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The internationalization of the communal conflict in Darfur and its regional and domestic ramifications: 2001-2007.

THIS ARTICLE ADDRESSES THE COMMUNAL conflict in the Darfur region of Western Sudan focusing mainly on the genesis of the conflict, its process and the different attempts made at its reconciliation. Furthermore, the essay discusses primarily the internationalization process of the conflict and how in a short period of time it has attracted the attention of the United Nations, Western powers and human rights groups; and why the Western powers, in particular, called for international intervention. In addition, the paper examines the regional and domestic impact of the internationalization of the conflict mainly focusing on Sudan's straining relationship with neighboring countries such as Chad and the Central African Republic as well as discerning the impact of the internationalization process on the negotiating position of the Darfur rebellion movements.

THE GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION AND THE DEMOGRAPHIC STRUCTURE OF THE DARFUR REGION

Geography and Climate

Darfur (Arabic meaning "home of the fur") is a region of far western Sudan, bordering the Central African Republic, Libya and Chad. It is divided into three federal states within Sudan: Gharb Darfur (West Darfur), Janub Darfur (South Darfur) and Shamal Darfur (North Daffur). (1)

Darfur covers an area of some 493,180 square kilometers (196,555 square miles) about three-quarters the size of Texas. (2) It is largely an arid plateau with the Marrah Mountains (Jebel Marra), a range of volcanic peaks rising up to 3,000 meters (10,000 ft), in the center of the region. The region's main towns are Al Fashir, Nyala and Geneina.

Population

Based on the last population census conducted in 1993, the population of Darfur is estimated to be 6 million. (3) The population of Darfur is divided into two major ethnic groups: the African and the Arab. The African group comprises the fur (after whom the region is named), speaking a Nilo-Saharan language as well as Zaghawa, Masalit, Midob, Al-Barti, Al-Falata, and Al-Tama. The Arab group includes Al-Taisha, Al-Habania, Bani Helba, Al-Rizigat, Al-Misseria and Al-Malia. (4)

One hundred percent of the residents of Darfur are Sunni Muslims. The an-Najati Sufi order is widespread among the residents of Darfur. (5) The tribes in the region who are of "African origin" are considered to be more zealous in their practice of Islam than the other, "non-African" tribes. The residents of Darfur can be divided into two linguistic groups. About 50 percent of the tribes speak Arabic as their mother tongue. The other 50 percent speak regional dialects (Beigo, Daju, Fongoro, Fulbe, Fur, Kujarge, Masalit, Tama, Zaghawa), but at the same time use Arabic as a second language. (6)

Economic Characteristics

There are two types of natural resources in Darfur. The first includes the surface resources, which is to say the agricultural crops and animals and the vast pasturelands that extend throughout the lowlands of the area. (7) The other main resources are buried underground, specifically oil, iron, uranium and copper.

Drought and desertification which swept the region during the last three decades, has had a devastating impact on the region's economy. (8) As a result several tribes professed losses both in grazing and farming that is much needed for survival.

ROOT CAUSES OF THE COMMUNAL CONFLICT

In our attempt to scrutinize the nature and the underlying causes of the Darfur crisis, we have to point to the fact that conflicts and feuds in Darfur are not a new phenomenon. A variety of factors namely geographical, natural, social, economic, security and political have helped to shape the region. Below we shall examine these factors in greater detail.

Conflict between Farmers and Nomads over Resources

During the last three decades, the Darfur region was exposed to waves of drought and desertification which has had a devastating impact on the local environment. As a result of the drought, the nomadic tribes were forced to leave their home areas and to intrude into new territories looking for water and grazing areas. The penetration of these territories led to confrontation and later clashes between the nomads and the sedentary tribes (farmers) who inhabited these areas earlier. In these tribal clashes, thousands of people perished.

It is clear that these conflicts started at the beginning of the 1980s and that the Southern Darfur state has witnessed the bulk of these tribal conflicts. To avoid these tribal clashes, the peoples of Darfur have established a mechanism that guaranteed peaceful co-existence between neighboring tribes. This is apparent in the seasonal movements of the nomadic tribes who usually move north during the rainy season (May-September) while moving south during the dry seasons (October-March). These seasonal movements address the basic needs of the nomads in terms of the utilization of some of the grazing lands while at the same time guaranteeing the rights of the farmers by preventing the swarming of their farms by the herdsmen. (9)

This tribal tradition was respected by the two parties--nomads and farmers--and remained the only guarantee for the safety of the nomadic routes between villages and farms. However, in the last few decades drastic changes occurred in the region and, as a result, tribal clashes have increased.

Military and Security Instigators

Security has been a major factor that has contributed to the current state of turmoil in Darfur. This is exemplified by the spilling over of armed conflicts from neighboring countries into Darfur. The eruption of civil war in Chad, for example, led to the proliferation of arms in Darfur.

Darfur was also an operational area for the Islamic Brigades, a force of some five brigades set up by Libya during the time of its wars with Chad. (10) Against this backdrop of militarization, Darfur became a hotbed for foreign forces, a regular landing strip for foreign military transport planes of mysterious origin, and a haven for foreign organizations operating under the cover of "humanitarian aid agencies."

The proliferation of arms coincided with the first wave of drought and desertification which hit the region of Darfur in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Eventually, most of the sedentary, as well as the nomadic tribes resorted to armed robbery so as to compensate for the large sums of money they lost as a result of drought and desertification. Other factors have also contributed to the widespread situations of these phenomena: (11)

1. The state of poverty in the region.

2. The absence of big developmental projects in the different parts of the region and the lack of jobs.

3. The inadequacy of state institutions and, in particular, security as well as the lack of communication networks.

4. The traditional cultural folklore that hails armed robbery, likening it to a brave act.

5. The desire to make mass fortunes within a short period of time.

From a legal point of view, the concept of armed robbery means the use of intimidation or the threat of using force to rob. (12) Organized crime developed to the point where armed gangs stopped a passenger bus and calling one of the passengers by name ordering him to give them the sum of money he cashed from one of the banks. Thousands of cases of armed robbery of this sort were reported in the three states of the Darfur region between 2000 and 2005.

The Lack of Economic Development

During the British occupation of Sudan (1898-1956), the bulk of the country's resources were devoted towards the Northern river provinces, mainly Khartoum and the Blue Nile, leaving the rest of the country relatively undeveloped. (13) Over the course of time, 56% of all investments occurred in Khartoum, Kassala and the Northern Province versus 17% for both Kordofan and Darfur, resulting in about 5-6% in Darfur as Kordofan received the bulk of funds in the West. Darfur, like the rest of Sudan outside the Nile Valley, remained an undeveloped backwater even though independence was achieved in 1956.

There is a consensus among the Sudanese scholars that if the successive Sudanese governments since independence had utilized rich natural resources of the Darfur region earlier (i.e. the vast fertile agricultural lands, livestock, mineral resources including oil), this would have had a profound effect on the development of other regions in the Sudan--north, central and east--and would have substantially increased the country's national income balancing the wealth among the provinces instead of just limiting development to one area. (14)

The present Sudanese government tried earlier in 1991 to develop the Darfur region by allocating one billion pounds in aid; comprising of the construction of international airports and the building of more schools and hospitals. However, the lack of security and stability in the region at this time debilitated the construction of these developmental projects. (15) Instead, most of these funds were diverted to promote security in the region.

Political Factors

The political factor is considered one of the major reasons that precipitated the Darfur crisis. To grasp this more fully, we need to survey the political history of Darfur.

To begin with, an organized political society has existed in Darfur for generations, a fact that was illustrated by the founding of an independent Islamic kingdom in the 14th century. (16)

It is generally asserted that Darfur developed outside the framework of the Sudanese state which emerged after the Egyptian-Turkish occupation (1821-1885) (17) and this continued until Darfur was incorporated by the British into Sudan in 1916. To pacify Darfur and to facilitate its rule, the British colonial administration applied the concept of native administration. However, this system did not last very long, as the Nemeiri regime abolished it in 1971.

After the abolition of the native administration system, the Nemeiri regime shifted to the system of regionalism. Regionalism has major shortcomings and it did not perform its role as effectively as the native administration system, is Things have not changed during the National Salvation government (Al-Bashir regime) which declared the implementation of the federal system. Conditions deteriorated further due to the formation of the People's Defense Forces which diverted from its major objectives and became part of the conflict because the majority of the recruits were from the nomadic Arab tribes.

Al-Bashir's regime resorted to the reconciliation conference system as a new mechanism to contain local conflicts. In the Peaceful Co-existence and the Comprehensive Security Conference, which was organized in Darfur during the period 17-22 December 1997, a wider debate focused on the failure of the reconciliation conference mechanism to contain local conflicts. (19) The conference concluded that the recommendations of the reconciliation conferences in most cases were not compatible with the tribal traditions and customs.

The other major factor that precipitates tribal and communal conflicts in Darfur is associated with political parties' mobilization. During the third democratic epoch (1986-1989), the two major mass sectarian political parties: the Umma Party and the Democratic Union Party, fought vigorously to win the votes of the Darfur region. (20) The Umma Party derives its major support from the Ansar sect which considers western Sudan region as its power-base, whereas, the Democratic Union Party depended entirely on the Khatmiya sect and attempted to win over the Dafur tribes.

THE ERUPTION OF COMMUNAL CONFLICT

The armed communal conflict which bedeviled the Darfur region in 2003 did not come out of a political vacuum. This was the outburst of an awakening in the 1960s due to the political marginalization of Darfur, which transformed into an armed resistance movement that was easily crushed at the beginning of the 1990s, but subsequently the conflict gained momentum when brutal military strikes were waged in 2003 against the government army units which were stationed in the three Darfur states. Below we shall trace in greater details the development of this three-stage communal conflict.

THE BEGINNING OF POLITICAL AWAKENING IN DARFUR

The armed rebellion movements in Darfur were the logical outcomes of political protest movements greatly symbolized by the Darfur Development Front (DDF) which was inaugurated in Nyala (Southern Darfur) in 1964. (21) The leaders of this movement comprised Ahmed Ibrahim Direig, the son of the Sultan of Al Fur, in Jabel Merra), Dr. Ali Al Hag Mohammed (a prominent figure in the Muslim Brothers movement) and Dr. Hassan Ali Taj Eldin, a distinguished figure in the present-day Umma Party.

The demands of this movement came as a reaction to the state's underdevelopment in the years following independence from both the western parliamentarian democracy and military autocracy. As a result, the Darfur Development Front (DDF) focused its demands on the socio-economic and political development of the Darfur region in addition to the sharing of political power and wealth through a central government. However, the defection of the DDFs' leaders to join the other traditional political parties--Ahmed Ibrahim Direig to the Umma Party, while Dr. Ali El Haj joined the Islamic Charter Front (Muslim Brothers), weakened the DDF and later led to the crippling of its political activity.

After the fall of the DDF a secret organization named the Sony Movement (SM) was established in Nyala (Southern Darfur) in 1968, (22) comprised of retired elements from the army and police. The SM restricted its presence to the tribes of Al Fur, Massaleet and Tunjor and was greatly encouraged and supported by the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP). The SM could be considered as the first movement that called for carrying arms in the same way as the Ananya in the Southern Sudan. (23)

YAHIA BOLAD'S MILITARY CAMPAIGN

In 1990 a prominent Muslim activist from the Dagu tribe, engineer Dawood Yahia Bolad, established the second resistance armed movement in Darfur. This armed resistance movement was formed with the aid of the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) whom Yahia Bolad had joined. Bolad tried to establish a link between the Fur tribe in Jebel Merra (Darfur) and the SPLA machinery in Bahr El Gabal state (southern Sudan). The SPLA declared its support for Bolad's armed cell in Darfur and prepared a military plan denoted "rebirth operation area" and Yahia Bolad was assigned to execute that plan. (24) After the entry of Bolad's army into the Darfur region, a counter-campaign was led by the Darfur tribal leaders urging the people to stand against Bolad's army. Bolad's army was completely annihilated.

REBIRTH OF THE CURRENT TWO ARMED RESISTANCE MOVEMENTS

Sudan Liberation Movement

Due to the scarcity of water and grazing lands in Northern Darfur, hundreds of thousands of Arab nomads moved to Kabkabia and Jebel Marra in the southern part of the region. To protect their lands, the farmers--represented mainly by the Fur tribe---established their own militias. In 2001, the first military cell was formed in the area of Zalingei consisting of 17 youths led by an advocate Abdul Wahid Mohammed Nur who was previously jailed for distributing a statement in the name of the Revolutionary Democratic Forces. (25) A training camp was established for 120 members of the Fur tribe with the aim of forming a military group to protect the farmers from attacks by the nomadic Arab tribes. The movement started its activity in 2002 under the name of Darfur Liberation Front (DLF) after another youth group went against the government authority in the areas of Kamoi and Um Baro in Northern Darfur.

In January 2002, a delegation of 17 of the revolting military officers from the area of Kamoi moved to Jebel Merra with the objective of coordinating with the group that was centered in Golow in order to train the Fur elements on ways to protect themselves from the Arab militias.

On 17 February 2002, the Fur rebels made an attack in the Golow region (Jebel Merra) where 17 government soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated and documents in the governor's office were set on fire. Rebels attacks continued targeting government institutions, army camps and police stations around Jebel Merra. By the end of March 2002, the Zagawa rebels took over Attina, Umboro, and Kurnoi in Northern Darfur. (26) On 25 April 2004, the most brutal battle took place in Northern Darfur when the Darfur rebels attacked EL Fasher airport, killing a number of government soldiers and destroying a number of army aircrafts. The attack on the airport showed that the rebels possessed advanced military capabilities.

The Darfur Liberation Front (DLF), which comprised the Fur as well as the Zagawa elements, transformed into the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM). The SLM has a military wing called the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). The founder of the DLF, Abdul Wahid Mohammed Nur, was appointed leader of the SLM, while the leader of the Zagawa rebels, Muna Arko Minawi, was appointed secretary general of the SLM.

The manifesto of the SLM focused on the issue of "marginalization" stating that the Darfttr region had been neglected politically as well economically and that it had been deprived of the basic fundamental services like education and health. The manifesto criticized severely what became recognized as the "hegemony of the center Nilotic Community"--mainly comprising Khartoum, Gezira and the Northern states, which had dominated the central authority since independence. (27)

Justice and Equality Movement

The second largest rebellion movement in Darfur after the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) is the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). As the Fur were the ones who established the SLM, it was the Zagawa who instituted the JEM. The leader of the JEM is Khalil Ibrahim, a medical doctor, who was once a prominent figure in the ruling party, the National Congress, and served as a regional Health Minister in the Darfur region during the mid 1990s. (28) The military wing of JEM is led by Brigadier Al Tiganie Salim.

The JEM, which follows mainly an Islamic track, has the massive support of the African tribes (Zagawa and Massalite) and believes that the central government at Khartoum mainly backed the Arab tribes in the Darfur region. Before the institution of the JEM, its leader, Dr. Halil Ibrahim, contributed with others in the documentation of the Black Book. (29)

The JEM is characterized by its powerful political agenda which supersedes its military power. The movement caters to a united Sudan within a federal formula. It envisions Sudan being divided into seven federal states: Khartoum, Darfur, the South, East, the North, Kordofan and Centre. According to the JEM, the post of the president of the country should be rotated between the seven states.

Sudanese Democratic Federal Alliance

The third political movement, which was established in Darfur, was the Sudanese Democratic Federal Alliance (SDFA). The leader of the SDFA is the distinguished politician Ahmed Ibrahim Direig, outlining the main political objectives of his new organization as follows: (31)

1. The end of the civil war.

2. The institution of a federal or a confederate system of government in Sudan.

3. The endorsement of the principle of non-discrimination between citizens based on religion, race or sex.

4. The separation of religion from politics.

These political objectives were almost identical to the Declaration of the Principles issued by the Inter-Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD) in 1993 in reference to the reconciliation of the southern Sudanese communal conflict, with the exception of the principle of self-determination which the SDFA sees as destructive to Sudan's unity. (32)

From the survey of the rebellion movements above, it is evidently clear that both SLM and JEM have shown enormous political and military capabilities in the field in a very short period of time. However, despite this, the two movements have suffered certain major weaknesses that affected their capabilities and which could be summarized as follows: (33)

1. The lack of a unified political program that could unite the two groups together.

2. The different of the objectives of the two movements: the SLM caters to the confederation or separation, while the JEM calls for a united Sudan from within a federal formula.

3. The ideological differences manifested in the secular approach of the SLM when it calls for the separation of religion from politics, which in a way is identical to the approach of John Garang's movement, the SPLA. On the other hand, the JEM adopted a more Islamic approach and there is the belief that the movement is closely associated with Dr. Hassan Al Turabi's People Congress Party. *

4. Differences in political maturity much reflected in the weak political agendas of the SLM and its ill-prepared administrative structure in comparison to the JEM which has a strong political agenda and an efficient administrative structure in addition to its clear vision in regards to the future of Sudan.

Janjaweed Militias

Besides the Darfur rebellion movements, the dynamics of conflict in the area involves the negative activities of the Arab militias, in particular the Janjaweed, which was formed in Darfur. The leaders of these groups have used their forces to pursue other aims, employing them in tribal feuds, in plundering smaller tribes, in seizing control of fertile lands and water sources, turning Darfur into a zone of indiscriminate violence. (34)

When the Darfur rebellion movements, SLM and JEM started their military campaign in 2002, the Sudanese government was forced to mobilize the support of the Arab tribes so as to defeat the rebellion. In response, about 27 Arab tribes formed their own militias (Janjaweed). A small number of these militias were formed in Northern Darfur while the bulk of them--more than 5,000 fighters--were mobilized in southwest Darfur around Kargo Hill.

THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF THE COMMUNAL CONFLICT

As stated previously, the rebel's attacks targeted mainly the major cities as well as the remote villages in the Darfur region (35) and throughout 2003 many attacks were carried out on both public and governmental buildings across Darfur. The most vicious attack was the one carried against El Fahser--capital of Northern Darfur--on 25th of April 2004, where the airport, police and army camps, the university and the city's market were all targets. (36) In this attack, many innocent citizens, including students and government soldiers, were killed. Finally, the most relentless and bloody attacks were the ones directed against the Sheairea area on January 3, 2004 and the city of Buram in March 2004. In these attacks, hundreds of innocent citizens were killed mainly from the Ezaydib tribe, women were raped, others were abducted, and homes were set on fire.

In retaliation, the government launched massive military operations against the rebel forces, mobilizing mainly the Arab militias, Janjaweed. The government attacks took the shape of air-bombardments which were followed by Arab militias' attacks--using mainly horses or camels (37) In these attacks, it was alleged that tens of thousands of people, predominantly innocent citizens, were killed, hundreds of women were raped, and others abducted, villages were burned and that about one and one-half million people fled their homes.

The Darfur communal conflict is classified as the worst human disaster ever witnessed by the world. The human rights groups, as well as NGOs, have accused the Sudanese government and its pro-Arab militias (Janjaweed) of carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the African tribes in Darfur. (38) Those groups also accused the government and the Janjaweed of committing serious violations such as mass killings, systematic mass rapes, and robbery.

The Sudanese government denies any association or backing to the Janjaweed. But a report issued by the human rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) in April 2006, stated that there was concrete evidence that substantiates the allegations of close cooperation between the Sudanese government and the Arab militias, the Janjaweed. (39) Another report by the HRW also confirms that such a pattern of human rights violations has been followed by the government in west Darfur. (40)

The serious violations of human rights in the Darfur region resulted in the death toll of 200,000 people according to the UN estimates, the massive displacement of civilians, the massive systematic rapes, and the estimated 2.5 million refugee camps in Darfur and neighboring Chad, did in fact attract the attention of the international community, but in an unprecedented way when you compare it with other human disasters. (41) A year into the Darfur conflict, the international media made it a focal point in its reporting and it became the hottest issue in the 2004 American presidential election. The fact that the Darfur region is rich in natural resources *, and prominent geographical location, makes it a buffer zone between French Africa and British Africa, and a target for superpower rivalry.

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

After the collapse of the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the U.S. introduced new mechanisms for direct intervention world-wide. (42) The U.S.A. identified seventy conflicts which it would be willing to engage in so as to preserve the national interest. For that reason, the U.S.A. engaged heavily in building a strong army for the twenty-first century that matches its new international responsibility. According to the U.S.A. National Security Strategy of 1997-1998, and, in particular, anything that deals with the Middle East, the USA will attempt to engage heavily in the "chain of crises" which extends from Iran to Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Libya. (43) This strategy comprises ways and means for regimes' containment, international economic sanctions, and the direct presence of US troops in the region.

From this comprehensive strategic perspective, we should view the Sudanese-American relationship. Since the National Salvation government, under the leadership of President Omer Hassan El-Beshir, had assumed political power in 1989, the USA has pursued a policy of containment and confrontation with it. The major reason for this hostile U.S. policy is that the Sudanese regime voted against the stationing of U.S. troops in the Gulf region when the issue of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was debated at the Cairo Arab Summit Conference which convened in 1990.44 In addition, the National Salvation regime adopted a more radical Islamic approach, greatly exemplified in the implementation of the Sharia law and in the regime's attempt to mobilize a broad-based anti-US alliance that comprised both Islamists as well as Arab nationalists in what came to be known as the Islamic Arabic Popular Congress, which was located in Khartoum. At the regional level, the Sudanese regime adopted a more expansionist foreign policy approach that aimed at supporting Muslim militants in neighboring countries. (45) All those measures undertaken by the Sudanese regime were seen by the US administration as both hostile and an attempt to undermine its interest in the region. Subsequently, the US administration pursued a policy aimed at isolating the Sudanese regime both politically and diplomatically and to strangle it economically, and, in case neither one of the two worked, to contemplate a military action against it. (46)

Based on that policy, the US administration classified Sudan as a terrorist state. The US administration primarily justified this move on the ground that the Sudanese regime organized the first conference of the Islamic Arabic Popular Congress in 1991 in Khartoum which hosted "terrorist organizations" such as Al-Jama'a al-Islamiya (Egypt), Hizbollah (Lebanon) and the two militant Palestinian movements Hamas and Al-Jihad Al-Islami.

At the regional level, the US administration established an anti-Sudan block to isolate Sudan both politically and economically. This strategy, which denoted the "policy of containment" was mainly led by Madeline Albright, the former Secretary of State in the Clinton administration, and was mainly designed to: (47)

1. mobilize the neighboring African countries against the Sudan; and

2. support the Southern Sudanese rebellion movement (SPLA) financially, diplomatically and media wise.

Based on this strategy, the US administration allocated $20 million in 1996 to three Horn Countries--namely Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda--in the form of military assistance so as to crush the Sudanese regime. (48) Other than that, it supported the SPLA military in a way that later facilitated the latter's occupation of two important cities in the North, mainly Kurmuk and Gessan in January 1997. The climax of that policy was the US missile strike which targeted a pharmaceutical factory in North Khartoum in August 1998 alleging that it was a chemical weapons factory. However, this strategy failed in fulfilling its objectives due to the internal feuds between the Horn Countries.

The resumption of the US hostile policy towards the Sudanese government has long-term and short-term objectives. The long-term objective is associated with the policy of rebuilding the Middle Eastern countries (the New Middle East Initiative) and link it with US oil interests. High quality oil has been discovered in great quantities in Darfur near the border with Chad. US oil companies have already invested more than $5 billion in the Chad oil industry. (49)

The short-term objective was closely associated with the fever of the US presidential election of 2004 where both the Republican and the Democratic Parties attempted to exploit the Darfur crisis and to portray it as a conflict between the Arab tribes, who are supported by the government, and the African tribes, so as to win the votes of Black Americans.

The US administration tried repeatedly to press the UN Security Council to endorse a resolution that imposed economic sanctions on Sudan including an oil embargo. The oil industry provided 40% of the state's revenues. As it is widely known, China has been the largest investor in the Sudanese oil industry. (50) Apparently, China threatened to use its veto in the Security Council if that resolution was submitted to the Council. Eventually, a compromised resolution (No. 1564) was adopted on 18 September 2004 which pointed to the failure of the Sudanese government to improve the Security situation of the civilian population.

However, the report of the UN Investigation Committee concluded that atrocities were committed on a wider scale and in a systematic manner. The committee presented to the UN Secretary General, a list naming 51 people who were responsible for committing such crimes and recommending that they be referred to the International Court of Justice.

A number of human rights groups, in particular, the Darfur Consortium which consisted of fifty international and African organizations and in conjunction with Human Rights First International, organized a big rally in Cairo, Egypt on 23 February 2005, to support the call for referring those who are responsible for human rights violations in Darfur to the International Criminal Court. (51)

The US administration has constantly refused to recognize the International Criminal Court ICC, at the Hague, for fear that American citizens might be tried in cases associated with crimes against humanity. It was only after the US administration received assurances from the UN that its troops involved in peace-keeping operation all over the world would not be tried in international courts, that the US administration agreed not to use its veto against a UN Security Council resolution that called far handing over Darfur criminals to the ICC. (52) In response, the Sudanese government condemned the UN Security Council resolution No. 1593 and affirmed that it would not hand over any Sudanese citizen to the ICC. The first test for the ICC in regards to the Darfur's crisis came on 27 February 2007, when its general prosecutor, Luis Moreno--Ocampo, accused a top Sudanese official, Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb, a Janjaweed militia leader, of 51 crimes against humanity and of war crimes such as mass killings, mass rapes and the forcible transfer of thousands of civilians from their homes in the Darfur region, and asked judges at the ICC's pre-trial chamber to issue summons against them. (53)

The Sudanese government even later became more defiant when it announced that it would suspend cooperation with the ICC. (54) Still, Khartoum has cooperated with the court on some levels, in particular, by allowing its investigators to visit Sudan several times in recent years.

Meanwhile, reports from the UN, humanitarian agencies and the media confirm a sharp deterioration in the security situation in Darfur. It is alleged that more than 400,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been forced out of their homes since the violence began in 2003. (55) Since the eruption of conflict in Darfur in 2003, the African Union (AU) has been entrusted with the mission of seeking a solution to that conflict. The reconciliatory efforts of the AU in this regard is apparent in brokering the April 2004 cease-fire, deploying 7,000 troops to Darfur to observe the cease-fire, and hosting successive rounds of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel movements. (56)

A United States think tank, African Action, declares that the UN is the appropriate vehicle for such an intervention, and that this is a viable option that should immediately be pursued by the international community. (57) Based on African precedents, African Action asserts that such a UN action in support of the AU can and will provide critical support to the AU mission and provide security to the people of Darfur.

Africa Action stipulates that in order for a UN mandate and intervention to be authorized by the Security Council, under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, there must be leadership from within the Security Council from a powerful nation with the political will and the resources to galvanize international support for this mission. In the view of Africa Action, this leadership must come from the US. As a result of this belief, the US administration exerted a lot of diplomatic efforts to sanction international intervention in Darfur. (58)

The first step in that direction was that the US administration was able to persuade the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) to adopt a resolution in its meeting the on 10 March 2006, that called for the transition of the African Union mission in Darfur to a UN mission in the framework of joint partnership between the UN and AU to maintain peace, security and stability in Africa.

The Sudanese government's suspicions of the international intervention in Darfur, dramatically increased following the call by US President George Bush for a NATO supported United Nations intervention in Darfur. The Director of the European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council (ESPAC), Dr. David Hoile, warned of the consequences of such calls by the United States for a NATO-led UN intervention. He fears that such intervention would create another Iraq in Darfur to replace the African Union mission: (59)

"We would see another Iraq type disaster in a strategically vital part of the world that is also politically delicate and religiously fragile."

Some Sudanese scholars perceive NATO-led international intervention in Darfur as a US tool to implement its strategy of creating a black African zone in Sudan extending from Darfur in the west and heading east, incorporating regions such as southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains and the Ingessana bordering Ethiopia. (60)

The US administration tried repeatedly to persuade the Sudanese government to accept the deployment of international forces to Darfur region. In consequence, the US administration threatened to impose economic sanctions on Sudan. On 6 February 2007, President Bush approved a plan for the Treasury Department to aggressively block US Commercial bank transaction connected to the government of Sudan, including those involving oil revenues, if Khartoum bars an international force from being deployed to Darfur. (61)

Other military options such as a no-fly zone which is mainly instigated by US close ally, Britain, or a forced intervention have been ruled out for now, but the Pentagon has done some "back of the envelope" calculations on what might be needed, the defense official said. (62)

The Sudanese government was critical of these tough new measures the US plans to impose against it, alleging that such measures will only threaten humanitarian agreements which it has signed with the United Nations on 28 March 2007. (63) By virtue of these agreements, aid workers will be given more access to victims of the conflict in the region. Previously, Sudan has been accused of hindering humanitarian work in Darfur.

GREAT BRITAIN

The British government under the leadership of Tony Blair had adopted the same US aggressive policy against the Sudanese government in relation to the Darfur conflict. Immediately after the state of unrest swept the Darfur region following the eruption of the conflict, the British government started to put a lot of pressure on the Sudanese government to stop the atrocities or bear the consequences. At one stage, the Prime Minister Tony Blair threatened to send British troops to the Darfur region so as to protect the innocent civilians. Subsequently, the British government denied it had ever considered sending British forces to Darfur. This "softening" in the British approach mainly coincided with an official visit made by the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw to Darfur in August 2004, in which he indicated that Britain was preparing to give Khartoum more time rather than pressing for sanctions by the UN Security Council. (64)

Subsequently, when the Sudanese government adamantly refused the deployment of the UN troops to the Darfur region, the British government resumed its harsh diplomatic language.

The Sudanese government was outraged for Tony Blair's call for tough measures against Khartoum including the declaration of Darfur as a no-fly zone and linking the conflict in Darfur to the spread of extremism in Africa. "The allegation by Tony Blair about terrorism in Darfur is a sheer lie," Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein, the Sudanese Defense minister, told the Sudanese daily Al-Sahafa. (65) He reiterated the Khartoum rejection of UN troops in Darfur saying his government would not allow Darfur to become "another Iraq."

The Sudanese Scholars in general are utterly disappointed with the British stand in the Darfur crisis. Instead of being enslaved to the US view, they expected Britain to play a more positive role in the crisis. (66) Unlike other western powers, Britain is much more familiar with the political conditions in Sudan, which was previously subjected to British colonial rule for almost sixty years.

FRANCE

At the beginning, France maintained a low profile in regards to the Darfur conflict, but later it became more active when the conflict spilled over to Chad and the Central African Republic. Concerned with regionalizing the conflict in Darfur, Paris concurrently contemplated obtaining an agreement in Cairo and Khartoum, for the rapid deployment of an international force along the border with Chad and the Central African Republic, two of its African allies.

Subsequently, the French President, Jacques Chirac threatened Sudan with sanctions if "the crimes against humanity" in the Darfur region continued. "I say solemnly: if the attacks continue, if agreements are not respected, the UN Security Council will have no other choice, but to adopt sanctions." (67)

CHINA

Petroleum is the largest single source of revenue for the Sudanese government. Sudan exported nearly $4.2 billion worth of oil in 2005, accounting for roughly 85% of its export revenue, and received approximately $7.6 billion in oil export revenue in 2006. (68) China is the main investor in Sudan's oil-industry as well as the main importer of that oil--buying nearly 60% of Sudan's exported oil. The state-owned China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) is a 40% stakeholder in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), the main oil-producing consortium in Sudan. (69)

Since the eruption of the Darfur conflict in 2003, China frustrated all attempts to impose UN sanctions on the Sudanese petroleum sector. Exchange of state visits by officials of both Sudan and China has focused on strengthening commercial and economic ties between them. During a visit to Sudan on February 2007, Chinese President Hu Jintao signed several economic deals with Sudan, including an interest free loan of 100 million Yuan, ($13 million) for Sudan to build a new presidential palace. He also wrote off up to $70 million in Sudanese debts to China. (70)

The Western powers are extremely critical of China's stand on the Darfur crisis. (71) The US special envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, criticized Beijing for not putting economic pressure on Sudan over Darfur and said he was disappointed by the Chinese leader's visit to Khartoum. (72) Natsios urged China to join the United States and others and use diplomatic and economic pressure to push Sudan's government to accept an international force in its Darfur region and stop what the United States says is genocide.

Francois Bayrou, a center-right candidate for France's presidency, called for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics unless more is done to pressure the Sudanese government. (73)

China defended its approach to Sudan by saying it does not want to interfere in another nation's internal affairs, a sentiment echoed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang. (74) "When we are dealing with this issue, we have to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sudan," Quin told a regular press briefing. "China will continue to play a constructive role and work together with the international community for peace and stability in Darfur, Qin added." (75)

Subsequently, China, the main supplier of arms to Sudan, headed towards strengthening military ties with Sudan. Visiting Sudanese military chief Haj Ahmed Gaili and Chinese Defense minister Cao Gangchuan agreed that the two sides should seek closer ties in military and other spheres, Xinhua news agency reported. Cao commented that China was willing to improve military cooperation with Sudan. The Sudanese military chief replied that his country wanted to maintain and strengthen cooperation with China to elevate bilateral ties.

THE REGIONAL RAMIFICATIONS OF THE DARFUR CONFLICT

The African Union Role

The African Union's (AU) role in the Darfur crisis stems from an October 2004 AU Peace and Security Council mandate authorizing troops in the region to monitor the cease-fire agreement signed in April 2004 in the Chadian capital N'djamena by the Sudanese government and the two rebel groups: Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement. (76) Rather than follow the recommendations of its own assessment team to enter Darfur in the role of protector, the AU's mandate called only for troops to serve as monitors of the crumbling cease-fire, a concession insisted upon by the Sudanese government.

As violence against civilians continued, the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) force's mandate was expanded in October 2004 to protecting "Civilians whom it encounters under imminent threat and in the immediate vicinity, within resources and capability." This was only the narrowest provision for protection of civilians. (77) According to Prendergast, by failing to stand up to the Khartoum government, the AU gave up responsibility to quell the violence.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has characterized the AU problem in Darfur as a money issue: "Despite a chronic funding crisis, AU troops in Darfur are doing a valiant job. People feel safer when the troops are present. But there are too few of them--a protection force of only 5000, with an additional 2,000 police and military observers, to cover a territory the size of Texas," Annan wrote in a January 2006 Washington Post editorial. (78)

Aside from the aforementioned pressure from the US to hand their mission over to the UN, the African Union's efforts hit other roadblocks. AU mediators have been unable to overcome infighting among the two main rebel groups negotiating with the Sudanese government, and between 2004 and 2006 the AU convened more than seven rounds of peace talks. (79)

The Role of Chad in the Darfur Conflict

As stated previously, when the Darfur conflict first erupted in 2002, the Chadian government under the leadership of President Idris Deby, played a prominent role in reconciliation efforts. (80) The US administration backed Chad in its dispute with Sudan. To consolidate the military power of the Chadian regime, the US signed an agreement with it which opened the way for grant military transfers to that country along with surplus US defense equipment. (81)

Some regional powers, notably Egypt, were not happy with the animosity between Sudan and Chad and apparently exerted a lot of effort in order to reconcile the dispute between the two countries. (82) Subsequently, in a mini-summit convened on the sidelines of a France-Africa summit in Cannes (France) on 14 February 2007, and attended by the leaders of Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic (CAR), Egypt and Ghana (which chaired the African Union), the three volatile neighbors (Sudan, Chad and CAR) agreed first that each country will respect the sovereignty of the other countries and no country will support any rebellion within its territory; and, secondly, to increase cooperation between the three states and working with the United Nations and the African Union.

Chad, however, did not honor this agreement. On 9 April 2007, Chad admitted that while its forces were chasing Chadian rebels, they crossed the border into Sudan where they clashed with the Sudanese army forces and killed seventeen of them. Chad expressed its regrets over the incident and apologized to Khartoum over what it claimed were unintentional clashes. It promised to send a mission to Khartoum, led by the foreign minister, to explain the incident.

THE DOMESTIC RAMIFICATION OF THE DARFUR CONFLICT

The internationalization of the Darfur conflict and its domestic ramifications are accentuated by the international pressure on the Sudanese government to find a peaceful solution to the conflict or otherwise face economical and military sanctions. From the beginning the Sudanese government viewed the eruption of the Darfur conflict as a Western conspiracy aimed at undermining its political authority. To neutralize the Western plan, the Sudanese government exerted a lot of effort from the beginning for reconciliation.

Over the past four years, six sets of peace talks have been held and as many ceasefires have been broken. Most recently, the seventh round of peace talks started at the end of November 2005 in Abuja under the African Union mediation. The talks, which lasted five and half months, ended up with a 5 May 2006 peace agreement that was signed only by the Sudanese government and SLM/A (Minnawi's faction) while rejected by both SLM/A (Abdel Wahid's faction) and JEM. (83) What came to be known as the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), addressed the economic and political marginalization of Darfur, which triggered the war in the first place, and the need to stop the fighting and bring security to Darfur. The four major sections of the DPA deal were security, power sharing, wealth sharing and the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue. (84)

The security section imposes a ceasefire and requires the government of Sudan to disarm the Janjaweed militias prior to the disarmament and demobilization of the rebel movement forces. (85) This is the most vital section because people would not go home until the fighting ends.

Finally, the DPA calls for a Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation (DDDC). Under this section, representatives of Darfurian groups are to discuss their ideas for reconciliation, conflict-resolution, reconstruction, and political representation. Many leaders believe that the DDDC will give Darfufians a sense of participation in the peace process that they never got from the DPA negotiation in Abuja, Nigeria.

Both the SLM/A (Abdel Wahid faction) and JEM rejected the DPA on three grounds: (a) Procedural (b) Legal and (c) Technical. As regards (a), the AU has decided to classify the negotiation process into three commissions: Power sharing, wealth sharing and security arrangements, and has further decided to proceed in the negotiation of these commissions in a concurrent manner. (86) The main concern of the two movements was that this procedure would create confusion and would not lead to fair results, e.g., lands in Darfur constitute a critical issue for Darfurians. Secondly, the compiled document was prepared six weeks before it was presented to the movements on 25 April 2006, but it was kept in AU drawers, then presented to the movements that were given just 5 days to respond to and sign it.

As regards (b), the procedures being followed by the AU mediation, considered illegal in the view of the two movements. First, the compiled document presented to the movements on 25 April 2006 was not complete as it lacked at that date implementation modalities in all commissions. Furthermore, the three crucial issues (the implementation mechanism, general provisions and guarantees were not discussed at all). (87) Secondly the Agreement (DPA) gives the Sudanese government (National Congress Party, NCP) absolute power to rule Darfur, it retains 81% of constitutional and executive posts (State Governors, Ministers, Commissionaires etc) and 71% of legislative seats in Darfur. In the view of the two movements, the license of implementing this agreement is completely under the control of the NCP government which is accused by the international community of committing genocide and ethnic cleansing in Darfur.

As regards (c) (Technical), the two movements point out that the security and humanitarian situations have dominated the technical side of the negotiations, as the AU mediation adopted the agenda of the international community, aiming to:(i) safeguard the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 between the Sudanese government and the SPLA (ii) help to get the Sudanese government's approval to bring UN troops to Darfur; and (iii) help to bring sufficient aid to the needy people. Therefore, less attention has been given to the power-sharing commission, which was meant to resolve the root causes in the first place, of the conflict in Darfur. (88) In addition, some essential rights of Darfurians were not sufficiently addressed: (i) individual compensations where the Sudanese government is supposed to deposit immediately after the signing of the DPA a significant amount of money into the Darfurian Compensation Fund; (ii) the duration of the interim period; and (iii) the rebel movements shall control their forces over the interim period before the UN Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration program (DDR) takes place. Also, there is no provision in the DPA to allow a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur after the signing of the agreement.

Apart from the criticisms of the two rebel movements (SLM/A (Abdel Wahid and JEM), the DPA faced immediate trouble. Rather than seeing the DPA as an opportunity for peace, Minnawi's forces launched a series of attacks. In these attacks more than 1000 people were reported killed. (89) This fact, the militarization of camps and an increase in banditry, have generated new displacement, particularly in North Darfur. The World Food Program reported that it was unable to deliver food to nearly a half million people in July 2006 because of the lack of security, and the UN says that more aid workers were killed in July 2006 than in 2005 and 2004. With violence increasing, the people of Darfur see no benefits from the DPA and have further hardened their stance against it.

CONCLUSION

From the preceding analysis, it is clear that the environmental, economic, security and political factors have been the major underlying causes for the eruption of the Darfur Communal Conflict.

In addition, the key role played by John Garang's movement, the Southern People Liberation Army Movement (SPLA/M) in igniting the communal conflict in Darfur can be clearly seen. As can the dominant role played by the US administration in the Darfur conflict. It is the US administration which initiated the process of internationalizing the Darfur conflict and the US administration tried repeatedly to mobilize the UN Security Council members to impose economic sanctions on Sudan.

China, too, played a dominant role in the Darfur conflict. Being the largest investor in the Sudanese oil industry and for fears that its economic interest might be undermined, China frustrated all attempts by the Western countries, namely the US and Britain, to impose an oil embargo on Sudan.

The African Union (AU) played an instrumental role also in the Darfur conflict. From the beginning, the AU was entrusted with the mission of monitoring the cease-fire agreements among the parties. However, the lack of funds sophisticated effective arms, technical and logistical support have hampered the AU efforts to deal effectively with the Darfur crisis.

Even though neighboring Chad had played a crucial role in hosting the peace negotiations earlier between the conflicting parties, later it distanced itself from the peace process when the conflict started to affect it negatively.

A question arises: Are there prospects for the Darfur crisis to end peacefully or would the status-quo of "no-war, no-peace" continue?

I believe now there are good prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Darfur conflict, especially after the consent of the Sudanese government to the proposal of deploying a hybrid peacekeeping force (joint AU-UN) under the AU command to the Darfur region. As it appears the international community has realized that it is time to give enormous support to peaceful negotiations. This explains the tremendous pressure exerted on the Darfurian rebellion movements that did not sign the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) to re-engage in the peace process. In order to strengthen the trend of peaceful negotiations, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, rebuffed the US move to impose economic sanctions on Sudan, saying that the Sudanese government had shown tremendous flexibility and cooperation when it consented to the idea of a hybrid force and, therefore, we have to appreciate what it did rather than punish it.

The Darfur crisis has been portrayed as a war of genocide launched by the Arab militias (Janjaweed) who are supported by the Sudanese government against the African Sedentary tribes. This portrayal is misleading and does not conform to reality. There is a consensus among Darfurian scholars that the crisis is closely correlated with the issue of development. The state of poverty and underdevelopment, which has characterized the Darfur region since Sudan's independence in 1956 has been the major factor that precipitated the crisis. If the rich natural resources of the region had been utilized effectively in the first place, the region's economic well being would have being substantially elevated and prosperity, peace and stability would have been attained.

ENDNOTES

(1.) <http ://experts.about.cona/e/d/da/darfur.htm>.

(2.) Ibid.

(3.) Kamal Mohammed Obeid, Darfur." The Absent Truth, (Sudanese Media Centre, Khartoum, 2005), p. 111.

(4.) "Crisis of Darfur", Al Hayat, (London Daily Newspaper) 9.5.2004.

(5.) <http://www.freearabvoice.org/articles/Daffur The New American French Protectorate.htm>12.12.2006.

(6.) Alex de Waal, op. cit.

(7.) Ibid.

(8.) Kamal Obeid, op. cit.

(9.) K.M. Barbour, Republic of the Sudan (University of London Press, 1961) p. 149-158.

(10.) <http://www.freearabvoice.org/articles/Darfur The New American French Protechorate.htm> 12.12.2006.

(11.) International Herald Tribune, Africa and Middle East, op. cit.

(12.) Kamal Obeid, op. cit., p. 119.

(13.) <http://experts.about.com/e/d/da/darfur.htm>.

(14.) "The Darfur Crisis" The online Newshour, <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth coverage/africa/darfur/ rebel- groups.html> 23.4.2007.

(15.) Basic Search, Sudan: General Conflict Information, Uppsala University, <http://www.pcr.uu.se/database/conflict summary.php./bcld=233>, 23.4.2007.

(16.) Fatma Al Amin Ali, "The Role of Traditional Mechanism and Official Efforts in reconciling Tribal Conflicts in Darfur," Peace File (2), (Africa and the Middle East Studies Centre, Khartoum, November-December 2003), p. 27.

(17.) Muna Taha Ayoub, "Political Motivation for Conflict in Darfur", Peace File, (Africa and the Middle East Studies Centre, Khartoum, November-December 2003), p. 11.

(18.) Muna Taha Ayoub, op. cit.

(19.) The Peaceful Co-existence and Comprehensive Security Conference in Darfur, Nyala, Southern Darfur State, Sudan, 17-22 December 1997.

(20.) Ibrahim Al-Amin, op. cit.

(21.) The Black Book, Justice and Truth Movement, (Khartoum, 1999), p. 20.

(22.) Ibid.

(23.) Ibid.

(24.) <http://www.freearabvoice.org / articles / Darfur The American French Protectorate.htm>, 12/12/2006.

(25.) Ibrahim Ali Ibrahim, "Centre-Periphery Conflict Over Power in Sudan," <http://www.sudani.net/modules.phph?name=news & file=article>.

(26.) Al Sharag Al Awsat (London based Arabic Daily Newspaper), 14.8.2004.

(27.) Dia Eldin Bilal, "Who are the leaders of the rebellion movement in Darfur?" Sudan Nile Electronic Magazine, 9.5.2004. feedback@sudanile.com.

(28.) Abdel Wahab Al Afendi, "Darfur: The End of Politics in Sudan", Al Quds Al-Arabi (London Daily Newspaper), 11.3.2003.

(29.) Dia Eldin Bilal, op. cit.

(30.) Ibid. 3.6.2003.

(31.) 'Sudanese Democratic Federal Alliance", The political Manifesto issued January 1994.

(32.) A statement issued by Ahmed Ibrahim Direig, London, 8.12.2003.

(33.) Al Hayat, 27.10.2004.

* After the split of the ruling party, the National Congress in 1998, Dr. Hassan Al-Turabi and his close followers defected and established their won party, the People Congress Party.

(34.) Al Qabas, 4.8.2004.

(35.) see page 26.

(36.) Al-Itihad (United Arab Emirates Daily Newspaper) 10.8.2004.

(37.) <BBC Arabic.Com>, 29.5.2006.

(38.) "Sudanese army denies responsibility for attacks in Darfur, balme militias and bandits" News Article by AP, 26 November 2006. <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/13655.html>, 27.11.2006.

(39.) "Policy of Ethnic Cleansing followed by Sudanese Government and the Arab militias in Western Darfur", <http://www.hrw.org/ arabic/reports/2004/Sudan-dar 8 htm>, 3.4.2006.

(40.) <http ://www.hrw.org.arabic/reports/2004/sudan-dar8htm>, 3.4.2006.

(41.) "Darfur and the Peace building", United Nations Mission in Sudan, <http://www.unmis.org/english/darfur.htm>, 12.3.2007. * See page 5

(42.) Mamdouh Anes Fathi, "U.S. Strategy in the Coming Century," Al-Seyasa Al Dawlia (International Politics) Cairo, 1998, p. 190.

(43.) Ibid.

(44.) <http://www.ahram.org.eg/acpss/ahram/2001/1/1/R2RB24.htm>.

(45.) Al Hava (London-based Arabic Daily Newspaper) 23.10.2003.

(46.) David Hoile, Farce Majeure, The Clinton Administration's Sudan Policy (London: European Sudanese Public Affairs Council, 2000), p. 6

(47.) Hassan Adam "The US role in the Sudanese Peace Process" A paper presented to a symposium organized by the African and Middle East Study Centre, Khartoum, 11.9.2004, p. 72.

(48.) See "Sudanese-American Relations between intimidation and normalization," <http://www.smcsudan.net/files/3.html>.

(49.) See (i)Al-Ahram (Egyptian Daily Newspaper) 29.11.2004. (ii) Norm Dixon, "Oil Profits Behind West Tear for Darfur", Counter punch, 19.8.2004. <http://www.counterpunch.org/brauchlill 1192004.html>.

(50.) <http://arabic.cnn.com/2006/darfur/12/25/darfur.file/index.html>.

(51.) The Press conference organized by the Cairo Centre for Human Rights Studies in Conjunction with Human Right First International, 23.3.3005.

(52.) <http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/arabic/news/newsid_4400000/ 4400675.stm>, 29.5.2006.

(53.) "'Khartoum rejects ICC jurisdiction over Darfur Crimes", News Article by AFP, 27.2.2007. <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/14192.html>.

(54.) 'Sudan announces it will suspend cooperation with the International Criminal Court', News Article by AP, 19.3.2007, <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/14293.html>.

(55.) 'How the UN Can stop Genocide in Darfur', Africa Action's Newsroom, 17.1.2006, <http://www.africaaction.org/newsroom/index.php?op= read&documentid=1603 & type>.

(56.) Ibid.

(57.) Africa Action's Newsroom, op. cir.

(58.) Middle East Online, http://www.middle_east_online.com/ sudan/?id=44438_>, 12.3.2007.

(59.) "NATO-Led UN Darfur Intervention would Become Another Iraq", Press Release/Commentary by ESPAC, 18.3.2006,mhttp://www.sudan.net/ news/press/posted/332.html>.

(60.) See (i) "The US vision of a new Sudan: The Black African Zone", Alam Al-Huda A Osman, ,<elnadief@hotmail.com>. (ii) "Sudan: Confrontation or subjugation," Abdel Rahim Abdel Khalieg,, <Aawad3a@yahoo.com>.

(61.) "US President Bush Approves Plan to Pressure Sudan", News Article by WP, 7.2.2007, <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/14098.html>, 7.2.2007.

(62.) Ibid.

(63.) "Sudan says tough new US measures will backfire", News Article by Reuters, 29.3.2007, <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/14352.html>, 1.4.2007.

(64.) Ibid.

(65.) "Sudan minister blasts Blair over Darfur Comments", News Article by AFP posted on 17 March 2007, <http://www.sudan.net/ news/9osted/14283.html>. 17.3.2007.

(66.) Mohammed Al Amin Abas, "Genesis & Development of the Darfur Crisis", Al-Mustagbal Al-Arabi (Arabic Future), Vol. 27, No. 312, (Feb 2005), p. 70-87.

(67.) "France threatens Sudan with sanctions", News Article by AFP posted on March 20, 2007, <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/14300.html>, 21.3.2007.

(68.) Country Report, Sudan, The Economist Intelligence Unit (London), September 2006.

(69.) "China Seduces Africa while West Watches" News Article by Reuters posted on 6 November 2006, <http://www.sudan.net/ news/posted/13519.html>, 27.11.2006.

(70.) International Crisis Group, op. cit., p. 8.

(71.) "Darfur exposes Chinese hypocrisy" The Washington Post, 6.9.2006.

(72.) "US envoy to Sudan critical of China", News Article by Reuters posted on February 9, 2007, <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/14115.html>, 12.2.2007.

(73.) "China defends Darfur stance after French politician calls for 2008 Olympic boycott", News Article by AP posted on March 23, 2007, <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/14 307.html>, 24.3.2007.

(74.) Ibid.

(75.) "China calls for more flexibility from Sudan on Darfur issue", News Article by Xinhua posted on 3 April 2007, <http://www.sudan.net/ news/posted/14377.html>, 9.4.2007.

(76.) See (i) "African Union under test in Darfur Crisis", English People's Daily Online, 28 December 2004, <http://english.people.com.cn/ 2004/2/28/eng20041228 168960.html>, 26.3.2007. (ii) "Darfur: African Union Must Deploy Faster", Human Right Watch, <http://hrw.org/english/docs/ 2005/05/08/darfur10589.htm>, 26.3.2007.

(77.) "Sudan rejects larger African Union Role in Darfur", the Associated Press, 24.8.2004.

(78.) Kristina Nwazota, op. cit.

(79.) Kristina Nwazota, op. cit.

(80.) See page 68.

(81.) "US Chad move toward closer military ties," News Article by AP posted on 15 February 2007, <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/14145.html>, 19.2.2007.

(82.) "Sudan, Chad, CAR agree not to support rebels", News Article by AFP posted on 15 February 2007, <http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/ 14141.html>, 19.2.2007.

* According to some Sudanese officials, this western conspiracy is instigated by the US administration using local actors such as the SPLA/SPLM and the Darfur rebel groups. See pages 22-23, 25-26, 45.

(83.) "On the failure of Darfur peace talks in Abuja", Eric Reeves, op. cit.

(84.) Sudan: Saving the Darfur Peace Agreement", Refugees International, 21.8.2006, http://www.refugeesinternational.org/content/article/ detail/9385., 28.4.2007.

(85.) "Darfur Peace Deal", About World News, http://worldnews.about.com/od/sudan/a/dargur_peace.htm, 12.12.2006.

(86.) "On the failure of Darfur peace talks in Abuja', Eric Reeves, op. cit.

(87.) The Fragile Darfur Peace Agreement", International Crisis Group, Update Briefing, African Briefing No. 39, Nairobi, Brussels, 20 June 2006.

(88.) Eric Reeves, op. cit.

(89.) Africa, Sudan, General Conflict Information, University of Uppsala, op. cit. p. 3.

Kamal O. Salih is Professor of Political Science at the University of Kuwait.
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