SUDAN WATCH: UK political blog: The Tangled Web disses UK effort and Straw's visit to Khartoum

Sunday, August 29, 2004

UK political blog: The Tangled Web disses UK effort and Straw's visit to Khartoum

This morning I came across a good blog out of the UK:

"A Tangled Web - A dissenting review of contemporary politics".

It made an interesting read and so I scrolled - and did a search - for any posts on the Sudan.

Found one post dated Monday, August 23, 2004, entitled "Straw in the Sudan". Below here is a copy - along with my response that I left in the comments, hoping that DV would write a good post to raise awareness of what is really happening in Sudan - and participate in the "virtual" International Sudanese Peace MeetUp Day on Sep 6 (see previous post below).

Here is DV's post:

I'm sorry but this "story" run by the BBC about Jack Straw visiting Sudan a la Princess Diana to fell their pain and worry about" humanitarian issues" is just tosh. Straw and the rest of the one-worlders in the UN are proving, once more, how utterly impotent they are in dealing with genocide. The people are being massacred by the Arab militias and the best the UK can do is send in the half-wit Straw-man - pathetic.

# posted by DV @ 8:15:47 AM

And, here is my response, bashed out in a hurry -- wish I could have had more time to provide a stronger argument -- but I was in a hurry and had to write it off the top of my head - live - in a titchy little comment box that was difficult to edit:

Hello DV, good to see you writing about the Sudan crisis. In defence of the UK, I have to say that the British government has done more than most countries in the world. It has been the largest cash donor of aid - and is the second largest contributor -for Darfur. The British public raised many of millions of pounds for aid to Darfur via DEC (representing 11 major UK charities). UK Oxfam has sent several plane loads of aid to Darfur and is doing a huge amount of work there.

The British government has rightly supported the African Union and provided a great deal of support. Recently it provided logistical support and funded the airlifting of 150 AU led Nigerian troops into Darfur and is financing all of their rations. It is working in close liaison with the UN and Kofi Annan and providing further support and logistics to the AU. Before leaving for Sudan, Jack Straw pledged to help finance 1500 - 3000 AU led peacekeepers in Darfur.

The situation is highly complex in Sudan -- many countries are helping -- but many are not. We ought to be proud of what the UK has been doing and continues to do to help. Jack Straw's visit was part of a process to pile pressure on Khartoum. His visit was announced in July. He won a pledge from Khartoum to allow British offices of human rights organisations into Darfur - and a commitment from Khartoum to use the Navaisha peace accords as a template for the peace talks on Darfur. He met with GoS President and FM and UNs Jan Pronk and spent time with Khartoum to help focus on the Action Plan for Darfur. He gave a strong message to the government of Sudan: sort it out, or face the music.

There is a huge amount happening behind the scenes that is not widely reported. The Guardian, Telegraph and Scotsman have been doing good jobs on almost daily reporting of Darfur. Seems that troops from all over the world are being garnered over the past two months and put on standby. At one point we had British troops on standby. A few weeks ago a 30-man military team returned from a 10-day recce. British military planners are working on logistics and looking at plans involving hundreds or thousands of peacekeepers in Darfur.

Khartoum has consistently refused any peacekeepers on its land. If they are forced onto Sudan, Khartoum could dismiss all the aid workers and then aid will never reach those who are most in need. Sanctions could stop the railways from being built to get aid flowing.

The present AU led troops are there to protect the 80-120 observers on the ground monitoring the April ceasefire agreement of north-south Sudan. I have blogged about the crisis almost daily since April 24. For more information please read blog out of Harvard. I would appreciate an updated post in your great blog on what is really going on in the Sudan. Thank you.


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