Just as Sudans civil war seemed to be coming to an end, another war intensified in the northwestern Darfur region. After the government quelled a rebellion in Darfur in Jan. 2004, it allowed pro-government militias called the Janjaweed to carry out massacres against black villagers and rebel groups in the region. These Arab militias, believed to have been armed by the government, have killed between 200,000 and 300,000 civilians and displaced more than 1 million. While the war in the south was fought against black Christians and animists, the Darfur conflict is being fought against black Muslims. Although the international community has reacted with alarm to the humanitarian disaster—unmistakably the worlds worst—it has been ineffective in persuading the Sudanese government to rein in the Janjaweed. Despite the EU and the U.S. describing the killing as genocide, and despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding that Sudan stop the Arab militias, the killing continued throughout 2005.
On Jan. 9, 2005, after three years of negotiations, the peace deal between the southern rebels, led by John Garang of the SPLA, and the Khartoum government to end the two-decades-long civil war was signed, giving roughly half of Sudan’s oil wealth to the south, as well as nearly complete autonomy and the right to secede after six years. But just two weeks after Garang was sworn in as first vice president as part of the power-sharing agreement, he was killed in a helicopter crash during bad weather. Rioting erupted in Khartoum, killing nearly 100. Garang’s deputy, Salva Kiir, was quickly sworn in as the new vice president, and both north and south vowed that the peace agreement would hold.
In 2006, the slaughter in Darfur escalated, and the Khartoum government remained defiantly indifferent to the international communities calls to stop the violence. The 7,000 African Union (AU) peacekeepers deployed to Darfur proved too small and ill equipped a force to prevent much of it. A fragile peace deal in May 2006 was signed between