SUDAN WATCH: Sudan: Darfur no-fly zone unworkable says top EU soldier

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sudan: Darfur no-fly zone unworkable says top EU soldier

Via POTP May 22, 2007 report by Reuters' Mark John - excerpt:
A U.S.-backed proposal to stop Sudanese military aircraft flying over the war-ravaged western region of Darfur is technically unworkable, a top European Union soldier said on Tuesday.

President George W. Bush raised the prospect last month, and Britain wants the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone on Sudan as part of sanctions including broadening an arms ban.

But General Henri Bentegeat, the Frenchman who heads the EU's top military body, said [that] the size of the 500,000-square-km (200,000-square-mile) territory made such a plan unfeasible.

"A no-fly zone is technically impossible. Darfur is around the same size as France," Bentegeat, who heads the EU Military Committee on which the bloc's 27 member states coordinate defence policy, told Reuters in an interview.

"You would need at least 60 combat aircraft [in order] to enforce it correctly. And there would be the question of distinguishing between helicopters," Bentegeat warned of possibly lethal confusion between Sudanese, U.N. and other aircraft.

He said [that] there was no alternative to maintaining pressure on Khartoum to let international troops join a 7,000-strong African Union force that has so far failed to quell the violence.

"Darfur has descended into chaos," said Bentegeat, whose postings in the French army included Senegal and Djibouti. "The only viable solution is the deployment of a very large force that would throw a security net around the region."
Seems to me the only viable solution is for all Sudanese tribal leaders and rebels to commit to peace and reconciliation and agree on compensation asap. Otherwise this could go on for years, keeping the rebels and their leaders on easy street while 'their people' (mostly women and children) are killed or dispersed from land with potential oil and stuff. Sort out Darfur and another so-called rebellion will spring up elsewhere in Sudan, like in S Kordofan or along the Sudan-Chad border where, reportedly, there's unexplored oil. The USA is four times larger than Sudan. Sudan is a country as large and diverse as Europe.

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