November 25, 2007: Darfur rebels are protesting the
recent arrival of 135 Chinese Army engineers. The rebels consider the Chinese
as pro-government, and only interested in stealing Sudan's resources. Chinese
oil companies developed Sudan's new oil fields, which produce billions of
dollars a year in revenue. The Chinese
are very tight with the Sudanese government, and use the Chinese UN veto to
prevent the UN from imposing sanctions on Sudan. Rebels in Darfur and southern Sudan have
picked up on this, and are anti-Chinese.
November 24, 2007: India is sending members of its
Border Security Force (BSF) to serve with the UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping force
in Darfur. The BSF is an experienced paramilitary force. It is the kind of
force that combines "police savvy" with some military capabilities (ie, with
military-type weapons and communications gear). That said, what the BSF intends
to supply the Darfur peacekeeping force with is transport – specifically 60
transport camels. The BSF uses the camels in western India (think Pakistan
border region) to support long-range ground reconnaissance operations.
Camel-mounted recon troops can easily move up to 80 kilometers a day with only
short breaks. The camels are certainly no decisive asset, but they are a useful
asset. They do not require a lot of fuel. Vehicles obviously require gasoline,
but other pack animals, including horses, require lots of fodder. Camels have
the ability to fend for themselves. They also require little water.
November 23, 2007: The government keeps trying to
toss wrenches into the UN-AU peacekeeping plan. This time it announced that it
would not allow any "non-African troops" to participate in the UN-AU "hybrid"
peacekeeping force. It isn't quite clear what that means. The hybrid force
already has contingents coming from several non-African nations. Sudan may be
trying to limit "non-African" troops to support roles. The government continues
to insist that no "Western" (ie, US or European) troops can participate in the
November 22, 2007: Tanzania confirmed it will
deploy 800 troops with the UN-AU Darfur peacekeeping force. Tanzania's troops
will arrive in March 2008. Tanzania's troops will operate under "tight" rules
of engagement (they will only be allowed to fire their weapons if they are
November 21, 2007: The government said that there
will be "no renewed civil war" with South Sudan. The ruling National Congress
Party (NCP) said that it supports "political dialog" and "national unity" with
South Sudan. The use of the phrase "national unity" is important because the
current Sudan government is supposed to be a national unity government.
However, last month, South Sudan's representatives left the national unity
November 19, 2007: The UN called on the government
and South Sudan to continue to follow the peace process agreed to in the 2005
Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The UN statement said that Sudan and South Sudan
must not "re-arm" – which is a rather dire warning. The UN statement followed
reports that the government was urging the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) militia
to "open armed camps, gather mujahadeen" and prepare for war. The PDF is an
"Islamist militia" that operated in southern Sudan. Those reports outraged
members of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) the main political
party in South Sudan.