Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Sudan's Sad Saga

This story in today's Washington Times illustrates perfectly who and what is at the root of the problem with regards to Sudan:
Sudan's oil wealth and soaring energy prices have given President Omar Bashir a powerful ally on the U.N. Security Council -- China -- as the East African nation battles demands for economic sanctions over atrocities in Darfur.

Largely overlooked by the outside world, China has become the key player in Sudan's oil industry, as evidenced by the metallic maze of chimneys, pipes and vents that glitters on the horizon outside Khartoum.
China has frustrated efforts to impose sanctions on Sudan for their near-genocidal murders of Christians and animists in the south of their country. China's economy is growing by leaps and bounds, and is fed by ever-increasing consumption of energy. How important is Chinese investment in Sudan?
Without this windfall -- likely to be far larger this year -- analysts say it would be difficult for Mr. Bashir to maintain his military machine, let alone wage war against rebels in the western region of Darfur.

Energy-hungry China has invested more than $15 billion in Sudanese oil through the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), a state-owned monolith. The cost of Khartoum's new refinery alone was about $700 million.
I've written about the horror in the Sudan before on my blog, though didn't save the links. It is one of the tragedies of our time, especially since it all seems so preventable.

Unfortunately both China and Pakistan are blocking any serious efforts to do anything about it. China, because of it's oil interests, and Pakistan because of misplaced notions of "Islamic brotherhood."

Our efforts to impose sanctions in the UN Security Council are thus stymied. The one resolution adopted (that I know of), 1556, which demanded that the government disarm the janjaweed militias and bring their leaders to justice, has been ignored.

Continued reliance on the UN, on of the most dysfunctional organizations of our day, is not likely to bring results.

Yet the savagry demands a response. There are a number of websites that detail the tragedy. Save Darfur is as good as any to start at, and their site provides helpful links to others with more information.

What To Do?

Ideally we could bring the government to heal with targeted sanctions and diplomatic isolation. Cut off all shipping and aircraft flights, that sort of thing. Yet, as discussed above, the only organization we have will not act.

One idea is to bring in African troops. Yet this is probably the worst of all ideas, troops from that continent not exactly having good human rights records. In fact, most of them are not a lot more than armed mobs.

Humanitarian organizations can relive the striken but cannot get at the root of the problem, which, simply put, is the murder sanctioned by the government.

This leaves westerm military force. Ground troops are out of the question. The country is enormous and we haven't enough to spare (let along the logistics of an operation). This leaves airpower and naval forces, the former of which isn't doing much at the moment. This may seem radical, but in a situation where thousands are dying and millions suffering, it may be the most humane action.

Unfortunately we would have to act alone. And this brings up my last point...

New Institutions Needed

I've written about this many times on Redhunter and lo and behold, it comes up again; we need something besides the United Nations and NATO. The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI - behind which John Bolton was the driving force) works to stop proliferation of WMD on the high seas. It is something of an "ad hoc" organization, which is to say that it was created for a specific purpose and will (at least theoretically) go away once it's mission is accomplished.

I wrote a long post on replacing the United Nations last month, so go there to read my full analysis and recommenation. In short, what I said was that the UN is so flawed that we will not be able to reform it. Unfortunately, we cannot withdraw either. My solution was to ignore it and develop alternatives.

Your thoughts?