Archive for June 18th, 2004

I’m surprised more of the blogosphere is not picking up on the new developments about Sudan and Darfur, and the possibility of US and UK military intervention

A few sources such as and others–including Google News searched for “Sudan”
have been reporting a running summary of the imploding conditions in
Sudan, in combination with UN inaction and increasingly likely US and
UK action.  I’m surprised not to see more comment on these

First, in the past week both the US and UK governments have hinted at
the possibility of military intervention in Sudan to stop the
government’s continued victimization of its people.  The US
government has undertaken a study to determine whether to officially
declare the situation a “genocide”–which would mandate intervention
under the 1948 UN treaty on genocide. 

Note: I personally support declaring the situation a genocide and
taking immediate military action. I think that a no-fly-zone would help
a great deal in removing air support from Arab militias, and would cost
very little.  I believe that some selective positioning of troops
would do a great deal to protect refugee camps and assure safe travel
for aid organizations and supplies.

Second, fighting is starting to spread into neighboring Chad. 
Chad is providing safe haven for refugees and a staging area for aid
organizations who cannot safely travel into Darfur, and who have been
further blocked from doing so by the Sudan government.

Third, the Sudan-government-backed Arab militias are said to be
recruiting fighters from Arab tribes in Chad, and fomenting fighting
among Chadians.

Finally, for those who are focused on the weaknesses of the UN system
and the oil for food scandal–the scandal of the UN response to this
genocide seems to me to be equally damning.  Sudan sits on the
human rights council, Kofi Annan says nice words but appears not
willing to either use his bully pulpit to rally world opinion, nor to
use his formal powers to take on the Arab, African, and Russian
governments that are said to be blocking stronger action in the
Security Council.

As those who know me realize, I am certainly not a unilateralist. 
On the other hand, this case shows why unilaterial action is
sometimes  the only way to deal with a problem while it still can
be meaningfully addressed. 

By the way, in Sudan Darfur we are fast moving past the time when the
immediate crisis can be meaningfully addressed.  The longer the
warfare is allowed to continue, the more a next-few-months mass
starvation scenario is locked into place by a combination of public
health conditions, and logistics limits on delivering aid during the
monsoon season when roads becom impassible.  This deadly scenario,
I believe, is exactly what the government of Sudan wants:  Having
cleared thousands of square miles and burned hundreds of villages of
black Africans, it now hopes to starve the victims so they can never
return to claim their land and reestablish their families.  This,
btw, is genocide.  Not by freight cars and gas chambers, but by
bands of terrorists on horseback supported by airborne gunships and
bombers, village burning and murder, and finally, government-imposed
mass starvation and illness.

For supporting details and links see any of the resources listed above.

June 18th, 2004


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