ME and Ophelia

Sunday, August 01, 2004

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Have been inexplicably silent on Sudan

The Daily Star on-line edition is the Web's leading source of news and information on Lebanese and regional news. Here is an excerpt from their excellent August 2 Editorial on collective Arab shame entitled "Those who ignored Darfur cannot be credibly outraged":

In the midst of this ongoing humanitarian crisis, the world is actively debating whether this is ethnic cleansing, genocide, a crime against humanity, or all of the above. The Arab states, meanwhile, seem to be taking a more relaxed approach to the situation. The Egyptian foreign minister said after a one-day visit to Sudan that he hoped the Khartoum government would "deal positively" with the UN, and also urged Western powers to understand the situation in Darfur was complex. He said Sudanese officials expressed a desire to work with Egypt, other Arabs, Africans and the entire international community to resolve the Darfur crisis.

If this is the case, why did Egypt and other Arab states not move earlier to work with Sudan to achieve a breakthrough? Sudan and the UN secretary-general reached agreement a month ago to disarm the janjaweed militias and accept human rights monitors in Darfur. The rapid pace of international intervention in Darfur has not been welcomed by many Arab officials and observers, some of whom even suspect ulterior motives for Western troops arriving in the region. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said it was unacceptable that Sudan become a "playground to accept troops from tens of thousands of miles away" from countries that are hostile to the Arabs.

This is perplexing to the point of absurdity, and collective Arab shame. The Arab League and its officials have been inexplicably silent during the past 18 months as the Darfur crisis has unfolded before their eyes. Those who have brandished only silence in the recent past have no credibility when they express outrage or concern today, or caution prudence. Are a million refugees and 30,000 dead next door not enough reason to act? Foreign troops are coming to Darfur for humanitarian reasons, because the Arab neighbors who should have acted faster remain docile and indifferent.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/01/2004
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