International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

July 26, 2004

July 26, 2004





**  Global outlets criticize the "casual nature" of diplomacy amidst "humanitarian disasters."

**  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 recent date.




SUDAN:  "Something In Mind"


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 Sudan"


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 in it.”




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.”


"Help Us"


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 selective.”


"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 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 responsibility."


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 Arab.”


"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 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 problems."


"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' in Sudan."


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 Help"


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 Sudan?"


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 shame."


"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 government.


"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…"


FRANCE:  "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 Christians.”


GERMANY:  "Sudan"


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."


"Hesitant West"


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.


"Holy Duty"


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."


ITALY:  "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 Refugees"


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 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 disregarded."  


RUSSIA:  "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 population."


AUSTRIA:  "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 Darfur.”  


"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 forces."


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 holiday destination." 


DENMARK:  "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."


HUNGARY:  "Developing World"


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."


NETHERLANDS:  "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."


NORWAY:  "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.”


SWEDEN:   "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.”


EGYPT:  "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 Sudan?"


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 Peace"


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 Muslim population."


JORDAN:  "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 Arab League."


"The Darfur War After The South's Peace"      


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."




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 Sudan"


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.”


CHINA:  "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 more complicated.


CHINA (HONG KONG):  "Global Pressure Needed To Resolve Sudan Crisis"


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 more lives."


JAPAN:  "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 the year.”




CANADA:  "Massacring The Infidels"


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?'"


"Darfur 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 happen again."


"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 condemning Zimbabwe."


"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 emergency."


BRAZIL:  "Genocide In Africa"


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 act."




Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home