August 11, 2005

Darfur Comes to Portland

I saw these posters stapled to telephone polls in my neighborhood today.

Darfur Poster.jpg

Here is a link to the Protect Darfur Web site. It was put together by the Aegis Trust for Genocide Prevention.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 11, 2005 12:33 PM
Comments

MJT,

So what are the posters advocating we do?

Arm the Darfar natives?
Invade and replace the Sudanese government?
Send in peacekeepers who will not actually fight?

This seems a little weird, or is it OK to save the people of Darfar but not Iraqi's?

Posted by: buffpilot at August 11, 2005 12:48 PM

Pehaps they mean Amnesty International should write letters of protest for the next 50 years and accomplish absolutely nothing-- but they'd feel really good about themselves.

Posted by: spaniard at August 11, 2005 01:34 PM

The only thing that can stop the genocide is troops on the ground, but if we were to send troops, protesters would hold up signs that say "give peace a chance"

Posted by: John Wenning at August 11, 2005 01:43 PM

The people who should be concerned about he 85,000+ people murdered in Darfur and the 1,000,000+ people ethnically cleansed in the last year and a half don't have the energy or desire to do so.

Currently they're single-mindedly focused on the fact that 3,500 Palestinians - most of them terrorists with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade - have been killed over a 5 year period in a war that they started.

C'est la vie.

Sorry, Darfuris. You happen to be:
A) Black Africans, not Arab; and
B) Getting killed by Arabs, and not Jews.

So you are out of luck if you're looking from any help from the "International Community."

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 11, 2005 02:36 PM

SoCalJustice,
you wrote:
85,000+ people murdered in Darfur and the 1,000,000+ people ethnically cleansed in the last year and a half
What 1,000,000 people are you talking about? I think we did learn something from Rwanda. Clinton recognized it as a big mistake and I think that’s a big reason he didn’t hesitate with Kosovo. Same thing can be said about Bosnia: he learned not to waste time with the UN. Unfortunately, I don’t think we learned enough. I personally would support a troop deployment to Sudan because: 1) It wouldn’t take very many troops to stop the violence 2) it is very unlikely our troops would be attacked and the whole job would be fairly fast, painless, and clean. Furthermore, I think it’s the right thing to do and would be representative of my liberal values of human rights and not standing by and doing nothing while genocide is taking place.

Posted by: John Wenning at August 11, 2005 02:57 PM

"This seems a little weird, or is it OK to save the people of Darfar but not Iraqi's?"

That's the problem in a nutshell. Come up with a practical solution, and the same people screaming about the problem then scream about the (potential or actual) side effects of the solution.

But damn, ain't a call to action cool? Might even get you babes....

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 11, 2005 05:32 PM

"Might even get you babes"!!! LOL I actually suspect a lot of liberal pro-abortion guys DO want relations with smart, pretty, active, Liberal women -- especially if they're "easy" and, if there's a "problem", the man has NO responsibility since the feminist is totally responsible.

I think Bush should have highlighted this last year, in my Fantasy Speech.

The real problem is that Justice requires force, and includes the mistake of too much force, sometimes. It's not Humanly possible to administer justice without mistakes; like Abu Ghraib (?).

Why doesn't Kerry or some Dems introduce the need for the US to take action, since the UN has said NO genocide?

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 12, 2005 01:11 AM

Bush should have highlighted Sudan as genocide last year.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 12, 2005 01:12 AM

Tom: if there's a "problem", the man has NO responsibility since the feminist is totally responsible.

How many liberals do you know? That sort of behavior is not socially acceptable around here. And believe me, anti-abortion conservatives are few and far between.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 12, 2005 01:55 AM

John Wenning asks:

What 1,000,000 people are you talking about?

These people.

As of July of 2004, there were already 1.2 million people ethnically cleansed. The number is much higher than that now.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at August 12, 2005 02:08 AM

I don't get it. America is powerful. You conservatives have much control over America.

Why the fuck aren't you doing anything about Darfur?

At what point do you look at your government, which is controlled by your party in all fronts, and ask yourselves why the fuck aren't YOU doing anything about Darfur?

Am I to understand from some of these commenters that you're all afraid the liberals will complain if you go in? That's what's holding you back? For the purposes of this fantasy, then, liberals are powerful (while for other fantasies of course you will see them as near-obsolete).

What a pathetic excuse. Yeah, whatever, you really wanted to stop the humanitarian crisis but it wasn't convenient for you and somehow it's just the fault of those darned liberals. If it weren't for those jerks man you'd be totally in Darfur doing great things.

Posted by: notsobright at August 12, 2005 02:09 AM

Notsobright: You conservatives have much control over America. Why the fuck aren't you doing anything about Darfur?

Only some of us here are conservatives.

I'm a centrist.

SoCalJustice and John Wenning both voted for John Kerry.

And I do think we need to go into Darfur.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 12, 2005 02:56 AM

Okay notso, I'll play. Exactly how would you recommend we "go in"? What "great things" would we be doing?

Don't get me wrong, I believe we should be doing something. But since you're calling "us conservatives" out, I think you have some responsibility to tell us exactly what you think the United States should be doing.

Specifics, please.

Posted by: Mark Poling at August 12, 2005 04:20 AM

One thing that really gets me when people talk about the Sudan is how little they actually know about what is going on there, and how many things that are assumed as facts (genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc) aren't all that true. Its easy to characterize the story as Arab v African or Christian v Muslim or something similar, and its equally easy to forget about the struggle to end the 22 year Civil War when talking about Darfur- which, for all its horror, is a side show in the greater story of Sudanese political violence.

My site has been inactive for a while, but if anyone is interested I wrote quite a bit on the Sudan in a stretch between November 2004 and February 2005.

http://www.mayflowerhill.blogspot.com

Michael- Thanks for doing your bit to publicize an issue that deserves more attention- but isn't getting it- than a berieved mother protesting in Crawford, a stupid TV add about abortion, and an airport strike in London.

Posted by: Chris at August 12, 2005 06:06 AM

Why the fuck aren't you doing anything about Darfur?

The U.S. government and the British government, aren't doing enough about the situation in Darfur. But they're doing more than anyone else.

I've been to more than a few rallies in support of some sort of intervention. Sudanese survivors and Mauritanian ex-slaves hold up signs protesting not Bush, but the United Nations. The United-oil-for-food-Nations has a history of collecting money while doing nothing to help.

At one rally, an African protester was holding up a sign thanking President Bush for what he'd done. A star speaker at the rally, Gloria Steinem, chided the man for holding up a pro-Bush sign. The she said that she couldn't feel much pride for her country.

She also said that the European colonialism was responsible for slavery in Africa. This confused the former slaves, who know that Arab enslavement of blacks, justified by the Koran and Islamic laws, is responsible for this continuing horror on the continent. Arab enslavement of blacks has been a fact for hundreds of years.

American and British efforts to help the Sudanese have been consistently blocked by the UN and the Arab League. As always, the UN opposes war in favor of the "peace" that comes with genocide. That's what they've done since they were formed, it's their job. The Arab League, a league mostly composed of dictatorships, Ba'thists and Islamists, will also vote in favor of the "peace" that comes with Shariah-imposed slavery and genocide. That's also their job.

Like the government of Yemen, the government of the Sudan is an unofficial branch of al Qaeda. The people who are slaughtering blacks and Muslims in Darfur are part of the same organization as the people who slaughtered Americans on 9/11. There is no reason why we should not have unilaterally invaded and dismantled this regime.

Well, no reason other than our "alliances" with dicatatorships in the Arab League.

I've been complaining about this for years, and I've been going to rallies. A lot of people have been organizing these rallys, complaining about the Arab League and the UN etc. When they criticize Arabs in the area of Columbia University, they're labelled "racists". Go figure.

There's an organization called the American Anti Slavery Group. This group, run by Charles Jacobs, works to fight slavery by publicizing the personal stories of the Africans who lived through this. One frequent speaker is Simon Deng, who says:
When millions of African blacks were being slaughtered and hundreds of thousands of Southern Sudanese children were and are being enslaved, the world was indifferent. Perhaps worst of all – the UN turned its back.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are very painful questions which must be asked, and I will ask them. How long will mass murder, slavery, religious persecution, systematic rape, enforced starvation, and "ethnic and religious cleansing" be allowed to go on? When will those with the power to act to stop these crimes stand up and say enough is enough?

Not long ago – only yesterday in historical terms – after the Nazis slaughtered millions of innocent Jews, the UN was created. At that time, standing on the ashes of the victims of Auschwitz and the other places of torture and mass-murder, the world said, “Never Again.” The words seemed to mean something at that time; they seemed filled with purpose and power. It appeared as though a brave new world was coming into being in which such atrocious evil would never again be permitted by civilized nations. When Pol Pot slaughtered his own people in Cambodia we returned to that phrase and once more said, “Never again.” But in Sudan, when 1.5 million were lost in a genocide perpetrated by the Islamists, nobody said anything at all. Then Rwanda came, and even though no one lifted a finger to save the 800,000 so horribly slaughtered, yet again, everybody said “Never Again”. In Sudan, in the second genocide in the South, 2 million were being slaughtered up until two months ago in the name of jihad by the Islamic government in Khartoum. Once more, there was a deathly silence.

Of course, since the UN only cares about preventing war, not genocide, they're still pretty silent.

If you'd like to help out, send the Anti-Slavery group a donation.

Otherwise, what would you like us to do? What would you like to do?

Posted by: mary at August 12, 2005 06:50 AM

Notso,
We're sort of busy right now. Tell you what, rest of the world...not much going on with you folks; feel free to step up to the plate.

Posted by: RickW at August 12, 2005 07:20 AM

How many liberals do you know? That sort of behavior is not socially acceptable around here. And believe me, anti-abortion conservatives are few and far between.

Back in my Lib days I got two girls pregnant. Yes, I expressed the proper amount of "concern" (all the while using jedi mind tricks so that she'd get an abortion) and I offered to pay the necessary fees, of course. But that the extent of my "responsibility." Not something I'm proud of.

Posted by: spaniard at August 12, 2005 07:26 AM

Notso,
Where are you from? Can I assume that you are aiming similar comments at the multitude of other nations that have the military capability to do something about Darfur?

Posted by: exhelodrvr at August 12, 2005 07:54 AM

Wow, spaniard -- honesty. I hope; and hope you've changed.

The more sincere liberals I hung with were careful enough, so I don't know of any who caused pregnancy resulting in abortion -- nor many women admitting to having had abortions. Yet Fem. For Life declared that some huge percentage of pregnancies occur in colleges.

I think it is terrible behavior. But what does "not socially acceptable" really mean? Everybody condemns it, verbally -- but nobody actually does anything about it?

Know of any man who has suffered in any way, socially or financially, for being a jerk? I'd guess the women would say FU and leave ... have any jerks lost any friends?

It's extremely relevant to Darfur, actually. Genocide is not "socially acceptable", either ... but it seems Bush-bashers don't complain about the UN doing nothing, nor about Clinton in 94 doing nothing in Rwanda, as much as they complain about Bush "in practice."

And you, Michael, complain about Abu Ghraib. Fair enough, some abuse; even some torture that has resulted in a US General being fired. I claim such mistakes are inevitable in a real war, the main issue is whether the military investigates and punishes; the US military does.

Assuming the US leads a Coalition against Sudan to stop the genocide (50 000 direct kills, 300 000 by exile/ nutrition/ disease; guestimates thru 2005) -- how many wrongful deaths in US custody do you "accept?" Meaning, not vote for the other guy because of it.

Clinton had 0 (in Rwanda); Clinton was re-elected; if Slick Willy had caused any unwanted pregnancies I don't know of it, but he WAS sued for sexual harrassment -- and YOUR area of Oregon is pretty pro-Clinton; his behavior seems pretty "socially acceptable" in practice (as seen from the other side of the world.)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 12, 2005 08:33 AM

Wow, spaniard -- honesty. I hope; and hope you've changed.

Tom, do you think I was somehow unusual? I don't think I was. You use the jedi mind tricks and you pay the fee. That's pretty much it for "responsibility".

Posted by: spaniard at August 12, 2005 08:36 AM

Back in my Lib days I got two girls pregnant. Yes, I expressed the proper amount of "concern" (all the while using jedi mind tricks so that she'd get an abortion) and I offered to pay the necessary fees, of course. But that the extent of my "responsibility." Not something I'm proud of

What absolute scumminess in multiple dimensions. Trying to blame a political philosphy for your own degeneracy. It is YOU who are a manipulative, scheming, irresponsible SOB. You were not "made that way" by the political leanings you might have had. I have been a liberal all my life and made sure never to make any woman pregnant, except my wife. Your self-centered irresponsible attitude, an expression of your deeper personality, is probably why you could not be long enamored of liberal political sensibilities.

Posted by: IP at August 12, 2005 10:33 AM

Trying to blame a political philosphy for your own degeneracy.

I agree, it's degenerate. And behind all the highminded rhetoric, this is exactly what "pro-choice" is all about.

Posted by: spaniard at August 12, 2005 10:53 AM

Mo Spaniard,
Pro choice is, in part, about womean having the ability to escape from having irresponsible bastards like you, acting on the heat of a moment of desire, from determining the course of the rest of their lives.

Posted by: IP at August 12, 2005 11:00 AM

IP,

you're obviously an unbalanced wench who's had jedi mind tricks played on you.

But how was I "irresponsible"? Name it.

Pro-choice doesn't call for any more responsibility from men that I showed.

You take measures, if they fail, you pay for the abortion like a gentlman. Period. That's the NAKED TRUTH.

Posted by: spaniard at August 12, 2005 11:08 AM

On September 9, 2004, Colin Powell, in testimony before the Senate labeled the Sudan crisis as "genocide." The House and Senate had passed a resolution to that effect three months earlier. So there is no question that the United States has identified the human disaster there.

The Bush Administration has been working through the U.N. to solve the problem--to get the proper resolutions. Isn't that the counsel that the left has offered in such matters? Intervening unilaterally (or even with a Coalition of the Willing) would be wrong.

Stopping the killing by sending in a few thousand American (or Coalition troops) would be a "cowboy" act, especially if something went wrong.

No, the deaths of hundreds of thousands or millions is immaterial compared to the importance of getting the whole world behind any U.S. action.

Posted by: Linc at August 12, 2005 11:27 AM

Spaniard,

If your girlfriend did not get an abortion or put the baby up for adoption you would have had far greater responsibilities than coughing up the 200 dollars (or whatever it costs these days) for Planned Parenthood. Your responsibilities would have been quite extensive and none of my liberal friends would have let you or anyone else off that hook.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 12, 2005 11:55 AM

Michael,

of course. I don't deny that for a second.

Unfortunately however, pro-choice men don't feel that burden of responsibility when they know the girl is just going to get an abortion anyway.

A pro-lifer, on the other hand, doesn't have that easy out. There is no sex without consequences. That's my only point.

Posted by: spaniard at August 12, 2005 12:16 PM

Gotta start reading these things from the top down instead of the bottom up.

What does spaniard's sex life (just threw up a little there) have to do with Darfur?

On second thought, I don't want to see the connection. Nevermind.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at August 12, 2005 12:18 PM

and ps., I'm only "anti-abortion" to the extent that decision was unconstitutionally usurped by the Supreme Court. If Roe was overturned and the states voted in favor of abortion that would appease me.

Posted by: spaniard at August 12, 2005 12:23 PM

dpu,

point well taken, I've clearly hijacked this thread.

Posted by: spaniard at August 12, 2005 12:25 PM

MJT,
I'm sure your liberal friends would say that the father, if he wanted the pregnancy aborted, would not be liable for child support, right? Since the mother can make unilateral decisions re terminating the pregnancy, that would only be fair.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at August 12, 2005 12:33 PM

_pro-choice men don't feel that burden of responsibility when they know the girl is just going to get an abortion anyway.
A pro-lifer, on the other hand, doesn't have that easy out_

Yeah, thats really typical. The way for men to become disciplined regarding their sense of responsibility is for society to adopt laws that restrict the ability of a woman to determine the course of her own life.

Posted by: IP at August 12, 2005 02:16 PM

Exhelodrv: I'm sure your liberal friends would say that the father, if he wanted the pregnancy aborted, would not be liable for child support, right?

No.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 12, 2005 02:28 PM

Oh but we can't do anything about Darfur, because that's muslims, (religion of peace, remember!), killing non-muslims. If we stopped them it might offend muslim sensibilities.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at August 12, 2005 02:55 PM

MJT,
Which is, of course, one of the hypocrisies of the left and/or the women's rights groups.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at August 12, 2005 03:50 PM

The way for men to become disciplined regarding their sense of responsibility is for society to adopt laws that restrict the ability of a woman to determine the course of her own life.

What's all this about MEN becoming disciplined and MEN being responsible? Is it not a WOMAN who is opening her legs for him? It takes two my dear.

No, abortions-on-demand do not encourage responsibility on any level. Period. For either party. And that is the price we pay as a society so that women can "determine the course of her own life."

Posted by: spaniard at August 12, 2005 04:05 PM

Spaniard,
Nothing is more divisive than the issue of abortion, which is not at all what this thread is about. Do us a favor and stay on topic, I’m sure there’s plenty of places you can go to make your points about this issue. Should MJT bring up the topic, I would love to hear your views, otherwise, leave it for another time/place. Certainly you would agree that Darfur is an important issue that deserves to be in the spotlight.

Posted by: John Wenning at August 12, 2005 10:17 PM

John Wenning,

you've just wasted a perfectly good opportunity to comment on Darfur.

Also, you may not have noticed it was a 3-way exchange between myself and others and I was responding to their comments. It happens.

Posted by: spaniard at August 12, 2005 10:41 PM

"Talk" about abortion IS relevant to "talk" about Darfur, John. As I tried to explain above.

Leftists like talk, but not action. Chris (Mayflower Hill, still here?) claims that Sudan is NOT genocide. My claim is that "genocide" is a code word for "requires action."

IP makes the point that Spaniard was an irresponsible jerk on abortion; Spaniard makes the point that he was fully within the bounds of pro-choice "responsibility", and the second point that such a pro-choice environment encourages exactly his level of (ir-)responsibility.

IP fails to note that the UN is now being a jerk about genocide/ murders in Sudan. It is NOT genocide, according to the UN (~NOT the man's responsibility); therefore 52 indictments of War Crimes, or somesuch, is enough (equivalent to paying for the abortion).

And the deaths continue. I've long ago argued for NATO based Human Rights Enforcement Group; now the ICG wants NATO forces there (see the Protect Darfur link, then the Int'l Crises Group.)

How to enforce responsible behavior? That's the basic question, in both cases. Leftist desire to avoid force (never solves anything!) means they kill the unwanted fetus (so sad; apologize later?). What about Rwanda (apologize later!). What about Sudan?
Wait, let killing go on, wait, talk about killing, wait, talk & accept murder, wait ... what are you waiting for? The END. So we can apologize! and say "never again." Again. And again.

Bush should use Darfur to get Leftists to agree that force is sometimes the right thing, even without the UN SC agreement. He should blame Amnesty for failing to call it genocide; and blame all those who support the UN for supporting their judgement that is is NOT genocide.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 13, 2005 01:39 AM

Is is my understanding that the US issued a statement declaring genocide in Dafur (unlike the UN which refuses to recognize the genocide)and, as of 7/19/2005, is working along side NATO by using about 150 Airmen from Ramstein and Royal Mildenhall along with strategic support from US Transportation Command to aid in moving about 1,200 Rwandan troops from Kigalis to Al-Fasheir, Sudan.

I just googled US Troops and Dafur.

Posted by: susan at August 13, 2005 06:32 AM

So much for notsobright's what the fuck are you going to do about it bullshit.

Question "why the fuck aren't neighboring Arab nations doing something about it?"

Answer: Islamification.

Posted by: susan at August 13, 2005 06:42 AM

Bush should use Darfur to get Leftists to agree that force is sometimes the right thing

A couple of problems here. First, instead of dealing seriously, you resort to exaggerations. Leftists are not against the use of force in all cases. Most supported the war against the Taliban, as well as Clinton's efforts in the Balkans.

But the larger problem with your analysis is that focus on the left - Bush should use Darfur to convince the left...., instead of focussing on what Bush is doing, or not doing in Darfur. It makes is rather clear that you care far more about scoring partisan points than having in real concern about the Darfurians.

To wit: Leftists like talk, but not action. Perhaps if your right-wing leader were actually proposing some action in Darfur, and leftists were opposing it, then you would have a valid point.

My claim is that "genocide" is a code word for "requires action"

I agree. So when the administration, speaking for America, calls it a genocide, then why dont you focus on holding them responsible for actually doing something?

Oh, and Mary. Are you arguing that helping, in some way, to move some Rwandan troops into Sudan is "doing something" about the ongoing killing? Where are the Rwandan troops being deployed? What is there misson? How is there prescence going to change one single thing?

Posted by: IP at August 13, 2005 10:59 AM

Apart from the 'humanitarian' wish to do something in Darfur, what is the national imperative for the US to do so? Foreign Policy is not based on running around the world doing 'good things'.

Iraq and Afghanistan are arguably part of a calculated attempt to achieve long-term geo-political results through military/political pressures. Even at that they are really a matter of rolling the dice, and hoping that they don't come up snake-eyes. These efforts are born of both humanitarian and real-politique rationales.

How exactly does Darfur fit into the long-term strategic interests of the US? Does doing something against the wishes of the Khartoum regime, its Islamic rulers, and its wider Arabist supporters help or hinder the wider policy targets of the US? If the Khartoum Islamists physically object to your intervnetion, what are you planning to do about it? Does acting 'unilatarily' AGAIN, do the US any real good? If so, how? How long did you plan to be there? Are you planning to spend the next decades building a real society in a country which has never really had one ?

Unless you can demonstrate that this would be more than a 'humanitarian' effort, conducted almost solely with American money, effort, and lives, there is zero chance of ANYTHING actually happening there. If the US is to be the world's policing agent then it should receive funding for that role from those who are content to sit on the sidelines and complain.

Posted by: dougf at August 13, 2005 12:33 PM

IP writes (about somebodies comment):

"Bush should use Darfur to get Leftists to agree that force is sometimes the right thing"

A couple of problems here. First, instead of dealing seriously, you resort to exaggerations. Leftists are not against the use of force in all cases. Most supported the war against the Taliban, as well as Clinton's efforts in the Balkans.
-----------
Most supported the Afgan war because it was right after 9-11. They supported Clinton because he was a Democrat. (Didn't they support him no matter what he did and to whom he did "it" to?) This is not personal, it is only political, so don't take it personally.

Bush is a Republican, so Liberals think Bush sucks (versus Monica sucking during the Clinton era); Bush lied (and people died) versus Clinton and his lies under oath; Bush is dumb, versus the brilliance of Clinton (hmm, common sense vs the Rhodes scholar, eh?). I could go on and on.

Bottom line: Demos and Libs would be cheering Clinton if he were the Prez in charge during the Iraq war. And the Repubs would say it was just a 'wag the dog' becuase of whatever scandal of the day Clinton was dodging.

Posted by: Anon at August 13, 2005 12:50 PM

I'm pretty sure that Reps, after 9/11, would be supporting Prez Gore in Iraq -- but complaining about the cost. And, since there wouldn't have been the Tax Cuts, the dot.com bubble pop would have had a MUCH bigger recession/ depression. Of course, the Reps wouldn't have let as much gov't pork go out to Dem friends -- but gov't pork is kinda reasonable to stop a depression (Keynesianism).

IP: each and every Leftist who, after 17 UN SC resolutions condemning Saddam claims the US in Iraq is "illegal" are to blame for inaction in Sudan. If the "no-brainer" of booting Saddam isn't good enough to get support, nothing by Bush is likely to be -- until the Leftists complain about inaction more than action.

Amnesty can call Gitmo a "gulag" but won't call Sudan a genocide. France & Germany have no troops in Iraq -- why can't THEY show their commitment to democracy in Sudan?

Dougf, my friend, you make some good points. But Sudan fits into the Bush doctrine -- Islamic countries need to be democratized. It's not the most threatening to the US (though 9/11 highjackers went thru), nor the most valuable in oil (though there is quite a lot); but it IS a Public Relations bonanza for Bush to claim a desire to enforce Human Rights.

And really, I don't think it would take much US force, especially if Bush is willing to train, arm, & supply AU troops, with some US military as reserves to win any battle.

But it should be part of the Bush-Bolton-Rice politics wrt the UN; and it's not at all clear to me what those are.

I complain about Bush's lack of action in Sudan; but note that Leftist complaints about his action in Iraq justify Bush inaction.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 13, 2005 02:31 PM

Islamic countries need to be democratized.--Tom Grey

Actually to be 100% honest they need to be "liberal" democratized. And on that basis Iraq is proving to be a royal pain in the posterior and it at least has some semblance of a civil history. Does Sudan? Is Sudan not actually an example of a 'failed' State ? Nation building in that place ? No Thanks.

Hey I like PR gains as much as the next guy, but who exactly would we be giving de-facto support to if we intervened? What type of Islam has a grip now on the inhabitants of Darfur? Is this not more a racist rather than a theological conflict, with Arabs on one side and 'Africans' on the other? How about calling on the Arab League to actually DO something for a change. Hey how about Egypt, or do they have too much history in the area?

With the usual suspects (Russia,China, and that moral cess-pool France) opposed to intervention, there has to be more than dubious PR gains(as if Bush would ever get any), to justify US actions in that area of the world. I just don't see them as clearly as you seem to do.

If Bush could use this issue to drive another stake through the still beating heart of the UN, well that would be something, but he CAN'T. It's not a crisis unless the toads there say it is and they don't. And they WON'T. The AU will not be able to deliver the goods in the Sudan,and it will all in the end fall on American shoulders. AGAIN.

It's an African, Arab, UN problem. It's up to them to solve it. Do you see them lined up at the door just dying to get involved? I just don't see Darfur being anything but a 'humanitarian' effort. And to be brutally blunt one with no real or even imagined payback for the do-gooding forces. For me that does not make it GOOD Foreign Policy at this critical time. Well actually it does not make it good policy at any time.

Posted by: dougf at August 13, 2005 03:52 PM

I don't fully disagree, but I'm a bleeding heart regime-change optimist.

I, too, want Bush to use Sudan to create an alternative World Cop, of democracies and coaltions of willing, against NON-democracies who grossly violate human rights.

And it costs the US big bucks -- but I'm afraid doing nothing will cost more in the mid term.

Michael, did any of your liberal friends object to Chris Rock at the Oscars?:
"Abortion, it's beautiful, it's beautiful abortion is legal. I love going to an abortion rally to pick up women, cause you know they are f**king."

For men who want non-responsible casual sex, the pro-abortion political position is obviously the one most in line with their self-interest.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 13, 2005 06:05 PM

DougF wrote: "It's an African, Arab, UN problem. It's up to them to solve it. Do you see them lined up at the door just dying to get involved? I just don't see Darfur being anything but a 'humanitarian' effort."

Darfur is not even an African problem. Its a Sudanese problem. That is a regional conflict (the Darfur region) that has NOTHING to do with race or religion, only the increased natural southern expansion of the Sahara desert, the competition for a finite and scarce amount of natural resource between two distinct groups (government backed camel herders and local tribes who have lived and worked that land since before the Arabs migrated West in the Seventh Century), and the proliferation of arms in the region (due in directly to Reagan's foreign policy in the 1980's in the case of Khartoum, China's foreign policy from around 1999-present, and due indirectly to the irresponsible and haphazard ways many aid organizations have been handing out money in Darfur). Sure, you hear Sudanese soldiers make racist comments and see images of them brutalizing civilian populations... but soldiers have dehumanized their enemies in every war humans have ever fought... In the last 100 years, we've been to war against Krauts, Japs, Gooks, WHOPS, sand-niggers, etc, and we've committed our share of atrocities (My Lai, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Abu Ghraib, etc), but no serious person believed "genocide" had anything to do with it. The same is true in Darfur today. The Sudan has not seen a purely primordial uprising since the Mahdist Revolution in the late 19th Century, and even that was supported by non-Islamists who found common cause in defeating the Turco-Egyptian imperial regime.

But we are wrong to think that nothing can or could be gained from pressing harder, or that nothing can or could be lost from remaining apathetic. It is more than just a humanitarian effort. If you want to get zero-sum about the whole thing, the Sudan churns out a fair amount of oil, and China is investing tons of money to ensure they can churn out a fair amount more. Up until this spring, all of the oil was believed to be divided into 6 major concessions in the Southern Sudan in and around the city of Bentiu (not coincedentally, the heavy fighting in the 20+ year civil war ended when China had fortified Khartoum's position south of those oil fields). But at $67 per barrel, its worth it to think about flooding the market with crude and, while the Sudan's supply couldn't break OPEC, that oil could put a dent into the price of crude.

But there is also the issue of deterrence and prevention of future genocides/atrocities. While Darfur fails to meet the legal definition of genocide, there is no doubt that Khartoum's land grab has been senselessly violent and needlessly harsh. One of the reasons cited at the time by liberal hawks and neo cons alike for intervening in Bosnia was that it would show the world the West was unwilling to allow slaughter on such a level to be perpetrated in the post-cold war world, regardless of a state's inherent sovereignty. The same arguement applies to Bashir and his government's policy in the Western Sudan.

That said- and I could say more, I guess- there is little that can be done that isn't already being done. Most of the refugess have fled to Chad, and are happier there and do not want to return to their land. Further, the Sudan's peace agreement and new attempt at consociational government is far more important to the country's future, and any attempt by the West to meddle in Darfur- which is really just a side-act- would needlessly rock the boat. Garang's death- he was an SOB undeserving of the praise that was heaped on him in the immediate days after his passing, but he was integral in keeping the highly factionalized opposition rebel groups "in line"- has made the fragile situation even more precarious, as his replacement is sort of like the Raul Castro of the SPLM: military expertise, no political skill or constituency of his own. Of the last three political leaders that assumed positions of power with only a military pedigree (Joseph Lagu of the SLM in 1972 who negotiated Addis Abbaba and was years later installed as VP, President Nimairi, and Omar al-Bashir), only Bashir has avoided being a miserable, abject, and incompetent failure- and his tenure still included a civil war that killed over 2 million people and made double that number homeless... and Darfur... and the Nuba Mountain atrocities... and the Beja uprising...

So the West involving itself right now could be disasterous. Darfur is fizzling as an issue over there, even if its becoming more en vogue over here, and the Naivasha Accords need to be given a chance. The UN, AU, EU and US certainly need to be there to help in any way they can to facilitate the implementation of those accords, but they must be careful not to step on toes and Darfur is a big effing toe.

Posted by: Chris at August 13, 2005 07:01 PM

The UN, AU, EU and US certainly need to be there to help in any way they can to facilitate the implementation of those accords, but they must be careful not to step on toes and Darfur is a big effing toe.
--Chris

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. Much appreciated. You make the excellent point that BEFORE we leap to solve a 'problem' we absolutely must understand what the problem really is, and what long-term interests we might have in addressing it.

I don't have any answers but I certainly agree with most everything you have said. Even if I did not, it was still a very well presented posting.

Thanks again.

Posted by: dougf at August 13, 2005 07:44 PM

Thanks for the kind words, dougf. I think you hit the nail pretty much on the head when you mentioned that people tend to want to solve the problem before they understand what its all about.

One point- I alluded to the proliferation of small arms in Darfur due indirectly to some humanitarian aid programs set up by major Western NGOs. A lot of groups have set up "Slave Redemption Programs" to address the problems of slavery and human trafficking that still exist in the Sudan. Anyone who knows anything about humanitarian non-profits knows that to secure donations, these groups go out of their way to impressing potential benefactors with news of their good deeds. Well, the SRPs proved to be a big hit with donors and began to be administered on a larger scale and with less oversight. Eventually, the programs took a form where someone would show up at a designated site with their slaves and say "I agree to free them, please give me my money." Wildly successful, the NGOs were sending letters to their donors claiming to have freed huge numbers of slaves through their efforts. But there was a catch... the NGOs weren't keeping good records, and people were showing up to free their friends, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc... and they were doing it 5 days a week. The cash they received was used to purchase light-arms and Jeeps for the SLA, SLM, SPLA, and the SPLM (Garang's group). NGOs became aware of what was happening, eventually, but took a while to reign it in (and still haven't done so completely) because they didn't want to advertise what had happened to the people writing the checks.

I mention this only to urge people to use caution in sending money or assistence groups like the one being linked to on this site, as well as groups like the ICRC, MSF, OXFAM and others. A lot of the big ones have made themselves decent, and some of the others (notably OXFAM) aren't in the Sudan anymore. But money spent in the wrong way- and this goes for US, EU, AU or UN aid, as well- can end up making things worse, not better. A lot of those guns purchased indirectly by aid money got put in the hands of 12 year olds.

If anyone wants to read a good history of the Sudan's political violence- one that puts Darfur in its proper context- I could not reccommend Douglas Johnson's "The Root Causes of Sudan's Civil Wars" more highly.

Posted by: Chris at August 14, 2005 09:03 AM

Thanks, Chris -- but what policy are you recommending the US / UN / West takes on Sudan, now?

"be there to help" isn't quite clear to me.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 14, 2005 06:20 PM

"I have been a liberal all my life and made sure never to make any woman pregnant, except my wife."

Despite my politics being Libertarian in college, most of my friends were liberal. "Moral superiority" was even openly discussed with some of them -- and I wanted that kind of superiority, too.

The idealism and, usually, the personal integrity of my liberal friends was much higher than with my Lib or Conservative friends (didn't know many regular church-goers).

I usually liked liberal goals. But it seemed to me that when they put their policies into law, the laws had unintended, but very bad, consequences. "Liberal-based laws" didn't seem to work in society so well for folks who did NOT have the personal integrity of my liberal friends.

I'm trying to find laws and policies that, whether liberal, libertarian, or conservative, work best in world society. I think MJT is too.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 14, 2005 06:34 PM

Michael,

Tom asks a good question. Now that the InstaGig is over, any response (uh, I guess silence included) would be welcome.
---------------------
Michael, did any of your liberal friends object to Chris Rock at the Oscars?:
"Abortion, it's beautiful, it's beautiful abortion is legal. I love going to an abortion rally to pick up women, cause you know they are f**king."

For men who want non-responsible casual sex, the pro-abortion political position is obviously the one most in line with their self-interest.

Posted by Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 13, 2005 06:05 PM

Posted by: Anon at August 14, 2005 07:04 PM

The first thing that should be done is to clearly list priorities vis a vis The Sudan, and then to clearly explain to the world why the list takes the form it does.

1. My list would begin not with the violence in Darfur, but with implementing the Naivasha Protocols. Here, the US/EU/UN can only play a role from behind the scenes. The biggest challenges to these protocols (which would establish a consociational government with an integrated central government based in Khartoum with less authority than it currently has) being implemented are going to be mutual distrust between the government and the Sudanese represented by the SPLM, disputes over the allocation of resources, and how willing Bashir's government actually is (not on paper, but in reality) to open up government and top military positions to the Southern Sudanese. These are recurring problems, by the way. The same challenges were faced in 1972 after the Addis Abbaba negotiations, after independence in 1956, and throughout the British Colonial period that followed the collapse of the Ottoman occupation. The failsafe that was built in to the Naivasha agreement to prevent the breakdown of the peace process- the referendum on southern independence in 6 years- is really a mirage. Bashir's military campaign- with the help of China- pushed the Northern controlled territory south of Bentiu, where all the major oil fields are. There is no way the South would vote for a separate state when it would have no natural resources to sell for profit. In the next several months, the government will begin to negotiate the nuts and bolts of the power sharing arrangement- specifically the distribution of natural resource wealth. The West can and should make sure that what happened in Addis Abbaba in 1972- when Lagu sent a team of underprepared incompetents to negotiate with Nimairi- does not happen again. The West can help to make sure the deal is fair, and then make sure Bashir doesn't reneg on promises he makes.

2. Regarding Darfur, its a tough pill to swallow, but its also one that the West may have to stomach for a while. The simple fact is that while violence in Darfur may have killed 100,000 and made a lot more homeless, the civil war that began in 1983 killed more than 2,000,000 and made refugees out of over 6,000,000... some 2/3 of which are planning on returning from exile. Put crudely, the Sudan has bigger fish to fry. Excessive meddling in Darfur jeopardizes the fragile progress made in the rest of the country. But since the problem in Darfur has a lot to do with the collapse of agriculture in the Northern Sudan, one possible avenue for helping that wouldn't cause a showdown with Khartoum is to offer agricultural assistance to the government. It would make it less necessary for the camel herders (see above posts) to go south during the dry season, and the investment in the Sudanese economy would have the dual effect of bringing Khartoum into a Western sphere of influence (even if it were smaller than China's sphere) and establishing good will with the Sudanese people.

The carrots and sticks approach that normally gets deployed in this type of situation would enjoy limited effectiveness with the government in Khartoum because the West has very little economic leverage over the Sudan- due in part to years of very justified economic sanctions. The problem for us is that while we spent the 1990's being morally indignant and concerned about the Sudanese government's tendency to harbor Islamic terrorists (bin Laden was a guest of the state for a time), the government of China got in real good with Bashir- selling him weapons and financing the development of his oil fields. Economic sanctions would need to be levied by the Chinese government, but they don't want to do anything that puts their oil supply at risk (they need all the energy they can to support their growing economy). The West would have to offer Bashir rewards more liberally and pull his government closer to the West before asking for things in return. That is the track the Sudan was on with the West after 9/11, when Bashir began cracking down on militant Islamists and assisting Western intelligence services in the War on Terror. All the progress being made in this regard ended rather abruptly when Darfur went up in smoke. Since then, things have sort of been in a holding pattern. John Danforth played a critical and admirable role in getting Bashir to Naivasha to deal with Garang, but one suspects that Bashir only came to the table because he had nothing else to gain in terms of exploiting the South. His positions were fortified south of Bentiu, and the Darfur War was going perfectly fine for him. There was no sense in pissing off the West when he had nothing more to gain by snubbing it.

The best we can do at this point, I think, is to work on implementing Naivasha in a meaningful way. [Since oil was found in Darfur ealier this year, it has become an even more sensitive issue as far as Bashir is concerned, and the West has little to gain from either a zero-sum perspective or a humanitarian perspective, at this point, of making a big fuss about it.] But until Bashir gives some tangible evidence that he is committed to a meaningful peace process, and that he isn't just groping for an opportunity to open up the Sudan for trade, we should regard him and his government with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Hope this helps, Tom. Let me know if there are any more questions. Having a discussion on this issue that gets deeper than the typical Darfur conversation can only be productive.

Posted by: Chris at August 14, 2005 07:04 PM

Darfur is not even an African problem. Its a Sudanese problem. That is a regional conflict (the Darfur region) that has NOTHING to do with race or religion, only the increased natural southern expansion of the Sahara desert, the competition for a finite and scarce amount of natural resource between two distinct groups (government backed camel herders and local tribes who have lived and worked that land since before the Arabs migrated West in the Seventh Century)

Chris, I assume you get all of your information from the BBC or Arab News, because the existence of Islamism in the Sudan and the long history of Arab slavery in Africa has been carefully deleted from all of your "facts".

According to non BBC sources:

"The United Nations reports that the militant Islamic government of central African Sudan has declared a systematic battle against Christians. Since 1982, 300,000 Sudanese Christians have been killed. Each year hundreds of Christian believers are sold into slavery and taken where they have to work as slaves or as concubines for their Muslim masters"

The Nuba Mountains in Sudan "...which have had a Christian population since the 6th century, are littered with mass graves...Nuba women are systematically raped by Arab soldiers in order to produce non-Nuba offspring. There have been reports, including from Catholic bishops, of crucifixions of Christians by the army." Muslim troops from northern Sudan have sold tens of thousands of Christian children and women from the south into slavery. Many have been branded or mutilated to prevent escape; many more have been tortured, brainwashed or starved until they converted to Islam. - Jeff Jacoby, "Christian Suffering is on the Rise," Boston Globe, 1996

The problem of the Islamization/Arabization of Africa doesn't just affect the Sudan - it also affects other African nations like Mauritania and Nigeria.

All of your BBC/Arab News information is in direct conflict with everything that I've heard from the mouths of actual Sudanese.

You're trying to convince us that we should NOT make an effort to stop genocide, that we should NOT contribute to charities to help the suffering people, and we should NOT try to free the slaves. You're a real humanitarian (or do you call yourself a realist?).

Why are you making this heroic effort to preserve business as usual in this Islamist republic?

Posted by: mary at August 15, 2005 10:22 PM

Thanks for the note Mary. I’m going to try to respond to you line by line. Yours are in CAPS.

CHRIS, I ASSUME YOU GET ALL OF YOUR INFORMATION FROM THE BBC OR ARAB NEWS, BECAUSE THE EXISTENCE OF ISLAMISM IN THE SUDAN AND THE LONG HISTORY OF ARAB SLAVERY IN AFRICA HAS BEEN CAREFULLY DELETED FROM ALL OF YOUR “FACTS.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m happy to pass along my sources and my reasons for having exposed myself to them. I’ve read probably between 50 and 75 books on the history of the Sudan- topics ranging from the Funj Dominion to 7th Century Arab/Nubian frontier raids to an analysis of Nimairi’s use of language. I’ve also read countless journal articles and periodicals on the country and its politics and violence, including every Economist article written on the Sudan in the last 20 years. I’ve talked with a number of Sudanese exiles, and exchanged correspondence with a number of experts from the academic community, including Eric Reeves. The reason I did all of this research (over a period of about 8 months in 2004-2005) was for the completion of my undergraduate thesis on the history of Sudanese political violence. The purpose of the paper was to, after surveying the history of the Sudan’s racism, Islamism, resource competition, conflict entrepreneurs, foreign patrons, and so forth, determine what accounted for the violence in a number of distinct periods in 20th century Sudanese history. I’m not writing any of that to sound obnoxious, but you called me out so I’m answering.

I have a lot of problems with the Jeff Jacoby article you quoted in your message, and I had the same problem with it when I read it last Fall. The arguments he makes are weak and unsubstantiated, from both a rhetorical and factual point of view. The first sentence you quote declares- on the authority of the United Nations, no less- that the civil war that began in 1982 (the summer of 1983, actually) is a “systematic battle against Christians.” That is a laughable claim. Are Southern Sudanese by and large of the Christian faith? Yes. Did Nimairi- the Sudanese president at the time- begin a war against Christianity? Only if the US began a war against Shintoism when it engaged Japan in WWII. In Jacoby’s haste to pare down his story for the space his editors provided him, he omitted the critical reasons for the outbreak of war in 1983 (again, his dates are wrong). He does not discuss the oil fields around Bentiu which rebels occupied in the early 1980’s- a move that provoked Nimairi to move 15,000 Northern troops into the South and attack the garrison at Bor. He doesn’t discuss the patronage the Reagan administration was giving Nimairi as a favor for keeping Libya in check (Kirkpatrick famously spoke of the “air bridge” from Washington to Khartoum). He doesn’t discuss the role the Ethiopian government had in supporting Sudanese guerillas and founding the SPLA, which later became Garang’s SPLM. He doesn’t discuss the innumerable reasons for the break down of the Addis Ababa agreement signed in 1972- among which were the exploitation of Southern resources, the September Laws, the way many SANU guerillas and ex-Anyanya guerillas simply didn’t except the agreement and retreated to the bush, the failure of the North to integrate the government and the army with Southern politicians and generals, the lack of competent Southern politicians, the Jonglai Canal debacle, Chevron’s 1978 discovery of oil, etc. Some of these issues, to be sure, can and should be filtered through the lenses of race and religion. But it is ridiculous to say seriously that the war was started because Nimairi thought it the holy thing to do. Nimairi came to power, afterall, by purging Islamists in a military coup, brutally massacring 3,000 of them at Aba Island in 1971 and deporting Abd al Khaliq Mahjub. He began to make overtures to them as the 1970’s wore on, but they were transparent efforts to develop a new constituency of support after a number of attempts on his life orchestrated by those he believed to be his allies. And Bashir has hardly continued the war for spiritual reasons. When he ousted Nimairi in 1985, he strengthened the military regime, and used Islam as a means of galvanizing popular sentiment (all the while cracking down on the Sudan’s most popular and powerful Islamists, like Hassan al-Turabi).

Further, if you believe the violence is primordial (faith/race based), then I’m curious to here your explanation for the deal that Garang (African Christian) cut with Turabi (Arab Muslim) in 2001 to align against Bashir. And what of the deal made by the Nasir faction of the SPLA in 1991 to align with Khartoum and fight a two front war against Garang’s Torit faction of the SPLA?

I could go on giving examples of this type of thing, but it becomes, at a certain point, rather pointless. Ethnicity, tribalism and religion have played important roles in the Sudan’s history, but they are not the driving forces behind either the Sudan’s 20th century civil wars or the war in Darfur.

Or for that matter, in the Nuba mountains. The short explanation of that horrific episode is that it was a land grab driven primarily by private Gulf investors. The land that was taken was used for agricultural, commercial or residential development and sold for an incredible profit to finance Khartoum’s $10,000,000 per day bill for its war in the South. What happened there was a true horror, and had it not been dwarfed by the violence of Rwanda, I suspect more people would know about it. But it was not driven by religion. It was driven by economic needs and competition for scarce resources (that region of the country has the highest elevation and rainfall).

YOU’RE TRYING TO CONVINCE US THAT WE SHOULD NOT MAKE AN EFFORT TO STOP GENOCIDE, THAT WE SHOULD NOT CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITIES TO HELP THE SUFFERING PEOPLE, AND WE SHOULD NOT TRY TO FREE THE SLAVES. YOU’RE A REAL HUMANITARIAN (OR DO YOU CALL YOURSELF A REALIST?)

WHY ARE YOU MAKING THIS HEROIC EFFORT TO PRESERVE BUSINESS AS USUAL IN THIS ISLAMIST REPUBLIC?

I don’t think I made an effort to do any of those things. What I said was use a great deal of caution in determining which organization to contribute to, because even money sent with the best intentions has been known to put guns in the hands of 12-year-old Sudanese boys sent off to fight in those pointless wars. And money sent to finance the Slave Redemption Programs in Darfur has done the same thing. Dinka tribesman have, since the early 1990’s, been organizing Cattle Guards, known locally as “Gel Weng,” which are armed, mobile militias comprised of tribal members sometimes as young as 12. Those groups owe their existence almost entirely to the money siphoned off from unsupervised “humanitarian” donations. That’s just reality. And, as I know I made clear, my reasons for not wanting to put too much pressure on Khartoum regarding Darfur is because doing so would risk the peace process in the South. 4,000,000 refugees are planning on returning to their homes from camps in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. If you think Darfur is a mess, just wait until that process hits a snag… and it’s incredibly easy to imagine how that would happen. So you and all the “humanitarians” can go crusading in Darfur… but when Bashir gets pissed and decides to close the Southern border on those refugees, or declares the Naivasha protocol to be dead, that’ll be on you. And if you had any understanding at all about the nature of the two conflicts- Darfur and the Civil War- you would easily understand why Darfur was not nearly as important, and certainly not worth risking the very humanitarian benefits that come with the successful implementation of the Naivasha protocol on.

If you send troops to Darfur and start mixing it up, Khartoum will get defensive, their will be crackdowns, and the political situation will remain as is and probably get worse. If you nurture Naivasha, there is a chance the political situation will improve. I’ll let you think more carefully about who is advocating policy that preserves business as usual.

Posted by: Chris at August 16, 2005 07:23 AM

According to the court documents from the trial of the 1998 Embassy Bombers:

Al-Qaeda is so merged with the Sudanese government that it even runs a number of official government agencies for the NIF including the Islamic Security Agency (secret police), the al-Amn al-Sawri (counter-intelligence), and the People's Defense Force (a paramilitary group along the lines of the SS). The first high-ranking al-Qaeda defector the US ever got ahold of back in 1994, Jamal al-Fadhl, was serving as the assistant director of the Revolutionary Security Service, the evolutionary predecessor of the Islamic Security Agency.

The Sudanese military helped al-Qaeda to conduct (unsuccessful) chemical, biological, and radiological weapons experiments at the Hilat Koko military base with the help of government scientists.

Al-Qaeda shipped $300,000,000 in gold from Afghanistan to Sudan in the wake of the US victory over the Taliban.

[al Qaeda shipped that gold with the help of Iran and the UAE]

Like the Yemeni government, the government of the Sudan is virtually indistinguishable from al Qaeda.

The last time I checked, al Qaeda was considered to be our "enemy". That, discounting any discussion of genocide, is reason enough for war with Bashir's Islamist government.

Given the fact that, like most Arab/Islamist governments, Bahsir's army is weak. We, or even the Dutch could probably take him out in a day.

Of course, militarily weak Saudi Arabia was just as culpable as the Taliban was in 9/11, and we didn't go to war with our allies the Saudis. You're right about one thing, governments and NGOs (other than the Anti-Slavery group) are probably not going to do a whole lot about the problem. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't continue to speak out about it.

We often have to make the choice between tolerating war or genocide. The policy, long held by the UN, of tolerating genocide is usually referred to as "peace". That's seems to be the peace you favor.

Sorry to say this, but I'll still take the word of former Sudanese slaves over yours, despite the fact that you read the Economist and the Herald Tribune.

According to one former slave from Mauritania:

since the Arab world realized that the African continent was ripe for the taking they have been trying to Arabize it and dominate it since... the Saudis are controlling the Mosques more and more with their money ..they are driving the blacks out of the country

I go to rallies where Sudanese and Mauritanians speak out against the genocide and slavery that the Arab League supports.. It's funny but at these rallies, no one ever speaks out in favor of tolerating genocide and slavery. Why don't you come to one of these rallies and tell them a thing or two?

Posted by: mary at August 16, 2005 08:26 AM

My position is not "in favor of tolerating genocide and slavery." My position is in favor of saving and improving the lives of the maximum number of people possible, which I believe (and I feel I've marshalled a fair amount of evidence in support of my position) is best done by nurturing the Naivasha Protocol. If you're not going to agree with my approach, at least give me the benefit of recognizing the moral distinction between the two when characterizing my argument.

I don't even know where to begin criticizing the blog post you cite authoratatively as evidence that al-Qaeda is running official Sudanese government agencies. The most powerful Islamic organization in the Sudan was, for years, Hassan al-Turabi's National Islamic Front and its supporters in the Popular National Congress. In 2001, upset that Bashir was reducing Turabi's role (and by extension the role of Islamists) in the government, Turabi aligned himself with Garang against Bashir. Turabi was promptly thrown in prison, the leaders of the PNC were exiled, imprisoned or executed, and the NIF has never recovered. Talk about support for Islamism! The ties that existed between al-Qaeda and the Sudanese government in the early 1990's have been dramatically lessened by Bashir as he sought to use 9/11 as an opportunity to shed sanctions and re-establish trade with the West.

Bashir makes statements about unifying the country under Islam, but so has every leader of the Sudan since independence... Abboud, Nimairi and Bashir... all of whom were secular military dictators who exploited Islam as a unifying/stabilizing force in the country. Turabi was/is a true Islamist, but he has been powerless since 2001, and his authority had been on the decline for years before that.

Bashir's army, by the way, is hardly weak. Thanks to the sponsorship of the Reagan Administration in the 1980's, and China and Russia today, Bashir has a pretty respectable air force and mechanized infantry at his disposal. Overthrowing his regime using military force would be possible, but it would not a walk in the park. Nor would securing the peace afterwards. In the process we would severely piss off the Chinese government (whose support we are desperately trying to cultivate right now because of the potential for a flow of North Korean refugeess over their border) and probably provoke them to take a more agressive posture vis a vis Taiwan.

Try looking at the whole chess board and figuring out what policy is going to save and improve the most lives, and also look at the fact that the issue involves China, Russia, Malaysia, France and other countries with vested interests in the Sudan's natural resources.

Also, what is with the arrogance and condescension? You chew me out and accuse me of relying on the BBC and the IHT (without any basis, by the way... and falsely- I read neither), and then you cite a Boston Globe reporter (owned by the New York Times Company... the same one that publishes the IHT) and link to a BBC.com news story.

Get a clue and get over yourself.

Posted by: Chris at August 16, 2005 09:24 AM

Overthrowing his regime using military force would be possible, but it would not a walk in the park. Nor would securing the peace afterwards. In the process we would severely piss off the Chinese government (whose support we are desperately trying to cultivate right now because of the potential for a flow of North Korean refugeess over their border) and probably provoke them to take a more agressive posture vis a vis Taiwan.

Our alliance with Saudi Arabia is already pissing off the Chinese (and the Russians). I thought that was the point of the alliance (other than oil)

If we're "desperately" trying to cultivate Chinese approval, we're doing a pretty bad job of it.

Talk about support for Islamism!

The goal of Islamist groups like al Qaeda is to force a nation's population to live under Shariah law (both civil and hudud laws)

The Sudan is already ruled by Shariah law, and by Islamists. Here is a Freedom House report on the effects of Shariah in Nigeria:
The type of Islam being propagated is alarmingly similar to that imposed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Women are being forced to cover their heads and be veiled, while public transportation and education are being sexually segregated.As the Taliban destroyed Buddhist statues, so extremist Muslims in Nigeria are destroying churches. In both places, people who change their religion, or are suspected of doing so, face death. Accused thieves have had their hands amputated, and women accused of adultery have been sentenced to be stoned to death. In both places, the law has been enforced not only by police but by government-approved vigilante groups. While we are not aware of evidence that terrorist groups allied with Al Qaeda are operating in Nigeria, the country is experiencing the rapid growth of the type of Islamic extremism from which bin Laden has drawn support, there are indications that this growth is being supported by foreign radical Islamic regimes and organizations, and some foreign radicals have been involved in the violence.

On October 27, 1999, the governor of the northern state of Zamfara, Alhadji Ahmed Sani, after receiving solidarity visits from Sudanese, Saudi, Syrian, and Palestinian representatives, proclaimed that the state would in the future be governed by a particularly stringent version of Islamic sharia law. Sharia law is Islamic law based on the Koran and the Hadith. It can be manifest in a variety of ways, but in some forms, including those being implemented in the northern Nigerian states, it imposes Islamic mores and codes of personal behavior on the whole society, requires that all judges and lawyers be Muslim, abridges due process, gives less weight to the testimony of non-Muslims, and imposes cruel and unusual punishments.

Syria, the Sudan, Saudis and the Palestinians are all supporting these Shariah laws, which are basically the institutionalization of crimes against humanity.

This supports what the former slave said about Arab/Islamist efforts to take over Africa.

I'm sorry if I sound a little hostile - I just reserve special contempt for people who know a lot about a certain subject and deliberately withhold pertinent information on that subject to promote a certain point of view. Juan Cole bugs me too.

Academic supporters of the Arab League and Arab/Islamist ethnic cleansing in Africa are a pet peeve of mine. Don't let it bother you.

Posted by: mary at August 16, 2005 10:05 AM

Mary-

Again, I think you over estimate the extent to which things that appear to be primordial in the Sudan actually are. I’m specifically referring to the issue of Sharia Law in the Sudan, which is often improperly characterized by Western observers as an organic manifestation of the will of the majority of Sudanese. This simply isn’t true. To understand how Sharia Law developed in the Sudan, one needs to be aware of the period between April of 1985 when Nimairi was deposed by the military and power is given to the Sudanese parliament with the understanding that elections were to be held one year later, and June 30 1989 when Bashir leads a military coup and installs himself along with the 15-man RCC.

The Umma Party, led by Sadiq al-Mahdi, won 99 of 301 possible seats. It formed a coalition with DUP and some other moderate parties. Al-Mahdi was the PM. Turabi’s party, the NIF, won 51 seats (good for third place) and formed an opposition alliance with the Sudanese Communist Party. You can see how the stereotypes about Arabs v. Africans and Muslims v. Christians begin to break down when you realize how often deals were made between the different groups. Also, if you examined the voting demographics from the 1986 election, you’d see how the NIF was a regional phenomenon that enjoyed very little support outside of Khartoum and its immediate surroundings. In any case, al-Mahdi was a radical Islamist whose only difference with Turabi was over the issue of whether apostasy should be a capital offense. The DUP was essentially a party that wanted to move the Sudan closer to Egypt and believed issues like Sharia Law needlessly complicated and hindered those efforts. As a result, the parliamentary government lacked real leadership and was ineffectual.

But, specifically regarding Sharia, al-Mahdi actually repealed Nimairi’s September Laws of 1983 that imposed Sharia. Non-Muslims felt this didn’t go far enough, consistently arguing (as they had since 1956) that nothing short of secularism would satisfy them, while those like Turabi felt exactly the opposite and demanded Sharia/Sunna law.

Eventually, things became so unstable, and the SPLA was experiencing so much military success in the South, that the DUP withdrew from the government and the parliament collapsed. The military again stepped in, led by Bashir and the RCC. When Bashir was beginning to put the pieces back together, he made a decision to empower Turabi rather than try to control him. He was the first major figure to be released from prison after the coup (where he had enjoyed many special privileges), and was allowed to organize the PAIC after being released. Bashir officially reversed the decision to repeal the September Laws, but it had little practical effect because the Southern territory where the vast majority of non-Muslim Sudanese lived was under the control of the SPLA and being backed by Mengistu’s regime in Ethiopia. Bashir knew this but made the decision anyway to placate Islamists for the sake of the stability of the new government. When money began running thin in the early 1990’s, Bashir began to expand his base of support well beyond the Islamists in Khartoum, and became somewhat hostile to those same Islamists when Turabi’s activities alienated other governments, like Eritrea and Ethiopia (after Mengistu fell in 1991). As soon as oil began flowing in 1999 and Bashir wasn’t as pressed for cash or support, he began openly feuding with Turabi and eventually locked him up and purged his supporters from positions of power. For all intensive purposes, the Southern Sudan hasn’t had Sharia enforced in decades (Nimairi announced the September Laws only after the revolt at the Bor garrison and the founding of the SPLA). And to the extent that it exists in the Sudan, Bashir is very skeptical of it and inclined to use it as a stabilizing force only to the extent to which it was useful to him. You’ll note that, after 2001 when the West began making overtures, Bashir was more than happy to ignore the moral issues in Islam associated with lending money with interest in order to deal with Western countries. You’ll also note that many of the victims in Darfur were Muslim, and many members of the Janjaweed are ethnically African. But the issue is about land and resources and profit, not race and religion.

I wasn’t withholding anything… only mentioning what I have, in my considerable and time consuming research, determined to be the most relevant. There is far too much evidence (the way the front in the Civil War became fixed in certain positions, the dealing between people of different ethnicities, the was groups like the SPLA transcended race, tribalism and religion and found their primary expression in Marxism, etc) for me to accept the notion that the driving force behind the violence in the Sudan- whether it is in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, or the Civil War- is primordial, and there is far too little evidence for me to accept the notion that it is.

Posted by: Chris at August 16, 2005 11:09 AM

I’m specifically referring to the issue of Sharia Law in the Sudan, which is often improperly characterized by Western observers as an organic manifestation of the will of the majority of Sudanese.

I've never believed that the imposition of Sharia law in the Sudan was an organic manifestation of the will of the majority of the Sudanese. The majority of people tend to reject laws that are basically the legalization of crimes against humanity. Most people don't favor oppression. That's why terrorism, or a civil war involving Islamist extremists, is necessary to force the people to live under Shariah.

As with most populations, the majority of Muslims in the Sudan are probably moderates. The majority of Arabs are also moderates. When Germany turned to fascism, most Germans would probably call themselves moderate.

Like the Germans, many of these Arab/Muslim moderates are more than willing to tolerate, and benefit from the excesses of homicidal extremists. The Arabs and the Muslims who are not willing to tolerate the excesses of extremists are often tortured and murdered by them. This is how the extremists win hearts and minds.

Many Sudanese say that there is no difference between Bashir and bin Laden.

I doubt that Bashir is religious zealot, but he has (and hopes to continue to) benefit from the Islamists and their excesses. I'm not sure why you're trying to convince us to continue this alliance and to look the other way as Bashir continues in his land grab/ethnic cleansing efforts.

Posted by: mary at August 16, 2005 11:47 AM

Chris - I just read your blog - it's a great, geniunely liberal blog.

So now I'm confused - I thought you were doing a Juan Cole, but obviously that's not where you're coming from. Are you just trying to defend Bush's realpolitik strategies? While I don't agree with his alliance with Bashir, I do agree with his efforts to fight al Qaeda's influence in Africa.

We're not doing enough to help in Africa, but we are doing more than anyone else.

Posted by: mary at August 16, 2005 12:10 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Mary… I haven’t updated that site in months, but all of this back and forth is kind of making me want to start up again.

I’m actually not inclined to refer to Bush’s policy regarding the Sudan as “realpolitik,” nor would I say he has a cozy relationship with Bashir. I think the calculation Bush made was the correct one: that the problem in Darfur could not be addressed substantively until there was a real resolution to the ongoing civil war. The Bush Administration- John Danforth more than anyone else- has done more on this count than any other country, including Great Britain (which has the colonial responsibility). Danforth entered the negotiations on Garang’s side and persuaded Bashir to send a delegation to Naivasha. Bush has been more vocal than any other world leader, and more cavalier with his use of language, in describing the human rights abuses perpetrated by Bashir’s regime. While I disagree with Bush and his policies on most issues, I think he’s struck the right note on the Sudan. I’ll squabble with him over the use of the term “genocide,” but ultimately that is just semantics. Rather than thinking he could fix the Sudan overnight by pressuring Bashir’s government to change and adopt the Gospel According to George, he detached himself from the situation, took everything in and came up with what has been a pretty good policy: focus on the civil war, work out an agreement for a new political arrangement, work on returning the 4,000,000 or so refugees and integrating them back into Sudanese life, and- over time- work on developing a business relationship with Bashir that at least allows the West to put a little pressure on him. Anything more than baby steps and the 4,000,000 refugees are turned away, the impoverished areas in the South would get even less of the state budget, and the war in Darfur gets turned up a notch.

But Bush hasn’t been placating Bashir either. He’s accused the man of genocide from the floor of the General Assembly, as has his former Secretary of State. Most recently, he sent Condoleeza Rice to the Sudan to make strong public statements against the regime. It should be noted, though it wasn’t in the Western media coverage of that trip, that the very idea of sending a woman of African ancestry to the Sudan as a representative of the United States to scold Bashir in his own home would have been insulting and humiliating to him. I wasn’t all that surprised when her delegation encountered some problems with Sudanese security… he was trying to save face.

The biggest problem the West faces in terms of addressing the Sudan is that there are so many variables, and it is such a complicated issue. There’s no “quick fix” option that makes any real sense: we have no leverage with which to impose sanctions that actually effect the Sudanese economy, we don’t have the troops available for Darfur (an area the size of France), and even if we did there is a strong likelihood deploying and securing the entire region would ultimately do more damage to the Sudan than good. I’m not saying this as either a conservative or a liberal (though I thank you, Mary, for recognizing my bona fides)- I’m saying this as someone familiar with the Sudan and with the variables in play.

Posted by: Chris at August 16, 2005 12:44 PM

It should be noted, though it wasn’t in the Western media coverage of that trip, that the very idea of sending a woman of African ancestry to the Sudan as a representative of the United States to scold Bashir in his own home would have been insulting and humiliating to him.

Treating a roach like Bashir as if he were a legitimate ruler is insulting and humilating to all Americans and to the democratic principles that our country was founded on.

(Opinons like that are just one example of why I could never have a career in diplomacy.)

Bashir is allied with al Qaeda, he uses the Islamists and apartheid Sharia laws to oppress and slaughter thousands, and our government treats him with respect. And yes, our government has done more than any other government to stop the slaughter. This doesn't prove that Bush's policies are right, it just proves that if the people of Darfur wait for government or NGO intervention to effectively stop slavery or genocide, they will be waiting for a very long time.

We didn't fight WWII to stop the the Holocaust, no one wanted to intervene in Rwanda and no one wants to intervene in the Sudan. A state will only fight in their own interests. Saving civilian lives is just not one of their priorities (or if it is a priority, its a very low one)

That's why the US government will often tell us the same lies that Arabists like Cole tell - they'll pretend that Bashir is not working with al Qaeda because it's in the state's interests to work with him. They'll downplay Saudi involvement in 9/11 because it's in their interests to work with the Wahhabis. They work with the press to pretend that Iraqi Islamist Sistani is the second coming of Santa Claus, because it's in their interests. Stopping slavery and genocide is not in any state's interests right now.

While the American Anti-slavery group is doing the best work of any NGO to help stop slavery and genocide, I think the best course of action for the people of Darfur would be to save up their NGO money and hire an internationally-based private security company to deal with the Janjiweed problem. It worked in Sierra Leone.

Posted by: mary at August 17, 2005 07:16 AM

Mary-

Please don't mistake me for an Arabist. I've got some friends who would laugh out loud at the suggestion that I was an Arabist- in the Juan Cole tradition or in any other. I was and remain an unapologetic supporter of US efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I'm the first in line to criticize those who tolerate the kind of intolerance that wants to promote the extremist Wahabist/Salafist agenda those like bin Laden and Zarqawi espouse. There is only right and wrong on this count... no in between.

But I think you're way off base with your opinions on the Sudan. Chalk it up to a difference of opinion or whatever else you want to, but I haven't seen any real evidence that links Bashir with al-Qaeda in the way you say he is. He's a ruthless son-of-a-bitch, and I've got very few nice things to say about him, but the guy- for all his rhetoric- is pretty much a dime-a-dozen petty secular despot. He has always distrusted Islamists in the Sudan because he was, for a long time, worried he couldn't control them. That is why he allied with Turabi in the first place. But once he got in good with Beijing and Moscow and no longer needed the Islamists for political cover, he shut them down. Turabi is now under house arrest. The NIF was purged and replaced with a cadre of Bashir's military loyalists. A peace accord was signed with the South (something Islamists didn't want) that allowed for an autonomous regional government, with a capital in Juba, with laws rooted in judeo-christian values or with laws rooted in secularism (something Islamists definitely didn't want). This last bit was a deal breaker for the Islamists in 1986, and when al-Mahdi (one of their own) crossed them on it, the Turabi/NIF faction forced al-Mahdi to flee the country for almost 15 years... when Bashir brought him back from exile. Bashir rules like a realist/self-interested dictator, not a theocrat.

If you disagree, please- by all means- offer some evidence in support of your position. I'm perfectly open to revising my opinion if you have evidence to the contrary, but right now I just don't see it.

Posted by: Chris at August 17, 2005 04:47 PM

Chris - as I said, everything I've read on your blog confirms that you're not an Arabist like Cole. But the US 'alliance' with the Islamist regimes in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen can only be defended by using the same sort of Arabist double-talk that Cole uses.

If a regime enforces apartheid shariah laws and supports terrorism and genocide, as Bashir's regime does, than "Islamist" is the nicest thing you can say about it.

Otherwise, why on earth are you trying to convince me that Bashir is not such a bad guy? He's responsible for the deaths of millions of Sudanese. He allows slavery to thrive. In most societies and under most laws, mass murderers and people who profit from slavery are "bad". Most societies consider themselves to be better off without these mass murderers. Genocide (or if you prefer the more gentle term, ethnic cleansing) is wrong, and genocidaiers are opposed to everything we as a nation stand for. Debating alliances and randmom info about political intrigue doesn't change that fact.

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