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Darfur's still Burning

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Darfur's still Burning

Post by Mazy on Thu Jul 04 2013, 08:50

DARFUR’S STILL BURNING
by John Prendergast, Omer Ismail
Jun 13, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

Despite the narrative from diplomats and journalists that Sudan’s civil war is mostly over, Janjaweed gunmen are still terrorizing the region. This time, no one’s paying attention.

The Janjaweed militias are back. The Sudanese government’s notorious paramilitary force and favorite instrument of counterinsurgency—which earned infamy at the height of Darfur’s genocide in the mid-2000s—has unleashed several scorched-earth campaigns in 2013 that have ethnically cleansed entire communities off their land, displacing hundreds of thousands of Darfurians. Fueled by complex economic agendas, Khartoum’s alliance with and support for these militias has led to a comeback of infamous Janjaweed leader Ali Kosheib, already indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Kosheib’s forces are torching villages and targeting civilians again on the basis of their identity.

Attahi Mohammed Sigit, a resident of North Darfur, examines the destruction caused by an attack last November that left his son and several other community members dead. (Albert González Farran/UNAMID/AP)

This time, though, there are no witnesses. The regime in Khartoum is systematically denying access to journalists, aid workers, and U.N. peacekeepers, so the killing, looting, and burning occur in total silence.

Diplomats and news reports have peddled a very different narrative over the past year. U.N. and other officials have insisted that the Darfur civil war is largely over and peace would come if the main rebel groups would sign existing deals. Media reports have largely focused on “inter-tribal” conflict or fighting among rebel groups. Even Wikipedia lists Ali Kosheib as a “former” Janjaweed commander. These story lines couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you ask Khadija, who now lives in a refugee camp on the border of Sudan and Chad, a wholly different picture emerges. ICC indictee Ali Kosheib came to her village in West Darfur with 16 truckloads of Janjaweed militia in mid-April. “I stayed without moving, laying down in my field from morning to evening while they burned my village and crops,” she said.  Some of her neighbors were tied down and tortured, and her youngest son, Adam, was killed. “If Sudan became healthy, I would go back with my people. But if Sudan continues on this path, there is no way we can go home. What I have seen is too much.”

Notwithstanding the “inter-tribal” narrative, large-scale violence in Darfur is systematic, state-sponsored, and driven by three objectives. First, in North Darfur, Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militias strategically cleared local Arab and non-Arab populations from the areas around newly discovered gold mines in order to consolidate government control of rapidly expanding gold exports, critical in replacing lost oil revenue after South Sudan’s independence in 2011. Second, in West Darfur, some of the most productive land in Sudan is being cleared of its inhabitants by Ali Kosheib’s forces in order to expand the territory offered to favored ethnic groups or sell to Gulf investors.
Third, expanded Janjaweed looting and extortion schemes as well as smuggling networks for gum Arabic (used in soft drinks and candies) are encouraged by the Khartoum regime as part of militia compensation. “They loot whatever they can carry,” said Abdul, a refugee camp resident, “and burn whatever they can’t.” Government-sponsored “reconciliation conferences” have become venues for extortion by Janjaweed elements who demand huge payoffs to prevent further attacks.

The government fears a potential backlash from Janjaweed elements and therefore maintains a huge security patronage network that pays the militias to act as paramilitary units or integrates them formally into the army. They’re allowed to loot and pillage with complete impunity, keeping the spoils as a form of compensation for ensuring government interests in Darfur, whether it is fighting rebels or securing natural resources.

For the refugees we interviewed, it is much simpler. As one camp resident summarized, “They want to take the land and get rid of the people.”

Many of the refugees we met while traveling in the region last week personally identified Ali Kosheib as the commander of the Janjaweed unit that burned their villages. “Ali Kosheib said he is the government,” said one refugee.  Another added, “He travels in vehicles with government license plates and wears government-issued uniforms.”

Peace efforts in Darfur since the mid-2000s have intensified conflict instead of reducing it. Deals have focused on individual rebel commanders, usually resulting in these defectors becoming government-sponsored militia leaders. No proposal has addressed the core issues that drive violence in Darfur, and thus all have been rejected by the main rebels and wider population.  International initiatives in Darfur have been disconnected from peace efforts in other embattled areas of Sudan, such as the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and eastern Sudan. Support from U.N., U.S., and other diplomats for this segmented strategy plays directly into Khartoum’s divide-and-conquer plan and actively decreases the chances for peace in Sudan.

The answer, therefore, is an internationally-backed new peace process that addresses the main issues comprehensively. In a cone of silence, Darfur’s efficient militias are going about their deadly work again, ethnically cleansing certain populations from the region, perhaps forever. Literally nothing is being done about it, while parts of Darfur burn again.

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Last edited by theminis on Wed Jul 17 2013, 02:19; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fixed title)

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by Mazy on Thu Jul 04 2013, 09:06

Ongoing Human Rights Abuses in Sudan: Prendergast Testifies Before Congress on the Sudans
Posted by Lexi Britton on Jun 20, 2013
 
Ten years after the height of the genocide in Darfur, the humanitarian situation in Sudan remains dire. State-sponsored violence and human rights abuse run rampant throughout the country and an estimated200,000 Darfuris have been displaced  since the beginning of 2013. The government of Sudan’s aerial bombardment of civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states and blockade of humanitarian relief has also created a crisis nearing famine conditions.

On June 19, John Prendergast testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on the humanitarian crisis in the Sudans. Other expert witnesses included Larry Andre of the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan at the Bureau of African Affairs, Nancy E. Lindborg of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Ken Isaacs of Samaritan’s Purse, E.J. Hogendoorn of International Crisis Group, and Jehanne Henry of Human Rights Watch.

During the hearing, commission member Representative Wolf was candid in his statements on war criminal Nafie al Nafie’s postponed visit to the U.S: “To have this guy visit is immoral.  It’s wrong.”  Wolf also emphasized the need for the administration to appoint a credible Special Envoy on Sudan and South Sudan.  

John Prendergast recommended that the U.S. focus expanded aid and diplomatic assets on by:
1. Promoting comprehensive peace. The U.S. should help construct a comprehensive peace process for all of Sudan rather than promote the regional peace deals like the current Darfur initiative. The U.S. should also recognize opposition coalitions such as the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF, as the key to a peaceful transition.

2. Supporting media tools and countering the state monopoly on access to the media. This initiative would involve assisting opposition, civil society, and Sudanese journalists.

3. Assisting democratic governance by supporting rebels’ capacity to deliver humanitarian aid and create civil administrative capacities.

4. Enhancing coalition-building by assisting the efforts of Sudanese civil society, rebels, and political opposition in building deeper partnerships regarding their visions for political transition in Sudan.

5. Building institutional capacities for SRF, National Consensus Forces, youth, and civil society groups working for democratic change.

In his closing remarks, Prendergast emphasized that political constituency in the U.S. matters in the fight against genocide. It is vital to once again use political will to force policy makers to address the ongoing human rights abuses in Sudan. Help put Sudan back on the map.

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by it's me on Thu Jul 04 2013, 09:47

Again overwhelming
So much brutality deliberately unchained 
To show how much primate we still are

And how much strength we still need to suppress such venom

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by Juliette Hardy on Thu Jul 04 2013, 10:19

Yes, It's Me.
Primates! Exactly! Brutal, ignorant & relying on primal destructive instincts.
Not all, of course, but often in the "developing world."

It doesn't just end in Dafur. Tortured, persecuted ethnic groups, minorities, individuals....
And other species.
Unnecessary extinction and torture of animals, like elephants, tigers, etc.
For what? Ivory amulets & tiger penis soup?

There is so much wrong in this world. So much re-education that is required.... New values to be adapted... Greed to be eliminated...

Small steps in the right direction always help. But often too late.

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by Mazy on Thu Jul 04 2013, 10:25

Juliette Hardy wrote:Yes, It's Me.  
Primates!  Exactly!  Brutal, ignorant  & relying on primal destructive instincts.
Not all, of course, but often in the "developing world."

It doesn't just end in Dafur.  Tortured, persecuted ethnic groups, minorities, individuals....
And other species.
Unnecessary extinction and torture of animals, like elephants, tigers, etc.
For what? Ivory amulets & tiger penis soup?

There is so much wrong in this world. So much re-education that is required....  New values to be adapted... Greed to be eliminated...

Small steps in the right direction always help. But often too late.

I could not have said it better. Despair is how I often feel with this.

Zen 

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Jul 04 2013, 10:29

One Word....GREED....

Made worse by "always having so little"....by all....

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by it's me on Thu Jul 04 2013, 10:33

Greed for the wrong thing
So they will go ahead in atrocity

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Jul 04 2013, 10:58

it's me wrote:Greed for the wrong thing
So they will go ahead in atrocity


No IM, no....simply greed for a better life.

I have stood in these places...I remember often thinking and saying to people around me; that if this was my "lot" in life I would crawl on my hands and knees out, and do ANYTHING to get out..... strangely this applied to India more than Africa.

But everything in life is a double sides coin...also in these places I have never seen or enjoyed so much JOY....x


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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Jul 04 2013, 11:03

Sorry IM I just re-read your post - I think I picked it up the wrong way....you are coming from the Greed and Power corner....Hope I haven't confused again...x

A better life....who knows what atrocity's that can provoke

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Jul 04 2013, 12:08

BTW...that's not excusing the thug element or the atrocity....which becomes the norm to the thugs, if you do them often enough, and the anti goes up and up and up....

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by Mazy on Thu Jul 04 2013, 13:42

I don't know if it's simply greed. They are trying to wipe out whole ethnic groups, genocide. It's like they think that they are so superior in status and have the right to do these horrible things. If just greed they would kill them and be done with it, no they take pleasure in torturing, raping and then killing. It gives them sort of perverse sense of power I think. I believe that they would kill each other just as easily. Omar alBashir in my opinion is the pure evil.

I don't think most of us have ever encountered a man like this. I know many of has had bad things happen in our lives by others; but still I don't we can comprehend this sort of a being. Evil is all I think of. JMHO

Zen 

Zen 

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by Juliette Hardy on Thu Jul 04 2013, 18:01

I agree in Darfur's case it's beyond just greed, but obviously ethnic cleansing, as Nick & George Clooney have highlighted & brought to the world's attention.

Subjugation, persecution , genocide & torture of other ethnic & religious groups based on the hatred & fanaticism if the aggressor. Conformed by ignorance.

This is the main atrocity that needs immediate intervention, from both the ICC & UN.


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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by What Would He Say on Thu Jul 04 2013, 21:21

Mazy wrote:I don't know if it's simply greed. They are trying to wipe out whole ethnic groups, genocide. It's like they think that they are so superior in status and have the right to do these horrible things. If just greed they would kill them and be done with it, no they take pleasure in torturing, raping and then killing. It gives them sort of perverse sense of power I think. I believe that they would kill each other just as easily. Omar alBashir in my opinion is the pure evil.

I don't think most of us have ever encountered a man like this. I know many of has had bad things happen in our lives by others; but still I don't we can comprehend this sort of a being. Evil is all I think of. JMHO

Zen 

Zen 



Mazy...you hit the nail on the head....PURE EVIL....it takes just one;  individual genocidal maniac, to populate many....and terrorize beyond all knowing.

Not confined to Africa “torturing, raping and then killing” goes on gratuitously in the sophisticated cities of the world.  We have our forces to help protect us....They don’t.....

Juliette;  As for the UN .....Oh ya......

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by Mazy on Fri Jul 12 2013, 12:46


Merchants in Sudan's Darfur have lost everything
Published July 11, 2013
AFP

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NYALA, Sudan (AFP) – In Sudan's poverty-stricken Darfur region, the merchants of Nyala city's Al Malja market were among the elite. But now they, too, have nothing.

The men sit on the ground in front of the ashes of their shops, commiserating with each other after gunmen looted and burned the market during fighting between members of the security forces from July 3-7 in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state.

"I lost everything," says Hussein Mohammed, estimating 150,000 Sudanese pounds ($21,400) worth of his goods were stolen or burned.

"I don't know what to do. And this is Ramadan," he said on Thursday, the second day of the holy Muslim fasting month.

A wholesaler, Mohammed brought clothing from Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman and stocked it in Al Malja for sale to local retailers.

His was one of about 20 shops destroyed in the market during the worst outbreak of urban warfare in Sudan's western region in recent memory.

State officials blamed "differences" among members of the security forces for the battles which killed and wounded about 30 people, according to official media.

The fighting started when security forces allegedly killed a notorious local bandit who also belonged to the paramilitary Central Reserve Police.

Clashes continued off and on for about five days to last Sunday.

"We heard shooting so we closed our shops and ran home," another merchant, Yahya Haroun, told an AFP reporter who is the first journalist from a foreign news agency to visit Nyala after the unrest.

"Then at 7:00 pm I got a call from one of my colleagues who told me that armed men were inside our shops," said the clothes retailer.

"I tried to come and have a look but when I saw them and their weapons, I went back home."

The next day, he returned to find that only the walls of his two shops remained standing, and his entire investment worth about 125,000 pounds was gone.

Now he says he does not know how he will support his family, including an ill daughter.

"I have my own family and I also take care of my sisters and brothers, because my father already died," Haroun said.

Darfuri members of the Central Reserve Police formerly belonged to the Janjaweed, a government-backed militia which shocked the world with atrocities against ethnic minority civilians suspected of supporting rebels in Darfur.

The rebels began their uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime in 2003.

Security problems have more recently been compounded by inter-tribal fighting, kidnappings, carjackings and other crimes, many suspected to be the work of government-linked militia and paramilitary groups.

In February, a UN panel of experts reported "some incidents in which former members of government militias have forcibly expressed their discontent with the current government, especially against the backdrop of rising inflation and unemployment".

Darfur's top official, Eltigani Seisi, said in June that security agencies need a "show of force" against tribal militia violence.
But local police, at least, proved no match for the armed men who raided Al Malja.

"Police were guarding the market but when there was heavy fighting they withdrew," said one merchant who did not want to be identified.

"Even the police station near our market was burned," he said.

The man said he lost his entire stock of sorghum and other traditional commodities worth 162,000 pounds, an investment that helped support his children studying at university.

Now not even the walls of his shop are completely standing.

"I don't know why they did this. We are not a part of their conflict," said the merchant.

He looked at the ground, his eyes filled with sadness.
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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by theminis on Fri Jul 12 2013, 12:51

That's terrible - you think at least Ramadan would be respected, too much for hope I guess.

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by party animal - not! on Fri Jul 12 2013, 13:21

This is dreadful stuff, and anyone who's moderate and likes democracy is swept away from their path. This smacks of extreme terrrorism - Mali and Northern Nigerian are geographically not far away and marauding gangs of extremist terrorists are becoming stronger in the most appalling way. What an area to try and police!! As the French are rapidly finding out.........

Somalia shines as a tiny beacon of light in this whole mess - for now. Wonder how Ryan Boyette in the Nuba Hills is getting on.

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by party animal - not! on Fri Jul 12 2013, 13:29

Oh, and could the ICC please get on and do what they're supposed to do about al-Bashir. And if they can't, would they please explain the process to us - and tell us all why not!

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by Carla97 on Fri Jul 12 2013, 14:22

Horrendous stuff.
I´m under the impression that democracy and Islam are incompatible. That there´s fundamental contradiction between democracy (principles) and Islam (quran). Nearly all muslim countries (not counting Turkey or Indonesia) are theocracies. And what comes to ramadan, it has never brought peace to any volatile places. So outlook not good, unfortunately.

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by mosaic on Fri Jul 12 2013, 16:45

Carla97: I´m under the impression that democracy and Islam are incompatible. That there´s fundamental contradiction between democracy (principles) and Islam (quran).

I don't think it is a matter of any religion. All major religions--Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Tao, Native American, etc., have the belief of "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."

It's said in different ways, but the meaning is the same. If one follows that simple belief, then one cannot justify war, because no one wants war.

I'm not talking self-defense, here, because anyone should have the right to defend themselves against someone coming at them with a fist, a gun, or a knife.

Most Muslims are aghast at the violence done in the name of Islam. Religion is used as an excuse, but it's really desire for power over that is the root cause of the violence.

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

Post by Maggy on Fri Jul 12 2013, 17:19

All religions suffer from racism and are prejudice.
Followers/believers love and feel inclined to follow traditions.
Their belief of superiority harms others without remorse.

I pray for all the people of Sudan.

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Re: Darfur's still Burning

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