question archive The African Transition Zone or the Sahel, is strip of territory that runs latitudinally across the continent of Africa that marks a physical and cultural transition
The African Transition Zone or the Sahel, is strip of territory that runs latitudinally across the continent of Africa that marks a physical and cultural transition. In the north, arid conditions from the Sahara create a land use pattern typically associated pastoral nomadism. It is also an area dominated by Arab Muslims. In the south, there is more seasonal rainfall from the more tropical region which encourages land use more associated with sedentary agriculture and is dominated by non-Arab, non-Muslim Africans. This area of transition between climatic and cultural influences has led to several conflicts. This article is a bit more dated (2008) and addresses the conditions that led to the world's newest country, South Sudan.
After reading the article, give you personal reflections, anything interesting that you learned from the situation, and any insights on knowing in hindsight that a new country was created.
M ore than two years after government and rebel fighters signed a peace agreement in Sudan, violence is still rampant in Darfur. At least 2.4 million people have been displaced and up to 400,000 have died since 2003. And observers say the situation is getting worse. Rebel groups have splintered into more than a dozen warring factions, bandits are attacking relief workers, and drought threatens to make next year among the deadliest in Darfur’s history. Despite pressure from religious and humanrights groups, the international community seems unable — or unwilling — to find a lasting solution. A year after the U.N. authorized the world’s largest peacekeeping force in Darfur, only 37 percent of the authorized personnel have been deployed, and no military helicopters have been provided. The International Criminal Court is considering genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, but some fear an indictment would trigger more violence than justice. Some say China, Sudan’s largest trading partner and arms supplier, should pressure Sudan to end the violence. Remains of 25 villagers were found recently in a mass grave in Darfur. An estimated 200,000-400,000 civilians and soldiers have been killed in the region since 2003 in what many have called genocide. PUBLISHED BY CQ PRESS, A DIVISION OF SAGE PUBLICATIONS WWW.CQPRESS.COM CRISIS IN DARFUR THE ISSUES 245 • Has genocide occurred in Darfur? • Would arresting President Bashir do more harm than good? • Is China blocking peace in Darfur? SIDEBARS AND GRAPHICS 246 Conflict Continues Despite Cease-Fire Accords Tribal conflict is partly to blame for the fighting. 247 Lack of Resources Hampers Peacekeepers Only 37 percent of personnel have arrived. MANAGING EDITOR: Kathy Koch BACKGROUND 254 Ostrich Feathers, Ivory and Slaves Darfur was once a major trading center. 254 Independence and Instability War in eastern Sudan and in Chad have hurt Darfur. 257 258 Another Civil War The discovery of oil in southern Sudan added to instability. Darfur Erupts “The regime would only listen to guns.” September 2008 Volume 2, Number 9 250 Climate Change Blamed for Darfur Conflict Nomads and farmers battle over scarce water and land. 253 Aid Workers Face Danger Bandits are behind most of the attacks. 255 Chronology Key events since 1899. 256 Arabs Criticized for Silence on Atrocities Muslims’ aid donations are minimal. 260 More Than 4.2 Million Affected by Crisis Death toll may be 400,000. email@example.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Thomas J. Colin firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Brian Beary, Peter Behr, Roland Flamini, Karen Foerstel, Sarah Glazer, Colin Woodard DESIGN/PRODUCTION EDITOR: Olu B. Davis ASSISTANT EDITOR: Darrell Dela Rosa WEB EDITOR: Andrew Boney A Division of SAGE Publications PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER: John A. Jenkins EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REFERENCE INFORMATION GROUP: Alix B. Vance DIRECTOR, ONLINE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: CURRENT SITUATION 259 Indicting Bashir Sudan’s president may be charged with genocide. 260 International Betrayal U.N. peacekeepers are understaffed and underfunded. 262 Mission Impossible? A permanent solution remains elusive. 264 270 At Issue Would military intervention solve the crisis in Darfur? Voices From Abroad Headlines and editorials from around the world. FOR FURTHER RESEARCH 267 For More Information Organizations to contact. 268 Bibliography Selected sources used. OUTLOOK 269 The Next Step Additional articles. Bleak Future Most experts have little hope for peace. 269 Citing CQ Global Researcher Sample bibliography formats. Cover : AP Photo/Nasser Nasser 244 263 CQ Global Researcher Jennifer Q. Ryan Copyright © 2008 CQ Press, a division of SAGE Publications. SAGE reserves all copyright and other rights herein, unless previously specified in writing. No part of this publication may be reproduced electronically or otherwise, without prior written permission. Unauthorized reproduction or transmission of SAGE copyrighted material is a violation of federal law carrying civil fines of up to $100,000. CQ Press is a registered trademark of Congressional Quarterly Inc. CQ Global Researcher is published monthly online in PDF and HTML format by CQ Press, a division of SAGE Publications. Annual fullservice electronic subscriptions start at $500. For pricing, call 1-800-834-9020, ext. 1906. To purchase CQ Global Researcher electronic rights, visit www. cqpress.com or call 866-427-7737. Crisis in Darfur BY KAREN FOERSTEL THE ISSUES bloody fighting in Darfur between non-Arab rebel groups who want to overthrow the t was mid-afternoon when Sudanese government and helicopters suddenly apgovernment troops backed by peared and opened fire Arabic janjaweed militias.* Duron the terrified residents of ing the peak fighting between Sirba, in Western Darfur. Then 2003 and 2005, from 200,000 hundreds of armed men ridto 400,000 people — mostly ing horses and camels civilians — died from armed stormed the village, followed attacks as well as famine and by 30 military vehicles mountdisease. More than 2.4 million ed with weapons. Sudanese — about a third of “The cars . . . were shootthe population — have been ing at everyone, whether a forced to flee their homes since woman, man or child,” said 2003; tens of thousands now Nada, one of the survivors. “They live in refugee camps across were shooting at us even when the region. 4 1 we were running away.” But the same-day attacks Almost simultaneously, anin the three villages did not other attack was taking place occur during the period of a few miles away in the town peak fighting. They occurred of Abu Suruj. Witnesses say on Feb. 8 of this year, nearSudanese soldiers and memly two years after rebels and bers of the notorious janjaweed the government signed the militia shot people, set homes Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) on fire and stole livestock. in May 2006. Villages continue to be attacked and burned in Darfur by the notorious Arab janjaweed militia — aided by aerial bombing by Many died in flames inside The continuing conflict has the Sudanese government — despite a two-year-old peace their huts. Three-quarters of sparked the world’s largest huagreement between the government and rebel groups. The the village was burned to the manitarian mission, with prosecutor for the International Criminal Court recently said the ground, as government planes more than 17,000 aid workers government’s “scorched earth” tactics amount to genocide, bombed the town and surnow stationed in Darfur. 5 And but others say there is insufficient evidence that civilians have been targeted because of their ethnicity. rounding hills where residents the situation is deteriorating. had fled for cover. Observers predict next year But that wasn’t all. In a third near- Human Rights Watch (HRW), a glob- will be one of the worst ever. by village, Silea, women and girls al advocacy group. The Sudanese milGrowing banditry and lawlessness were raped and two-thirds of the town itary said the strikes were in retalia- have made much of Darfur — a rewas destroyed by fire. Among the vic- tion against the Justice and Equality gion in western Sudan as large as France tims was Mariam, 35, who was shot Movement (JEM), an anti-government — inaccessible to aid workers. 6 Risrebel group that had recently launched ing food prices, drought and a poor as she tried to stop looters. “They told me to leave and not to a military offensive in the region, at- cereal harvest also are combining to take anything, and then one of the men tacking a police station, killing three form what Mike McDonagh, chief of on a Toyota shot me, and I fell down,” civilians and detaining local officials. the U.N. Office for Coordination of HuWhile HRW criticized the rebels for manitarian Affairs, described as a “pershe said. Her father found her and took her by horse-drawn cart to a regional operating around populated areas, it strong- fect storm.” 7 clinic. “I was pregnant with twins, and ly condemned the Sudanese government I lost them while we made the trip,” for targeting civilians and using a “scorched * The word janjaweed, which means devil on earth” policy to clear the region and make a horse, is used to describe horsemen from she said. “I lost so much blood.” 2 In all, nearly 100 people were killed it easier to go after JEM positions. 3 the nomadic Arab tribes in Darfur that have Indeed, civilians have been targeted been armed and supported by the Sudanese and 40,000 civilians driven from their homes in a single day, according to and terrorized throughout the long and government. Cour tesy of Brian Steidle I Available online: www.globalresearcher.com September 2008 245 CRISIS IN DARFUR Conflict Continues Despite Cease-Fire Accords Darfur is an ethnically diverse area about the size of France in western Sudan — Africa’s largest country. It has been wracked by decades of tension — and more recently open warfare — over land and grazing rights between the nomadic Arabs from the arid north and predominantly non-Arab Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa farmers in the more fertile south. A third of the region’s 7 million people have been displaced by the conflict, which continues despite numerous cease-fire agreements.The United Nations has set up several camps inside Darfur and in neighboring Chad for those fleeing the violence. R SAUDI ARABIA E G Y P T E L I B Y A Aswan D Tropic of Cancer Jiddah Lake Nasser S E Nubian C H A D North Darfur Ni A D e s e r t Port Sudan le At ba S U D A N ERITREA ra Asmera Omdurman Khartoum ue Al Fashir Bl West Darfur Ni South Darfur le Lake Tana ETHIOPIA Nyala t Whi Addis Ababa e CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC N ile State boundaries Refugee camp U e lpersons Camp for displaced e Con go Lake Turkana Z A I R E UGANDA K E N YA Sources: USAID satellite imagery, Aug. 13, 2007; United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, June 2, 2008 Already, conditions are dire: • In the first five months of this year, 180,000 Darfuris were driven from their homes. 8 • More than 4.2 million people in Darfur now rely on humanitarian aid 246 CQ Global Researcher for food, water and medical care. 9 • Attacks against aid workers have doubled since last year. 10 (See chart, p. 253.) • The U.N. World Food Program was forced to cut its food rations in Darfur by 40 percent this year because of repeated attacks by armed gangs. 11 • About 650,000 children — half of the region’s children — do not receive any education. 12 While attacks on civilians have decreased since the peace deal was signed, international watchdog groups say the drop has little to do with increased security. “A third of the population has been displaced, so the targets are fewer,” says Selena Brewer, a researcher with Human Rights Watch. “But there are far more perpetrators.” The fighting between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-led government’s forces — backed by the janjaweed — has morphed into all-out lawlessness. The two main rebel groups — the JEM and the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) — have splintered into more than a dozen factions that fight among themselves as much as against the government. Moreover, some disaffected janjaweed fighters have joined the rebels, and skirmishes between ethnic tribes are increasing. Bandits attack civilians, aid workers and international peacekeepers almost at will. 13 “We no longer know who is attacking,” says Denise Bell, a Darfur specialist with Amnesty International USA. To make matters even more complicated, Darfur has become the staging ground for a proxy war between Sudan and its western neighbor Chad. The two governments support opposing groups in the region with the goal of launching coup attempts against one another. As arms pour into the area, civilians are the primary victims. Many describe the conflict as Arabs vs. non-Arabs. “The janjaweed . . . would tell us that the black Africans were a lesser race and that they shouldn’t be there . . . and that they would drive them out or kill them,” said former U.S. Marine Capt. Brian Steidle, whose book about his six months as an unarmed military observer in Darfur was made into an award-winning documentary. 14 But most observers say the situation is more complicated than that. Nearly all Darfuris speak Arabic, and nearly all are Muslims. Generations of intermarriage have resulted in little physical difference between the groups, and not all Arab tribes have joined the janjaweed while some Arab groups have even been targeted themselves — although most of the victims are from the non-Arab Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. But poverty, drought and the ongoing conflict have led to increased tensions between Arab groups, who are mainly nomadic, and non-Arabs, who are mainly farmers, as they compete for dwindling land and water resources. 15 The Sudanese government is widely accused of doing all it can to inflame these historical tensions and grow support among its Arab political base in Darfur by arming and recruiting the janjaweed to clear the region of non-Arabs. But most agree race has little to do with government motives. “It’s all about divide to rule. It’s just the government using one lot of poor people against another lot of poor people,” says Gillian Lusk, associate editor of the Londonbased newsletter Africa Confidential. “It’s not about ethnic supremacy. If the so-called Arabs don’t help the government, it will kill them, too. It’s just renting them.” Although Sudan says its attacks in Darfur comprise a “counterinsurgency” campaign, the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) refuted that claim in July when he sought an indictment against Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir for genocide and crimes against humanity. 16 “The most efficient method to commit genocide today in front of our eyes is gang rapes, rapes against girls and rapes against 70-year old women,” Chief ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said as he described the brutality of the war in Darfur. “Babies born as a result have been called Lack of Resources Hampers Peacekeepers More than a year after the U.N. authorized the largest peacekeeping force in the world in Darfur, the joint U.N.-African Union (UNAMID) force has received only 37 percent of the nearly 32,000 military, police and civilian personnel that were authorized and 72 percent of the funds. Much of the force’s equipment has been delayed by Sudanese customs, hijacked by bandits or simply not provided by international donors. For instance, by the end of May not a single military helicopter had been donated to the force. Personnel Available to UNAMID 20,000 19,555 Authorized (for 7/1/07-6/30/08) 15,000 Deployed (as of 5/29/08) 10,000 8,246 6,432 5,569 5,000 1,809 1,667 0 Military (troops, officers, observers) Police Funds available to UNAMID (in $ millions) Military Aircraft available to UNAMID 30 1,500 Civilian staff, volunteers $1,275.7 28 25 1,200 $922.6 20 900 15 600 10 300 5 0 0 0 Appropriated (for 7/1/07-6/30/08) Contributed (as of 6/30/08) Requested Donated Source: U.N. Security Council, June 2008 janjaweed babies, and this has led to an explosion of infanticide.” In addition, he said, “Al-Bashir is executing this genocide without gas chambers, without bullets and without machetes. The desert will do it for them. . . . Hunger is the weapon of this genocide as well as rape.” 17 Many hope the prosecutor’s action will pressure Sudan to halt its attacks in Darfur. But others fear an indictment would prompt Bashir to prevent Available online: www.globalresearcher.com peacekeepers and Western aid organizations from working in Darfur. “[An indictment] would have very serious consequences for peacekeeping operations, including the political process,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “I’m very worried. But nobody can evade justice.” 18 While the ICC is considering charging Bashir with genocide, many aid groups, governments and the United Nations have avoided using the “G- September 2008 247 CRISIS IN DARFUR cil, China repeatedly has used its veto threat to block action against Sudan. 20 Over the past year, however, as the Beijing Olympics brought international attention to China’s human-rights policies — its government has played a more active role in trying to solve the crisis. It appointed a special envoy to help negotiate a peace settlement and helped convince Sudan to allow a joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force — known as UNAMID — to enter Darfur. In July China sent 172 engineers to join the peacekeeping force, bringing China’s participation in the mission to more than 300 personnel. 21 Nearly a year into their mission, however, the force is severely un- AFP/Getty Images/Isam Al-Haj word” to describe the situation in Darfur. Some say the reluctance stems from the fact that international law requires countries to take action to “prevent and punish” genocide. But others, including Amnesty International, say that despite the obvious atrocities, there is insufficient evidence civilians were targeted because of their ethnicity. 19 The international community also disagrees on how to solve the crisis. While the United States and the United Nations have sanctioned the Bashir government, the move has largely been opposed by China, Russia, Arab nations and the African Union (AU) — a political and economic coalition of African countries. During a 2007 visit to Sudan, Chinese President Hu Jintao reviews Sudanese troops with President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics this summer, China came under intense international pressure to use its economic clout as Sudan’s biggest oil buyer and weapons supplier to convince Bashir to stop the slaughter in Darfur. Hu convinced Bashir to allow joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping forces to enter Darfur, but critics say China could do much more. “China is uniquely positioned to fix this,” says Alex Meixner, director of government relations for the Save Darfur Coalition. “They have a fair amount of leverage over Bashir.” China buys twothirds of Sudan’s petroleum — much of which comes from the south — and is its largest supplier of weapons. But as a member of the U.N.’s Security Coun- 248 CQ Global Researcher dermanned, underequipped and under constant attack. Although authorized to have 26,000 military and police peacekeepers — the largest deployment in the world — fewer than half that number have been deployed and not a single military helicopter has been donated to the force. (See graph, p. 247.) 22 Darfur is “a test case for international response — or the inability of the international community to respond — to this type of situation,” says Imani Countess, senior director for public affairs at TransAfrica Forum, which campaigns for human rights in Africa. “It’s a damning indictment against the government of Sudan, because it refuses to end the violence. But it’s also a pretty damning indictment of the international community.” And while the international community stands by, the situation in Darfur threatens to destabilize the entire region. Millions of refugees from the area are creating economic and political chaos in Sudan and neighboring countries, and the region’s porous borders have turned Darfur into the headquarters for rebels from Chad and the Central African Republic. The growing crisis also threatens to undo the precarious 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the bloody 20-year civil war between North and South Sudan
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