I don’t use it too often, though perhaps I should — Al Jazeera reported today that the Arab League asked the international community to give Sudan time.
To put it mildly, this is rather underwhelming. So is the Sudanese government’s own line, that the US is ‘using’ the crisis in Darfur.
That the US is using it, and will use it, cynically and with no regard for the victims, is not in doubt (on July 22 the US Congress agreed that what was going on in Sudan was ‘genocide’ — something they never managed to do for Rwanda 10 years before; and let’s not forget al-Shifa, the pharmaceutical plant Clinton blew up in 1998). But the question is about the thing that is being used, not the US’s use of it, and the thing that is being used is very real and very horrific, according to the reports that are coming out, and despite the Arab League’s exhortations, it seems to me that time is the very thing that is not on the side of the victims of this assault.
All the details are difficult to get. But the Arab League’s position, that the onus is on the rebels to disarm, is untenable. The signs point to this being a war by government-backed militias against the population that won’t stop until the government is forced to call it off or the government has achieved its military, political, and economic objectives, probably having to do with displacing a large sector of the population.
You can read the UN Humanitarian Roundups at the Darfur Information Center to get an idea of what’s going on on the ground. The current concern is that the Sudanese government is trying to force hundreds of thousands of displaced people to go back to their homes, with no guarantees about not getting massacred.