Sudan: Needing a New Portmanteau

By Ron Capps

In the midst of the Obama administration's policy review on Afghanistan a new word was born: Afpak, meaning Afghanistan and Pakistan. Strategists want to encourage the executors of strategy and policy to think of Afghanistan and Pakistan as a unified theater of operations. The border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan demands a unified approach if NATO and the U.S. are to defeat the Taliban.  So, Afpak it is.  

Chad: Keeping the Peace Afloat

By Ron Capps

Am Nabak is a fine place for camels. It is rocky and dry, and getting drier. The water table can't support the current population of a few camels and around 17,000 refugees from the war in Darfur, so water is brought in overland by truck. The camp is situated scant 25 kilometers from the Darfur border.  This is too close to the war zone by United Nations standards; it was only supposed to be a transit camp through which refugees passed on their way to more permanent and secure camps. But the refugees have settled in at Am Nabak and, despite the urging of the UN Refugee Agency, prefer to remain close to the border. 

Darfur: The Main Thing

By Ron Capps

Nicholas Kristof's recent blog post took the United Nations to task for cancelling a security detail for him and his traveling partner, actor and activist George Clooney, on their recent trip to eastern Chad. Actually, Kristof said that his complaint with the UN is not the lack of security but rather the sudden reversal of position by high-level UN officials.  Kristof claims UN leadership worried that Clooney might condemn the actions of Sudanese president Omar al Bashir as genocide, thereby worsening already tense relations between Khartoum and New York.  A note: Mr. Clooney was travelling as a private citizen (albeit a very high profile private citizen), not in his role as a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

President’s Corner: Obama, Darfur, Refugees and Diplomacy

By Kenneth Bacon

All around the world people want to know how American policy will change when Barack Obama becomes president.  I expect greater U.S. engagement on two humanitarian crises—Darfur and Iraqi displacement.

Chad: Bring us security to return home

By Mpako Foaleng

Within the past three years, insecurity remains the primary obstacle to the return of Chadians who have been forced to flee their villages, located in the south-eastern areas of Chad bordering Sudan. Insecurity and violence are also increasingly hampering the provision of assistance to the people displaced as aid agencies come under recurrent attacks by armed men on the roads or in their compounds.

Chad: Before the Rainy Season

By Mpako Foaleng
"The music has played again as is the case almost every year before the rainy season starts in eastern Chad.” This was a metaphor used by a Chadian in eastern Chad last month to describe the recent attacks by rebel groups against the government’s forces. The latest attack is one of many that has contributed -- together with ethnic tensions and the spill over of Sudan’s Darfur crisis -- to destabilizing eastern Chad in the last five years.

World Refugee Day: Reflections from Chad

By Erin Weir
This Friday, June 20, is World Refugee Day. It is a day to recognize the struggle of some 12 million refugees worldwide who have been forced out of their homes and homelands by fear, conflict, and persecution. It is also an opportunity for many of us to try to appreciate just what it means to have a safe place to go home to, and to remember that no conflict happens in isolation. Insecurity anywhere threatens peace everywhere.

Chad: Political Chaos A Threat To Displaced People Region-Wide

By Joel Charny
The push of Sudan-backed rebels into the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, poses a serious threat, not only to the government of President Idriss Deby, but to the humanitarian relief efforts in the country. An estimated 440,000 displaced people have sought refuge in eastern and southern Chad: 230,000 refugees from Darfur, 170,000 internally displaced Chadians, and 44,000 refugees from the Central African Republic.
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