End the Genocide in Darfur!
We’ve all heard that, and we would all like for it to stop. According to Danny at Doc’s Political Parlor (one of my favorite web sites), Howard Dean says it is an issue that Democrats can use to appeal to young Evangelicals. But… is it our job? I think so… What can the US do about it? And which party is more serious about ending the genocide? Hint: ‘Just Words’ don’t work with murderous dictators…
First some background: Darfur (Dar al-Fur) is ‘the land of the Fur tribe’, it is a western region of Sudan, which is the largest country in Africa (920,000 square miles – 3 1/2 times bigger than Texas). Sudan’s 40 million people have been ruled since 1993 by Omar al-Bashir (a murderous dictator). Sudan gained its independence from Egypt / UK in 1956. It has disputed borders with Kenya and Ethiopia and Egypt.
Sudan also has lots of oil (400,000 barrels a day) – 70% of which is sold to China (10% of China’s oil comes from Sudan). The Chinese sell military equipment to Sudan and train the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army. China has hundreds of ‘peacekeeping’ troops in Sudan.
The Darfur genocide is hard to quantify, but about 200,000 people have been killed according to many estimates, plus thousands of people have been displaced. The Sudanese Government and associated militias (Janjaweed) are condemned for the genocide. Slavery, human trafficking, and rape are fairly common.
There are 20,000 international peacekeepers in Sudan (UN / African Union Mission in Darfur - UNAMID).
Pretty nasty place – I can see why we all want that to stop. But how can Darfur be an issue for Democrats? After all, Saddam Hussein (a murderous dictator) killed as many people in ONE YEAR (1991 – 100,000 Kurds and 130,000 Shia) as have died in Darfur. In 1988, Saddam killed 50,000 Kurds using Weapons of Mass Destruction such as Sarin and Mustard Gas. Barack Obama opposed the War in Iraq…
Barack Obama says that “increasing pressure on the Sudanese” and “deployment of a robust international force” will end the genocide.
John McCain goes further. In 2006, McCain and Bob Dole published a plan to end the genocide. McCain called for NATO (US) to enforce a ‘No Fly Zone’ over Darfur and “push the United Nations to draw up firm plans for the entrance of a robust force into Darfur and contingency plans for the force to enter without Sudanese consent”, with US logistical, intelligence, and diplomatic support.
Compare the two plans: which one has a better chance of stopping a murderous dictator intent on killing his own people? Which candidate has recent experience helping bring a murderous dictator to justice - and which one opposed that action?
By the way, ANWR can produce 780,000 barrels of oil per day, almost double that of Sudan.