Sudan: Peacekeepers Defeated Before They Arrive

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August 16,2008: The UN says that its "goal" of reaching 80 percent of UNAMID's authorized peacekeeper force by the end of 2008 is "unlikely." Why? The lack of infrastructure to support troops, police, and aid personnel in Darfur is one reason. Nations have been slow to send contingents. As of mid-August, 9,900 of the 26,000 soldiers and cops have deployed to Darfur. The Sudanese have constantly interfered with the creation of UNAMID, and appear to be succeeding in preventing the peacekeeper force from halting the government-sponsored ethnic cleansing in Darfur. The government has also succeeded in getting the UN and foreign donors to pay for supporting the displaced people in refugee camps. The government has moved in more loyal tribes, to occupy the lands that had been ethnically cleansed (pro-government Arab tribes, and their herds, displaced black African farmers.)

August 14, 2008: The government has a special dislike of the Darfur based  Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and the JEM's big raid on Omdurman in May is one reason. The JEM is also increasingly portraying itself as the "representative Darfur insurgent force." In March the JEM declared that the government needed to meet with it in "one on one" negotiations. The JEM has watched the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) degenerate into increasingly diffuse factions.

August 13, 2008: Spokesmen for two Sudan Liberation Army/Movement factions claimed that the Sudan government had launched "new offensives" in Darfur. One government operation began in the El Atrun area on August 10 (North Darfur).  This attack may have involved as many as 250 vehicles - suggesting a very large operation for Darfur, perhaps at the regimental-level. Atrun isn't far from the Libyan border. A subsequent report claimed that at least 80 civilians had been killed. The SLA also claimed another government operation was occurring in Mahgoub Hussein.

August 6, 2008: The has cracked down on an ivory smuggling ring. Describing the ivory smugglers as "traders," the government said it had recovered "400 ivory sculptures" and sacks of raw ivory. Killing elephants for ivory is an old business but with the reduction of elephant herds and the rise of environmentalism in general but environmental tourism in particular, nations have made the "trade" illegal.

August 5, 2008: The eight members of the JEM who were convicted of launching the May attack on Omdurman have appealed their death sentences. So far 30 attackers have been convicted by the government.

July 31, 2008::The UN Security Council renewed its peacekeeping mandate for Darfur.

July 29, 2008: The military confirmed that it had engaged in a firefight four days earlier with the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minnawi faction, killing four rebel fighters. This may be one of those chaotic encounters between security police and rebel groups, but it could be more significant. The Minnawi faction, led by Minni Arcua Minnawi, agreed to the 2006 peace deal.

July 28, 2008: The Sudan Liberation Movement issued a statement claiming the Sudan Air Force bombed the town of Karbala in Darfur and killed three people. The attack occurred on either July 21 or 22.

 

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