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Jack the Ripper in Sudan

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Americans don't have a good grip on the problems facing Sudan or why US-backed "peacekeepers" should be banned from the region.

The situation is analogous to the man who discovers that he has prostate cancer but refuses to let Jack-the-Ripper perform the surgery.

The United States won't do anything to reduce the carnage in Darfur and it has no credibility as far as "humanitarian intervention". Just look at the mess in Afghanistan or Iraq and see how the violence has flourished under US occupation. In Afghanistan the administration has made no effort to establish security beyond the capital of Kabul and Iraq is in the throes of civil war. The scenario is bound to be repeated in Sudan. The military may dispatch a few F-16s to Darfur to blast-away at fleeing tribesmen, but the situation on the ground would remain unchanged. Neither the US nor the UN will do anything to stop the bloodshed in the hinterland.

The eagerness of the UN, and particularly Ambassador John Bolton, appears to be aimed at putting boots on the ground to secure Sudan's lavish oil and natural gas reserves. If that's not the case, then why hasn't the UN intervened in nearby Congo where millions of civilians have been butchered in the last decade?

It's astonishing how the United Nations plays along with the Bush administration by pandering to their smallest whim. Humanitarian intervention is a shabby rationale for invasion and does nothing to conceal the self-serving interests of the main players.

Last week's balloting in the General Assembly illustrates America's threadbare credibility on a similar issue. Bolton's attempt to revamp the UN Human Rights Commission was shot-down by a vote of 154 to 4, proving that the world body is not looking for advice from the 'advocates of torture' on how to conduct their human rights campaign. As former UN Commissioner Mary Robinson noted, "America has lost its moral compass".

The same rule should apply to the tragedy in Darfur. The United States doesn't has the moral authority to speak on these issues. In fact, the charge of "genocide" has much greater applicability to Iraq than it does to Sudan. Sure, the fighting has been vicious in Darfur, but in Iraq, the rivers of blood have been accompanied by the systematic destruction of the culture.

It's fortunate that Sudan's president is opposing any measure that allows UN intervention or deployment of troops. Presently, there are 7,000 soldiers from the African Union (AU) operating in Sudan. If the Bush administration is serious about its concern for the people in Darfur he should provide weaponry and logistical support for the AU. That would be the least controversial remedy to the violence and it would allay the government's fears of "re-colonization" by Europe and America. Instead, Bush has called for doubling the size of a UN "peacekeeping" force and expanding the role of NATO in the region. This has only intensified suspicions that the intervention is not driven by selfless concern for the welfare of others.

So far, the Arab League and most of the other African nations have supported Sudan in rejecting UN intervention. In fact, the Arab League issued a statement that "UN troops can only be deployed with the consent of the governed". (Reuters)

The threat of peak oil has created new dangers for small countries struggling to maintain their independence and national sovereignty. The insatiable thirst for oil is bound to keep Sudan in the crosshairs of the multinational corporations and their surrogates in the Bush administration.

The ongoing butchery in Darfur is a heart-wrenching tragedy that provides no easy solutions. It is only by looking at Iraq that we can see that occupation is even worse.

The United Nations should stay out of Sudan.
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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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