lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 6 08:05:18 MDT 2006
A replay of Iraq beckons in Darfur if we send in troops
Western intervention in Sudan would play into the jihadists' hands, uniting
all factions in a war against outsiders
Thursday April 6, 2006
If there is a world journalism record for being arrested by Sudan's
dictatorial government, I probably hold it: I was detained on the first
morning of my first visit. Despite many less eventful subsequent visits to
Sudan, I remain very wary of the regime.
Nevertheless, Khartoum does have a point about the dangers of western
military intervention in Darfur. In February President Bush, during an
unscripted question-and-answer session in Florida, suggested an expanded
international role in Darfur, with "Nato stewardship" of a UN force there.
This statement caught many policy makers off guard.
Nato is already assisting with logistics for the 7,800 African Union
peacekeepers in Darfur. Bush is pushing for a large UN force - perhaps
20,000 troops - to replace the AU, arguing that this would end the fighting
there. This sounds good but won't work. Putting white, western, Christian
troops in Darfur would unite all those fighting each other - in a holy war
against outsiders. Defence officials in London and Brussels cautioned
Washington by invoking the 1993 debacle in Somalia. But the genie of
western-directed forces is out of the bottle.
The 2003 rebellion in Darfur caught Khartoum by surprise, and it acted
aggressively to crush the insurgents, who claimed their region had been
marginalised. Atrocities have been committed by all sides; banditry and
warlordism is widespread. Darfur has been consumed by a brutal conflict,
but it is not genocide - the US's stated motive in acting. Khartoum is
accused of arming Arab militiamen - the Janjaweed - to wipe out non-Arabs.
The war's complex origins are tribal and political, but not racial.
Darfur's Arabs are black, indigenous African Muslims - just like Darfur's
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