What will happen next?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

(From an email sent out to friends by John Weiss)

Monitoring events in Darfur, Chad, Abuja, NATO HQ in Belgium, Kenya, and Rwanda is a priority activity for us WHILE we are on the road, as we were today, the first day of the Ride Against Genocide.

We have received word from Phil Cox, for example, that his latest report from Darfur, 20+ minutes long, DARFUR'S DIRTY WARS, was broadcast on the Australian SBS Dateline Program yesterday,

and is now available on video streaming.['Darfur's Dirty War' will be broadcast on SBS Dateline on the 13th July and can be seen on the net at http://news.sbs.com.au/dateline/] Phil just ended 4 weeks in Darfur, hiding in the wadis with terrified IDPs and rebels, and talking to "angry, frustrated, and confused" AU soldiers. Elvir Camdzic (my riding partner in the US side) and I plan to try to talk to Phil by phone in the next couple of days and get more details.Obviously, all the details about AU morale and the style and state of its operations will be at the top of the list.

Next, I am trying my best to "aggressively monitor" exactly what NATO is doing as it moves this unconscionably small and mandate-shackled set of 5000 New AU troops into Darfur.The transport planes have been flying since 1 July, according to official NATO dispatches, but what really is happening must perhaps be found out from other sources.

I think you all know our fear on the American side: at the end of September, with 7700 (or even less)soldiers the size of the AU contingent in Darfur, Zoellick and Rice will declare a great triumph, pronounce the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act unnecessary, and declare that "an atmosphere of security" would be all but total in Darfur if it weren't for the rebels and the bandits. So the Genocide Intervention Fund, the Save Darfur Coalition, the Cornell Darfur Action Group, and all the rest of us dimly informed posturing do-gooders should thank our government, NATO, and the AU and move on to other matters.

We call this the September Sandbag, because such a pronouncement would in fact have the effect of a sandbag blow to the head for the anti-genocide movement.

I think you can see that straight information is crucial and that the all efforts made to this point to help Darfur are at risk.

John Weiss
from the Ride Against Genocide