Darfur Atrocities Get Big Yawn from U.S.
Continuing in its tradition of looking the other way while black people die and are massively displaced, the U.S. is silent while the U.N. and E.U. are calling for sanctions against al-Bashir's government to try halting genocide in Darfur.
While we officially have declared the violence against Darfur a genocide, this government takes no direct interest and has even cited 'gains' in treaties between north and south Sudan - treaties that have been violated.
The U.S. engages in ongoing intelligence gathering from the al-Bashir government about Osama bin Laden. He was based in Sudan until 1996, and is well known and very connected there. We also have a powerful opponent to interference in China, which has determinedly developed economic relations with the Sudanese government.
China has emerged as the Sudanese regime's protector on the UN Security Council, and may use its veto to prevent the formation of a UN force in Darfur. China has been quietly active in Sudan for decades, developing a close relationship with the current regime. Sudan already provides 10 percent of China's petroleum imports. Any attempt by the "crusaders" to bring Sudanese petroleum reserves under Western control could cause friction with China.
The regime of President Omar al-Bashir has bought time to implement its Darfur policy by aligning itself closely with the United States in the war on terrorism. Sudanese intelligence provides valuable information to U.S. security services, knowing that the U.S. desire to protect its homeland overrides human rights concerns in distant states. It is a calculating approach that requires considerable finesse, taking what one can, but never going too far. Allowing al-Qaeda back into the country is not just a step too far, but a jump into the volcano, particularly at a time when Washington appears to be taking a harder line on Khartoum.
Tony Blair has called for a no-fly zone over the tormented region, and a new note has crept into press reports - the Sudanese military is directly connected with the janjaweed. While formerly, the janjaweed was given the benefit of the doubt about its relation with al-Bashir, that press convention has disappeared in recent reporting.
In need of aid are some 4 million people in Darfur whom the U.N. says have been caught in the midst of fighting between rebels, the government and the pro-government janjaweed.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced in four years of fighting, with janjaweed Arab militias held responsible for widespread atrocities against ethnic African civilians.
News from independent sources has long connected janjaweed directly with the al-Bashir government, and the delicacy the press has exercised in avoiding those accusations seems to be disappearing. Also disappearing is the world's neglect of the suffering people of the region.
Our continuing to ignore the genocide we acknowledge in Darfur is another disgrace to the U.S. While diplomacy is an unaccustomed practice to the maladministration, it is at least trying out that route in dealing with North Korea. In the case of Darfur, it looks suspiciously as if the lack of a direct economic relationship leaves this White House with no impetus toward considerations of humanity and decency.