The Darfur Consortium

. . .

Darfur in the News

U.S. and European media

February 2, 2023

BBC: Sudan warns Darfur peacekeepers. Sudan's government has urged peacekeepers to leave the rebel-held Darfur town of Muhajiriya, amid fears that an attack is imminent. The town was seized by rebel forces in January, sparking fierce fighting, including air strikes. "We are not ordering them around, we are asking them," said Akuei Bona Malwal, Sudan's ambassador to the African Union. "It's sort of like informing them: 'Something will be happening here,'" the AP news agency reports him as saying. Tahir al-Feki, from the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, told Reuters news agency that four columns of army troops, including tanks, were approaching the town. "Our main concern is for the civilians because they will bear the brunt of any fighting. They [government forces] are bringing tanks so they must be preparing to pound the town."

Reuters: Sudan mediators try to avert Darfur attack. Mediators tried on Monday to avert a Sudanese attack on a rebel-held town in Darfur after the army asked peacekeepers to leave ahead of an assault, the international force said. A spokesman for the U.N./African Union force said the peacekeepers were still in Muhajiriya and were concerned about the 30,000 civilians there. U.N. officials said it was the first time Sudan had asked peacekeepers to withdraw from a town in Darfur. UNAMID spokesman Nourredine Mezni said the U.N./AU representative in Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, planned to meet officials in Khartoum on Monday to try to negotiate an end to the crisis over the south Darfur town. UNAMID said Sudan asked the peacekeepers to leave Muhajiriya on Sunday and had now said it was planning an attack. "The area would be a war zone and they told us we should not return until this is stabilised," Mezni said.

Reuters: International court needs more state help: prosecutor. "Oil and other interests" are stopping states that set up the International Criminal Court from doing enough to support it in getting fugitives arrested, its prosecutor said Saturday. "This is a law passed by the states ... I'm just the prosecutor obeying the law," ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. "There is still no consensus. Sometimes because there are oil or other interests and normally because no state has an interest to put a lot of effort in northern Uganda or Darfur. There is nothing to win there," he said. Moreno-Ocampo said the involvement of member states would be particularly urgent if ICC judges granted a request by the prosecutor for a warrant to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for crimes in the war-torn Darfur region. Moreno-Ocampo expects the judges to decide within weeks.

The following op-ed by Save Darfur Coalition president Jerry Fowler appeared in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Another effort to end the horror in Darfur

Hillary Rodham Clinton's recent confirmation as the Obama administration's secretary of state completed a national security team filled with forceful voices against the genocide in Darfur. Clinton has called for "a clear, coherent policy toward Sudan" involving "all necessary diplomatic efforts to stop this tragedy."

Could the president be assembling a dream team of advisers who will begin rebuilding the peace process for Darfur and Sudan? They certainly appear to have an opportunity and an inclination to do so. On the other hand, we've been disappointed before.

Obama's own interest in Darfur is well-documented. He has described genocide as a "stain on our souls," and he has said that ending it in Darfur should be a top foreign-policy priority for the United States. In October 2004, he insisted that "there must be real pressure placed on the Sudanese government. ... The United States, along with the U.N., must take immediate steps to halt this dire situation."

Last summer, Obama reiterated his commitment to the issue in a rare joint statement with the other leading presidential candidates, Sens. John McCain and Clinton. The statement promised that any of them, if elected, would pursue an end to the genocide with "unstinting resolve."

Similarly, Obama's No. 2, Vice President Biden, has traveled to the region and expressed outrage at the lack of effective action. And our new ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, is on record decrying the "daily cost of the status quo of a feckless policy characterized by bluster and retreat."

In 2007 congressional testimony, Rice demanded, "How can the [Bush] administration explain to the dead, the nearly dead, and the soon-to-be-dead people of Darfur that, at the end of the day - even when we declare that genocide is occurring, even when we insist repeatedly that we are committed to stopping it - the United States has stood by for so long while the killing has persisted?"

So, will the members of the new Obama administration follow through on their clearly stated commitment to bring peace to Darfur?

Ask any of the millions of Americans in the movement to end genocide in Darfur if the new administration's promises could prove empty, and they'll tell you they've seen it happen before.

Former President George W. Bush famously wrote "not on my watch" in the margin of a report on the Clinton administration's inaction on the Rwanda genocide. And, to his credit, he became what the Washington Post described as the "desk officer" for Sudan in his administration.

But although Bush drew needed attention to the region and supported international prosecution of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, he was not able to stimulate broad, global action to end the crisis. And hundreds of thousands have died in Darfur over the last six years, while an additional 2.7 million have been displaced.

But the enthusiasm with which Obama's election was greeted in Africa, Europe, and around the world means that other governments will be actively looking for ways to work with the new administration. At the same time, the Sudanese government is already feeling new pressure, having been unable to derail the International Criminal Court investigation of Bashir.

A new administration aggressively focused on coordinated diplomacy with other key players would be a nightmare for Khartoum. If the new president and his team seize the opportunity and launch an intensive "peace surge," there is a real possibility of ending the genocide.

Obama is facing innumerable pressing issues. But a sustained effort to end the first genocide of the 21st century in his first months in office would be a dramatic but feasible way to realize his vision of renewing America's international standing and leadership. And he would have the support of a broad and growing constituency of conscience, comprising Americans from all walks of life, ages, and political, religious and ethnic backgrounds.

Since 2003, Darfur's civilians have endured massive violence and displacement, witnessed the almost complete destruction of their homeland, and been virtually abandoned by an international community unwilling to take a firm stance and hold the Sudanese government accountable. Obama and his team can end this suffering.

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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