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Sudan: Still Delaying on Darfur
Jul 23, 2006 (060723)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
Despite wide consensus that the current African Union force is
inadequate to stop the violence and ensure implementation of peace
agreements in Darfur, there is no sign that the international
community is willing to escalate pressure on Khartoum to accept its
replacement by a stronger United Nations force, "The United Nation
Security Council has threatened us so many times, we no longer take
it seriously," a Sudanese official remarked early this month.
[Quoted in "A Dying Deal in Darfur," by John Prendergast, in the
Boston Globe, July 13, 2006; available at http://allafrica.com/stories/200607130789.html]
A donors' meeting in Brussels last week agreed to provide
additional funding for the African Union force, but only committed
enough to sustain the force through September.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains a summary report on the Brussels
donors' meeting, the executive summary of the latest International
Crisis Group report on Darfur, and excerpts from a critical
commentary by U.S. Sudan activist and commentator Eric Reeves. The
full Reeves commentary (available through the links below) also
contains a summary of a confidential commentary from a U.S.
government analyst stationed in Khartoum.
Another AfricaFocus Bulletin sent out today contains excerpts from
commentaries by Alex de Waal on the detailed provisions of the
Darfur Peace Agreement.
For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Sudan and additional links,
For regular updates see http://www.sudantribune.com
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
Donors pledge to boost African force in Darfur
Integrated Regional Information Networks
[This material may not necessarily reflect the views of the United
Nations or its agencies.]
Brussels, 19 Jul 2006 (IRIN) - Aid donors meeting in the Belgian
capital have pledged about US $220 million in additional funding to
the African Union (AU) force struggling to keep the peace in
Sudan's western region of Darfur.
The funding will help the Africa Mission in Sudan protect civilians
and monitor the implementation of a Peace Agreement signed in May
between the Sudanese government and some of the rebel groups in
During Tuesday's pledging conference in Brussels, representatives
of the international donor community insisted that the AU
peacekeeping mandate must be transferred to the United Nations by
1 January 2007.
"I can't foresee any realistic exit of the Darfur conflict without
such a transition [from AU to UN peacekeeping], and I can't either
imagine that the government of Sudan would continue to oppose it,"
the EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana said at the conference.
Limited funding and lack of equipment have impaired the capacity of
the 7,000-strong Africa Mission to effectively carry out its
peacekeeping mandate in Darfur.
Early this month, the AU extended the Mission's mandate in Darfur
to the end of 2006 as the international community grappled with the
Sudanese government's reluctance to have the African troops
replaced by a UN force.
At the same time relief agencies warned of a worsening humanitarian
crisis in the region with more civilians caught in escalating
violence between armed groups.
The United States said it would give $116 million to be used to
strengthen the Africa Mission in Sudan, while the EU will make
available $31.2 million to the Mission on top of an additional $50
million for the humanitarian effort in Darfur. The Netherlands
pledged $31.2 million, Britain $36.6 million, France $2.5 million
and Belgium $1.25 million.
The pledges would only be enough to sustain the Mission until the
end of September; it needs an extra $450 million to operate until
year-end, to pay for extra soldiers to be deployed, communications
equipment, air support capability and more vehicles.
"The situation is precarious. The strengthening of [the Africa
Mission] should be our priority because the next six months are
critical," said the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping,
Jean-Marie Gu‚henno. "If we have a strong [Africa Mission], we will
have a strong UN mission," he added.
A senior European Commission official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, said the real problem was that the "the AU is snowed
under with the complexities of financial management".
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the world body had no "hidden
agenda" in Sudan. "United Nations peacekeeping forces - which will
come primarily from Africa and Asia, with some additional, and much
needed, support from developed countries - will come to Darfur not
as occupiers, but as helpers," said Annan.
Darfur's Fragile Peace Agreement
Africa Briefing N 39
20 June 2006
International Crisis Group
The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed under African Union (AU)
auspices on 5 May 2006 between Sudan's government and the faction
of the insurgent Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Arkou Minawi
(SLA/MM) is a first step toward ending the violence but strong,
coordinated action is needed if it is to take hold. The document
has serious flaws, and two of the three rebel delegations did not
accept it. Fighting between rebel and government forces is down
somewhat but violence is worse in some areas due to clashes between
SLA factions, banditry, and inter-tribal feuds, while the Chad
border remains volatile. If the DPA is not to leave Darfur more
fragmented and conflict-prone than before, the international
community must rapidly take practical measures to shore up its
security provisions, improve prospects for the displaced to return
home, bring in the holdouts and rapidly deploy a robust UN
peacekeeping force with Chapter VII authority.
Two parties to the negotiations in Abuja - the SLA faction of Abdel
Wahid Mohamed Nur (SLA/AW) and the Justice and Equality Movement
(JEM) - have refused to sign. Abdel Wahid demands more direct SLA
participation in implementation of security arrangements and is
also dissatisfied with the DPA's provisions for political
representation and a victim's compensation fund. JEM maintains that
the protocols on power and wealth sharing do not adequately address
the conflict's root causes: the structural inequities between
Sudan's centre and its periphery that led to the rebellion in 2003.
Indeed, the DPA has accelerated the break-up of the insurgency into
smaller blocs along loose ethnic lines.
Broadening buy-in and implementation of the security protocols will
either make or break the peace in the short term. Maximum use needs
to be made of the opportunity provided by the Darfur-Darfur
Dialogue and Consultation, a communal reconciliation process
prescribed by the DPA, to get acceptance of the agreement from
segments of the population that were not represented in Abuja.
Women's full participation will be important.
Security will not improve, however, unless Khartoum disarms its
proxy Janjaweed forces, a commitment it has already broken on five
occasions. Though there are formal guarantors to the agreement and
provisions in the security arrangements designed to help reinforce
it, the DPA offers no effective guarantees on implementation. The
AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) is already overstretched and lacks the
capacity to perform the additional monitoring and verification
duties now asked of it. The DPA also does not address the takeover
of peacekeeping operations by the UN, which is daily becoming more
necessary. Khartoum continues to obstruct and delay the planning
process for that UN mission. If AMIS and then UN peacekeepers must
ask the government's permission at every step, they will not be
able to create the confidence refugees and displaced persons (IDPs)
need to go home.
Current scenarios envisage a further six to nine months before the
UN force is deployed. Many policymakers recognise that is
unacceptably slow, because it means more deaths and no refugee and
IDP returns, but have been reluctant to suggest more effective
alternatives. The following steps are urgently required:
- The Security Council should apply sanctions that target any side,
including the government, that violates the ceasefire or attacks
civilians, peacekeepers, or humanitarian operations.
- The AU should spare no effort to widen acceptance of the DPA by
all stakeholders, including by maintaining the dialogue with the
SLA/Abdel Wahid faction and seeking further compromises on power
and wealth-sharing issues, and its international partners,
including the U.S. and the European Union (EU), should provide the
political and financial backing that is needed for a successful
Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation.
- The UN and other international partners should assist the AU in
immediately strengthening AMIS by providing resources, logistical
support and technical expertise, and troop contributing countries
in Africa should bring the force up to its authorised ceiling, so
it can better carry out its current mandate as well as the
additional tasks in the DPA.
- The Security Council should authorise deployment of a robust UN
force, starting with a rapid reaction component, to take over from
AMIS by 1 October 2006, with a clear Chapter VII mandate to use all
necessary means to protect civilians and assist in the
implementation of the DPA, including to act militarily as necessary
to contain or neutralise Janjaweed, rebel and hard-line government
- The EU and NATO should work with the UN and the AU to ensure that
the peacekeeping force has the capability to react rapidly to
ceasefire violations or provocations by any party, and countries
with advanced military capabilities should detail senior officers
to the headquarters of the peacekeeping force to bolster its
Security in Darfur: Donors' Conference in Brussels fails to take
The African Union is marginally funded; no diplomatic progress
toward the robust international protection force required in Darfur
By Eric Reeves
Eric Reeves, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 He can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website : http://www.sudanreeves.org
[Excerpts from much longer article at
July 21, 2006 - Yet again the international community seems
determined in its refusal to take seriously the precipitous decline
in human security throughout Darfur, both for civilians and
humanitarian workers. The July 18, 2006 meeting of Western donors
in Brussels was touted as a way to address the growing security
crisis, but failed in all ways. Western donors failed to provide
the AU force in Darfur with the resources it requires and can
usefully absorb, even as the AU is the only force on the ground and
will remain so for the foreseeable future. At the same time, these
donors failed to acknowledge the radical shortcomings of even an
augmented AU force, and the correspondingly urgent need for
deployment of a robust international peacemaking force. And most
abjectly, they failed to convince Khartoum's National Islamic Front
regime of any need to accept such a force, even under the aegis of
The consequences of these ongoing failures can be measured most
fully in a survey of current conditions in Darfur: AU performance
is declining rapidly while civilians are caught up in ever more
violent conflict between factions of the Sudan Liberation Army
(SLA), as well as ongoing Janjaweed predations; several aid workers
have recently been shot and killed in Darfur and another badly
wounded in eastern Chad; many thousands more civilians have very
recently been displaced; no progress is being made by the AU in
implementing the Darfur Peace Agreement, which has essentially
collapsed; the political leadership within the AU is demoralized
and badly divided, and is failing to speak out about the most
consequential developments on the ground. This AU silence occurs
even as all evidence strongly suggests that Khartoum's regular
military forces have taken the side of the SLA faction of Minni
Minawi, instigating what many observers on the ground are calling
a 'new war'---between the Zaghawa-dominated SLA faction of Minawi
and the relatively new SLA coalition called SLA/United or SLA/19
(after the 19 commanders who broke with former SLA chairman Abdel
As more of Darfur moves deeper into the heaviest part of the rainy
season (which runs through September) humanitarian logistics are
becoming increasingly difficult, even as insecurity has closed many
humanitarian corridors to large and highly distressed populations.
Almost two-thirds of a million people are beyond the reach of
humanitarian assistance (Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary-General
for Humanitarian Affairs, statement to Security Council, April 20,
2006). Hundreds of thousands of civilians have only the most
tenuous humanitarian access. The cholera outbreak shows no signs of
abating. Funding for humanitarian operations remains critically
low, both for Darfur and eastern Chad, as well as for other
traditionally marginalized areas of Sudan. Food rations for
extremely distressed civilian populations remain at only about
two-thirds of what the UN estimates is required to sustain human
life. The Gereida region of South Darfur has a huge population of
displaced civilians poised to experience catastrophic mortality.
The humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad deepens, with a total lack
of security in many areas. And amidst this vast humanitarian
crisis, Khartoum continues to obstruct and impede humanitarian
relief---actions that are directly responsible for large numbers of
human deaths and widespread suffering.
This is the context in which to assess the Brussels donors'
conference, and its various failures.
What Did and Did Not Happen in Brussels: Funding the AU
Donors in Brussels committed $220 million dollars to the African
Union force in Darfur, enough to sustain current AU operations
through the end of September, but certainly not until the end of
the year. This permits no significant expansion of AU capacity, and
leaves an already badly demoralized mission wondering about its
future. At the same time, what went unspoken in Brussels was the
widely recognized truth that the AU is hopelessly incapable of
taking on full responsibility for security in the immense Darfur
region, or of undertaking the various labor-consumptive tasks
stipulated for the AU in the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), or of
staunching the flow of ethnically-targeted violence into eastern
Chad. The refusal to fund the AU more generously is essentially a
calculation that the AU can effectively absorb relatively little
beyond what it presently has in the way of resources.
In an extraordinarily telling moment, a senior European Commission
official told the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
(IRIN)---and only on condition of anonymity---that "the real
problem was that 'the AU is snowed under with the complexities of
financial management'" (UN IRIN [dateline: Brussels], July 19,
2006). In fact, this is hardly news: many observers of the AU
mission in Darfur have remarked the unorthodox nature of AU
budgeting, the lack of administrative capacity, and even outright
corruption in the appropriation of equipment. AU logistics in the
field have also come in for extremely harsh criticism from those
most familiar with AU operations, as have AU intelligence and
Many of these shortcomings have been detailed over the past
year---by the International Crisis Group, Refugees International,
and the Brookings Institution/Bern University ...
In understanding why this week's donors' conference in Brussels
gave so little to the AU, essentially sustaining present operations
through September 2006, these and many other fundamental,
structural shortcomings weighed heavily in deliberations. For of
course an appropriate intelligence capacity or operating efficiency
cannot be "airlifted" to the AU; nor can they be "purchased" along
with appropriate equipment. In this and other crucial areas, the AU
mission will fail so long as it is solely responsible for security
This cannot be an excuse, however, for a failure by the countries
of the EU and North America to provide the training, equipment
(especially transport), and other resources that can indeed be
effectively absorbed by the AU. To say that the AU is fundamentally
incapable of providing adequate security in Darfur hardly precludes
saying as well that the force can be significantly, if only
incrementally improved. Given the overwhelming need for security,
donors in Brussels had a compelling obligation to fund the AU in
all ways that would increase its performance on the ground. These
wealthy nations did not, and this is a conspicuous failure.
Political Failure in Brussels
Just as conspicuous as the failure to fund the AU in adequate
fashion was the inability of the donors' conference to compel
Khartoum to accept a robust UN force, with Chapter 7 authority, and
with appropriate military resources from NATO countries. While
minimalist ambitions were most evident in funding decisions---one
EU diplomat is reported by Agence France Presse as declaring that,
"'the international community's [funding] goal is to ensure that
[the AU] can function at its current level until the end of the
year'" (dateline: Brussels, July 17, 2006)---there was also a
general reluctance to do more than gesture vaguely, and with an
excessively expansive time-frame, toward the force necessary to
protect acutely vulnerable civilians and humanitarians: ...
[The foremost issue] is whether the international community will
continue to allow Khartoum to determine whether an international
force deploys to Darfur or not, and whether this force will be
appropriate to the security needs of the region. Kofi Annan has
tried to declare that deployment of a robust UN force is
"The transition from the AU force to a UN peace operation in Darfur
is now inevitable. A firm decision by the Security Council is
needed, and soon, for an effective transition to take place."
("Darfur Descending," The Washington Post, January 25, 2006)
Half a year later there is no longer talk of an "inevitable"
transition, only "hopeful" talk of a consensual one. Nor is a "firm
decision" on such transition anywhere in prospect at the UN
Security Council. The simple truth is that declaring the transition
to be "inevitable" does not make it so, certainly not in dealing
with the experienced National Islamic Front in Khartoum. Nor do
feckless and empty threats from the UN create fear in these brutal
men. John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group notes in a
Boston Globe op/ed a recent conversation:
"As one high-ranking Sudanese government official brazenly told me
this week, 'The United Nations Security Council has threatened us
so many times, we no longer take it seriously.'" ("A dying deal in
Darfur," Boston Globe, July 13, 2006) ...
Perversely, at the same time the NIF regime is speaking and acting
so brazenly in defiance of all putative "threats," international
actors continue to speak only of consensual deployment, as if the
National Islamic Front regime will eventually succumb to some yet
unspecified pressures or incentives. But several months of
relentlessly obdurate refusal by Khartoum to countenance any UN
force should have forestalled such complacency. ....
Almost 4 million people in Darfur and eastern Chad have been
affected by genocidal conflict and are desperately in need of
humanitarian assistance. And yet the world community remains
unwilling to act with appropriate urgency or force to protect
either them or the humanitarian workers and operations upon which
they have become increasingly dependent.
This international callousness is emblematized in President Bush's
bland words of yesterday (July 20, 2006) about US "strategy" for
Darfur: "Our strategy is that we want AU forces to be complemented
and blue-helmeted. In other words, the United Nations should be
invited in." This is not a "strategy," it is a politically
expedient wish, expressed with no evidence of a willingness to
commit the substantial diplomatic and political assets required to
secure an "invitation" for UN deployment. ...
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