Sudan: The Campaign to Save The Raiders


December20, 2006: The rebels in eastern Sudan are demobilizing, as part of a peace deal that ends twelve years of sporadic violence. Some 1,800 rebel fighters will be involved.

December 19, 2006: The UN pulled 71 air workers from a refugee camp in Darfur, after government backed militia looted the aid workers living quarters. Sudan continues to put off UN demands that a more powerful peacekeeping for be allowed into Darfur. Meanwhile, the government-supported Arab tribal militias are becoming more violent in their attacks on black African tribes, including those cowering in refugee camps.

December 17, 2006: The African Union (AU) said that "janjaweed" (Sudan government-sponsored militias) attacks were increasing in the Darfur region. This includes "harassment" attacks in the El Fasher, El Geneina, Kutum, and Merllit areas. AU and NGOs also mentioned the failure of Sudanese government forces to respond to the militia attacks. But why should they? The janjaweed are doing the government's bidding. In fact, on December 14, the European Union's chief representative to Sudan accused the Sudan government of arming and supporting the janjaweed.

December 15, 2006: The government said that approximately 150 former SPLA rebel soldiers rioted in Juba (south Sudan). The violence appeared to be a "mutiny," which indicates the SPLA rebels may have been in a unit that was at least nominally "integrated" into the new joint Sudanese forces. At least two people died in the riot. The violence continued until December 16.

December 13, 2006: The government told western journalists that it will earn four to five billion dollars in oil revenue during 2006. Sudan's overall economy has grown at least ten percent this year (and possibly higher, other sources says 12 to 15 percent). The big message is: Sudan can continue to finance its war in Darfur. With lots of ready cash to buy arms on the open and black markets, UN and US-sponsored sanctions are only a minor irritant.

Great Britain and the US floated the idea of establishing a "no fly zone" over Darfur - a zone similar to the one the US and allied nations enforced over northern and southern Iraq from 1991-2003. The Sudan government rejected the idea. A "no fly zone" over Darfur has some merit. The Sudan government uses AN-12 transports rigged as bombers to attack villages. The bombs are inaccurate but they serve a purpose - they scare the civilians and force them to flee. However, establishing a "no fly zone" would make a significant political statement-which is why the Sudan government opposes it. It would also be a step toward allowing air to ground attacks. At the moment the janjaweed move rather freely, on horseback and in trucks. Air attacks would significantly restrict their movement. However, air alone doesn't stop militias from attacking villages. And dead raiders can be pitched as "innocent civilians," or "Moslems killed by Infidels."




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