The last time I mentioned Darfur here was, I think, back in 2010, quoting Eric Reeves - Forgetting Darfur:
The bitterly ironic truth is that Darfur has been doubly betrayed by the international community's response to the ongoing crisis in southern Sudan . The first betrayal came during the 2003–2004 negotiations to finalize the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005. Darfur was excluded from the issues to be negotiated in this comprehensive peace because it was considered too complex and because Khartoum would not agree to any addition to the negotiating agenda. Much of the world obligingly played down the atrocities being committed throughout Darfur in the interests of seeing the CPA through to completion. There was, however, no lack of knowledge about the genocidal character of counter-insurgency in Darfur ; the International Crisis Group was one of several important organizations that, early on, reported the ethnically targeted destruction of civilians with no connection to military actions:
“Government-supported militias deliberately target civilians from the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massalit groups, who are viewed as ‘Africans’ in Darfur and form the bulk of the SLA and JEM [rebel groups] ethnic base. … The latest attacks [by the government-supported Arab militias] occurred deep inside the Fur tribal domain, against unprotected villages with no apparent link to the rebels other than their ethnic profile.” (December 2003)
This was only one of many reports publicly available that proved simply too inconvenient for those seeking to secure the CPA; in the end, there was almost no international pressure on Khartoum to halt the genocidal counterinsurgency during its most violent phase. When the world finally turned its attention from South Sudan to Darfur, the consequences of previous inaction were all too apparent. The vast majority of African villages in Darfur had been destroyed, typically with a terrifying completeness. Mortality was already in the hundreds of thousands.
Since then, despite the International Criminal Court's charge of genocide against Sudan's leader Omar al-Bashir, the forgetting has deepened. Darfur? Rings a bell...where's that again?
Today, from the Times (£):
The Sudanese government has been accused of using chemical weapons to kill civilians including babies and children, leaving hundreds of survivors with “horrific” symptoms.
Up to 250 people have been killed since January in alleged attacks on the Jebel Marra region of Darfur, according to an Amnesty International report.
Those affected by the “poisonous smoke” suffered symptoms including bloody vomiting and diarrhoea, blisters that changed colour and fell off, blindness and nausea. Breathing problems were said to have killed the most people.
Amnesty said that the indiscriminate bombardment continued and marked a new low in the regime’s human rights abuses. The investigation used satellite images, more than 200 phone and internet interviews and expert analysis of photographs to substantiate its claims. The most recent of 30 alleged attacks was on September 9.
Survivors reported that flames and coloured smoke billowed from the bombs when they landed, filling the air with an “unnatural” smell. Two experts approached by the charity concluded that the shells probably contained blister agent.
One man said that his three-year-old son had been left “almost like a skeleton” after his skin fell off.
Access to medicine is practically non-existent in Jebel Marra and other remote regions which the government has struggled to control during its 13-year war with non-Arab rebels.
“Scorched earth, mass rapes, killings and bombs — these are the same war crimes being committed in Darfur as in 2004 when the world first woke up to what was happening,” Tirana Hassan, Amnesty’s director of crisis research, said.
“The scale and brutality of these attacks is hard to put into words. The images and videos we have seen in the course of our research are truly shocking.”
Amnesty is calling for a UN war crimes investigation and international pressure on Khartoum to allow access for peacekeepers and aid....
About 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since the start of conflict in 2003, according to the UN. Some 4.4 million need aid and more than 2.5 million have been displaced.
The International Criminal Court accused President al-Bashir of war crimes and genocide in 2009 and 2010. Amnesty said that the global response to Sudan’s crimes had been deplorable and no effective measures had been installed to protect civilians.
Indeed. Join the list...Syria, Yemen...
Since Iraq, of course. we know that the biggest sin that can be committed is for the west to get involved; especially to intervene and overthrow a bloodthirsty tyrant. Things might not go perfectly, in which case there will be western politicians to be excoriated, lengthy damning reports to be written, and above all lessons to be learned about neo-colonialism and other such horrors. So no...we don't do anything.