Sudan: Arming Your Enemy, For A Price

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February 17, 2010: A British medical journal has concluded that around 80 percent of the 300,000 deaths in the Darfur region (since the start of the war in 2003) have been caused by disease.

February 16, 2010: It's still unclear what the extent of the fighting between factions of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). that broke out in late January in the Jebel Marra area of West Darfur state. Refugees also reported fighting between rebel factions in the Jebel Moon area.

Five Ethiopian helicopters arrived in Darfur for duty with UNAMID (UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping operation in Darfur).It has been a long wait, two years in fact. UNAMID asked for 18 helicopters. That means it is still thirteen choppers short.

February 12, 2010: Sudan is littered with minefields, and south Sudan in particular. Serous de-mining efforts began in 2002. A recent de-mining task force report said that since 2002, 31,600 kilometers of roads in south and central Sudan have been cleared of mines. All “major routes” have been cleared (usually with bulldozers and counter-mine vehicles), but many secondary roads, side roads, trails, and open areas have not been completely cleared.

February 6, 2010: Ibrahim Gambari, the new head of UNAMID said he would attend a new round of Darfur peace talks scheduled to take place in Qatar. Gambari recently said that UNAMID should shift its focus from peacekeeping in Darfur to peacemaking. Gambari indicated he thinks the Qatari initiative (Doha talks) are the best diplomatic forum for a peace deal.

February 5, 2010: Some 10,000 people have fled fighting (a series of engagements began in late January) in West Darfur state (in the Jebel Marra region). The fighting took place between factions of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

February 4, 2010: Southern leaders in the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) have renewed complaints about the extensive authority the national government (led by the northern-based National Congress Party) have given Sudanese intelligence officers. The GOSS leaders maintain that the national government intends to intimidate voters in the April 2010 national elections.

February 3, 2010: An international appeals court ruled that Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir can be charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC charged Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bashir may now face at least one count of genocide. The Sudanese government responded to the decision by accusing the court of attempting to interfere in Sudan's upcoming national elections.

February 1, 2010: The UN accuses GOSS of  receiving another shipments of arms. It is well known that the GOSS has access to small arms, with Kenya and Uganda identified as “routes” for the weapons. The UN believes GOSS is receiving some heavy weapons as well, but is unclear where they are coming from. Some believe that the heavy weapons are coming from “internal transfers.” That would mean sources in northern Sudan are providing the south with heavy weapons. How is this? Payoffs and corruption are the likely reasons.

January 28, 2010: An African Union (AU) spokesman said that the 2011 referendum on south Sudanese secession could reignite the north-south civil war. Interestingly enough, the spokesman added that Darfur could also seek independence from Sudan if the south became a separate country. This is northern Sudan's nightmare – a break up where Sudan loses territorial control and control of natural resources. What would an independent South Sudan look like? It would have an area of around 640,000 square kilometers (about the size of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda combined). It would have a population of eight to ten million people (remember, no one agrees on census figures). It would also be an oil exporter.

 

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