February 1, 2005

BAD NEWS IN DARFUR:

February 1, 2005: Apparently the Sudanese government is once again using its An-24 transports as bomber aircraft in the Darfur region. The An-24 is a two engine Russian aircraft, developed in the 1960s to replace pre-World War II American DC-3s. An-24s can carry up to 50 passengers, or five tons of cargo. Sudan have some of the An-26 versions of the An-24, which has a rear ramp, which bombs are rolled out of. The African Union and various relief agencies report that Sudanese planes bombed the village of Rahad Kabolong in North Darfur state. The attack took place on January 26 and left more than 100 people dead. Some 9000 people fled the village and the surrounding area after the air attack. A monitoring team reported that most of the dead were women and children. As of January 31, the government continued to deny that the air raid took place. The United Nations called the attack a major ceasefire violation– which of course it was. The UN, however, still refuses to call the Sudanese war in Darfur a genocide.

But good news in Afghanistan:

February 1, 2005: In the last week, at least 13 arms and munitions caches have been found throughout the country. The largest of them contained more than 10,000 mortar rounds, 500 122 mm artillery rockets, as well as fuses. In the last four months, 236 weapons caches have been found, and destroyed, throughout the country. More importantly, 99 of those were found because local Afghans reported the location to coalition forces. . . .

In 2003, ten percent of the caches found were because of tips from Afghans. This increased to 31 percent in 2004, and was 42 percent in the past four months. Afghans know that these munitions will be used against them, if any of the local warlords get into a major quarrel. The usual drill is to fire mortars, rockets and artillery at the other warlords villages and towns. More Afghans feel secure enough with the new police force and army to trust them with this information.

Both of these items are from Jim Dunnigan’s StrategyPage, which I highly recommend. (You can also subscribe to their email service, which I get).

Dunnigan has also written quite a few books on warfare — I haven’t read all of them, but I’ve read several and found them quite good. Journalism on military matters would certainly improve if the journalists read some of them, particularly this one, which offers a good introduction to important concepts, and is likely to help readers avoid embarrassing mistakes, like calling Armored Personnel Carriers “tanks.”

UPDATE: The U.N. on Darfur: A Jedi mind trick? It’s not working.

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