ME and Ophelia

Sunday, July 18, 2004

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Nigeria is on the brink of violent implosion

Perhaps there are special reasons for the slowness of the US, UN, EU in imposing travel bans and freezing the personal assets of GoS and Janjaweed leaders.

Seems I've read somewhere that during the meeting between Colin Powell and Sudan's President Bashir in Khartoum, Bashir agreed that in order for the aid to reach the refugees, the Janjaweed would have to be reined in and disarmed (and failing that - by July 30 - would accept international community's offer of help). Bashir agreed on one condition: that everyone stops using the word genocide. It'd make sense that Powell agreed to this, knowing that Bashir would not (or could not) fulfill his side of the deal. By waiting until July 30, it'd give the international community enough time to gain proper access to Darfur via Libya, gather evidence and get the necessary documents and resolutions signed by the members of the EU and UN Security.

The US, UN and EU may be treating GoS with kid gloves as part of a strategic plan. Firstly, to help the refugees while avoiding a regime change during the crucial Peace Accord negotiations (better the devil you know than the devil you don't know). Secondly, because the years of Peace Accord negotiations are so close to being finalised - genocide in Darfur gives leverage to the international community to insert the western (and maybe even the eastern) region of Sudan in the Peace Accord before it can be signed. GoS is keen to get the Peace Accord finalised and signed because it legitimises their standing (they are an unelected dictatorship) on the world's stage, and with the oil companies and countries providing development funding.

The GoS is probably a mine of information on counteracting terrorism, with a network of contacts that lead to the works of Bin Laden and his ilk. Bearing in mind too, if there is another coup in Sudan and the perpetrators of genocide in Darfur flee from the country with no "good" places to go where they can be found (if travel restrictions to US and UN countries are imposed) it might force them into the open arms of people like Bin Laden. Here's a thought: maybe after July 30, that's what the international community wants to have happen. It'd be a good way to find and capture them all together and take them to The Hague for a chat :)

All of the humanitarian assistance and aid, development funding, sanctions, travel bans, freezing of personal assets and the signed EU declaration to bring the perpetrators to court, seem to be the carrots and sticks that are being used by the US, UN and EU in their mission for aid and security to reach the refugees whilst, at the same time, getting the Peace Accord - to include Darfur - signed and sealed to bring stability to Sudan. Politicians need to be careful. And tread slowly, but surely. And be sure of public support too. Africa is like a tinderbox. A July 8 report from Reuters says Nigeria is on the brink of violent implosion.

Note the President of Nigeria, pictured here below, is the new President of the African Union. report July 14: Nigeria's sent aid by air and distributed relief materials worth N14 million to refugees in Darfur. Distribution was handled by Nigerian officials.

The items include 2000 pieces each of blankets and towels, 600 bags of rice, 1000 cartons of premixed beverages, 500 bags of salt, 300 bags of flour and 300 kegs of vegetable oil."

President of Nigeria pictured here, is the African Union's new President

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Further reading:

July 13: Malaysian blogger Aiseh, man... in a in-depth post entitled "Blood On Our Oily Hands" points to some useful links - including a roundup of Petronas' activities in Sudan - and writes: "I thought our silence began only recently with the genocide in Darfur. I was wrong. We have been looking the other way for several years now ... This much is clear: We, each and every one of us in this country, have blood on our hands. And the only way to cleanse it is to demand a full accounting from the Government, and from Petronas."

July 18: American blogger Jim Moore: "How to engineer a genocide"

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 7/18/2004
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