Darfur’s crisis has been labeled as one of the complex political problems of the world’s community. The crisis was caused by undercurrents in the economic, political, and environmental dimensions. This paper examines the Darfur crisis as Sudanese government’s failure to respect human sanctity.
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The government sponsored activities of militias such as Janjaweed which was involved in mass exploitation and killing of innocent civilians.The paper provides a detailed description of Darfur problem as the consequence of the prolonged conflict between the Arab Muslims in the North and non-Arab Africans in the South. It also explores the traditional and current content of the US policies concerning Sudan and how they have affected the situation in Darfur.
The writer recommends paying attention to the development of strategies for paying the compensation for the Darfur victims, dismantling systems of violence, supporting the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) peace initiative and regulating the US-Sudan relations as a practical approach the US should implement to ensure peace and stability in Darfur.
Statement of Darfur problem
The violation of human rights by regimes and rigid democracies are the common features of the African leaders (“Darfur Daily News”). Ethnicity and favoritism are used as means for gaining political mileage. The practice is also the cause of civil and ethnic conflicts that resulted into genocide in Burundi and Rwanda in 1994. Raftopoulos and Alexander (53) define Genocide as an act designed to destroy social, economic and political structures as a whole or a part of the community.
The act can surge destruction of religious, racial, ethnic or a national group by insinuating bodily damage, homicide or inflicting mental disharmony on a targeted group, therefore, directly altering the established systems in society (Haganand Richmond 88). Darfur conflict started in 2003. The conflict was instigated by the Justice and Equality Movement and Sudan Liberation Army (SPLM).
The groups accused the Sudan ruling regime of outright favoritism towards particular ethnic groups which resulted in disproportionate resource distribution (Raftopoulos and Alexander 74). The Sudan government intensified the conflict, involving the military forces, police and Janjaweed into settling it. Janjaweed is a government mercenary group of Arab tribes of Abbala which stay in Northern Sudan.
Two major rebel groups, namely JEM and SPLM, gave battles to the government during the conflict. The two groups are linked to non-Arab Muslims forces consisting of Zaghawa, Masalit and Fur. The Sudanese government supported Janjaweed and other pro-government armed groups financially and provided them with all the necessary essentials and weapon for stimulating their attacks on Darfur civilians (Cordell and Wolff 68).
Description of Darfur Problem
The Darfur conflict is perplexing. It is a civil conflict caused by misunderstanding between the Northern and Southern Sudan. Northern Sudan is inhabited by Arab Muslims while the Southern Sudan is home to non-Arab Muslims. Arab Muslims practice Arabism religion and the issues of race are central to their system of beliefs. The Arab Muslims have been making attempts to take a superior position, and this ongoing struggle resulted in Darfur crisis (Herlinger and Jeffrey 76).
Considering other ethnical groups including the non-Arab Muslims as slaves, they tried to suppress them. Besides, the Darfur conflict is intensified by the Northern intellectuals who express their disrespectful attitude towards the opponents, naming the south population “tribe’s men”, as opposed to defining themselves as “people” at the same time (“Darfur Daily News”).
The Sudanese government delegated the anti-Dinka militias to act as proxies in the Darfur conflict and motivated the Sudanese Arabs to join Militias (“Darfur Rebels Say Govt Raids Kill 27, Army Denies It”).
Government’s interest in Darfur conflicts strengthened the traditional alignment of forces rooted in the racial discrimination in the region and the opposition between the Northerners and Southerners (Herlinger and Jeffrey 89). The Northern groups consist mainly of Arabs, and it is the Sudanese government that has been developing strategies against the Darfur ethnic non-Arab African group.
The assertiveness of the racists absorbed to slaves has been conveyed to sedentary non-Arabs contributing significantly to Darfur conflict (Burr and Collins 74). The differences between non-Arab Africans and Arabs in a multicultural Darfur were not so noticeable before the pan-Arabism dogma came from Libya and influenced the existing state of affairs.
The nomadic Sheikhs in Darfur believe that they were avatars of Arabism because of their Bedouin roots. The nomadic Sheikhs imposed racial limitations on farming population whose peaceful existence was endangered (Burr and Collins 93).
The Black Africans population in Sudan is considered viewed as inferior to Arabs. The central government has implemented the principles of racial discrimination towards non-Arabs, deepening the Darfur crisis. Besides, those who see themselves as Arabs imply their Arab ancestors who came as merchants and traders before the influx of Islam and promoted the conversion of native Sudanese people to Islamism (Goldenberg).
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The Bashir government has established the Nazi type of communism which preaches Arabs’ supremacy therefore separating Sudanese from non-Arabs. Further, the government intensifies the ethnic conflicts (Orr 47).
The failure of strategic plans of Sudanese regime on sharing of resources such as land, water and equitable distribution of wealth from oil reserves to Darfur population has resulted in landlessness, starvation and poor social infrastructures. This has caused the scourge of Darfur conflict.
The conflict surged with risky environmental changes and reproachful human manipulation (Orr 54). Therefore, the ability of local population to manage the shortage and famine was abridged. Besides, the opportunities to strengthen the traditional systems of conflict adjudication were limited because of the deficit of resources and the authorities took advantages from the situation.
The impact of Darfur is expressed in various forms of human rights violation. Oppression of civilians has contributed to deaths resulting directly from starvation and diseases and high rates of mass movement and consistent migration creating refugee camps (Cordell and Wolff 82).
Historical Background of the US Policies to Sudan
Historically, the US strategies for handling the Sudan conflicts have been underdeveloped. The strategies for the intervention into the conflict can be defined as prejudiced mediation between the major players. The US has never doubted that the state’s mission in the Darfur conflict is peacemaking. However, the US policies have failed to address a just and workable solution in Darfur. Besides, the development of the US policies has been complicated with the position representing the intervention as “gifts”.
Besides, offering these “gifts”, the US has ideologically defined the form of grant offered to Sudan with strings (Feinstein 66). In the frames of this ideology, the US policies have been seen as distancing from Darfur affair. Consequently, the US has been assuming that no matter what form of “gift” they disperse, it would be readily accepted by Sudan regime showing a just claim they will demand in the long run (Feinstein 75).
Further, the US traditional policy towards Sudan has been based on the thesis of exclusion. US have strengthened this traditional philosophy since the nineteenth century. The policies is anchored on US position as a state which superpower is distinct to other states and therefore has the right to interfere into the inner conflicts of other countries and “exclude” their conflicts (Levy 67).
The exclusion policy makes the US evade a firm commitment to international treaties and agreements. For example, US have not shown much commitment to major international agreements. This can be seen in agreements such as Environmental Pact, Ottawa Treaty and International Criminal Court among others (“Darfur Rebels Say Govt Raids Kill 27, Army Denies It”).
Summing up the above mentioned factors, it should be noted that the US strategies for intervening into the Sudan conflict are rather controversial with the ICC lobbying the ICC pressure. Considering the psychological aspects of intervention, the US position contradicts the Sudan psychology. The goal to subdue the Sudan government is a misconception which can be compared to the mighty and powerful being embraced over the frail (Levy 94).
Further, US have been embracing the policy of creating sanction to states perceived to be unfriendly. Although former president W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, the former US secretary of State, have publicly spoken about the urgency of Darfur crisis, the sanctions have thwarted the progress of achieving peace and stability in Darfur (Totten and Markusen 123). US have applied the sanctions on Sudan government since 2007.
This was caused by the Sudanese government refusal to cooperate and keep the promise of ending ferocity in Darfur. To compel Sudanese regime to embrace peace in Darfur, US have imposed the following measures: commanding treasury to freeze assets of powerful Sudanese individuals linked to Darfur violence and companies controlled by Sudanese government. These entities provide financial support to militias in Darfur which destabilizes the peacemaking process (Totten and Markusen 127).
Concisely, the limits on imports and exports to and from Sudan, freezing government assets and banning armament sale to Sudan has also been applied to Sudanese regime. The US aim for developing Sanctions to Sudan regime is to impose political gravity on the government for finishing the Darfur conflict and incrementing the sanctions that US have traditionally held on Sudan since 1997 (Xavier 90).
Current Content of US Policy in Sudan
The US foreign policies towards Sudanese government have recently changed. This has been a result of a positive progress of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and sincere determination of Sudan government to cooperate with the missionaries in the fight against terrorism. However, the policies have been aimed at achieving concise goal to put an end to Darfur conflict (Kristof).
One of the policies outlined by the US is opening the US embassy in Khartoum. The embassy is known to be the largest in Africa serving to East Africa body, Horn of Africa and handling regional conflicts. The embassy will support the peacemaking mission and stability in Darfur highlighting the US interests in the horn of Africa at the same time (Kristof).
Support of the work of ICC has been also a major current policy adopted by the US. US have aided the work of ICC in warranting arrests for the masterminds of the Darfur’s genocide within the recent years. This will guarantee peace and stability is achieved in Darfur’s region.
With the UN Security Council members, the US has publicly pressed and supported the role of ICC involvement in bringing to justice the perpetrators of Darfur conflict (BBC News). Besides, The US have been lobbying international hostility to any kind of vengeance against humanitarian actions by Sudan government, for example, ejecting International organization for Migration personnel (Rasoul).
Secondly, US have backed peace initiatives in Darfur region by arraying a group of envoys and specialists to rejuvenate the ruined peace efforts (Stockman). The work of envoys has contributed to drafting the agreements with non-combatants fractions in Darfur.
The proposals aim at defining the primary reason of the conflict and solving the associated problems of civilians. Besides, all the parties concerned have been involved in exhilarated procedure comprised of various responsibilities and safeguarding concentrated buy in from communal leaders and civic society (Stockman).
US peace initiatives further has been enhanced by supporting the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping in Darfur by providing financial and logistical support (Kaufman). The present of AU and UN forces (UNAMID) would greatly strengthen peace in Darfur despite of risky environment in the region (UNAMID).
US have supported the increase of peacekeeping with ability to implement much needed mandated to them by the UN Security Council. UNAMID has contributed to promoting safety in Darfur. UNAMID Peace Mission played an important role in engineering works. These works include expanding and building refugees and essential infrastructures along with protecting the civilians (UNAMID).
Thirdly, the US current policies in Sudan have been focused on the goals of influence and control. US have been spearheading autonomous and bilateral influence in Sudan; this has been a probable benchmark in aiding peace both in Darfur and Sothern Sudan (Melvern).
The US influence has been expressed through high-level and demanding diplomacy. Besides, the US has anchored its influence on a strong platform of bilateral carrots and sticks. This has been viewed as a strategy to exert pressure and devotion of the parties involved (Melvern). The continuous participation and commitment through influence will hint a signal to achieving a practical change in Sudan in realizing peace in Darfur and southern Sudan.
Lastly, supporting the post referendum negotiation and CPA implementation has been one of the recent policies of the US in Sudan. US have been providing a central contribution in ensuring that CPA agreement have been implemented noting that it was one of the major negotiators of the agreement.
The above US policies have been anchored on important three issues, namely to stop the ongoing Darfur’s civilian abuse, enforcing peace agreement between North and South Sudan and warning Sudan in harboring international terrorists which threaten the US interests.
Recommendation to US Government in Promoting Peace and Stability in Darfur
The role of the US in influencing peace and stability in Darfur is essential for minimizing the risks of losing lives and enhancing the economic growth for improving the living conditions of the population. To successfully attain these policies, US should embrace various recommendations.
The first recommendation is that US have to encourage restitution that involves individual and community compensation. By cooperating with other International humanitarian organizations and other international bodies strategically, the US should highlight issues of repatriating the internally displaced population to their homes (Pendergast).
The USA should exert pressure on Sudanese government to take the responsibility of compensating Darfur’s victims (Tomuschat). This is because the Sudan government has been greatly responsible for the organized massacres, burgling, rape, and torment. Besides, the compensation should be discrete and separated from Darfur’s restoration and improvement reserve that might be accessible after the peace is restored.
The US and International Monitoring machineries should compel Sudan government to assign significant resources to victims and ensure it is circulated equitably. Resource distribution should be based on magnitude of economic losses of the victims. Compensation will aim at recognizing the harm and psychological tortures of the Darfur victims and satisfy the affected sufferers’ plea for fairness (Tomuschat).
Secondly, the US should aim at establishing policies that can help disassemble systems of violence in Darfur. The US should help in facing out Janjaweed, proxy militias and rebel groups.
Darfur population will not accept the role of government in eradicating the local militias. So the US government should strategically be involved in monitoring the disarmament process of the militias who have marauded with freedom for some years (Sheridan). Militias have exerted more authority arguing state support and mechanism than rule of law in Darfur.
Besides, the US should collaborate with other International monitoring organizations to ensure method of gathering crooked armed groups, assembly of substantial weaponries and instituting hostile programs to neutralize and expel opponents. Consequently, the US government should collaborate with International Criminal Investigation Court (ICC) to ensure that the culprits of crimes against humanity are apprehended and prosecuted (BBC News).
However, the US should consider the realities at the ground in disarming and prosecuting culprits with huge political responsibilities in Darfur. Weapons have been in great supply in Darfur since the crisis in 2003 (Sheridan). Pastoralists and agricultural farmers have always armed themselves for many years to protect their land and property. Therefore, the demilitarization procedure should be cautiously and methodically done to target militias without disturbing occupation of noncombatants.
Thirdly, the US should ensure that UNAMID is adequately resourced and managed. This is perilous to supervise any pact enactment. Besides, UNAMID role should be adequately elaborated to encompass the outcome of any peace agreement. This should be focused on specific responsibilities that will ensure the population willing to return to their homes and returning to their pre-war lives.
In addition, the US should support full placement of a robust UNAMID force with an experienced chief nation, proficient division level command center staff and an elaborate control configuration will be paramount to guarantee all verges observe their obligations. A flow pact that defines vision to the conclusion of a state that reverberates with Darfur’s citizens would aid in infringing design of preceding series of mediation.
Lastly, the US must identify the government of Al Bashir needs a regulated US, Sudan associations, being conscious of costs of prolonged pressure in Darfur’s region (Leftie). Deferrals and reversing replicates Al-Bashir’s obstruction at reception no inducements from US, notwithstanding the Sudan numerous concessions, and void US aptitudes of regulated relations (Pendergast).
The current Sudan administration is traditionally responsive with US dogmas. Al Bashir government engrosses partisan and security collaboration with US, but still lacks regulated connection with Washington (International Crisis Group). US complementation has been pointless achieve Al Bashir government prospects yet the Sudan government fulfilled, with endless alteration of US plans and anxieties. Every moment Sudan trust they fulfilled US needs, it has been accepted with hostility (Leftie).
Besides, The US should identify Sudan government, notwithstanding of its Islamic roots. The US should not categorized Sudan as a hard core doctrinal establishment. Sudan has shown its disposition in revising some of its radical schemes since assuming office.
The course of ceasefire in southern Sudan can be attested as an example in asserting these claims, signifying the Sudan administration enthusiasm to reassess the connection between faith and government by exclusion of Southern Sudan from traditional Islamic Sharia decree. Regarding the Sudan government as a devout religious regime and on a viewpoint of conflict and horror would be inaccurate and unhelpful for US (Sheridan).
The protracted Darfur’s conflict shows US reluctance to establish the major policies to put an end to Darfur conflict as soon as possible. The US slow response to the conflict has resulted in loss of life, famine and destruction of social structures in Darfur. However, to ensure the end of Darfur conflict, US should strive to embrace tangible recommendations.
These recommendations should be directed towards compensation for conflict victims, disassembling systems of violence and supporting UNAMID peace mission. Efficiency application of these recommendations will fast track peace in Darfur hence saving more lives from violence, famine and exploitation.
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