Darfur
Facts, Interpretations, and Possibilities
Presentation material for educators and activists
developed by: UnderstandingSudan.org
latest version: February 13, 2007
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University of California, Berkeley © 2007
Dedicated to the future of Sudan…
© UNICEF/HQ05-0943/Ron Haviv
http://www.unicef.org/childalert/darfur
Hamudi Abdullah Mohammed
in Kalma IDP Camp, South
Darfur
©UNICEF/2004/Westerbeek
http://www.unicef.org/emerg/darfur/index_24605.html
Cover Photo from UNICEF Darfur Emergency September – October 2005 Report
http://www.unicef.org/emerg/darfur/files/DARFUREMERGSEPT_OCT2005.pdf
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• Objectives
– Complicate the picture
• There are many causes to the conflict and humanitarian
catastrophe, many actors involved, and much vocabulary to
be learned and debated
• The conflict is not just local, but can be seen as extending
over many scales: from farmers and nomads fighting over
water to the great powers of the U.N. Security Council
negotiating the international order
– Highlight how discourse shapes understanding and
action and encourage self-reflection
• Ethnicity and race are ideas constructed by people’s actions
and discourses
• Genocide is debated in legal and policy circles
• Intervention without a context can be a pretext
– Emphasize
• Importance of knowing history
• Importance of committing to long run involvement
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Darfur1
Geography
Sudan in the Region2
Sudan in the World
1. http:// rightsmaps.com/html/sudmap1.html and
2. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L03772791.htm
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Ethnicity in Darfur:
Multiple and
Mutable
Academics prefer the phrase
“ethnic group” over “tribe”
• Darfurians tell a variety of
histories
• Darfurians explain their
ethnic identities in different
ways
• Identities can become
simplified, polarized and
cemented through
communal and especially
sexual violence
• But experiences as refugees
and displacement can have
the opposite effect
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Current Situation in Darfur
(October/November 2006)
• Multiplicity of rebel groups:
– Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) fractured; Minni Minawi faction
signed Darfur Peace Agreement with government
– Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) fractures
– Several groups have formed loose alliance called National
Redemption Front
• Government-backed militia, janjawid, est. 20,000 persons
• 200,000 deaths estimated overall since February 2003.
• 218,000 refugees in 12 UNHCR camps in Chad2
– Not all refugees in Chad are in camps
• 2 million persons internally displaced (IDPs)3
• 4 million persons in need of humanitarian assistance. 3
1. Coalition for International Justice, 5/05; 2. UNICEF, 12/20/05; 3. UN, Darfur Humanitarian Profile, 10/1/06
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Five Ways of Seeing the Crisis
(‘Framing Stories’)
• Anti-government positions
– Arab supremacism – Arabs against ‘black
Africans’ (Musa Hilal)
– Regime in-fighting by proxy – Turabi versus
Beshir and Taha
– Straight up scorched earth response to rebel
threat; Regime has little legitimacy but much oil
money, response is massive retaliation that may or
may not be controllable- like warlordism
• Pro-government positions
– Farmers versus herders because of desertification
– Me-too spoilers of the main peace agreement
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Five Ways of Seeing the Crisis
1. Arab supremacism – Arabs against ‘black Africans’
-Little is known about importance of ethnic identities among ordinary
persons in Darfur
One famous study by Frederick Barth suggested that ethnic labbels
were very fluid
Some suggest a recent “hardening” of identities
Fur, Zaghawa, Masalit, Tunjur, Meidob “farmers” => called by
others, in colloquial Arabic: zurga or zunji (translated into English
as “black”)
Rizeigat, Hamar, Humr, Bani Halba “nomads” => “Arab” (groups
claiming descent from Arabian groups and typically practicing
pastoralism)
-Regional conflict Chad, Libya) in 1970s and 1980s generated Tajamu alArabi – Arab Gathering, a group of Darfurians espousing Arab
solidarity against other groups
 Ideology of supremacy adapted by marginalized Arab (nomadic)
groups with Musa Hilal as leader
-Encouraged by Islamicist, Arab regime in Khartoum, supported with
weapons and mobility, and inflamed by international currents (war
on terror, “clash of civilizations”)
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Musa Hilal
• A Janjawiid Leader
• Son of Sheikh Hilal
Musa, Nazir of Um Julul,
sub-clan of Abbala (camelherding) Rizeigat, claiming
descent from Juhayna Arab
nomads who came into Darfur
from the West between the 14th
and 18th Centuries.
• In 2002 jailed because of
violence in Darfur.
©Human Rights Watch, 2004
http://hrw.org/video/2005/musa/
•Government of Sudan released him to lead militia counterattacks after SLA April 2003 surprise attacks on El Fasher.
•Claimed in 2004 HRW interview that GOS military officers lead
PDF militias.
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Five Ways of Seeing the Crisis
2. Regime in-fighting by proxy:
Hasan el Turabi
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versus Omar el Beshir and Ali Osman Taha
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Five Ways of Seeing the Crisis
2. Regime in-fighting by proxy: Turabi versus Beshir
and Taha
- June 1989 Coup followed by Islamicization
-Overthrew government of
Prime Minister Sadiq el Mahdi
• Grandson of Mahdi
• Leader of Umma Party
•Turabi’s brother-in-law
-Continued civil war with
SPLA in the South of the
country.
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The Mahdi
Mohamed Ahmed
defeated the TurcoEgyptians along with
British mercenaries
(Charles “Chinese”
Gordon”) in 1885. He
died soon after, but his
successor, the Khalifa
Abdullah al-Ta’aishi,
established an
independent state that
lasted until British –
with Egyptian help –
re-conquered much of
Sudan in 1898.
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Five Ways of Seeing the Crisis
3. Straight up scorched earth response to threat
– Regime has little legitimacy but much oil money
– Many soldiers in regular military who had fought
in the South came from west so could not easily
deploy them in Darfur.
– Other rebels based in Darfur had in the 1980s
overthrown Chad regime
– Resort to militias out of habit
• Used PDF’s in South and Nuba Mountains in long
running civil war
• “Jihad” in mid-1990’s in Nuba Mountains
– Response to rebel threat in western Darfur was
proxy militias who may or may not be controllable
– “Counter-Insurgency on the Cheap”- A. de Waal
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Anglo-Egyptian Condominium
British defeated Sultan Ali Dinar in 1916 by force and used
local nomads as militias in process. The Sultanate of Darfur was
then incorporated into Sudan. Aerial bombing was also part of the
British campaign to subdue recalcitrant natives.
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SPLA
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Five Ways of Seeing the Crisis
4. Farmers versus herders
because of desertification
Ecology of region
•
•
•
The Intertropical Convergence Zone
(ITCZ)
North to South increase in
precipitation
Transhumant Routes
Variation in arability of terrian and
soil
•
The Dar Fur Sultanate had
established the Hakura system of
land tenure, where tribal leaders
controlled large tracts of land
1980’s: Drought/Desertification
•
pressures on land  increase
conflicts
UnderstandingSudan.org
Rainfall Analysis - Cumulative Amounts in
relative terms : % of long term average
Sudan Agromet Dekadal Bulletin, Vol 2, Issue 19, 11-20
September 2004 http://www.mundo.u-net.com/samis/
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Five Ways of Seeing the Crisis
5. Me-too spoilers of the main peace agreement
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Five Ways of Seeing the Crisis
5. Me-too spoilers of the main peace
agreement
• How to get respect: The SPLA got concessions only
after 23 years of fighting.
• The Comprehensive Peace Agreement splits oil
revenues between the GOS and the South. What
about the rest of the country?
• US, UK, Norway – specifically choose to limit
negotiations to North-South talks
• SLA in Darfur has origins in SPLA – took “One
Sudan” of Garang to heart.
• Pick up weapon to get attention – February 2003
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Why Intervene in Darfur?
• Continued child mortality among the
displaced
• Continued insecurity and loss of
capability for livelihoods in the camps
• Insecurity persists with no political
solution
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Variants of Intervention
• Peacekeepers and monitors work in cooperation
with Sudan government, recognizing
sovereignty
• Safe havens around towns with guaranteed
relief corridors, with no government authority –
bad idea; Makes displacement more permanent
• Darfur declared autonomous region under U.N.
Authority
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Current Interventions in Darfur
• Humanitarian Intervention
– 13 UN agencies and 83 NGO’s and Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies
– 13,869 Staff (12,895 national; 974 international as of Nov. 2005)
• Peace-monitoring/Protection Forces
– African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) with support from European Union's
African Peace Facility, UN and US (though US House just voted to cut funds 1/3/06.)
– Currently 6,848 personnel in Darfur (peacekeepers, civilian police and military
observers). Many say should be double or as much as 45,000.
• International Political Actions
– UN Resolutions
– International Criminal Court – March ‘05 UN SCR 1593 referred situation to ICC
– AU led peace process –
• Negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria
–
Five point agenda agreed to: 1) The general principles; 2) security arrangements for an
enhanced humanitarian ceasefire; 3) comprehensive ceasefire and final security arrangements:
4) social reintegration; 5) and time line for implementation,
• January ’06 mini-Summit in Libya -- Now postponed
• Regional Involvements
– Chad, President Idriss Deby faces internal threats and supposedly is quite ill;
recently diverted money from Chad oil pipeline to military uses, prompting
World Bank and donors to cut-off assistance
– Libya, Egypt, Uganda, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia are involved in complicated
ways
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Further interventions?
• Regime Change?
• Negotiated Peace?
• Nation building?
• Multilateralism?
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Genocide?
• Declaration triggers intervention?
– Varying Definitions
• 1948 Geneva Convention
• Lay and Customary international usage
– Political equivocations
– Political will (e.g. US House defunding AU mission)
• Uses by parties
– GOS – selective denigration of Arabs (re – Iraq, Palestine).
Double standards: Why not DR Congo?
– Internalized locally – contributes to ‘hardening’ of identities
– Mobilizing international action
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Conclusions
• Be wary of “African” and “Arab” labels
– What histories are they hiding?
– How are they being used
• Locally?
• Internationally?
• Historically inaccurate, yet incredibly
powerful in the present
– The power of discourse, of labels, of names
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Conclusions continued
• Be committed to the long term
– Educating ones’ self
• History, languages, cultures
• Larger regional scene (Chad, Libya, Uganda – Lord’s Resistance Army)
– Getting back to “normal” will take a long
time.
• Return of IDPs and Refugees?
• Truth and Reconciliation?
• Justice?
• Re-establishing basic routines of production,
reproduction of life.
• Who will decide access and control over resources?
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Conclusions continued
• Be committed to the long term
– International aid – how to be part of a
sustainable solution?
• Jan Egelund, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and
Emergency Relief Coordinator
– Don’t wait for emergencies, create funds up
front beforehand.
• Tony Blair and G8: Aid commitments to Africa?
• AU and NEPAD – African solutions?
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Conclusions continued
• Rethink “aid” and “development”
• Interdependencies
– Consumption and Production
•Oil, Gum Arabic, Livestock, Water
– Political Frameworks
• War on Terror
• Small arms proliferation
• Peace-keeping, Peace-making….
– Gendered aspects of violence, justice,
recovery?
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University of California, Berkeley © 2007
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University of California, Berkeley © 2007
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