Roles of the U.S. in Darfur Region of Sudan

For many years now since former President Bush’s last few days in office, the United States of America has been actively participating and sending aid into Darfur to help with its recovery. The war in the Darfur region of Sudan started in February 2003 between the Sudanese government and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), as well as with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) group. The war lasted a little more than seven years and took hundreds of thousands of Darfurian lives. Millions of people have been left homeless because of the conflict, and the United Nations have named Darfur to be one of the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crises.

The United States is one of the countries who offered help to recover Darfur. The U.S. government has tried to help by sending troops and airlift vehicles to Darfur, and driven campaigns to intervene and stop the genocide in Western Sudan’s Darfur region. The Darfur Peace Agreement was finally signed in 2011 but the Darfurian Referandum was scheduled to be held on July 2012.

Darfur Genocide: The Suffering Continues

Since the ceasefire of February 2010, many consider the genocide in Darfur to be a thing of the past. Unfortunately this is not the case. Nearly a decade on from the outbreak of war, support and awareness for the region’s suffering is as necessary as ever as civilians continue to be subject to violence and food shortages caused by the ongoing conflicts:

 

History of an ongoing crisis

The conflict in Darfur, Sudan began in February 2003, when the SLM or Sudan Liberation Movement and JEM, or the Justice and Equality Movement, rebelled against the Sudanese Government who they saw as favoring the Arab population in Sudan. The military, police and militant groups in support of the Government’s stance struck back, creating civil war. The main militant group, the Janjaweed, were not officially endorsed by the government but were thought to be receiving funds and ammunition from them nonetheless. They regularly conducted fatal attacks on civilians as well as the SLM & JEM.

Casualty estimates from the conflict, which officially lasted until February 2010, are estimated anywhere from 20,000 to many hundreds of thousands. Direct casualties were never properly accounted for, and further to this, many more have suffered and died due to the indirect effects of civil war: poverty, disease and starvation. Many international groups consider this violence and neglect of the Sudanese people at the hands of their government to be genocide.

Since the official ceasefire and commencement of peace negotiations, the Government have been accused of unprovoked raids against a civilian village, prompting a breakdown in negotiations. Whether this will result in outright civil war again remains to be seen. Meanwhile, millions of civilians continue to suffer from violence, displacement, and famine caused by the poor management of otherwise fertile land.