President Bush declared this past Friday that a security force for Darfur
will require "NATO stewardship, planning, facilitating, organizing, probably
double the number of peacekeepers that are there now, in order to start
bringing some sense of security" (New York Times, February 17, 2006). But
crucially, Bush did not specify whether these additional peacekeeping forces
would come from NATO---or indeed how and when they would be generated. And
he certainly did not promise participation by US troops or personnel in any
NATO deployment. After the President spoke, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Joe
Carpenter declared it is "'premature to speculate' on potential increases in
US troops" (Washington Post, February 17, 2006). Privately, Bush
administration officials make clear there is no intention of sending US
troops to Darfur.
The Pentagon comment comports precisely with the statement by US State
Department spokesman Sean McCormack, following last week's meeting between
Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: "'It's really premature to
speculate about what the needs would be in terms of logistics, in terms of
airlift, in terms of actual troops. And certainly in that regard, premature
to speculate on what the US contribution might be'" (Reuters [Washington,
DC], February 13, 2006).
But what, then, is the time-frame for "bringing some sense of security" to
Darfur? The African Union monitoring force has revealed itself to be
radically inadequate to the task; the US is declaring that "it's really
premature to speculate about what the needs" are for an adequate security
force; and NATO officials in Brussels are also speaking of any significantly
increased NATO role as "premature," indeed seem clearly disinclined to
provide more than NATO logistics, transport, and financial assistance.
When will the necessary "doubling" of troops occur? And again, who will
provide these troops? Who will provide the "sense of security" the
President spoke of? The failure to address these questions directly and
specifically signals all too clearly a lack of real and timely resolve.
Mr. Bush's comments will inevitably seem weak compared with the unambiguous
language of a recent bipartisan Senate Resolution, introduced the same day
(February 17, 2006) that the President spoke to a friendly, well-screened
gathering in Florida. The resolution forthrightly,
" calls upon the United Nations Security Council to approve as soon as
possible, pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, a
peacekeeping force for Darfur that is well trained and equipped and has an
adequate troop strength;"
" urges the President to take steps immediately to help improve the
security situation in Darfur, including by---
"[a] proposing that NATO consider how to implement and enforce a declared
no-fly zone in Darfur; and deploy troops to Darfur to support the African
Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) until a United Nations peacekeeping mission is
fully deployed in the region;"
"[b] requesting supplemental funding to support a NATO mission in Darfur and
the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS);"
" calls upon NATO allies, led by the United States, to support such a
" calls upon NATO headquarters staff to begin prudent planning in advance
of such a mission."
(Senate Resolution 383, introduced by Senators Biden, Brownback, Obama,
Lugar, Feingold, Dodd)
This language---in its specificity, force, and urgency---went far beyond Mr.
Bush's statement, and the conclusion is irresistible: what was said in
Florida was meant to preempt a powerful Senate resolution the President
would certainly have known was going to be introduced prior to the current
Congressional recess. Mr. Bush's tepid and vague remarks about "NATO
stewardship" have little in common with "deploying [NATO] troops to Darfur
to support the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) until a United Nations
peacekeeping mission is fully deployed in the region." Certainly the
benefits of such NATO deployment are many and highly significant, though it
remains to see whether members of the Senate are themselves posturing and
seeking political cover after more than two years of inaction in the face of
NATO deployment would immediately begin to improve security in Darfur and
save lives. For example, while the impracticability of a "no-fly zone" over
Darfur has heretofore been all too conspicuous, the introduction of NATO
forces on the ground would quickly and significantly change military
realities. Such forces in Darfur would certainly have excellent
intelligence, transport, and communications capacity---and the aerial
military resources, including tactical aircraft, that would see a rapid
grounding of Khartoum's helicopter gunships and Antonov bombers.
NATO, if it finds the will and seeks the authority, could also ensure that
the Khartoum regime no longer dictates the terms in which combatants in
Darfur are observed and controlled. Yesterday (February 21, 2006) Reuters
reported that the head of the AU mission in Darfur has again complained that
Khartoum is "imposing a curfew and restricting airport access," thereby
further weakening an already largely ineffective AU force.
A significant NATO presence would immediately pose a powerful threat to the
currently unchallenged Janjaweed militia---Khartoum's primary instrument of
ongoing genocidal destruction. Large concentrations of Janjaweed forces,
still often numbering in the hundreds in their attacks on civilians, would
become primary targets of NATO forces providing security for vulnerable
Darfuris, as well as for humanitarian operations. Moreover, US intelligence
has already identified the sites at which Khartoum's regular military most
frequently and substantially supplies the Janjaweed with weaponry,
ammunition, vehicles, and other military gear. These sites could be rapidly
destroyed or neutralized.
Here it is critical to bear in mind that there are large colored swatches on
UN maps of all three Darfur states indicating areas where there is currently
no humanitarian access or very limited humanitarian assistance (both because
of insecurity and because of the evacuations of humanitarian personnel that
have been prompted by insecurity). The NATO force described in the Senate
resolution, in conjunction with augmented AU forces, could begin the urgent
process of restoring humanitarian access to hundreds of thousands of
civilians now entirely cut off from the means of survival.
Humanitarian corridors could also be secured: the UN World Food Program and
other humanitarian organizations continue to see scores of vehicles hijacked
and convoys attacked. Camps for displaced persons, as well as their
environs, could be secured; marauding Janjaweed elements could either be
disarmed or forced away from the camps; Khartoum's fearsome military
intimidation of civilians in towns and villages that are presently held
hostage could be ended.
Ultimately, a NATO force could be the means for enforcing Security Council
Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004), which "demanded" that Khartoum disarm the
Janjaweed and bring its leaders to justice. Since there is not a shred of
evidence, in the more than one and half years since passage of Resolution
1556, that Khartoum intends to comply with this international "demand,"
enforcement must be by military means.
Such enforcement daily becomes more urgent. At present, Janjaweed militia
forces are making increasingly numerous and destructive incursions into
eastern Chad, exporting violent human destruction across the porous and
highly insecure Darfur/Chad border. A NATO force could secure strategic
locations in a region that has the potential for incalculable human
destruction and much larger destabilizing effects on this part of Africa.
Human Rights Watch has been reporting authoritatively on this ominous
development in recent weeks, and yesterday issued an important report
("Darfur Bleeds: Recent Cross-Border Violence in Chad,"
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/02/16/chad12684.htm) that finds:
"Janjaweed militias and Chadian rebel groups with support from the Sudanese
government are launching deadly cross-border raids on villages in eastern
Chad." [ ]
"Based on a Human Rights Watch investigation in eastern Chad in January and
February, [the new report] documents an alarming rise in attacks against
civilians in Chad by Sudanese government-backed Janjaweed militias and
Chadian rebel groups. The Janjaweed and Chadian rebel forces operate from
bases in Sudanese government-controlled areas of Darfur. Sudanese government
troops and helicopter gunships have at times supported these cross-border
attacks in eastern Chad. The Sudanese government provides support for
several Chadian rebel groups, including harboring them on Sudanese
territory." (Human Rights Watch, February 21, 2006)
The phrase "Sudanese government-backed Janjaweed militias" cannot be
highlighted too boldly.
The present AU force is simply unable to secure the Chad/Darfur region for
humanitarian operations; and it cannot halt the potentially catastrophic
increase in violence against Darfuri and Chadian civilians, yet again
overwhelmingly from the non-Arab or African tribal populations of this vast
region. Khartoum contemptuously ignores the AU in pursuit of its military
and strategic goals in the border region. A NATO presence would force upon
Khartoum an immediate re-assessment of its current highly threatening
military behavior, as well as its support for the Janjaweed and Chadian
rebels using Darfur as a base.
A NATO force, working in conjunction with the AU, could also begin to
provide the security for families seeking to return to their villages and
lands in order to resume agriculturally productive lives. This is the
essential element in any long-term solution to the Darfur crisis, but the
task is highly force-consumptive. Initial returnees must be afforded high
levels of security, given the extraordinary levels of fear within the camp
populations and the lack of confidence in AU forces alone.
Critically, a NATO force could also provide the essential diplomatic space
and security within Darfur for leaders among the various tribal groups, on
both sides of an increasingly hardening ethnic line. Such security might
create the opportunity for genuine peace negotiations among the affected
civilian parties. For whatever may emerge from the stalemated talks in
Abuja (Nigeria) will have little meaning on the ground in Darfur without
reconciliation, compensation, and sustained negotiations about how to
reconstitute the Darfuri society that has been so terribly ravaged by
Khartoum's genocidal ambitions.
At the same time, there is no reason to believe that Khartoum's National
Islamic Front will abide by the terms of any Abuja "agreement." We have
only to look at the various ways in which the NIF is reneging on the terms
of the "Comprehensive Peace Agreement" with southern Sudan to see the real
meaning of any settlement that does not have meaningful guarantees and
international guarantors (see by this writer "The Slow Collapse of the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement for South Sudan,"
But we must remember that the Senate resolution is only a resolution---it
has no binding force on the executive branch. While it may demonstrate that
the Congress continues to take genocide in Darfur seriously, there is no
real evidence of such seriousness in the words of the Bush administration,
whether we listen to the President, the Secretary of State, the Deputy
Secretary of State, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, or
the US Ambassador to the UN. Instead, there has been a relentless
underplaying of the scale and urgency of the crisis in Darfur (including
deliberately downplaying total mortality from the catastrophe); and there
have been various efforts to chisel away at the explicit genocide
determination of former Secretary of State Colin Powell ("genocide has been
committed in Darfur, and the government of Sudan and Janjaweed bear
Most recently, during testimony before the House International Relations
Committee, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice simultaneously declared
genocide to be continuing, but retracted (mid-sentence) an attribution of
responsibility to the Khartoum regime. In response to a question from
Representative Barbara Lee of California about whether or not the Bush
administration was fulfilling all its obligations as a signatory to the 1948
Genocide Convention, Rice replied:
"It is our view that genocide was committed and in fact continues in Darfur.
We are doing everything that we can to deal with the impact of this
government on... [pause/correction] ...of the situation in Darfur on the
helpless people of Darfur." (February 16, 2006, from a verbatim
transcription of audio-visual feed provided by the US Congress,
For Secretary Rice, Darfur's genocide has evidently become a genocide
without nameable genocidaires. Genocide is a function simply of "the
situation in Darfur." Perhaps indeed Rice has in mind something closer to
the description of the conflict in Darfur offered several months ago by
Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick:
"'It's a tribal war,' Zoellick said. 'And frankly I don't think foreign
forces want to get in the middle of a tribal war of Sudanese.'" (ABC News
[on-line], November 9, 2005)
This hardly sounds like a situation ripe for the "NATO stewardship"
President Bush was speaking of more recently.
WHAT WILL THE US ACTUALLY DO?
Despite Bush's recent words, and the professions of concern by various of
his senior officials, there has been a distinct unwillingness on the part of
the US to commit either the diplomatic or political resources necessary to
move European partners in NATO toward the commitment called for in the
bipartisan Senate resolution. Indeed, given the signals coming from
Brussels---both last week after Bush's meeting with UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan, and again on Friday after the President's widely reported
remarks on "NATO stewardship" for a Darfur mission---it is clear that US
partners in NATO are far from willing to sign on to a robust, well-equipped,
militarily sophisticated mission in Darfur such as described by the Senate
resolution or by Secretary General Annan.
And despite serving as President of the UN Security Council for the month of
February, the US has yet to commit the diplomatic resources to securing an
effective resolution, authorizing a robust intervening force such as called
for in the Senate resolution ("[we call] upon the United Nations Security
Council to approve as soon as possible, pursuant to Chapter VII of the
Charter of the United Nations, a peacekeeping force for Darfur that is well
trained and equipped and has an adequate troop strength")---or called for in
a recent letter to President Bush and the Security Council by Human Rights
Watch and the International Crisis Group, urging that:
"The Security Council authorize, on an urgent basis, a transition of the
African Union force in Darfur to a UN mission under Chapter VII of the UN
Charter. Such a mission should have a strong and clear mandate that will
allow it to protect itself and civilians by force if necessary, and to
disarm and disband the government-sponsored Janjaweed forces that have
confiscated land or pose a threat to the civilian population. The mission
should also be specifically empowered to provide appropriate assistance to
the International Criminal Court's investigations in Darfur including the
arrest of individuals indicted for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
[I]t should be a force large enough to provide security throughout
Darfur---some 20,000 strong---with capabilities that, realistically, only
countries with significant military assets and mobility will be able to
To be sure, it is critical that the UN Security Council authorizing
resolution not be rushed simply because of the US Presidency of the Security
Council. The resolution brought to a vote must be fully adequate to the
actual security needs of the people of Darfur. But less than a week before
this Presidency is scheduled to end, it hardly helps for the incoherently
churlish UN Ambassador John Bolton to be excoriating the UN Secretariat
rather than working to secure Security Council votes from such
obstructionist Permanent Members as China, Russia, and indeed France (see
"Bolton chides Annan on UN planning for Darfur Force," Reuters, February 21,
It is also true that the next meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council
is not scheduled until early March---in other words, after the US surrenders
its current Presidency of the Security Council (it is widely expected that
at this meeting the AU will confirm what is has declared "in principle,"
viz. that it is willing to turn the Darfur mission over to the UN). But a
US-sponsored authorizing resolution could be made contingent upon the AU's
accepting transition to a UN force. Again, however, it is critically
important that this resolution be appropriately crafted when it is brought
to a vote, and that it provide every opportunity for NATO to make an
immediate contribution to the security force on the ground in Darfur. As
Annan has repeatedly stressed in describing the force required for Darfur,
the "sophisticated" military requirements of such a mission can be fulfilled
only by NATO countries.
The problem, of course, lies not simply with the Bush administration. There
is strong European resistance to what would seem a self-evident declaration
in the Senate resolution. For this resolution essentially paraphrases, for
the particular case of Darfur, the language of an international
"responsibility to protect" defenseless civilians in countries whose
governments will not (adopted unanimously at the UN World Summit, September
"All members of the international community must participate in efforts to
stop genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur."
Clearly not "all members" agree with the US Senate resolution.
THE WORD FROM BRUSSELS
Because Darfur has yet to become a significant moral or political cause
within European civil society (with the qualified exception of the UK),
there is little domestic political pressure on the US's NATO partners to
move beyond the language that has been in evidence over the last eight days:
"NATO allies would look kindly on new appeals for back-up help to African
troops in Sudan's violent Darfur region, but rule out for now a major
deployment of their own, NATO diplomats said on Tuesday [February 14,
2006]." (Reuters [dateline: Brussels], February 14, 2006)
"'The focus [of NATO] is more about extending our support role in the
transition from an AU to a blue helmet (United Nations) force,' said the
diplomat, who requested anonymity."
And a NATO official added that because "there has been no formal UN or AU
request for [NATO] even to consider providing more help, [ ] it is simply
too early for any kind of formal discussion" (Reuters [dateline: Brussels],
February 14, 2006).
This assessment was confirmed yesterday in Brussels by NATO spokesman James
"'NATO has not received any formal request from the UN or from the African
Union for anything beyond what it is currently doing. [ ] NATO is continuing
to do what it has been doing for many months, and that is airlifting in and
out African Union battalions...as well as providing training.'" (Associated
Press [dateline: Brussels], February 21, 2006)
NATO diplomats and officials seem thoroughly unwilling to confront the
reality bluntly stated within the US Senate resolution:
"The international community currently has no plan to address the immediate
security needs of the people of Darfur."
This truth cannot be evaded, cannot be finessed, and certainly cannot be
confronted merely with the ongoing efforts of the AU, which daily presides
over greater levels of violence in Darfur and now Chad. What are these NATO
diplomats and officials saying to the people of Darfur? What are they
saying to the more than 3.5 million people now in need of humanitarian
assistance---assistance that is increasingly attenuated by insecurity, even
as three years of conflict have left these people desperate and utterly
dependent? What are NATO diplomats and officials suggesting will "bridge"
the gap between the current AU force---which by all accounts is radically
inadequate to the human security needs in Darfur---and some merely notional
UN peacekeeping force that may take as long as a year to deploy?
In fact, there is no answer---from Brussels or the White House. Nor is
there any resolute answer to the question "what if the Khartoum regime
resists any UN augmentation of the current AU mission?" What
if---encouraged by signals from China, the Arab League, and some within the
African Union---Khartoum cleaves insistently to the position articulated
today by Foreign Minister Lam Akol? ---
"'The government [of Sudan] has rejected this [takeover by UN
peacekeepers].... We did not hear anybody saying they (the AU) are not
doing enough to stop the violence. What we are hearing is that they're short
of funds,' Akol told Reuters. Sudanese officials had previously shown a
softer position towards the deployment of UN troops in Darfur, which the AU
says it supports 'in principle.'" (Reuters [dateline: Khartoum], February
In characteristic fashion, Khartoum's foreign minister---nominally
representing the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the
"Government of National Unity," but in fact a puppet of the National Islamic
Front---is engaged in outright lying. A great many international voices
have said repeatedly and explicitly, over many months, that the AU is
incapable of "stopping the violence." And certainly reports of large-scale
violence against civilians and humanitarian efforts are continuous. This is
not a matter of money: it is conspicuously the case that the AU has neither
the qualified troops available, the ability to absorb needed equipment, the
administrative capacity, the logistics, communications, or intelligence
capabilities. And critically, the AU is without a mandate for civilian
protection and clearly does not have the will to demand such a mandate from
All this makes inescapable the question: what will the world community do if
the regime creates, explicitly or de facto, a "non-permissive environment"
on the ground in Darfur? What if Khartoum obstructs, impedes, and harasses
a UN mission as effectively as it has the AU mission?
This, in turn, forces the fundamental question, which only the Senate
resolution addresses: what will the international community do in the near
term---right now---as hundreds of thousands of civilians remain beyond
humanitarian reach, more than 2 million have been displaced into camps, and
over 3.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance? Perhaps 400,000
have already died from violence, disease, and malnutrition: how many more
must die before the killing is stopped?
This question takes many particular forms. For example, what of the people
trapped in their villages by the Janjaweed---not displaced, but without
freedom of movement or security? The UN Integrated Regional Information
Networks [dateline: Kabkabiya], North Darfur] reports today on the
horrifying conditions defining existence for "people living in open
"On the plains of Kabkabiya town in North Darfur, numerous abandoned
villages dot the empty landscape. Their burned remains bear witness to the
escalation of the Darfur conflict in 2003. 'When the conflict began here,"
said a community leader who requested anonymity, 'the Janjawid [militias]
attacked the villages around Kabkabiya, especially to the east and south.
They killed many people, took their animals and destroyed their
"Most of the former inhabitants of the villages at the foot of the Jebel Si
mountains are members of the Fur and Zaghawa communities. After losing their
homes in the raids, they sought refuge with relatives in Kabkabiya town.
Today, internally displaced people constitute 70 percent of the town's
"In contrast, the flat plains southwest of the town, which stretch westwards
to Saraf Omra and Birkat Seira on the border with West Darfur, are
considered by some to be relatively stable. The Sudanese military and
government-supported Arab Janjawid militia control the area, and no major
fighting has taken place in the region during the past year." [ ]
"Local observers, [however,] who noted that the 140 km road between
Kabkabiya and Saraf Omra has about six Janjawid checkpoints, tell a
different story. 'There is no peace in this area at all,' said the community
leader. 'The Janjawid is the government, and the government is the Janjawid.
The Janjawid has threatened to kill villagers if they would try to flee to
"After Janjawid militia attacked and looted their homes in 2003, the
inhabitants of the predominantly Fur villages to the south and west of
Kabkabiya were left with nothing. Many of them fled to town, but some 4,000
people from 20 different villages decided to remain."
"To ensure their security, they agreed to pay the Janjawid---their former
attackers---a 'protection-fee' and a share of their harvest, to be collected
by the sheikh. According to various local sources, the protection fee was
approximately 700 Sudanese dinars (US 35 cents) per family per month in
addition to one-third or one-quarter of their harvest. Over time, a climate
of intimidation developed. 'They don't pay to be defended,' said the
community leader. 'They pay not to be attacked.'"
"The African communities, who are still paying for 'protection,' are
virtually held hostage in their own homes by the Janjawid. 'The main problem
people are facing is the lack of freedom of movement. Access to the market,
to services in nearby towns, to fetch water, to their surrounding
fields---it has all been severely hindered,' said Thomas Linde, director of
protection for the UN Mission in Sudan."
"Although the Fur still cultivate their fields, they are restricted to the
relative security of the land in the immediate vicinity of their villages.
To enter or leave the villages, they must pass through security posts. The
checkpoints are manned by Arab militia, who monitor people's movements, levy
taxes and demand food or money. 'They are harassed, threatened or assaulted
whenever they move outside their village, and this has a big impact on their
livelihoods and their ability to lead a normal life,' Linde said."
"'In most of the villages south of Kabkabiya, people are not allowed to
leave the village and look for refuge in internally displaced persons'
camps. They are trapped,' a local observer noted." [ ]
"'These people are extremely vulnerable, and their coping mechanisms are
extremely few. There is very little they can do to protect themselves,' the
"The militias harass communities inside the villages as well. 'Armed men
come at night and loot their belongings. Sometimes the husbands are ordered
to go outside and the men spend the night with their wives,' the observer
said. 'It is a case of extreme harassment, intimidation and violence. These
people live in open prisons.' (UN IRIN [dateline: Kabkabiya, North Darfur],
February 22, 2006)
"The Janjawid is the government, and the government is the Janjawid."
Is the world community prepared to watch these people suffer endlessly in
their "prisons"? Is the world community prepared to accept Khartoum's
orchestration, by means of its Janjaweed proxies, of what are for all
intents and purposes ethnic concentration camps? How many more of these
people must be raped, killed, or starved before a serious concern for their
security is no longer "premature"?
In this context the words today in Khartoum by the UK minister for
international development are unspeakably cruel and fatuous:
"Hilary Benn, the British minister for international development, warned the
funds donated by the international community to support one of the world's
largest aid operations in Darfur would not last forever. 'We are paying for
the continuing conflict,' Benn said in Khartoum. 'We are paying for people
to remain in the camps because they can't go home because of the failure of
people to do what they promised and the failure of the peace process.'"
(Reuters [dateline: Khartoum], February 22, 2006)
Must the innocent civilians of Darfur pay for the bad faith, negotiating
incompetence, and self-interest of the men in Abuja? Does Benn imagine that
the implied threat of an end to humanitarian aid to Darfur does anything but
encourage Khartoum's genocidaires? the very men who have been
systematically harassing and obstructing humanitarian aid since fall 2003?
Mr. Benn only compounds his fatuousness by declaring:
"'The government of Sudan has a very, very heavy responsibility to cooperate
and do all it can to help alleviate the suffering of the people of Darfur,'
This "responsibility" has always been as morally conspicuous as it is now;
why should mere reiteration by a British official of the patently obvious
make any difference to the National Islamic Front, which has watched the
international community accept its genocidal campaign in Darfur for almost
three years? Do Benn and the UK government imagine that more bluster, of a
sort that has ebbed and flowed for the entire course of the Darfur genocide,
will make any difference to those who have orchestrated genocide?
Many of the most senior members of the National Islamic Front appear on a
confidential UN list naming those most responsible for obstructing the peace
process in Darfur, including Major General Saleh Abdallah Gosh, head of the
National Security and Intelligence Service; Elzubier Bashir Taha, Minister
of the Interior; Major General Abdel Rahmin Mohamed Hussein, former Minister
of the Interior and current Defense Minister; Major General Ismat Zain
al-Din, Director of Operations for the Sudanese Armed Forces in Khartoum
(where Darfur military actions are planned). Moreover, National Islamic
Front President and Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal Omar el-Bashir, is
named for "possible future designation," although the logic of his current
exclusion---given his relation to those explicitly and currently
designated---is incomprehensible, as is the exclusion of Vice President Ali
Osman Taha, the chief NIF architect of the genocide and arguably the most
powerful political figure in Khartoum.
It is also worth noting, as a sign of the peculiarly partial nature of the
UN indictment, that major Janjaweed figures, such as the notorious Musa
Hilal, are not named by the "experts" panel.
Still, senior officials of the National Islamic Front have been found to
have obstructed the peace process for Darfur (per the terms of UN Security
Council Resolution 1591, March 2005). Why should the world expect these men
to be more fully committed to facilitating peace now? Why should their
signatures, or nominal commitments to peace in Abuja, satisfy the
international community, given their "indictment"? Why should anyone
imagine that a peace negotiated with the NIF will be honored? A ceremony in
Abuja will mean nothing to the people of the Kabkabiya region without a
robust international peacemaking force on the ground.
Despite what many are construing as encouraging words by President Bush,
there is a hollowness at their core, signifying only that we have entered
yet deeper into a ghastly heart of darkness.