July 26, 2004
SUDAN: IN DARFUR, TIME IS RUNNING OUT
** Global outlets criticize
the "casual nature" of diplomacy amidst "humanitarian
** The UNSC should adopt a
strong resolution aimed at securing the region.
** A diplomatic solution
cannot be reached with a "ferocious dictatorship."
** African and Arab dailies
are disappointed over their leaders' lack of "concern."
'Lessons from Rwanda'-- Global
dailies attacked the "tardiness" of the international community in
dealing with the Darfur crisis, a cause that "warrants a mass turning of
attention," according to Australia’s liberal Age. Many outlets compared the atrocities of
Darfur to the genocide of Rwanda and warned "to do nothing would be morally
reprehensible." But as one Japanese
paper noted, an isolated African conflict does not have "geopolitical
priority" especially while the U.S. and Britain are, as left-of-center Guardian
observed, "overstretched in military resources and in political credibility."
'Swift UN intervention'-- Papers
called for a commission to investigate "violations of international
humanitarian law" in Darfur with some recommending the implementation of a
no-fly zone, the institution of economic and political sanctions, and the
deployment of a peacekeeping force.
"A strongly worded resolution from the UN," advised Hong
Kong's independent English-language South China Morning Post,
"would send a well-timed and targeted message" to Khartoum. Anything less "would risk escalation of
the crisis and cost even more lives."
The resolution "should be clear about the consequences if there is
no change within two weeks," insisted Britain's conservative Times.
Enough with the 'Poseur-Multilateralism'-- Outlets criticized the "softly-softly
approach" with Sudan as ineffective.
It is "naïve" to suggest that a "flurry of
diplomats" could compel President al-Bashir and Foreign Minister Ismail to
accept their initiatives, given that Khartoum has failed to obey similar
promises in the past. UN Secretary
General Annan and Secretary Powell were "out and out lied to,"
claimed Norway’s newspaper-of-record Aftenposten. A Ugandan daily viewed sanctions as "a
waste of effort and valuable time."
"Without Khartoum’s cooperation," posited Austria’s liberal Der
Standard, "there will be no quick, efficient help" for Darfur's
refugees. Only the willingness "to
use force" will alter the Sudanese government’s apathy.
'Indigenous solution'-- African
papers held that Sudan is ultimately Africa’s responsibility. Critics denounced regional inaction and hoped
that the AU will not "duck" from political confrontation with
Khartoum. While Sudan's independent Al-Ayam
suggested that President al-Bashir form a "true" national government
for a short period to solve the Darfur crisis, Middle Eastern outlets argued
that Khartoum should "crack down" on the Janjaweed militia warning
that "threats of international intervention will only bring more
fighting." Lebanon's moderate Daily
Star stressed an Arab solution by urging the Arab League and OIC to apply
political pressure to stop the "massive ethnic cleansing...[unfolding] in
their own backyard."
EDITOR: Daniel Macri
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media
Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a
representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the
Internet. This report summarizes and
interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views
of the U.S. Government. This analysis
was based on 81 reports from 36 countries, June 17- July 26, 2004. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most
SUDAN: "Something In
Independent Arabic-language Al-Ayam maintained (7/23): "It is obvious that the international
powers have something in mind for the Sudan and despite all the efforts made by
the government of Sudan, the international powers stance remains fixed. I suggest that the President forms a National
government (a true national government)
for an interim period that tries to solve the problem of Darfur with united
national efforts. The government of
Sudan should also try to adopt the suggestion made by the head of the Umma
Party Al-Saddig Al-Mahdi which included the changing of the whole governing
system in Darfur.”
"The World's Options And The Options Of The Government Of
Pro-government Arabic-language Al-Sahafa editorialized
(7/23): "What the U.S. Congressmen
do not understand is the true reality of what they are asking. To actually disarm the armed militias is to
literally engage in a war with these militias.
The government of Sudan has already mobilized regular forces in order to
restore order in Darfur. The
international community has two options:
to either support the government of Sudan plan of distributing regular
forces to restore order in Darfur or to intervene militarily in Darfur. We all know what the consequence of this
option are--given the Iraqi lesson. The
Government also has its share of tough decisions to make. Internally it should
continue its policy for realizing stability in the State. Regarding Khartoum’s external relations the
government of Sudan should try to distinguish between different stances in the
U.S., that of the Congress and that of the U.S. administration. The government of Sudan should also
distinguish between different views inside the EU--Britain for example has
expressed its willingness to send troops for Darfur, where France has expressed
a more objective view regarding the crisis.”
"A Cemetery For All"
Pro-government Arabic-language Al-Hayat warned (7/23): "The U.S. and its allies are targeting
the Islamic world, a process which began in Palestine, Afghanistan and finally
in Iraq and which is to be extended to Iran.
Darfur will become a future cemetery for all those who try to intervene
Pro-government Arabic-language Al-Hayat contended
(7/23): "As the U.S. Elections come
near the U.S. government has become blinded by an obsession to win those
elections. The U.S. government's failure
in Iraq is to be remedied by action on Darfur.”
Pro-government Arabic-language Akhbar Al-Youm noted
(7/23): "We call on the Arab
countries to help us against this aggressive assault which is directed against
our country by the international community.”
SOUTH AFRICA: "So
Where Is The Muslim Outrage?"
The liberal Mail & Guardian held (7/23): “Finally, finally the festering sore that is
the Darfur region in Sudan is getting the political attention it deserves--but
not from the Muslim community.... In the
cacophony of rage, one voice is missing--that of Muslim communities who have
been so vocal, both globally and locally, in their condemnation of the war in
Iraq and the repression in Palestine.
Could their deafening silence be because Sudan is ruled by the Islamist
government of Omar al-Bashir? Could it
be ethnic--because those dying and fleeing are of African and not Arabic Muslim
stock? South Africa’s Islamic community
is sizable, influential and vocal--in the past two years the largest political
marches in the country have been led by Muslims against at the abuses in Iraq
and Palestine. They have held vigils
outside the U.S.’s diplomatic missions.
Where are the marches on the Sudanese embassy? Where are the vigils? In an initiative that welcome Islamic
scholars...circulated a letter calling on the Sudanese government to disarm,
disband and withdraw all government-supported militia in Darfur; to identify
and prosecute all government officials responsible for war crimes; and to
provide relief and restitution to the victims of violence.... They offer an opportunity for Muslims to show
that their faith and way of life opposes all assaults on the fundamental rights
of fellow humans, regardless of who is the victim or the perpetrator. Solidarity and moral outrage should never be
"Time To Step Up Peace Effort"
Pro-government, Afro-centric Sowetan commented (7/20): “It is important that the African Union does
not relent on efforts to secure stability in Sudan.... Rebels sponsored by the government, have been
responsible for widespread human rights violations.... The Sudanese government...is unlikely to be a
willing partner in...prosecutions. It is
therefore up to the AU to ensure that the requisite political pressure is
brought to bear to ensure compliance with basic human rights principles. Crucial though, is for the AU to ensure that
the breakdown in peace talks does not lead to further violence against ordinary
civilians in Darfur.”
"Tell 'Em To Spray The Janjawid With Herbicide"
Peter Frabricius contended in the liberal Star (7/2): "Both Annan and Powell have a special
motivation to avoid genocide in the Sudan.
Annan headed UN peacekeeping operations in 1994 when the UN failed to
reinforce its flimsy mission in Rwanda to protect the mainly Tutsi victims from
Hutu extermination. Powell was then
America's top soldier under President Bill Clinton, whose administration played
semantics to avoid defining what was happening in Rwanda as genocide because
that would have obliged it to intervene....
The big question is whether the AU will next week [during its annual
summit in Ethiopia] muster the political will and organizational onus to tackle
this [Darfur] problem decisively. Or
whether it will revert to type by ducking the political confrontation with
Khartoum, pleading that the ASF [African Standby Force] is not yet ready for
action and bewailing the indifference of the world. The latter may be a valid
argument. But ultimately this is an African problem. And an African
KENYA: "Khartoum And
The Crisis In Darfur"
Kwendo Opanga, Executive Editor, remarked in the independent
pro-business Standard (7/25):
“The concern of the international community is that a government is
backing militias to commit murders and crimes against humanity. Ismail and Erwa deny there is genocide or
ethnic cleansing in Darfur. But the story as told by the people of Darfur is
different. They tell of their suffering at the hands of government-sponsored
Arab militias.... When 1.2 million
people are displaced, are hungry, sick and traumatized by militias backed by
their own government that is not a little local difficulty. If the international community waits any
longer, it will not be the disputed 30,000 or 35,000 dead, but another Rwanda.”
"Racism At The Root Of Darfur Crisis"
Makau Mutua noted in the independent pro-business Standard
(7/25): “The Tragedy of Darfur wouldn’t
be permitted if it were taking place in Europe.
But African states must take advantage of the interest by the UN and the
US to bring about maximum diplomatic and economic pressure, including sanctions
to hasten regime change in Sudan.
Khartoum must be put on notice that only an open and inclusive democracy
will save it from partition into two states, one black African, the other
"Most Cruel Weapon Of War In Sudan's Darfur"
Independent People Daily maintained (7/20): "That rape
and other forms of sexual violence can be used as a weapon of war in Darfur is
a matter that needs expeditious intervention by the international community to
arrest the appalling scenario... The casual nature [of the way] the
international community is handling the humanitarian crisis in Darfur is
saddening. It is regrettable to note
that the region is purely inaccessible to humanitarian workers and the media.
The reports about the region are based on hearsay and the accounts of the
survivors who may have left the region long before. All parties to the conflict should stop and
publicly condemn the use of rape as a weapon as a weapon of war and put
adequate mechanisms in place to ensure the protection of civilians. Janjawid
[militia] must also be disarmed and disbanded and placed in a position where
they may not be able to attack civilians. There is also the need for an
international commission of inquiry to be constituted to examine evidence of
war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of international
humanitarian law including rape as well as allegations of genocide."
"Let’s Act On Genocide In Darfur"
Independent left-of-centre Nation (7/17): “I am surprised that it is the US, and not
African countries, that appears genuinely concerned about the situation in the
Sudan. The US is, in fact, taking the
responsibility of bringing Khartoum to account at the UN and elsewhere. That is commendable….”
"El-Bashir Should Take Heed"
Independent left-of-centre Nation (7/9): “Now that Americans have gone one better,
sending an ultimatum to the Sudanese regime that unless ethnic cleansing stops,
unspecified measures will be taken against it.
Mr. Bashir should take these exhortations and warnings seriously. After all, these racially-motivated atrocities
are happening under the very nose of African leaders meeting in a neighboring
state. Will they look the other way, as they did during the Rwanda and Burundi
genocides? Secondly, the Americans have
already poured enormous resources into efforts to ensure that the peace process
in Sudan stay on course. Surely Mr.
Bashir cannot expect to have his cake and eat it, too! If the president cannot
put off the fire he started, then he could always seek help.”
"AU Summit: Bracing
For A Conflict-Free Continent"
The opposition People remarked (7/7): "When the African Union [AU] summit
kicked off in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, there was no doubt that the
conflict in Darfur was set to top the agenda.
The biggest challenge, of course, is the need to disarm the Arab
militias that have been terrorizing villagers in the region and which Khartoum
has hitherto apparently been reluctant to deal with. And this is where the African Union comes in. One of the key objectives of establishing the
union was the need for putting in place a mechanism for intervention in
conflicts and potential hotspots by Africans themselves without waiting for
help from outside the continent. The
1994 genocide in Rwanda...is an apt example of the cost of previous complacency
by African leaders to intercede in the face of conflicts in the continent, then
entirely as a result of the now defunct Organization of African Unity (OAU)'s
principle of non-interference in the 'internal affairs' of other nations. It is for this reasons that we welcome the
move by the African Union's Peace and Security Council to send a protection
force to Darfur to enforce a cease-fire and protect observers and returning
refugees. Granted, the move was long
overdue and as it were, the jury is still out as regards the effectiveness of
the 300-strong armed force to halt the Darfur crisis. But at least, one can take comfort in the
realization that, at last, a mechanism is evolving on the continent, one that
when it matures will ensure that we do not witness another genocide like the
one in Rwanda 10 years ago."
"Africa Faces Tough Choices"
The independent, left-of-center Nation
had this to say (Internet version, 7/7):
"The AU started with a lot of fanfare during its launch in Durban,
South Africa, three years ago. It has
little to show in terms of practical action plans to sort out the continent's
problems. It is for this reason that the
summit must go beyond the usual diplomatic niceties and make some hard
decisions. We welcome, for instance, the
plan to send 300 AU peacekeepers to Darfur to protect those displaced by
carnage. Time has come when the
continent started looking inwards and seeking home-grown solutions to its
"Darfur Crisis Must Be Addressed"
Investigative/sensational People editorialized (7/1): "It is indisputable that unless the
war in Darfur is brought to a stop, a solution to the war in the south will be
meaningless. The world can thus not
afford to ignore the ongoing skirmishes in the Darfur region.
NIGERIA: "Omotoso At
Large: - Avoid Another Rwanda In Sudan"
Lagos-based, widely-read independent Vanguard (7/12):
"If charity does indeed begin at home, the AU, under President
Obasanjo's leadership, should play a
very significant role and be front and centre in promoting all these efforts to ensure that
the world does not have 'another Rwanda'
TANZANIA: "Sudan Must
Be Forced To Restore Peace In Darfur Region"
Ruling party-owned Kiswahili-language weekly Mzalendo
editorialized (7/25): "We think it
was the lack of seriousness on the part of the Government of Sudan in
addressing the crisis that led to the collapse of African Union sponsored peace
talks in Addis Ababa, after representatives of the people of Darfur boycotted
them. If the Government of Sudan is
serious about seeking a solution to the conflict, why is it dragging its
feet? Africa and the world should refuse
to stand by as the people of Darfur are subjected to brutal violence. They have the same rights as the people
belonging to other races in Sudan. The
Government of Sudan should be forced to restore peace to Darfur so that people
can return to their homes and humanitarian aid can reach them. If the Government is reluctant to send in its
own troops, the UN should take over this responsibility. The world should not allow another genocide
to unfold before its eyes.”
"Why Don't You Exert Pressure On Sharon?"
Islamic Kiswahili-language weekly An-Nur contended
(7/23): "After visiting Darfur,
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has issued a statement emphasizing that
America will do all it can to stop the killings in that area. Powell says that conflicts like the one in
Sudan rob Africans of the future they want, and adds, the U.S. is working in
partnership with Africans to help them have more security, and a peaceful
future for their children. But Powell
did not hesitate to hint that if necessary, force will be used to make sure
that what he calls murders being committed by the Jingaweit militias are
stopped. We have no problems with these
pledges, and we don't think it is bad to use force if this will help stop the
killing of innocent people. However, the
question is, who is this that is claiming to have compassion for the lives of
Africans? Who is calling for peace and
more security for the children of Africa?
Isn't this the same person that is cooperating economically and
militarily with Sharon, who in turn is killing children, old people and women
in Palestine? Where has this person now
all of a sudden got the humanity to show compassion for the people of
Africa? Why don't we see the same
compassion in Gaza, Najaf, Falluja, Nablus and Rafah? While we agree that the international
community should take steps to stop murders whenever they occur, we must also
agree that all human beings have the right to live. There are no people with special rights to
kill others and get away with it. If
Powell feels that his Government has the responsibility to stop the murders in
Darfur, he must also see that Sharon is a murderer, otherwise the world community
will not understand his strong intervention for Darfur. He should tell us if there is something else
he is looking for in Darfur, something different from seeking to stop the
murders claimed to be perpetrated by the Jingaweit militias."
UGANDA: "Darfur Needs
Uganda's state-owned daily The New Vision stated
(7/15): "From reports, denied by
Khartoum, the militiamen have been armed by the Sudanese government with a
remit to ethnically cleanse the region following an uprising against
marginalisation. So it is obvious that
the militia is an amorphous group. How would sanctions apply to a band with
such indeterminate structure and membership? It is a waste of effort and
valuable time to be considering sanctions.
What Darfur needs now is emergency help.
Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Collin Powell have already visited,
and the World Health Organization chief is also due there to make his own
assessment. The Security Council should help broker a cease-fire and press
Khartoum to address the grievances that led to the uprising."
BRITAIN: "Soldiers To
The conservative Daily Telegraph opined (7/23): "They could provide logistical support
in the form of planes and helicopters, with the goal of opening humanitarian
corridors to, and guarding, the camps where the refugees have gathered. A more aggressive posture would be the
imposition of no-fly zones to ground the air support furnished by Khartoum to
the Janjaweed militias.... In Darfur,
the world faces what the UN has called its greatest humanitarian crisis. If the EU is to intervene, it must do so in
sufficient strength to ensure the delivery of aid and protect the camps from
the Janjaweed. Anything less, while it
might salve the prime minister's conscience and advance European military
ambitions, would be shameful posturing."
"There Can Be No More Delays.
It Is Time To Act Over The Slaughter In Sudan"
An editorial in the center-left Independent read
(7/23): "So what has happened to
the notion of liberal intervention?
Cynics might suggest it has become mired in the quagmire that now is
Iraq. But reports yesterday suggested
that the Prime Minister has asked for officials to draw up plans for possible
military intervention in Sudan.... Faced
with the characteristic intransigence of the Sudanese government, the civilized
world must now act.... Through the UNSC,
which is considering a draft resolution to impose sanctions if the violence
continues, the rest of the world should impose a no-fly zone in Darfur.... It should authorize planning for military
intervention, led by the states of the African Union, to create safe havens for
internally displaced people, and to disarm the Arab militias. And the UN should set up a war crimes
investigation unit to act as a deterrent to further atrocities. For the 3,000 people who have died already,
all this comes too late. But there is
still time to stop terror from turning into full-blown genocide--and to prevent
Darfur 2004 from joining Rwanda 1994 in the litany of international
"Sudan is Getting Away With Murder"
Mark Stein argued in the conservative Daily Telegraph
(7/20): "The point is that today's humanitarians are too busy for
Sudan.... The Americans could probably
make a difference in Sudan, too. The
USAF could target and bomb the Janjaweed as effectively as they did the Taliban.... The problem is, by the time you've gone
through the UN, everyone's dead.... In
W. F. Deedes's account yesterday, I was struck by this line: "Aid agencies have found it difficult to
get visas." That sentence
encapsulates everything that is wrong with the transnational approach. The UN
confers on its most dysfunctional members a surreal, post-modern
sovereignty: a state that claims it
can't do anything about groups committing genocide across huge tracts of its
territory nevertheless expects the world to respect its immigration paperwork
as inviolable. Why should the West's
ability to help Darfur be dependent on the visa section of the Sudanese
embassy? The world would be a better
place if the UN, or the democratic members thereof, declared that thug states
forfeit the automatic deference to sovereignty. Since that won't happen, it
would be preferable if free nations had a forum of their own in which decisions
could be reached before every peasant has been hacked to death. The Coalition of the Willing has a nice ring
to it. One day, historians will wonder
why the most militarily advanced nations could do nothing to halt men with
machetes and a few rusting rifles.... But
we're powerless against them because we've fetishised poseur-multilateralism as
the only legitimate form of intervention....
Today, we have devised a system of protean "world government"
that amplifies both the Sloth of the West and the heathen Folly of the thug
states. And, because of it, in Sudan as
in Rwanda, hundreds of thousands will die.
"But we're powerless against them because we've fetishised
poseur-multilateralism as the only legitimate form of intervention.
"Britain Must Not Turn Its Back On Sudan's Plight"
The conservative Daily Telegraph commented (7/19): "There is little prospect of
international intervention, because America gives Africa a low strategic
priority and the European states, both collectively and individually, shy away
from their colonial past. Yet if the West were to apply pressure, Sudan would have
to stop the ethnic cleansing and let aid reach the victims."
"Why Both Blair And The Left Have Been
Silent On Sudan"
Prominent center-left daily Guardian
commented (7/2): "Against this
background it is naive to imagine that a durable settlement can be achieved by
diplomacy alone. The international community can extract as many promises of
cooperation and restraint as it likes. Khartoum has broken countless similar
pledges before and won't hesitate to do so again when it thinks it can get away
with it. The only pressure likely to modify its behaviour in the long term is
the belief that the international community would be willing to use force as a
last resort. No one is arguing for a
ground invasion now, but for the threat to be effective, the intent would have
to be real. The first step should be for the security council to pass a
resolution authorising all necessary means to prevent further slaughter. As part
of this it should enforce a no-fly zone, with further steps to follow if the
regime refuses to stop its attacks on civilians or blocks relief supplies from
reaching the displaced. A commission should also be established to investigate
war crimes allegations and remind members of the Sudanese government that they
will be held to account for their actions.
Until recently, Labour understood how to deal with regimes like Sudan.
But instead of diplomacy backed by the credible threat of force, we now have empty
promises backed by an incredible leap of faith. The reason for this change is
no mystery. It can be summed up in one word - Iraq. Having cried wolf over the
threat posed by Saddam, Britain and America have found themselves incapacitated
in the face of a far more pressing humanitarian crisis. They are too
overstretched, in military resources and in political credibility, to intervene
in Sudan, so the people of Darfur will be left at the mercy of their
"We Failed Rwanda, But We Can Still Stop
Genocide In Sudan"
Influential center-right daily Times
wrote (6/18): "On June 11 the UNSC
"called" on the parties to halt the fighting and "urged"
them to conclude a political settlement.
Not quite the step to cause the Janjaweed militiamen and their sponsors
in Khartoum's dictatorship to quake....
The UN Genocide Convention obliges us not only to punish, but also to
prevent, the crime of genocide.... UN
Resolution 1547, passed last Friday, was no stronger with regard to Darfur than
the one which was passed two weeks into the genocide in Rwanda. Books have been
written about the caution that cost hundreds of thousands of lives in that
case. The resolution on Rwanda of April 21, 1994 ended with a decision to
"remain actively seized of the matter." The words "while people perish"
should be appended to this, and all similar UN resolutions, as an appropriate
reminder of the consequences of delay....
A stronger Security Council resolution is required which should be clear
about the consequences if there is no change within two weeks. In Rwanda the international community wasted
time on cease-fires, which allowed the militias, supported by the army, to
continue killing. The resolution should
impose a no-fly zone, to stop the Sudanese bombing civilians, and economic and
political sanctions. The UN should also reserve
the right to send a peacekeeping force.
The thought of foreign troops entering a Muslim nation so soon after the
Iraq war is unlikely to stir enthusiasm.
We should remember, though, that it is Muslims who need to be
rescued. The Islamic world should take
the lead in saving them, especially Pakistan and Algeria, which are currently
Security Council members.... Britain can
be proud that it is the second-largest contributor to the humanitarian effort
in Sudan. But it does not make sense to
send aid while treating the architects of the crime with such normality…"
"Powell Warns Khartoum"
Pierre Prier wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/1): “Secretary Powell’s trip to Sudan did not,
apparently, go well. According to a high
official in his entourage, the Secretary concluded that, after his two-day
visit, the Sudanese government was not taking the Darfur crisis
seriously.... The official quoted by
Reuters says the ‘Sudanese are in denial'....
Washington’s involvement in Darfur stems from its commitment to its
North-South peace initiative. The U.S. would like to bring Sudan back into the
international community, after having served as a haven for Bin Laden. Domestically, President Bush wants to please
the Christian fundamentalists who are very sensitive to the fate of Sudanese
Thomas Kielinger argued in right-of-center Die Welt of
Berlin (7/26): "How should the
world react to the events in Darfur?
With sanctions? The EU sent a
contingent of 1,500 soldiers to the Ituri region in Congo last year, but for
Darfur, such figures would not be enough.
Does this mean intervention á la Iraq, based on strictly humanitarian
reasons? Sudan's Foreign Minister Ismail
already used ominous words to warn against this. He said British and Americans would be
considered occupiers and the result would resemble the one from Iraq.... The minister cleverly alluded to the
interface between humanitarian intervention and Islamic resentment. He wants to stir up the latter to prevent the
first.... The global community, not only
the West is faced with a difficult decision.... Should we accept a new tragedy
with similar dimensions in Sudan as we did in Rwanda? And this without taking action because an
irresponsible government in Khartoum pins its hopes on deterrence?"
"Called By Name"
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger said in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/24): The U.S. Congress
does not show the language policy shyness of the Bush administration, but
condemns the genocide and calls for intervention--by the UN, by a coalition of
countries, by America.... Senators and
parliamentarians are fed up with the deadly routine of crisis management, which
includes the rhetoric of 'exerting pressure.'
From the Yugoslav wars, we know what this means: to exert pressure in a
sterile, correct way allowing mass murderers and their political godfathers to
continue their business unmolested.
Basically, the question is clear:
can humanitarian intervention save the lives of thousands of people? Or would it make the matter even worse? And who should decide on this question, and
who should intervene? In the end, it
will not be those who lead the rhetoric and talk big."
Wolfgang Drechsler commented in business daily Handelsblatt
of Duesseldorf (7/14): "Following Secretary Powell and UN head
Annan, Foreign Minister Fischer has now visited the region. These visits are a clear sign that the
international community is taking the crisis seriously and is not just left
with aid organizations. It won't be easy
to stop Arab militiamen brutally driving out black African farmers and to bring
one million refugees home to destroyed villages... Americans have shown how to
force Khartoum to make concessions:
Washington did not calm the Sudanese regime by diplomatic talk, but
threatened to impose sanctions on the Islamist regime… This though negotiating
was effective: Civil war in Sudan seems
to come to an end after more than two decades. Although sanctions would be partly
symbolic, the West should use the same tactic to resolve the Darfur conflict…
Khartoum must understand that the relations to the West will only normalize if
it also seeks a solution for Darfur. At
the same time, we hope that the West will not forget other trouble spots in
Africa while focusing on Darfur."
"A Trip Alone Is Not Enough"
Ingrid Mueller argued in an editorial in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (7/9):
"Will the world finally wake up now?… The moves of the Khartoum government carry
all characteristics of genocide. It
systematically attacks the people in the west of the country.... Once more the reputation of the UN is
jeopardized. It must now make clear to
the Sudanese government that gestures of threat will not be the only measure it
will apply. If the government in
Khartoum does not keep its promises, an arms and oil embargo on the country
must immediately take effect. It must
become very clear: the government is
responsible for the humanitarian disaster.
It is certainly good that Secretary Powell and Secretary-General Annan
were in Sudan, and that Foreign Minister Fischer will travel there
soon.... The government must realize
that the world no longer looks away. But
sporadic trips will not suffice. The
responsible politicians in Khartoum must remain under constant pressure and
keep their promises, and the UN must have permanent observers in the country,
since otherwise, it will be deceived again.
In this situation, we must welcome the decision of the African Union to
send a small force. But as a signal
alone, it will not be enough to send 300 armed soldiers, since they need the
approval from Khartoum. If the UN is
serious about the matter it must support this force…with an international
fact-finding commission that is then also signal to other countries: expulsion
and murder will not be accepted. Only
with such a step will it become halfway clear that the world beyond Africa is
interested in Sudan.
Jasper von Altenbeckum commented in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/7): "The American
resolution draft on Sudan is not as tough as advocates of a humanitarian
intervention in Darfur want it to be....
Sanctions are left vague and are not directly aiming at the Khartoum
government. This also applies to the
weapons embargo that is meant to hit Arab militiamen, but it leaves masterminds
in Khartoum unharmed. Is it supposed to
spare the Khartoum government trouble?
There might be good reasons for Washington: Fear of an Islamist destabilization of the
country, or solidarity before and after the peace treaty that is to end Sudan's
civil war. But the important thing is
that sanctions or violence would have to be imposed where even peacekeepers are
not save. The Sudanese government does
not know its holy duty of protecting its people."
"Memory Of Rwanda"
Sebastian Ramspeck argued in business-oriented Financial Times
Deutschland of Hamburg (7/2):
"Secretary Powell visited the crisis region and spoke of a
humanitarian catastrophe. Again, the
international community has waited too long before it reacted to a politically
motivated mass murder. We must hurry
now. With the support of the government,
Arab militiamen have killed 10,000 people in western Sudan and expelled one
million. Although former UN envoy to
Sudan Baum drew attention to the crisis at the beginning of this year, the UNSC
only dealt with it in April. There are
many countries on the Security Council that don't care about human rights,
because they violate them themselves. UN
resolutions were inefficient and the world did not notice this crisis because
it looked at Iraq in the last months....
The Khartoum regime has done nothing to support the efforts of the
international community. The Sudanese
security forces still support militiamen, although they should fight against
them. The U.S. must exert pressure on
al-Bashir, who can be impressed.
Specific embargoes must not only be talked about but also prepared for
in detail. Beyond that, criminals must
be brought to justice. The political
solution should be similar to the one in the South: autonomy and economic development. Abu Ghraib damaged America's
credibility. If the U.S. now achieves to
stop the massacre in Sudan, it would regain some credibility--and rescue
thousands of people."
"Khartoum, No To Interference In Darfur"
Marina Mastroluca stated in pro-democratic left party (DS) L’Unità
(7/26): “Sudan’s Foreign Minister
Mustafa Othman Ismail does not see a need for international forces in Darfur to
restore security conditions and to alleviate what the UN has described as one
of the worst humanitarian crises currently under way. According to Khartoum, the U.S. Congress has
defined the crisis as ‘genocide’ and is pressuring the UN to put an end to the
violence in order to ‘gain the votes’ of the African Americans.... The White House is more cautious and has
distanced itself from Congress. It was
careful not to use the world ‘genocide,’ because if it were recognized by the
UN Security Council, the UN would be compelled to intervene.”
"Horsemen Of The Apocalypse Against The
Commentary by Domenico Quirico commented in
centrist influential La Stampa (7/6):
" In the refugee camps clinging to the border with Chad, the faces
of the people betray centuries of suffering....
What is taking place in Darfur is not a war of religion.... In this region the victims and the butchers
pray with the same degree of devotion to the same God.... UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell traveled to Khartoum a few days ago. After a great many delays and a lot of
grumbling, they were greeted with broad beaming smiles and with plenty of
promises: 'The militia will be
demobilized; the refugees will be able to return without fear.' But where?
With what resources, if their villages have been destroyed, their fields
have been devastated by lack of water, and their wells have been poisoned? But humanitarian imperialism's two envoys
immediately smoothed their wrinkled brows and toned down the rough words with
which they had denounced the humanitarian catastrophe. Sudan, once a rogue state, is of interest to
the United States: it has oil, a lot of
it, and control over that oil has now passed from French companies to U.S.
corporations. Why get overheated about
those children and those bizarre warriors on horseback who look as though they
belong on some movie set? Annan used the
months after the great massacre to fight a bitter linguistic war against the
word genocide: he did not want it to be
used in connection with Darfur, because it is such an awkward and uncomfortable
term that demands resolutions, intervention, blue helmets, sanctions; it is a
term that means trouble, hassles, and controversy. Last in line and out of breath, but armed
with good intentions, we have the Africans from the new continental Union who
have now decided to send in their threadbare peace troops. It is going to be necessary to explain that
to the devils on horseback and to their instigators."
"'We Shall Stop The Mounted Devils': A Hope For Darfur"
Pietro Veronese wrote in left-leaning,
influential La Repubblica (Internet version, 7/4): "The Darfur crisis has dragged on for
months without an apparent solution. The
humanitarian situation is, if anything, worsening, because of the start of the
rainy season.... Washington, in
particular, has turned most recently to threats, although veiled, of sanctions
against the Sudan, freezing a policy of improving relations that it had begun
some time ago. This action, combined
with Powell's visit and the subsequent presence of Kofi Annan in the Sudanese
capital just this week, have finally obtained that which, on paper, appears to
be a genuine turning point.... The
situation can now be expected to radically change. The humanitarian organizations, and
particularly the major UN agencies active in Darfur, such as the World Health
Organization, UNICEF, and the World Food Program, are now waiting to see the
following of the words by deeds. The
communiqué undertakes...to not impede humanitarian action.... Relations between the Islamic regime in power
in Khartoum and the U.S. administration had long been improving, to the point
of culminating in the peace agreements arrived at in Kenya some weeks ago between
the Sudanese government and the rebels of the South. The agreements, which put an end to the
decades-old civil war and that were fostered from all angles by U.S. diplomacy,
are expected to be formally signed in the near future. With peace, the American oil companies could
return to exploit the promising Sudanese deposits, where the Chinese companies
are primarily active at this time. But
the devastating extent of the Darfur crisis--which has led some observers to
actually talk of genocide--still risks compromising these improved relations,
if the commitments undertaken today by the regime should end up
"A Point Of View. Is The
Hague Far From Baghdad?"
Oleg Sultanov remarked in reformist Nezavisimaya
Gazeta (7/7): "In any case, the
overthrow of Saddam has had a direct and beneficial effect on other
practitioners of ethnic cleansing. The
world has at last shown interest in the genocide in Sudan. Kofi Annan and Colin Powell flew
there.... Let us hope that the sight of
Saddam in court will benefit his Sudanese partners."
"The U.S., UN Out To End Crisis In Darfur"
Aleksandr Samokhotkin observed in reformist Vremya Novostey
(7/1): "The sovereignty transfer
completed in Iraq, the U.S. has turned to Sudan, the situation there described
by the UN as an appalling humanitarian disaster. Washington has been pressuring Khartoum,
aware that it is interested in developing oil resources in the South and that
the local leaders won't sign an oil deal with the government until it settles
the crisis in Darfur peacefully and stops exterminating the black
"Clueless in Sudan"
Foreign affairs writer for the liberal daily Der
Standard Christoph Prantner commented (7/21): “Both the drastic UN Security Council
Resolution that is being discussed and sanctions against Sudan could prove to
be counterproductive. Paradoxically, the government that not only approved, but
actively promoted the situation in Darfur, is needed. Without Khartoum's
cooperation, there will be no quick, efficient help for the more than one
million refugees. Likewise, without Khartoum, no long-term political solution
of the problem will be possible. That is, unless the international community
opted for regime change and humanitarian intervention with military means in
order to end the ‘Rwanda in slow motion,’ as the situation there has recently
been characterized. From a moral point of view, that might also seem justified
to Europeans. From a pragmatic point of view, a military operation would only
be possible with substantial support of the U.S. that has been repeatedly
scolded for its interventions. However, given the current global situation, the
U.S. will absolutely refuse to intervene in an Islamic country whose crisis
region alone is a big as France. The third of the bad options could be
political and economic pressure – for example from those states that have oil
interests in Sudan, like France and China. The only thing is if that turns out
effective, it remains to be seen whether one can still help the population of
"Powell's Visit To Sudan"
Markus Bernath held in liberal Der Standard (7/2): "The U.S. wants to pressure Khartoum to
agree to cooperation, but without awakening radical Islamic opposition
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Long
Way To Darfur"
Pavel Tomasek wrote in business-oriented Hospodarske Noviny
(7/23): "[The term] humanitarian
intervention became a synonym for the NATO operation in Kosovo five years
ago. Where is the idea today, when a
tragedy of inconceivable dimensions costing million lives is taking place in
Sudanese Darfur? The indifference of
politicians is a sharp reversion to reality, and proof that Kosovo did not
start any new historical chapter of humanism.
There will be no intervention until those willing to make it will also
be able to provide a moral justification as well as a reason why it would be in
[their country's] national interest.
Iraq is a perfect example. Bush
and Blair managed to get their nations' support for the intervention only
because they had presented Saddam's WMD as a major threat. When no weapons were found, they resorted to
a moral justification referring to the suffering of the Iraqis [under Saddam's
regime]. If they want to enhance the
credibility of this ex-post facto fabricated justification, Darfur is the ideal
"Genocide In Sudan"
Center-right Jyllands-Posten editorialized (Internet
version, 7/5): "The response from
President Umar Hassan al-Bashir has been promises about wanting to cooperate
while at the same time more proof has come forward that it is his government
that is both arming and goading the Muslim militias into committing crimes in
Darfur. Colin Powell is a true and
well-meaning secretary of state, and, with a past as a chief of general staff
for many years, he knows that war is a final solution that can only be applied
when diplomacy has finally played its role.
So he is trying, with words and arm-twisting, to enable those in power
in Sudan to bring an end to the crimes.
Unfortunately there is no indication that Khartoum has given thought to
listening to either the American secretary of state or the UN secretary
general. This leaves the UN Security
Council with the almost unbearable task of having to take a position on whether
the international community should deploy a military force for the purpose of
halting genocide and human humiliation.
Sudan is such a big country that it must beforehand be seen as doubtful
as possible to mobilize the force required to carry out the assignment. Like Colin Powell, we must hope for the best,
but it is hard to see solutions other than the military one."
Liberal Hungarian-language Magyar Hirlap
pointed out (7/17): “Development is
quite limited. Most probably there will be not as many victims in Darfur as in
Rwanda, but not because the world has acted so ‘confidently’. The Arab militia in Darfur are simply much
less effective than the Hutu militia in Rwanda."
IRELAND: "I Haven’t Seen
Such Terror Since Rwanda In 1994"
Marie O'Holloran stated in center-left daily Irish
Times (7/17): "When 1.2 million
people fled their villages in western Sudan because of murdering armed
militias, they ended up either in Chad or some 137 camps dotted around the
Darfur area of Sudan.... Just as this
war appeared to be coming to an end, the conflict in the arid west flared,
resulting in what is currently the world's worst humanitarian disaster. This is an ethnic divide between the
government and two rebel groups in Darfur, both sides Muslim.... Access to the western region had been hugely
restricted by the Sudanese government, but international pressure and visits by
US Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell, and the UN Secretary General, Mr Kofi
Annan, have made their mark.... Within
14 days of Mr Powell's visit, 10 new agencies had been registered and visas for
international aid workers, which could be delayed for months, are now being
issued within days.... Although the aid
effort is cranking up, the USAID director believed that regardless of what was
done, 300,000 people would die.... There
had been a serious deterioration in the humanitarian situation…But visits by
international delegations keep the pressure up, to provide security and more
protection for the displaced.
"Darfur Disaster Demands Response"
The center left Irish Times held (7/6): “At last the humanitarian crisis in the
Sudanese region of Darfur is getting the international political attention it
deserves.... In response to the warnings
given by Mr. Powell and Mr. Annan, the Sudanese government of President Omar
Hassan al-Bashir has undertaken to disarm the militia and says this is now
under way. But rebel groups and aid
agencies suspect this is a cover for preparing a new wave of violence. They support much firmer action against the
government, including declaration of a no-fly zone, an arms embargo and a
travel ban on named individuals. Some of
these measures are suggested in a draft Security Council resolution circulated
last week by the U.S. The threat to take
them has galvanized the government to take serious action. Pressure must be kept up through the United
Nations and the African Union if the scale of this disaster is to be
effectively addressed.... The
long-standing civil war and the Darfur conflict have both deeply affected
neighboring states, creating a real motivation to resolve them."
"Drama In Darfur"
Influential independent NRC Handelsblad editorialized
(7/6): "The humanitarian disaster
in Darfur will only be controlled if the parties of the conflict are willing to
start peace talks, end the supply of weapons, and the Sudanese government
moderates its urge to expand. However,
prospects that this will happen do not look good. Though the Sudanese regime has been accused
of links to al-Qaida, an ethnic conflict in an isolated area of northern Africa
does not have a geopolitical priority....
The African leaders are not interested, the Americans are tied up in
Iraq and the Europeans are failing. The
EU attitude of indifference is even more remarkable because more recently
humanitarian interventions were highly recommended because that way Europe
could distinct itself from the eagerness with which the United States uses
military means.... The EU is still
quiet. It is a small diplomatic task for
the Dutch presidency with huge humanitarian consequences to try to get the EU
moving in the next few months."
"Exposing The Regime In Sudan"
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented
(7/21): "Allegations from Khartoum
that [the government] has no connections to the militia... have been meet with
international skepticism.... The
Director for Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, says that [Sudanese government]
documents show that the regime out and out lied in its interaction with
Secretary General Kofi Annan and U.S. Secretary of State Powell when they
visited Sudan recently. Secretary
General Annan seems to believe that the Sudanese government still can be
persuaded to fulfill its promise to protect its citizens. The U.S., which needs help from Sudan in the
fight against terrorism, hesitates to threaten with sanctions in the Security
Council, while African and Islam countries seem to be without a will to do
something to stop...what is described as genocide in Darfur..."
"Time Is Running Out For Darfur"
The independent Dagbladet commented (7/2): "The presence of Kofi Annan and Colin
Powell in Sudan has given the humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan badly needed
international attention. The question is
if it is too late.... At least 300,000
people may die by the end of the year....
The authorities who have supported Janjaweed's massacres must stand
trial.... Ten years after Rwanda the
world may once again be too late."
POLAND: "They Punish
Only The Weak"
Wojciech Jagielski commented in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(7/24): “The reason U.S. Congressmen
were so suddenly moved by the fate of Sudan is not the civil war there (which
has continued for almost half a century), nor even the recent carnage in
Darfur...but reports by international human rights organizations, which were
published early last week. Is that
bad? Not at all. Surely, it would be good if the mighty of the
world reacted to such pathologies without being pressed. One must notice, however, that the
U.S.--contrary to Europe for one--has been at least talking about the murders
in Darfur for quite some time.... What
is most upsetting is that the mighty of the world are eager to point to and
condemn crimes perpetrated by ominous regimes in weak and poor countries, but
they remain indifferent toward identical crimes if those are committed by
governments of rich and influential states.”
"When The EU Slept"
Independent, liberal Stockholm tabloid Expressen
editorialized (7/20): “Concurrently with
peace negotiations that the U.S. has gradually forced through in southern
Somalia, the Khartoum regime has moved the war of extermination Westwards. The
EU is, as usual, unable to act when the situation heats up. Europe’s engine,
France and Germany, which were so frantically engaged in the U.S. invasion in
Iraq have chosen to watch the African genocide from the grandstand.... The Sudanese government has no ambition to
stop the massacre in Darfur, and since the African Union and the Arab League
ignore the humanitarian crisis, a Western intervention will be needed. The good
powers in the EU and the U.S. should primarily use the UN to put pressure on
the Khartoum regime... But demands by
Washington only will not be enough. Now is time for Berlin and Paris to wake
up. The treacherousness against Darfur runs the risk of becoming equally
devastating as the one against recently lamented Rwanda.”
"Humanitarian Intervention Necessary"
Independent, liberal Stockholm daily Dagens
Nyheter wrote (7/20): "There is
no longer any way to stop the genocide in Darfur other than humanitarian
intervention. The world must protect the civilian population and guarantee that
aid shipments arrive in time. Moreover,
those responsible must be apprehended and held accountable for crimes against
humanity at the international court of law in the Hague. The United Nations Security Council should
pass a resolution immediately, giving the green light to such intervention. With regard to the EU, its members have a
duty to make both an economic and a military contribution to this effort."
"Do Not Cry For Darfur"
Conservative Svenska Dagbladet editorialized (Internet
version, 7/3): "Ethnic
cleansing. Genocide. Those are terms that are being used to
describe the tragedy that is unfolding in Darfur in western Sudan.... All this we know. We also know that the regime in Khartoum
actively supports the Janjaweed militia's evil deeds in a conflict that has
several different dimensions:
competition over land between farmers and nomads. We know that words do not help because
condemnations and exhortations have been heard from near and far but without
result. Traveling diplomats from the EU,
the AU, and the U.S. have come and gone.
Most recently it was UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who traveled there
with pious hopes and who left empty-handed.
We risk looking back on the international community's tardiness in the
face of evil--and that in the future Darfur will be mentioned together with
Rwanda. The alternative is not just help
with food and medicine but rather that the UNSC gives President al-Bashir the
chance to act on instructions or expect a military intervention. Cities are burning and deaths and rapes are
being committed. The reports of the evil
deeds in Darfur can leave no one untouched.
But it is not our tears these poor people need. They have had more than enough tears. It is time to act."
TURKEY: "The World Is
Watching A Massacre"
Zafer Atay noted in the economic-political Dunya
(7/7): “The horrible events [in Darfur]
are no different than the Serbian brutality against Bosnian Muslims in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. There is systematic
rape that aims to reduce the African Muslim population significantly.... After Secretary Powell’s visit to the area,
the world has started to pay attention to these horrible events. The UNSC is now going to take up the
issue. Thanks Powell. What about the others? Where is the
Islamic Conference, the EU the UK?”
WEST BANK: "An Open
Letter To U.S. Secretary Of State Colin Powell"
Independent Al-Quds' Hamza Mustafa opined (7/16): “Should
we Palestinians wait for a brave visit by your excellency to our region to
impose an end to the insolent Israeli policy and to say out loud: 'enough of
the occupation and of the fierce, cruel, and unjust policies against the
Palestinians, whose calamity is almost a century old?... We appreciate the great step you made in
Sudan...but where is its counterpart on behalf of the Palestinian people, with
whose calamity the one in Darfur cannot begin to be compared in depth, nature
or length?... Does the American
government, including the State Department, have the ability to stand against
the Israeli government as it did against the Sudanese one?... Does it have the courage and power to put an
end to Israeli occupation practices and to achieve peace and stability for all
the people of the region?... Finally, we
Palestinians hope that Secretary Powell will take the position that we are
oppressed and are the only people in the world still suffering from the
policies, cruelty, and bitterness of occupation.”
"Failure Of Government And Rebel Talks"
Leading pro-government Al-Ahram opined
(7/20): "Talks between the Sudanese
Government and Darfur rebels predictably failed because the rebels have
rejected any sort of mediation from the start."
"Will Powell Pave the Way for Dividing
Dr. Amani al-Tawil contended in leading pro-government Al-Ahram
(7/3): "The U.S. aim of exerting
pressure on Khartoum is not linked only to the events in Darfur, but also to
weakening and perhaps fragmenting the Sudanese government in order to make it
more flexible when implementing the Sudan peace agreement on the ground without
resistance. This follows the great
effort exerted by the U.S. side in Nivasha to reach this agreement, which could
be one of the cards U.S. President Bush uses in the coming elections."
IRAN: "The Mirage Of
Moderate pro-reform Iran editorialized
(7/20): "The growing crisis in
Darfur is a problem that may turn the dream of peace in Sudan - via which Gen
Al-Bashir is of course trying to remove the tension in his relations with
America - into a mirage."
"Janjaweed Must Be Clamped Down"
Conservative English-language Keyhan
International opined (7/20):
"The Sudanese leadership has an onerous task on its hands. In the
higher interest of Muslims and Islamic unity, it should take urgent steps to
clamp down on the 'Janjaweed' and to placate the fears of its own African
"Please Close The Darfur File"
Hussein Rawashdeh concluded in center-left, influential
Arabic-language Al-Dustour (7/26):
“I hope that the Sudanese government will quickly close the Darfur file,
because this ‘wound’ that has been bleeding for over a year and half gave
Washington both the pretext and the timing to internationalize this complex
‘humanitarian’ issue and turn it into a hot political issue that could allow it
to go into Sudan in order to finalize plans for 'disintegration’ that has
already started in the south. We have
sympathy for the disastrous situation that befell the tens of thousands of
civilians in Darfur. We also realize the
Sudanese government’s negligence in addressing this situation, and we see the
lack of an Arab or Islamic initiative that would put an end to the
conflict. However, there are other facts
that seem more dangerous than this humanitarian aspect that Washington, London
and others claim to have pity for, although this ‘pity’ did not appear in many
other places that are suffering much more than the Sudanese in Darfur, be it
Palestine, Chechnya or other countries where minorities are facing ethnic
cleansing, extermination and uprooting.
One of these facts is that the process of dividing Sudan has actually
been placed on Washington’s agenda....
Another fact is the timing of the process to reconsider distribution of
the waters of the Nile, wherein an agreement with the rebels of the south would
mean that America really has Egypt ‘by the balls’ and is holding on to the
focal point of the national security of the biggest Arab country. If we remember reports years ago about an
Israeli role in investing in and planning for using the Nile and revitalizing
the Sudanese south, and add to that the Falasha immigration, the picture would
be complete, where the new Sudan, with its divisions and multiple pressures,
would be a base for America, just like Iraq is on the other side.”
"Sudan And The USA"
Center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour
held (7/18): "Sudan has been
infected for along time by the disease of 'US hate' and this has become a
contagious disease which spreads from one strategic Arab and Islamic country to
another, but it gets worse at some stages and in some countries, to an extent
that it becomes threatening and might need surgery without the consent of the
patient being sought. The USA
understands Sudan's role in the Horn of Africa, and its role of bridging the
two continents. It also understands Sudan's Arab and Sunni Islam and their
influences on the Black continent."
LEBANON: "What More
Are We Waiting For Before We Act In Sudan?"
The moderate, English-language Daily Star
editorialized (Internet version, 7/6):
"With the current crisis in Darfur reaching critical levels,
external powers have finally decided to get involved, namely the U.S., the UN
and, as of Monday, the African Union.
The missing element in finding a solution and credible peace has been
the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), to both
of which Sudan belongs. There may be a
lot on the League's plate, but when over 2 million have been killed in a member
country in the past 30 years, and with the situation in Darfur verging on
genocide, how much violence needs to occur before the League gets
involved?... The Arab League has an
obligation to one of their oldest members, not least because others are
involved, but because massive ethnic cleansing is going on in our own
backyard. Shock therapy should not be
required to awaken the League from its stupor.... The United States has been rightly criticized
in the past for its reluctance to get involved in humanitarian crises--even on
the political level, which involves no body bags being sent home--but with
Darfur the U.S. has made a greatly needed exception. The OIC would also do well to emulate this
example. The organization is intended,
after all, to promote Muslim solidarity in economic, social and political
affairs--all of which Sudan desperately needs.
Even if the League carries out a symbolic act initially, such as
throwing some diplomatic weight around and applying political pressure, this
would be a step in the right direction.
There are a whole number of options available to the League which could
then be applied. The next step should be
less tentative, and involve financial assistance, medical aid, and peacekeeping
troops, whether on a collective or individual state basis. This an opportunity for the League to do
something constructive and quit passing the buck. If the African Union, which is only two years
old, is being put to the test in Darfur, then so should its older cousin, the
"The Darfur War After The South's
Lebanon's independent, leftist, Arab nationalist
As-Safir commented (6/17):
"Ending the war in the Darfur region requires two important
condition: the first is to provide a Sudanese solution to end the fighting, by
extending control and authority with determination to most parts of the region
and among its different population. The second is to provide financial aid to
develop the region and thus give the different Arab and non-Arab tribespeople a
reason to live in safety and peace. Threats of international intervention will
only bring more fighting..."
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:
"Coordination Of Efforts To Prevent Disaster In Darfur"
Semi-official, Abu Dhabi-based Arabic-language Al-Ittihad
wrote (7/4): "The Sudanese
government has promised the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, that it will
disarm the militias responsible for causing Darfur residents to flee their
homes.... This promise will yield no
positive result unless the government takes urgent security and political steps
on the ground."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "Time Is
Running Out For Khartoum"
An editorial in the liberal Melbourne-based Age
read (7/24): “Time is running out for
further warnings and promises. If the
violence is not stopped quickly, the UNSC needs to be talking about
intervention. Sudan is a much simpler
case than Iraq. A deployment of a couple
of thousand international peacekeeping troops would have a dramatic impact on
stopping the violence. It is vital that
not only the U.S., but the rest of the international community, demonstrates
that the moral quagmire of Iraq does not signal the end of humanitarian
intervention in other parts of the world.”
"The Genocide We’re Missing"
Guy Rundle observed in the liberal
Melbourne-based Age (7/20): “In the past 10 years Saddam Hussein did not
kill or torture as many people as have been killed by state-supported Sudanese
militias in the past few months. Yet we are still way behind in getting even
the most basic understanding of what is going on there. If we are genuinely
concerned about the mass graves of the future, then this is a cause that
warrants a mass turning of attention....
The alternative is that Darfur, like Cambodia and Rwanda, becomes an
event rather than a place, an occasion for shameful hand-wringing about what
could have been done, and the not-so-distant sounds we failed to hear.
"Humanitarian Disaster Looms In West
Editorial in the national conservative Australian
(7/19) states: “Secretary Colin Powell, writing in Australian,
threatens sanctions against the Government if it does not rein in the Arab
militias that are running riot in Darfur. But these are still words, not deeds,
and with peace talks between the Government in Khartoum and rebels from the
region collapsing over the weekend, the viability of the softly-softly approach
is rapidly waning.... If another Rwanda
is to be avoided, the West will need to move from jawboning to action.... Of
course, if the West really wants to reform Africa, so that one humanitarian
crisis does not simply follow the last like a weather pattern, it will need to
reform itself as well: only free trade, and an end to agricultural subsidies
across the world, can release Africa's hidden economic potential.”
"Abrupt End Of Addus Ababa Talks"
Official state news agency Xinhua
commented (7/20): "The talks'
abrupt end in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa not only dashed the high
expectations placed on the peace process, but also marked the lack of mutual
trust between the rebels and the Khartoum government, making later talks even
CHINA (HONG KONG): "Global Pressure Needed To Resolve Sudan
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
stated (7/9): "Security and peace
talks are the main areas where the international pressure must be maintained. The African Union, to its credit, has
deployed observers and is considering broadening a 300-troop mandate to include
protection of civilians. The UN,
meanwhile, will soon debate a U.S.-drafted resolution that calls for sanctions
against militia leaders and possibly against Khartoum if the situation does not
improve within 30 days. Unfortunately,
some Security Council members, including Pakistan, Brazil and China, are said
to be reluctant about leaning too heavily on Khartoum. Given China's oil investments in Sudan and
its rising profile in international affairs, a change of heart would carry much
weight. A strongly worded resolution
from the UN now would send a well-timed and targeted message to the Sudanese
government. Anything less would risk escalation of the crisis and cost even
"Stop The Killing And Hunger In Sudan"
The liberal Mainichi editorialized (7/6): "The ongoing military clash between
Arab-origin residents and their black counterparts in the western Sudan has
resulted in the death of thousands and left millions more homeless.... In order to correct the situation, food aid
and water must be quickly delivered. The
international community must also consider deploying a UN multinational force
to restore safety, which is vital for carrying out relief activities. A truce arrangement and political dialogue
must be worked out between the two conflicting parties. We also need to address the issue of economic
development in Africa in order to come up with a global plan to deal with
poverty on the continent."
INDONESIA: "The Winds
Of Change Blow Hard At The African Union Summit"
Leading independent daily Kompas
commented (7/9) : “The African Union
Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week will be remembered as an important
moment for the establishment of cooperation and a more open climate among 53
countries in the region… The meaning of the African Union summit in Addis
Ababa, certainly, is not only found in its success to generate open culture.
The summit has also agreed to send troops to assist expediting the recovery of
security and order in Darfur. Apart from all its weaknesses, it is not
exaggerated to regard the Addis Ababa summit as a success. The two-year old
African Union gained its credibility as a regional organization, which is
expected to continuously encourage its 53 members to put cooperation and
solidarity on a firm footing to free the continent from various political,
social, economic, and ecological crises.”“The Winds of Change Blow Hard at the
African Union Summit”
THAILAND: "Time Is
Running Out In Darfur"
The top-circulation, moderately-conservative, English-language Bangkok
Post declared (7/25): “Last week saw
increased rumblings and threats from the UN over the situation in the western
part of Darfur, in Sudan, but they don't do much to avert the disaster that
international humanitarian organizations are saying is imminent unless help
comes soon.... Clearly, the UN and much
of the international community want to intervene in Sudan and avoid another
Rwanda, where ten years ago one million lives were lost in bloodshed that most
believe could have been prevented if outside forces had stepped in time. But in light of the urgency of the situation,
the UN's reaction once again seems mild....
There has been a good deal of talk about passing a UNSC Resolution to
levy sanctions against Khartoum, but action has been elusive. The U.S. finally late last week submitted a
draft resolution calling on the government to arrest those responsible for the
ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Failure to
comply with this resolution, if it is passed, would result in 'further action,'
which would include sanctions, but not until after a report from the
secretary-general's office to be made 30 days from now.... Sanctions should be imposed at a minimum, and
immediately.... In the long run, a
well-equipped and substantial African Union peacekeeping force may be available
to address trouble spots on the African continent before they get out of hand,
as is becoming the case in Sudan. But
here and now it can only be hoped that the international community will respond
with whatever it takes to avoid another Rwanda.”
"A Catastrophe Awaits In Darfur"
The independent, English language The Nation observed
(7/7): “The U.S. has already raised the
possibility of unilateral sanctions if Khartoum fails to stop the attacks and
allow international aid to reach the displaced.
Other countries, in particular, Sudan’s apologists on the Security Council--Pakistan,
Algeria, Angola and China--should live up to their global responsibilities
too. Time is running out for the
refugees in Darfur and Chad, which has no capacity to support these
people. Without tough and immediate
action by Washington, the European Union, the Security Council, as well as the
African countries that assert a claim to continental leadership--like Nigeria
and South Africa--a half-million people or more could be dead before the end of
Serge Truffaut observed in liberal Le Devoir (7/22): "It would seem that Animist or Christian
blacks concentrated in the Darfur region are being killed, raped, dismembered,
displaced since the beginning of last year.
In reality, the past 20 years have seen them suffer under the yoke of
Muslim governments brought to power through coups or fraudulent
elections.... In the 80's and 90's,
Muslims had brought back the slavery tradition.
They kidnapped the infidels and reduced them to slavery. It is this return to horror in its most
absolute sense that prompted the African tribes to form self-defense
groups. That was all the government
needed.... Khartoum's argument was clear
as day: since they have self-defense
groups, the State's duty is to retaliate.
Leaders put in place the 'Janjaweed' militias to implement a
scorched-earth policy.... While these
militias do the dirty work, Khartoum feigns innocence. Every emissary sent receives empty promises
from notable Sudanese.... The U.S. State
Department is currently completing a whole series of interviews with refugees
to collect enough elements to put the question to the UNSC. Let's hope this process is dealt with
quickly. If necessity knows no law, now is not the time to drag our feet."
"The Rapes in Sudan"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (7/21): "Amnesty
International wants an independent commission set up to investigate the rapes
and other possible violations of human rights and to determine how to bring
those responsible to justice. The government in Khartoum has repeatedly denied
any involvement and calls the rapes an inevitable part of war.... The
government has to put a stop to the depredations of the militias, provide safe
access for aid workers and commit itself to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Failing that, Khartoum should be subjected to harsh sanctions and military
intervention by the international community, because diplomatic pressure by the
United States and other countries has plainly not done the job. Only then can
the lengthy process of investigating and prosecuting the Darfur war crimes
begin." "Forgotten Sudan: Why
Is The World So Silent On The 'World's Worst Humanitarian Crisis?'"
Timothy Giannuzzi, recent graduate of the University of Calgary,
contributed the following op-ed to the right-of-center Calgary Herald
(7/7): "War, the Dalai Lama
informed us during his recent visit, is outdated. Someone forgot to tell the
people of Darfur -- Sudan's westernmost region, where a nasty conflict has been
raging for several months. The United Nations has labeled Darfur the world's
worst current humanitarian crisis. No one seems to care.... A few concerned
governments, who have clearly learned nothing from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda,
responded with a barrage of fierce press releases. The United States, in a fine
display of spinelessness, has held off from really pressing the Sudanese
government for fear of undoing the other peace process. Meanwhile, African governments, who obviously
don't take themselves very seriously, nominated Sudan to serve on the UN's
Commission on Human Rights in May. The
most the world has been able to muster has so far been a flurry of diplomats,
which must have set hearts aflutter in the refugee camps. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell visited some of the camps last week to make big
eyes at the malnourished victims and to sternly warn Sudan: You'd better, you
know, behave yourselves or there could be, like, consequences at some point.
Sudan has promised to follow through, but no one's holding their breath about
this, either. Meanwhile, the conflict appears to have slid off the media's
radar screen. Perhaps the protesting set should abandon its terminal fixation
on Tibet and raise a little ruckus for Darfur.... War may be outdated, but
genocide belongs to the age of the dinosaurs. If the former is not stopped
soon, it will quickly become the latter. We should know better than to let that
"Africa Could Act"
The centrist Winnipeg Free Press commented (7/6): "The foreign ministers of the African
Union showed a rare initiative on Sunday.
Meeting in Addis Ababa in advance of the AU summit that opens today, the
organization's executive council condemned President Robert Mugabe's government
of Zimbabwe.... The Sudanese government
has promised it would act to end the atrocities [in Darfur], but the promises
of Khartoum are empty words without someone to compel their enforcement. The UN and the U.S. will not act in the
Sudan. Africa could, if it can this week
continue to exercise the newfound courage and conviction it demonstrated in
"Ease Sudan's Crisis"
The liberal Toronto Star opined (7/2): "The fighting in Darfur, in Sudan's
western region, threatens to destabilize the peace pact. The U.N. warns that 2
million people there need urgent help. Al-Bashir must live up to his pledge to
disarm the Arab militias that have been attacking black farmers, and let aid
workers in. He hasn't. A tough UN resolution threatening al-Bashir's
regime with the same sanctions the U.N. proposes to impose on the militias may
be the wake-up call he needs."
"Fiddling While Darfur Burns"
The conservative National Post opined
(7/1): "The international community
must intervene to prevent further humanitarian catastrophe. To do nothing would
be morally reprehensible. There has been
a curious reluctance to get involved--not only in the West, but also among
Muslim states. The Arab world's
indifference to the plight of Sudan's black Muslims, the victims of the
Janjaweed's violence, is lamentable....
In a recent article in the London-based Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat,
the paper's former editor spoke out against the silence on Sudan in the Arab
press.... 'Arab intellectuals who see
nothing in the world but the Palestinian and the Iraqi causes, and who consider
any blood not spilled in conflicts with foreigners to be cheap and its spilling
justifiable--they are intellectual accomplices in the crime.' A similar question may be asked of the
Western community: Is the life of 1,000 people in western Sudan less valuable
than that of a white Kosovar Albanian? If Canada and other Western nations with
the means to intervene militarily in Darfur do not begin preparing to do so,
this is the question many will justifiably ask."
ARGENTINA: "Sudan Goes
Through A New Genocide"
An editorial in leading Clarin read
(7/16): "The Sudanese crisis was
unleashed by a wave of violence launched by the Arab majority, from the North
area of the country, against the black African minority... On the one hand, human right institutions
have denounced all kinds of atrocities. On the other hand, the Sudanese
government is a ferocious dictatorship that is alleged to have ties with and
support from international terrorist organizations. According to the US, it is
a 'criminal State'.... Nonetheless,
neither the UN nor the US or European countries, or Arab coalitions have mobilized
large resources and important number of troops to attend to this
BRAZIL: "Genocide In
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo emphasized (7/24): "The U.S.-proposed resolution to the
UNSC urging action against Sudan must be supported. According to the proposal,
either the Sudanese government arrests those responsible for atrocities in
Darfur and takes them to court, or it will have to face international
sanctions. An urgent action is necessary to interrupt ethnic cleansing
operations currently being conducted in Darfur.... Actually, there must be a firm action against
Khartoum. In a generous interpretation,
the Sudanese officials have closed their eyes to the massacre.... The U.S.-proposed action seems to be what is
possible for the moment. After the
unilateral invasion of Iraq, it is almost impossible that the UNSC will
authorize an armed intervention.... The
strongest option available to the UN is in fact the threat of economic
sanctions.... According to the U.S.
government's estimates, between three hundred thousand and one million Sudanese
may die of starvation and diseases. The world cannot inactively watch another
genocide in Africa just because it has not reached a consensus on how to