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Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Before & After Rwanda: Al-Bashir & Darfur: The Counter-Investigation (Chapter 8) -- by Charles Onana
Investigative Journalist Charles Onana
Sudanese President Omar al Bashir
Before & After Rwanda: 'Al-Bashir & Darfur: The Counter-Investigation' [Chapter 8]--by Charles Onana (trans from the French by CM/P)
[Late last year some one called to tell me she had just seen a TV Special on the Sudan which featured George Clooney as the concerned American artist who, without presuming to know much about what's really been going on in the region beyond, say, the last couple years (background was what his US State Dept. minder, John Pendergast*, was there for), has totally committed himself to ‘ease the misery of the Sudanese people.’ My caller said that Clooney was so good looking, and so good at looking deeply concerned for this dusty 'Humanity', that the Special quickly became about what a great guy Clooney is, and she asked if I could give her a little socio-historical context for Sudan and environs that might explain just why Clooney’s the Man. Now, I like George Clooney—love all his work with the Cohen Bros. and especially with Soderberg, on the Ocean's series and ‘Outta Sight’ (from the book by Elmore Leonard, another guy I would love to sit down with and have coffee and talk movies and Rwanda**). I even love all Clooney’s Jr Rat Pack, like Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle (though the late Bernie Mac was the real shizzle in that series). But I don't think I'd want to give much time to considering their opinions on the Geopolitical History of US/UK/Israeli War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in Africa and the Middle East. But once upon a time, long ago, in a place far, far away, I was a petty player in the Hollywood Dream Industry. So I know that when someone offers you a script with a fat, righteous role in it for you, the first thing you do is NOT run it over to the Brookings Institution to have it fact checked—or call Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky to get their take on your character's narrative arc. If your manager’s reader says you'll love it, and your agent’s reader says you'll love it, and all your poker buddies say (it sounds like) you'll rock in it: then you probably will. Even a smart guy like Don Cheadle couldn't pass up making a self-less hero out of one of Rwanda's greatest Quisling con men, Paul Rusesabagina, in 'Hotel Rwanda.' Hell, Cheadle got one of the three Oscar nominations for Terry George's teabag rendition of “Welcome to Kigali" ***, and Clooney was just voted a special Humanitarian Emmy by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association—and this at a moment when the recipients of Clooney’s Humanity, Southern Sudan, the site of a 50+year civil war, armed and financed, for the most part, by Israel and its allies as a way too deepen its security zone (as well as its water table) and keep its all-important arms industry fat and happy, is conducting its own voting on secession from Northern Sudan or Khartoum. And Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, is not making it easy for Hollywood humanitarians to demonize him. He told his old friend, US President Jimmy Carter, that he wished the South well, however their elections turned out, and that the North would assume the full burden of the national debt it shares with the South. Tough to keep prosecuting a country as a supporter of terrorism when it delivered ‘Carlos the Jackal’ to France, and offered to hand Ossama over to Bill Clinton (but Bill begged off). Thing is, both Carter and al Bashir are known to be Palestinian symps, so . . . well, . . . you know. Even putative leftists in the West cannot break themselves of their gutless ni-ni ways. You know how they do: Yugoslavia: ni-NATO, ni-Serbia; Rwanda: ni-Tutsi, ni-Hutu; Iraq: ni-Saddam, ni-Bush. They just have to preface every defense of Sudan with a personal acknowledgement of their full awareness of the horrible Human Rights record of the Islamist-Arab regime in Khartoum. With all this fetid propagandistic bilge getting awarded great golden trophies, is it any wonder most people don't really know what's happening, to whom or where, outside their local Cineplexes? But that's where we come in. As with most of the hard information on Africa and the Arab world, its chroniclers have chosen to work in French (go figure). Recently two excellent books have come out: Charles Onana's 'Al-Bashir & Darfour: La Contre-Enquête,' on Éditions Duboiris (Paris, 2010); and Pierre Péan's 'Carnages: Les Guerres Secrètes des Grandes Puissances en Afrique,' on Fayard (Paris, 2010) Here below, we excerpt Chapter 8 from Onana's work on Sudan and the ICC Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo. The translation is ours, and it has been authorized by the writer. It is our dream to be able to bring English editions of many such books, but it seems difficult unto impossible to find publishers with the courage to tell the true history of events in Africa and the Middle East since, say, WWII, in any mainstream Anglo-Saxon press. And these works are essential to any understanding of who we are, of our reasons for existing the way we do in this age of Waste: wasted value, wasted time, wasted energy, wasted imagination, and senselessly wasted lives. But I'll let Charles Onana tell you. And in the link which just precedes Chapter 8, Onana answers some important questions about misconceptions on the Conflict in Sudan--mc] ___________________________ Notes: * During the Clinton administration, Prendergast served as Director of African Affairs at the National Security Council and Special Advisor to Susan Rice (the current administration's UN ambassador) at the Department of State, in which capacities he was involved in a number of peace processes [sic] in Africa. He has also worked for two members of the United States Congress, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group [Geo Soros' outfit], and the U.S. Institute of Peace [even sic-er]. But this is from Wikipedia. **See Leonard’s ‘Pagan Babies’, about a fallen priest’s return to post-genocide Rwanda to . . . or better yet: don’t bother. *** An allusion to Michael Winterbottom's 'Welcome to Sarajevo,' a horribly twisted and unethical apology for British ITN's potted images of 'Serbian Death' camps (remember Fikret Alic on the wrong side of the barbed wire?) that justified Britain's criminal aggression into Bosnia, and their wanton razing of a former ally, Yugoslavia). This kind of stuff is all over this blog. __________________________________________ Interview with Charles Onana on certains questions about Sudan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au7TdSKsOsE __________________________________________ from: Charles Onana’s Al-Bashir & Sudan: A Counter-Investigation Chapter 8 Bush and Kouchner: The Obsession with Genocide in Darfur In the last six years, Darfur has become the focal point for all the attention of the International Press and of certain organizations, the self-proclaimed defenders of the Rights of Man (commonly called Human Right). In the US and in Europe, just as in Africa, a wide-ranging campaign has developed through which public opinion is being sensitized to the situation in Darfur without necessarily learning anything about what is actually going on there. Certain Anglo-Saxon researchers and writers have tried exceedingly to explain the nature, the causes and what is at stake in the conflict going on in Darfur. But their work has routinely been jam-packed and covered all over with the propaganda of the “genocide.”  So, very few people have been able to grasp the real, predominant interests in this region, or the motives for the war that is taking place there. Before decrying the situation that prevails in this zone, one must first remember some essential facts. Darfur, located in the West of Sudan, is made up of three states: Western Darfur (Gharb Darfur), Northern Darfur (Chamal Darfur), and Southern Darfur (Janoub Darfur). It covers an area of 196,404 sq km and has a population of around 6 million people, who belong to different groups and come from diverse origins. The story of the people of Darfur is a story of meeting and mixing. Diverse cultures and different kingdoms arose and prospered in Darfur. This territory was of great importance to the kingdoms of Central and Western Africa because of its abundance of camels, sheep and horses that could be purchased at very low cost. If the name “Darfur” means the “House of Fur,” time wound up changing the ethnological and sociological map of this territory. As early as the 12th century, the Sultanate of Dajos, with origins in North Africa, established its rule in this region after a war of conquest. The Dajos—or At-Tadjwin—settled in the eastern part of Darfur. Toward the 15th century, another sultanate led by the At-Tandjour replaced the Dajos and settled in the northern part of Darfur. Their influence exceeded that of the Dajos. It is under the Sultanate of At-Tandjour that the first great mixing of populations took place. Because at this time, the people known as Arabs began to mingle with the Furs or Fors. Then, other influential groups appeared in the middle of the 17th century. In this region, the power of the royalty began progressively to form itself around Islam. The migratory influx of Arabs then was large and they came from the North, the East and the West. Considered together, the immigrant populations of Darfur came from the Arabian peninsula and North Africa. Though these people mingled with the natives of Darfur, they never made them disappear. Moreover, the growing influence of Islam in Darfur did not inhibit the pursuit of ancient cultural practices. So, the animists lived next to the Muslims without this causing any trouble or conflict. This made the historian Lidwien Kapteijns declare that until the 1880s “Islam remained in that region a ‘communitarian Islam,’ a ‘syncretic’ Islam, that is to say, the people were considered Muslim in as much as they were subjects of a Muslim government, but they continued to observe a goodly number of religious practices that were non-Islamic.”  In dealing precisely with the peoples of Darfur, it must be said that as far as the phenomenon of migration is concerned, the native people played a major role in the political, economic and social evolution of the region. This is especially the case with the Furs, who in the beginning made up the essential demographic of this territory. This population also suffered from the slave trade. It is interesting to learn, in a letter written 12 July 1799, that Napoleon was already manning his forces with slaves from Darfur. Here is exactly what he wrote to the Sultan of Darfur: In the name of God, merciful and compassionate, there is no other God than God and Mohammed is his prophet. To the Sultan of Darfur, Abd-El-Rahmons, servant of the two holy cities, and caliph of the glorious prophet of God, Master of the worlds, I write you this to recommend Aga-ca-chef, who is with you and his doctor Soliman, who come to Darfur to deliver to you my letter. I desire you send to me two thousand male slaves, older than 16 years. Believe, I pray you, in my desire to do something for you that you will find to be agreeable. Signed: Bonaparte. As is shown by what is happening there today, Darfur has always been a land of conquest. This was the case in 1875 with the Turkish invasion, then with other different English, French and German expeditions. In the beginning, the Furs were the only inhabitants of the mountainous region of Djabel Mara. Then, eventually, they were joined, on the outskirts of the desert, by the Zaghawas, a nomadic people from among the Bedouins who populated Darfur and a part of the territory of Chad. This was also the case with the Masalits, who inhabited the Waddaï, a territory that extends from Darfur to the Chadian border: “They were first and foremost an agricultural people, whose basic crops were millet (dukhn), harvested from the sandy soil of the North, and the sorghum (dura) from clayey soil of the South.” Finally, we find here the Nwabiya, of Arabic origins and who lived essentially from their grazing lands. Other groups and sub-groups, more or less numerous, also contributed to the population and evolution of Darfur. So, the crisis in Darfur is not fundamentally the result of an impossible cohabitation among groups of the population. It resulted, before everything else, from a combination of internal and external factors exploited by the Sudanese and by foreigners for political ends. We will see elsewhere that the principal armed groups that wage war today in Darfur certainly depend on these groups of the population, but that they are also very largely supported by foreign forces. Contrary to what certain people believe, the use of the term ‘genocide’ to describe the conflict in Darfur did not appear in 2003 or 2004, at the height of the war and the displacements of the populations. It was already being used in the US in 1998, that is, even before the advent of the crisis in Darfur. A retired American military officer named Milliard Burr used it in an official speech on Sudan. Burr was a consultant to the US Committee for Refugees (USCR) and served in Sudan as director of logistics for USAID from September 1989 to March 1990. In an internal report described as a “working paper,” dated December 1998 and entitled “Evaluation of the genocide in South Sudan and in the Nuba mountains, 1993 to 1998,” he paints a grim picture of the war in this country: Since 1993, a certain number of eye-witnesses have stressed that the military activity and the social and political policies of the Khartoum government against the Nuba people in the South of Kordofan appear to be a genocide. So, this document is an attempt to obtain as much information as possible about the effects of the government’s activity in the mountainous Nuba region since the revolutionaries took power in Khartoum on 30 June 1989. As we will see, this date marks the intensification of the genocide that extends from South Sudan to the Nuba mountains. This working paper will have to include a study of the Beja and their allies in the East of Sudan and the Fur and the Massalit in the West of Sudan. As with the Nuba, the Arabs who dominate the Khartoum government have politically and economically isolated the ‘suspect’ ethnic minorities from the peripheries of the country and authorized military attacks against them. Burr especially casts suspicion on the Khartoum government and states that his report will have to include the people of Western Sudan, the Fur and the Massalit. As one can see, his arguments contain many of the premises on which the 2004 discourse of the Bush administration is based, like the confrontation between Arabs and Blacks in Darfur. It is also a prelude to what will later become “the genocide in Darfur.” This famous working paper was first put together within the US Committee for Refugees in October 1993. But the second version would attract much more attention, especially from certain members of the US House of Representatives who wound up organizing Congressional hearing in 1998. What should be understood is that during this entire period Milliard Burr was not working alone. He was supported throughout by one of the key players in the Darfur story: Roger Winter. Winter had been the director of the US Committee for Refugees since 1981. He went on to be an assistant administrator at USAID and then an advisor to the Bush administration on Sudan. A pro-rebel activist, he was one of the principal supporters of the extremist Tutsis who organized the 6 April 1994 attack on the sitting Chief of State of Rwanda. According to Remigius Kintu, president of the Ugandan Democratic Federal Union, and thoroughly conversant with the facts of the Great Lakes region of Africa, “Roger Winter directed logistics for the Tutsi rebels of the RPA from the mid-90s through to their victory in 1994.”  Kintu goes on to relate something Winter told an African exile: “Now that I’ve stabilized Rwanda, I’m going to get seriously busy with Sudan.” Very close to Israel and some of the power grids that encouraged the destabilization of Central Africa, Roger Winter was also a dedicated supporter of the SPLA (Sudanese People’s Liberation Army), the Sudanese rebel movement led by John Garang. Once he had wrapped up his mission with the Tutsi rebels led by Paul Kagame, who brought down the government in place in Kigali, he effectively turned his attentions to Sudan. His objective: Contribute to the destabilization of the Islamic regime in Khartoum led by president Al-Bashir. He began by telling the LA Times that the tragedy in Sudan is like Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo all rolled up into one. He then, through the offices of the US Committee for Refugees, let it be known that the conflict in Southern Sudan was the bloodiest since WWII. He set at 1.9 million the number of people killed in the last 15 years of the Sudanese civil war. He stated that 10,000 civilians had been killed due to the “intentional policy of the Sudanese government” , which was to say that a “genocide” had been committed in Southern Sudan by the government in Khartoum. Even the Southern Sudanese rebel leader John Garang had never dared to use such terms. Winter also said that most of the victims were caused by government bombardments intended to terrorize the civilian population. He made the same charge during his appearance before the US Congressional hearings in 1998. In a 14-page statement he alleged that the Sudanese government practiced slavery and that more than two million were killed directly or indirectly by the repressive policies of this government. He recommended that the US take the lead in an international action against Sudan and insisted that Europe be excluded from this action because, he said, Europe practices a soft policy with regard to Sudan. When one considers this person’s ethno-militaristic activism in favor of the extremist Tutsis in Rwanda, one can easily understand his social motivations on Sudan. As concerns the lead-up discussion and some of the propaganda about existence of a “genocide” in Sudan, and particularly in Darfur, the reality is totally something else. For professor Mamood Mamdami, it is all important to specifically identify the causes of the crisis in Darfur, some of which are found long before President Al-Bashir took power. The first goes back to the British colonial policy that divided up the land among different tribes. This policy deprives nomadic tribes of land while benefiting the settled and semi-nomadic peoples. The nomads were finally forced to travel to settled territories to find pasturage and feed their livestock. The second cause lies with the change in climate and a third with the free circulation of arms and the interference of foreigners, as we will see in Chapter 11. This analysis dovetails at certain points with that of French researcher Roland Marchal. In an article published in the review Polique aftricaine no. 95 of October 2004 and entitled “The conflict in Darfur: blind spots in the North-South negotiations in Sudan,” Marchal points out: This civil war did not break out simple because of the deterioration of neighborly relations between different groups; on the contrary, it crystallized three dynamics of unequal importance, each of which had its own place in time: the destabilization of economic policies in one region, the deleterious role of the State and the effects of the civil war in Chad, yesterday and today. The description and analysis of the origins of the conflict in Darfur are worthy of an entire book unto themselves because the ethnic, economic, political, climatic, and military aspects of the subject are overlapping and complex. Contrary to the simplistic directions taken by certain ideologists and self-ordained experts who slide through a superficial presentation of a conflict between “Blacks and Arabs,” it would be more useful and of greater relevance if the conflict were analyzed in the context of its history, sociology, geography, climate and politics, with the goal of understanding the interactions of all its dimensions. This sort of exercise is not within the scope of this book. But for the reasons of intelligibility, we will point out some essential elements that should contribute to a better understanding of the conflict. Following on the views of professor Mamdami, we can add the fact that the draught led to the displacements of people and livestock from the North of Darfur toward the South and the West of the region. These migrations in search of water, fertile land and the means for subsistence, created various frictions between the peoples of Darfur. The farmers saw their lands invaded by herdsmen in search of grazing land for their livestock. The herdsmen were later run off the farmlands and sometimes even from their own camps. The rustling of animals and the looting of foodstuffs became widespread. Different ethnic groups found themselves pitted against one another for various reasons. The long conflict in Chad led to an unregulated traffic in small arms throughout the region. Tribal militias and a variety of armed groups in Darfur created a situation of insecurity and permanent tension in the whole country. In this context, the entire area became explosive. When war was ignited in Darfur in 2003 with an attack by the rebels of the SLA (Sudanese Liberation Army) and the MJE (Movement for Justice and Equality), who occupied the town of Gulu in the North of Darfur, the US engineered the signing of a peace agreement between Khartoum and the rebels of South Sudan. So this sudden attack was not a mere chance of scheduling. It came as pressure was mounting on the Khartoum government, which had been hopeful of bringing an end to the long years of war with the South. By supporting the emergence of new “rebel groups” in Darfur, the enemies of Sudan created another war, without having to answer to the promoters of peace. To cover their tracks and keep their new military-political agenda from being discovered, the US created a new international propaganda campaign against the “genocide.” A careful reading of the work of certain researchers shows how the process of conditioning public opinion on the existence of a “genocide” in Darfur has developed. For William Engdahl, who for the last thirty years has written on questions of energy, geopolitics and economics, propaganda for the “genocide” in Darfur was initiated without any serious investigation or the slightest concern for the truth: Curiously, when all the observers noticed that Darfur was experiencing large population movements, great suffering and tens of thousands or even as many as 300,000 deaths over the last few years, only Washington and those NGOs close to it used the loaded term “genocide” in speaking of Darfur. If they could get a large enough opinion-group to sign on to the charge of “genocide,” that would open the possibility of a strong intervention by NATO, and bring Washington in as a player favoring “regime change” in the internal affairs of Sudan. The theme of genocide was used, with the full support of Hollywood and its stars like George Clooney, to justify an intervention by the United Nations and a de facto occupation of the region by the UN casques bleus and troops from NATO. Still today, the Sudanese government energetically refuses all outside intervention, which is not at all surprising. The American government continuously evokes the term “genocide” when referring to Darfur. It is the only government that does this. Under Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey, head of the Office of Populations, Refugees and Migrations, said in an online interview with USINFO on 17 November 2007: “The genocide going on in Darfur, Sudan—a gross violation of Human Rights—is among the premier international subjects that concerns the USA.” The Bush administration persisted in saying that a genocide has been underway in Darfur since 2003, despite the fact that a mission of experts from the UN, headed by Italian judge Antonio Cassese, reported, in 2005, that no genocide has been committed in Darfur, but rather grave violations of Human Rights. Judge Antonio Cassese was, in fact, named President of Commission of Inquiry on Darfur in 2004 by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. In his report, submitted to the Secretary General after three weeks of investigation in Darfur, he concluded: “The Commission has come to the conclusion that the government of Sudan has not conducted a policy of genocide.” He stressed: “In a general way, the policy of constantly attacking, killing or forcing the transfer of members of certain tribes is not being carried out with the intention of destroying, in whole or in part, any racial, ethnic, national, or religious group, as such.”  Despite the conclusions by this Commission of experts, the discussion of “genocide” continued to be promoted throughout the US, in an almost obsessional way, especially by the neo-cons and certain pro-Israel organizations. US Secretary of State Colin Powell was one of the pioneers of the official and erroneous discussion of the “genocide” in Darfur. He even threatened to file charges against the Sudanese government for “genocide against the black population of Darfur.” Coming from an African-American of influence, this declaration could not have been more seductive. On 29 May 2007, President George Walker Bush decided to take his own shot at the Sudanese government: The people of Darfur have suffered for a long time under the iron fist of a government that has closed its eyes to the bombardment, the killing and the rape of innocent civilians. My government is calling these actions by their name: genocide. The world has a duty to help put an end to this (. . .) I make the following promise to the people of Darfur: the United States will not turn its eyes away from a crisis that has shocked the conscience of the world. Before making this statement, Bush weighed in on the crisis in Darfur at an 18 April 2007 meeting organized by at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum: After seeing these images, there can be no doubt that “genocide” is the only word capable of describing the situation in Darfur, nor that we have a moral duty to put an end to it. If the Republicans were out in front of the campaign on “the genocide,” the Democrats did not hang back and twiddle their thumbs. The Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, also convinced that “a genocide was going down in Darfur,” declared during the 2004 presidential campaign in a Black Baptist Church: “If I were the President, I would act now on Darfur. As I have been saying for months, I would not sit around and do nothing.” Is this a great way to court the Black community and to get the majority of African-Americans, almost blindly, to support a vision that has no bearing on reality or what? The American press played a decisive role in this manipulation of public opinion. By not describing or analyzing the facts but rather interpreting them in a partisan way, certain American journalists reinforced and popularized the official version of the “genocide in Darfur.” Nicholas Kristof, reporter and op/ed writer for the New York Times, was identified by Professor Mamood Mamdami as a zealous promoter of “ethnic cleansing in Darfur.” After six trips to Sudan, Mamdami said, Kristof began to talk about how “the Arab leaders of Sudan had forced 700,000 Black African Sudanese to flee their villages.” Was this mobilization an expression of an overflowing love for the Blacks of Africa or was it a cover for less seemly political and economic objectives? The latter is more plausible because it is based on the intense and comprehensive observations of an international network of active partisans in the discussion of the existence of the “genocide” in Darfur. In France there are many such partisans in the obsessive discussion of “genocide in Darfur.” Curiously enough, they use the same vocabulary as do their trans-Atlantic allies. As examples there are Bernard Kouchner, Jacky Mamou, André Glucksmann and Bernard-Henri Levy, who have been holding forth for years on Darfur—or, more precisely, on the “genocide in Darfur”—so much so that they cannot stop themselves making the contorted comparison to the events in 1994 Rwanda, or even to The Holocaust. They are so impassioned that they lash out violently at the slightest detractor who dares diminish their narration on Sudan. Darfur is their private game preserve. In the book Urgence Darfur [Darfur Emergency], which they devoted to this region, each expresses with a great deal of “emotion” his abiding “love” and “compassion” for the inhabitants of Darfur. Simply thinking about Darfur and its people gives them palpitations. They have suffered so much over all this that they are now inconsolable. Bernard Kouchner is the one who has sort of found “genocides” everywhere. He usually sees them before the rest of the world and, in the current case, will not stand for the word “genocide” being questioned in Darfur: Sudan is governed by Omar Al-Bachir, who came to power in a military coup and is supported by an Islamic fundamentalist regime. In Darfur, a territory the size of France inhabited by 6 million people, certain leaders, who came from settled Muslim populations, have been trying for some 15 years to build a democratic and secular opposition. In reprisal, General Al-Bachir has been allowing the development (at least as he has been arming and paying them?) of Arab militias, the janjawids, whose murderous raids have created a reign of terror among the civilian population. The following is better known: horrendous massacres, villages burned to the ground, women systematically raped, children burned, whole populations hunted down, starved, packed into shabby camps, in Chad, especially. The total is nearly 300,000 dead and millions displaced. And, as usual, the silence of the International Community, despite some UN Resolutions notably recognizing the existence of crimes against Humanity, despite warnings from the former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who first talked of “genocide” in describing the crimes of the Khartoum regime. This habitual discussion about a word, often sullied, must not bring a smile. At this time, the French Foreign Minister confirmed that it was not a matter of a genocide and appeared to set himself up under the banner of Khartoum: Once again the International Community appeared to be at cross-purposes. The UN Security Council did not know how to make an attitude of voluntarism prevail, and the protection of the civilian populations in Darfur could not be assured. Remember, South Sudan, animist and Christian, was pitted against the Northern Muslim funda- mentalists in the course of a war of more than 30 years waged under the command of John Garang. Thanks to the American’s intervention the conflict was wound down to a fragile peace and the participation of the Southerners in the government of General Al-Bachir. Drawing souvenirs from his selective memory, the great promoter of “Humanitarian Intervention,” goes on with his usual lyricism: Darfur. A name that sounds like an admission of collective impotence leavened with compassion. A name particularly remote, the umpteenth symbol of exotic massacres about which we know very little and in the face of which we feel especially powerless. After Somalia and Rwanda, here are the new victims that slap the conscience of the West and beseech it for aid. How can we answer them? After shedding crocodile tears, the ever-paternalistic Kouchner, who once bore sacks of rice on his back for the endangered people of Somalia, takes off on one of his endless appeals for neo-colonialism: The 10,000 civilians who are massacred in Darfur each month need us. The peoples of neighboring states, who see the assaults of Islamists armed by China go unpunished, need us. Africa needs us. Who, in Africa, is still sensitive to this tear-jerking cynicism? A French researcher wraps up very well the highly partisan ideological positions on Darfur of Bernard Kouchner and his pal Bernard-Henri Levy: At a certain point, something astonishing happens: When it seems the media have turned their backs on the conflict, celebrities, self-proclaimed militants for the cause of Darfur, put it right back on the front page. In France, this “People journalism” reached new heights when, in 2007, the writer/ philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy turned up briefly in Chad and Darfur, with a rebel faction financed by the American coalition, Save Darfur. They published no fewer than five articles, including a double-pager in Le Monde. (. . .) At first glance, the description of the conflict by the likes of a Bernard-Henri Levy is not fundamentally different from that of most other journalists—Arabs v Africans. The difference is, however, that celebrities and militants are not content to simplify matters; they have to construct an ideological discussion unconnected to what is happening on the ground, but very much connected to their own preoccupations. In the US, the rhetoric of genocide has mobilized the Jewish community, while the pitting of Africans against Arabs has simultaneously involved the Black community and the fundamentalist Christians Right. In France, Bernard-Henri Levy, and Bernard Kouchner before him, both of them in Le Monde, recapped the conflict as a confrontation between moderate Muslims and Islamists, the same opposition the two of them described—even wished for—elsewhere when dealing with the question of Islam in France, as in the debate over the wearing of the Islamic veil. Generally, in speaking about Darfur, they are really speaking, above all, about France and Europe. In reality, Bernard Kouchner never had a truly impartial position on the war in Sudan, nor on almost all the other African conflicts that, directly or indirectly, involved the US. His ideological or partisan arc often crossed and rejoined those of the US and Israel. As in Biafra (Nigeria) and Somalia, so in Rwanda and Sudan, he marched in the same direction as Washington and Tel-Aviv. It is especially striking to note that as a member of the French government he has sometimes taken the initiative, against the advise of French authorities, to meet secretly with John Garang, the Sudanese rebel supported by the US and Israel. Zygmunt Ostrowski, who made the trip with him, tells a strange story that testifies to Kouchner’s parti pris for this Sudanese rebel leader: Dr. Bernard Kouchner, Secretary of State for French Humanitarian Action, made the decision to come to South Sudan to meet Dr. Garang in Kapoeta, despite the opposition of the authorities in Paris! He arrived in Nairobi in April 1991. Once again, the French ambassador, Michel de Bonnecorse, tried to persuade Dr. Kouchner to cancel his visit to South Sudan, where he had wanted to come “unofficially,” by way of the Sudan/Kenya border at Lokichoggio, and without a visa! Bernard Kouchner set up this deal personally, at a time when he was being challenged by the French Foreign Minister up to the very last minute. The Military Attaché at the French Embassy went all the way to Lokichoggio to try and talk Kouchner into scrapping his plan. Ostrowski states that on his return to Paris, “Bernard Kouchner had to explain himself to President François Mitterand.” In the campaign on Darfur that was growing in France, Bernard Kouchner played a prominent role. This is backed up by Rony Bauman, former president of Médecins sans Frontière, who succeeded Kouchner as the head of that organization: Kouchner played a driving role in this campaign. For example, it was he, along with Bernard-Henri Levy, who organized the big meeting on Darfur with La Mutualité during the 2007 presidential campaign. All the top political personalities were in attendance. This was a way to put serious weight behind their drive and to get a popular acceptance of the term “genocide” to describe the conflict in Darfur. Kouchner contributed to the creation of a hyper-dramatic situation by making the world believe that there were 10,000 dead each month. A despicable way of sculpting and arranging the facts. Kouchner’s obsession with the subject of genocide no longer needs demonstration. It began with the war in Biafra where he got into Humanitarian Aid. There too, at that period, I can remember he was already saying that the people of Biafra were being threatened with a genocide. He has not stopped talking about it since. We used to say about him that the bigger the mass grave, the more virtuous was the spokesman for the mass grave. The same obsession with genocide is palpable in Jacky Mamou, president of the Collective, Urgence Darfour, and close to Bernard Kouchner. This ideologue and propagandist “genocide in Darfur” narrative beats his drum as forcefully whether for Rwanda or for Darfur: After the horror of the Tutsi genocide the International Organization committed to the application of the “Responsibility to Protect.” This concept was adopted triumphantly by a unanimous vote of the UN General Assembly, where the leaders of every country on the planet are represented. But as in Rwanda, while they were prattling on about a hypothetical peace process, the mass killings continued. On 9 October 2006, the UN High Commission on Human Rights denounced again the large scale massacres in the South of Darfur, led with the approbation and material support of the Sudanese government. The parti pris by Bernard Kouchner and Jacky Mamou for the Tutsis in the tragedy of Rwanda is also obvious. There again, the positions of Kouchner, close to the vision of the Clinton administration, diverge markedly from those of French officers and from certain Ministers and other high Authorities in his country. Even if the Tutsi rebels, supported by the US and Israel, assassinated at least five French nationals in 1994, Kouchner prefers the rebels to the French widows who demand truth and justice for their husbands murdered in Kigali. Even if these Tutsi rebels continue to try to shoot down the French military with bogus media campaigns, Kouchner cannot bring himself to question the Kigali regime on anything. Even if the Tutsi rebels are currently being sought on charges of committing crimes against Humanity by French and Spanish courts, for Kouchner and his friends this remains a non-event. Even if these criminal Tutsis have slaughtered millions of Congolese and massively pillaged the riches of the RDC for their own person benefit, as well as in the interests of American multinationals, these victims just have no presence in the analyses of Kouchner and his friends. Their camp is that of the Tutsis, full stop. The French widows and the military can still complain. Their truth has no importance. Kouchner & Co. support the cause, and the version of history, that is the Tutsi rebels’, just as elsewhere they have thrown in with the rebels in Darfur. All these Central African rebellions, heavily armed and promoting violence as a means of settle political issues throughout the region, seem close and kindred spirits to them. When Jacky Mamou and other of Dr. Kouchner’s friends discuss Darfur, memories of the Tutsis in Rwanda appear as a sort of leitmotif. Is this the best way to arouse emotions and heighten indignation? In any case, they never really let this process take full effect. Moreover, this is how Jacky Mamou, who characterizes the government of president Al-Bashir as “an Arabo-Islamist regime that is massacring the African population,” bleats about the “genocide in Darfur”: It is urgent today to mobilize international public opinion to say that they will not accept war crimes and crimes against Humanity being committed in Darfur. It is unthinkable that we would sit by and watch another Rwanda take place, 12 years after the genocide of the Tutsis. He concludes his questionable appeal for Darfur by recalling the Tutsi victims, before whom the whole world must prostrate themselves: Everyone agrees that Darfur is the blind spot in international solidarity. Would that this collection of writings could rekindle the readers’ interest in this part of the world and mobilize public opinion, because until now the democracies have left the victims alone to face their torturers. Hopelessly alone. As if the tragic history of the last century—begin- ning with the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda—has taught us absolutely nothing. After milking his litany for the suffering of the “Tutsi genocide,” Jacky Mamou gives us an idea of what is at the heart of the collective Urgence Darfour: The collective Urgence Darfour is a coalition made up of personalities, of organizations and of citizens who are indignant with the silence and the weak mobilization around this first genocide of the 21st century. Among the organizations: SOS Racisme, Brave Garçons d’Afrique, le Mouvement de la paix, la Ligue international contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme (LICRA), le Mouvement pour la Paix et contre le Terrorisme (MPCT), Eursud, Vigilance Soudan, le Comité Soudan, The Simon Weisenthal Center, the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF), Christian Solidarity International (CSI). According to Mahor Chiche, former vice-president of the Collective Urgence Darfour, what characterizes this organization “is its lack of internal democracy and transparence.” Among these organizations, the hard core is still, as in the case of Save Darfur in the US, made up of groups that are pro-Israel. The Braves Garçons d’Afrique, which works for the rehabilitation of the history and images of Africans and their descendants in France, were schooled on Darfur without ever really knowing the true agenda of Urgence Darfour. They expressed to us reservations over the methods and objectives of the collective Urgence Darfour. André Glucksmann, a friend of Bernard Kouchner’s, is another one of those impassioned by the “genocide in Darfur” and by the drama, not of the Rwandans, but of the Tutsis, their favorite victims. In Darfur, he sees only “Africans killing other Africans and Muslims executing other Muslims. No question of blaming a wicked stepmother. Stupid to point to a ‘clash of civilizations.’ Impossible to blame European colonialism or American imperialism as a way to reframe the horror of this hundred year-old ideological portrait.” So it is clear: for Mr. Glucksmann, Darfur is a battlefield on which African savages kill African barbarians and violence-crazed Muslims, all thirsty for blood. Neither Europeans nor Americans play the slightest role in this essentially local conflict. We dare believe it! In tidying up around the conflict, by ideologically turning the question of Darfur into one of massacres among “savages,” and by flipping reality upside down with such assertions, André Glucksmann is trying to misdirect the analyses of inexperienced researchers and to falsify any understanding of this conflict. Another friend of Kouchner’s, very “traumatized” by the “genocide of the Tutsis,” and probably also by the one they say is going on in Darfur, is Bernard-Henri Levy. B-HL is, as he describes himself, a specialist in the “investigative novel,” that is, writing that makes a whole lot of fiction out of the truth. The people of Darfur are, according to him, in agony. He has seen the “genocide” in Darfur and it has broken his heart. He has never gotten over these visible emotions: What I saw there, saw with my own eyes, was the heart of what will become, if we do nothing, the first genocide of the 21st century, at once exceeding the imagination, the understanding and the limits of what can be tolerated by civilized humanity. I saw villages burned, over hundreds of kilometers: not a living soul; not a trace of a human presence; just great circles of ash, the remains of a metal box spring twisted by the flames; a child’s shoe; a piece of a dinner-plate; or, once, miraculously spared by the fire, the end of a voter’s card on which could only be read, as in a Modiano novel, the first letters of the owner’s name. I saw, from Bahai to Beirmezza, over a little more than 400 kilometers, crossing a Darfur empty of inhabitants, become a desert, the horrible work of the janjawids, these militias on horseback, literally the devil’s horsemen, who go by the hundreds, sometimes by the thousands, and more and more often backed up by the armor of the regular Sudanese Army, and who loot, burn, torture, behead, and do not leave until they have, literally, scorched the earth. Finally I saw—this, perhaps, even more revolting—poor men and women facing such cruelty with home-made weapons, defended by a barefoot army, and in a state of absolute isolation and abandonment, which could only be compared to what I saw 14 years ago in Bosnia, and before that in Rwanda. The French researcher Jérôme Tubiana took several trips to Darfur into the zone where Bernard-Henri Levy seems to have been. He remains skeptical after having read B-HL’s testimony. In an article entitled (Bad) Things Seen in Darfur, Jérôme Tubiana wonders about the visual rigor of the “investigative novelist”, as B-HL describes himself: It was to revisit Darfur that I took a look at the article by Bernard-Henri Levy in Le Monde of Tuesday 13 March. I read these Things Seen in Darfur with much more interest because the writer traveled to a region (Dar Zaghawa, in the northwest of Darfur) that I had visited four time since 2004. My first surprise was when I noticed that these familiar places were often misspelled and misplaced: Bir Meza (not Beirmazza) is not 60 km north of Amarai but 60 km west; Dissa (not Deissa) is not 15 km east of Bir Meza but 5 km south. The writer does not seem much concerned with precision, whether about the places he visited or the people he met. For example, the rebel chief “Tarrada” is presented as the one who “conceived” of the victorious raid in the rebellion of El-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, in April (not in February as indicated) 2003. But the rebel leaders and troops who took part in this inaugural battle agree that the person who conceived it was, only logically, Abdallah Abakar Beshar, first military chief of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), dead in combat January 2004. Tarrada did not lead any of the three groups who took part in this raid. He was only one military leader among dozens of others, and not the tactical genius the article evokes. Mr. Tubiana adds: What is fascinating is that Bernard-Henri Levy seems to have met only pro-Abdelwahid rebels, yet he did not visit any of the zones controlled by this faction (the west of the Jebel Marra plateau, quite further south), and the region he did visit was clearly under the control of other factions. (. . .) For all that, the rebels in Darfur, like rebels everywhere, also sometimes live off the local populations. Even if the relations between combatants and civilians seemed to have improved since the rallying around Minni Minnawe, the former rival of Abdelwahid for the movement, to the Khartoum government, the Darfur rebels often rustled livestock, forcibly demanded taxes and hijacked food aid. Jérôme Tubiana concludes with astonishment: Whatever the justification, arming the rebels was a declaration of war by the West, with these armed groups as their proxies, against the State of Sudan. This war would certainly be interpreted, in the Muslim world and elsewhere, as a new front in the global conflict between the West and Islam. To see Darfur through this lens, as has been demanded since the debut of the American coalition Save Darfur, which financed B-HL’s trip—is no service to the people of Darfur who, Arab or not, are all Muslims and proud of it. When B-HL delights in seeing “very few mosques” in Darfur, his vision is off: even if mosques in Darfur are sometimes only earthen houses or just lines of rocks placed in the sand, each village, destroyed or not, has its mosque. There is no religious war in Darfur, and Bernard-Henri Levy is on the wrong track when he sees this conflict as a confrontation between “radical and moderate Islam”—resampling a formulation of Bernard Kouchner’s, who sees in Darfur “Muslim fundamentalists trying to impose the charia on Muslim moderates.” When he discusses Darfur, Bernard-Henri Levy locks himself into a steel cage of ethno-racist references. It is very difficult to analyze him except through an ethno-racial or ethno-religious lens. He quickly loses the Cartesian spirit and any sense of nuance when faced with the complexities of African political crises, especially those in Rwanda and Sudan. By reductionism and at the cost of great ideological shortcuts, he deals out prefab opinions to better beat up on those who contradict him: We are fully aware, in the end, of the racist nature, purely racist, of a conflict which, the Zaghawa and Masalit tribes in revolt against Khartoum, itself, like them, being Muslim, no longer has the excuse, as in the South, of being a war of religion and so must present the image of a war driven only by hatred, by the white Arabs of the North of a population whose only crime is having too dark a skin. (. . .) There are those for whom this war at the end of the world, where we can no longer see it, between the evil rich of Europe and the decent poor of the Third World, is of no interest at all: ah, these progressives, who get so much more talkative when the conflict is one between Israel and Palestine! Ah, these anti-imperialists and other anti-globalizationists, who, when it comes to a war that has created five hundred times more dead, but in which neither Israel nor the West plays any part, suddenly have nothing to say.! There are in France certain organizations whose duty and specialty, one is led to believe, is the defense of Black minority victims, either of discrimination or the denial of remembrance, and who are also conspicuous by their silence: because the enemy no longer has the face, here either, of the Jewish slave merchant and the looter of African forests? Because this war between Arab and non-Arab Muslims, once again, complicates the old set-up? Because it is the terrible confirmation, in fact and indeed, of the historical thesis contending that the massacre of Blacks in Africa was an African crime, and, particularly, as much an Arab as a Western affair? Because it is the evidence, for example, that those who would charge one Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau with revisionism were not only ignoramuses but swine? In short, there are all those who have one reason, different each time, to feel embarrassed, and who would like it every much if what El Bachir has to do, he would do quickly and without a lot of noise. This catch-all, virulent discourse by Bernard-Henri Levy neither explains nor proves anything quite so much as his own profoundly ethno-racist image of the conflict in Sudan and his visceral loathing for the government in Khartoum. How can one believe, after this intellectually vacuous sermon, that he is honestly concerned about the tragedy of the Blacks in Darfur? His fixation with skin color and his utilitarian relations with Africa weigh heavily on his vision of the continent. For those who don’t know him, B-HL is not interested only in the desert oil zones of Darfur, he has already made a good deal of money in the exploitation of wood from African forests, and his businesses in this domain would have treated Blacks as less than slaves. Darfuris had better watch out. His flights of lyricism over humanitarian aid in Darfur are a smoke screen and his great sensitivity for the suffering of Blacks is still just bad theatre. The influence Bernard-Henri Levy holds over the French media and his extremely close relations with the rebel chief Abdalwahid Al-Nour affect the understanding of the crisis in Darfur in a great many French households. More serious, the light-handed treatment of and, sometimes, the connivance of certain journalists with his propaganda initiatives have contributed to changing the facts and giving a sort of “legitimacy” to the rebels. Along this line, Jérôme Tubiana stresses: The predominant narrative in the Western media was not without consequence in Darfur. It degrades the positions of the participants in the conflict, especially the rebels and the displaced civilians, who have begun to refer to themselves as “Africans” and to use the term “genocide” to describe any kind of incident that results in fatalities. Sensing support from the media, and from the West, in general, they have become more rigid in their negotiations. The statements by rebel chief Abdelwahid Mohamed Nour, in exile in France, tend much more today than when he was on the ground in Sudan toward a radical critique of the Khartoum government as being “Islamist.” Rony Brauman, former president of Médecins sans frontières, knows Darfur very well—as he does both Bernard-Henri Levy and Bernard Kouchner. According to Brauman: Bernard Kouchner, Bernard-Henri Levy, André Glucksmann and all the people of Urgence Darfour and of the collective Darfour, have a profound distrust of the facts. They eviscerate the reality and choose only what suggests the killings are on a one-way street or what indicates that the killings are en masse. I remember when Bernard-Henri Levy reacted violently against the use of the term ‘armed conflict’ in Darfur. For him, “this is not an armed conflict, this is a massacre of innocents. To say otherwise is to spit in the faces of the victims,” he proclaimed. This is his vision of things. For me, I profess and persist in saying and demonstrating that what is happening in Darfur is an armed conflict in which the violence and oppression come as much from the government side as from the rebellion. The rebels are well-equipped people who deliver severe blows to the Sudanese Army. This is not a simplistic reading like that carried out by people who would permit you to understand what is going on in Darfur. Rony Brauman was not spared for having expressed a different point of view on the subject of Darfur. He was the target of a global lynching by those same pity peddlers. Bernard-Henri Levy had already accused him of revisionism: There is a small clique of revisionists in Paris who began by relativizing, by banalizing, by denying what is going on in Darfur, he stated to AFP. They think, he said, that a Third World state like Sudan could not really be a murderer and that these victims, supported by American public opinion cannot truly be the victims. Bernard-Henri Levy goes after him, profoundly annoyed by Rony Brauman’s refusal to submit to his vision: “They do the dirty job of insulting the dead in Darfur.” His answer is also astounding when Rony Brauman calls into question the appropriateness of the term genocide for Darfur: It is a strange polemic, he says, cagey and, truth be told, so shabby that it has been developed, for the past few weeks, on the backs of those massacred in Darfur. There are the hair-splitters who dedicate an inordinate amount of energy to haggling over whether the word genocide is justified or not: as if this were the real question! As if it were not enough to see the century open on a massacre the death toll of which, by any reckoning, is not lower than a mere 300,000! And as if it would make any difference, from the point of view of the victims, themselves, if they knew that this amounted to a crime against Humanity, a large-scale war crime or, in fact, a genocide. . . . There are horror mongers who explain to us, with their calculators where their hearts should be, that we are entering into [sic] a new program of violence and that, with the frequency of the killings diminishing, and for good reason, it would behoove us to control our overly emotional opinions—excuse the almost rustic simplicity of this last remark, but I believe that, in the face of human cruelty, one can never be overly emotional—and I believe, maintaining all proportionality, that, as we argued in 1944, since the number of deportations had diminished from Germany and Poland, which had become almost Judenfrei, it was imperative to calm down and negotiate with Hitler. Bernard-Henri Levy has the maddening tendency, when he runs out of relevant information or is incapable of deeper reflextion, to start angrily blowing smoke. Gradually, as the debate becomes more complicated and his arguments reach their limits, he plays his wild card: the deportation of the Jews or Hitler. These two aspects of WWII are totally incongruous and completely inappropriate to the use of the term “genocide” about the crisis in Darfur. All this is as if Hitler is the only credible gauge by which it is possible to quantify or qualify these horrors, or, moreover, to disqualify them. These intellectual shortcuts are legion and do great harm to any understanding of the conflict in Darfur. Since B-HL is incapable of explaining, even by reverting to “philosophy,” his discipline of choice, just how whatever is happening in Darfur constitutes a genocide, he contents himself by referring to his usually well-informed contradictors as “horror monger” or “salon geostrategists”: There is this former doctor without borders, morphed into a salon geostrategist, who took great pains, in last week’s Journal de Dimanche, to explain to supporters of political pressure on the rulers in Khartoum and, thus, to their Chinese protectors, that, in Darfur, there are Sudanese killing other Sudanese, and that in these inter-Sudanese massacres, “Peking is not at all involved”: this is to write off all the Security Council Resolutions blocked by China’s abstention or veto; this is to return an ethnic critique of a tragedy which is, on the contrary, more relevantly viewed in its deep political dimension; this is to revive the nasty little night music, an alibi for all the inaction, for the intertribal, local, not to say racial wars, about which the West has nothing it must do other than wash its hands of them. . . . This polemic, I repeat, is as vain as it is sickening. And we must keep ourselves from going there, beyond the immobilizing effect it never fails to have on a public that may be just beginning to awaken. The former doctor without borders that Bernard-Henri Levy refers to as a “salon geostrategist” is none other than Rony Brauman. The remarks that Brauman made on the subject of Darfur are neither sickening nor immobilizing. They are, however, intended to promote reflection, well-founded analysis, something that could not be disapproved by a “philosopher of the Enlightenment.” How can these people, who for so many years have carried on a campaign against “the genocide in Darfur,” remain totally oblivious to the debate over whether genocide in Darfur actually exists or not? Why reject the idea that such a debate could lead to a solid and fruitful intellectual confrontation, perhaps even begin to form viable and concrete solutions? Why do these same people systematically oppose all those who dare to pose precise questions about their discussion of the subject of “genocide” and its planning, its political context and its different actors? How is it possible that researchers and philosophers, or individuals who pass themselves off as such, refuse to put their work and their discoveries about the “genocide in Darfur” up against those of people with information and opinions contrary of theirs? Truth is, Rony Brauman tries to distinguish what is revealed by the “investigative-novel” from verifiable reality. It seems clear that the factual truth interests neither André Glucksmann nor Bernard-Henri Levy nor Doctor Bernard Kouchner. Rony Brauman concludes: I know them well, and I can tell you that their nonchalance with regard to the facts or reality is total. This clan of ideologues always gathers around wars and genocides. Together they speak of the genocide of the Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica; together, they pointed an accusing finger at the “genocide of the Tutsis” in Rwanda; together, they shaped public opinion to the idea that a genocide, similar to the one in Rwanda, was underway in Darfur and that it was being perpetrated by the Khartoum government and the janawids. The facts and the complexities of these crises are of little importance to them. Of little importance is also from where the truth has come, even when it is disclosed by honest protagonists or from independent observers from the UN or elsewhere. In all these regions they designate who are the torturers and who are the victims. In Bosnia, the torturers are the Milosevic regime and his Serb militias; in Rwanda, it is the regime of the late President Habyarimana and the Hutu militias. In Soudan, it is the regime of President Omar Al-Bachir and the janjawid militias. In these files, their rhetoric is the same and their methods identical. They prefer redundancy on the “genocide” rather than exhausting themselves in research or in questioning the facts. Intellectual reflection and supported research tires them out. These are experts on fast food thinking, easy to serve to the masses, assisted by a certain television. The members of Urgence Darfour like those of Save Darfur base their programs on a schematic and binary presentation of Sudan, with “Blacks or Africans” on one side, and on the other “Arabs.” Is it necessary to point out that this version of reality is more appropriate to the Sudan of the 17th or 18th century when the great waves of migration put the peoples of the Arabic peninsula into Sudan, as we have previously discussed? Three centuries later, it is astonishing to notice that a reading of Save Darfur and Urgence Darfour shows no evolution at all of the Sudanese people. Is it also necessary to point out that, today, all the people of Sudan are Africans and not Arabs? Then there is President Al-Bashir, himself: if one judges merely by his physical appearance, he can only be considered a Black African, in the sense intended by Save Darfur and Urgence Darfour. Only by the fact that he is Muslim would these associations make of him an Arab and not an African head of State. Since 2003, and this is true, Darfur has been plunged into war. But, something that is not spoken of enough, if at all, is the role of the Great Powers in the history of this crisis. An expert and African diplomat, Mohammed Hassan, sheds useful light on this aspect: The basis of the conflict is, without any doubt, the great economic and social retardation of the province of Darfur. However, the explosion of violence that has taken place there since 2003 is, above all, a consequence of American interference. Since the middle of the 90s, this interference is more and more striking. First, the Americans gave military support to the rebel movement in the South led by John Garang. If the Americans had succeeded in weakening and dividing the country, they would only have had to harvest the booty. But their little plan failed: the North stood tough. The Americans then chose another tactic—from 2000-2001: diplomatic pressure came to the fore. And American control became greater. An example of this is the Sudan Peace Act that Bush had passed in 2001. This is a purely colonial law. It placed the negotiations between the North and South under the direct control of the Americans. The peace talks lasted 22 months. Their progress was evaluated every six months, not by the Sudanese people, but by the US Congress, and if the negotiators scored some good points, the Congress would release $100 million in aid per year. One of the American negotiators stated to Reuters: “We are on the 99th version of the peace agree- ment. I rewrote the text every day. I think the definitive version will be ready on the 19th of April. They will end up folding.” Just to show how far the control by the Americans has already gone. But this strategy will not lead to a complete submission by the Khartoum government to the American diktat. The Americans always want more and always to go farther. Each concession is followed by a new demand, until enslavement is total. In this context of interference and blackmail, always greater and more openly declared, one part of the Darfur elite believed they could get a bigger slice of the Sudanese pie, hoping to get it with US support. Since 2003, certain non-Arab tribal chiefs have created militias and mounted military raids. Then, the chief of an Arab tribe in Darfur, a local judge and director of a bank, was kidnapped. The government reacted by bombing. The conflict would never have grown to this intensity without the continual interference of the US, which supported all the forces that could contribute to the weakening of the Khartoum government. A French group formed around an organization called L’Appel franco-arabe [The Franco-Arab Appeal] presents a very similar analysis: The greatest misfortune for Sudan is, paradoxically, its potential wealth, because for several years international experts have thought that beneath the country lies one of the world’s largest oil deposits, not to mention the ore of rare and precious metals. This buried treasure whets the appetites of outside powers and has the immediate effect of fanning the flames of internal conflicts because the rebels see themselves being wooed with arms and military advisors by those who hope to get their hands on these riches by taking advantage of the political disorder and the weakening of the State. So it is for this reason that the big media and the ideologues speak to us only of the regime in Khartoum, which they abhor, the janjawids, Humanitarian Aid and the UN Intervention Force. By hiding the truth about Darfur behind all that emotion and fake compassion, certain media keep the public from discovering what is hidden behind the obsession with “genocide” in Darfur, NOTES:  Professor Mamood Mamdami has done a great deal of work on the conflict in Darfur, and his book, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror, is an important contribution on the origins and evolution of this conflict. The British researcher David Hoile also published two fundamental works that analyze the causes and what is at stake if the tension persists in Darfur: Darfur in perspective, London, the European-Sudanese public affairs council, 2005, 278 p., and Darfur: The road to peace, London, the European-Sudanese public affairs council, 2008, 526 p.  Cf. Kapteijns, Lidwien, Mahdisme et tradition au Dar For, Paris, l’Harmattan, 2006, 352 p., p. 22.  Cf. Kapteijns, Lidwien, op. cit., p. 38. This historian retraces the history of the Masalit in the work cited above. A document rich in the history of Dar For.  Milliard Burr co-wrote a controversial book in 2006 on the financing of terrorism. The book was banned by a British court because of slander. He cast suspicion on Sudan in a chapter of this book entitled “Islamic Charity Organizations and Revolutionary Sudan.” The editor judged that the evidence presented by the writers to support their arguments was inconsistent.  Interview with the writer.  Cf. “1.9 million dead in 15-year Sudan war,” agency reports in Los Angeles Times, December 11, 1998.  Cf. America’s Sudan policy, a new direction? Testimony of Roger Winter submitted to the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations; Subcommittee on Africa; Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights: 28 March 2001.  Engdahl, William, China and the USA in New Cold War over Africa’s Oil Riches: Darfur? It’s the Oil, Stupid, May 20, 2007.  Professor Antonio Cassese was the first President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) from 1993 to 1999 and was President of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur in 2004.  Cf. Report by the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, Sept. 2004, UN.  Cf. “The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency,” in London Review of Books, March 8, 2007.  Cf. Urgence Darfour, under the direction of Morad El Hattab, Des idées et des hommes, Paris, 2007, 316 pages, pp. 77-78.  Cf. Urgence Darfour, op, cit., p. 81.  Cf. Tubiana, Jérôme, “La médiatisation du conflict au Darfour,” at http://www.grotius.fr/node/41.  Cf. Ostrowski, Zigmunt, Le Soudan à l’aube de la paix, Paris, l’Harmattan, 2005, 314 pg., p. 93.  Interview with the writer 30 June 2009 at the headquarters of Médecins Sans Frontières in Paris.  Cf. Urgence Darfour, op. cit., p.93.  Cf. Onana, Charles, Les tueurs tutsi: Au coeur de la tragedie Congloaise, Paris, Duboiris, 2009, 320 p.  Cf. Urgence Darfour, op. cit., p. 95.  Cf. Urgence Darfour, op. cit.  LICRA [the League Against Racism and Antisemitism] is very close to pro-Israel organizations like the Anti-Defamation League in the US and the very powerful B’nai B’rith.  Cf. Urgence Darfour, op. cit., p. 95.  Interview with the writer.  Cf. Urgence Darfour, op. cit., p. 35.  Cf. Le Monde of 13 March 2007.  Cf. Revue Mouvements http://www.mouvements.info/Chose-mal-vues-au-Darfour.html.  Cf. Revue Mouvements http://www.mouvements.info/Chose-mal-vues-au-Darfour.html.  Cf. Le Point of 13 April 2006.  Cf. Nicolas Beau and Olivier Toscer, Une imposture française, Editions Les Arènes, 2006, 214 ps., p. 57.  Cf. “La médiatisation du conflict au Darfour” in http://www.grotius.fr/node/41, op. cit.  Cf. Interview with the writer.  Cf. “Darfour: stop aux polémiques indécentes,” bloc-notes de Bernard-Henri Levy in Le Point, no. 1813, du 14 juillet 2007.  Cf. “Darfour: stop aux polémiques indécentes,” bloc-notes de Bernard-Henri Levy, op. cit.  Interview with the writer.  In May 1994, at the moment of the European elections, Bernard-Henri Levy and André Glucksmann forcefully militated against what they called “the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo.” They were on the list “Europe begins at Sarajevo.”  Interview with the writer.  Cf. Drweski, Bruno, Doggui, Sliman, Vargas, Yves, Soudan pour une paix veritable au Darfour, Pantin, Le temps des cerises, 2004, 58p., pp. 15-16.