Sudan: Why Darfur Isn't Kosovo

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November 5, 2005: A retired American general (Wesley Clark) has attracted some support for a proposal to send 5,000 U.S. peacekeepers to Darfur. Clark believes this would halt the violence, as a similar NATO operation in 1999 did in Kosovo. However, there are significant differences between the two situations, and it's alarming that someone like Clark would be so uninformed about those differences. In Kosovo, the people doing the ethnic cleansing were largely from neighboring Serbia, while in Darfur, the attackers are local tribesmen. The Serbs were a disciplined force that followed orders when a deal was made. The Darfur irregulars often do not obey orders from the Sudanese government. Kosovo was tied into the European transportation network, while Darfur is, literally in the middle of nowhere. Getting U.S. troops in, and sustaining them, will take a major logistical effort. Kosovo did not have a bandit problem, Darfur does, and bandits and rebels in that part of the world are very difficult to deal with. General Clark also has the misadventures of over 5,000 African Union peacekeepers who are already in Darfur, and not making much of a difference.

Meanwhile, in Darfur, the SLA rebels split into two factions, making it more likely that the part of the SLA would not abide by any peace deal.

November 3, 2005: The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) will officially split into two factions. There are actually several factions, but SLM leader Mani Arko Minawi is at odds with the SLM's chairman, Abdul Wahid Mohammed Nur. In October, Nur met with the Sudanese government in peace talks. Minawi refused to attend the October negotiations.

In Darfur, gunmen stole two UN vehicles, forcing the nine UN personnel using the vehicles to walk back to their camp. There are several areas in Darfur where aid groups will not travel, because of the bandit problem.

November 1, 2005: Bandits in southern Sudan ambushed and killed two de-miners, causing demining activity to halt in the area. The attackers may have been LRA rebels from Uganda.

 

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