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Who wants us to intervene in Darfur?
Wednesday, Jun. 21, 2006 at 12:13 AM
Bush wants it, Zionists and christofascists want it, and Exxon-Mobil wants it.
Bush Senior and Bill Clinton wanted it too.
The U.S. role in Darfur, Sudan
By Sara Flounders
Published Jun 3, 2006 6:21 AM
What is fueling the campaign now sweeping the U.S. to “Stop Genocide in Darfur”?
Campus organizations have suddenly begun organizing petitions, meetings and calls for divestment. A demonstration was held April 30 on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to “Save Darfur.”
Again and again it is said that “something” must be done. “Humanitarian forces” and “U.S. peacekeepers” must be deployed immediately to stop “ethnic cleansing.” UN troops or NATO forces must be used to stop “genocide.” The U.S. government
has a “moral responsibility to prevent another Holocaust.”
Outrage is provoked by media stories of mass rapes and photos of desperate refugees. The charge is that tens of thousands of African people are being killed by Arab militias backed by the Sudanese government. Sudan is labeled as both a “terrorist state” and a “failed state.” Even at anti-war rallies, signs have been distributed proclaiming “Out of Iraq—Into Darfur.” Full-page ads in the New York Times have repeated the call.
Who is behind the campaign and what actions are they calling for?
Even a cursory look at the supporters of the campaign shows the prominent role of right-wing evangelical Christians and major Zionist groups to “Save Darfur.”
A Jerusalem Post article of April 27 headlined “U.S. Jews Leading Darfur Rally Planning” described the role of prominent Zionist organizations in organizing the April 30 rally. A full-page ad for the rally in the New York Times was signed by a number of Jewish organizations, including the UJA—Federation of NY and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
But it wasn’t just Zionist groups that called it. The rally was sponsored by a coalition of 164 organizations that included the National Association of Evangelicals, the World Evangelical Alliance and other religious groups that have been the strongest supporters of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. The Kansas-based evangelical group Sudan Sunrise helped arrange buses and speakers, did extensive fund raising and co-hosted a 600-person dinner.
This was hardly an anti-war or social justice rally. The organizers had a personal meeting with President George W. Bush just before the rally. He told them: “I welcome your participation. And I want to thank the organizers for being here.”
Originally the demonstration was projected to draw a turnout of more than 100,000. Media coverage generously reported “several thousands,” ranging from 5,000 to 7,000. The rally was overwhelming white. Despite sparse numbers, it got wide media coverage, focusing on celebrity speakers like Academy Award winner George Clooney. Top Democrats and Republicans gave it their blessing, including U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. Corzine, by the way, spent $62 million of his own money to get elected.
The corporate media gave this rally more prominence than either the anti-war rally of 300,000 in New York City on the day before or the millionfold demonstrations across the country for immigrant rights on the day after.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, Secretary of State Condo leezza Rice, Gen. Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have all argued in favor of intervention in Sudan.
These leading architects of imperialist policy often refer to another model when they call for this intervention: the successful “humanitarian” war on Yugoslavia that established a U.S./NATO administration over Kosovo after a massive bombing
The Holocaust Museum in Washington issued a “genocide alert”—the first such alert ever issued—and 35 evangelical Chris tian leaders signed a letter urging President Bush to send U.S. troops to stop genocide in Darfur. A special national curriculum for students was established to generate grassroots support for U.S. intervention.
Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have embraced the campaign. Liberal voices such as Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Rabbi Michael Lerner of TIKKUN and Human Rights Watch have also pushed the campaign to “Save Darfur.”
Diversion from Iraq debacle
The criminal invasion and massive bombing of Iraq, the destruction of its infrastructure that left the people without water or basic electricity, and the horrible photos of the U.S. military’s use of torture at Abu Ghraib prison created a world outcry. At its height, in September 2004, then Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell went to Sudan and announced to the world that the crime of the century—“a genocide”—was taking place there. The U.S. solution was to demand the United Nations impose sanctions on one of the poorest countries on earth and that U.S. troops be sent there as “peacekeepers.”
But the rest of the UN Security Council was unwilling to accept this view, the U.S. “evidence” or the proposed action.
The campaign against Sudan increased even as evidence was being brought forward that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was based on a total lie. The same media that had given credibility to the U.S. government’s claim that it was justified in invading Iraq because that country had “weapons of mass destruction” switched gears to report on “war crimes” by Arab forces in Sudan.
This Darfur campaign accomplishes several goals of U.S. imperialist policy. It further demonizes Arab and Muslim people. It diverts attention from the human rights catastrophe caused by the brutal U.S. war and occupation of Iraq, which has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
It is also an attempt to deflect attention from the U.S. financing and support of Israel’s war on the Palestinian people.
Most important, it opens a new front in the determination of U.S. corporate power to control the entire region.
U.S. interest in Sudan
Sudan is the largest country in Africa in area. It is strategically located on the Red Sea, immediately south of Egypt, and borders on seven other African countries. It is about the size of Western Europe but has a population of only 35 million people.
Darfur is the western region of Sudan. It is the size of France, with a
population of just 6 million.
Newly discovered resources have made Sudan of great interest to U.S.
corporations. According to Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir, Sudan might have oil reserves as large or larger than those of Saudi Arabia, currently considered to have the world’s largest reserve. It has large deposits of natural gas. In addition, it has one of the three largest deposits of high-purity uranium in the world, along with the fourth-largest deposits of copper.
Unlike Saudi Arabia, however, the Sudanese government has retained its independence of Washington. Unable to control Sudan’s oil policy, the U.S. imperialist government has made every effort to stop its development of this valuable resource. China, on the other hand, has worked with Sudan in providing the technology for exploration, drilling, pumping and the building of a pipeline and buys much of Sudan’s oil.
U.S. policy revolves around shutting down the export of oil through sanctions and inflaming national and regional antagonisms. For over two decades U.S. imperialism supported a separatist movement in the south of Sudan, where oil was originally found. This long civil war drained the central government’s resources. When a peace agreement was finally negotiated, U.S. attention immediately switched to Darfur in western Sudan.
Recently, a similar agreement between the Sudanese government and rebel groups in Darfur was rejected by one of the groups, so the fighting continues. The U.S. poses as a neutral mediator and keeps pressing Khartoum for more concessions but “through its closest African allies helped train the SLA and JEM Darfuri rebels that initiated Khartoum’s violent reaction.” (http://www.afrol.com)
Sudan has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world. Over 400 ethnic groups have their own languages or dialects. Arabic is the one common language. Greater Khartoum, the largest city in the country, has a population of about 6 million. Some 85 percent of the Sudanese population is involved in subsistence agriculture or raising livestock.
The U.S. corporate media is unanimous in simplistically describing the crisis in Darfur as atrocities committed by the Jan jawid militias, supported by the central government in Khartoum. This is described as an “Arab” assault on “African” people.
This is a total distortion of reality. As the Black Commentator, Oct. 27, 2004, points out: “All parties involved in the Darfur conflict—whether they are referred to as ‘Arab’ or as ‘African,’ are equally indigenous and equally Black. All are Muslim and all are local.” The whole population of Darfur speaks Arabic, along with many local dialects. All are Sunni Muslim.
Drought, famine and sanctions
The crisis in Darfur is rooted in intertribal fighting. A desperate struggle has developed over increasingly scarce water and grazing rights in a vast area of Northern Africa that has been hit hard by years of drought and growing famine.
Darfur has over 35 tribes and ethnic groups. About half the people are small subsistence farmers, the other half nomadic herders. For hundreds of years the nomadic population grazed their herds of cattle and camels over hundreds of miles of grassy lowlands. Farmers and herders shared wells. For over 5,000 years, this fertile land sustained civilizations in both western Dar fur and to the east, all along the Nile River.
Now, due to the drought and the encroaching great Sahara Desert, there isn’t enough grazing land or enough farmland in what could be the breadbasket of Africa. Irrigation and development of Sudan’s rich resources could solve many of these problems. U.S. sanctions and military intervention will solve none of them.
Many people, especially children, have died in Sudan of totally preventable and treatable diseases because of a U.S. cruise missile attack, ordered by President Bill Clinton on Aug. 20, 1998, on the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum. This plant, which had produced cheap medications for treating malaria and tuberculosis, provided 60 percent of the available medicine in Sudan.
The U.S. claimed Sudan was operating a VX poison gas facility there. It produced no evidence to back up the charge. This simple medical facility, totally destroyed by the 19 missiles, was not rebuilt nor did Sudan receive a penny of compensation.
UN/NATO role in Sudan
Presently 7,000 African Union troops are in Darfur. Their logistical and
technical back-up is provided by U.S. and NATO forces. In addition, thousands of UN personnel are overseeing refugee camps for hundreds of thousands dislocated by the drought, famine and war. All of these outside forces do more than hand out needed food. They are a source of instability. As capitalist would-be conquerors have done for hundreds of years, they consciously play one group off against another.
U.S. imperialism is heavily involved in the entire region. Chad, which is
directly west of Darfur, last year participated in a U.S.-organized
international military exer cise that, according to the U.S. Defense Department, was the largest in Africa since World War II. Chad is a former French colony, and both French and U.S. forces are heavily involved in funding, training and equipping the army of its military ruler, Idriss Deby, who has supported rebel groups in Darfur.
For more than half a century, Britain ruled Sudan, encountering widespread resistance. British colonial policy was rooted in divide-and-conquer tactics and in keeping its colonies underdeveloped and isolated in order to plunder their
U.S. imperialism, which has replaced the European colonial powers in many parts of the world, in recent years has been sabotaging the economic independence of countries trying to emerge from colonial underdevelopment. Its main economic weapons have been sanctions combined with “structural adjustment” demands made by the International Monetary Fund, which it controls. In return for loans, the
target governments must cut their budgets for development of infrastructure.
How can demands from organizations in the West for sanctions, leading to further underdevelopment and isolation, solve any of these problems?
Washington has often used its tremendous power in the UN Security Council to get resolutions endorsing its plans to send U.S. troops into other countries. None were on humanitarian missions.
U.S. troops carrying the UN flag invaded Korea in 1950 in a war that resulted in more than 4 million deaths. Still flying that flag, they have occupied and divided the Korean peninsula for over 50 years.
At the urging of the U.S., UN troops in 1961 were deployed to the Congo, where they played a role in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the country’s first prime minister.
The U.S. was able to get a UN mandate in 1991 for its massive bombing of the entire Iraqi civilian infrastructure, including water purification plants, irrigation and food processing plants—and for the 13 years of starvation sanctions that resulted in the deaths of over 1.5 million Iraqis.
UN troops in Yugoslavia and in Haiti have been a cover for U.S. and European intervention and occupation—not peace or reconciliation.
The U.S. and European imperialist powers are responsible for the genocidal slave trade that decimated Africa, the genocide of the Indigenous population of the Americas, the colonial wars and occupations that looted three-quarters of the globe. It was German imperialism that was responsible for the genocide of Jewish
people. To call for military intervention by these same powers as the answer to conflicts among the people of Darfur is to ignore 500 years of history.
Sara Flounders went to Sudan just after the bombing of the El Shifa
pharmaceutical plant in 1998 with John Parker as part of an International Action Center fact-finding delegation led by Ramsey Clark.
If Jews are against it
by Not a Useful Idiot
Friday, Jun. 23, 2006 at 7:59 AM
If Jews are against the genocide in Darfur, then we should support it!
Monday, Jun. 26, 2006 at 1:42 AM
When do African nations take responsibility for African nations. Almost to a man all the leaders are despots. Look at Mozambique, once it was a leader in Africa for growing wheat, now after evil imperialists were removed & lands confiscated, they can barely feed themselves.
South Africa is spiralling out of control in crime. AIDS is spreading like wildfire. The warlords of Somalia have all but ruined that country. Rwanda lost its head as tribal brutality accounted for the death of half a million people.
Maybe they should ask nicely to be re-occupied by "evil" imperialist forces.
Study your History
Monday, Jun. 26, 2006 at 8:11 AM
Rwanda's troubles were largely the consequence of actions taken by the Belgian colonialists and their racist agenda. There was no bona-fide difference between Hutu and Tutse, nor were the two considered to be different peoples. It was the Belgians who labeled them based on their system of identifying which peoples were more similar to the great white race (using metrics such as the size and shape of the nose,) and made mandatory the labeling of the two groups thus created.
Having done so, the Belgians used the Tutse, who they considered more like whites, as a buffer class to control the Hutus. When the Belgians withdrew, the stage was set for a violent confrontation between the Hutus, who had borne the brunt of the oppression under the Belgians, and the Tutse who were seen as collaborators with the Belgians.
Similarly, Somalia's troubles can be attributed to the imperialist machinations of the US and the USSR, both of whom armed their chosen factions to the teeth and played them against each other until Somali society had deteriorated into a no-man's-land ruled by warlords armed to the teeth.
So no, I really don't think that Africa should be begging the imperialists to come back.
Monday, Jun. 26, 2006 at 10:04 PM
Was it the Belgians who were hacking people to pieces? Maybe there was a proclivity toward violence to begin with. How long ago did Belgium pull out of Rwanda? How long does the former imperial powers hold the blame? When does a country become responsible for itself? Take a look at Haiti. How long has it been independent? As long as I can remember that country has been a mess & will probably be for the forseeable future.
As far as Somalia goes, they were a disaster waiting to happen. If it wasn't US/USSR instigating, they would have found ways to self destruct. There had to be men with evil intent prior to have the means to being evil.
But I guess there are evil white imperialists behind that also. No, it's just multiple cases of the oppressed becoming the oppressors.
Your sheet and hood are showing
Tuesday, Jun. 27, 2006 at 8:28 AM
Haiti? How in the hell did Haiti get into the conversation? Haiti is not part of Africa, it's in the fucking Caribbean, you loon!
Oh, wait, there is a common denominator. Haitians are black, and Africans are black. I get it now. Your underlying thesis is that Africa and Haiti are messed up because they are populated by black people, and that they should welcome the return of white european imperialism because they are (being black and all) too stupid/backwards/primitive to govern themselves.
Why are you wasting your time with indymedia? Shouldn't you be exchanging ideas with like-minded people at http://www.whiteracistassholes.org?
Tuesday, Jun. 27, 2006 at 10:02 PM
I know it's dificult for you to walk & chew gum, but here goes. Haiti is another former occupied country. It has been independent for what, 200 years? What shape is it in? A disaster. Who suffers? The common people just trying to survive. That's the common denominator. The common people who suffer at the hands of all these scoundrels. You can only blame the imperialist powers for so long. Sooner or later these countries have to account for themselves. Maybe your the racist scumbag who doesn't care.
Good luck on your new website
Have a nice day, now fuck off.
Your opinions are uninformed
Wednesday, Jun. 28, 2006 at 8:58 PM
Haiti has NEVER been independent from US interference and intervention.
History of U.S. Intervention in Haiti
By Nicholas Low
Mar 4, 2004, 23:11
The Bush Administration claims it sent Marines into Haiti in late February not to intervene in the overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide but to protect the U.S. Embassy against a possible rebel attack.
The Guardian newspaper in London gave an overview of the country on its 200th anniversary, looking back on 13 coups and 19 years of American occupation, and looking forward to more bloodshed and instability. Haiti’s political class must bear its share of responsibility for where they go from here. Western powers, particularly France and the United States, must also take responsibility for how they got into this parlous place to begin with.
From 1804 until 1864, the United States refused to give diplomatic recognition to the world’s first independent black republic, fearful Haiti might set an example for the enslaved African population in the South.
The Guardian says that ever since Haitian slaves gained national independence, Western powers attempted to strangle its democracy and quash its prosperity.
In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte sent 22,000 soldiers to Haiti to stop a slave rebellion and recapture the plantations that once made it an economic giant. Napoleon said that the recognition of the freedom of the slaves would be a “rallying point for freedom-seekers of the New World.”
The United States backed France in ordering Haiti to pay 150 million francs in gold to compensate for the costs of the war it won. In return, Haiti would supposedly be granted international recognition. Repayment locked Haiti into the role of a debtor nation –where it remains today.
Beginning in 1850, U.S. warships remained almost a constant in Haitian waters for 60 years. According to historians, this pattern of gunboat diplomacy led to the first U.S. occupation of Haiti, which began in 1915 and lasted 19 years.
The U.S. invasion and occupation was sparked by the fall of the Haitian president at the time. A pro-government general ordered the execution of 163 political prisoners and caused a popular uprising against the landed elite.
The United States declared the Haitian people unfit to rule themselves. Americans seized land and created an army and police force, specialists in preventing revolt and protecting American capital.
Paul Farmer, author of The Uses of Haiti, describes how Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier emerged in 1957 and organized a society of terror that received U.S. military assistance.
Farmer says, “During his first four –and bloodiest—years in power, Papa Doc received $40 million from Washington, much of it in the form of outright gifts. The U.S. even went so far as to send Marines to protect this regime from any popular movement that might threaten its rule.”
When Baby Doc took over upon the death of his father, he hired public relations firms to help sell his regime’s legitimacy to the people of the world.
In February 1986, a massive rebellion or “flood” of poor people, who became known as the “Lavalas,” ended almost 30 years of pro-American dictatorship. Baby Doc left the country on an American cargo plane. The overthrow led to three more un-elected presidents.
In 1990, Haiti held a national democratic election, and Priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide won the presidency with 70 percent of the votes. Aristide created literacy programs and began to make democratic reforms.
In 1991 to counter the reforms, the military stormed Aristide’s residence. The military set up the Frappe death squads that murdered over 1,500 people.
With thousands of Haitian refugees fleeing the island, President George H.W. Bush enacted a trade embargo against Haiti.
President Bill Clinton would later complain of America’s leaking borders and strengthen the blockade against the refugees.
In 1994, Clinton ordered American forces to intervene to “protect American interests and stop the brutal atrocities that threaten tens of thousands of Haitians”.
The Administration drew up a plan creating a new Haitian police force and restoring Aristide to power. Perhaps because he threatened U.S. interests, Aristide’s return to power was limited to finishing the last year of his term of office. Nevertheless, he dissolved the armed forces that for generations had backed the tiny Haitian elite.
Haiti law prevented Aristide from running for a consecutive term. A story in the magazine of the North American Council on Latin America chronicled the growth of the cocaine traffic through Haiti from 1998.
Aristide won re-election in 2000. Another NACLA story described the divisions within the populist Lavalas movement and the rise of political opposition of middle class blacks in favor of making economic concessions to end the blockade of Western investment. The opposition protested against electoral violations in a dozen parliamentary seats.
An armed faction funded by the U.S.-based International Republican Institute mounted cross-border raids from the Dominican Republic on the Spanish-speaking side of the island. When insurrectionary force estimated at under 200 men invaded, the United States refused requests from the Aristide government to provide military support.
Aristide’s presidency ended on Feb. 29 when U.S. uniformed personnel removed him from the presidential residence at gunpoint and flew him to the Central African Republic. The mainstream U.S. media presented U.S. military presence as a mission to prevent bloodshed.
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