---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Eric Reeves" <eree...@smith.edu>
Date: 18 Oct 2016 23:49
Subject: Chemical Weapons Use in Darfur: The World Walks Away
To: "Eric Reeves" <eree...@smith.edu>

*Chemical Weapons Use in Darfur: The World Walks Away*

Eric Reeves  |  October 18, 2016

*Huffington Post *| http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-

*Sudan Tribune*  |  http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article60580

Despite overwhelming evidence of Khartoum’s use of chemical weapons in the
Jebel Marra region of Darfur (western Sudan), the international community
seems to be quietly walking away from its responsibility to
investigate. A report
released on September 29 by Amnesty International
numerous (and painfully similar) photographs of victims, interviews with
victims and witnesses, and assessments by two experts in non-conventional
weapons. The descriptions of the release of poisonous gases are
relentlessly congruent detail; Amnesty relied on more than 250 interviews
of people from the region in painting a larger picture of wholesale
civilian destruction; 57 of these spoke directly to the issue of chemical
weapons use in 32 different attacks. And the photographs.... They are
simply soul-destroying in the human agony they reveal. U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry described the use of chemical weapons in Syria as a “moral
Despite the authority of the Amnesty report, such language is conspicuously
absent in the case of Darfur.

[image: Screen Shot 2016-10-11 at 3.26.05 PM]

[image: Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 4.30.37 PM]

*Photographs of victims reported by Amnesty International*

Indeed, over the past week the chances of an investigation of these clear
violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention
<https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/CWC/CWC_en.pdf>—to which Sudan is a
signatory—have clearly diminished. The Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons <https://www.opcw.org/> (OPCW), with a self-described
mandate to “implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention,”
failed in Executive session last week to reach agreement to push for an
investigation. Ultimately this is a decision not so much of the powerless
OPCW but of the signatory nations to the CWC whose political support is
essential to initiative an investigation. In the event, it appears such
support was weak or non-existent.

Various nations—including the U.S., France, Great Britain, and Canada—have
signaled their concern; but a plan mooted to have the four countries push
together for an investigation evidently failed. While all profess support
for any investigation that is mounted, this amounts to little. For the UN
is paralyzed, not only by the conspicuous divisions in the Security
Council, but by the fact that the UN presence in Darfur takes the form of
the UN/African Union “Hybrid” Mission for Darfur (UNAMID).

UNAMID formally took up its mandate in January 2008, with a Status of
Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed by Khartoum that nominally gives UNAMID to
investigate anywhere, and at any time, in Darfur. But the SOFA was a grim
ruse by Khartoum: from the beginning UNAMID has prevented on countless
occasions, including in fulfilling its primary mandate of civilian
protection. It has been denied access to most of the Jebel Marra region for
years, and in particular the areas where Amnesty International reported
specific locations of chemical weapons attacks. During these attacks, as
many as 250 people were killed, disproportionately children. The deaths, as
well as the permanent injuries, are horrific beyond description. The number
of deaths and injuries likely far exceeds what Amnesty was able to confirm
by interviews from outside Sudan, to which it has long been denied access.

UNAMID has declared, whether out of unforgiveable ignorance or mendacity,
that it has seen no evidence of chemical weapons use—none whatsoever according
to Martin Uhomoibhi <http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article60478>,
the Nigerian head of mission. But of course UNAMID—a mission that has
failed badly, even now can’t secure access to Jebel Marra, and has been
marked by corruption, deception, and ghastly sell-promotion—has a
considerable stake in denying the use of chemical weapons so close to its
various bases on the perimeter of Jebel Marra. There is simply no reason,
given past reporting <http://wp.me/p45rOG-Gi> (and non-reporting
history to take UNAMID’s claims seriously.
*Darfur and Historical Precedent*

Darfur has defined a number of grim precedents during the period of gross
violence against civilians that began in 2003: it is the longest genocide
in over a century; it has occurred despite compelling reports of the
genocidal nature of Khartoum’s counter-insurgency strategy from the first
months of ethnically-targeted civilian destruction; it is a conflict that
has generated more flouted UN Security Council resolutions that other in
the history of the UN; the peacekeeping mission meant to respond to the
catastrophe in Darfur is certainly the most dismal failure in the history
of the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UN DPKO), despite being
one of the most expensive; and Darfur is the first ongoing genocide of
which the world simply tired. Once the focus of concerted civil society,
human rights, news media, and celebrity attention, Darfur is now known
chiefly by virtue of the reporting of two Sudanese news outlets—Radio
Dabanga <http://www.radiodabanga.org/> and *Sudan Tribune
<http://www.sudantribune.com/>*. No journalists or human rights groups are
allowed into Darfur.

Chemical weapons use should have been a catalyst for renewed interest in
the relentless and massive violence perpetrated against the marginalized
populations of Sudan. For the Jebel Marra offensive was far from the first
time that chemical weapons use has been authoritatively reported. Integrated
Regional Information Networks (IRIN) recently published
substantial account very recently about chemical weapons use by Khartoum in
the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, and as long as ago as 2000, Doctors
Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported Khartoum’s bombing
of civilian hospitals
what is now South Sudan, and identified what were clearly chemical weapons
used during these attacks.

[image: Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 4.30.03 PM]

[image: Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 4.29.25 PM]

*Additional photographs from the Amnesty International report*

Instead, what we see throughout Europe and in the U.S. is a growing
rapprochement with the Khartoum regime, one that sees, for example, Germany
building “concentration camps” in Sudan
help staunch the flow of African refugees; the European Union as a whole
has agreed to provide high-tech monitoring and registration equipment to
Khartoum’s notoriously brutal National Intelligence and Security Services.
The U.S.—in its lust for whatever counter-terrorism intel Khartoum can
steadily closer to normalization of relations, a lifting of economic
sanctions, and removal of Sudan from the State Department’s annual listing
of “state sponsors of terrorism,” a listing that continues to be justified
by much of Khartoum’s behavior (e.g., in Libya

What should be a situation obviously demanding investigation per the terms
of the CWC has instead become a moment for a subtle dance of avoidance.
Chemically gassed Syrian children are no more a “moral obscenity” than
gassed Darfuri children, but this seems an equation that escapes John
Kerry, President Obama, and too many international leaders.

[image: Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 4.31.13 PM]

*Yet another photograph from the Amnesty International report*

Will Khartoum resist an investigation? Of course—and strenuously. The sheer
military and logistical challenges to an investigation may be
insurmountable if Khartoum resists. But that is no excuse for acquiescing
in well-documented war crimes that are part of a larger campaign of
genocide. An investigation must be demanded, and Khartoum made to deny that
investigation before the eyes of the world. Perhaps that will bring some
moral and political clarity to those fashioning policy toward this barbaric

*Eric Reeves* has written extensively on Sudan for almost two decades; he
is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center
for Health and Human Rights




About Eric Reeves: http://sudanreeves.org/about-eric-reeves

Philanthropy: goo.gl/Ii4buw

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