Terrorism’s Fifth Wave: A Theory, a Conundrum and a Dilemma

Terrorism’s Fifth Wave: A Theory, a Conundrum and a Dilemma

By Jeffrey Kaplan

The Theory

When Professor David Rapoport gave me the opportunity to read an early draft of his groundbreaking four waves theory of modern international terrorism, I was immediately taken with it. [1] For a scholar trained as a cultural historian, how could it be otherwise? What Dr. Rapoport had done in essence was distill a lifetime of study into a single article that identified a unifying global zeitgeist that linking terrorist movements on a global scale which had in most instances never been in direct contact with one another. These organizations, cells or tiny "grouplets" or "groupuscules" as Roger Griffin would call the right wing version of these tiny terrorist bands [2] had previously been examined individually or reduced to the level of pawns in the hands of one of the global superpowers. [3] Rapoport's theory called up memories of such cultural history classics as the lyrical Western zeitgeists that defined the waning stages of the medieval world in the writings of Johann Huizinga. [4] More recently, it echoed Arthur Schlesinger's observations on the cycles of American history as each generation turned from public activism to private acquisition. [5]

Rapoport's theory, first published on the web before finally finding a home in a printed anthology, posited four distinct waves of modern terrorism (anarchist, nationalist, 1960s leftist, and the current religious wave). Each wave had a precipitating event, lasted about 40 years before receding, and, with some overlap, faded as another wave rose to take center stage. Most terrorist groups would gradually disappear, a few (the Irish Republican Army for example) proved more durable. Rapoport's theory was elegant, simple, inclusive, and had a high degree of explanatory power. In short, it provides a good academic model. I was sold when I read it in rough form, and am no less convinced today. I work with it in my research and I teach it to successive generations of my students. But there was something I still needed to know.

Something seemed to be missing—the theory was simply too elegant and inclusive. Then it struck me. David Rapoport is a brilliant theorist with a global vision. I admire his brilliance, but have never sought to emulate it. I lack the ability for one thing, but on a much deeper level, grand visions have always struck me as being altogether too grand, for they often miss the exceptions and the exceptional. The small minutiae that make the world such a diverse and interesting place. Rapoport can peer out over reams of data and form them into a brilliant theory—to use an arboreal metaphor, he can see a vast forest and make sense of its intricate patterns by peering over the treetops. I am more like the metaphorical turtle idealized by the Daoist sage Chuang-tzu who is happier by far sunning himself on his back by the lake and wagging his tail happily in the mud in the depths of the forest [6] in which, to further strain the metaphor, I could never tell the forest from the trees. I am by nature a fieldwork scholar, always in search of the most exceptional, most exotic, growths in the most distant depths of the forest. In this spirit, I started to look more and more closely at both Rapoport's theory, and at the groups that comprised the various waves within that theory. In the course of this examination, I came up with some surprising findings—none of which contradicted the central theses of the theory itself—but which did suggest that at deeper levels of the undergrowth there was something interesting which Rapoport's global vantage point had missed.

The discovery was simply this: the four waves is a theory of international terrorism, but it does not account for groups that begin on an international wave—indeed, some such groups may even be the creations of foreign patrons or the result of foreign educations or the influence of foreign ideas or religious beliefs on founders of groups—but which for some reason have turned inward, cut ties to their international benefactors or ideological/religious bedfellows and sought to realize a utopian vision of a radically perfected society on the local level. The goal of such groups is the creation of a new man and a new woman comprising an ethnicity or tribal society that is the reconstitution of a lost "Golden Age" model or an entirely new world in a single generation. There have been such movements emerging from the various waves of Rapoport's theory, and ironically enough, despite their radical localism and rabid xenophobia, they share a sufficient zeitgeist to constitute a kind of wave of their own, thus I call them the Fifth Wave of Modern Terrorism. [7] They could, as the reader will see when the characteristics that comprise the fifth wave zeitgeist are considered, just as accurately be styled the undertow of modern terrorism. They are a much feared force in the modern world.

The precursor of the modern fifth wave was the Khmer Rouge in the era before they took power in Cambodia. The genocidal actions of the Khmer Rouge, once the instruments of state power were in their control, were predictably based on both their stated ideology and their activities in areas of the countryside under their control well before they marched into Phnom Penh in 1975.[8] This would establish the precise genesis of the fifth wave as 1963, the year that the mercurial Prince Norodom Sihanouk, giving in to American pressure, outlawed the Cambodian Communist Party. The Party splintered, and was taken over by a radical faction of foreign-educated intellectuals led by Saloth Sar, who under the name Pol Pot would become synonymous with the genocide in the renamed Kampuchea after 1975.[9]

In common with Rapoport's theory, the fifth wave, like the four that preceded it, now had a precise origin and a catalyzing event. Technically, the Khmer Rouge graduated from being an oppositional terrorist movement to a full fledged practitioner of regime terror with their capture of Phnom Penh in 1975, and thus could no longer be properly analyzed as a terrorist movement. [10] With their defeat by the Vietnamese in 1979, the fifth wave, like Rapoport's second wave, saw an almost two decade long time lag between the disappearance of the Khmer Rouge - who served as the early avatar of the fifth wave - and the emergence of the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda, which was the first fully fledged modern fifth wave movement and the movement that remains as close to a pure case of fifth wave terrorism as we are able to document today.

What composes an ideal case of fifth wave terror? I argue that such a case would have all of the following characteristics:

Characteristics of Fifth Wave Groups[11]


Radicalize and break away from established terrorist wave


Born of hope expressed at the extremes: some emerge after all hope has been lost, others because the dream has been realized


Physical withdrawal into wilderness areas


Claim to establish some form of a new calendar ('the Year Zero')


Radical quest for purity—racial, tribal, ecological, etc.


Internal compromise impossible resulting in deadly schisms and constant internal violence


Belief in human perfectibility and chiliastic utopia in this lifetime


Emphasis on creating new men and women makes old models expendable; thus the logic of genocidal violence


Obsession with creating new race places tremendous emphasis on women, who are both subject and object of fifth wave violence


Children are the vanguard of the fifth wave as they are the least contaminated by the old society (not to mention the old STDs, HIV and other remnants of the old societies)


Rape is the signature tactic of the fifth wave


Violence is so pervasive in the fifth wave that it loses its message content beyond the simple assertion that 'we exist'


The effects of ritualized acts of rape and killing, especially for newly abducted 'recruits', has the liminal effect of binding the killers to the group while closing the doors for all group members to a return to family, the old society, and previous ways of life


Fifth wave groups are localistic and particularistic, having turned their backs on the international waves from which they emerged


Nonetheless, if needed for survival, foreign allies will be cultivated and fifth wave groups will often live in exile in neighboring states


Authoritarian in nature with charismatic leadership patterns


Chiliastic in nature, deeply religious with eclectic or syncretic religious tropes assembled and interpreted by the leaders in support of a millenarian dream to be realized through a campaign of apocalyptic violence

But in the real world, ideal cases are hard to find and, in a closely related observation, not all variables are of equal importance. For the fifth wave, rape is the signature tactic and the most clearly identifiable characteristic. Rape thus serves the same function as suicide bombing does for the fourth wave. Why this should be is not difficult to explain.

One begins with geography and culture. The Lord's Resistance Army emerged from the Acholi tribe which was in the midst of unprecedented crisis. Indeed, its more precise roots were in the highly idiosyncratic militia that was created by the no less idiosyncratic prophetess of the Acholi based Holy Spirit Movement, Alice Auma (who took the name Alice Lakwena in honor of the spirit for whom she claimed to speak). [12] The Holy Spirit Movement gave birth to a militia, the Holy Spirit Mobile Forces (HSMF). The HSMF was formed from the remnants of earlier Acholi militias that, having failed in any military sense of the word, had turned feral and preyed upon their own unfortunate Acholi tribe. The HSMF, following its 20 biblically based safety rules, [13] succeeded for a time in protecting the Acholi from both internal and external enemies.

The Acholi, in common with tribal cultures throughout Africa and the Middle East, find rape a particularly shameful act for which the primary onus falls on the woman, and the secondary shame on her family, clan and tribe in that order. [14] The act of rape in tribal conflict carries multivocalic messages to its target audiences. It may be used as a tool of ethnic cleansing or it may be used as a form of genocide on the cheap. It may be used in the fifth wave to harvest babies just as it may be used to break a woman's (or more often, a very young girl's) ties to family, society and tribe. [15] Rape in the fifth wave thus becomes ritualistic and yet deeply utilitarian.

Women are at the center of the violence of the fifth wave as both actors and victims, and children are the prize over whom the fifth wave's fight is ultimately waged. Accordingly, the Lord's Resistance Army would cease to exist if not for children. An estimated 90% of its fighters are child soldiers, and child brides are the chief reward to trusted senior officers in the movement and the primary commodity of exchange between them. [1 6] In the Rwanda genocide, one of the first defendants to be convicted of rape as a war crime was a woman—the former Minister of Family and Women's Affairs no less—Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. [17]

These children are born to fight or merely to be the physical embodiment of the superiority of one tribal or militia group over another. Or more grandly, they may be seen as the living symbols of the looming extinction of a rival tribe or race. In all cases however, they are the key to creating a new world in a single generation. It is they who are least contaminated by the corrupted ways of the old world and most open to the dreams of the charismatic visionaries who lead fifth wave movements.

The Lord's Resistance Army so well fit the ideal case scenario of the fifth wave that it was clear that the task to come would not be so easy. For the LRA was well studied, and well documented. It had been long established that a number of escapees—ranging from children to senior officers—were able to provide international organizations and human rights groups of every description with well documented testimony of the inner workings of the movement and the words and actions of its leader/prophet, Joseph Kony.[18] Other militias and tribally-based fighters in Africa bear a strong family resemblance to the fifth wave as defined above. However, they are not nearly as well documented.

The Conundrum

Of these fifth wave-like groups, none so closely matches the model or so completely captured my attention as has the so-called Janjaweed fighters in the Sudanese province of Darfur. It was my immersion in the formulation of fifth wave theory that brought my research focus increasingly to center on the Janjaweed. This was in many ways a natural outcome of my long-time fascination with the country. After four visits to the Sudan, an MA thesis based on the findings of the first of these trips, and a good deal of travel throughout the country in good times and bad, I am something of a "Sudanophile". This is a condition common to visitors to that country which will be taken up again in the conclusion to this paper. With this admission, I could not deny the fact that the Janjaweed seemed to follow the model of the fifth wave closely enough to merit using them as a test case for the theory. This led to the discovery of an interesting conundrum.

The conundrum lies in the fact that perhaps no conflict in modern times has generated such heated debate, such humanitarian passions, and most relevant to this study, such a mountain of literature. The sheer volume of available material on the Sudan case dwarfs that available for the Lord's Resistance Army. The reports emanating from international agencies and NGOs alone, printed out, form a mountain of paper higher than one's knees. Two quite good monographs have appeared on the subject, [19] as well as a host of lesser works written by impassioned activists who have been connected with aid work in Darfur of one sort or another. [20] The UN has weighed in with an excellent report and a film that has deeply impacted my own students, [21] and the Washington Post has done some first class video journalism available on the web that really brings home to anyone who has been in the Darfur region in better days the red, sandy world upon which the human tragedy of the conflict is unfolding as well as powerful interviews with victims of Janjaweed violence.[22] Hollywood actors and rock stars vie with each other to make filmed documentaries or to stage benefit concerts for the victims of the Janjaweed's violent assaults. [23]

Here specifically lies the conundrum. Reams of papers, news articles, reports, interviews, television and internet documentaries, videos and films of very description record in minute detail the very real suffering of the victims of the Janjaweed. But from the Janjaweed themselves, with the exception of occasional high profile Janjaweed commanders such as Musa Hilal residing conveniently in luxurious abodes in suddenly oil rich Khartoum, there is a deafening silence. [24]

The Janjaweed are a ghost, or more accurately, a golem, who have been reified by the West into the quintessential manifestation of evil in the modern world. That no one has actually spoken to the Janjaweed rank and file at any length or in any depth, that no one has lived in their camps and sat around the evening fire with them, makes it all the easier to demonize them in this way.

This observation is hardly meant as an apologia for Janjaweed actions—which are well documented and unconscionable by Western or—of far greater moment in my view—by Islamic standards. Rather, it raises a much deeper set of questions. On the surface level of inquiry, what is it about the Darfur case which singles it out for such unique attention from the world community, from governments, from human rights organizations and from popular opinion makers?

Popular opinion may point to the extravagant violence of the Janjaweed and activists may focus more narrowly on the prevalence of rape as a Janjaweed tactic of choice. Scholars might point to the implications of the draught and the resultant drastic diminishment of natural resources in a fragile ecosystem which, with global warming, bodes ominously for other areas of the globe. Political scientists or area specialists might point to the number of state actors whose designs on the region made the Kalashnikov, in the redolent phraseology of the Musa Sadr, the Vanished Imam of another much penetrated polity, Lebanon, truly the necessary "adornments of men". [25] And the cynic can dismiss the whole hubbub with a single word: 'oil'. [26]

One could hardly go wrong by taking the safe and easy option and finding that all of these interests are in part what has driven Darfur to the top of the global human rights agenda. One might add that technology—the transmittal of the victim's stories, the graphic vision of burning villages offered by Google Maps, [27] the well publicized (but technically inaccurate) claim by President George W. Bush that what is happening in Darfur constitutes a "genocide" [28]—all of these technology driven factors have brought the suffering of the Janjaweed's many victims into our living rooms.

But at a much deeper level, and by far the more important question, is this: who exactly are the Janjaweed? Not as a collectivity, but as individuals. How did they become the much demonized "devils on horseback"? And at the deepest level of all: is there something we can learn from the answers to these questions that will help to minimize or prevent future Janjaweeds?

On the great scale of things, it doesn't amount to much when weighed against such bulky issues as genocide, ethnic cleansing, or the massive physical and sexual violence that marks the Janjaweed case. But even if it is a small thing, it is a very meaningful issue to me. Are the Janjaweed in fact a fifth wave terrorist group, or are they something quite else? For all the mountains of material written about them, we can make no more than inferences—educated guesses—at this point. To find out with certainty, it will be necessary to actually talk to them.

To begin to approach these issues however, we must start with a history of the Janjaweed. What follows then is a brief history drawn from a wide variety of sources and written at a sufficient level of generality that neophytes to the issue will hopefully come away with a useful amount of background, while specialists will only wince a minimal number of times.

The Janjaweed: A Creation Epic

Two of the three crises that would eventually lead to the creation of the Janjaweed have already been noted. The first was the draught and environmental crisis which began to impact the lives of Darfurian tribes in 1985-1986 through the process of desertification in Northern Darfur. [29] With the sudden competition for resources that had formerly been more or less adequate to support both settled and nomadic tribes, came the opportunity for inroads by outsiders, and thus was born the infamous "Kalashnikov culture" of the late 1980s and early 1990s. [30] Then, inevitably, in 2003 there came the rebellion. The rebellion, based in the sedentary "African" tribes of Darfur in which the Fur played leading roles, was based on a discontent that was long brewing and which transcended Darfur.

It has never been much of a secret that since its independence in 1956, the Sudan has been ruled by, and for the exclusive profit of, a core group of reverine Arab tribes centered on the confluence of the Blue and White Nile Rivers (i.e., in the modern Khartoum/Omdermann area). The injustices of the Sudanese system were most striking in the South, where for almost fifty years the southern Nilotic tribes fought government forces in a series of wars known as the Anya Naya wars. Their perseverance would eventually lead to the American brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which took effect in January 2005 which included a mechanism for oil revenue sharing between North and South and an autonomous Southern government, as well as a referendum on secession which will take place in 2011, [31] It is therefore not surprising that Darfur's African resistance groups formed and used the arms that had flooded the region with the objective of securing a piece of the CPA for themselves.

The grievances of all parties, "African" and "Arab" in Darfur, were neatly encapsulated in the first volume of the anonymously written Black Book (kitab al-aswad). [32] Probably written by students of the Islamic scholar Hassan al-Turabi, the appearance of the Black Book had a seismic effect on its readers by demonstrating in dry graphs, facts and figures the degree to which the vast provincial regions of the Sudan had been marginalized to the profit of the ruling elite before the discovery of significant oil wealth in the country.

The dramatic appearance of the Black Book catalyzed a number of factors which were present in the so-called "African" communities. These included: 1) the appeal of radical Islam (al-Qaeda in a very real sense was born in the Sudan and radical Islam had a small but important following throughout that nation); 2) the success of "fellow Africans" in the South in their struggle with the "Arabs" of the North; 3) the availability of weapons and young fighters with no better choices in life than to wield those weapons; and 4) the all pervasive allure of the easy wealth of oil. The inevitable result was the birth of two major African liberation movements; the Sudan Liberation Army/Front (SLA/M) and the more Islamist oriented Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in 1993. With that, the Darfur conflict had its formal beginning.

Before moving to the Arab Bedouin tribes from whom the Janjaweed were recruited, it is necessary to pause and share one of Sudan's "dirty little secrets". It was actually no secret—nothing in the Sudan is really a secret—but its magnitude has been underestimated in the West. The core of the Sudanese Army has always relied on Darfurian tribes for its junior rank officers and much of its enlisted personnel. Young men in Khartoum and Omdurman have more promising careers to which to aspire, while young men in the South have been engaged for half a century in fighting the Sudanese Army. Many sources have noted the defections of elements of the Sudanese Army and Air Force, but in conversation with Sudanese Ambassador to the United States John Ukek Lueth Ukek, I was informed that the government of General Bashir decided by 2004, the height of the rebellion, to cashier no less than 26,000 Darfurian troops from the regular Army.[33] They of course had nowhere better to go than to the resistance. Worse, the decision left the Sudanese government with the unpalatable choice of moving troops from the critical Southern front to help quell the rebellion (many of whom were of course also Darfurian and willing to kill Dinka or Nuer, but not so willing to kill their own kinsmen), or negotiating with resistance leaders from a position of weakness. Instead, the government chose a fateful third course which, while militarily successful, has brought with it a very high political price. These were the birthpangs of the Janjaweed.

The young men who would answer the call to join the quasi-governmental militia that would be called (by its victims) Janjaweed, like the "African" rebels, had undergone their own period of radicalization. They too were aware of the Black Book's contents, even if literacy was not among their strong points. Bedouin society remains, as it always has been, an oral culture. For the Arab tribes, as the competition for resources grew sharper, an intellectual discourse that came to be known as the "Arab Gathering" was what galvanized "Arab" passions.

The Arab Gathering left few documents save some newspaper articles and a few vitriolic and very hard to find pamphlets. The power of the spoken word in an oral culture is too often underestimated by Western observers. The Arab Gathering, which had more than a little backing from both Libyan sources and from the Sudanese government, was both a Da'wa (Islamic Call or Revivalist) ideology and, since it was the "African" tribes against whom the Arab Gathering expended considerable vitriol, it was an explicitly racist ideology as well. This brings to the surface another of those "dirty little Sudanese secrets" that has amazed and either amused or appalled generations of white visitors to what is truly the most hospitable country on the face of the earth.

The Sudanese are acutely conscious of the color of each others' skin and use skin tone as a marker of status in Sudanese society. Students of Africa are well used to the overwhelming importance of tribal affiliation in African politics, and tribe is no less important in the Sudan. But to this tribal consciousness is added in many Sudanese minds a color consciousness which creates subtle but important status differentiations which the outsider is hard pressed to understand. Put bluntly, the differences in complexion are not all that great, and at times are, for outsiders, almost imperceptible. But the Sudanese have a finely tuned eye for these nuances and thus the often crude appeals of the Arab Gathering, given the sudden dearth of resources and the maximal competition for what was available in the face of the relentless process of desertification, fell on very fertile ground among young Arab males with few other options in life.[34]

Who were these young men who would respond to the Sudanese government's call for volunteers to fight alongside (but significantly, not within) the ranks of the Sudanese Army against the rebel groups and their tribal kinsmen in Darfur? Gérard Prunier provides the best description of the early Janjaweed available:

…the Janjaweed seem to have been of six main origins: former bandits and highwaymen who had been 'in the trade' since the 1980s; demobilized soldiers from the regular army; young members of Arab tribes having a running land conflict with a neighboring "African" group—most appeared to be members of the smaller Arab tribes, common criminals who were paroled and released from gaol if they joined the militia; fanatical members of the Tajammu al-Arabi [lit. 'Union of the Arabs' or commonly Arab Gathering]; and young unemployed 'Arab' men, quite similar to those who joined the rebels on the 'African side'.[35]

They also were paid handsomely for their efforts, often more than the regular Sudanese Army recruits. [36]

Some of these recruits fought under the leadership of their traditional tribal and clan chiefs. The case of Musa Hilal, the best known voice of the Janjaweeed in the Western press who, upon the death of Hilal Abdala became Nazir (Supreme Chief) of the Um Jalul clan, is paradigmatic. More commonly, recruits were thrown together regardless of tribe or clan, armed, and given some basic training at military camps. All published sources agree that the Janjaweed were originally armed and trained by the Government of Sudan (GOS), with units of the Army, the intelligence services and the Air Force deeply involved in the Janjaweed's formation and early successes. [37] Early military operations were also conducted jointly with GOS military forces.

By 2004, the ferocity of the Janjaweed, backed by Sudanese air power, had turned the tide of battle. Indeed, "African" towns and villages were reduced to rubble and their inhabitants reduced to the status of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Early Janjaweed operations prominently featured very public examples of mass rape, following which the male relatives who had been forced to helplessly watch the shameful spectacle were massacred. [38] It was ugly, and the world turned against the Sudan in helpless disgust, but the GOS spearheaded by their Janjaweed militia allies had regained control of what was left of the province and have held it ever since. Indeed, for the next year and a half, an odd kind of stasis set in where IDP camps would be set up, while smaller more temporary camps of Janjaweed would be formed outside the perimeters of the IDP camps where Janjaweed could prey on women forced to leave the relative safety of the camps to gather water or firewood. Sudanese military bases would secure the perimeters of these inhabited areas to control the flow of refugees and the movements of NGOs or African Union peacekeepers, and the Arab nomadic tribes would continue to ply their seasonal migratory paths.

The Janjaweed after 2004 gained an increasing measure of independence, and with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005 there were definite signs of diminishing support for the Janjaweed by the central government. There were even reports of armed clashes between Janjaweed and GOS forces. Be this as it may, the Janjaweed continued to operate with virtual impunity and attacks on population centers began to take on a definite pattern as Janjaweed fighters began to take over abandoned settlements and claim them as their own. [39] With this, the logic of diminished resources, abundant weapons and a racist ideology which channeled age-old competition between settled and nomadic populations into a lethal hatred supported by the power of a modern state came full circle. The circle closed in 2007 as the relatively static situation dissolved into chaos on both the "African" and "Arab" sides. What is happening on the ground now in Darfur follows the deadly logic of African tribal conflicts enacted on a grand and bloody scale as they play out against the backdrop of global politics, the politics of oil, and the relentless politicking of the NGOs. It is, in a word, chaos.

For those interested in the fascinating minutia of the situation, both Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group have produced excellent, detailed reports on the subject. [40] For our purposes, suffice to say that all Arab belligerents have brought tribal kinsmen into Darfur claiming them to have historic rights to the abandoned lands under Janjaweed control (some from as far as the Central African Republic), while Chad has pushed vast numbers of Arab tribesmen who have rebelled against either the Chadian government or become embroiled with Chadian President Idris Déby's Zagawa tribe (which has been at the center of the violence in Darfur as well) and has most recently followed them across the border with bombing raids and military strikes. [41] To add to the chaos, African Union peacekeepers were attacked, probably by JEM fighters or defectors (depending on whose story one finds credible). [42] Naturally, given such chaotic conditions, the Arab tribes have begun to fight each other, which has induced the Janjaweed to return to fight alongside their own clansmen and, in the resultant atmosphere of disappointment and betrayal vis a vis the central government, new and interesting linkages have emerged between "Arab" and "African" tribes at the expense of GOS forces. [43]

Meanwhile, a series of attacks on NGO aid workers (trucks were hijacked, 66 men were shot and women were raped by May 2007) caused the withdrawal of NGOs from the region. [44] Aid workers now come in only by helicopter and remain on the ground for only a few heavily guarded hours at a time. The "African" liberation movements, fueled by unlikely but pervasive rumors of an imminent breakthrough at the peace negotiations currently floundering in Libya, the even more unlikely dream of US$10,000 compensation to any family on the ground, and integration into the national army for demobilized militia fighters, have multiplied from a mere few to nineteen squabbling groupuscules, making the process of negotiation all the more impossible. [45]

As the New Year of 2008 dawns, Darfur is a bigger mess than ever. And after fifteen years of active war, we still know next to nothing about the Janjaweed rank and file. Darfur has only become more dangerous, and the situation has become more intractable.

The Dilemma

The core of the dilemma is this: not only do we know virtually nothing of the Janjaweed fighters, if truth be told we know precious little about what goes through the minds of such men anywhere in the world at the moment when they are actively involved in the act of genocide or ethnic cleansing (the difference, to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, is more in intent than in action in any case). This leaves us with controversial and often highly polemical reconstructions of events long past. [46] Or, equally unsatisfying to Western scholars ground in a tradition that reveres the peer reviewed written word, it leaves us at the mercy of the infinite malleability of memory, as reflected in the frustrations experienced by the those engaged in the current academic cottage industry of conducting prison interviews with those jailed for participation in the genocidal violence of such places as Rwanda or Sierra Leone.[47] In such interviews, almost to a man, the prisoners deny having themselves participated in the act of rape, although, with reluctance, some will admit to having witnessed "others" among their number commit such crimes. This historical revision would surprise no one who has worked with oral histories in any depth, nor would it come as a particular shock to anyone familiar with the repugnance for rape commonly held by African cultures. Given time, it is simply edited out of the perpetrators' memories. And who is to say that this lapse of memory is not real? We often forget that which is too painful to bear in active memory.

If the memories of perpetrators in other African conflicts find gender based violence too problematic to deal with, how much more so must be the case of the Janjaweed? These after all are Muslims whose radicalization process included the rhetoric of radical Islam through the Arab Gathering and, if Flynt and De Waal's brief fieldwork is to be credited, Islamic apocalypticism as well. [48] In the times of Jahiliyyah - the days of pre-Islamic darkness before the coming of the Prophet and the Revelation of the Qu'ran - gender based violence was the norm in Arabia. Young men proved their worthiness as men by participation in the gazwa or raid in which the kidnapping of a female of reproductive age was the highest prize. Female infanticide was a common practice among the poor. The Prophet gave women legal standing for the first time. He anathemized the gazwa when aimed at fellow Muslims and ended the practice of female infanticide. [49]

Not only the Janjaweed, but their victims too are Muslim. What prize, what dream, what desperation would move a man to act toward the destruction of his own soul? What earthly future does such a man have, given the African belief in the power of unrequited spirits who have the power to blight the fortunes of families, clans and entire tribes if the proper rituals are not performed to put their spirits to rest? Such is the magnitude of Janjaweed violence that the dead victims of the militia can not be accurately counted, much less laid to rest or propitiated. As to the women who have been raped and yet live, many have been quoted to the effect that they envy the dead, for their lives as members of their families, clans and tribes are over. Traditional married life, childbearing and the ability to fulfill the roles for which women in African societies are raised to idealize are closed to them. [50] They are ghosts who haunt their living kin as unbearable reminders of their own impotence to protect them.

These women may be ghosts, but they are unquiet spirits. Virtually the whole of the vast pile of reports and articles noted at the beginning of this article are victim testimonies. Victim testimonies are moving and powerful. They are vital pieces of history and need to be collected, both for their historical value, and for their evidentiary value as international law has evolved to the point where rape in wartime is no longer seen as an unavoidable form of collateral damage but a fully fledged war crime in itself. [51]

But for all the power and eloquence of victim testimony, what a victim can never tell you—and what we must know if policies are to be crafted to prevent future Janjaweeds; future Darfurs—is the answer to the most basic question of all: Why? Why do (note the present tense) you do it? What are you thinking? What do you see and what do you dream? What pictures are in your mind when you close your eyes to sleep and what do you see at first light? How did you get here and where do you go from here when the conflict ends? There is no going home for your victims, but for you too the door to a normal life seems to be closed. Has the militia replaced or does it in some way exist uneasily alongside your tribal identity?

And having asked these, what are the questions which would prove or disprove with certainty the hypothesis that the Janjaweed are a fifth wave terrorist group? These would include:

1) Localism. Are the issues contested purely local, tribal and thus regional? Or, in keeping with the Islamic discourse in which Janjaweed rhetoric is couched, is there a global dimension to the Janjaweed dream?;

2) Racism. Is the violence an expression of mere racial animus, or is there something deeper, or perhaps something more practical like acquisition of land or physical resources?;

3) Historical Continuity. Is the Janjaweed phenomenon simply a continuation of the traditional enmity between Arab nomads and African settled pastoralists, exacerbated by the drought of the 1980s, the onset of the "Kalashnikov culture" and the politically expedient decision to arm the nomadic tribes rather than trust the loyalty (or ability) of the Army to deal with the rebellion of 1993, or does the Janjaweed phenomenon represent more of a millennial or existential dream?;

4) Ijtihad [52] Have Janjaweed leaders used this forbidden form of exegesis (for Sunnis) to make Janjaweed actions compatible with Islamic text?;

5) Social Structure. What kind of social structures developed in Janjaweed camps, including the possible development of new or revived (and revised) religious rituals or the use of narcotic drugs prior to going into battle?;

6) Gender. Is the pervasive rape perpetrated by the Janjaweed intended as: a strategy of genocide, as a terrorist message aimed at the ethnic cleansing of the region; or is it mere opportunistic criminal violence—a matter of gender and power and profound social change?; and

7) What is the role of the Hakama, [53] female traditional singers, in exacerbating sexual violence in Darfur.

Given the situation on the ground in Darfur, such research would be much more difficult to conduct now than it would have been just a year or two ago. Moreover, the enterprise is fraught with ethical dilemmas for the researcher who would undertake such a project.

Afterword and Postscript all Rolled Into One: Ethics and Janjaweed Research

In the last analysis, fifth wave theory is just that; a theory. It focuses on societies at the verge of collapse, which produce terrorist movements with millennial dreams of remaking their people anew in a single generation. To accomplish this, the only logical avenue of action leads to sexual violence—rape on the grand scale—which is directed primarily at ethnic or tribal kin.

From the vantage point of the outsider, the violence appears dispiritingly familiar. Like post-Cold War conflicts from Yugoslavia to Rwanda, it appears a savage throwback to an earlier time and the prevalence of rape in these conflicts is explained as simply "a product of the times" or a "byproduct of war which can no longer be tolerated". However, to know whether a terrorist group involved in such violence is a product of the fifth wave of modern terrorism as it has been defined in this paper can not be ascertained with certainty from afar unless that campaign has been relatively long-lived and has left a considerable oral or written "paper trail" of insider accounts documenting the goals, visions and dreams of its leaders and those of its rank and file members. The Khmer Rouge recorded everything in painstaking (if often deadening) detail. The Lord's Resistance Army's defectors and escapees have provided a vivid picture of Joseph Kony and the millennialist dreams of that movement. Both can be posited with a high degree of certainty to be fifth wave entities. T the case of the Janjaweed is less clear. They write nothing, for theirs is an oral culture, and the Sudanese government support has given little incentive for Janjaweed fighters to defect.

To determine whether the Janjaweed are a fifth wave terrorist group—and more, to better gauge the importance and validity of fifth wave theory itself, fieldwork is necessary. But this is more easily said than done. No independent academic researcher has, to my knowledge, attempted to conduct a research project at the height of a campaign of genocide or ethnic cleansing "embedded" (to use an Iraq War mediaism) with the perpetrators of the atrocities. As we have noted, research comes later, often much later. In African conflicts like that in Darfur which leave few written documents and where history is recorded in the minds and hearts of men, the truth becomes malleable and history self-serving. Essentially then, in ethical terms, such a project would be operating on a kind of terra incognita.

Recently, a nascent discussion has begun on the ethics of doing research in war zones. [54] There is of course considerable literature –mostly originating from military sciences - dealing with ethics in war, but these do not really speak to civilian researchers in war zones. NGOs have rules for their employees operating in conflict areas and these may provide some helpful guidance, but NGOs are organizations. The academic researcher, by the nature of his or her work, operates alone. Moreover, were I to undertake such a research project, I would employ a form of participant/observer methodology that the Sociologist of Religion Thomas Robbins has dubbed the "Interpretive Approach".[55] The Interpretive Approach involves intensive fieldwork based on extended residence with the research subject within the subjects own community, and often, within his or her own home. It includes immersion in the literature, written or oral, and aims to be able to produce for the reader, as accurately as possible, a vision of the world—this world and the next—as seen "through the eyes of the other". This methodology provides readers with the beliefs and motivations which drive violent and seemingly irrational actions, within the historical and sociological contexts of the belief systems and cultural milieus under study.

While my basic research approach will not change, I hold no illusions. The Janjaweed, Darfur and the Sudan present unique and potentially far more dangerous challenges than any of my previous work. However, I have spent a good deal of time in the Sudan, [56] having been there on four occasions and know the country well. I have no doubt that the research, despite its formidable challenges, would be successful. Yet there is no getting around the fact that such a course of research raises some critical ethical issues. I have experienced a few of these in much milder forms in the past, and dealt with them in previous publications. But it also raises issues of a deeper, more searing nature, the responses to which I cannot now, in all candor, completely predict. [57]

First the easy question: is it ethical to even speak with perpetrators—to publish their views and ideas as if they held equal moral weight with the testimonies of victims? The question is valid, and I would respond in this way. Victim testimony is vital and compelling on a variety of fronts, but as we have noted, victims can never explain why a perpetrator acted as he or she did. And it is precisely this information that policy makers most require.

In my past publications, I have dealt with many of the most feared pariah groups of Western society and found, sometimes to my surprise, that spark, however dim, of humanity that connects even the most feared and demonized of perpetrators to the human race. In one of my publications, I put that moment of recognition in these terms:

If this finding could be given a name, it would be this: the shock of shared humanity. And in truth, this bothered me greatly. How could such people be so much like us? And why would this seem so obvious to me, and so opaque to the wider culture and the academic world alike? Surely I felt, the problem must lie with me. It was at this point that I seriously thought of finding some other avenue of research.

It was at this nadir that a colleague and good friend, Doug Milford of Wheaton College in Illinois, made an off-hand observation that would in a significant way change the course of my work. Wheaton is a Christian college and Doug himself is a devout evangelical Christian. Thus, when he observed in the context of suggesting that perhaps aspects of my research…would be better left untouched—that the real problem was that I had been given a gift of discernment which allowed me to find, at the deepest level, the spark of goodness, of humanity, in even the most lost of souls, it caused me to reflect deeply on the implications of the idea.

In the evangelical worldview, evil is a literal, ever-present reality in the world. And discernment is understood as one of the gifts of the spirit which God grants to allow the faithful to discern between truth and deception. Thus the force of the idea. This after all is at the core of all of the great religious traditions. In Judaism, it is conceived as the Sacred Spark and in Christianity it is the human soul. In Buddhism, it is the Buddha nature. But by any name, and in any tradition, it is the power of discernment, the search for the core of humanity and the spark of the divine, that unites us all in the human family. And it is this universal truth of the oneness of all human creation which we so often forget in dealing with those with whom most violently disagree. It is this recognition of shared humanity which is so lacking in the popular constructions of the radical right, and it is precisely the lack of this recognition of shared humanity that allows for the creation of the imaginary monsters of terra incognita. There are real world implications of all this. [58]

The second set of ethical questions raised by such a project is beyond my experience, and thus not so easily answered. I have in my life been in active conflict zones. I have seen people hurt, and I have seen people killed. It is sometimes not easy to live with these memories, but the violence of the Janjaweed is on another scale of magnitude altogether. The proposed research is unique in its conception. In particular, the kind of sexual violence associated with the Janjaweed is, to virtually all of us in the Western world, unimaginable. The ethical issues arising from mere proximity, much less giving witness, to such atrocities are immense, and immensely hard to fathom. The normal ethical codes in doing participant observer research—protection of research subjects, anonymity when requested, and the like which are best articulated in the Anthropological Association literature have always governed my fieldwork ethics. Yet the Janjaweed presents unique moral and ethical dilemmas and unique legal issues.

I have thought deeply about these issues, and have begun to consult with colleagues in a number of fields about the ethical and legal issues and responsibilities that could arise from this research. Fortunately, as a member of the Executive Board and Book Review Editor for the journal Terrorism and Political Violence, I have a wide network of colleagues in a number of academic disciplines, as well as government and security officials and members of NGOs from around the world to draw upon. Each of these colleagues in turn has global networks of their own with which to consult on these issues. At this point, I have no answers, only questions.

Which points up the unique interactive value of an on-line journal like Perspectives on Terrorism where the ideas and views of a number of colleagues can be sought on the viability, as well as the ethics, of a research project of this nature. I very much invite comment either in the journal's private Article Discussion Forum or (preferably) by private email on this article, and on the wider ideas that it raises in terms of the viability and ethical standards of such research.

Finally, why would anyone want to undertake such research? The answer is simple enough, and best elucidated by the great scholar and statesman of the Sudan, Prof. Francis Deng, who in turn borrowed it from a Western scholar who has studied the Sudan for many years, Prof. Robert O. Collins:

It really does not matter what particular government is in power—parliamentarian, military or Islamist—it is the daily encounters with the warmth, charm and friendliness of Sudanese of every ethnicity I have known which makes them unique among the people of the world. I have asked myself many times what makes them so affectionate, helpful and hospitable, and I have no answer. I do not know that I can recall any Westerner who has not established a deep affection for the Sudanese while at the same time cursing the 'bloody country'. I have never found anyone who can produce a satisfactory answer for his love of the Sudanese that appears an irrational emotion so common among expatriates that is jokingly called the incurable disease of 'Sudanitis'… [59]

About the Author: Jeffrey Kaplan is an Associate Professor of Religion and Director of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Institute for the Study of Religion, Violence and Memory.


[1] The published version is David C. Rapoport, "Modern Terror: The Four Waves," in Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Strategy, ed. Audrey Cronin and J. Ludes (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown Univ. Press, 2004), 46-73.

[2] Roger Griffin, "Net Gains and GUD Reactions : Patterns of Prejudice in a Neo-fascist Groupuscule," Patterns of Prejudice 33: 2 (1 April 1999), 31-50.

[3] Most famously as the dreaded Moscow based 'Terror Central' of Claire Sterling, The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1981). For a more academic take on the Cold War theories of terrorism as centrally directed, see the anthology Uri Ra'anan and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy., Hydra of Carnage: The International Linkages of Terrorism and Other Low-Intensity Operations: The Witnesses Speak (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1986).

[4] Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages: A Study of the Forms of Life, Thought, and Art in France and the Netherlands in the Xivth and Xvth Centuries (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1985).

[5] Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., "The Cycles of American Politics," in Arthur Meier Schlesinger, The Cycles of American History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), 23-50.

[6] "The complete Chuang Tzu based on the translation by James Legge (of 1890)." http://taoistresource.home.comcast.net/~taoistresource/0697_jl.htm.

[7] The full theory is explicated at length in Jeffrey Kaplan, "The Fifth Wave: The New Tribalism?" Terrorism and Political Violence 19, no. 4 (2007): 545-70.

[8] For good sources, see for example David P. Chandler, Brother Number One: A Political Biography of Pol Pot (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1992), Craig Etcheson, The Rise and Demise of Democratic Kampuchea, Westview Special Studies on South and Southeast Asia (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1984), Ben Kiernan, How Pol Pot Came to Power: A History of Communism in Kampuchea, 1930-1975 (London: Verso, 1985), François Ponchaud, Cambodia Year Zero (London: Allen Lane, 1978).

[9] Kaplan, "The Fifth Wave: The New Tribalism?" 549.

[10] The pre-state Khmer Rouge is little discussed in the literature of terrorism, perhaps because of the enormity of the genocidal project which the movement was to undertake once in power. But I agree with Brice Hoffman and many others in asserting that terrorism is by definition oppositional in nature. Regimes exercise terror, oppositional movements may utilize terrorism as a tactic of opposition, owing to the asymmetrical nature of their struggle with states. For this argument, see Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, Rev. and expanded ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 15-16.

[11] Kaplan, "The Fifth Wave: The New Tribalism?" 548.

[12] The best source on Alice Lakwena, who recently died in exile in Kenya, remains Heike Behrend, Alice Lakwena & the Holy Spirits: War in Northern Uganda, 1985-97 (Oxford: Fountain Publishers, 1999). For two good obituaries of Alice Lakwena, see "Alice Lakwena," Economist.com, January 25, 2007, http://www.economist.com/obituary/displayStory.cfm?story_id=8584604&fsrc=nwlehfree; and "Alice Lakwena," Timesonline, January 24, 2007. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article1295608.ece.

[13] Which included such oddities for a militia as proscribing killing, forbidding its soldiers to take cover under fire, or to go into battle with any more or any less than two testicles; see Ibid., 47.

[14] For relevant case studies, see for example Joanne Csete, Juliane Kippenberg, and Human Rights Watch (Organization), The War within the War: Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in Eastern Congo (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2002), 326-41Christine Chinkin, "Rape and Sexual Abuse of Women in International Law," European Journal of International Law 5, no. 3 (1994), Human Rights Watch, "Entrenching Impunity: Government Responsibility for International Crimes in Darfur," (Human Rights Watch, 2005), Amnesty International., "Darfur: Rape as a Weapon of War: Sexual Violence and Its Consequences," (2004).

[15] For example, Emily Wax, "'We Want to Make a Light Baby': Arab Militiamen in Sudan Said to Use Rape as Weapon of Ethnic Cleansing," Washington Post, June 30, 2004, 1.

[16] Kaplan, "The Fifth Wave: The New Tribalism?" 560.

[17] Peter Landesman, "A Woman's Work," New York Times, September 15, 2002. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9505EEDA1F3EF936A2575AC0A9649C8B63.

[18] Human Rights Watch/Africa. and Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Project., The Scars of Death: Children Abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1997), 5-36Ruddy Dorn and Koen Vlassenroot, "Kony's Message: A New Koine? The Lord's Resistance Army in Northern Uganda," African Affairs 98, no. 390 (1999), Angela Veale and Aki Stavrou, "Violence, Reconciliation and Identity: The Reintegration of Lord's Resistance Army Child Abductees in Northern Uganda," (Institute for Security Studies South Africa, 2003), 1pGeorge Omona and Karen Elise Matheson, "The Hidden Health Trauma of Child Soldiers," Lancet, 337-52Anthony Vinci, "Existential Motivations in the Lord's Resistance Army's Continuing Conflict," Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 30, no. 4 (2007), 29-52Paul Jackson, "The March of the Lord's Resistance Army: Greed of Grievance in Northern Uganda?" Small Wars and Insurgencies 13, no. 3 (2002). To name but a few.

[19] Julie Flint and Alexander De Waal, Darfur: A Short History of a Long War (London: Zed Books, 2005), Gérard Prunier, Darfur the Ambiguous Genocide (London: C. Hurst & Co., 2005).

[20] Typical of this literature, and in fact one of the better examples, is Brian Steidle and Gretchen Steidle Wallace, The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur (New York: Public Affairs, 2007).

[21] IRIN Special Report, "Our Bodies - Their Battle Ground: Gender-based Violence in Conflict Zones." The report and film can both be downloaded from http://www.irinnews.org/IndepthMain.aspx?IndepthId=20&ReportId=62814.

[22] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/interactives/sudan/.

[23] To take just one Hollywood example from my generation, Mia Farrow at http://www.miafarrow.org/. Hotter by far, and available in a plethora of languages, see Angelina Jolie's Darfur journals http://www.elros.altervista.org/aj/ajindex.htm. And I suppose balance demands the inclusion of George Clooney's adventures in Sudan and Chad, which can be viewed directly on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFVlHsaq5yg. On the Rock for Darfur tour, see http://www.myspace.com/rockfordarfur.

[24] The point is made well in Human Rights Watch, Watch, "Entrenching Impunity: Government Responsibility for International Crimes in Darfur." (2005).

[25] The exact quote was "arms are the adornments of men," and Imam Musa used it in the context of getting a large audience in a village to put down their weapons long enough to listen to his words, which were "stronger than bullets." By the end of the 1980s, to use Imam Musa's metaphor, the men of Darfur had learned the fine art of accessorization with the AK-47, which sold for less than $40, the ultimate fashion statement. On Imam Musa, see Fouad Ajami, The Vanished Imam: Musa Al Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986). For a wonderful description of the coming of the Kalashnikov culture to Darfur, see Prunier, Darfur the Ambiguous Genocide.

[26] I well recall having recently returned to the US from many years in the Middle East to pursue my Ph.D. when I ran across a small article in the back of the New York Times noting that a significant amount of off-shore oil had been found in Sudanese waters. My thought that day, considerably redacted for publication, was, "Poor Sudanese (not the word used at the time, but in historical hindsight it will more than serve—a point about the flexibility of memory that has considerable relevance to this article), now on top of all their other problems they are going to have to have human rights." Indeed, within a month over thirty individual pieces of legislation were introduced in the US Congress criticizing the Sudanese government for its practices on human rights and religious liberties. Amazing how the denizens of oil states elicit a degree of sympathy that poor, war torn countries without oil—the Sudan for example—fail to elicit from states, and quite often, from the NGO community as well. On the legislative outpouring of crocodile tears for the plight of the Sudanese, see Walid Phares, "The Sudanese Battle for American Opinion," Middle East Quarterly V, no. 1 (1998): http://www.meforum.org/article/383.

[27] http://humanrights4all-africa.blogspot.com/2007/04/google-maps-darfur-crisis.html.

[28] "President Bush Discusses Genocide in Darfur, Implements Sanctions," Statement in White House Diplomatic Reception Room, May 29, 2007. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/05/20070529.html. The situation in Darfur more closely resembles ethnic cleansing then genocide, with the Janjaweed acting as the tip of the spear aimed at the Fur and other sedentary tribes (the so-called "African tribes" in the press) and rape as the primary tool through which these target groups are being forced from their land. Once out of the way, the Janjaweed have evinced little interest in following them or finding ways to exterminate them, which is ultimately what drives a genocidal campaign. On this topic, see for example Marnie McCuen, The Genocide Reader: The Politics of Ethnicity and Extermination (Hudson, Wis.: GEM Publications, 2000), Samuel Totten, William S. Parsons, and Israel W. Charny, Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2004).

[29] Alexander De Waal, Famine That Kills: Darfur, Sudan, Rev. ed., Oxford Studies in African Affairs (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). Cf. University for Peace, "Environmental Degradation as a Cause of Conflict in Darfur" (papers presented at the Environmental Degradation as a Cause of Conflict in Darfur, Conference in Khartoum, Sudan, December 2004), 101.

[30] The book that best documents the Libyan designs on Chad and its role of Darfur in those designs in the 1980s is Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, Darfur: The Long Road to Disaster (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 2006). Unfortunately, the heart of the book is simply a reprint of Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, Africa's Thirty Years War: Libya, Chad, and the Sudan, 1963-1993 (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1999). The last two chapters cover the current crisis, but most of this material is taken from Flint and De Waal's text.

[31] On the CPA, see International Crisis Group, "The Khartoum-Splm Agreement: Sudan's Uncertain Peace," in Africa Report N°96 (2005).

[32] The full text of the volume in translation can be found at http://www.sudanjem.com/sudan-alt/english/books/blackbook_part1/blackbook_part1_20040422_bbone.pdf. The second volume can be found on the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) website at http://www.sudanjem.com/en/index.php.

[33] Discussion with Ambassador Ukek in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 1 October 2007.

[34] Margie Buchanan-Smith and Susanne Jaspars, "Conflict, Camps and Coercion: The Continuing Livlihoods Crisis in Darfur Final Report," (World Food Program (WFP) Sudan, 2006). Cf. Flint and De Waal, Darfur: A Short History of a Long War, 49-57.

[35] Prunier, Darfur the Ambiguous Genocide, 97-98.

[36] Ibid., 98.

[37] Both the Prunier and the Flint and De Waal monographs agree on this point. For more detailed information, see for examples: "Entrenching Impunity: Government Responsibility for International Crimes in Darfur," (Human Rights Watch, 2005). Human Rights Watch, "Darfur Documents Confirm Government Policy of Militia Support," in Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper (2004). Ted Dagne and Bathsheaba Everett, "Sudan: The Darfur Crisis and the Status of the North-South Negotiations," ed. Congressional Research Service (CRS, 2004). "Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General: Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1564 of 18 September 2004." Geneva, 25 January 2005. www.un.org/News/dh/sudan/com_inq_darfur.pdf.

[38] IRIN, "Sudan: The Escalating Crisis in Darfur," (2003), Watch, "Entrenching Impunity: Government Responsibility for International Crimes in Darfur.", International., "Darfur: Rape as a Weapon of War: Sexual Violence and Its Consequences.", Wax, "'We Want to Make a Light Baby': Arab Militiamen in Sudan Said to Use Rape as Weapon of Ethnic Cleansing.", Alfred de, "Darfur Women Describe Gang-Rape Horror," ABC News 2007, Jen Marlowe et al., Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival (New York: Nation Books, 2006), Samuel Totten and Eric Markusen, Genocide in Darfur: Investigating the Atrocities in the Sudan (New York: Routledge, 2006).

[39] Jaspars, "Conflict, Camps and Coercion: The Continuing Livlihoods Crisis in Darfur Final Report."

[40] International Crisis Group, "Darfur's New Security Reality," in Africa Report No. 134 (2007), Human Rights Watch, "Darfur 2007: Chaos by Design," (2007). The ICG report is more recent and is much recommended for its focus on tribal politics.

[41] "Chad Reiterates Determination to Pursue Rebels in Sudan," the Sudan Tribune, January 9, 2008. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article25499.

[42] "Darfur Attack Kills Peacekeepers," BBC News, 1 October 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7020596.stm. And most recently, "Sudanese Troops Fire on UN Convoy in Darfur," Washington Post, January 9, 2008, 12.

[43] For the exquisitely complex details, see International Crisis Group, "Darfur's New Security Reality."

[44] For a detailed table of these incidents, see "Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Under Attack in Sudan," http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/international_justice/darfur/table/ngo-table.aspx.

[45] Discussion with Ambassador Ukek in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 1 October 2007.

[46] See for one famous example Daniel Jonah Goldhagen et al., The "Willing Executioners"/"Ordinary Men" Debate: Selections from the Symposium, April 8, 1996 (Washington, D.C.: United States Holocaust Research Institute, 1996).

[47] Which is not to say that this work has not produced some superior scholarship. See for example Scott Straus, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006).

[48] Flint and De Waal, Darfur: A Short History of a Long War, 33.

[49] For a good, recent and wonderfully classroom friendly biography of the Prophet, see Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time (New York: Atlas Books/HarperCollins, 2006). Muhammad's threat was poetic justice to the core. He warned that any Muslim who killed a girl child would, upon his death, first see that child who would ask what she had done to deserve death? As in her innocence no answer could be posited, the unfortunate man would be whisked immediately to hell. It is important here to note the practicality of Islam. Female infanticide was a plague of the ancient world, East and West. Through the institution of an alms tax, Muhammad eliminated the economic necessity for such a practice and thus ended it within a generation—a remarkable achievement in the ancient world whose lesson is binding upon Muslims to this day.

[50] For attempts to heal the physical, and to some extent the psychological and spiritual wounds of such women, see especially the filmed version of the IRIN Special Report, "Our Bodies - Their Battle Ground: Gender-based Violence in Conflict Zones." Similarly, a woman interviewed in the Washington Post's Darfur video recounts who she was taken by ten Janjaweed, nine of whom raped her. She is pictured as alone and isolated and wishes aloud that they had simply killed her. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/interactives/sudan/. Cf. Amnesty International., "Darfur: Rape as a Weapon of War: Sexual Violence and Its Consequences."

[51] Amnesty International, "Darfur: Rape as a Weapon of War, Sexual Violence and It's Consequences." http://web.amnesty.org/library/print/ENGAFR540762004. This source includes a discussion of the Hakama, the female singers whose songs goad Janjaweed fighters on to acts of sexual violence.

[52] Ijtihad is the interpretation of sacred text in light of current events. It was forbidden to Sunnis when the teachings of al-Ghazali (d. 1111) gradually 'closed the gates of ijtihad' in the twelfth century. Shi'ite scholars continue the practice, but only the most senior or their ranks are allowed to practice ijtihad. Arguably, the ultimate quest of modern radical Islamists is, on a theological level, to reopen the gates of ijtihad and to democratize its practice.

[53] The Hakama are an interesting case study in themselves, and a definite circumstantial indicator that the Janjaweed are indeed fifth wave actors. See Jeevan Vasagar and Ewen MacAskill, "Arab Women Singers Complicit in Rape, Says Amnesty Report," Guardian, July 20, 2004, http://www.guardian.co.uk/sudan/story/0,14658,1264901,00.html.

[54] Elizabeth Dauphinée, The Ethics of Researching War: Looking for Bosnia, New Approaches to Conflict Analysis (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007).

[55] Thomas Robbins, "Religious Movements and Violence: A Friendly Critique of the Interpretive Approach," Nova Religio 1, no. 1 (1997): 13-29. Jeffrey Kaplan, "Interpreting the Interpretive Approach: A Friendly Reply to Thomas Robbins," Nova Religio 1, no. 1 (1997): 30-49.

[56] Indeed, my first M. A. thesis at Colorado State University, "Language Planning Policy in the Sudan" was partially the result of in-country research.

[57] I would like to thank members of the Fall 2007 Terrorism and Religious Violence undergraduate class for helping me think through these issues, and pointing to issues—particularly issues from a gender perspective—that I would not have caught. I have had much input from colleagues as well, but have found that the younger students, raised in a time where what to our generation seems fantastic is the norm, have some remarkable insights to offer.

[58] Jeffrey Kaplan, Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right (Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press, 2000), xxxii-xxxiii.

[59] Gabriel Meyer and James Nicholls, War and Faith in Sudan (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005), xiii.

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