Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Attention It Deserves

A Coalition for Darfur Post

The Coalition for Darfur has two goals: to get bloggers writing about Darfur and to raise money for worthy organizations providing life-saving assistance to the people of Darfur.

So far, we are not doing particularly well on either count.

Outside of Instapundit, very few of the "big blogs" seem to be paying much attention to Darfur, which is why it was nice to see Kevin Drum finally address the issue a few days ago.

In his post on the topic, Drum made an important point about the genocide
But hope is not a plan, and right now it strikes me that the only realistic option for stopping the genocide is to be prepared for a full-scale invasion and long-term occupation of Sudan. I could probably be talked into that if someone presented a serious military plan showing where the troops would come from and how they'd get there, but I haven't seen it yet.
It is probably an oversimplification to say that full-scale invasion and occupation of Sudan is the "only realistic option" for dealing with the genocide, but the key point to be understood here is that nobody knows what it will take to stop this because almost nobody is even thinking about it.

Lt. General Romeo Dallaire, the head of the failed UN mission to Rwanda, estimates that it would take 44,000 troops to stop the violence and Brian Steidle, a former Marine who spent six months serving with the AU mission in Darfur, estimates that it will take anywhere from 25,000 - 50,000. There is also talk of imposing a no-fly zone and an arms embargo and expanding the AU mandate to allow it to protect civilians. But after more than 2 years of violence, these things still remain little more than talk.

As far as can be determined, nobody (not the US, the EU, NATO, or the UN) has even seriously contemplated what sort of military action might be necessary in order to stop the genocide. Foreign policy journals and think tanks have likewise been silent on the issue. The only people who appear to be seriously thinking about what needs to be done in Darfur are journalists like Bradford Plumer and activists like Eric Reeves.

For two years, rhetorically pressuring Sudan to disarm and reign in the Janjaweed and stop the genocide has not worked. Many hoped that the Security Council's referral of the crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court might force Khartoum to back down, but unfortunately that has not happened. If anything, the ICC referral may have made the situation on the ground worse - and open discussion of possible military intervention might make things worse still. It is impossible to say.

Nobody wants a large-scale invasion of Sudan, but more importantly, nobody wants to even think that such an invasion might be necessary and how it will need to be carried out. It is a sign of just how little serious concern the genocide in Darfur is generating that those who might theoretically be called upon in the future to intervene do not appear to even have begun examining the feasibility of such an intervention. Darfur might not require military intervention, but it certainly requires more than the few small steps currently being contemplated. And until those in power begin to give the genocide the attention and serious thought it deserves, there is little reason to believe that there will soon be an end to the violence.

This genocide will end in one of two ways: either the international community will begin to take its responsibility to protect the people of Darfur seriously and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure their survival or it will end when the Africans in Darfur have been completely eliminated.

The choice is ours.

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