The Darfur Consortium

. . .

Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

August 20, 2023

Los Angeles Times: Sudan just shrugs off sanctions. Sinking back in a poolside lounge chair at Khartoum's first five-star hotel, Sitona Abdalla mused recently about whether U.S. sanctions were hurting Sudan. "I guess they must be," said Abdalla, one of Sudan's new elite, who can afford to bring her nephews to Al Salam Rotana Hotel's $42-a-plate weekend brunch. "But I would have to say," she added, smiling at the children splashing in the pool, "life here is better." Ten years after the U.S. imposed an economic boycott against what is territorially Africa's largest country, it's hard to see much effect on the streets of Khartoum, the capital. President Bush tightened sanctions in May, citing the military regime's failure to resolve the crisis in the violence-plagued western region of Darfur, where an estimated 200,000 people have died, mostly from disease and hunger in the early days of an ethnic conflict. An additional 2.2 million people have been displaced. But by most measures, Sudan's economy is booming, expected to grow 13% this year, far faster than those of most other African nations. Oil exports are generating more than $4 billion a year, and heavy investment by China and other Asian nations has allowed the country to escape crippling economic pain. "We are not afraid of sanctions," Interior Minister Zubair Bashir Taha said. "Not at all. We have been able to develop our oil industry, our communications. No country has leapfrogged the way we have." Foreign investment in Sudan has quadrupled since 1996 to about $2.3 billion last year, according to figures from the Investment Ministry. China, which buys about two-thirds of Sudan's oil, has invested $7 billion, mostly in oil projects, roads, bridges, dams and other infrastructure projects, officials said. "Turning to China was the best thing this government ever did," said El Khider Mohammed Nour, who runs an investment consulting firm in Khartoum. Best of all for Sudan's Muslim government, China rarely puts political strings on its financial partnerships. Despite Sudan's strong economic growth, some say the boom may be short-lived and that it is benefiting only a minority of rich and powerful in Khartoum. Some continue to pin their hopes on the eventual return of U.S. companies, if sanctions are lifted. Despite China's strong economic support during Sudan's early development, many believe this country needs U.S. support to maximize its economic potential. "We need the Americans back," said Nour, the consultant. "When it comes to credibility, honesty, science and technology, the Americans are still the best."

Reuters: Armed men attack police in Darfur refugee camp. Armed raiders killed a policeman and wounded four others in an attack on a refugee camp in Darfur, adding to fears about the safety of displaced people the war-torn Sudanese region, officials said on Monday. The attackers fired on a police post at the al-Salam camp in the south of Darfur, the base for thousands of people who have fled their homes during more than four years of revolt. The world's largest humanitarian operation is active in the region, but aid workers complain a lack of security has hampered efforts and left some 500,000 people out of reach. Aid officials said it did not appear the camp residents were at risk during the attack, but said they were concerned at the growing presence of arms and insecurity in the region. "It does not look like that attack was aimed against the civilians in the camp," said Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "We are concerned by the increasing number of attacks... and the presence of armed men in IDP (internally displaced people) camps," he added. On Sunday, also in South Darfur, a convoy of six commercial vehicles and other cars was attacked about 30 km (19 miles) outside ed-Daieen town in the east of the state, the commissioner of the town told Reuters by telephone.

Reuters: Darfur displaced say joint U.N.-AU force needed. Darfuris who fled their homes during a 4-1/2 year revolt are urging a joint U.N.-African Union force to deploy rapidly to protect them from attacks and allow their safe return to their villages. After months of talks, threats and negotiations, Khartoum finally agreed to the 26,000-strong force, which will incorporate a struggling 7,000 AU force that has failed to stem the Darfur violence. The joint mission is expected to fully deploy by next year, but Darfuris say that is too late. "We want them to come immediately," said Yahya Osman. He lost everything when he fled his village west of Nyala town in South Darfur to Otash camp, where some 62,000 people have sought refuge from fled rape, looting and killing. But they say violence continues even there. "Just yesterday my brother went out to get food for his children and he was abducted," said Adam Mohammed Ahmed. "We have suffered enough. We want peace of mind and this will be possible only if the international forces come," said another camp resident Ahmed Hirs. A senior Sudanese army general said on Saturday no non-African troops could deploy without Sudanese consent. "There is no possibility for that happening without consultation with Sudan," Majzoub Rahma, a senior general in Sudan's army told Reuters following a joint news conference with Sudan's defence minister. Rahma said other non-African forces would only be needed "if the AU could not meet the required forces," adding that even then nothing could be implemented without Sudan's consent.

Reuters: Pressure changed Chinese Darfur stance, report says. China is still giving Sudan financial and military aid that enables it to wage war in Darfur, but global pressure on Beijing has made a difference, a Small Arms Survey research paper said. The paper said advocacy to persuade China to exert its influence over Sudan was a "promising avenue" to bring peace and security to Darfur, torn apart by 4-1/2 years of revolt. "(China) continues to provide a financial and military means for Khartoum to engage in its brutal campaign to suppress the Darfur rebellion," said the Geneva-based independent research organisation's report, seen by Reuters on Saturday. The Small Arms Survey said China's financial support to Sudan indirectly helped finance its wars, lifting Khartoum's income to at least $1.3 billion a year from oil revenues. Chinese companies have controlling interests in Sudan's largest oil blocks and 50 percent of its largest refinery. But Chinese investment was larger than just oil, the report said. "China is now northern Sudan's most important trade partner," the report said, adding investment was in construction, dams and railways as well as the energy sector. On arms, the report said Chinese-Sudanese military relations strengthened from 2002 with high-level exchange visits. While little information is available, it cited U.N. figures showing China as the largest military weapons and parts supplier to Sudan in 2004 and 2005, overtaking Iran. In 2005 it supplied almost $25 million worth. The report said pressure from advocacy groups and negative media attention ahead of China hosting the 2008 Olympic Games had pushed Beijing to use its influence over Sudan more wisely. "Since 2006, Beijing's approach to Darfur has shifted towards a more pragmatic stance," the report said. "Given Beijing's undisputed leverage with Khartoum, engaging it further may be a promising avenue in the international community's efforts to bring peace and security to Darfur," the report concluded.

Reuters: New Darfur rebel group to unite armed wings: spokesman. Leaders of a new Darfur rebel grouping will travel back to Sudan's restive western region to unite their armies, a rebel official said on Monday. Five rebel groups joined last month in Eritrea under the umbrella United Front for Liberation and Development (UFLD), but have yet to integrate their armed wings. "All the leadership council will move to the field in Darfur. The aim is to finish uniting all the armies into one group," spokesman Abdel Aziz told reporters in the Eritrean capital. Since a peace deal last year, Darfur insurgents who did not support the agreement have split into more than a dozen factions, presenting a major barrier to any peace talks.


The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].


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