Libmonster ID: VN-1242
Author(s) of the publication: N. I. PETROV

For a decade - from 2003 to 2013, and in fact until now - shots have been fired and people have been killed in the Darfur region of Sudan. There is a civil war going on. But what is interesting is that almost no one calls these events a war-they talk about the"Darfur conflict". Although this is not really a two - way conflict, because in Darfur, one side - the Government of the Sudan-is confronted by several dozen rebel movements and tribal militias that are in complex relationships, sometimes hostile to each other.

In addition, neighboring countries - Libya, Chad, Uganda, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Eritrea-are involved in these events. Plus the continuous participation of the UN, other international organizations, and foreign states in attempts to stop the bloodshed. In short, it takes a great deal of knowledge and - without exaggeration-a certain amount of courage to try to talk about this as fully as possible and unravel the tangle that is called the Darfur conflict.

These qualities - deep knowledge of the events in Darfur and the courage of a researcher of the most complex problems-are certainly possessed by a young African scholar, Candidate of Political Sciences S. V. Kostelyanets, author of the book " Darfur: a History of the conflict "(Moscow, Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2014, 388 p). This voluminous work analyzes the causes and prerequisites, driving forces and course of the conflict, ways to resolve it, as well as the role played by international peacekeeping forces.

The main stages of the conflict, which is considered one of the most significant humanitarian disasters of the XXI century, were widely covered by the world and domestic press. But relatively little is known about its root causes. And the author is certainly right to devote the largest chapter of his work to this topic.

Armed clashes in various parts of Sudan began in the 1980s, when the first rebel movements appeared in the country. Conflicts have arisen for many reasons : access to fertile and pasture lands, mineral deposits, as a result of increased social inequality, etc. But most often - because of the inability of the authorities to establish effective governance of the country and its regions.

The author provides evidence that numerous political factions were in constant competition for power and influence, and the confrontation did not stop from the first day of the existence of independent Sudan. "Power in the country passed from civilian rulers to military ones and vice versa, while parliamentary coalitions remained very fragile" (p. 78). All this happened against the background of tribal conflicts and a noticeable increase in Islamism. In short, from year to year the "abscess" ripened, which broke out at the beginning of the XXI century.

The Darfur conflict has brought untold suffering to the people of Sudan and neighboring countries. "During its most active phase (2003-2010), 200 to 400 thousand people were killed, including as a result of epidemics and famine, according to various estimates, and from 2 to 3 million (out of 7 million people living in the region) became refugees or displaced persons as a result of military operations." (p. 6).

The book provides a detailed description of several dozen rebel movements and detachments that opposed government forces, some of which sometimes achieved significant military success. Why didn't they manage to consolidate and build on these successes? The author believes that " ... from the very beginning, the Darfur insurgency has been a fragile and often temporary, divisive alliance between representatives of the United States.-

page 76

of various peoples, tribes, clans, and political factions, including foreign ones" (p. 187). There were frequent clashes not only between insurgents and regular army units, but also between individual armed groups - this, in fact, was a war of "all against all".

The undoubted advantage of the work: using the example of Darfur, the author does not miss the opportunity to draw readers 'attention to the fact that pan-African problems are reflected in the region:" ... in Africa, including in the Sudan, a new type of war has become widespread, during which the warring parties literally competed in violence against the civilian population " (p. 159).. It is amazing how easy it was to get weapons, for example, for numerous village so-called self-defense units. It was often bought from Chadian border guards: "The border between the two countries even had its own "monetary unit" - bark - a small basket that could hold about 1 kg of sugar. One bark could be exchanged for one rifle" (p. 164).

The international community has responded to the Darfur conflict in many different ways. Thus, on March 4, 2009, the International Criminal Court officially issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who was accused of actions that qualified as "war crimes". "In the practice of international law, this was the first time that a sitting head of State became an accused person" (p.292).

Khartoum's official reaction to the issuance of the warrant was, of course, sharply negative. And the international community took the court's decision in a contradictory light. In particular, China and Russia, along with a number of African and Arab countries, have condemned it, as it "... sets a dangerous precedent in the system of international relations " (p. 294).

The author paid considerable attention in his work to the Save Darfur movement, in which a number of world-famous cultural and sports figures made significant donations to the long-suffering residents of the region. Among them are actors Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, director Steven Spielberg, Olympic gold medalist speed skater Joey Chick. But among the donors, there were many schoolchildren who contributed $ 1-2 each to the affected Darfurians (pp. 320-321).

The book details Russia's involvement in resolving the Darfur crisis. Our country has repeatedly stressed its commitment to providing humanitarian assistance and has helped to alleviate the situation of the people of Darfur with large shipments of rice and wheat. As a member of the multilateral contact group on Darfur, Russia has pointed out that only a political solution can put an end to the crisis (p.330, 332).

When preparing the book, the author used a huge number of sources - their list includes 470 positions. These are the works of domestic and foreign authors, books and articles in the mass media. The work includes two maps - the administrative division of Sudan and the administrative division of Darfur. Reading the book is greatly facilitated by the index of names mentioned in the work, the index of geographical and ethnic names, political parties, associations, unions, armed formations, public and international organizations, terms and designations (pp. 349-367).

However, in our opinion, this list should not have included the "List of abbreviations used in the work": it does not simplify, but rather complicates the reading of the book. This list contains 71 (!) abbreviated names of organizations, parties, fronts, leagues, and so on. And there are pages that use 5-10 such abbreviations each. I must admit that it is tiresome to go back to pages 368-369 every minute, where the "List of Abbreviations" is printed, so as not to lose the thread of the story. In fact, the work would not have increased much if the author had used the full names of organizations in the text.

But this is practically the only, as it seemed to the reviewer, drawback of the book, however, not very serious and easily corrected in subsequent editions of the work, if any.

...The words "Darfur", "Darfur crisis", "Darfur conflict" have been on the pages of newspapers, magazines and television screens for more than a decade. There are certainly people in Russia who would like to understand the causes and course of the tragic events in Darfur. They received a unique book that provides complete, almost exhaustive information on this issue. After reading it, you don't need to go to other sources. Therefore, the work of S. V. Kostelyants deserves the highest evaluation.


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