the role of the Khartoum regime in sustaining what Human Rights Watch a number of years ago called "Chaos by Design." In fact, the vast crisis in Darfur continues to be "designed"—sustained by denial and obstruction of humanitarian access; by Khartoum's granting impunity to militia proxies engaged in extortion, murder, and land appropriation; and by the relentless military assaults of the regime's regular Sudan Armed Forces and its proxy forces. The SAF air force in particular continues its brutal assaults—largely indiscriminate aerial assaults on civilian targets, of which there have been many hundreds confirmed (seewww.sudanbombing.org).
"But why has it disappeared?" is the typical follow-up question. "What about the vigorous advocacy movement at the beginning of the genocide? Why don't we read about Darfur in the news any longer?" This is a harder set of questions, but there are at least some obvious answers:
Eric Reeves, 9 May 2013
The recent (May 4, 2013) deaths of two UN peacekeepers in Abyei have a chilling familiarity, though to this point there has been no firm establishment of responsibility. Familiar also are the formulaic declarations of outrage coming from various quarters when UN peacekeepers are killed in greater Sudan. There are three large peacekeeping missions there—operating at tremendous expense, and limiting peacekeeping capacity throughout the world. Two of these peacekeeping missions have experienced serious losses because of actions on the part of the Khartoum regime's Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and its militia and paramilitary proxies, typically armed and directed by the SAF and the security apparatus in Khartoum, especially Military intelligence (MI).
Eric Reeves, May 2, 2013
There has been a good deal of understandable outrage at the decision by the Obama administration to invite to Washington Nafie Ali Nafie, senior advisor to President Omar al-Bashir of the Khartoum regime. Al-Bashir himself could not be invited, of course, because he has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, crimes in which Nafie is deeply complicit and for which he bears major responsibility. But al-Bashir's voice and that of others in the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime will be well represented by Nafie. Indeed, like other members of the regime already indicted by the ICC—including Defense Minister and former Interior Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein—Nafie's own future lies in The Hague if justice is done. His central role in orchestrating the Darfur genocide is well known, indeed is acknowledged by Nafie himself.
To understand the surging violence in Darfur over the past year, a lengthy and highly authoritative "unofficial" report covering most of 2011, from former members of the UN Panel of Experts on Sudan (Darfur), is critically important. Why does the UN continue to keep it confidential? The answer lies in the incompetence and political bias of successors on the Panel, and the failure of the "unofficial" report to square with the highly distorted UN/African Union narrative about Darfur.
Eric Reeves, 19 April 2013
There is in Darfur no end in sight for conflict, murder, rape, assaults on displaced persons camps, agricultural and village destruction, brutal extortion schemes, and continuing violent human displacement. The primary targets of this mayhem overseen by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum continue to be primarily civilians from African tribal groups surviving tenuously in an increasingly chaotic Darfur; it is the cruelest of counter-insurgency strategies, since the military opponents of the regime are rebel groups that refuse to accept a peace agreement contrived in Doha (Qatar), not ordinary farmers and landholders. Moreover, for several years an increasing number of Arab tribal groups have been drawn into the fighting, often pitting one Arab group against another; this has produced rapidly growing "collateral damage" as Khartoum seeks to subdue Darfur by means of a war of attrition in which impunity, chaos, and inter-ethnic violence serve the regime's ultimate military and political purposes. The insecurity consequent upon such polices threatens international relief organizations, many of which have already withdrawn or been expelled, and many more are contemplating withdrawal.
Eric Reeves, 3 April 2013
A number of very recent, highly credible, ground-based reports indicate that Khartoum's regular Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Arab militia proxies have attacked the Kiir Adem area of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State, South Sudan. What makes these attacks—which have killed a number of Southern civilians and police officers—so alarming is that they have occurred in the immediate wake of the Government of South Sudan's complying with the agreement brokered in Addis Ababa to withdraw its military forces from this border area, even as Khartoum committed to a simultaneous withdrawal of its own forces. There have been several such attacks in recent days, and we should recall that the Kiir Adem area has been a dangerous flashpoint for conflict over the past two and a half years, going back to the bombing of the region on December 14, 2010. Khartoum of course denied the bombing, as it denies all bombing attacks on civilians, even when UN observes or international journalists are present. The Kiir Adem bombing, for example, was witnessed by an Associated Press reporter who was present at the time and reported in detail on what she saw. (For a full account of Khartoum's record of bombing South Sudan since the signing of the CPA, see "They Bombed Everything that Moved.")
UNAMID continues to prove powerless in the face of growing violence, with humanitarian access and capacity at greatly increased risk
Eric Reeves, 20 March 2013
[ full text at http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=3838 ]
The relentless stream of news from Darfur makes clear that what is occurring is not an “uptick” in violence, as some would have it, but a massive increase in the threats to human security, including to the humanitarian personnel who continue to sustain the lives of so many Darfuris displaced into camps or living tenuously in rural areas. Nearly all these personnel are now Sudanese nationals, many highly skilled and deeply dedicated; but there is a clear lack of medical physicians, water and sanitation specialists, and those with expertise in the logistics of what is still a staggeringly large humanitarian operation.
And yet after ten years without an end to the violence, “donor fatigue” has set in at the very moment in which humanitarian needs are peaking. Oxfam declared on the tenth anniversary of the outbreak of violence in the region that “sources of funding—from individual supporters to major foundations—have turned their attention elsewhere. Our Sudan programs are in jeopardy at a time when the humanitarian needs are once again on the rise.” Unmentioned here, for fear of creating a pretext for their expulsion, is the fact of Khartoum’s continuing, deliberate, and systematic obstruction of humanitarian relief efforts—and the tremendous cumulative toll this has taken on these efforts over many years.
[full text continues at http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=3838 ]
Eric Reeves, 9 March 2013
[text with links at www.sudanreeves.org]
Note: Dr. Tom Catena has been offering medical services in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan (Sudan) for five years, including the past twenty-one months of brutal fighting in the region. The outbreak of war came as no surprise to Dr. Catena, as he and his Nuba staff and friends watched the slow breakdown of any chance for a meaningful peace. The "popular consultations" of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Juba and Khartoum (2005) offered no real promise of responding to the deep grievances, political and economic, of the Nuba people. The election of Ahmed Haroun—wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur—as governor of South Kordofan in May 2011 ensured that there would be war. Arms and troops in the region had been building substantially for several years (Julie Flint, January 2011), so for Dr. Catena there was no question about the scale of the fighting that would follow—or the need for the surgical skills that Dr. Catena possesses.
I spoke at length with Dr. Catena on March 5, 2013 during a break from his vital work in the Nuba. His thoughts should be sobering for those who think that this is somehow a crisis that is being managed.
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Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, the Auschwitz Institute will award the Raphael Lemkin Prize to Dr. Barbara Harff in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the cause of genocide prevention. The award is cosponsored by the governments of Poland and Hungary. Past recipients of the Auschwitz Institute's Raphael Lemkin Prize are Wesley Clark and Deborah Lipstadt (2012), and Carla del Ponte and Juan E. Méndez (2010).
The Prize will be awarded during the conference Deconstructing Prevention: The Theory, Policy, and Practice of Mass Atrocity Prevention, co-organized by the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Program in Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies, and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation.
For information on the conference, see http://deconstructingprevention.wordpress.com/about/.
Dr. Harff's biography follows.
BARBARA HARFF, Ph.D. (Northwestern University, 1981), is Professor of Political Science Emerita at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and has been Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. She pioneered the systematic comparative analysis of the preconditions of genocides and political mass murders and continues to prepare updated global risk assessments for the UN, other governments, and NGOs. After earning her Ph.D. for a dissertation on the doctrine of humanitarian intervention in cases of genocide, Professor Harff held positions at LaTrobe University in Australia, at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Her books include Genocide and Human Rights: International Legal and Political Issues (1984) and, with Ted Robert Gurr, Ethnic Conflict in World Politics (1994, revised edition 2003). In 2007 she prepared Essays in Honor of Helen Fein, coedited with Joyce Apsel and published by the International Association of Genocide Studies. She also has written some 70 monographs, articles, chapters, and encyclopedia entries on the international and comparative dimensions of massive human rights violations and how to respond to them.
Since taking early retirement from the US Naval Academy in 2005 Professor Harff lives in Summerlin and has served on the governing board of the World Affairs Council of Las Vegas. She is an active member of the Genocide Prevention Advisory Network (GPANet.org).