"On December 10 – Human Rights Day – people around the world will be joining together to denounce the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war in Darfur and to show solidarity with the women and girls of Darfur." writes GLOBE FOR DARFUR:
On September 17 2006 tens of thousands of people took part in the Global Day for Darfur to show world-wide support for the Darfuri people and to put pressure on our Governments to protect civilians. Nearly 60 events took place in 41 countries. The response was magnificent. But the atrocities and suffering in Darfur continue, including a growing number of rapes and sexual assaults on women and girls.• Alex de Waal, program director at the Social Science Research Council and the author of Darfur: A Short History of a Long War, is skeptical of a military intervention in the London Review of Books (HT: Mark's del.icio.us feed)
Military intervention won't stop the killing. Those who are clamouring for troops to fight their way into Darfur are suffering from a salvation delusion. It's a simple reality that UN troops can’t stop an ongoing war, and their record at protecting civilians is far from perfect. Moreover, the idea of Bush and Blair acting as global moral arbiters doesn’t travel well. The crisis in Darfur is political. It’s a civil war, and like all wars it needs a political settlement.
Late in the night of 16 November Kofi Annan chaired a meeting at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa at which he, the AU and the UN Security Council reaffirmed this basic fact. When he promised to bring the government of Sudan and the rebels who are still fighting around the table within weeks, the outgoing UN secretary general was adopting a simple and correct rationale: fix the politics first and the peacekeeping will follow. It’s not a distant hope: the political differences are small. (...)
Allowing in UN troops to police a ceasefire and implement a peace agreement that will help the Congress Party consolidate its place in Sudan is one thing. Allowing in ‘international forces’ – the Arabic term, quwat al dauliya, is the same as the one used for coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan – midway through a conflict, with an open-ended mandate, is quite another. The combination of a huge international force – it would take many more than the 20,000 estimated to be needed to enforce a ceasefire – and 8000 Minawi troops with, Khartoum suspects, direct US backing, would in effect bring about a separation of Darfur from the rest of the country.
• The Save Darfur NGO makes this appeal:
Every day, the 2.5 million people chased from their homes in Darfur face the threat of starvation, disease, and rape, while the few lucky enough to remain in their homes risk displacement, torture and murder. Therefore, we call on you to do the following:
* Strengthen the understaffed and overwhelmed African Union peacekeeping force already in Darfur.
* Push for the deployment of a strong UN peacekeeping force.
* Increase humanitarian aid and ensure access for aid delivery.
* Establish a no-fly zone.
• The Guardian's Blog warned in September: "There is no civil war so bad that it cannot be made worse by the intervention of liberals and luvvies."
• British economist Daniel Davies has a blog entry at Crooked Timber on The relentless urge to action rather than inaction - and writes this gem of a line:
As I've said repeatedly with respect to Darfur, it's the height of irresponsibility to demand "action" without saying what that action might be, or to provide some kind of sensible assessment of its likely consequences.
• Anne Applebaum writes in Slate about "Why it's easier to generate interest in Darfur than Pyongyang," but does not give many answers.
• "We burnt their homes and killed all the men, women and children," says an Arab shepherd, who claims he was forced to raze the villages of black Africans in Darfur, according to Martin Fletcher in The Times.
• "Speaking Tuesday [November 21st] at his office at U.N. World Headquarters in New York, Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland decried the persistent strife in Sudan and took the international community to task for its weak response, " reports UPI:
"Many more people have become armed to the teeth in these recent weeks in preparation for new battles in which the civilian population will inevitability be caught in the crossfire," he told United Press International. "We see a repeat of the buildup of 2003 and 2004 when, really, Darfur was burning. And we see that the relative quiet of 2005 is definitely over." (…) His more poignant comments, however, were made in response to the horrific violence, widespread starvation, refugee crisis and political instability that have led the conflict to be described by many as a full-blown genocide. "How can anybody shoot a 2-year old girl through the neck? How can any man do that deliberately? This is terror. I do not know any word for it; it is defined as terror," said Egeland, referring to a visit to a hospital in western Darfur that led him to describe the situation as one of "inexplicable terror."
• Welt am Sonntag interview (in German) with Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung about Africa.
• Check out the excellent Darfur Daily News blog.