Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Friday, November 10, 2006

All the good news you're not hearing about Darfur

Here, from the International Herald Tribune. Of course, this is likely to be every bit as misleading as similar "all the good news you're not hearing" stories about peaceful pockets of Iraq � southwestern Darfur is pretty much the only corner of the province where the DPA is holding - but it does underline a couple of things that I have heard from other sources.

First, the Janjaweed don't tend to attack villages unless they have Sudanese Army support. I've heard from a couple of Sudanese correspondents that the Janjaweed are basically quite cowardly when it comes to attacking villages, and if they don't have army support they prefer to skirmish on the outskirts of IDP camps (which are less heavily armed) or attack women when they go out to gather firewood. This means that they are only really active in North Darfur as a mass murder force, because Khartoum are basically sticking to the DPA everywhere else.

This is genuine good news as far as I am concerned, because it means that the risks associated with a collapse of the al-Bashir government (more likely as a result of a coup than foreign decapitation) are less than I thought they were. I had previously assumed that the collapse of the Sudanese state would lead to an Iraqi-style meltdown, as both the farmers and the nomads decided to settle old scores and grab land and water. But if the Janjaweed don't really exist as an independent military force and the Darfurians are more inclined to forgive and forget, that's really hopeful.

Second, however, it looks as if the IDP camps are still very political. Note in the story that the guy who returned to his village because it was safe, was regarded as a traitor by a lot of people in the camps, because they thought that his patriotic duty as a Darfurian was to stay in the camps and die of typhoid, in order to win a PR victory and persuade the UN to invade. Nice people. Lots of people know a lot more about fourth-generation warfare than me, and apparently this sort of thing is not unknown as a tactic.

In unrelated news, it appears from Sudan Watch that Eritrea is interested in getting involved. The whole position of Eritrea confuses me. All the information I have (which is not much) points to Eritrea as the source of the missiles that have altered the balance of power in North Darfur, and it is well known that Eritrea is home to some Islamist guerrillas who have no love for al-Bashir. However, Khartoum recently concluded a peace deal in East Sudan with the Eritreans and is trying to play nice with the Eritrean government � they appear to very strongly believe that the weapons are reaching North Darfur via Chad.

There is a sort of ethnic angle to this � Idriss Déby is ethnically Fur, and might be assumed to be more supportive of "Classic SLA" (the new name for SLA/G19) than SLA/Minnawi because Minnawi is Zarghawa. But this is the sort of beard-stroking tribalism that bedevils African political analysis and I don't believe it. For one thing, it is not like Classic SLA and SLA/Minnawi are ethnic militias. For another, nobody at all seemed to think that the distinction between Fur and Zarghawa ethnicities mattered until the SLA split up and the factoid that Minnawi is Zarghawa arose. And finally, Jan Pronk always believed that the missiles were coming to the NRF through the JEM faction, not SLA/G19. It's much harder in my opinion to see why Déby would be interested in arming a nationalist and quasi-Islamist[1] militia. Except possibly, a simple desire to cause trouble for Omar al-Bashir, which is not exactly an uncommon or incomprehensible motivation.

For what it's worth, I am still inclined to believe in the Eritrean connection, and that al-Bashir is hoping that the Eritrean government are going to reverse policy with respect to al-Qaeda and wipe them out (this would be consistent with al-Bashir judging the Eritreans by his own standard of turning on past allies in an attempt to curry favour with overseas powers). It all still seems very chaotic and I still think that there is at least an even money chance of a collapse of the Sudanese government in the next twelve months. (I am not posting this opinion on the Guardian blog because I'm really quite cautious about self-fulfilling prophecies and still not sure that a coup would do more good than harm).

[1] I am still very unclear about the relationship between JEM and Islamism. They certainly had their origins in the supporters of al-Turabi, so I would guess that there is a lot of Islamist ideology among their supporters, but they've never really self-identified that way, haven't made any Islamist demands and don't really acknowledge much of a relationship with al-Turabi any more. My guess is that JEM's relationship with Islamism these days is rather like the relationship of the IRA to Marxism.
0 comments this item posted by the management 11/10/2006 05:47:00 AM

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Video Game News

The only person I know who cares about computer games is Steven Poole, but I guess that some of the rest of you might be thinking about buying the new game "Gangs of London". If you are, I have a tip for you.

The game apparently allows you to choose one of five gangs and compete for supremacy in London. One of the gangs is called the "EC2 Crew".

EC2 is the postcode of the Bank of England. It is entirely within the City of London. It has the Bank, the head offices of a few foreign banks, the meeting hall of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers, Short's Wine Bar[1] and a few novelty Filofax shops. I don't think it has any residential buildings at all. So basically, the tip is, don't pick the EC2 Crew, they are bound to be shit.

This joke is courtesy of Tess, who noticed it from their whacking great advertising posters on the Tube. Freakonomics? Never heard of it. No really, coming soon I promise.

[1] Yes I know it has been called "The City Tup" for about ten years now. Give me a break will you.
1 comments this item posted by the management 11/09/2006 02:39:00 PM

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Oliver Kamm in good joke shocker?!?!

In the past, I have noted on this weblog that Oliver Kamm's weblog has rather a high word to joke ratio. However, credit where it is due and this comment on the chore of being asked to plug a mate's book is rather good. I thought for a second that it might have been an impostor or a hired comedian, but the fact that the next paragraph refers to dull far-left grouplet battles of the 1980s as if anyone cared about them is pretty strong substantial evidence that it's the genuine article. Having proved that he can do it, I hope that Oliver will be putting a few more humourous remarks in his weblog and published writing, rather than saving them up for private emails.

Freakonomics? You do realise that it is now like two years since I read that book? No really, it's coming soon.
0 comments this item posted by the management 11/08/2006 12:06:00 AM

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Bitch : Lab
Aaronovitch Watch
Brad Delong
The Robert Vienneau blog

Political and philosophical heroes

Subcomandante Marcos
Will Rogers
Boris Vian
The English Svejk

RSS Feed:
This seems to matter to a lot of people

If you liked this "Daniel Davies" website, you might be interested in

"Danux", the web developer
The martial artist (and fan of extremely annoying Flash intros) from Blackburn
The Welsh political journalist
A Scouse computer programmer who collects Soviet cameras
"Danimal", the heavy metal drummer
Canada's finest recorder of radio jingles
More of the same, at the Guardian
A tailor's in Lampeter where Jimmy Carter once bought a hat
An advertising man who has written a novel about dogging (I think we sometimes get each other's email)
An award-winning facilities manager in Dubai
The son of the guitarist from the Kinks Update: he is apparently "balls-out motherfucking shit-dicked exxxstatic" to be included on a Kerrang magazine giveaway CD of Iron Maiden covers, which is nice.
"Fritz Gretel" from the Ramones film "Rock 'n' Roll High School"
The former presenter of the leading politics talk radio show on the Isle of Man, now a business change manager in the Manx government secretary's office
An aquarium curator in Sussex who keeps on scoring home runs like this (this is the first stable link I've found, but he is constantly kicking ass in acquarial terms)

If you didn't like this "Daniel Davies" website, then don't give up on the Daniel Davies industry completely!

An American "Christian Political Analyst" who has the same name as me
A student at Patrick Henry College
these two might be the same guy ...
"Scatter", the deceased Liberian gangster
A naked man stuck in a chimney in Wigan
A thug in Barrow

This blog has been going downhill since ...

August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
November 2003
December 2003
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
December 2012
February 2013
April 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
March 2014
April 2014
August 2014
October 2015
March 2023