Stalemate on Darfur

When we wrote last week about Darfur, the UN was talking about taking over peacekeeping duties from the African Union there. Now top UN officials are claiming that the African Union is backing away from the plan. The Sudanese government has opposed UN involvement, and has helped fuel anti-UN sentiment around the continent, with other African leaders expressing concern that outside involvement will only cause more violence in the region.

Among other things, the UN’s special envoy for Sudan, Jan Pronk, said that “there has been talk” that Sudan will become the “same situation as Iraq a couple years ago”—i.e., that an insurgency will appear to fight the intervention force, or that al-Qaeda will become more active in the region. Just days ago, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir warned that Darfur would become a graveyard for any military force entering the region without Sudan’s permission.

It’s questionable how long the African Union can remain effective in Darfur. A larger intervention force will be needed not only to stop the Sudanese militias that continue to carry out genocide, but also to enforce negotiations between Darfur and a president who demonstrates a lack of regard for his own citizens. Today the United States will hand the rotating Security Council presidency over to Argentina. That leaves a month before the seat goes to China, which has significant oil and trade interests in Sudan and is extremely unlikely to take any sort of lead in halting genocide there.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

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