SUDAN WATCH: Reader's comment: "How can a nation-state be at war with a peacekeeping force? It's impossible"

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Reader's comment: "How can a nation-state be at war with a peacekeeping force? It's impossible"

This morning, I awoke to a nice and gentle sounding comment from a Sudan Watch reader called Rebecca, in response to my vent yesterday entitled Eric "non-consensual intervention" Reeves is off his rocker. Here's a copy of the comment, followed by my reply.
How can a nation-state be at war with a peacekeeping force? It's impossible.

We have a nation trying to eliminate three ethnic populations- Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit, and refusing to allow the UN Peacekeeping troops in. I was in the Security Council as an NGO observer when the African Union was virtually pleading with the United Nations to come to Western Sudan- the incredible challenges from the Khartoum government and many others is too great for any one continental force. If a country violently disobeys international law at the death of hundreds of thousands of people, it itself paves the way for the presence of a UN peacekeeping force.

I want nothing but peace, reconcilation, and justice for the largest country on the second largest continent,and the United Nations needs to be there, regardless of whether the radical Northern Sudanese regime wants to cooperate or not. The vast majority of Darfuris- "the people" themselves- want the U.N. on the ground. It's the regime that wages war, not the U.N, not Eric Reeves and other analysts.

Peace and solidarity,
Rebecca
Hello Rebecca, thanks. Here's my reply. Off the top of my head, my understanding is - and please correct me if I have the wording wrong - that until the reforms taking place at the UN are finalised, any UN/foreign force intervening militarily in a country against its will is an act of war that can be rightfully defended.

The self-proclaimed analysts and experts on Sudan (who mostly aren't remotely Sudanese - from what I've seen, they're mainly Blair and Bush haters living in the US and UK on a Darfur bandwagon driven by self interest, with pockets to fill, careers to boost, books to sell, movies to make, clubs to join - not to mention little empires to run that feed off donations from ordinary hard working folk) make me mad with their anti-peace actions.

They're bamboozling people through slick marketing and Machiavellian tricks and words that are way above the heads of most of us, including the poorly educated locals in Sudan and warm hearted folk in the West who don't like to think hard or see a need to do their homework before having a view on making war on Sudan.

Surely "non-consensual intervention" risks defeating the objective, creating a greater bloodbath and setting the tinder box of Africa alight? Read the placards in this photo and think about Sudan as a whole. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want foreign troops that you did not trust invading your neighbourhood against your will?

Protest in Khartoum

Photo: Pro-Sudanese government demonstrators chant anti-U.N. slogans in the capital Khartoum August 30, 2006, during a protest march organised against the deployment of U.N. forces in war-torn Darfur. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdalah/ Sudan Watch archive 7 Sep 2006)
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UPDATE: See Sep 10 2006 Sudan Watch blog and The Oslo Blog are at odds re military intervention in Darfur - please help.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Andreas Kiaby said...

As a response to the current post - and this http://sudanwatch.blogspot.com/2006/09/uss-bolton-says-there-is-legal-basis.html -

I think that a negotiated solution is to prefer. An intervention will be very ugly and complicated. But it will not be more ugly than what will continue to happen in Darfur if no action is taken. The conflict has been raging for over 3 years. No political solution has been found. And none will be found unless some serious pressure is being put on Sudan. Personally I think Sudan/Khartoum will carry on the killings until somebody stop them.

I think Amnesty International has a really good plan of action, that tries to give some immediate security and humanitarian relief, but also deals with the negotiation-part. You can find that here: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGIOR400292006?open&of=ENG-SDN
I also recommend this US-based proposal as an interesting perspective: http://coalitionfordarfur.blogspot.com/2006/09/darfur-sudans-srebrenica-moment.html

I do not believe that your non-violent attitude will bring any results in Sudan. And for that I am sorry. I am not afraid of saying the word "war". War is what is going on there right now, and war is what will be needed to divide the parties. Thereby giving some space for negotiations. It will be dirty. People will get killed. But I believe it is the option that will bring the best result under these circumstances. Negotiations was an alternative weeks and years ago. Now there is the need of some military action followed by continued political work and diplomacy.

Military action might defeat the purpose. It might set alight more conflict. It is a risk that we should take. We have a chance of stopping what we failed to stop in Srebenica and Rwanda. We have seen the results of inaction. I do not need to see it again.

Sunday, September 10, 2006  
Blogger RASFranzen said...

Dear Ingrid,
I think you are gallopping straight into a minefield and I urge you to take a calm5 minutes and think about what you wrote:

"The self-proclaimed analysts and experts on Sudan (who mostly aren't remotely Sudanese"

As far as I have seen, I do not believe, that this description is not also covering yourself. Ingrid Johnson (if I rember your family name correctly)does not strike me as a very sudanese name and bloggers are by definition self proclaimed.

So I think that it would be nice to point out, what makes you different.

"- from what I've seen, they're mainly Blair and Bush haters living in the US and UK on a Darfur bandwagon driven by self interest, with pockets to fill, careers to boost, books to sell, movies to make, clubs to join - not to mention little empires to run that feed off donations from ordinary hard working folk) make me mad with their anti-peace actions."

I totally agree with you that the humanitarian industry is highly problematic. I have been in South Sudan several time and the waste of money involved in humanitarian efforts has sometimes shocked me.

It is of course the same in Darfur and probably includes the AU troops.

But as I guess that the Albert Schweitzers are rare ( and one has to say that his attitude towards africans was highly paternalistic), I fear that this is the price we all have to pay if we don´t want to let things go their own way.And in the South at least the suffering might have been less without the world supplying the garrison towns.



"They're bamboozling people through slick marketing and Machiavellian tricks and words that are way above the heads of most of us, including the poorly educated locals in Sudan and warm hearted folk in the West who don't like to think hard or see a need to do their homework before having a view on making war on Sudan.

Surely "non-consensual intervention" risks defeating the objective, creating a greater bloodbath and setting the tinder box of Africa alight? Read the placards in this photo and think about Sudan as a whole. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want foreign troops that you did not trust invading your neighbourhood against your will?"

As for Eric Reeves, I think you are wrong. I know him from his efforts on behalf of South Sudan and must admit that without him the rather inept SPLM/A information and public relations would have achieved even far less meagre results than they achieved.

And the man is deadly sick with leukemia but kept writing his comments even through his acutest health crisis.

I seriously doubt that he did this in hope of money or other rewards.

There are simply some of us, who feel strongly about things and thus get involved. For e.g. me my friendship with several southern sudanese on the ground is reward enough.

best wishes
Soenke Franzen

Monday, September 11, 2006  

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