US’s War In Darfur
Keith Harmon Snow
November 23rd, 2007
Darfur region of Sudan possesses the third largest copper and the fourth
largest uranium deposits on the planet, in addition to strategic location
and significant oil resources of its own. Is the US-based “Save
Darfur” movement snowing the US public on the fundamental nature
of the conflict in Sudan? Are “Save Darfur” and the prevention
of genocide the covers of convenience for the next round of US oil and
resource wars on the African continent?
region of western Sudan has been a hotbed of clandestine activities,
gunrunning and indiscriminate violence for decades.
humanitarian tragedy in Darfur revolves around natural resources…
Given current realities, no intervention in Darfur will proceed, and
if it did it would fail.”
the authors of the September 2006 OPED “Keeping Peacekeepers out
of Darfur” [GN1](DHG, 9/15/06). Now, over a year later, the situation
in Sudan is grimmer than ever, the Darfur conflict remains widely mischaracterized,
and many of the predictions of that OPED have come true. Meanwhile,
the “Save Darfur” advocates pressing military intervention
in Darfur as a “humanitarian” gesture have escalated pressure
in the face of mounting failures, including allegations that millions
of “Save Darfur” dollars fundraised on a sympathy for victims
platform have been misappropriated.
region of western Sudan has been a hotbed of clandestine activities,
gunrunning and indiscriminate violence for decades. The Cold War era
saw countless insurgencies launched from the remote deserts of Darfur.
Throughout the 1990s, factions allied with or against Chad, Uganda,
Ethiopia, Congo, Libya, Eritrea and the Central African Republic operated
from bases in Darfur, and it was a regular landing strip for foreign
military transport planes of mysterious origin. In 1990, Chad’s
Idriss Deby launched a military blitzkrieg from Darfur and overthrew
President Hissan Habre; Deby then allied with his own ethnic group against
the Sudan government. Sudanese rebels today have bases in Chad, and
Chadian rebels have bases in Darfur, with Khartoum’s backing.[GN2]
When the regime of Ange-Félix Patassé collapsed in the
Central African Republic in March 2003, soldiers fled to Darfur with
their military equipment. Khartoum supported the West Nile Bank Front,
a rebel army operating against Uganda from Eastern Congo, commanded
by Taban Amin, the son of the infamous Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, who
heads Uganda’s dreaded Internal Security Organization. Darfur
is the epicenter of a modern-day international geopolitical scramble
for Africa’s resources.
in Darfur escalated in 2003 after in parallel with negotiations “ending”
the south Sudan war. The U.S.-backed insurgency by the Sudan People’s
Liberation Army (SPLA), the guerrilla force that fought the northern
Khartoum government for 20 years, shifted to Darfur, even as the G.W.
Bush government allied with Khartoum in the U.S. led “war on terror.”
The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)—one of some 27 rebel factions
mushrooming in Darfur—is allied with the SPLA and supported from
Uganda. Andrew Natsios, former USAID chief and now US envoy to Sudan,
said on October 6, 2007 that the atmosphere between the governments
of north and south Sudan “had become poisonous.” This is
no surprise given the magnitude of the resource war in Sudan and the
involvement of international interests.
reported to have the fourth largest copper and third largest uranium
deposits in the world. Darfur produces two-thirds of the world’s
best quality gum Arabic—a major ingredient in Coke and Pepsi.
Contiguous petroleum reserves are driving warfare from the Red Sea,
through Darfur, to the Great Lakes of Central Africa. Private military
companies operate alongside petroleum contractors and “humanitarian”
agencies. Sudan is China’s fourth biggest supplier of imported
oil, and U.S. companies controlling the pipelines in Chad and Uganda
seek to displace China through the US military alliance with “frontline”
states hostile to Sudan: Uganda, Chad and Ethiopia.
provides military training to Darfur rebels from bases in Eritrea, and
has strengthened ties with the regime in Chad, from which more weapons
and troops penetrate Darfur. The refugee camps have become increasingly
militarized. There are reports that Israeli military intelligence operates
from within the camps, as does U.S intelligence. Eritrea is about to
explode into yet another war with Ethiopia.
(AU) forces in Darfur include Nigerian and Rwandan troops responsible
for atrocities in their own countries. While committing 5000 troops
for a UN force in Darfur, Ethiopia is perpetrating genocidal atrocities
in Somalia, and against Ethiopians in the Ogaden, Oromo and Anuak regions.
Uganda has 2000 U.S.-trained troops in Somalia, also committing massive
atrocities, and the genocide against the Acholi people in northern Uganda
proceeds out of sight. Ethiopia is the largest recipient of U.S. “Aid”
in Africa, with Rwanda and Uganda close on its heals. France is deeply
committed to the Anglo-American strategy, which will benefit Total Oil
receive military-logistic support from NATO, and are widely hated. Early
in October 2007, SLA rebels attacked an AU base killing ten troops.
In a subsequent editorial sympathetic to rebel factions (“Darfur’s
Bitter Ironies,” Guardian Online, 10/4/07), Smith College English
professor Eric Reeves espoused the tired rhetoric of “Khartoum’s
genocidal counter-insurgency war in Darfur,” a position counterproductive
to any peaceful settlement. To minimize the damage this rebel attack
has done to their credibility, Reeves and other “Save Darfur”
advocates cast doubt about the rebels’ identities and mischaracterized
the SLA attackers as “rogue commanders.” However, there
is near unanimous agreement, internationally, that rebels are “out
of control,” committing widespread rape and plundering with impunity,
just as the SPLA did in South Sudan for over a decade.
the claims of a “genocide against blacks” or an “Islamic
holy-war” against Christians, Darfur’s Arab and black African
ethnic groups have intermarried for centuries, and nearly everyone is
Muslim. The “Save Darfur” campaign is deeply aligned with
Jewish and Christian faith-based organizations in the United States,
Canada, Europe and Israel. These groups have relentlessly campaigned
for Western military action, demonizing both Sudan and China, but they
have never addressed Western military involvement—backing factions
on all sides. By mobilizing constituencies sympathetic to the “genocide”
label and the cries of “never again” they do a grave disservice
to the cause of human rights.
growing dissent within the “Save Darfur” movement as more
supporters question its motivations and the Jewish-Israeli link. “Save
Darfur” leaders have been replaced after complaints surfaced about
expenditures of funds. Many rebel leaders reportedly receive tens of
thousands of dollars monthly, and rebels emboldened by the “Save
Darfur” movement commit crimes with impunity. There is a growing
demand to probe the accounts of “Save Darfur” to find out
how the tens of millions collected are being spent due to allegations
of arms-deals and bribery—rebel leaders provided with five-star
hotel accommodations, prostitutes and sex parties.
Darfur” is today the rallying cry for a broad coalition of special
interests. Advocacy groups—from the local Massachusetts Congregation
B’Nai Israel chapter to the International Crises Group and USAID—have
fueled the conflict through a relentless, but selective, public relations
campaign that disingenuously serves a narrow policy agenda. These interests
offer no opportunity for corrective analyses, but stubbornly press their
agenda, and they are widely criticized for inflaming tensions in Darfur.
Rhetoric, aggression and propaganda do not make a strong foreign policy,
and the African people suffering from this brutal international conflict
involving China, Saudi Arabia, France, Britain, Canada, the United States
and Israel cannot eat good intentions foolishly delivered under the
banners of “humanitarian aid” and a poorly cloaked militarism.
is desperate to deploy a “robust peacekeeping” mission in
Darfur, to press the Western agenda, but United Nations forces will
only deepen the chaos. The UN forces will cost billions of dollars and
will achieve nothing positive. Indeed, the results will be disastrous,
creating another Iraq and Afghanistan—only increasing the chaos
and devastation already apparent. The United States is hated for this
kind of aggression and posturing, and the U.S. economy will continue
Harmon Snow is an independent human rights investigator and
war correspondent who worked with Survivors Rights International (2005-2006),
Genocide Watch (2005-2006) and the United Nations (2006) to document
and expose genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan and Ethiopia.
He has worked in 17 countries in Africa, and he recently worked in Afghanistan
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