Today, Enough released Darfur Rebels 101, a strategy paper aimed at dispelling the commonly held, but false, notion that Darfur’s rebel groups are hopelessly fractured into scores of rival factions, most of which are little more than clusters of bandits who opportunistically profit from lawlessness and chaos.
Just a few weeks ago at an event in Washington, Andrew Natsios, the former White House Special Envoy for Sudan, claimed that there are “dozens of independent groups operating in Darfur.” Based on the Enough Project’s regular and extensive contacts with key rebel officials, it is clear that only a handful of rebel groups are key players, and many of Darfur’s rebels largely agree on the core issues that must be addressed to bring peace. Moreover, these core issues are consistent with those of Darfur’s citizens, as represented by civil society groups, women’s coalitions, and Diaspora organizations.
Darfur Rebels 101 identifies the major players among the region’s rebel groups and explains what they represent, what divides them, and—most importantly—what could potentially unite them if a credible, sustained, and internationally-backed peace effort was put in place.
As the report’s co-author, Omer Ismail, notes:
Rebel divisions are not the primary obstacle to peace in Darfur. The international community must not allow Khartoum to blame rebel divisions for the government’s inaction to end Darfur’s suffering, nor are rebel groups to be blamed for the international community’s failure to mount an effective diplomatic strategy for dealing with Sudan’s multiple crises.
Listen to a podcast about the paper, and check out this “who’s who” photo slideshow of Darfur’s rebels.