Monday, June 04, 2007

Khartoum deserves no respect

By:Joel Brinkley

As the carnage in the Darfur region of Sudan grinds on for a fifth year, President Bush is imposing new diplomatic penalties on the government in Khartoum on top of similar, ineffective sanctions that have been in place for 10 years. Normally, from this president, diplomatic restraint would be welcome -- but not this time.

Since early 2003, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has played Western leaders for fools. He has worked this into a high art. When, now and then, the international pressure builds to a critical point, Bashir throws out a bone. That's what happened when Ban Ki-Moon, the new U.N. secretary-general, came to Khartoum in April.

Bashir told Ban that he would permit the United Nations to dispatch 3,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops to Darfur -- a fraction of the number the United Nations had demanded. Immediately Ban put out a press release touting his triumph. But then, the next day, a U.N. diplomat leaked a report that said the Sudanese government was continuing to arm the militias in Darfur that are responsible for the slaughter. And so it has gone since the Darfur conflict began. In February 2003, Darfur rebels attacked government facilities, accusing the leaders in Khartoum of ignoring their region. The government struck back with a fury, enlisting local militias to massacre civilians and destroy entire villages. Since then, more than 200,000 people have died, and another 2.5 million have been driven from their homes. Read more >>>>

No comments: