The Sudan Air Force
has conducted a another series of bombing raids in Dafur, hitting the Jebel
Moun region (west Darfur, near the Chad border some reports refer to the area
Jebel Moon). The government describes the Jebel Moun region as "a rebel area"
but today claimed it was in "total control" of West Darfur State. This is quite
February 24, 2008: Responding to
criticism from Europe and Hollywood, Chinese diplomats have begun publicly
criticizing the Sudanese government for continuing to attack civilians in
Darfur. China is particularly sensitive to claims that its arms sales are
"fueling" the Darfur conflict. China says that since 2006 it has supplied only
eight percent of Sudan's weapons. Call it "Olympic diplomacy." China hosts the
Olympics this coming summer and does not want the Olympics to be a forum for
Darfur activists targeting China. Yet it is very likely the Olympics will be
exactly that. Sudan has shown no political interest in ending the conflict.
Yes, Chinese criticism gets the attention of the Islamist government in Sudan,
and the government pays some rhetorical obeisance to Beijing, but in Darfur the
janjaweed continue to attack black African farmers and Sudanese aircraft bomb
rebel positions (sometimes) and villages (frequently).
February 21, 2008: The army has attacked three town in the Jebel
Moun region. The ground attacks were supported by air strikes (delivered by
Antonov transports rigged as bombers) and helicopters. The UN was aiding 10,000 new refugees who had
fled into Chad from Sudan to escape the attacks in Jebel Moun.
February 17, 2008: Over 100 civilians
have died since the Sudanese government launched a series of ground attacks on
February 8. These attacks are seen as a new "offensive." That indicates they
are planned and coordinated. So far only
9,000 soldiers and police have deployed with UNAMID. The force is supposed to
grow to 26,000 troops and police. Nigerian general Martin Luther Agwai, the
UNAMID commander, has repeated his request for more transport helicopters. The
peacekeeping force needs a minimum of 18 transport helicopters. The transport
helicopters provide the peacekeepers with the ability to quickly move observers
and light infantry forces to threatened areas. Until the force gets sufficient
transport helicopters it will simply not be effective.