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China Must address Darfur

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The Al Bashir Government of the Sudan finally modified its policy of “obstruction, delay and redefinition” in Darfur by “accommodating and welcoming” a newly authorized UN Peacekeeping mission .There are still several measures that are being discussed. Many involve logistics and timing for a new UN Security Council Peacekeeping mission to Darfur.

Practically, the change in the Sudan government position is to allow the 19,000 troops and 7,000. police into the area. Since 2003, the region of Sudan has seen over 400,000 innocent deaths and a displaced population of 2.5 million. The government of Al Bashir has systematically prevented previous efforts for humanitarian relief and temporary cessations to the violence, such as those bargained by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson last fall. One of the “stumbling blocks” and objections was the composition of the prior temporary forces being composed from the African Union, rather than “a UN umbrella ” group whose  composition would be more diverse than African nations.

Officially, the United States presents a bland mixed metaphor of the motivations. Alberto Fernandez, Charge d’ Affairs in Khartoum , August 8th delivered plastic sheeting to assist in the flood control stating: “ This plastic sheeting will allow 78,000 Sudanese citizens to build a dry, temporary shelter – a big step toward helping rebuild their lives. This delivery of plastic sheeting is only one part of the United States’ effort to help those affected by flooding. In addition to this donation, valued at over  $600,000, the U.S. Government is providing support to the UN-coordinated response to the flooding, as well as an additional 1 million U.S. dollars for the non-governmental organizations’ flood-response efforts ”. Official policy seems to be comparable to fixing a leak under the kitchen sink while there is the house is on fire.

Allyn Brooks-LaSure of the Save Darfur Coalition posited to me over telephone “ that the UN Peacekeeping Resolution was a “positive step, but the Save Darfur Coalition “cautiously welcomes the UN resolution.” He repeated that the prior 2006 resolution was never implemented.

Time will tell happens in the short-term to this conflict which began in 2003 when ethnic African tribes rebelled against an Arab dominated government. The Sudanese national government responded by using its army forces and unofficially encouraging and supporting Arab genocidal militia groups. These militias, called “janjiweed’ ,were given free roam to “protect the nation”. They invariably conscripted young Arab teens into their service through the use of ‘adoption laws“.

The groups were then sent out throughout the countryside to kill all of the ethnics. If they declined to participate in the slaughter,they would find themselves subject to execution by their own group leaders--usually an older teens..

With the authorization, it is estimated that a professional force could be trained and deployed. by the end of the year. The French and the UK maintained weeks of negotiations with the Sudan Government and their main backers, the Chinese. The UN authorization will give the peace keeping mission authority to use force to protect lives and humanity, protect shipments of aid, assure conditions of the accords, and to protect themselves.

UN Envoy Jan Eliasson set upon a three day visit to the region before engaging the Sudan government with the particulars.

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“ The message I heard today, was that they did not want to divide Darfurians into Africans or Arabs. That was a positive message. The Arab tribes had some doubts about the role of the United Nations in terms of the peace keeping where they feel that they will be seen as opponents. But I assured them, of course, that the whole principle of the United Nations operation is to bring about security for all in the area where we have responsibility.

Six months is an eternity to the displaced and hungry. And that would be without glitches or further objections in the UN  General Assembly or Security Council. France , Denmark and Indonesia offered to provide ground troops, but the British Foreign Office announced that “we’re not going to be putting soldiers with guns and tanks in Darfur. ” The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said his government would send a small “contingent of doctor and nurses, but no troops or security personnel because of Australia’s commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Solomon Islands. ” Sweden, Poland, Turkey and South Africa said  they “would consider” sending troops.

In the long term , the road to peace in Darfur goes through China. China is Sudan's chief diplomatic sponsor and its  largest foreign investor and source of weapons. As a result, China can use its significant influence over the Sudanese  government to determine Darfur's future. China has been the Sudan's biggest defender of the Sudanese genocidal regime and to objections in the diplomatic world. However, pressure is mounting and there couldn't be a better time to remind China that its own international reputation is at stake. This is a unique moment. The entire world is looking to China as next year's Olympic Games are intended to be a “worldwide celebration of hope for international cooperation and peace.”

The major link between the Sudan and China is oil for money. and money for arms. China’s growth as an economic power over the last score of years requires a growing share of the world’s oil reserves. China imports over 2/3 of Sudan’s oil. Sudan uses up to 70 % of its oil revenue on military expenditures. The Chinese oppose ‘sanctions upon Sudan in the UN discussions. Their apparent silence over humanitarian needs of the nation and region benefits is explained easily: enhanced oil leases .

Progress is scarce when guns and violence are the measure of a society . Calls upon the Chinese must be continue with all due respect. And be clear: The expansionist causes of violence must end. The mechanism for an interim solution is to allow without further objections the UN Peacekeepers. The means for longer term solution is for the international community to promptly implement a Comprehensive Regional strategy in Africa to protect civilians, facilitate humanitarian operations, reduce violence, and facilitate conditions for sustainable peace in eastern Chad , northern Central African Republic , and Darfur , Sudan .

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The foundation of this plan to succeed will be expenditures for building ,construction and agricultural development. Oil is a precious commodity which must be taken in moderation with the other balances of life. These need to be modeled toward sustaining economies rather than rampant commercialized expansion.

The 1700 trade ships sailing under the Chinese flag delivering international goods is just one expression of the emergence of  current state of China. Trade must continue to flourish as trade continues to continues to expand with innovation and  technologies. The building of the ships stimulated new housing and promises an industry and level of commerce exceeding Japanese and Korean shipping tonnage.

China could reverse the silhouettes of silence, and offer “Ships of Hope” with medicines and foods offered in charitable manner, signaling a more pragmatic posture for national governments and mutual assistance.

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www.eliotgould.com
Eliot Gould , 52, is currently active in New Mexico's political scene. A native of Chicago,and active in Chicago politics,Gould studied the Presidency at Center for the Study of the Presidency, with extensive writings upon Lincoln and Wilson.

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