Sudan: Don't Worry, Keep Killing

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February 11, 2008: Government attacks on west Darfur towns like Abu Suroui have caused over 10,000 civilians to flee for refugee camps. The government continues its terror campaign against non-Arab tribes in Darfur, and does not seemed too concerned about any foreign peacekeepers who might arrive soon.

February 9, 2008: Ethiopia has agreed to provide the UNAMID peacekeeping force with five helicopters for operations in Darfur. Ethiopia has already told the UN it will provide 5,000 soldiers. The five Ethiopian helicopter package will include two attack helicopters and three transport helicopters. UNAMID hopes that other African nations will follow Ethiopia's lead. Helicopters are absolutely vital to UNAMID. They provide recon capability and the ability to quickly move police and light infantry to trouble spots. Attack helicopters with rockets and automatic weapons provide firepower capable of stopping horse and light vehicle-borne militias.

February 8, 2008: The government of South Sudan (GOSS) said that it is now "satisfied" with the on-going process of implementing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The "peace" rhetoric contrasts sharply with diplomatic exchanges in Fall 2007 and with the outbreaks of fighting between South Sudanese forces and militias loyal to the government during 2007. Meanwhile, government forces and militia allies, in vehicles and on horseback, attacked the Darfur town of Abu Suroui killing some 200 people. The government acknowledged fighting had occurred in the area but denied that their forces had killed civilians. They always do.

February 7, 2008: The US may take civil legal action against corporations that have "breached sanctions" imposed on Sudan. America's lead agency in the effort is the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). These civil penalties can exact a substantial financial bite. The fine can run to twice the amount of what OFAC calls "the offending transaction." If a company did one hundred million dollars worth of business in violation of the sanctions, it could be liable to a fine of two hundred million dollars. The idea is that harshly penalizing companies that deal with the government of Sudan will reduce Sudan's economic options. Countries outside US jurisdiction may still deal with Sudan, but Sudan's "cost of business" will rise as those corporations charge premium prices. This is a "guerrilla economic strategy" that in and of itself isn't decisive – but it could still hurt.

The UN awarded peace medals Chinese soldiers serving with UN peacekeeping forces in southern Sudan (UNMIS, the UN Mission in Sudan).

February 5, 2008: Cross-border fighting between Sudanese and Chadian rebels has increased substantially since January 1. Sudanese, Chadian, and Central African Republic sources all report an increase in "refugee flows" among the three nations. With Sudanese rebels operating from bases in Chad, and Chadian rebels operating from bases in Sudan, Chad and Sudan are essentially fighting a war via proxy armies.

February 4, 2008: Ugandan rebels (the Lord's Resistance Army) attacked the Kajo-Keji area in south Sudan, killing 136 people. The rebels fled when a unit of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA, the army of South Sudan) showed up. It was unclear why the LRA attacked. However, the LRA has broken down into several factions. LRA fighters in south Sudan have no source of food and weapons, other than their own looting expeditions.

 

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