ME and Ophelia

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

A powerful tool for coercing Khartoum
into stopping genocide?
The more oil that's found, the worse the violence will become?

This morning, Patrick Hall at The Horn of Africa kindly emailed me to say he has been reading a post by Mike, at Blog for Arizona, on the relationship between oil and the wars in Sudan. Apart from a few points, Patrick finds it quite convincing. Me too. The post links to some very interesting PDF files. I'm glad Patrick thought to drop me a line about it because I'd spent most of yesterday reading the same post that Mike had pointed out in his comment at this blog.

In Mike's post entitled "Powell's Sudanese Farce", he writes: "aspirations of independence are still alive in the South. Fear of that persistent desire and its attendant loss of vital resources, especially oil, is the major reason for the ongoing ethnic violence. The more reserves which are found, the worse the violence will become. Khartoum perceives a need to remove southern Sudanese from the regions surrounding this natural bounty, so that the wealth the oil produces cannot be denied to the government. Khartoum is terrified of a partitioned Sudan which leaves the north resource-poor, cut off from the productive lands of the south and unable to access its tremendous water and oil resources. In the last few years the pogrom has intensified and become more persistent, more violent, and more organized. The clear and simple reason is that in 2000 the recently discovered oil reserves of the south (PDF) were brought into production, providing Khartoum with the means and motive to expand their program terror and genocide in the south, especially against those live on or near the active oil fields."

If I had more time today, there's a lot more of Mike's post I'd like to quote from. Here are a few examples: "The tie between the oil resources of the south and the ethnic cleansing is the Gordian knot which must be cut to bring relative peace to Sudan. To force Khartoum to stop killing the people of the south, one would have to threaten their beneficial use of Sudan’s oil resources. That is exactly what the Sudan Peace Act (PDF) of 2002 was intended to do. Sections 8 and 9 of the House version of that bill would have made effective the embargoes imposed by Executive Order in 1997 by President Clinton, and maintained in force every year since."

This line of Mike's, I found especially interesting: "Only threatening their oil revenues will force Khartoum to stop the violence. A ghostly echo of the critical role of oil remains in Section 8 of the enacted version, stripped of context and bereft of all force by fiat of President Bush. Using oil production to stop the genocide would be highly effective, but it would also mean a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars for the oil companies currently producing and exploring in Sudan.

If what Mike is saying is true, my new question is: are the US, UN and EU pushing for ways to threaten Sudan's oil revenues, if that's what will force Khartoum to stop the violence?
- - -

I've not yet had a chance to email Mike to thank him for his comment and post because yesterday I also received an email from Tom Pravda, out of the blue, who, like Mike, is another blogger new to me. I spent most of yesterday reading Mike's post and replying to Tom's email. Visitors are expected here tomorrow and Friday and I cannot spend the time I'd need to write a fresh post on the above. So, instead, I am copying the emails here.

I'd be most grateful for any feedback on Mike's post, and my email to Tom, as I hope to post further on defining what activists are hoping to achieve by pushing for UN sanctions against Sudan, secession, and for Genocide in Sudan to be declared .

Mike authors BlogForArizona: Grassroots Democrats. Here is a copy of the comment he yesterday here at this blog:

I wrote an article about the genocide and impact
of the gutting of the Sudan Peace Act by the Bush
Administration in 2002. No one seems to talk about
putting pressure on Sudan where it will hurt the
most since Bush killed very a effective method of
embargo in that bill. It seems that the oil
companies involved in development and exploration
in Sudan have effectively buried the strongest
tool we have to stop the killing.

Here is a copy of Tom's email to me. I am copying it here in full because it contains several useful links and leads to info on the die-in being held in Washington tomorrow:

On 20 Jul 2004, at 17:58, Tom Pravda wrote:

Dear Ingrid,
I came across your blog while looking for information about activism on Darfur in the UK.
I thought you, personally, might be interested in a new website we've set up on the "genocide" in Darfur. If you like what the site's trying to do, I was hoping you might post something about it and/or link to it from your blog. It's rather US focused at the moment (though we've had signups from the UK and Israel) but we're hoping to make it a global thing.

And we've got daily-updated news feeds and links to all the best press coverage, NGO reports and governmental statements etc., at
There's also links to slide shows and video footage:

People can sign international petitions calling on the international community to launch a humanitarian interevention, or mandate the International Criminal Court to investigate those responsible for the genocide:

People can also sign up to organize events, raise money etc. in their town/city,
People can donate to provide humanitarian aid or support advocacy efforts:

I hope you'll take a few moments to look through it, perhaps get involved in some way, and consider either posting a comment about it, or providing a link (or both).
Best wishes, Tom Pravda,

Here is a copy of my reply to Tom:

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your email.

It was a wonderful surprise to hear from you.

I was already aware of the darfur genocide site and had already made mention of it and published news of the die-in.

Thanks for sending me the link to Res Public which I've now visited and glanced through (looks good - impressive three profiles - you all sound very interesting)

I'm so pleased you've made contact as it gives me an opportunity to give you some feedback in this reply and raise a few issues.

Firstly, for some unknown reason when I first found the darfur genocide site, my browser refused to capture the URL on your site. I was not able to provide a direct link to your site in my blog.

I've checked it out again today, and am still unable to capture the URL link.

I have a new Apple Mac PowerBook G4 with Safari browser, and have not encountered such a problem with any other site.

Secondly, I was curious to know how websites like yours get to know when another site is linking.

Weblogs have great services like Technorati, Feedster and Bloglines that tell us bloggers when other blogs are linking to us - which gives great feedback and a sense of community.

Hey, maybe each of you would consider starting a personal weblog: they're easy to start up and are completely free of charge over at :-)

Thirdly, there is something I've been mulling over that I cannot find the answers and was thinking how good it would be to be able to chew it over with someone who might know the answers to some of my questions.

Hey presto your email arrived. Seems you are the perfect person for me to ask. Here goes:

I am not an activist and so I have no understanding of what the activists campaigning for the Sudan are trying to achieve.

While I applaud all those who are pushing for "action" to help the people of Sudan, I can't seem to find any reports spelling out and making clear what exactly it is that they expect, and hope to have happen, as a result of:

(1) sanctions being imposed - and

(2) genocide in Darfur being officially declared.

From what I can gather, and please correct me if I am wrong, sanctions won't be effective enough to help the people in Sudan who are in need of help right now; and if genocide is "officially" declared, it will trigger large scale military intervention (which would take time to become a reality) that would have to entail the removal of the present regime in Khartoum and the capture and imprisonment of the perpetrators of the atrocities to be tried in court.

I have yet to see a report that "thinks through" the scenario - from beginning to end - of what is likely be achieved:

(1) from the time that sanctions are imposed - to the time they are lifted again;

(2) from the time that genocide is officially declared - to the time the perpetrators are captured and tried (who runs Sudan in the meantime?)

(3) what is to become of the 1m+ displaced people in the short, medium and long term If (1) and (2) are carried through and how is this all to be managed - and by whom?

(4) in reference to (1) and (2) above, how could the Peace Accord negotiations proceed, and ceasefire agreements hold? And what would be the plan in the event of a civil war starting up all over again?

As I have not yet found any explanations on the ramifications of (1) and (2), I am surprised that someone as high profile as U.S. Senator John Kerry can be so bold in his Speech on Darfur without explaining the pros and cons of his recommendation to classify Darfur as genocide, ie what role is the US to play? How many troops, if any, would President Kerry be willing to deploy? Considering that Africa is a tinderbox, what is the plan and who would carry it out? How long would the plan take to achieve, how much would it cost and where would the money come from?

I have published some posts touching on these questions (if you have time, please see my posts on the Sudan over the past few days - and just keep scrolling). I've posted almost daily since April 24, when I picked up on the story from Jim Moore's Journal out of Harvard.

Of course I don't expect you to be able any of my questions but I would be interested to have any feedback on these thoughts - and any pointers to reports that Dr Eric Reeves, or anyone else may have written that could help answer some of the questions here.

With kind regards
Ingrid Jones
England, UK

Today I received a comment at my blog from a complete stranger called Mike. Thought you might be interested to read it (copy below). One of the links within Mike's post leads to the following report --

"US business gears up to derail Sudan delisting law by Edward Alden in Washington and Ken Warn in Toronto, The Financial Times, June 20, 2001"::

-- which I found rather special because it is dated one and a half years before Feb 2003 (when conflict in Darfur began) and makes me think of a question I've asked myself (ever since I started reading up on the Sudan in April) that I have not found any answers to, namely: "Why through all the years of negotiations on the Peace Accord did the US and Khartoum both see fit to exclude the western and eastern regions of Sudan?
- - -

Note: Also, I have sent a copy of the above to Patrick in the hope of getting some feedback because Patrick is very good at finding interesting reports and I agree with what he says about Mike's post.

PS Ref oil in Sudan - update from USAID: See Patrick's latest July 21 post to see why this link to "European Coalition on Oil in Sudan" is now officially the place to go for up-to-date information on oil companies still doing business in Sudan. [Good piece of good homework Patrick, thanks.]

Further reading:

July 21: "Emergency state in E. Sudan over expected 'attack' from Eritrea - Kassala State in eastern Sudan yesterday declared a state of emergency throughout the state in anticipation of an attack, which might be carried out by an armed opposition group from the territory of neighbouring Eritrea. This will increase the difficulties already facing the government in Darfur [State], western Sudan.

The state's governor, Faruq Hasan Nur, described it [the expected attack] as an Eritrean plan to see violence and instability spread in the country. He stressed that Eritrea is giving support to armed Sudanese factions and denied that the Sudanese government is backing groups opposed to the regime of [Eritrean President] Isayas Afewerki.

Meanwhile, the African Union [AU] has announced that it is making attempts to reactivate the stalled talks between Khartoum and the Darfur rebels at a time when the UN has said that attacks by Janjawid militias on African residents in Darfur are continuing. [Passage omitted] Source: Democratic Unionist Party web site, in Arabic 21 Jul 04
- - -

Further reading:

July 21: excerpt from Stephanie Ho's report: "'When we [the U.S. government] told the [American] oil companies that they had to lose their fields in Libya for some period of time because of national security issues, those companies just lost the right to operate in Libya, and that was the end of it,' she said. 'But in China, the oil industry is run by the government. It's owned by the government.'"

Posts from Passion of the Present weblog out of Harvard (provides daily postings of the latest major news re Sudan):
July 20: post: Do we have a duty to intervene?
July 20: The Passion post from the Passion: Lack of awareness of Darfur and the genocide in Sudan - Can we do more? Can the blogosphere help?
July 18: post: What you can do today to help stop the genocide in Sudan.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 7/21/2004
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