When will international community take action? This is the question asked on Twitter by Susan Morgan, co-founder and the Director of Communications for Investors Against Genocide (I mention them here). Many people are asking the same question right now. I wrote many times about #Sudan and #Darfur and I’m glad I could, for over two decades now (since the bloodless coup d’état by Omar al-Bashir in 1989) bring my humble contribution to raising awareness about the situation in the country.
But as the years pass, the question remains: When will international community take action?
Rebecca Hamilton, author of the book ‘Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide‘ (I organized a reading group, I will post about it soon) said on Twitter: ‘Perhaps more depressed on #Sudan than I have felt since 2005‘. First time I heard about Sudan I was a teenager; now I’m not anymore but the situation seems to remain the same if not even worse. Hamilton added: ‘To any tweep who follows me: If you are not paying attention to southern kordofan, start now.’ She is right and she masters the subject.
I have clearly expressed my opinion on the carrot and stick policy several times in my previous Sunday Roundups and in The power of carrot and stick: reductio ad absurdum? so you may already know my point of view on it. But by asking ‘When will international community take action?‘, what does Susan Morgan suggest, exactly? Military support or diplomacy? #Nicholas Kristof recently tweeted: ‘There are no easy solutions to the South Kordofan mess in Sudan, but vigorous int’l diplomacy might forestall massacres. It’s worth a try‘.
You can add the useless carrot and stick policy to the ‘worth a try’ list.
It was hard to bring Darfur on the front pages, but it seems to be even harder to bring the recent news from Abyei and South Kardofan as well. According to Bloomberg: ‘Fighting and air strikes by Sudan’s military in the past two weeks in Southern Kordofan, northern Sudan’s only oil- producing state, led to the flight of 60,000 people, while another 113,000 people fled their homes after the Sudanese army occupied Abyei on May 21, accusing southern forces of attacking them, according to United Nations estimates‘. But that’s not all.
Bloomberg also reports the words of al-Bashir in a speech in Red Sea state, broadcast on the state-run Sudan TV: ‘We told our brothers in the south, do you want peace? Everything we’ve done is for peace […] But if you want war, you can see what’s going on in Abyei and in Southern Kordofan, and these are all lessons […] Unfortunately, some of our brothers in the SPLM understand things very late […] If we’re dragged to war, your sons in the Armed Forces will not let you down.’ Al-Bashir knows exactly what he’s doing and makes it very clear.
International diplomacy? #China and #Russia didn’t move one finger, yet. Carrot and stick? Even the Sudanese government says it doesn’t work: ‘The Sudanese government does not perform its responsibilities in desire for normalization or in fear of sanctions, and the U.S. administration should cease its carrot and stick policy which it has kept practicing,” El-Obaid Ahmed Marawah, spokesman of the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement Wednesday.’ On SudanVote: ‘US threats to cancel debt relief and demand international intervention if the SAF do not leave Abyei have not swayed Bashir. “We do not want the carrot of the US and we are not afraid of its stick,” he said.’
The message is clear. Even #Enough Project who strongly supported the carrot and stick policy is now calling for additional military support for South Sudan…
Eric Reeves posted a very good article on The Washington Post: In Sudan, genocide anew? ‘We are, once again, on the verge of genocidal counterinsurgency in Sudan. History must not be allowed to repeat itself […] Too often with Sudan, empty demands and threats signal to the regime that the world is not serious about halting atrocities. Either the international community gets serious about preventing further violence in Abyei and the adjacent region of South Kordofan, or we will again see “tens of thousands of civilians… die in the weeks and months ahead in what will be continuing genocidal destruction.’ His website is a must-read.
Eric Reeves also says in Obama’s Second ‘Rwanda Moment: ‘President Obama failed to make good on his campaign commitments to Darfur; unless he takes strong action, urgently, he will have failed in the face of the second genocide on his watch, currently accelerating in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan […] President Obama confronts his second “Rwanda Moment,” and how he responds—now—will determine the moral character of his historical legacy for decades.’
I know nothing is black and white. Economic interests and politics are intertwined. All sides have good and bad people on them but it has been quite some time now the cursor is stuck on one side. So maybe it’s time for some countries to take their responsibility, and I don’t care if China opposes politicizing trade and economic ties (read my post: China’s Fabulous Deals: Curb Your Enthusiasm), as the biggest foreign investor in Sudan, the country has leverage because of its economic influence in Khartoum and it should use it. All countries should, and not look away to protect their investments.
So when will international community take action? When the international community will decide to. Meanwhile, we are Dancing with a dictator in Sudan, again.