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July 28, 2004

DARFUR UPDATE: The Ottawa Citizen editorializes:

The Sudanese government made a false promise to protect the people in Darfur, and has threatened guerrilla war if other nations try to help them. Courage must replace patience in dealing with Khartoum.

Under the cover of a 21-year civil war, the Arab Islamist government in Khartoum has been using bandit gangs called Janjaweed to drive black people in its western territory from their homes. The gangs are made up of nomads threatened by desertification and who are loyalists of President Omar el-Bashir; the farmers in Darfur have land Mr. el-Bashir wants to give them. The farmers are also Muslim, though not generally Islamists. . . .

The United States and Britain are pushing a Security Council resolution to impose trade sanctions, but they're having trouble getting it passed. Pakistan and China, for instance, are hesitant to interfere with Sudan's oil trade, which supplies about 300,000 barrels a day to Asia, partly pumped by a Chinese company.

The critics of the war in Iraq, those who said that was all about oil, are silent. France, the great multilateralist, has given just $6 million to a UN fund for Darfur, which Mr. Annan says needs $350 million. (The Americans have found $130 million so far.)

But for the aid to mean anything, the people of Darfur must have security, which Mr. Ismail has indicated the Sudanese government will deny them. These are the words of both a terrorist and a promoter of genocide, not a man who will be swayed by threats of trade sanctions. The world has dithered and innocents have died. It's time to find the nerve to act.

Multilateralism is failing again.

UPDATE: More on Sudan here, and, of course, there's this point: "As was the case in Iraq, France also has significant oil interests in Sudan." And once again, they're running interference for a murderous dictator.

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