Sudan: We Hate China

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November 25, 2007: Darfur rebels are protesting the recent arrival of 135 Chinese Army engineers. The rebels consider the Chinese as pro-government, and only interested in stealing Sudan's resources. Chinese oil companies developed Sudan's new oil fields, which produce billions of dollars a year in revenue. The Chinese are very tight with the Sudanese government, and use the Chinese UN veto to prevent the UN from imposing sanctions on Sudan. Rebels in Darfur and southern Sudan have picked up on this, and are anti-Chinese.

November 24, 2007: India is sending members of its Border Security Force (BSF) to serve with the UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur. The BSF is an experienced paramilitary force. It is the kind of force that combines "police savvy" with some military capabilities (ie, with military-type weapons and communications gear). That said, what the BSF intends to supply the Darfur peacekeeping force with is transport – specifically 60 transport camels. The BSF uses the camels in western India (think Pakistan border region) to support long-range ground reconnaissance operations. Camel-mounted recon troops can easily move up to 80 kilometers a day with only short breaks. The camels are certainly no decisive asset, but they are a useful asset. They do not require a lot of fuel. Vehicles obviously require gasoline, but other pack animals, including horses, require lots of fodder. Camels have the ability to fend for themselves. They also require little water.

November 23, 2007: The government keeps trying to toss wrenches into the UN-AU peacekeeping plan. This time it announced that it would not allow any "non-African troops" to participate in the UN-AU "hybrid" peacekeeping force. It isn't quite clear what that means. The hybrid force already has contingents coming from several non-African nations. Sudan may be trying to limit "non-African" troops to support roles. The government continues to insist that no "Western" (ie, US or European) troops can participate in the UN-AU force.

November 22, 2007: Tanzania confirmed it will deploy 800 troops with the UN-AU Darfur peacekeeping force. Tanzania's troops will arrive in March 2008. Tanzania's troops will operate under "tight" rules of engagement (they will only be allowed to fire their weapons if they are fired upon.)

November 21, 2007: The government said that there will be "no renewed civil war" with South Sudan. The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said that it supports "political dialog" and "national unity" with South Sudan. The use of the phrase "national unity" is important because the current Sudan government is supposed to be a national unity government. However, last month, South Sudan's representatives left the national unity government.

November 19, 2007: The UN called on the government and South Sudan to continue to follow the peace process agreed to in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The UN statement said that Sudan and South Sudan must not "re-arm" – which is a rather dire warning. The UN statement followed reports that the government was urging the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) militia to "open armed camps, gather mujahadeen" and prepare for war. The PDF is an "Islamist militia" that operated in southern Sudan. Those reports outraged members of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) the main political party in South Sudan.

 

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