Monday, April 24, 2006
Backdrop. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called Darfur "the world's worst humanitarian crisis." Since early 2003, the people of Sudan's western Darfur region have experienced a brutal government-coordinated scorched earth campaign against civilians belonging to the same ethnicity as members of two rebel movements, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Officials of the UN World Food Program (WFP) say nearly 1.2 million people currently need food and medical aid in the Darfur region. Peace talks between Sudan's government and these rebel movements operating in the Darfur province show little sign of ending the violence.
The Sudanese Government's Campaign. Two key elements comprise this campaign. Both had had devastating consequences for civilians in the region.
- The systematic use of indiscriminate aerial bombardment conducted by the Sudanese Air Force in North Darfur and to a lesser extent in West and South Darfur.
- The deployment and coordination of ethnic proxy armed forces known as "Janjaweed" militias who have been recruited from landless Arab Sudanese nomadic tribes.
The rebels say the government is oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs. Some of these Arab nomadic tribes have been involved in past clashes with the farming communities branded as supportive of the rebels.
Campaign Purpose. Some 1.2 million people need food aid, or have fled their homes and at least 180,000 are thought to have died since the conflict began. To end the conflict in this arid and impoverished region of the world a US-led coalition will have to:
- Enforce the initial disengagement of opposing rebel and engaged Sudanese Government forces.
- Open ground lines of communication (LOC) and provide food shipments and medical aid facilities to refugee camps in the Darfur region.
- After initial disengagement, U.S. forces are to be transitioned to an armed international peacekeeping force.
Sudanese officials have largely dismissed international pressure in the past. According to a Human Rights Watch report, the Sudanese government blocked international access to Darfur from November 2003 to February 2004, exacerbating starvation and disease and worsening the crisis. However, under threat of stronger punitive action, the president of Sudan will probably agree to not interfere with this effort. However, renegade elements of the Sudanese military, including the Sudan Air Force (SAF) and some ground force commanders will probably defy Khartoun's instructions. These commanders will become high-value targets if they interfere. Musa Hilal, the leader of the Janjaweed militia widely suspected of ordering a large number of atrocities in Darfur will probably interfere with humanitarian efforts. He will become a high-value target and the 16 known Janjaweed bases will have to be neutralized if they decide to interfere with the international efforts.
The wishes of the coalition will be to enforce disengagement and support humanitarian efforts with a minimum of force, and will only engage Sudanese military forces that directly threaten the humanitarian mission.
Campaign Direction. To achieve our purposes we will probably have to:
- Establish and sustain airheads for US and coalition forces in Southern and Central Darfur.
- After airheads are established, coalition forces will clear LOCs for humanitarian aid, and will begin separating the SLA, JEM and Sudanese government forces.
- Once LOCs are cleared and established from the Southern border of Sudan and combatants are disengaged, the US-led force will have to turn over peacekeeping and LOC security operations to an international UN force.
- After the South is secure, the US-led coalition can continue disengagement operations in the Northern border of the Darfur region, and neutralize or disarm pockets of recalcitrant SLA, JEM or renegade Government forces.
- Airheads established and capable of secure, 24/7 military operations support pending negotiations.
- Opening of LOC from Ethiopia to refugee camps in northwest Darfur. LOC will be patrolled by UN forces which will also provide escort to aid shipments from international organizations and NGOs.
- The establishment of a network of UN observation posts supplemented by persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This network will serve as a presence between rebel and government-controlled areas. The network will be capable of detecting large-scale force movements in Darfur and the border with Chad and Ethiopia. The network will also be capable of providing locations from which UN quick reaction forces (QRFs) can respond to a variety of incidents.
That's all for now.
Here's a list of some of my references:
- PBS Crisis in Sudan web site.
- BBC News Sudan: A Nation Divided web site.
- African Union Report on Darfur (12 Jan 06)
- Human Rights Watch Crisis in Darfur web site.
- CFR Darfur Q & A.
Perhaps a correction?
"Opening of LOC from Ethiopia to refugee camps in northwest Darfur"
Perhaps you mean Libya or Chad? Ethiopia is on the eastern side of Sudan, near Eastern Sudan, where its likely the next ethnic cleansing campaign will unfold if the rebellion there begins to eat into Sudan's oil revenues.
Awesome post though, thanks a lot for taking the time to read about it, study it and then make a detailed, engaging post.
I'll gladly be a gun-toting sailor for a year for the chance to serve with the Coalition forces that go to Dar Fur, if that ever would happen (which sadly I doubt it will).
Thanks for the comments. Read Part 2 for answers to your questions.
Thanks for stopping by. Like your blog. The Dr. Eckleberg post was funny.