ME and Ophelia

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

To prevent civilian bombings in region

June 15 Scotsman report by Gethin Chamberlain - on the Sudan-Chad border:

"Refugees claim hundreds killed by Sudanese government attacks in Darfur. Survivors claim men, women and children have been slaughtered.

Reports from people coming out of Sudan suggest that those who have taken refuge in camps inside Darfur are dying in their hundreds.

Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, yesterday told MPs he would weigh up the merits of international patrols above Darfur, modelled on the air-exclusion zones once imposed on northern and southern Iraq.

The suggestion was raised by Michael Howard, the Conservative Party leader, in a Commons debate over last week’s G8 leaders’ summit in the US.

"Should not the UN Security Council enforce a no-fly zone and consult with those states with the capability to do so?" Mr Howard asked.

"I’ll certainly look into the issue," Mr Blair replied.

The British government is now considering pressing for a United Nations-imposed "no-fly" zone over Darfur, to stop the Sudanese government bombing civilians in the shattered province."

Post updated with this insert on 16 June:

Yesterday I left a comment at the blogs of two Labour Members of Parliament: Clive Soley and Tom Watson, asking them to please to do everything they can to see that our government follows through on the brilliant suggestion by Michael Howard - as a matter of the utmost urgency. Tom kindly replied with a comment to me saying he'll do everything he can to get this done.
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Come by helicopter gunships?

Patrick Hall, in his blog The Horn of Africa, writes:

"The Scotsman has been producing consistently excellent coverage of the Sudan crisis. (They have a correspondent, Gethin Chamberlain, at the border of Sudan with Chad.)

There have also been some insightful letters to the editor, including this one:

It is my understanding that the Saudi government has bank-rolled the Islamic Sudanese government for nearly 20 years. (how did Sudan, one of poorest countries in the world, come by helicopter gunships?)

I'm not pretending to know anything about how money flows in that part of the world, or who is bankrolling the air strikes, but it it certainly seems like a good question."

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 6/15/2004
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