Article Title

Unsimplifying Darfur


Much of the debate about genocide in Darfur appears woefully misinformed about the complex realities of the crisis, in particular its growing imbrication with the conflict in neighboring Chad. The parallel with Rwanda is limited, even though, in both cases, the international community has failed utterly to stop the atrocities committed against innocent civilians. No prevention strategy is likely to succeed unless cross-border raids from Chad into Darfur and vice versa are stopped, and this will not happen as long as the Sudanese and Chadian authorities are playing one faction off against another in what looks increasingly like a proxy war. Genocide should not be seen as the sole touchstone for intervention. War crimes, ethnic cleansing, and atrocity crimes, to name only some of the horrors illustrated by the Darfur tragedy, provide ample justification, moral and political, for the international community to take concerted action to protect civilian lives. The most urgent task facing the international community is not to strive for a consensus about genocide but to frame an effective prevention strategy. For this to happen, immediate attention must be paid to the crisis in Chad, which could unleash renewed cross-border violence, destabilize the De´by regime in Ndjamena, and ultimately play into the hands of Khartoum.