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Darfur Crisis Update 6-20-07: The Hell of Darfur is, in Large Part, a By-Product of the Denial, Mischief & Appetites of Great Nations
By Richard Power
George W. Bush put some cheap make-up on his faux Darfur policy in the lead up to the recent G-8 Summit: "I'm frustrated, but the international organizations can't move quickly enough. I don't know how long it's going to take for people to hear the call to save lives," Bush said." (UPI, 6-7-07)
But, of course, it was an empty gesture.
Inaction speaks louder than words: "A breakthrough agreement to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur risks being undermined by a shortfall of up to $1bn (£504m) in US contributions to the costs of global peacekeeping, campaigners said yesterday." (Guardian, 6-19-07)
It becomes clearer and clearer every day that the Hell of Darfur is, in large part, a by-product of the dangerous denial, cruel mischief and selfish appetites of great nations.
Consider some recent insights.
The climate crisis, which the great nations have so far failed to come to grips with, is a contributing factor --
"Climate change is partly to blame for the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, where droughts have provoked fighting over water sources, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said ... Rainfall in Sudan began declining two decades ago, a phenomenon due "to some degree, from man-made global warming," said Ban, who has made both Darfur and climate change priorities. Settled farmers and Arab nomadic herders had gotten along until the drought, he wrote, but as conditions worsened, water and food shortages disrupted the peace and "evolved into the full-fledged tragedy we witness today." Ban said similar ecological problems are behind conflicts in other countries, including Somalia and Ivory Coast. Associated Press, 6-16-07
The struggle for hegemony over the world's oil reserves, which the great nations pursue blindly despite climate crisis, is a contributing factor --
The case of Darfur, a forbidding piece of sun-parched real estate in the southern part of Sudan, illustrates the new Cold War over oil, where the dramatic rise in China's oil demand to fuel its booming growth has led Beijing to embark on an aggressive policy of - ironically - dollar diplomacy. With its more than US$1.2 trillion in mainly US dollar reserves at the Peoples' National Bank of China, Beijing is engaging in active petroleum geopolitics. Africa is a major focus, and in Africa, the central region between Sudan and Chad is a priority.
This is defining a major new front in what, since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, is a new Cold War between Washington and Beijing over control of major oil sources. So far Beijing has played its cards a bit more cleverly than Washington. Darfur is a major battleground in this high-stakes contest for oil control.
F William Engdahl, Asia Times, 5-25-07
The botched, bungled, misnamed "war on terrorism," which has more to do with the struggle for hegemony over the world's oil resources than is acknowledged, is also contributing factor --
Sudan has secretly worked with the CIA to spy on the insurgency in Iraq, an example of how the U.S. has continued to cooperate with the Sudanese regime even while condemning its suspected role in the killing of tens of thousands of civilians in Darfur. ... The relationship underscores the complex realities of the post-Sept. 11 world, in which the United States has relied heavily on intelligence and military cooperation from countries, including Sudan and Uzbekistan, that are considered pariah states for their records on human rights. Los Angeles Times, 6-11-07
And the result? Deepening failure and misery --
For the second year in a row, Sudan tops the rankings as the state most at risk of failure. The primary cause of its instability, violence in the country’s western region of Darfur, is as well known as it is tragic. At least 200,000 people—and perhaps as many as 400,000—have been killed in the past four years by janjaweed militias armed by the government, and 2 to 3 million people have fled their torched villages for squalid camps as the violence has spilled into the Central African Republic and Chad. Foreign Policy, July/August 2007
British aid agency Oxfam said on Saturday it was withdrawing permanently from Gereida in Sudan's Darfur region, home to the largest population of Darfuris driven from their homes over four years of conflict. In a coordinated attack on three aid agency bases in Gereida in December, an aid worker was raped, an Oxfam staff member badly beaten and others subjected to mock executions. ... Oxfam provided water and sanitation, healthcare and livelihood education to 130,000 Darfuris encamped around Gereida town. The International Committee for the Red Cross will take over the provision of water. Reuters, 6-16-07
What should be done?
Enough: The Project to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities, is a joint initiative of the International Crisis Group and the Center for American Progress Enough has published a strategy paper by ICG’s John Prendergast, entitled The Answer to Darfur. It articulates a mix of policies that Prendergast asserts could stablise Darfur “within a year.” To download The Answer To Darfur, click here.
Unfortunately, solutions are not a priority for the great nations. Above all, they seek advantage over each other, and dominance over natural resources.
If you want to help save Darfur, here are some sites that offer suggestions on how to participate:
Genocide Intervention Network
Recent Darfur-Related Posts:
UN Millennium Goals Update 5-30-07: In the Struggle to Empower Women & Children -- Very Good News, Very Bad News, & A Dose of Reality
Hard Rain Journal 4-21-07: Human Rights Update -- In War and Poverty, Children Forsaken on a Planetary Scale
GS(3) Thunderbolt 4-11-07: Darfur Crisis -- As the Circumference of Slaughter Widens, US Mainstream Media Enables Abomination Named Ann Coulter
GS(3) Thunderbolt 4-3-07: Darfur Crisis Update -- Enough Articulates The Answer
GS(3) Thunderbolt 3-29-07: Update on Darfur Crisis -- Mia Farrow Calls for Olympics Boycott, Demands Spielberg Not "Sanitize" Beijing's Image
Hard Rain Journal 2-28-07: Human Rights Update -- Naming Names in Darfur and Ten Steps the USA Must Take to Redeem Itself
GS(3) Thunderbolt 1-29-07: Update on the Crisis in Darfur - What Must Be Done Isn't Getting Done
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
International Crisis Group, Center for American Progress, Central African Republic, UN, Chad, China, Sudan, Darfur, Google, Ban+Ki-moon, Iraq, Terrorism, Climate Change, Humanitarian Crisis, Refugees, Human Rights, Genocide