Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sudan and the U.S.: Genocide and the War on Terror

To the extent that the ongoing genocide receives much attention in the press (which is generally not to any great extent), attention is often paid to how China's economic relationship with the Sudanese government limits the ability of the U.N. to engage in strong sanctioning activities against Sudan. China's position vis-a-vis Sudan is a crucial consideration that should not be understated.

Another factor less commonly reported is the U.S. government's conflicted relationship with Sudan, with the Bush administration one of the few around the world that has publicly decried the situation in Darfur and called it genocide (one of the only things I'll give the Bush adminstration credit for), but at the same time the administration sees the government in Khartoum as a critical ally in the War on Terror, largely for having expelled Osama bin Laden and cracked down on Islamic militants after the cruise missile attacks during the Clinton administration.

The Middle East Times has just posted a good overview of the situation: http://www.metimes.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20070616-055135-9519r

Here's one interesting section from the article:

"Marc Lavergne named intelligence chief Salah Abdallah Gosh and Nafi Ali Nafi, one of President Omar Al Beshir's key advisers, as Khartoum's leading strategists on Darfur and who are also well-known in certain Washington circles.

'These people regularly visit Washington and they are in permanent contact with the US, which considers them their special partners,'said Lavergne.

Thomas-Jensen also underscored the fact that Ghosh was flown into the US by private CIA jet for a week-long series of meetings in 2005 with US officials, causing much controversy within the Bush administration.

'By agreeing to divulge everything it has about Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, the Palestinians, Algerian Islamists, and a bunch of other troublemakers in the world, the Sudanese government is providing an enormous service to the US government and is irreplaceable,' said Lavergne.

To placate its critics, Sudan has suggested that Darfur rebels are of the same ilk as Al Qaeda and is seeking to maximize the benefits from its decision to expel Bin Laden and align itself with Washington."

4 comments:

raisinchaser said...

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raisinchaser said...

Robert, good post. Rwanda, it seems, means nothing today. As to the current situation in The Sudan, we need a brief historical “narrative.”
Two centuries before the current American foreign policy… before Zionism, before the Iraq and “Palestine” blame brigades were in full-force… long before ‘poverty’ was pulled up as a root-cause, and the why-do-they-hate-us (answer: Israel) canard was not yet a part of the hard-leftist mythology; Muslims in West Africa were on the Jihad warpath.
A Muslim cleric, Usman dan Fodio, led a Jihad against local non-Muslim rulers from 1804 to 1810. This led to the establishment of the so-called Caliphate of Sokoto, and to the enforced spread of Islam by military conquest (same old, same old). Today, that damage is still striking.
Today, Christians and Animists are still under assault. They have been under assault, most famously, in Nigeria, where in 1967 the Christian Ibos rebelled against their Muslim overlords and declared the independence of the State of Biafra. The proximate cause was the Muslim mass murders of Christian Ibo all over northern Nigeria. But the Western world did nothing to help the Christian Ibo, while the Muslim world—including Egyptian pilots and planes that strafed Ibo villages, killing tens of thousands of helpless villagers—did provide aid. Only two countries in the world recognized Biafra: Israel and Ghana (Kwame Nkrumah, Osagyefo (if he did not always understand economics, he did understand Islam). In 1969, in his famous Ahiara Declaration, the leader of Biafra, Colonel Ojukwu, explained that the main reason for the Biafran fight was to defend the Christians against, as he put it, the “jihad” being conducted against it. That jihad by the Muslims who control the military and have largely stolen the oil wealth of Nigeria (with a little help from some Islamochristians willing to collaborate) continues today.
Elsewhere non-Muslims are under siege—as in the Cote d'Ivoire, or in Togo, where the more advanced southerners, often of the Ewe tribe that, like most tribes in coastal West Africa, cuts across national borders, are leaving. They are leaving not only because the crooked son of the previous crooked leader is back in business, but because of the Islamic menace.
Black Africans are enslaved in Mali and Mauritania, but not a peep of protest has come from the Arab League about this, though both countries are members of that league. For decades black African Christians and Animists have been slaughtered or starved to death in southern Sudan, and now black non-Arab Muslims (or nominal Muslims) are being killed, their cattle destroyed, their huts and houses burned, their women raped, their men all killed. Moreover, every single person who has lived to testify has talked of how the various Arab-Muslim marauders say that “they are black and must be killed.” Imagine, just imagine, if there were not a hundred thousand such incidents (as have taken place in Darfur) or a million (as in the southern Sudan) but even one such event, anywhere in the Western world, by a Western government.
Then ask why there is such a different standard, such fear of telling the truth, about how Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacist ideology, and Arab-Muslims among the supreme racists of history, who persuade those they conquer to abandon, forget, despise their own pasts, and to assume pseudo-Arab identities, and to take as their own models some Arabs who lived—if they existed at all—in 7th century Arabia.
Is the American government fully aware of the jihad that Ibos remember so well? Yes Robert, the Bush administration does call what is happening in The Sudan “genocide”—and it is—but more specifically (and possible more importantly, because the West fears calling jihad, well, jihad) it is genocide by jihad—and jihad, as we know, could only possibly mean “peaceful internal struggle.” Does the American government have any plans should the notion of a free Biafra (with all the oil in the south, among the lands where various Christian tribes live) be revived? Does the United States understand that in the Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo has been demonized by the French government, but that the fears of the Christian Ivoiriens that they are being asked to give citizenship to Muslim migrants in the north are justified? Does the American government know about Egypt’s bullying of Ethiopia in an attempt to prevent Ethiopia from diverting just some of the headwaters of the Nile for vital irrigation projects, and of how Egypt sees a Muslim Sudan not as an enemy but as an ally in the future conflict with Ethiopia? Has the American government actually talked to Christians from Ethiopia, or worried—like people in Western Europe—about the growing Muslim population and the demands it makes to change the very nature of Ethiopia?
Given the entirely predictable paralysis at the U.N.—where the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) calls the shots, and focuses attention on this fictitious country of “Palestine” and keeps it always off the local expressions of Jihad—over Darfur, and given the predictable collapse sometime in the future, of that famous “peace accord” recently “achieved” for the southern Sudan (one which will last just as long as the government in Khartoum thinks the West is paying close attention and not a minute longer), why has the United States not used the excuse of rescuing the people in Darfur to send in a few thousand troops to seize both Darfur and the southern Sudan? Claims of government violations of the peace accords with the southerners can easily be justified.
What would an American presence do? Who could object? Not Nicholas Kristof—he has called for such intervention in Darfur (he seems strangely uninterested in what happened to the non-Muslims of the southern Sudan over the past 20 years). Not the hard-leftists everywhere—how can they oppose coming in to rescue black oppressed, marginalized, and victimized villagers? Not the black African Christians and Animists who will rightly take this as a sign of muscular American interest in confronting those who conduct jihad, and who will be bucked up, from Kenya to West Africa.
And who will be angry? Muslims everywhere will realize that the game is up, that the jihad can be opposed without invoking Al Qaeda, and that everywhere the Muslims have been on the offensive (slowly swallowing up, and Islamizing, most of the Sudan when, a hundred years ago, it was largely un-islamized and un-arabized), they may now be challenged. Two can play this game, but the Infidels have not—they have simply allowed the conquest. They did nothing to help the Biafrans in their fight for independence after repeated widespread jihad-massacres of Christians. They have failed to recognize that demography is a weapon of jihad, and the cross-border infiltration of Muslim populations in West Africa is a reasonable thing for local Christians to worry about. They have shown not the slightest foresight about the coming clash, over water, between Ethiopia and Egypt (which acts as if the Ethiopians have no right to that water, or only to the amounts that the Egyptians grandly will allow them). Everywhere we can, we should take the side of those threatened by jihad, and in black Africa, the point of obvious entry, and obvious gain with little pain, is the Sudan.
Let Saudi Arabia, where slavery was still officially allowed until 1962, and where unofficially it flourishes, sputter. Let the various Arab League states in which blacks are still enslaved wax indignant. Let Libya, where there are routinely murderous riots against black Africans (in one of which a diplomat from Chad was hung from a pole in Tripoli and left dangling for the edification and delight of spectators), try to complain. Finally, yes, let the Chinese squirm, but also include them in the scheme of a new, free, un-islamicized Sudan. For the Chinese know all too well of the dangers of jihad (they have a pretty big “Islamic” problem in Xinjiang province—I have seen with my own eyes how the Chinese deal with jihad rebellion, at least in the area that I witnessed—an entire town was ‘erased’).

Robert Philen said...

Raisinchaser,

Thanks for your comments. I’d like to add a perspective to your comments that is not so much opposed to your arguments as perhaps lying at a tangent, adding different emphases rather than disagreeing per se.

I see most of the conflicts you mention as being as much about resources and wealth as religion. It’s reductionist to say that the past and current situations of Biafra or Southern Sudan are strictly about oil; the social cleavages of race/ethnicity and religion structure the antagonisms there, but without the oil, there’d be much less to fight about. Most anywhere people fight along the lines of religion and/or race/ethnicity, whether in the name of jihad or not, they’re generally fighting over some resource or wealth. Your comments acknowledge this, e.g. with your mentions of oil in southern Nigeria or water in the case of Egyptian-Ethiopian tensions, so I’m mainly saying here that I’d place greater emphasis on the economic aspects of the various situations, while stopping short of making wealth and resources alone determinative in shaping conflict.

I don’t really see how the genocide in Darfur is about jihad, since it’s mainly a case of Arab Muslims killing black non-Arab Muslims, such that it seems to be more strictly about race/ethnicity than the conflict in Southern Sudan – unless you’re arguing that the perpetrators tend to see the victims as “not real Muslims.” None of the news reports or analyses I’ve read on Darfur have put it this way, though if that is part of what’s going on, I’d welcome that information.

My perspective on the meaning of “jihad” is, I think, different from but not necessarily contrary to yours. I agree that it’s na├»ve to presume that jihad refers only to peaceful and/or inner struggle. The reality is that many Muslims, especially those often referred to as “jihadists,” use the term to explicitly refer to violent struggle against non-Muslims or in some cases Muslims of opposing sects. To assume that “jihad” never refers to such violent, religious struggle is to deny the reality of the claims and actions of some Muslims. Likewise, though, the same sort of case can be made for “jihad” sometimes referring to peaceful and/or inner struggle. Many Muslims use the term to mean precisely that. While violent jihadists need to be worried about (and not presumed out of existence), Muslims whose discourse and practice emphasizes “jihad” as peaceful struggle deserve the support of others, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, for their potential contributions to peaceful international civil society.

raisinchaser said...

Hi Robert,

It seems that we agree on several counts. And yes, I am saying that the "black" Darfurians are not considered 'good Muslims' by the Arab Sudanese Muslims. However, the reason that the black Sudanese are not considered 'true' Muslims is racism, plain and simple. Here is a good interview with several thinkers:

http://www.defenddemocracy.org/in_the_media/in_the_media_show.htm?doc_id=239193

Here is a snip from the article ("Phares" is Dr. Walid Phares, a man I hold in high regard):

FP: So Dr. Phares, can you crystallize the themes for us? Why are the Muslim Arabs killing the Christians and Blacks? This is an Islamic Jihad combined with racial hate?

Phares: It is both. Probably one of the most lethal religious and racial war combined in contemporary times. In the historical roots, we see the march by Arab-Islamic dynasties through Egypt down the Nile valley and the occupation of the old Nubian kingdoms as of the 8th century AD/CE...

Since the 1989 coup that brought the National Islamic Front NIF to power with General Omar Bashir and Hassan Turabi, the "Jihadists"in Khartoum focused on the ethnic cleansing of the southern "Christians," on the base of religious ideology. They tried to rally the Black Muslims against the Black Christians. But as of the end of the 1990s, and especially since 2001, the Blacks understood that they were under two Jihads. One is religious against the Christians, and the other is racial against the Blacks, and they were being played against each other.

Hence, the Nuba mountain Black Muslims started to oppose the Arab-led militias. Furthermore, a growing number of anti-Islamists Arabs, criticized Khartoum's regime for its racial and extremist attitude.

Besides, world events, and the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq convinced the Khartoum regime to act against the weakest link first, that is, the Black Muslims in Darfour. Hence, the Jamjawed, Arab militias armed by the regime, unleashed a clear anti-African genocide. So, to summarize, the Jihadists in Khartoum are both religious extremists and racists. In addition, they are also fascists as they have suppressed the moderate Arab Muslim voices.(end)

I understand the 'resources' argument, and it holds true, but only to an extent (and what will the revenue from those resources be used to fund?). The greatest motivator of 'jihad', or whatever one wishes to call world-wide Islamic violence, is world-wide Islamic dominance (inspired by, of course, Muslim theology and jurisprudence). For example, there is no oil in southern Thailand, where the jihad has killed thousands since 2004, there is no oil in the southern Philippines, or Kashmir, or Beslan, or Lebanon, or Algeria (ok, not much), or Jordan, etc., etc... and there is oil in Nigeria, Sudan, etc. Resources matter not, except the fact that the revenues will fund the jihad.

Gotta run, I am heading to "oil-barren" Israel in a few hours ... I doubt that fact matters to Hamas, "moderate" Fatah ("Fatah", by the way, means "conquest"... I wonder whom "Abbas the moderate" wishes to conquer?), or Hizballah ("Party of God").

I'll check your blog when I get back, in about a month.