Abdulwahid Elnur, one of the leaders of the Darfur rebel group SLM (Sudan Liberation Movement) has arrived in Israel and held meetings with the Mossad (the Israeli CIA). It's believed Elnur is providing information about Palestinian terrorist operations in Sudan. For decades, Sudan has provided sanctuary for all manner of Islamic terrorists. Apparently, if the SLM can provide Israel with useful information, Israel will provide SLM, and similar groups, with more support.
February 16, 2009: UNAMID lack of sufficient transport helicopters remains a huge problem. UNAMID still needs 18 medium utility helicopters, as well as more airlift and trucks. As at 31 January 2009, the total strength of UNAMID military personnel stood at 12,541, including 11,893 troops, 387 staff officers, 181 military observers and 80 liaison officers. The UN is particularly grateful to the US Air Force for providing air transports last month to move people and supplies from Rwanda to Darfur. At the same time, there is less peace to keep, with a dramatic deterioration in the security situation across Darfur. The full UN report is available at http://allafrica.com/peaceafrica/resources/view/00011740.pdf
February 15, 2009: The government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), one of the main Darfur resistance groups, said they may be close to reaching an agreement that calls for exchanging prisoners, stopping raids on refugee camps and ending air attacks. The diplomats refer to this kind of interim agreement as a constructive agreement or confidence building measures. The agreement does not call for a ceasefire (at least yet). Qatar is mediating these negotiations, which are being held in Qatar. The Qatari Initiative has the backing of the US and was pushed behind the scenes U.S. government for months.
February 13, 2009: For the last few days, there have been rumors that the International Criminal Court (ICC) was going to formally issue a warrant for the arrest of president Omar al-Bashir for war crimes related to Darfur. The warrants could be issued by the end of February. Sudan denounced these rumors. In July 2008 the ICCs chief prosecutor accused Bashir of committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Since then Bashir has tried to paint the accusation as more UN imperialism (what he also calls UNAMID). He has gotten the African Union to suggest a one-year delay in deciding whether or not an arrest warrant should be issued and several African leaders have given Bashir strong rhetorical support. On February 12 the ICC stated that no decision had been made. Still, Bashir and his supporters are stepping up their political and information war on the ICC.
February 12, 2009: The UN said that fighting in South Darfur state (specifically around Muhajeria and Shearia) had put 100,000 people at risk (ie, at risk of hunger, disease, and death from exposure).
February 9, 2009: UNAMID reported that an MI-8 helicopter flying missions for the peacekeeping force was shot at by gunmen. The helicopter was flying a mission in South Darfur state. No casualties were reported.
February 8, 2009: The government announced that it would meet with representatives of the JEM in Qatar. These would be the first public discussions between the Sudan government and the JEM in almost two years.
February 6, 2009: The government said that its forces had driven JEM rebels out of the South Darfur state town of Muhajeria. JEM fighters had controlled the town for almost two weeks. Later a JEM spokesman confirmed that JEM forces had withdrawn 30 kilometers from Muhajeria. UN observers characterized the fighting around Mujaheria (from mid-January to early February) as some of the most violent witnessed by outside observers during the entire war.
February 5, 2009: The government of Belgium said that a group of Belgian Special Forces soldiers serving with European peacekeeping forces in Chad (EUFOR-Chad/Central African Republic) were attacked by Sudan military helicopters. The Belgian report went into some detail. The Sudanese helicopters overflew the Belgian patrol three times then on a fourth pass attacked with rockets. No soldiers were wounded but the Special Forces team reported two vehicles were destroyed in the air attack.