Sudan: Victory in Darfur

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August 6, 2007: Darfur's various rebel groups are once again discussing forming a "united front." The rebels recognize that a new round of peace talks with the Sudan government is increasingly likely. Sudan has been exploiting differences between the rebel factions. Senior leaders in the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have met with leaders of several Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) factions. Some rebel field commanders have participated in talks held in Tanzania (and sponsored by the UN and AU).

The government believes it has already won. Most of the non-Arab Darfur tribes (over two million people) have been driven into UN administered refugee camps, and Arab tribes are being brought in to take over the abandoned villages and lands. The government believes the peacekeepers will not be able to remove the new Arab migrants, so that the black Sudanese refugees can get their land back. The government will just leave the black tribesmen in the refugee camps, to be paid for by the UN.

August 2, 2007: Indonesia, France, and Denmark have promised to send troops to serve with an AU-UN peacekeeping force Darfur. The Indonesian troops are particularly welcome since it is a Moslem country. Britain indicated that it would not send ground combat forces. That has also been the U.S. unofficial position. Britain has promised $200 million in reconstruction aid. The U.S. and Britain have said they will provide support to the AU-UN force. That's important, because the U.S. Air Force is the only outfit with sufficient transport planes to support a 22,000 to 26,000 troop force in Sudan's isolated Darfur region. The RAF also has a robust airlift capability, at least compared to other European nations. Australia has promised medical personnel. The UN is looking to African Union nations plus Sweden, Holland, Italy, Austria, Turkey, Poland, South Africa, and Thailand to provide additional peacekeepers.

August 1, 2007: The government said that it would "cooperate" with the African Union and the UN in the deployment of an AU-UN peacekeeping force in Darfur. The government has said this before, and managed to find a way to renege. On July 31 the UN Security Council authorized the combined force. The force could include up to 19, 500 military personnel and over six thousand police.

July 31, 2007: Britain's new prime minister declared that the situation in Darfur is the world's biggest humanitarian disaster the world faces today.

July 30, 2007: Members of south Sudan's government are becoming increasingly disgruntled. The south Sudan government is acting more and more like the South Sudan government—that is, an independent government. However, south Sudanese leaders have also assured the national government that they intend to remain part of Sudan. Still, the southerners complain that the national government has not fulfilled key commitments of the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. One of the problems is in the Abyei region, which is an oil producing region. Southern Sudan is supposed to share in oil revenue. The south and the north are wrangling over the work of a boundary demarcation commission which was supposed to divide Abyei's oil fields. Another problem areas is regularly mentioned: failure to disarm pro-government militias.

 

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