Monday, October 17, 2005

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Today a number of blogs are calling attention to the ongoing suffering in Dar Fur which has already claimed approximately 70,000 lives at the hands of the Janjaweed militia, a force so rag-tag in its military capabilities that they make Mladic's drunken Bosnian Serb paramilitaries look like Rommel's panzer divisions. Some estimates of this crisis:

Freedom House

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International


Dar Fur Information Center

The U.S. State Department



Additionally, Eddie at Live from the FDNF is hosting a Spotlight on Dar Fur 2.

The atrocities in Sudan are not too large, too remote or too dangerous to be dealt with by the great powers. Indeed, the problem is that the suffering is perceived by statesmen as being marginal and tolerable compared to the costs of doing something.

Public pressure can change that.
Thanks for posting about Darfur Mark. The more people know about this, the less likely the chance the Janjaweed and their jihadist friends in the tottering coalition government of Sudan will get away scot free with this.
Jihadist friends.....

Talk about illiteracy and confusing issues.

Primo, the warfare is rather simply nomad versus settled, nothing 'jihadist' about it (indeed some elements of the Fur are connected with Salafi groups, rather making the "Good Guys versus Bad Guys" jihadi blah blah nonesense).

For those of you just joining the Sahel Nomad versus Settled show, this long running serial (before being repackaged and remarketed as "Latest Arab-Jihadi Horror Spectacle) has had lots of repeats, and unless one has a magical way of changing the climate, will continue to occur as desertification marginalises both groups economic bases.

Secundo, no one is going to intervene here any more than anyone was going to intervene say in Chad, unless there is violation of territorial integrity.

Gullible fools the lot of you.
Well, I seen Col is a mite crankier than usual today....

Col's point is that the Bashir regime in Khartoum is not, strictly speaking, Islamist having jettisoned and ( I think) jailed Turbai and now evinces a more Pan-Arab nationalist and pragmatic stance as a self-interested dictatorship. Secondly, that the strife in Dar Fur is not Muslim v Infidel or Arab v. African as it has sometimes been mischaracterized in the MSM but as he put it, settler v. nomad. Strictly speaking, he's correct.

That being said, the magnitude of the problem in Dar Fur is definitely worthy of the attention it is receiving even if it is a case of ethnic cleansing rather than genocide. The exact label is of small import to the villagers getting slaughtered and the Sudan's ramshackle government has complicity here ranging from malign neglect to incitement.

And the scope of the problem has reached the point of affecting Chad which is none too stable itself. We don't need a replay of the Congo/Rwanda/Burundi or Liberia/Sierra Leone.
Ahem...." see" not " seen"
The jihadi tripe set me off. Bloody ignorant crap.

I'll grant some action is needed. I'd bribe the African Union to send more people. Cost effective, stays out of the colonial thing, although far from ideal as to efficiency. Regardless, realism with respect to real interest in Africa is needed.

BTW, it occurs to me it's actually the Zaghaoua with Islamist ties, but regardless, Fur and Zaghaoua gleefully signed up for the war on the Southern Infidel (aka Southern Sudan) so....

BTW it strikes me blogs have been among the worst offenders with respect to the African - Arab tripe, see Sullivan's inane comments.
I should note Mark that I found the Wiki article really very well done and even handed. I was most surprised as typically on these hot button issues Wiki arties are nothing but a mish mash of competing partisan blither with warring edits and the like.

That aside, did you catch the Washington Post arty on State Department and Arabic training.
hi Col -

I saw it in several places, yours, the Small Wars board which has MI Arabists on it and ( maybe)one othef blog. I'm going to blog on it, perhaps tonight but yesterday I caught a larger than usual burst of email as a result of the Barnett-Robb post and some unrelated personal and work issues. Couldn't get to it. Struck me as unusually on target.

We're running with the State Department designed by Charles Evans Hughes, modified by 1960's and 1970's societal changes and reformatted under the influence of 1980's and 1990's human resources case law and CRSA 1978. All well intended, none thought out systemically or reviewed for combined effects.

Which is why things are askew from core mission
And you are right, there are African States that will do peacekeeping for a modest military aid package, chance to train with U.S. SOF noncoms, sometimes even just the right to keep the " loaner" communications equipment and trucks.
(sorry for responding so late, I was trapped at Yokota AFB for a lot longer than I expected to be)

I don't like word games. Nor do I like being accused of being confused or somehow illiterate.

Whether you want to call them jihadists, Islamo-fascists, Arab mass murderers, etc etc.... the National Islamic Front leadership in Khartoum is bad news, not only for their own people, but for us. Their murderous campaigns in the South, in Darfur (and likely soon, in the east) have cost millions their lives and threaten to destablize the entire region, especially if Eritrea or Chad gets involved. Increasingly, their militias (like the Janjaweed in Darfur and the alphabet soup of scum in Southern Sudan) are getting more difficult to manage, leading to rampages like the little slaughter across the border in a refugee camp in Chad.

The NIF fought a "holy war" (also known as jihad) against the South, partly due to the various reasons you listed, but even more so because of their attempt to impose Sharia on the South. They were able to enlist the help of the Fur and other Muslim tribes, as this was a holy war against the infidels in the South. Though they've considerably cooled the "jihad" and "islamic" rhetoric, don't be fooled like the CIA is. They're now waging a "jihad" against the Fur and others in Darfur, mostly on the pretext of their (understandable) rebellion but also because a dangerous mix of tyranny, Arab supremacy and Islamic fundamentalism was created to form the bonds that bring the Janjaweed together.

Keep in mind our "reformed" (heh) old buddy Libya is up to its old tricks in Africa, especially Sudan/Chad, stirring up conflict and instability. I can't blame the NIF enough, but Khadafi and co. deserve some too.

"Bloody ignorant" is your assumption that there is no Arab-African conflict here. While it is not as crystal clear as the media and blogs make it out to be, it does very well bloody exist. There was (may well still be) a dedicated campaign of rape by Arab Janjaweed (there have been a few Africans in the mix) of African women, intended not just for the sake of ravaging your enemy but to wipe his bloodline off the face of the earth. MSF and others have noted this, and some members of the staff that performed that exhaustive investigation were arrested by the Sudanese for it. They know full well if the true extent of what they're up to and what they've accomplished were ever to be understood by the int'l community (especially Americans), there would be hell to pay. That's why the African Union archive of tens of thousands of photos, videos and evidence has not and probably will never be released to the public.

Across the world, in Iraq, in Indonesia and in Sudan... Muslims are slaughtered by other Muslims in somtimes self-proclaimed "jihads" that are intended to punish them severely for not following the jihadist's line of thinking or plan of action. Hence, the NIF in Sudan is wiping out the Fur and others because of their insufficent dedication to the NIF cause, as evident with their growing dissatisfaction that led to the rebellion in 2003.

Instead of halting this "jihad" or "mass murder" or "genocide", America seems intent on pumping Sudan for counterintelligence information and spreading the myth that 5,000-10,000 poorly trained and lightly armed AU troops with a minimal mandate will be able to halt the killing. By tolerating this betrayal of not only our ideals but our very long-term security interests, we're not only abandoning the many victims of the National Islamic Front and their proxies but endangering ourselves.

My dear Eddie: you are a gullible ignorant fool pimping ridiculous tripe.

First, with respect to the African versus 'Arab' - the tribes on both sides of the equation are quite and perfectly equally black, the 'Arabs' being nothing more than locals who have adopted Arabic language. It is pure bigotry and racism to pimp "Arab" versus "African" here, as well as ignorance.

Second, Islamofascist is a bit of illiteracy that I merely find stupid and pedestrian. It is agit prop without any real content or meaning.

Third, well, the rest of your comment contains a mishmash of half understandings, emotive squeeling with no analytical content and frankly poor writing that gave me a headache. It merely repeats the same-old same-old tripe from someone who evidently knows fuck all about the Sahel region and decided to get his diapers in a twisty.
Actually, I think I shall reply to this irritating mishmash of half understood factiods on my own blog.
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Here we go again. I'm sure the Sudanese government would be greatly flattered to know that they have the ability, let alone desire and organisational capacity to destabilise the whole region.

I am not blessed with Lounsbury's patience but I will address the following issues.

- The imposition of sharia on the south is not and never was the root of conflict between the north and south. In addition to L's clarification, I think you will find that there has been a peace treaty signed between the two where the issue of imposition of sharia was domesticated VERY early in the negotiations as it was agreed that it would not be imposed on non -Muslim areas so hardly a deal breaker. That is even more of an indication that Omar and Co indeed have very few unbending ideological principles other than oppurtunistic ones.

- The statement that the Sudanese government is afraid that if the Americans realise the conflict for what it is there would 'be hell to pay'. American offical reaction to conflicts around the globe is mercurial and not directly proportional to extent of tragedy (contrast NATO reaction to ethnic cleansing in Serbia and Rwanda and Burundi). The Sudanese government has been under various sanctions over the past two decades and does not have much to lose so maybe Eddie should put his big American stick away.

- 'Insufficent dedication to the NIF cause'. If Eddie thinks that the NIF is some bearded religious fundamentalist organisation that will unleash its wrath on others that do not conform then he is seriously and somehow touchingly deluded. The NIF is undergoing a case of two legs good four legs better and the relaxation of many public order laws such as consumption of alcohol, enforcing hijab etc has been loosened to accomodate the more 'outward looking' Khartoum business community and the foreign oil company workers that have taken up residence.

- The Sudanese government has the highest proportion of senior officials from the 'African' west of the country and this is an indication of the fact that Omar and Co's agenda is to further their own interest and prolong their stay in power irrespective of who they align with.

The tottering coalition government of Sudan probably will get away scot free with this. Thank God that at least in blogging circles the punishment of crimes is swifter.
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