Darfur: Radio Dabanga News Digest Number 17 | 21 June 2015‏

 

Darfur: Radio Dabanga News Digest Number 17

Eric Reeves, 21 June 2015

This seventeenth installment of Darfur: Radio Dabanga News Digest has as its primary concern the continuing deterioration of civilian security and humanitarian capacity and access. As many as 130,000 Darfuris have been newly displaced this year (Agence France-Presse [UN/New York], 10 June 2015), and Radio Dabanga reports that lands abandoned by African Darfuris have been occupied by Arab farmers and pastoralists from Chad, Mali, and Niger. This substantially increases the difficulty of achieving any real peace in Darfur and directly contradicts the Khartoum regime's justification for closing the camps for displaced persons: the region is "safe" and those in the camps should return to their homes.

This "importing" or encouraging of foreign Arab farmers/pastoralists to replace displaced non-Arab/African land owners is of longstanding and has received far too little attention from UNAMID and the international community. The issue figures nowhere in the reports of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to the Security Council, in part because Khartoum makes verification of the land "transfers" virtually impossible.

Additionally, there are dispatches from both Radio Dabanga and other news sources discussing the implications of President Omar al-Bashir's trip to and escape from South Africa, with the connivance of the South African government. There are also several dispatches that address the growing political repression in Khartoum in the face of intensifying opposition to the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime and the collapsing economy over which it presides. A number of dispatches appear only with title, date, and URL.

It is important to understand the geography of violence and displacement in Darfur, and much that is reported by the UN is misleading in this respect. There is understandable emphasis on what is occurring in North Darfur, where fighting between combatants is concentrated, and South Darfur where militia violence is also intense. But what is now "Central Darfur" (formerly part of the "old" West Darfur) has seen tremendous violence as well, reported regularly by Radio Dabanga (Khartoum denies access to much of Central Darfur to both UNAMID and humanitarians). And News Digest No. 15 focused on recent violence in the "new" West Darfur, an extensive chronicle of rape, killings, land appropriation, and deadly harassment that makes clear this is not a region from which a withdrawal of peacekeepers is appropriate. Violence in East Darfur has been defined chiefly by inter-tribal fighting between the Rizeigat and Ma'aliya Arab tribes, and the fighting is very serious and appears to be intractable.

But insecurity is the dominant theme in Darfur, as Edmond Mulet-UN Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations-informed the Security Council in a June 10, 2015 briefing. Mulet highlighted a "precarious situation," defined by the following features:

 A sharp increase in violence by armed assailants against UNAMID and humanitarian personnel;

• The second phase of Khartoum's military offensive, "Operation Decisive Summer," has resulted in large numbers of newly displaced people;

• Insecurity on the ground is aggravated by broader political tensions, paramilitary groups and militias, as well as the proliferation of small arms and inadequate responses by local authorities;

• Criminality is major source of insecurity, with various armed forces taking advantage of the current situation and absence of security forces to attack civilians;

To understand the specifics of these categories of violence and insecurity, Radio Dabanga remains the indispensable resource (Sudan Tribune has also offered a number of important dispatches this week; these are in addition to the extraordinary "Wikileaked" Saudi Arabian diplomatic cables).

[For previous (weekly) Radio Dabanga Digests, see:

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

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 15 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ji

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 16 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1JU

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 17 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Kp

Excepting the particularly important first dispatch from Radio Dabanga, reports are organized under the following headings:

[1] VIOLENCE TARGETING CIVILIANS IN DARFUR

[2] HUMANITARIAN ISSUES AFFECTING DARFURIS

[3] POLITICAL DISPATCHES OF NOTE

[4] UNAMID: INTIMIDATED BY KHARTOUM AS A MEANS OF ENSURING AL-BASHIR'S ESCAPE FROM SOUTH AFRICAN LEGAL SCRUTINY?

[5] IMPENDING MANDATE RENEWAL FOR UNAMID

[6] ECONOMIC NEWS

[All emphases in all quoted material (in bold) have been added; all editorial comments are in italics, in blue, with my initials following; a useful and quite recent administrative map of Darfur appears here.)-ER]

 

​Full text, with links and photographs, at: http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Kp

 

Eric Reeves, 21 June 2015

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