Sudan: American No-Fly-Zone Over Darfur

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February9, 2007: The number of attacks on relief workers operating in Darfur increased by fifty percent, to 1,800, in 2006. The fighting in Darfur displaced 500,000 people in 2006. That means approximately 2.5 million people are now living in refugee camps,

February 8, 2007: The US continues to push for sanctions against Sudan. In early January the U.S. proposed a series of economic sanctions in order to "encourage" Sudan to accept a UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur. However, the US held back on implementation. Now the U.S. is once again sending diplomatic signals that it will impose the sanctions. The sanctions package includes blocking Sudan government commercial bank transactions with U.S. banks. The U.S. is indicating that it will also block transactions involving oil revenues. That means the U.S. is willing to confront China, which is a major buyer of Sudanese oil. The US, however, is also saying that sanctions will apply to rebel organizations that refuse to join the peace process. The US and Britain have both discussed imposing a "no fly zone" over Darfur to protect civilians from aerial attack by the Sudan Air Force. Presumably the no-fly zone would operate like the no-fly zones over Iraq did from 1991 to 2003.

February 7, 2007: The US State Department said that "bottlenecks" were developing in the expansion of the African Union-UN peacekeeping force in Sudan's Darfur region. The State Department spokesman said that UN members were "slow" in contributing troops to the effort. The AU-UN force is supposed to reach a strength of 20,000. The US and UN estimate that the AU can provide only 10,000 troops (deployed in Darfur at one time), which means other UN members must contribute 10,000.

Guerrillas in the Eastern Front rebel organization promised to demobilize "within days." The Eastern Front officially registered as a political party in Sudan. The Eastern Front is primarily a Beja ethnic group organization.

February 5, 2007: Bangladesh reported that it had sent 156 troops to southern Sudan. The troops were replacing a contingent serving with the UN peacekeeping force in south Sudan.

 

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