Darfur: Radio Dabanga, News Digest No. 14 | 31 May 2015‏

 

This is the fourteenth installment of a digest containing what I believe to be the most important stories reported by Radio Dabanga in the previous week. Radio Dabanga continues to be by far our most important and reliable source of information about what is occurring in Darfur; it provides a great deal more than the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the largely worthless quarterly reports of the UN Secretary-General.

OVERVIEW

This week has seen an ominous increase in the number and scale of attacks against civilians throughout North Darfur, but concentrated in eastern Jebel Marra (see below). The severe political crackdown on civil society-particularly in the form of newspaper shutdowns and attacks on Darfuri students in Khartoum and major towns-has grown in intensity and scope.

As has been true for several years now, assaults on civilians by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Khartoum's "militia of choice," continue throughout Darfur; indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilians and sexual assaults on girls and women remain standard weapons of war. The international community refuses to confront Khartoum over this savagery-by-proxy, indeed rarely even speaks of Khartoum's open support and celebration of the Rapid Support Forces, the new Janjaweed.

Humanitarian conditions continue their relentless deterioration.

All this continues to provide the context for a decision that looms ever closer in the negotiations between the UN, the African Union, and the Khartoum regime about re-authorization of UNAMID; current authorization expires in a month (June 30, 2015). As I stressed in the last digest, what we are seeing in many of these reports is Khartoum's effort to create significant "facts on the ground" for dealing with any re-configured force, which will certainly be much smaller and have a more restricted mandate. There are apparently serious contentious issues remaining to be resolved between Khartoum and the UN and African Union; we may be sure only that Khartoum is pushing for as small and weak a force as possible, with as restricted a mandate as it can negotiate. It is critically important to remember that, weak and failing as it is, UNAMID is all that prevents humanitarian organizations from withdrawing; any significant deterioration in what security is presently provided would lead to near-terms exits.

This digest is organized into five sections, with ten primary stories (indicated by | §): first, violence in North Darfur; second, the violence elsewhere in Darfur; third, the increasing violence and threats against Darfuri students outside Darfur; fourth, political developments in Sudan, including newspaper shutdowns; and concluding with painfully facile international commentary on the deepening growing catastrophe that is everywhere evident in Sudan. Other, related stories are included in a subsidiary position within the text (indicated by | •).

The primary focus is on "eastern Jebel Marra" in North Darfur, a region that has no official delineation, but is generally defined by the Tawila/Korma and Kutum/Fato Borno "Rural Councils" (or, as designated by Radio Dabanga, "Localities"; see first (scalable) pages of the UN North Darfur Field Atlas for more detailed designations of towns, and administrative units, especially page three). Tawila is approximately 60 kilometers west/southwest of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur and UNAMID headquarters, and has been the epicenter of violence since the beginning of the genocide. "Eastern Jebel Marra" may be defined in part by noting the towns attacked or bombed in recent week: Tawila, Kutum, Fanga, Karkego, Tabit (the scene of Khartoum army's mass rape of more than 200 girls and women), Shangil Tobay (the point furthest south), Gallab (the point furthest east), Kassab camp (the point furthest north), Saraf Umra, Targa, Korma, Tabarat (scene of a horrific massacre in 2010 to which UNAMID refused to respond), Katur, Dubo El Omda, El Madras, Mashrou Abu Zeid, Souswa, Kunjara, Ain Siro (celebrated by Alex de Waal in 2009 as emblematic of the peace that was coming to Darfur), Katar, Abu Zerega, Tangarara. Transliterations are sometimes at variance with those of the North Darfur Field Atlas.

We are witnessing destruction that must be measure in terms of the worst years of the genocide (2003 - 2005), and yet there is no international outcry, no Western civil society activism, no substantial discussion at the UN beyond how much to reduce UNAMID. Darfur is proving to be the extraordinary case of an active genocide being abandoned by the international community. Darfur has many distinctions compared with other historical examples; this is almost certainly its greatest.

All dispatches have again been edited to some degree (often considerable) for length; any editorial comments on my part appear italicized in [brackets] and in blue; all emphases within the cited texts have been added (bold or bold with underlining).

I emphasize yet again in this digest that what is now called "Central Darfur" was formerly part of West Darfur (and to a lesser extent South Darfur). The further division of Darfur by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime in 2012 was arbitrary and entirely politically motivated; it has also worked to encourage geographical confusion (the western part of "Central Darfur," for example, borders eastern Chad). Similarly, "East Darfur" was also created arbitrarily in 2012 from parts of South Darfur. Geographically, it designates the southeastern region of Darfur.

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 1 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1CD

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 2 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1De

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 3 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Dt

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 4 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ei

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 5 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1EL

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 6 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Fp

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 7 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1FL

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 8 | http://wp.me/s45rOG-6452

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 9 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gi

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 10 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gt

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 11 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Hq

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 12 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1HY

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 13 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ia

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 14 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1II

Eric Reeves, 31 May 2015

Full digest at http://wp.me/p45rOG-1II 

-- 

Eric Reeves 

Smith College
Northampton, MA  01063
       413-585-3326
       ereeves@smith.edu

       Skype: ReevesSudan 

 

       Website:   www.sudanreeves.org

Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007-2012   www.CompromisingWithEvil.org