Thursday, May 10, 2007

Footnotes - "Saving Darfur or Salvation Delusion?"

The following notes correspond to our article, "Saving Darfur or Salvation Delusion?," as published by Foreign Policy in Focus.

[Paragraph 1 - "The United States has..."]
Since the September 11 attacks, Washington has cultivated important relationships within Sudan's intelligence service – most prominently with Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Salah Abdallah Gosh. In one instance, the CIA "sent an executive jet" to "ferry" him to Washington for "secret meetings." See Ken Silverstein, "Official Pariah Sudan Valuable to America's War on Terrorism," Los Angeles Times (as published by the Global Policy Forum), 29 Apr. 2005, accessed 9 May 2007, Quoting a "senior State Department official," Silverstein writes that "Sudan has 'given us specific information that is … important, functional and current.'"

[Paragraph 1 - "The contradiction is striking..."]
The U.S . designation of "genocide" came at the behest of domestic political considerations. John Danforth, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, as well as Special Envoy to Sudan, recounted the following in an interview:
Mr Danforth was asked by the BBC's Panorama programme whether the characterisation of genocide by President Bush and the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, had hindered a resolution to the Darfur conflict because of the loaded nature of the word.

"I didn't think it had much of an effect one way or another. I just thought that this was something that was said for internal consumption within the US. I did not think it would have very much effect within Sudan," Mr Danforth said. Asked whether "internal consumption" referred to the kind of language that would have appealed to the Christian right, he replied: "Right."
Anne Penketh, "White House described Darfur as 'genocide' to please Christian right," Independent, 2 July 2005, accessed 9 May 2007,

The question of whether the events in Darfur do indeed constitute genocide has preoccupied a number of writers and officials, though it would seem of little relevance in making a moral judgment or assessing the imperative for action. A crime committed with the intent to decimate the civilian base of an insurgency is no better, in ethical terms, than if it were committed with the intent to exterminate an ethnic or racial group.

The International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, established by the UN Security Council with U.S. support, concluded in January 2005 that Khartoum had committed "crimes against humanity and war crimes" in Darfur, but that these actions seemed to be motivated "primarily for the purposes of counter-insurgency warfare" rather than by the intent to exterminate the groups from which the victims derive. As such, in the Commission's judgment, the crimes in Darfur were not genocide, though they "may be no less serious and heinous than genocide." However, the Sudan analyst Eric Reeves has criticized the legal reasoning behind the Commission's assessment, persuasively in our view. See his "Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur: A critical analysis (Part I),", 2 Feb. 2005, accessed 1 May 2007,

It is worth noting that while "genocide" is readily declared in Darfur, it is never applied in other cases where, using the same legal standards, the term would be equally warranted. In this manner the term has been further debased by political calculations.

To take a contemporary example, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported that several indigenous communities in Colombia are faced with "extinction" as a result of the decades-long conflict between the rightwing Colombian government and its associated paramilitaries on one side, and the guerrilla armies on the other - a fate lavishly abetted by Washington, which provides extensive political support and military aid to its important regional ally. See for instance, "Colombia's indigenous communities face extinction, UN agency warns," UN News, 4 April 2006, accessed 21 Aug. 2006, U.S. military and police aid to Colombia is estimated to have totaled 601.6 million dollars in 2006, 82% of all U.S. aid to Colombia. See The Center for International Policy, "U.S. Aid to Colombia Since 1997: Summary Tables," last updated: 1 March 2007, accessed 1 May 2007,

[Paragraph 1 - "Adding fuel to the..."]
The allure of African oil is clear, as the U.S. seeks to diversify its oil sources away from the Middle East and states it regards as hostile such as Venezuela, thus allowing it to further secure its own supply, as well as consolidate its global control over a key natural resource – fundamental to deterring independent development in China and other rising economies. As U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham relayed to Congress, "Energy from Africa plays an increasingly important role in our energy security." See James Dao, "In Quietly Courting Africa, U.S. Likes the Dowry: Oil," New York Times (as published in CommonDreams), 19 Sept. 2002, accessed 9 May 2007,

China, however, has made considerable inroads into Africa, importantly linked to the fact that Beijing's aid comes without the West's harsh requirements for neoliberal reforms. See John Bellamy Foster, "A Warning to Africa: The New U.S. Imperial Grand Strategy," Monthly Review, June 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

[Paragraph 2 - "Spearheaded by the 'Save..."]
For the official position of the Save Darfur Coalition, see, for example, a full-page ad placed by the organization in the front page section of the May 8, 2007 edition of the New York Times (page A13). It calls on President Bush to "Maintain pressure for full deployment of U.N. peacekeeping forces to Darfur," amongst other measures.

The following is a partial list of voices calling for an intervention in Darfur. Some of the sources go beyond endorsing a UN-staged invasion and demand intervention even without UN approval.

John Prendergast, Op-Ed, "A 'Plan B' with teeth for Darfur," Boston Globe, 10 May 2007, accessed 11 May, 2007, Excerpt:

Meanwhile, accelerated planning processes should commence within the NATO framework for two coercive military measures -- a no-fly zone and ground forces focused on protecting civilians and humanitarian operations -- with the understanding that any action would at least seek UN Security Council approval. In its absence, action would be taken only if the situation deteriorated dramatically and all other avenues had been explored.
Eric Reeves, "Humanitarian intervention in Darfur?," Boston Globe, 17 April 2005, accessed 11 May 2007

Nat Hentoff, "Bush Averts His Eyes," Village Voice, 5 July 2005, accessed 11 May 2007,hentoff,65564,6.html.

Bill Emmott [a former editor of The Economist], "Calling the UN's Bluff," PostGlobal, Sept. 2006, accessed 11 May 2007

Washington Post, Editorial, "The Stakes in Darfur," 22 July 2004; Page A20, accessed 11 May 2007, Excerpts:
Even in the absence of a U.N. resolution, the world must act.
One generation ago, after another much-criticized war, the United States was for a long time unwilling to project force. But if the nation is to avoid succumbing to an Iraq syndrome to match the Vietnam syndrome of the past, it must prove its continuing readiness to lead in the world.
Susan E. Rice [Assistant U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001] and Gayle E. Smith [Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African affairs at the National Security Council from 1998 to 2001], Op-Ed, "The Darfur Catastrophe," Washington Post, 30 May 2004; Page B07, accessed 11 May 2007, Excerpt:
Finally, the United States should begin urgent military planning and preparation for the contingency that no other country will act to stop the dying in Darfur.
MoveOn, "Virtual March to End the Genocide in Darfur," (appears to date from April/May 2006), accessed 11 May 2007 Excerpt:
"…a real United Nations peacekeeping force to protect civilians and stop the genocide -- now.
Far from another Iraq, this actual humanitarian intervention would stop, not cause, sectarian violence, and would rely on US support but not new soldiers -- key to avoiding an anti-western backlash."
It is also worth noting that although the April 2006 Save Darfur rally in Washington DC did not make an explicit call for intervention, it was not difficult for at least one commentator to perceive it as doing so. A serious humanitarian movement for Darfur should be far more careful to avoid such a message. See Alan J. Kuperman, Op-Ed, "Strategic Victimhood in Sudan," New York Times, 31 May 2006, accessed 11 May 11, 2007 Excerpt (ostensibly referring to the April rally):
THOUSANDS of Americans who wear green wristbands and demand military intervention to stop Sudan's Arab government from perpetrating genocide against black tribes in Darfur must be perplexed by recent developments.

[Paragraph 3 - "Most prominently, the Coalition..."]
In regards to the exclusion of Muslim and Sudanese voices, it was reported that "the original list of speakers [for the April 30, 2006 Save Darfur rally] included eight Western Christians, seven Jews, four politicians and assorted celebrities - but no Muslims and no one from Darfur" [emphasis added]; organizers had to hurry "to invite two Darfurians to address the rally after Sudanese immigrants objected" to their previous exclusion from the line-up. See Alan Cooperman, "Groups Plan Rally on Mall To Protest Darfur Violence," Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

Racial explanations for the conflict are written into the Save Darfur Coalition's unity statement. An excerpt reads: "A government-backed Arab militia known as Janjaweed has been engaging in campaigns to displace and wipe out communities of African tribal farmers." See "Unity Statement," Save Darfur, accessed 9 May 2007, Their new "notes about our current use of ethnic terminology" negates the thrust of this excerpt, though it does not explain why their unity statement does not reflect a proper understanding of ethnic terminology in Darfur, and the usage of "Arab" and "African" within a Sudanese context.

In an atypically insightful piece on misconceptions surrounding this aspect of the conflict in Darfur, the Washington Post notes that the terms have often been utilized by Sudanese "regardless of their ethnic affiliation," often times based on language, economic status, a desire to wreak the social benefits of being "Arab," and profession, with farmers considered "African" and the more nomadic livestock herders "Arab." It goes on to note that:
"Black Americans who come to Darfur always say, 'So where are the Arabs? Why do all these people look black?'" said Mahjoub Mohamed Saleh, editor of Sudan's independent Al-Ayam newspaper. "The bottom line is that tribes have intermarried forever in Darfur. Men even have one so-called Arab wife and one so-called African. Tribes started labeling themselves this way several decades ago for political reasons. Who knows what the real bloodlines are in Darfur?"
Emily Wax, "5 Truths About Darfur," The Washington Post, 9 May 2007, accessed 14 Aug. 2006

Finally, for President Bush's praise of the Save Darfur movement, see "President Meets with Darfur Advocates," The White House, 28 Apr. 2006, accessed 9 May 2007, The Save Darfur Coalition, for its part, praises the Bush Administration for its "good work" on Darfur, though one would be hard-pressed to figure out to what that is actually referring. See "Frequently Asked Questions," Save Darfur, accessed 9 May 2007,

[Paragraph 3 - "The very size and..."]
Choosing issues to focus on is clearly a subjective process for activists. However, speaking broadly there are two significant factors to consider: how severe is the situation; and to what extent can one make a difference, keeping in mind that we are most able to effect change in situations for which we are the most directly responsible. On the first factor, Darfur ranks among the more severe crises of the moment, but clearly below Iraq and probably also the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On the second factor, Darfur is well behind Iraq, Afghanistan, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Colombia, and others for which our government bears more direct responsibility. Given this assessment, why is the Save Darfur movement so prominent (rather than a Save Congo or Save Colombia movement) and why is there so little overlap and collaboration with the antiwar movement or solidarity organizations? Moreover, why have the commercial media been willing to cover the Darfur movement more extensively and generously than the antiwar movement? Clearly, it is a reflection of political utility – the situation is an opportunity to cast Arabs (the perpetrators) and the Chinese (the enablers) as villains, and to portray U.S. power as the potential solution and, more generally, the U.S. government as benevolent.

As for the situation in the Congo, despite the formal end of the conflict in the DRC in 2002, its enduring effects are claiming upwards of 38,000 lives per month, a rate several times greater than what has been estimated for Darfur. For indications of the death toll in the Congo see:

Lydia Polgreen, "Rwanda's Shadow, From Darfur to Congo," New York Times, 23 July 2006, accessed via eLibrary. Proquest. BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY. 04 Feb 2007, Excerpt:
Four million people have died in Congo since 1998, half of them children under 5, according to the International Rescue Committee. Though the war in Congo officially ended in 2002, its deadly legacy of violence and decay will kill twice as many people this year as have died in the entire Darfur conflict, which began in 2003.
See also, "The Lancet Publishes IRC Mortality Study from DR Congo; 3.9 Million Have Died: 38,000 Die per Month," International Rescue Committee, 6 Jan. 2006, accessed 10 Aug. 2006,

Figures from the World Health Organization, released in fall 2004, estimate that "Between 6,000 and 10,000 people are dying from disease and violence each month" in Darfur. See Lynch, Colum, "Death Rates in Darfur Rising, WHO Says," Washington Post, 15 Sept. 2004, accessed 11 Aug. 2006, Jan Egeland, the UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, gave an estimate of 10,000 per month in early 2005. See "UN's Darfur death estimate soars," BBC News, 14 Mar. 2005, accessed 11 Aug. 2006,

More recent figures do not seem to be available.

Also, "DR Congo's children 'a priority,'" BBC News, 24 July 2006, accessed 10 Aug. 2006,

[Paragraph 5 - "But those same victims..."]
Justin Podur, "Sudan, Darfur, and Hypocrisy," Left Turn, Issue 15, Feb/March 2005, accessed 9 May 2007,

For examples of left-wing commentary that do not substantially address the humanitarian situation in Darfur, see Sara Flounders, "The U.S. role in Darfur, Sudan," Workers World, 3 Jun. 2006, accessed 9 May 2007, Yoshie Furuhashi also has written on the topic; see "'Save Darfur': Evangelicals and Establishment Jews," Monthly Review Zine, 28 Apr. 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

[Paragraph 7 - "Due to insufficient financial..."]
Nick Wadhams, "U.N.: Sudan Relief Efforts Could Collapse", Associated Press (as published by the Star Tribune), May, 19, 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

[Paragraph 7 - "At one point, the..."]
World Food Program, press release, "Sudan again faces food ration cuts: will Darfur be put back on a diet?," 16 Aug 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

Food levels were then raised to near the appropriate level, though this and other aid programs are constantly on the brink of major funding shortages.

For the UN figure, see UN News, "4 million people in Darfur now need humanitarian aid, top UN relief official says," 20 Nov. 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

[Paragraph 9 - "Yet instead of being..."]
Mark Doyle, "Sudan's interlocking wars," BBC, 10 May 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

[Paragraph 9 - "Further exposing the hypocrisy..."]
"UN's Pronk slams international passivity toward Darfur," AFP (as published in, 27 Nov. 2006, accessed 9 May 2007, Pronk also stated about the AU that "'They have good troops,'…many of them with experience in U.N. peace missions to Bosnia or elsewhere. 'I'm very positive about the African Union in Darfur.'" See Associated Press (as published in, "U.N. Refugee Agency Appeals For More Darfur Aid," 30 Jan. 2007, accessed 9 May 2007,

[Paragraph 10 - "For its part, the..."]
The previously cited New York Times ad, for example, does not make any mention of the AU.

[Paragraph 11 - "Crowds of Sudanese have..."]
For reporting on one such demonstration, featuring "tens of thousands," see "Sudan masses defiant over Darfur," BBC, 4 Aug. 2004, accessed 9 May 2007, It is reported that "The government-backed protesters said they were ready to die in a jihad if any Western troops entered the country."

While the fact that at least some anti-UN demonstrations have been organized by the government casts doubt on how representative they are of public opinion, in addition to the fact that Khartoum has impeded an understanding of the conflict by the general population, nevertheless the strong turnouts should give pause to those who believe that the deployment of UN troops in Sudan would not provoke violent resistance.

For concerns about Al-Qaida, see Evelyn Leopold, "Africans Unsure on UN Fielding Darfur Force," Reuters (as published by the Global Policy Forum), 28 Feb. 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

[Paragraph 12 - "Gareth Evans, President and..."]
The brackets in the quote are ours. Any humanitarian intervention with even a faint guise of sincerity would surely include a ground invasion as peacekeepers on location to protect civilians would, after all, be the justification for the intervention.

Gareth Evans, "Darfur: What Next?," Keynote Address to International Crisis Group/Save Darfur Coalition/European Policy Centre Conference, Towards a Comprehensive Settlement for Darfur, Brussels, 22 Jan. 2007, accessed 9 May 2007,

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army was concluded in January 2005 and marked the tentative end to a civil war that lasted over two decades and killed over 2 million people, displacing some 4 million more.

Francis Deng, former Representative of the UN Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, also argues that an "international use of force" could very well "complicate and aggravate the situation":
There is also the issue of the extent to which there is willingness or consensus on the part of the international community to take military action or impose sanctions on the Government. Even assuming that there is a will to take military action, the question is whether such an international use of force would end or compound the crisis. The chances are that far from alleviating the suffering of the people of Darfur, it would complicate and aggravate the situation. First, there is bound to be an armed resistance and given the level of religious extremism under the regime, there could be a mobilization of civilians ready to die as a path to heaven in the manipulated name of jihad, as has indeed happened elsewhere. Second, as this would turn Darfur into a theatre for another layer of conflict, the people of the region could face increased levels of suffering. Third, if the Government were to confront the international community in an armed conflict, it would be unlikely that cooperation over the peace process in the South would continue. The result would be almost certain to fundamentally undermine the peace process and lead to its collapse and plunge the whole country into an even greater crisis.
Francis M. Deng, "SPECIFIC GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS: MASS EXODUSES AND DISPLACED PERSONS; Report of the Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons," United Nations Economic and Social Council E/CN.4/2005/8, 27 Sept. 2004, accessed 9 May 2007,

The Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's opposition to UN peacekeepers is not surprising; in addition to his fear of the south seceding from the rest of Sudan, he has a similar concern in regards to Darfur – and, as the analyst Alex de Waal notes, a large force "would in effect bring about a separation of Darfur from the rest of the country." See Alex de Waal, "On the politics of Darfur negotiations," London Review Bookshop (as published in, 17 Nov. 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

[Paragraph 13 - "For example, Pronk, who..."]
Jan Pronk, personal webpage, Weblog nr 34, 1 Oct. 2006, accessed 12 May 2007,

[Paragraph 14 - "Aside from the Darfur..."]
The DPA was largely unpopular with victims of the violence in Darfur, with many seeking "increased compensation for war victims, more political posts and a monitoring role in disarming" the Janjaweed. See Opheera McDoom, "AU orders Darfur rebel officials to leave its camps," Reuters, 16 Aug. 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,>.

According to a Reuters report from June 2006, "Thousands of Darfuris are demonstrating daily against the deal, and in some camps, the AU has been attacked and their posts burnt down." See Reuters (as published in, "No UN Darfur mission before Jan 2007," 13 June 2006, accessed 9 May 2007,

In regards to seeking a political solution, the Save Darfur Coalition did sponsor a meeting between New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Bashir, resulting in the signing of a 60 day Cease-Fire Agreement, which, however, Khartoum violated almost immediately. See for instance Save Darfur Coalition , "Cease-Fire Agreement Offers a Moment of Opportunity for Political Settlement in Worsening Darfur Crisis," 10 Jan. 2007, accessed 12 May 2007,

[Paragraph 14 - "Commenting that those seeking..."]
As quoted in Paul Salopek, "Jailed for 34 days, Tribune reporter writes of: My time in Darfur," Chicago Tribune, 8 Oct. 2006, accessed 12 Oct. 2006,,1,6443180.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-utl&ctrack=1&cset=true. De Waal goes on to add that ""From experience, we know that, ultimately, there is no real military solution to these kinds of complicated ethnic wars."

[Paragraph 15 - "Their suffering also merits..."]
The British writer Johann Hari used the phrase in a similar spirit to describe how President Bush characterized U.S. foreign policy in his second inaugural address. See Johann Hari, "George Bush's talk of spreading freedom and democracy is a sugar-coated lie," Independent, 21 Jan. 2005, accessed 12 May 2007,

[Paragraph 17 - "Pressure should be applied..."]
It has been reported that only three Darfurians have "been granted refugee status in the United States in the past four years." See "Displaced, Imprisoned Darfurian Refugee Daoud Ibarahaem Hari On His Return to Darfur to Help Expose the World's Worst Humanitarian Crisis," Democracy Now!, 15 May 2007, accessed 17 May 2007,

[Paragraph 17 - "Washington should be obliged..."]
The inconceivability of such reparations is a fair indicator of the true concern of the U.S. government for the Sudanese. As a supposed response to the 1998 Dar es Salaam and Nairobi US embassy bombings, then-President Clinton ordered, amongst other air strikes, the destruction of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum – a facility which the US claimed to suspect of producing chemical weapons. Not surprisingly for the leveling of a facility which was producing basic medicines "covering 20 to 60 percent of Sudan's market and 100 percent of the market for intravenous liquids", estimates of eventual deaths run into the "several tens of thousands."

See Werner Daum, "Universalism and the West," Harvard International Review, Vol. 23 (2) - Summer 2001, accessed 31 Mar. 2007, Daum served as the German Ambassador to Sudan from 1996 to 2000. His estimate is certainly speculative, though clearly the human toll from the bombing was devastating.

The Washington Post reports:
Within a matter of days, however, Clinton's missile attack on El Shifa would explode anew as evidence mounted indicating that the facility was making pain medication, not nerve gas. A growing chorus of critics around the world seemed unconvinced by the administration's
"compelling" evidence: a soil sample secretly obtained by a CIA agent near the plant said to contain a known precursor chemical to deadly VX nerve gas.

"Never before," former CIA official Milt Bearden would say months later, "has a single soil sample prompted an act of war against a sovereign state."
Vernon Loeb, "A Dirty Business," Washington Post, pg. F01, July 25, 1999, accessed 1 Feb. 2007 eLibrary. Proquest. BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY.

Khartoum's pleas to be compensated by Washington for the strikes have fallen on the deafest of ears. See "Sudan charges US with seeking to topple regime," AFP, 2 Feb. 2007, accessed 14 May 2007,

Remarkably, to our knowledge there is no single source focusing on U.S. support for the Nimeiri dictatorship, which precipitated the civil war, and the succeeding regimes in Khartoum that continued its prosecution with notable brutality. For sources, see our forthcoming book; perhaps the most important is Burr, J. Millard and Robert O. Collins. Requiem for the Sudan: War, Draught, & Disaster Relief on the Nile. Boulder: Westview P, 1995.

2 comments: said...

How exactly do U.N. Peacekeepers further Washington's strategic interests in Sudan? Are they going to take over PetroChina's rigs and start bottling oil for the strategic reserve?

Perhaps I'm naive, but I hear these types of arguments and just don't see what peacekeepers would actually, physically, do.

The problem with the AU is not just their lack of funding, but their weak mandate as well:

"AU deputy chairman Patrick Mazimhaka told the BBC that even if more money were forthcoming, political considerations made it difficult to stay longer."

While Save Darfur has called for providing logistical support and increased funding to the AU, Sudan has too much influence with the AU to make them an effective solution.

The current U.N. proposal (which Sudan will no doubt find a reason to reject once it gets close to implementation) already specifies it will use African troops unless there are not enough available.

"Support negotiations between Khartoum and Darfurian rebel groups?" We tried this before...the problem is Khartoum fundamentally does not want to negotiate. For four years, negotiation has been used as a ploy to continue a policy of genocide and it will continue to be until western diplomats realize that Sudan is not willing to make the political concessions necessary to ensure peace.

Reparations for blowing up pharmaceutical plants and baby food factories are noble, but what exactly are we supposed to do - cut a check to Khartoum? Might as well cut out the middle-man and give them some more Antonovs...

Thanks for the article.

Kevin said...

Thank you for your comments.

That Washington can compel the UN to act to further its ambitions is elementary enough that government officials admit it freely. Such sentiments cut across party lines, from John Bolton's comment that "There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States," to Madeleine Albright calling the UN "a tool of American foreign policy."

To take a concrete example, the UN intervened in Haiti in 2004 after the overthrow of the elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide; while the extent of US involvement remains unclear, Washington did fund opposition groups, and Aristide himself alleges that he was "kidnapped" by US agents. The UN mission (MINUSTAH) has frequently been criticized for its human rights record, and its presence - as well as its failure to work for the restoration of Aristide as president - indicates its subservience to US interests, which sharply opposed Aristide's departures from neoliberal policies. Haiti, it should be noted, is of relatively little interest to US policy planners compared to Sudan, with its strategic windfall of oil reserves and key geographic location in northeast Africa. How this crucial difference affects the potential US role in a UN force in Sudan - in spite of the skin color or nationality of the soldiers composing the would-be force - is grounds enough for ample skepticism.

To be clear, we are not categorically opposed to a UN peacekeeping deployment in Sudan (as distinct from an invasion undertaken without Khartoum's assent), but it is uncertain when if ever this deployment might actually happen, and its advocacy by Western nations is currently nothing more than a cynical pose, for the reasons already mentioned.

As we noted in the article, the AU should indeed have "a broadened mandate," and the fact that the Save Darfur movement has been relatively muted in pushing for such is another indication of skewed priorities ( It is not clear why the AU could not form part of an "effective solution" to the crisis in Darfur. If it were true that the AU is incapable of helping to halt the crisis in Darfur, as prominently argued by Eric Reeves, then Washington could have proven it long ago by funding the AU forces and watching them fail, an experiment that it has not seen fit to try. Again, actually funding the AU troops on the ground in Darfur is, and has been all along an easy step to possibly alleviate the crisis, which itself is perhaps the reason why it is has not been done. The AU forces are flawed, but the current choice is not between AU or UN forces, but rather - barring an invading force, or Khartoum unexpectedly following through on its promise – a choice between strengthened AU forces or the status quo.

To suggest that the US has made legitimate attempts to broker a peace treaty in Sudan is disingenuous. The Washington-backed DPA agreement was highly unpopular amongst Darfurians, many of whom demonstrated against it. By backing an agreement that had been signed by only one of Darfur's many rebel groups - the faction of the SLA headed by Minni Minnawi - the US empowered the Minnawi faction to unleash mass violence against non-signatory groups, earning his followers the nickname "Janjaweed 2." According to Alex de Waal, an AU advisor in the negotiations, delegates from other rebel groups "were still struggling to master the [agreement's] 515 paragraphs when they were called on to make a final and binding decision; none of their people in Darfur had even seen a copy." ( Political negotiations are of course not guaranteed to succeed, and as always, an obstacle is that the players may find the conflict preferable to an agreement; however, it is clear that a negotiated settlement is what must form the basis for long-term peace in the region, and thus moves must be made in this direction.

Finally, you will note in our article that we specifically said that reparations should be paid "to the people of Sudan." This could be implemented in a number of ways. For instance, the US could announce an apology for past crimes and its commitment to pay reparations through representative distribution structures as they become available (if nothing is forthcoming, aid and development agencies operating in the region are one option).