ME and Ophelia

Friday, August 13, 2004

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Buying 12 MiGs from Russia may be just the tip of the ice-berg

Russian weaponry may already be playing a direct role in Darfur. The recent acceleration of Russia-Sudan links goes beyond the military sphere. Sudan told Kremlin it has three billion U.S. dollars to spend on military hardware. Here is an excerpt from August 12, 2004, report:

Russia, one of the countries blamed for watering down the wording of last month's United Nations resolution on the conflict by insisting that the word "sanctions" be removed, has been delivering MiG fighter planes to Sudan throughout the bloodshed in Darfur. The latest delivery of two jets came in late July, just days before the weakened UN resolution was passed by the Security Council, and amid concern that the planes could be used against civilians.

On July 29, the day before the UN resolution was passed, the Russian company Stroitransgaz won a contract to build a 366-kilometre pipeline in the Melut basin in southeast Sudan, a region abandoned four years ago by the Canadian junior oil company Fosters Resources Ltd. because of pressure from human-rights groups.

Pavel Felengauer, an independent defence analyst based in Moscow, said Russia has never tied arms sales to buyers' human-rights records, and suggested that the 12 MiGs may be just the tip of the iceberg. He said the Sudanese government recently notified the Kremlin that it has $3-billion (U.S.) to spend on military hardware.

Mr. Felengauer said a recent visit to Minsk by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is likely aimed at laying the groundwork for more weapons deals in the former Soviet Union; Belarus is a major player in the international arms trade.

"Often, if Russia says it can't, Minsk says it can. Russia often sells through Minsk," Mr. Felengauer said.

"There will be a lot more weapons going [to Sudan]. That's why Russia is resisting the sanctions: It would complicate matters," he said.
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China blocks UN action against genocide because it has its oil interests in Sudan

The oil interests that China has in Sudan are not owned by Chinese oil companies - they are owned by the Chinese government itself. China ignores human rights abuses and says "Business is business". Here's snippet from an Aug 9 report on Sudan and how to define compliance of the UN resolution:

"But even if the U.S. judges that Sudan’s efforts have ultimately fallen short of what is required, Washington will still need to convince China – and other opponents of sanctions – that punitive measures should be taken. Aside from any other consideration, given the size of Chinese investments in Sudan’s burgeoning oil sector, Beijing will need a lot of convincing."
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Note to self to find out: Do U.N. members tie arms sales to buyers' human-rights records? If not, would it be possible for U.N. members to be assigned ratings for their human-rights records? Countries with zero points are not to be sold arms (or oil?) and if they do and are found out, the seller will lose points. Maybe such a rating system already exists. Blacklists and so on. Whatever, it seems corrupt that Russia and China - with their huge vested interest in Sudan but no care for human rights - sits on the U.N. Security Council - and gangs up with likeminded countries to make the U.N. impotent. What is the point of the U.N.? Ruthless thugs and rejectors of human rights controlling the U.N? Sorry, I don't get it.
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Other news: The Sudanese army denied it has resumed air attacks in Darfur, saying in a statement that the armed forces are adhering to an April 8 ceasefire agreement and not using helicopter gunships for raids, as the United Nations charged Tuesday.

Millions of locusts may be heading for Darfur from neighbouring Chad, UN pest-control experts said in Rome, warning that the continuing insecurity in the remote western region would prevent an effective control operation.
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You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried

Aug 12: Sudanese President Bashir tells a Lebanese newspaper the U.S. and Europe are exploiting the situation in Darfur, - and they are not interested in the well being of the people there. Bashir said Sudan is being victimized by a media campaign that aims to "divert attention from the violence in Iraq and the Palestinian territories." He said world media and international organizations have exaggerated the situation in Darfur.

A U.S. State Department spokesman, Adam Erelim, said Wednesday the U.S. gets its information on Darfur from African Union observers who are there, as well as aid workers and U.S. resources. He said they report major security and humanitarian aid problems in the region.

Sudan's president has also accused the West of exploiting the Darfur conflict in the hope of seizing the country's gold and oil, but Washington replied its only aim was to halt mass murder and starvation. Ismail is too on the propaganda trail. Beware of any news out of Khartoum. They are spreading ugly lies about the West, saying we are evil and they are good. Like all other psycho dictators they are pathological liars and expert at PR - which is how they've gotten away with mass murders over past 15 years.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/13/2004
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