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.