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Why Sudan rejects UN troops



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Why Sudan rejects UN troops
By Sara Flounders
Published Sep 7, 2006 11:30 PM

U.S. efforts at re-establishing occupation and colonial domination suffered
a new setback on Sept. 4. The government of Sudan refused to allow United
Nations forces to be stationed in its western region of Darfur.

On Sept. 1, the U.S. and Britain had ram med Resolution 1701 through the UN
Security Council. It called for sending more than 20,000 UN troops to Sudan
to take over from 7,000 African Union forces.

Presidential adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail responded that the Sudanese
government rejected the transition from African Union forces, which it had
accepted, to a larger UN presence, because the goal of the UN mandate is
"regime change." (Reuters, Sept. 4)

The U.S. has maintained that it is essential that UN forces replace the
African Union troops because the latter are underfunded, understaffed and
under-equipped for the "peacekeeping" role they were assigned to play.
However, it is NATO, dominated by the U.S., which was suppos ed to provide
logistics, airlifts, equipment and supplies for the African Union force.

Russia, China and Qatar abstained from the UN Security Council vote and
criticized it, although neither China nor Russia exercised their veto. The
resolution does stipulate that the deployment would take place "on the basis
of the acceptance of the [Sudanese] government." A campaign of international
pressure to force Sudan to accept outside forces is being organized by the
U.S.

Sudan has good reason to be suspicious of any resolution pushed by the U.S.
and Britain. Britain is the brutal former colonial ruler of Sudan. It has
always opposed sovereignty for Sudan.

As for Washington, regime change--the overthrow of the government--in Sudan
has been on the agendas of both the Republican and Democratic parties. U.S.
sanctions and bars to investment, trade, credits and loans have been in
place for more than a decade. In 1998, during the Clinton administration, 17
U.S. cruise missiles destroyed the El Shifa paramedical plant, Sudan's major
source of desperately needed basic medicines.

Sudan is well aware of how the U.S. used a 1990 UN resolution to justify
bombing attacks that destroyed Iraq's infrastructure. The 13 years of UN
sanctions on Iraq, which Washington had demanded, resulted in the deaths of
more than 1.5 million Iraqis.

The U.S. has occupied South Korea for more than 50 years under a UN Security
Council resolution. More than 4 million Koreans died in the 1950-53 Korean
War, which was fought under a UN flag. UN forces in Yugoslavia, Congo and
Haiti have been a cover for U.S. and European intervention and occupation.
They have never been a force for peace or reconciliation.

Despite the wording of the UN resolution, senior U.S. State Department
officials have insisted that the text of the resolution allows UN troops to
move into Darfur, even without Sudan's agreement. But diplomats concede it
is unlikely that other countries would contribute troops to a mission the
Sudanese government opposes. Sudan has vowed to attack any forces that enter
the country uninvited. (French Press Agency [AFP], Sept. 1)

Every country in the UN knows the Pentagon has the ability to land forces
anywhere on the planet. They know that using overwhelming firepower and
"shock and awe" tactics it can occupy a country. But the whole world also
knows that in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Lebanon, determined grassroots
resistance cannot be so easily overcome.

Sudan is the largest country in Africa--as big as all of Western Europe. The
western region of Darfur is larger than Iraq. If 150,000 U.S. troops cannot
subdue Iraq, 20,000 UN troops in Darfur could face sustained opposition in a
region known for its long anti-colonial sentiment.

Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha vowed his country would maintain its
opposition to a UN force for Darfur and hailed Hezbollah as a model of
resistance. "We have options and plans for confronting the international
intervention," he said. (AFP, Sept. 1)

The 'Save Darfur' campaign

The international campaign to pressure Sudan has among its sponsors the very
political forces who were the strongest supporters of the U.S. invasion of
Iraq.

A well-funded rally to "Save Darfur" is being organized for Sept. 17 in New
York's Central Park to demand that UN forces be sent to Sudan. The rally
will feature celebrities, headline music groups and major U.S.
politicians--both Republicans and Democrats.

The rally is a conscious attempt to divide the movement against the U.S. war
in Iraq, further demonize Arab and Muslim people, and to try to sell a new
war as a humanitarian effort.

Some of the groups expressing great concern for refugees in Darfur were
silent or were active supporters of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon that
created over 1 million refugees. They were among the strongest supporters of
the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. President George W. Bush met with
Save Darfur Campaign organizers at the White House and praised their
efforts.

Although the Save Darfur Campaign lists many religious and civil rights
endorsers, the campaign is an initiative of the most right-wing evangelical
Christians and major Zionist organizations.

The Jerusalem Post of April 27, in an article entitled "U.S. Jews Leading
Darfur Rally Planning," described the role of prominent Zionist
organizations in a similar "Save Darfur" rally in Washington, D.C., on April
30.

The National Association of Evangel icals, the World Evangelical Alliance
and other religious groups that strongly support Bush are the other major
force in the coalition for Darfur.

The claim of genocide in Darfur was first raised by Gen. Colin Powell in
2004, when he was secretary of state. Sudan was on the U.S. hit list for
"regime change" during both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Despite crass efforts by the corporate media to simplify the conflict as a
struggle of Arab "Janjaweed" invaders against African peoples, it is
important to know that all the contending groups are African, all are
indigenous or local to region, and all the contending groups are Sunni
Muslim. Arabic is the common language, along with hundreds of local
dialects. Sudan has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the
world. Over 400 ethnic groups have their own language or dialect.

A famine is raging in the area due to a decade-long drought across Northern
Africa. The struggle for scarce water supplies has pitted subsistence
peasant farmers against subsistence nomadic herders.

There's one topic that all the forces claiming concern for the people of
Sudan never mention: the role of imperialism in keeping Sudan poor and
underdeveloped. Sudan has vast resources and mineral wealth. Washington's
policy toward Sudan has revolved around inflaming national and regional
antagonisms in both the south and the west so U.S. corporations could take
control of developing the rich oil, gold, uranium and copper deposits that
could make Sudan prosperous.

The U.S. government may have secured a UN resolution in its latest attempt
to bully Sudan. But the real problem is that the U.S. empire is overextended
and unable to succeed in any of the wars it has unleashed to dominate the
globe.

Bush's use of the bigoted term "Islamo-fascism" and his declaration of an
endless World War III against countries struggling to defend their national
sovereignty has met resistance from Iraq to Afghan istan to Lebanon. His new
threats against Syria, Iran, Somalia and Sudan will make more countries
think twice before signing on to be boots on the ground for U.S. corporate
domination.

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
<http://www.workers.org/2006/world/sudan-0914/>http://www.workers.org/2006/world/sudan-0914/

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