Project Goals and Scope
Defining what we want to accomplish
Following internal discussions, we agreed upon the following statement defining the goals and scope of the Sudan War Monitor (SWM) project.
Sudan War Monitor (SWM) aims to fill a gap in the information space at the nexus between traditional journalism and the new technologies of open-source research, geolocation, mapping, and analysis of satellite imagery.
The purpose of the project is to give civilians a better understanding of conflict events and conflict dynamics in Sudan.
SWM exploits horizontal networks of collaboration rather than embracing a top-down, hierarchical approach to project development and implementation.
The information environment in Sudan is chaotic and fraught with disinformation and propaganda. There is a lack of credible reporting and analysis of the military situation, conflict mapping, fact-checking, and efforts to counter disinformation. This situation is frustrating to ordinary Sudanese who are eager for trusted information about the conflict but unsure where to turn. A failure to understand on-the-ground realities and conflict dynamics also poses a risk to peace-building efforts, humanitarian interventions, and other constructive forms of engagement.
There is also a lack of information about the internal dynamics and structures of the two warring parties. Such information is not only important for general understanding but also can ultimately help investigators of war crimes to determine who had command responsibility during the commission of war crimes.
We will locate and analyze conflict-related videos and crowd-sourced reports.
We will produce occasional maps of conflict sites, events, and areas of control.
We will bring attention to and document human rights abuses and war crimes against civilians.
We will document reports of prisoners-of-war and abuses of prisoners-of-war.
We will tell the stories of conflict victims, highlighting the human toll of the war.
We will work with outside experts in the fields of military history, peace studies, Sudan studies, and related academic fields to improve the academic understanding of the current and past wars in Sudan.
We will collaborate with Sudanese and Arab-world media and provide information that they can republish and disseminate.
We will work to map command structures and document the identities of commanders involved in a conflict.
Issues Not within the Project Scope
The work of the project is not intended to give a military advantage to one side or the other, and we will not provide information to either warring party apart from what is published publicly.
Nor will we provide private briefings or information to third parties. The project is for the public benefit.
The project does not aim to offer political solutions to the conflict or to take a position on what the post-conflict government should look like. Peace talks and political developments will only be a secondary focus, if at all. (Those are areas that the traditional press can cover). However, individual analysts may have views on these issues that they are free to express within reason.
Humanitarian issues, development, and the humanitarian response, in general, are outside the scope of the project, though these can be touched on as secondary issues or as contextual information.
July 6, 2023, v 1.1