Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Darfur Spiral

Sudan issues threat over intervention

Egypt said yesterday it would try to prevent adoption of an American-drafted resolution threatening U.N. sanctions on Sudan, aiming to temper international pressure on its neighbor over bloodshed in its western provinces.

With talk of international sanctions and military intervention growing, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Sudan needs more time to fulfill its promises to disarm militias and restore order in the Darfur region. Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, standing at his side, said there wasn't much time to spare. ...

The U.N. Security Council was expected to vote tomorrow on the U.S.-drafted resolution, which is likely to include a direct threat of sanctions against the Sudanese government if it doesn't rein in Arab militias known as Janjaweed. The 25-nation European Union also was considering backing the sanctions threat. ...

The Sudanese government warned Tuesday it would retaliate if foreign troops are dispatched to bring the situation in Darfur under control.

The Sudanese Cabinet, in an extraordinary meeting Tuesday, condemned the prospect of foreign military intervention, saying Sudan could solve its own problems.

I'm not sure how to draw any parallels, if such there might be, between Sudan now and Iraq of two years ago -- but there seems to be a strange connection betweent hese two cases. With Sudan, I am encouraged by the much greater, much less contested *international solidarity* in this movement. (Of course, maybe it's just my Eurocentric arrogance to subjugate Egypt and Sudan's resistance to the solidarity of Europe and the USA.) I'm also stirred to action by the obvious threat Janjaweed is in Sudan. They are a living, breathing WMD and it has not taken us almost two years to find them. It's time to move in.

As I've said before, my biggest disagreements with *the timing of* the Iraq War II were 1) the shaky, confused and contradictory claims about Irqa's WMDs and 2) the loner attitude Bush flaunt in the face of so much international caution and opposition. On the assumption Iraq was construed as a threat for the USA in particular, I can better understand Bush's gung-ho attitude. But insofar as Iraq was, I believe, presented as a broadly global threat, I think it was recless to stampede most of Europe for the sake of ousting a dictator not shown to be as big a direct and imminent threat as the elusive bin Laden.

Okay, open fire.

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