The American verdict was unambiguous: Darfur was the site of an ongoing genocide.
The chain of events leading to Washington’s proclamation began with ‘a genocide alert’ from the Management Committee of the Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum; according to the , the alert was ‘the first ever of its kind, issued by the US Holocaust Museum’.
Among those in the counter-insurgency accused of war crimes were the ‘foreign army officers acting in their personal capacity’, i.e.
mercenaries, presumably recruited from armed forces outside Sudan.
On the other, there was a community-level split inside Darfur, between nomads and settled farmers, who had earlier forged a way of sharing the use of semi-arid land in the dry season.
With the drought that set in towards the late 1970s, co-operation turned into an intense struggle over diminishing resources.
As the insurgency took root among the prospering peasant tribes of Darfur, the government trained and armed the poorer nomads and formed a militia – the Janjawiid – that became the vanguard of the unfolding counter-insurgency.
The worst violence came from the Janjawiid, but the insurgent movements were also accused of gross violations.
The similarities between Iraq and Darfur are remarkable.
The estimate of the number of civilians killed over the past three years is roughly similar.