A FACT SHEET ON THE CRISIS IN DARFUR
Prepared by: The Committee for Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation in Sudan; a project of
The Peace And Justice Foundation.
Sudan is the largest country, in land mass, on the African continent. It has an estimated population of 40 million people, comprised of many different tribes and ethnic groups. Its population is reportedly 70 % Muslim, 25 % animist, and 5% Christian.
Darfur, which is located in western Sudan, is about the size of France and predominantly Muslim. It is home for approximately 80 tribes and ethnic groups, divided between nomads and sedentary communities. It is an ecologically fragile area, subject to periodic conflict over access to water and grazing lands. In the past, these conflicts would be settled by traditional African resolution, but with the increased desertification of the land, and the influx of high powered armaments from abroad, the conflicts have become more frequent and dangerously intense.
Despite its ecological fragility, however, Darfur, like southern Sudan, has been found to be rich in oil. (And to the chagrin of other national governments and multinational corporations, the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation reportedly holds a large oil concession in Darfur.)
According to reports reviewed by The Committee for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation in Sudan, the present crisis in Darfur began in earnest in February 2003, when conflict erupted between two armed groups (who complained of alleged discriminatory policies from the central government) and the Government of Sudan.
A little relevant background
FACT: America has actively funded a terrorist rebel militia in the South, known as the “Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA),” to fight against the Sudanese government and spread disenchantment in the south against the government in the north. The US sponsored SPLA has committed untold atrocities in Sudan, both against government troops as well as civilians (Muslim and Christian). The Economist Magazine described the SPLA as “little more than an armed gang of Dinkas… killing, looting and raping. Its indifference, almost animosity, towards the people it was supposed to be ‘liberating’ was all too clear.” [The Economist, March 1998]
FACT: During the Clinton Administration, Secretary of State Madeline Albright
met with the terrorist leader of the SPLA, John Garang, to extend the hand of
American friendship and material support in the form of “humanitarian
aid.” The Sunday Times (of Britain) reported on 11/17/96, that the Clinton
administration was supporting the terrorist SPLA in order to “…
destabilize the government of Sudan... More than $20m of military equipment,
including radios, uniforms and tents will be shipped to Eritrea, Ethiopia and
Uganda in the next few weeks. Although the equipment is earmarked for the armed
forces of those countries, much of it will be passed on to the SPLA, which is
preparing an offensive against the government in Khartoum.”
(A similar report also appeared in the 11/10/96 issue of the Washington Post.)
FACT: It appears that the objective of the warmongers is to divide Sudan into two, or possibly three, separate entities. This neocolonial plan of divide and conquer has been a recurring style used by the western colonialists to facilitate their hegemony over the Muslim (and non-Muslim) world. The Guardian newspaper (of Britain), in a 5/1/98 report, backed up this analogy by comparing the events in Sudan (at that time) with US actions in South America and Southern Africa:
“Welcome to the 1980s. Long live Ronald Reagan. Remember the scenario - a rebel group being trained and armed by the CIA to topple a sovereign government, cross-border incursions from secluded camps, and the whole de-stabilization exercise backed by international sanctions and a massive propaganda campaign. It sounds like Nicaragua or Angola circa 1984. In fact it’s Sudan 1998.”
The Crisis in Darfur
FACT: The crisis in Darfur has been solely attributed to the Sudanese Government, and their alleged proxies known as the “Janjaweed.” The conflict is repeatedly described in Arab vs. Black African terms. The fact is, however, that two well armed groups - known as the “Sudan Liberation Army” (SLA), and the “Justice and Equality Movement” (JEM), were the aggressors in this tragic [now] 18 month old conflict – and, reportedly, were better equipped (militarily) than government forces in the region. (It is also a fact that the US and British governments – with the zealous support of both Israeli and Christian Zionists - have been actively stoking the flames of conflict in Sudan for many years.)
FACT: In the words of an internationally acclaimed “authority”
on Sudan, Alex de Waal:
“Characterizing the Darfur war as, ‘Arabs’ vs. ‘Africans,’ obscures the reality. Darfur’s Arabs are black, indigenous, African and Muslim – just like Darfur’s non-Arabs… Until recently, Darfurians used the term ‘Arab’ in its original sense of ‘Bedouin.’ These Arab speaking nomads are distinct from the inheritors of the Arab culture of the Nile and the Fertile Crescent.” (The Observer, July 25, 2004)
FACT: While mistakes have indeed been made by the Sudanese Government, and much more is needed from the government in order to abate the crisis, an objective perusal of the available facts suggests that the Government of Sudan has made sincere attempts to address this multi-faceted political and humanitarian crisis; and further, to hold all those who are guilty of crimes against humanity accountable.
FACT: After the Sudanese Government and UN Secretary General Kofi Anan reached a “90 day agreement” for arresting the conflict in Darfur, the UN Security Council, led by America and Britain, pushed through a “Resolution” threatening sanctions against the Sudanese Government if certain conditions were not met within “30 days.” (Sound familiar?)
In response to such arbitrarily applied pressures, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir noted in a July 26, 2004, interview: “The question that imposes itself truly is, Why the hurry? Why didn’t those concerned about Darfur wait until the end of the three months to which we are committed in our agreement with the UN Secretary General? After that period the results can be evaluated to decide whether we have succeeded or failed. Then each side can judge based on facts and not mere speculation. There is…a deliberate distortion of our capacity as a state to shoulder our national responsibilities.”
FACT: The crisis in Darfur has provided a convenient, and sorely needed, diversionary cover for the international warmongers.
Conclusion: It is absolutely shameful, and truly one of the great ironies of modern times, that some of the very actors on the humans rights front (both in America and abroad), who have decried the American, British and Israeli governments - for a campaign of lies in the commission of war crimes, GENOCIDE, and/or other violations of international law – now find themselves in lockstep agreement with these very same governments on the issue of Sudan! (Something to think about.)
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