Day 32 Hunger Strike, Day 84 Vigil at White House
I do not believe that the NGOs/COALITIONS are poplulated by cowardly, self-serving people. BUT HOW ELSE DOES ONE INTERPRET THE FACTS THAT DEPITE PROOF THAT THEIR TACTICS OF REPORTS, EMAILS, POSTCARDS, DIVESTMENT, 4 HOUR DEMONSTRATIONS, 5 MINUTE DIE-INS... ARE FAILING THEY DO NOT ESCALATE?!?!?!?!!?
LIVES MUST BE PUT ON THE LINE TO STOP GENOCIDE. HUNGER STRIKES. MASS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, MASS ARRESTS.
Darfur, Three Months Hence: Extrapolating from Current Conditions
Eric Reeves' latest full-length analysis is now available both on his site and on Sudan Tribune; here is the second section (the first being devoted to a "hypothetical dispatch" from this coming November--i.e., three months from now)...
HOW PLAUSIBLE A “HYPOTHETICAL” ACCOUNT?
Could conditions in Darfur deteriorate so rapidly? Could the already appalling security crisis grow to such threatening proportions? Could human mortality---already exceeding 500,000---accelerate? (See my global mortality assessment of April 2006 at http://www.sudanreeves.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=102.) Could the residual destructiveness of violence that became genocidal over three years ago increase even further? Could the international community remain inert as these realities became relentlessly clearer?
The only answers available are those deriving from current assessments of conditions on the ground in Darfur and eastern Chad, as well as statements by major international actors; but these suggest there is neither exaggeration nor implausibility to any feature to this hypothetical account.
DANGER TO HUMANITARIANS IN DARFUR AND EASTERN CHAD
The warnings concerning violence against humanitarians and the continuing attenuation of humanitarian access could not be more blunt. Citing a “more than 100% increase in violent clashes [in Darfur] in the first half of 2006 compared to the first half of last year,” UN humanitarian aid chief Jan Egeland declared:
“The situation in Darfur was going from really bad to catastrophic.” (Jan Egeland interview, August 10, 2006, transcript from UN Department of Public Information [Geneva])
Mike McDonagh, senior humanitarian affairs officer at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Khartoum, declared:
"During the second half of July , we lost more aid workers than over the previous two years.” (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [IRIN] [dateline: Nairobi], August 3, 2006)
More recently IRIN reports:
“July was the most dangerous month of the three-year-old conflict in Darfur for aid workers, four major international humanitarian agencies working in the region said on Tuesday [August 8, 2006]. Violence has escalated since the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement on 5 May  between the government and the largest rebel group. Eight Sudanese humanitarian workers were killed in July alone. The increasing insecurity is also limiting the ability of aid agencies to reach people in need, with potentially disastrous consequences, warned the four agencies---Care, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Oxfam International, and World Vision.” (IRIN [dateline: Nairobi], August 10, 2006)
This assessment was echoed by Manuel da Silva, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan:
"‘The level of violence being faced by humanitarian workers in Darfur is unprecedented,’ da Silva [said]. ‘The situation is made even more serious by the fact that the need for humanitarian assistance is increasing while our ability to respond is being ever more restricted,’ da Silva added.”
(IRIN [dateline: Nairobi], August 10, 2006)
The view is the same from the African Union: Baba Gana Kingibe, Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson, declared bluntly in el-Fasher [capital of North Darfur], “Security in Darfur ‘is plummeting’” (Associated Press [dateline: el-Fasher], August 7, 2006).
What Kingibe did not discuss is the continuing failure of the AU to fashion a working cease-fire commission in Darfur per the terms of the May 5 Abuja agreement---or to publish even the most rudimentary reports about massive, ongoing military violence in North Darfur. This includes active collaboration between Khartoum’s regular military forces and those of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) faction of Minni Minawi, now Special Assistant to National Islamic Front President and Field Marshal Omar el-Bashir. Nor does Kingibe discuss the implications of the AU providing transport and accommodations to Minawi’s commanders in the field, even those implicated in recent atrocities.
To his credit, Kingibe has finally spoken out against the numerous and highly credible charges of torture used as a weapon of war by Minawi’s forces. But this came only a week after authoritative accounts of atrocities by Minawi’s forces had been published by Amnesty International and Refugees International. The latter reported:
“One woman in the Tawilla camp [North Darfur] described the nature of these [threatened] punishments [of non-signatories to the DPA]. She said that hundreds of Minawi’s soldiers entered her village and started shooting. They went inside the houses one by one shooting the men, including her husband, and beating or raping the women and girls. The soldiers took whatever they could find---clothing, shoes, money, livestock. Her story is remarkably consistent with thousands of others in the region that detail targeted executions of men and violent, forced displacement.” (Refugees International, “Town in North Darfur Reflects Changing Nature of Conflict,” July 24, 2006)
Amnesty International reports that:
“The African Union peacekeeping force in al-Fasher has not only been unable to protect civilians in Korma [North Darfur], but has yet to investigate the killings. Civilians reported the attacks to [the African Union] on 5 July , but the SLA (Minni Minawi) reportedly opposed [the AU’s] going to Korma.” (Amnesty International, “Korma: Yet more attacks on civilians” [AI Index AFR 54/026/2006])
Moreover, the AU has lost all initiative in patrolling within camps or rural areas: there is no AU access in the vast majority of camps, many fewer patrols are being mounted, morale is abysmal, and few of the troops deployed are looking to more than a September exit. A senior UN aid official on the ground in North Darfur estimates privately that unchecked internecine fighting between SLA factions has left over 60% of North Darfur inaccessible to humanitarian operations for the past two months. IRIN reports Turid Laegreid, a senior UN humanitarian official in el-Fasher, as declaring that “access to the local population in North Darfur is at an all-time low” (IRIN [dateline: Nairobi] August 1, 2006).
And while North Darfur is currently the most threatened of the three Darfur states, the potential for explosions in both South and West Darfur is all too clear. Indeed, last week Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the largest international humanitarian presence in Darfur, reported that in West Darfur,
“Security incidents have led to the evacuation of our teams in Serif Umra and two projects in the Jebel Marra, as well as the interruption of mobile clinics, and the limitation in the referral of emergency cases to surgical facilities in other areas. [ ] Many MSF activities are currently suspended, leaving thousands of patients untreated everyday. MSF has been attacked in the past weeks in several locations in all regions of Darfur.” ("Increased insecurity hampers MSF medical assistance to the population of Darfur," MSF [press] release, August 3, 2006)
Not only is medical care being denied to desperate civilians, but food aid as well:
“The UN World Food Program was unable to deliver supplies to 400,000 people in July, up from 290,000 in June.” (Associated Press [dateline: el-Fasher, North Darfur], August 8, 2006)
The number of people in Darfur not receiving food aid in mid-August is over 500,000 and rising rapidly. And this represents those currently targeted for food delivery, not the global Darfuri population in need.
Conditions in eastern Chad in many ways mirror those in Darfur, as the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) declared in an August 8, 2006 press release in Geneva:
“UNHCR is very concerned about the safety of humanitarian workers in eastern Chad following a deterioration in the security situation there. We are particularly worried about the situation in and around the town of Guereda, which is located about 65 kilometres from the border with Sudan.”
“Last Friday, seven men brandishing assault rifles and wearing military uniforms broke into the compound of a non-governmental organisation in Guereda. Three aid workers were hit in the head with rifle butts and one of them was later evacuated to a French military hospital in Abeche, capital of eastern Chad. [ ] This is the seventh time humanitarian workers have been targeted in the Guereda area since May. Three weeks ago, two vehicles from another NGO were stolen. At the beginning of July, two UNHCR cars were stolen from our Guereda office after armed men overpowered the guards.” [ ]
“We are extremely concerned about these incidents. The growing insecurity is making it more difficult and more dangerous for humanitarian agencies and their staff to provide assistance to Sudanese refugees from Darfur in the area. Some international and local humanitarian agencies are working with only essential staff and have reduced their activities in the camps.”
None of these trends will be reversed in the foreseeable future; on the contrary, all evidence suggests a further deterioration of security. The UN’s “Darfur Peace Agreement Monitor” (July 2006) gives a grim assessment of the fundamentally changed dynamic of violence on the ground:
“The increasing fragmentation of armed groups has made humanitarian action more difficult and dangerous. Previously, humanitarian actors used an established notification system to inform armed groups of their movements. During the past month, the number of military actors increased, combat zones multiplied, and chains of command disintegrated. In some cases, established notification systems have failed completely, dramatically increasing the humanitarian actors’ operational risks.” (UN “DPA Monitor,” July 2006, page 11)