Drinking Cokes with the Monster of Darfur

Rebecca Hamilton in The New Republic:

Hilal_4c Hilal's name looms large on the list of perpetrators who’ve committed atrocities in Darfur since violence erupted there in 2003. At Khartoum's request, he organized the Janjaweed, predominantly Arab militias that have operated hand-in-glove with the Sudanese government to cleanse Darfur of its non-Arab population. Hilal, who is now almost 50 years old, is among those most responsible for the deaths of more than 200,000 people and the displacement of another 2.7 million. The U.S. government has sanctioned him, and the United Nations has issued a travel ban and asset freeze against him. In mid-2006, Hilal stopped giving English-language media interviews.

This past August, however, he agreed to meet with me–three years and two months since he had last spent time with a Western journalist. Sheikh Musa, as Hilal is known by his Mahamid clan, said that he wanted to correct the “misperceptions” the world has about him.

More here.