Still a shameful response to Sudan

| Fri Apr. 1, 2005 4:41 PM EST

Ah, so I had a post on the current Sudan crisis all ready to go, railing on the current UN resolutions and noting that yesterday's bickering over the ICC completely misses the point. The point, of course, is that the genocide and the starvation and the humanitarian crisis going on right now need to be stopped, and the only way to stop it is to send in an intervention force. But after reading this article by Eric Reeves, I sort of realized that my rant was a bit inadequate. So please read his.

At the moment, it doesn't appear that either the U.S. or Europe will take any sort of serious action to halt the violence in Darfur. Reeves suggests this might partly be out of fear of jeopardizing the recently-signed peace treaty halting Sudan's other civil war between north and south, separate from Darfur, that raged on for the past 20 years or so. (Without insinuating too much, that civil war involved Christians in Sudan's south, and hence attracted a lot more attention.) Nevertheless, the present UN measures against the Khartoum government, and the janjawid warriors carrying out the mass slaughter, has been shamefully, shamefully inadequate.

Some observers have suggested strengthening the African Union (AU) forces in Sudan to enforce the ceasefire. But even if the AU force was upped to 6,000 or so, and even if it was given a mandate to actually protect civilians in Darfur, the AU would still be inadequate for the region's security needs. At the very least, the UN Security Council needs to enforce no-fly zones across the region, using United States airpower, so that Khartoum can't use its planes to bomb and strafe Darfur villages. More realistically, ground forces will need to disable or destroy Khartoum's air force. Meanwhile, UN security forces will need to be sent in to protect refugees, secure humanitarian corridors, and forcibly disarm the janjawid.

But the UN hasn't shown signs that it is willing to do any such thing, and instead contents itself with passing half-measures like setting up a committee that will dawdle for 90 days (90 days of genocide!) before deciding who the war criminals are and then freezing their assets abroad. Woo-hoo. It's near-impotent, and unfortunately, the National Islamic Front in Khartoum knows full well the West lacks all political will for serious action. Which means that the body count—some 300,000 at this point—will continue to rise. So much for "never again."