Dark clouds gather over Darfur

Following wotw’s recent roundup of the unfolding tragedy in Sudan, here are some current developments, for the worse, unfortunately:

IRIN quotes Kofi Annan on the dangerous instability in Darfur: “The frequency and intensity of the violence committed by the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Popular Defence Forces, government-aligned tribal militia and the armed movements – including in particular the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army [SLM/A] – reached levels unseen since January 2005,” Annan said in the report to the UN Security Council.

The government’s record was troubling “because of the evidence that its forces triggered some of the incidents, and because there are clear indications that, in many cases, the tribal militia operated with enabling support from the government,” Annan said. He added that the SLM/A also instigated a significant number of attacks and shared some responsibility for the deterioration in security. “Because of the urgency of the present situation, the international community’s efforts must be immediate, coordinated and determined,” he said.

Everything is getting out of control. This is happening on both sides,” Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told Reuters. “The crucial moment is from now to the end of the year.”

Khartoum’s Sudan Petroleum Corporation has indicated it will no longer supply jet fuel to the UN’s World Food Program aircraft. This is part of an ongoing campaign of harassment including difficulties with visas, administrative hassles importing equipment, and similar governmental obstacles to the functioning of NGOs and the UN within Sudan.

There seems little doubt that the Sudanese government (National Islamic Front) is attempting to conduct genocide by stealth and neglect – engineering an impossible situation for the non-muslim population of Darfur by helping the Janjaweed and obstructing relief efforts, and then waiting for starvation and disease to achieve their aims. Juan Mendez, the UN Special Envoy on Genocide, is wary of being outspoken on the issue (video). He was blocked from giving a report to the UN on Sudan by the United States and three Sudanese allies, China, Russia and Algeria, according to council diplomats. This drew an angry response from France “I strongly regret and deplore that Mr. Mendez … was not authorized to brief the council today,” France’s U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere said. “The majority of the delegations wished to hear what Mr. Mendez had to say.”

Nevertheless he has criticised the NIF as having done little to disarm militias or end the “culture of impunity.” Mendez has just completed his second visit to the region this year, and says “I found the situation much more dangerous and worrisome than I expected.” Although the language of his report is extremely cautious, Mendez describes a situation in which government spies provide information to the Janjaweed to help direct their attacks. “With regard to the selection of targets and the time and location of attacks, attackers may have informants within Government of Sudan authorities on the movement of the nongovernmental [humanitarian] organizations” he says.

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