ME and Ophelia

Monday, June 14, 2004

New Means for Genocide

Excerpt from Genocide Warning: Sudan:

"A new factor worsens the threat of genocide: oil. In late 1999, the Sudanese government began earning hundreds of millions of dollars from oil exports, made possible in part by Western oil companies like Talisman Energy. This hard currency gives the government both greater means and greater motive to accelerate its assault on disfavored groups.

Greater means, because the oil revenues finance the purchase of new weapons. As one Sudanese cabinet minister said, "What prevents us from fighting while we possess the oil that supports us in this battle even if it lasts for a century?"

Greater motive, because the government can tap the country's estimated reserves of some 8 billion barrels only if it cleanses ethnic groups like the Dinka and Nuer from the land under which it sits. The need to secure oil fields has fueled a vicious scorched earth campaign, laying waste to a broad swath of territory. Amnesty International has documented what it calls "the human price of oil" in Sudan: "a pattern of extrajudicial and indiscriminate killings, torture and rape - committed against people not taking active part in the hostilities."

There is more to come: the government does not yet control the richest oil deposits. According to the Washington Post, "the government is bent on ethnic cleansing of territory surrounding other, as yet unexploited, oil fields."

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 6/14/2004
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