On I.R.

May 7, 2007

Darfur: Current Events 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — admunoz @ 10:53 pm

In one of the more notable happenings for Darfur in recent memory, in April, the Sudanese government agreed to allow 3,000 UN peacekeepers to enter into Darfur to aid the fledging efforts of the 7,000 AU forces already stationed there. Although many say that this mobilization, which is already encountering hiccups due to jurisdictional issues of foreign countries donating the use of their forces to be used under AU command, will likely not happen for another six months, the mere fact that an agreement was reached between the UN and Khartoum is representative enough.

However, governments like the US are wary over this recent accord, and they have reason to be–Khartoum has back out of similar provisions in the past, citing discrepancies between domestic treaties with rebel groups and the UN terms.

Nevertheless, the agreement has the personal attention of new UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who has made personal contact with the government in Khartoum.

Despite the fact that many ties have been made between the Janjaweed and the Sudanese government, many in the international community have speculated that Khartoum cannot possibly be in total control of all the militias that rampage throughout the Darfur region. Nevertheless, US government officials have called upon the government in Sudan to disarm the Janjaweed, and this agreement may be the first step in securing that disarmament.

However, the international clout surrounding this issue is that the UN musn’t count its chicks before they hatch- nothing has truly been done until the peacekeepers start helping to save lives.

Darfur: Current Events 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — admunoz @ 10:34 pm

At the beginning of May, 2001, the International Criminal Court, one of the main judicial bodies linked to the UN (though not actually a part of it), issues arrest warrants for two main offenders for the genocide in Darfur.

Ahmad Muhammad Harun and Ali Abd-al-Rahman, aka Ali Kushayb, have both been charged with grave atrocities for their involvement in Darfur, for the respective duties of planning atrocities and acting as a Janjaweed militia leader. These warrants came about after a 20-month investigation into the genocide in Darfur (though it is not called that by the UN) ordered by the UN Security Council in 2005, after which prosecutors asked for subpoenas for the two men to investigate further, ending in the judges ordering warrants for the arrest of the two men, seen only as mid-level in planning the atrocities.

However, the ICC has no jurisdiction to carry out arrrests, nor the personnel to do it. As the UN is not yet formally involved, it is up to the Khartoum government to summon these two men to the ICC in The Hague. Sudanese officials claim that the ICC has no right to even indict the two offenders, and therefore are not expected to carry out the orders. Nevertheless, this decision represents a milestone on the part of the international community when it comes to involvement in the Darfur crisis.

The situations of the two suspects are varied: while Khartoum claims it already has Kushayb under custody for domestic crimes, Harun currently serves as the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs for Sudan, despite complaints by NGOs that he has purposefully not fulfilled many facets of his job.

Darfur: The African Union

Filed under: Uncategorized — admunoz @ 10:03 pm

Holding a membership of 53 African countries, the African Union (AU) is not stranger to wars on its continent. Although konwn originally as the Organization of African Unity, which began in 1963 in response to the many African countries gaining independence from their former colonial masters, the AU as it is known today has been around since 2002.

Since 2005 it has held bi-annual summits in various African capitals to discuss issues as important and varied as education, famine, civil war, AIDS/HIV, and genocide.

Not one to stand on ceremony as much as the UN, the AU is currently responsible for around 7,000 peacekeeping troops in the Darfur region. Many of these, no doubt at the request of President Paul Kagame, himself a former military commander during times of genocide, are Rwandan in ethnicity, a note that the president takes pride in. However, the dozens of IDP camps in the three regions of Darfur that equal an area equivalent to that of France is much too large for so small a force, especially one as underfunded and inadequately trained as this one is.

Despite aid recieved from US Congress in 2006, the African Union peacekeeping force is continually not up to the extremely difficult task of establishing and maintaining peace in Darfur. Villages are exposed around the entire area, as most security forces have established themselves at IDP camps due to the large number of native Darfurians there, as well as the prevelence by which Janjiweed soldiers infiltrate the camps. It is because of this that they have continually threatened pulling out of their position, however, they have already overexceeded their mandate once, and continue to wait for UN peacekeeping forces to take over.

Darfur: The UN and other genocides

Filed under: Uncategorized — admunoz @ 9:43 pm

One of the main facets of the UN at the time of its inception, 1945, was to keep something like the Holocaust, still recent in everybody’s mind, from happening again. Although violating the Westphalian model of sovereignty was not in its mandate at the time, the UN still had an extensive policy on humanitarian and preventative action.

It has only been in recent history that the UN has stretched their mandate to include a mandatory military excursion into a country if official genocide is proclaimed. This has only come about in the last 20 years, so the known genocide of Pol Pot, the Cambodian dictator, and his regime of Khmer Rouge and its bodycount of over 2 million Cambodians in the 1970s was barely even noticed at the time.

Even closer to home was the genocide in the former Yugoslavia, mainly by dictator Slobodan Milosevic and other ethnic Serbians against Bosnians, Kosovars, and Croatians in the early 1990s. Although now a private court has been set up by the UN to punish those responsible, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), it wasn’t even the UN that intervened, it was NATO member countires, possibly at the behest of the UN-sanctioned international law, that bombed and partially invaded to reestablish peace.

The other main genocide known world over was against the Tutsi class of Rwanda by the Hutu majority. Over roughly three months in 1994, estimates between 800,000 and 1 million were killed orderly and systematically, mostly by civilians with machetes. The genocide was caused by the planned assassination of the Rwandan president and the subsequent blame on the Tutsi peoples, although the organized killing that resulted immediately afterwards implicates the Hutus more than anyone. In this case, there was absolutely no intervention by any major powers, and despite the large scope of the killings over such a short period of time, many superpowers, including leading members of the UN, declined to intervene.

It is the stated policy of the UN that they cannot intervene unless a conlict is officially called genocide, and if that is the case, then they are required to intervene. However, the loophole in this system, which is what kept the UN out of Rwanda and what currently keeps them out of Darfur, is to not refer to the conflict as a genocide, despite piles of data suggesting otherwise.

Darfur: Scope

Filed under: Uncategorized — admunoz @ 9:21 pm

Sudan is a country in Northeast Africa, bordered by Eqypt and Libya to the North, Chad and the Central African Republic to the West, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Kenya to the South, and Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Red Sea to the East. It is a country that has been plagued by wars for several decades, the most recent being the civil war in the south in the latter part of the 1990s, which, unlike many Sudanese and African wars before it, garnered much international attention from the Lost Boys program, through which orphans and other displaced and refugee children found their way out of war-torn Southern Sudan and into Uganda and Kenya, and many to other countries in the Western world for education. Their story has been told under many mediums, including the the Los Angeles Times bestseller

    They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky

, an intrepid book interwoven from three surviving lost boys about their journey from their small Sudanese village to San Diego, CA, USA.

Darfur, which in Arabic means Home of the Fur, a main tribe local to the area, is an area in Western Sudan, made up of three sections, Northern, Western, and Southern Darfur. Not to be confused with the wars mentioned above, the genocide in Darfur, as it has now been referred to by several leading news sources, NGOs, and IGOs, began in 2003. In the simplest terms possible, the conflict is being waged mostly by the Janjaweed, made up of Bedouin Arabs, and the also-mostly-Arab farming peoples of Darfur. However, the genocide and many other Sudanese wars have been popularly seen as ‘Arab’ versus ‘African.’ Those responsible for the mass killings are the Janjaweed, who, it is estimated, have at the very least already slaughtered 200,000 of the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit tribes, not to mention the also-staggerring numbers of those wounded, raped, or killed due to disease resulting from detruction of infrastructure.

Despite many armed conflicts beforehand, this particular genocide is said to have begun in early 2003, when the Darfur Liberation Front (DLF), a rebel group made up of Darfurians, formulated a highly successful raid on a Sudanese government military headquarters. Later, in April, another Darfurian rebel group calling itself the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) attacked another military outpost. Although the actual numbers are disputed, it is said that at least 100 were killed or wounded, hundreds of weapons were seized, and at least 4 Russian Antonov bomb planes were destroyed, which have been used commonly by the Sudanese government for decades to bomb remote villages.

Since then, the Janjaweed have been on high alert, systematically killing their way through the Darfur regions. Although Khartoum (the capitl of Sudan) denies any connection to the Arab militia, many speculate that they are the paycheck behind the genocide. The killings are now so extensive that villages have been abandoned in favor of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps all along the Western border of Sudan, as well as numering refugee camps in neighboring Chad, sometimes numbering as high as 30,000 per camp.

Despite its claims that it has no connection to the genocide, the government in Khartoum had repeatedly denied access to UN peacekeepers attempting to assuade the great pressure on the citizens of Darfur, as well as the AU soldiers already stretched thin in a vain attempt to protect the Darfurian farmers.

The genocide in Darfur in currently ongoing.

See link below for UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) planning map, current as of November 2006, for more geographic information.

January 22, 2007

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admunoz @ 4:52 pm

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