World View: Darfur Fighting Spreads as Janjaweed Militias Spin Out of Control

World View: Darfur Fighting Spreads as Janjaweed Militias Spin Out of Control

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Al-Qaeda takes credit for Iraq’s unraveling security chaos
  • Siege of Egypt’s pro-Morsi supporters may begin on Monday
  • Palestinians accuse Israel of sabotaging ‘peace process’
  • Darfur fighting spreads as Janjaweed militias spin out of control

Al-Qaeda takes credit for Iraq’s unraveling security chaos

Remains of Baghdad cafe after being struck by one of a dozen car bombs on Saturday (AFP)
Remains of Baghdad cafe after being struck by one of a dozen car bombs on Saturday (AFP)

Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has recently changed its name to the IslamicState of Iraq and the Levant (referring to Syria), is taking creditfor a series of car bombs in mainly Shia areas of Baghdad on Saturdaythat killed 90 people and wounded hundreds. Attacks have increased inevery month since the withdrawal of American troops in December 2011,alongside the increasing strength of al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusrain Syria. More than 1,000 Iraqis were killed in bombings andshootings in July, making it the deadliest month since violencebetween Sunni and Shia Muslims peaked prior to President Bush’smilitary “surge”, in conjunction with the Anbar Awakening that droveout al-Qaeda in Iraq. These new attacks come just weeks afteral-Qaeda in Iraq succeeded through an assault on Abu Ghraib prison tofree hundreds of prisoners, including leading al-Qaeda fighters.

The following is my transcription of a BBC interview with BBC Arabiccorrespondent Murad al-Shishani on Sunday:

“Al-Qaeda in Iraq [AQIR] have been increasing theirattacks every month since the withdrawal of the Americans. We’reexpecting a statement from AQIR bragging about thisaccomplishment. Since the 2007 Anbar Awakening, AQIR has beenlosing influence, but with the crisis in Syria, AQIR has beengiven geographic spaces and a recruitment pool. The increases inattacks in Iraq mean that they have logistic support and manpowersupport coming from Syria, from their counterpart jihadist groups.

From Anbar in the western part of Iraq, up to the northwesternpart of Syria in Aleppo, there’s a sort of strip there ofungoverned space that al-Qaeda is working there. AQIR recentlychanged name to Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. This geographicspace gives them a recruitment pool, and gives them a strategicspace to hide in and prepare for attacks, as well as to receivesupport from the Sunni communities there, on either side of theborder.”

Al-Jazeera and Washington Times

Siege of Egypt’s pro-Morsi supporters may begin on Monday

Media reports from several sources say that Egypt’s security forceswill begin dispersal of thousands of pro-Morsi supporters on Mondaymorning. The plan for the initial phase, according to unconfirmedsources, is a siege, where security forces block all entrances to theprotest areas, allowing people out, but not allowing them back in, norallowing any food or other supplies in. There have been massiveprotests and sit-ins every day since president Mohamed Morsi wasousted by the army, and held in detention at an unknown location. Theprotesters are demanding that Morsi be freed and returned to thepresidency, and that his Muslim Brotherhood party be returned topower. Al-Ahram (Cairo)

Palestinians accuse Israel of sabotaging ‘peace process’

With Israeli / Palestinian “peace process” negotiations set to resumeon Wednesday, Palestinian negotiators Saeb Erekat and MuhammadShtayyeh accused Israel of aiming to sabotage the talks by announcingplans to build 1,200 more settlement apartments in Jerusalem and inregions of the West Bank that Israel captured in the 1967 war.According to Shtayyeh:

“It is clear that the Israeli government isdeliberately attempting to sabotage US and International effortsto resume negotiations by approving more settlement units threedays before the first Palestinian – Israeli meeting.

Israel continues to use peace negotiations as a smoke screen formore settlement construction. The Israeli government is showingthe world that the only way to achieve piece is justice, meaningend of Israel’s impunity.

Israel has been claiming that they want negotiations without’conditions,’ but on the ground is clear that they are the onlyones imposing conditions: to negotiate with settlementconstruction, creating new conditions on the ground in order topre-empt the result of any negotiations.

We call upon the United States and the rest of the internationalcommunity to hold Israel accountable in order to give a chance forpeace.”

However, Israel says that the new settlements do not have effect onthe peace talks, because they’re all in places which, according toprevious agreements, will remain part of Israel. According to Israelispokesman Mark Regev:

“[The construction] in no way changes the final map ofpeace.

The construction decided upon in Jerusalem and in the settlementblocs is in areas that will remain part of Israel in any possiblepeace agreement.”

On Tuesday, Israel will release the first 26 of the 104 prisoners, allof whom are jailed for terrorist acts committed prior to the 1994peace talks. Israel has promised to release all 104 over nine months,provided that the “peace process” negotiations continue. SomePalestinians are referring to those terms as “blackmail,” since theyprevent the Palestinians from walking out of the negotiations beforethe nine months are up. Jerusalem Post and BBC

Darfur fighting spreads as Janjaweed militias spin out of control

There are 1.4 million people in Darfur refugee camps
There are 1.4 million people in Darfur refugee camps

Warfare between the Arab Maaliya and Rezeigat tribes in the Darfurregion of Sudan has been spreading, with hundreds of people killed inrecent weeks. There were 1.4 million people living in refugee campsat the beginning of 2013, and an estimated 300,000 people have beendisplaced from their homes so far in this year’s surge of violence.Two other Arab tribes, the Misseriya and Salamat, announced aceasefire two weeks ago after more than 200 people had been killed.

The mainstream press keeps describing the Darfur war as having begunin 2003, and that’s complete nonsense.

Darfur’s civil war began as low-level violence in the 1970s as afairly standard conflict between farmers and herders. What alwayshappens is that the herders’ animals trample on the farmers’ crops,and then the farmers build fences to block the herders’ animals. Theviolence worsened over the years, and the conflict transitioned to agenerational crisis war in 2003, with the light-skinned “Arab”Janjaweed militia herders slaughtering the dark-skinned “non-Arab”farmers. That’s when the United Nations “discovered” Darfur, andlaunched a donation-based program to protect the farmers from theherders. So the farmers were moved into huge refugee tent camps wherethey became entirely dependent on aid and donations from foreignentities.

For a detailed generational analysis of the war in Darfur, as well asa chuckle or two, see “Ban Ki Moon blames Darfur genocide on global warming” from 2007.

The financial crisis has reduced donations, and starvation iswidespread in the Darfur refugee camps. Furthermore, Sudan’sgovernment is refusing to renew permits for some of the UnitedNations’ international humanitarian staff in Darfur. And now, thefighting between the “Arab” tribes indicates that Khartoum is losingcontrol of the Janjaweed militias.

As I’ve been writing for years, a generational crisis war is anelemental force of nature, and has to reach a climax. At some point,the Janjaweed militias will return to finish the job, slaughtering theDarfur war. AFP

Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail