Sudan: July 16, 2004

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Nothing much has changed in Darfur, despite promises from the government to halt the attacks on non-Arab Sudanese by government supported Arab Sudanese militias. More evidence is piling up of the Sudanese armed forces participating in some of these attacks as well. International pressure is building, but most nations are restricted, by their anti-American protests against U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UN will have a very hard time agreeing on what to do, because many Arab countries are reluctant to criticize Sudan for its use of Arab militias to attack non-Arab Sudanese. But even if the UN approved military intervention, how do you get there? Darfur is over 500 kilometers from the Sudanese Red Sea ports, and borders land locked Chad (which is willing to help) and Libya (which is reluctantly willing to help, and is not land locked.) Mounting a military operation in Sudan is similar to what went on in Afghanistan in late 2001. You can't get many troops in there, and it's difficult to support them. 

Talk of UN sanctions against the Sudanese government won't help, as the problem is hundreds of thousands of refugees dying from disease and starvation, because of the violence and disorder, in the next few months. Diplomacy, so far, has not worked. The government has lied to the head of the UN and the U.S. Secretary of State. The refugees will probably die, and many in the media and diplomatic community will blame the United States.

 

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