a priest's musings on the journey
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
At last, a way to stop the grotesque cruelty in Sudan
From The TimesMay 30, 2007
The Darfur crisis is not insoluble. An oil trust fund is the answer
Faced with a rebellion in Darfur in 2003, the Sudanese Government resorted to its favoured strategy of “counter-insurgency by genocide”. Khartoum appointed Ahmed Haroun, the “Eichmann of Africa”, to take charge. As head of the Darfur Security Desk, he co-ordinated a spider’s web of security services, police, military and militia units.
Fond of citing Mao’s dictum that “the people are like water and the army is like fish”, Haroun directed attack after attack not on the rebels but against the civilians of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa tribes. The pattern became routine: the Sudanese Air Force would bomb the village; army or police units would form a cordon around the perimeter; and then the Janjawid militia would enter, killing the able-bodied men, raping women and driving survivors into refugee camps. Haroun personally recruited, paid and armed the militia: witnesses saw him delivering planeloads of weapons and boxes of cash.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) recently issued arrest warrants for Haroun. But he was not alone. He reported to the Minister of the Interior (and current Defence Minister) Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, and through him to the President, Omar al-Bashir, Vice-President Taha and the head of security, Saleh Ghosh. He liaised with the Sudanese military and security forces. He gave orders to the governors of Darfur to recruit more Janjawid. Eventually the ICC indictments and trials will reveal these men as involved in nothing less than a criminal conspiracy to commit mass murder. So far they have killed between 200,000 and 450,000 people.
The Sudanese Government has been resisting the imposition of UN peacekeepers for four years now. Estimates of the numbers of troops needed range from 21,000 to 44,000: presently the African Union has only 5,000 troops on the ground – confined to barracks at night and lacking the mandate to protect civilians. In August 2006 UN Resolution 1706 invited Sudanese consent for a force of 20,000 UN peacekeepers. The Sudanese Government has refused, instead restarting its aerial bombardment in Darfur and inciting violence in neighbouring Chad.
The security cabal who rule Khartoum are desiccated calculators of power: they chose mass killings as their strategy in the counter-insurgency because it was cost-effective; they will choose to stop this campaign if faced with the right incentives.
An oil embargo should be implemented immediately, and not withdrawn until the crisis is resolved. From 1999 to 2005 there was a 40-fold increase in Sudanese oil revenues. This paid for a $350 million increase in military expenditure, and provided the cash that Haroun funnelled to the Janjawid footsoldiers – paying each of them $117 per month. Oil sales now contribute up to 50 per cent of Khartoum’s annual revenue.
Faced with an oil embargo Khartoum would be forced to allow UN peacekeepers to enter. Yet sanctions are blocked by China, India, Malaysia and other countries who import Sudanese oil
Of course, as you may recall, Laurent Fabius suggested an oil embargo to stop the genocide in Sarfur months ago. Read his comments in The Sudan Tribune.
Related, Bush tightens sanctions on Sudan over Darfur here.
And, while I have you here, let me remind you of Divest For Darfur.
Love mercy. Do Justice.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 11:23 AM