Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Why wait on Darfur? UN could authorise cutting off Sudan's oil exports at Port Sudan

Yesterday, a UK reader emailed me his comment saying:
"The Janjaweed are carrying out their orders with the same merry enthusiasm that Hitler's executioners killed Jews, Slavs, and Gypsies in millions! That's what humans do best, if they get half a chance. The orders they received were brutally logical, given the need at the centre to withstand rebel insurgency in the West of the country -- sparked largely by the fortuitous discovery of oil there."
And, he went on to say this:
1) The Sudan has indeed suffered, for many centuries, a bloody history of war and famine -- until the arrival of Scottish engineers and British Administrators (like me) from 1911 onwards, producing a short interval between the customary brutalities. Once the Sudanese gained independence, in 1955, they rapidly squandered the riches collected for them by those damned colonialists. Then the Dictator and former Army General Nimeiry (with whom I had several meetings) set up a religious government, based on Quranic law, deeply offending the Southerners, and here we are again.

2) It doesn't look as if things will change in future, either. Perhaps that will finally discourage people from living there.

3) Like Egypt, the Sudan is 'the gift of the Nile' and would collapse if anyone (for instance) sabotaged the Sennar dam, or blew up the White Nile barrage above Khartoum.

4) There are already plans to drain the Sadd marshes in the South, so that the wonderful Dinka become extinct, to the profit of the Northeners, whose threatened supply of water will be augmented throuogh a reduction in the rate of evaporation of the White Nile.

5) I say again: too many people in the wrong place.

I'm attaching an important new initiative from Lord May, who predicts that much of Africa will become uninhabitable if the West continues to consume such a large share of the planet's resources. In the face of that threat, the starving masses will have to move elsewhere -- or perish. He dare not say that there are 'too many people in the wrong place' but that happens to be the cause of the problem -- including the greedy 280 millions in America.
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UN could authorise cutting off Sudan's oil exports at Port Sudan

Note, today's blog entry, together with the previous two below, are perfect for leaving at the top of this page over the next six week intermission. Feedback is invited via comments or email.

Robert I. Rotberg, director of the Program on Intrastate Conflict at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and president of the World Peace Foundation, writes this Oct 24 (and last Dec, see below):
"Cutting off exports, easily done at Port Sudan on the Red Sea by one or two American, British, or French frigates, authorized by the UN, would concentrate the minds of the rulers of the Sudan and presumably compel them to restrain the janjaweed and negotiate sensibly in Abuja.

So would the insertion of NATO or European Union troops into Darfur with a clear mandate not to watch, but forcibly to prevent further losses of life.

Annan could and should demand such action before thousands more are killed senselessly across the desert wastes of Darfur."
Read more in Why wait on Darfur? Boston Globe 24 Oct 2005. [via Watching Politics with thanks]
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Sudan expects no oil sanctions - Turn off the oil spigot!

Last December, soon to be one year ago, Jim Moore bloggged about a dinner he had just attended in Boston to discuss the crisis in Sudan, hosted by Amnesty International. See links within Dec 21, 2004 Sudan Watch post "Sudan expects no oil sanctions - Turn off the oil spigot!". In his post, Jim said the wisest council was offered by Robert Rotberg, of Harvard's World Peace Foundation. Excerpt from Jim's Dec 2004 post:
"The United States still has a play in Sudan. One helpful thing would be to position a US destroyer or even a submarine off the coast of Sudan, off Port Sudan, and turn off the oil spigot. There is a single thousand-mile-long oil spigot [that is funding the regime].

My thoughts, not Bob's: Continuing to negotiate with the regime under current conditions is tantamount to appeasement. Of course we want to continue negotiating, but without any credible intervention negotiation with such a cynical, manipulative, and skillfull government will get nowhere -- and indeed, has gotten nowhere to date. Not one Janjaweed has been arrested, not one promise has been kept.

Here are simple military actions that require essentially no troops, and no UN approval if the Bush administration is willing to take the heat in order to save lives. [Read full post]
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Death toll in Darfur tops 100,000 since UN directive

Gethin Chamberlain, one of the first Western journalists last year to report on Darfur from Sudan has two must-read reports in the Scotsman:

Oct 22 Darfur agony goes on as the UN fails to act.

Oct 26 Death toll in Darfur tops 100,000 since UN directive.
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Monthly report of the Secretary-General on Darfur

Via ReliefWeb - Source: United Nations Security Council 14 Oct 2005: Monthly report of the Secretary-General on Darfur.
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Darfur Diplomacy: Enter the Contractors

This month, US contractors Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) website announced CPMT ceased operations October 2005 after over three years of monitoring and invesitigating in Sudan.

See Oct 2004 CorpWatch report re contractors in Darfur.

Peacekeeping contractors

Cartoonist: Khalil Bendib (CorpWatch)
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Finally, the last word must go to Eric Reeves' analysis Oct 24:
"A series of extraordinarily dire warnings have recently been issued by various UN officials, a last desperate attempt to force the international community to take urgent cognizance of Darfur's deepening crisis. Full-scale catastrophe and a massive increase in genocidal destruction are imminent, and there is as yet no evidence that the world is listening seriously."

Photo: Janjaweed militia (Wikepedia) Read about Marla a militarized town ... In Divided Darfur, a Shared Will to Fight: "It's a war," declared Hassab, who wore a billowing white robe and leopard-skin slippers. "We were told to fight by the government. We also wish for this. Why would we stop now?" ...

Late last year, residents and African Union officials said, Sudan Liberation Army forces were driven out of the area [of Marla] by Janjaweed and government troops.

Once the rebels left, militiamen started tearing down half-ruined huts and using the materials to build their own. When African Union troops tried to intervene, the Janjaweed resisted until they backed off.

The Janjaweed were originally enlisted by the Khartoum government to crush the rebel insurgency, which arose to protest the political and geographic marginalization of African tribes. But officials now assert that the militiamen have escaped their control and become an entrenched, autonomous force.

Hassab, however, said his fighters had been given ID cards, weapons and small amounts of grain or cash by government forces to attack the rebels. He said they had come to feel like a permanent force.

Hassab said he answered his government's call at first to put down the rebellion. Now, Darfur has simply become too dangerous to stop fighting, with criminals taking advantage of the lawless conditions.

"There is still war here," he said with a shrug.
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Snippets and responses from blogland: [More here later if and when found]

Author journalist Terry Glavin in BC Canada blogs An "unsurpassable urgency" in Darfur.

Eric at Passion of the Present posts A Few Reminders Oct 25.

Western Resistance writes Troubles in Darfur Continue and points out Scotsman UK report '3 Darfur asylum-seekers lose appeal.'

Mike Nargizian in New York notes Eric Reeves' report Darfur in the Deepening Shadow of Auschwitz, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda.

Dartmouth Lawyers Association blog announces DLA Darfur Crisis Committee will on Nov 5 present an updated version of its April 2005 report "Wind of Madness" [a report I intended to link to here before, as it helps readers understand some factors that need to be evaluated before even considering the deployment of a peacekeeping force and discusses the Blair five point program saying it may be most workable proposed troop deployment plan]

Andrew Samwick at Vox Baby blog explains Some Economics of Divestment and says whenever he hears of calls to divest, he thinks that the emphasis has been misplaced [me too], and what is really needed is a boycott. But goes on to say say, of course, if you are planning to launch a boycott, the prudent investment strategy is to divest first.

John Quiggin in Australia blogs Darfur again - and at Crooked Timber - both posts have interesting comments. [Thanks to Passion of the Present - and for link to Oct 27 BBC report re increasing levels of hunger destablising Africa, head of UN's World Food Programme warns]

Avi Green in Jerusalem, Israel of Tel-Chai Nation blog lists Recommended op-eds.

Jenny of Urania: writes how UN condemns...violence against women [I left a comment on the overwhelming nausea I experienced after reading about so much grindingly slow bureaucracy ...]

At long last, Instapundit posts a Darfur update - follow all the links as they lead to some interesting comments by Michael Stickings and Nate.

Genocide Intervention Network "Darfur News Brief" for October 28th via Passion of the Present.

Nick Browne has finished reading Surrender or Starve, the book that Robert B Kaplan published in 1988 about the famine and his travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea. In his review Nick concludes nothing much has changed.

World hunger hotspots

Next year, Sudan holds presidency of the African Union.

This year, there are just two months left of the UK's presidency of EU.

Tony Blair, UK Presidency of EU

See Abyei Boundary Commission Final Report 14 July 2005 - or click here

RIP +++ Oct 25 AU mourns Darfur Rdf Soldier Cpl David Niyonsaba of the 105 Battalion.+++


Frank Partisan said...

This is an important blog.

I posted a link to your site at:


IJ said...

Darfur is the subject of a report today by The Scotsman's Rob Crilly. He starts: "SUDAN'S troubled western region of Darfur has deteriorated back into a state of anarchy and bloodshed, hampering humanitarian work, according to senior United Nations officials."

One factor in the dispute is undoubtedly Sudan's reserves of oil. Indeed energy reserves are becoming a source of friction all over the world. A couple of weeks ago, the Senate in the United States got an indication of how energy will influence national foreign policy - everywhere - in the future.

The matter is also cross-referenced at an interactive version of the UK's Hansard.

Events: the UN's new Peacebuilding Commission may be able to impose some order, involving perhaps the NATO of the West, the NATO of the East (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?) and the African Union.

Anonymous said...

In the United States, the University of California has over $4 billion dollars of its
retirement funds, endowment, and other funds invested across the
world. Some of this money is invested in companies that do business in Sudan, where genocide is currently being waged by the government.

The University of California (UC) Sudan Divestment Taskforce
petitions the UC Regents to divest from, and not to invest additional
funds in, any company that does business in Sudan or with the
Government of Sudan. The petition is in response to the genocide that
the government continues to perpetrate against the people of Darfur, Sudan.

On Monday, November 14th the UC Regents will be voting on a key resolution that controls the future of UC divestment from Sudan at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Key Information about divestment of the University of California please visit the divestment and Petition Website: http://www.ucdivestsudan.com