For the past four years, Arab tribes in Sudan have expelled Africans from the Darfur region and have colonized the abandoned land. Now, the former members of the Janjaweed are fighting each other over the spoils.

First, a bit of news from the NYT:

Some of the same Arab tribes accused of massacring civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan are now unleashing their considerable firepower against one another in a battle over the spoils of war that is killing hundreds of people and displacing tens of thousands.

Couldn’t happen to nicer people. This is not the first time this has occured. The Arab tribes bicker amongst themselves all the time in the region. They only temporarily united to expel the Africans and steal the land.

The fighting is going on between the Terjem and the Mahria Tribes. There are also issues with nomadic Arab tribes like the Um Jalool from Chad which colonized the formerly African owned territory.

The armed groups in the janjaweed militias were decentralized and fragmented, which prevented them from having real unity. They were united only to expel the Africans from Darfur. Since the genocide is winding down, the Arabs have begun fighting each other over the spoils of victory.

The Sudanese government actively supported the Janjaweed. These militias were drawn from the Arab nomadic tribes in the region, like the Um Jalool.

Darfur is in the Sahel region of Africa. It’s a semi-arid grassland region just below the Saharan Desert. There have always been conflicts between the nomads and the agriculturalists in the region. The nomads need grazelands for their herds and the farmers need farmland. There has always been conflicts over scarce territorial resources in the Sahel. This has grown worse since the Sahel has been getting more arid over the past few thousand years.

There has also been a population explosion in Sudan, which now has a population of 39 million. Sudan received all the benefits of modern industrialism – medicine, vaccines, better nutrition – but without the industrial part. There is little industry so most people, particularly in the Darfur region, still live as Bedouin or sustenance farmers. So of course they have population booms without the land to economically support them.

What can be done? Little. Most people do not want to face down China, which continues to diplomatically back Sudan. China provides weapons to Sudan and has oil contracts and other interests in the region. Any serious UN collective action is blocked by China.

The best solution is to arm the African farmers so they can fight the nomadic Arab tribes to a standstill. Genocides are one-sided wars. But regular wars kill far less people, mutual armed conflict is the way to minimize losses and end the war faster.

Some international help could help an armed African rebel force. Air support would be useful. Gunships and armed UAVs would eliminate Sudanese helicopters and easily destroy Janjaweed “technicals” – pickup trucks with mounted machine guns. This would eliminate the janjaweed’s maneuver advantage. The Africans would have to do most of the land fighting themselves, since the region is inaccessible for international troops.

Celebrities and other do-gooders don’t see armed conflict as a way to stop genocide. Instead they call for UN collective action against Sudan through sanctions, which is blocked by China. After failing, they hold rock concerts to raise “awareness.” Concerts and empty-calls for sanctions do not help the 200,000 butchered in the genocide.

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