- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2008


This is the first of two columns on U.N. failure in Darfur and how to end the genocide.

For strutting arrogance, few world leaders equal Sudan’s president, Lt. Gen. Omar Bashir. Realistic hope is diminishing — in those countries that care — about ending the genocide in Darfur. Not surprisingly Gen. Bashir, on Jan. 7, reports the Sudan Tribune Web site, “was dancing (and) celebrating the completion, near Khartoum, of the Bridge of the Chinese-Sudanese Friendship.”

“With China’s help,” gloated Gen. Bashir (who has effectively obstructed the current mission of the combined force sent by the U.N. Security Council and the African Union), “Sudan will certainly score glorious achievements one after another on our path of construction and development.” And China’s glory in hosting this year’s Olympics, so important for the improved reputation of that Chinese dictatorship, may not be tarred enough because of its quintessential economic support of Mr. al-Bashir to stop that support.

To further show his dancing contempt of the United Nations and President Bush, the first world leader to call the mass murders and rapes in Darfur “genocide,” Gen. Bashir on Jan. 16 appointed as a special advisor Musa Hilal — the chief leader and planner of Gen. Bashir’s monstrous militia, the Janjaweed.

As Human Rights Watch reports: “Scores of victims, witnesses to attacks and even members of the Sudanese armed forces have named Mr. Hilal as the top commander of government-backed Janjaweed militias responsible for numerous atrocities in Darfur.” Moreover, Mr. Hilal, also involved with training camps for those rapists and killers, was specifically named, adds Human Rights Watch, “in a government document… ordering all Sudanese ‘security units to allow the activities’ of the components of the Janjaweed ‘under the command of Sheikh Musa Hilal.’ ” Blithely countering criticism of his appointment of someone who Human Rights Watch rightly calls “the poster child” of the burning of Black African villages in Darfur, including the tossing of babies into the flames, Gen. Bashir, during an official visit to Turkey, actually celebrated Mr. Hilal: “Having contributed greatly to stability and security in the region, we in Sudan believe that those accusations against Mr. Hilal are untrue” (New York Times, Jan. 22).

Why would the government of Turkey have sullied its reputation by inviting this master of human-rights crimes? According to the Sudan Tribune, Gen. Bashir, the Pinocchio of my childhood readings, will have briefed Turkish President Abdullah Gul during an official visit on the “progress of the peace process in Darfur” and would “explore means to boost joint political and economic cooperation ties.” With a straight face, the Turkish ambassador to Sudan insists that Turkey is “resolute to resolve [the Darfur] crisis.”

How do these people keep their faces straight? I doubt that the two presidents discussed the undeniable fact that as reported by the premier historian of this genocide, Eric Reeves, “at approximately 10 p.m. on Jan. 7, Khartoum’s regular Sudan Armed Forces attacked, deliberately and with premeditation, a convoy belonging to the U.N./African Union Mission in Darfur. The convoy … came under heavy sustained fire near Tine, West Darfur.”

On Jan. 11, the impotent U.N. Security Council mustered its indignation by condemning the attack and protesting to Gen. Bashir’s government this attack on “a clearly marked supplies convoy.” I do not think the he shook in his Sudanese Army boots when the Security Council that day “threatened action against anyone hindering the deployment of international peacekeepers,” as Reuters reported.

Gen.Bashir’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem, wasn’t in the least ruffled by the threat of real actions against the sovereign nation of Sudan. Reuters added that like his boss, Amb. Abdalhaleem “said the 15-nation (Security Council) has issued many warnings in the past but had never followed through.” And there, in this cold, flat statement, is the future of many thousands more black Africans in Darfur as the never fully sated Janjaweed savor all the rapes and murders to come while their leader, Mr. Hilal, stands proud as an adviser to Gen. Bashir.

Is there any way, then, to close down this holocaust in the face of the intransigence of Sudan? In October 2005, the U.N. General Assembly passed a “responsibility to protect” resolution holding that if a sovereign member of the United Nations is committing mass atrocities against it own citizens — thereby failing its “responsibility to protect them” — international forces have the right to go into that nation and provide that protection.

Since Sudan is the very model of so criminal a nation, there is a growing movement among human-rights activists to implement that resolution short of force — until presumably force is necessary. Otherwise, the 2005 U.N. resolution is useless. Obviously, it won’t be easy; but there is even an advocacy and research center to that end at the Ralph Bunche Institute of International Studies at the Graduate Center of New York City University. There are similar centers in Australia, Sir Lanka and Thailand.

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