In the south, 31,000 soldiers of the pro-government South Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF) militia,
were integrated into the six divisions of the rebel SPLA army. This was part
of the peace deal with the Arab
dominated government. The SPLA is spending nearly $600 million a year on
maintaining its troops. This is 40 percent of the budget, but it gives lots of
guys with guns a regular paycheck, and buys their loyalty. The government has
bought peace in the south with oil money, and a willingness to tolerate a
large, non-Arab, armed force down there.
June 9, 2007: The G-8 nations ended their summit by
threatening Sudan with further sanctions. If
Sudan had failed to allow the UN to deploy its "hybrid" force to Sudan,
more sanctions would be imposed. Sudan had been expecting the slap. Late last
week Sudan accused the United States of being behind new initiatives to impose
sanctions. Sudan has made increasing use of anti-US rhetoric in its battle with
the UN Security Council over sanctions in Darfur.
June 7, 2007: The new French Foreign Minister,
Bernard Kouchner, will be going to central Africa and Darfur soon. Kouchner was
one of the founders of Doctors Without Borders. Doctors Without Borders runs
clinics in some of the world's most dangerous areas - including Darfur.
Kouchner has said he will consider humanitarian concerns as a primary policy
interests in French foreign policy. The French government statement said that
Kouchner will meet with the Sudanese government. Kouchner may well take the
lead in the next round of UN and EU "Darfur diplomacy."
June 5, 2007: Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond
Tutu urged "the international community" to treat the Sudan government like it
did apartheid South Africa. Tutu, who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is a tough
critic for the Sudan government dismiss. He is an African with well-respected
humanitarian credentials. Tutu recommended a list of sanctions. Interestingly
enough, one of the more important ones is banning travel by Sudan government
ministers and senior officials. This is one of those "individually targeted"
sanctions that directly hit leaders who can usually insulate themselves from
the effects of economic and political sanctions. Tutu also recommended
"freezing" the officials personal funds (a move the US has recommended). He
also suggested the UN order a no-fly zone over Darfur.
June 4, 2007: Another tough day in Darfur. A UN
convoy (consisting of two vehicles in this case) was stopped and robbed by ten
armed men. The robbers also took the vehicles. Near the town of Zalingei, three
armed men murdered a man in a refugee camp.