Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The UN's unending tolerance

The shameful, ongoing Dafur crisis has more than highlighted the often ineffectual nature of the UN "Security Council," a cabal of nuclear powers largely beholden to their own agendas and policies rather than actually curbing international conflicts. While the invasion of Iraq was opposed by the UN Security Council, that did little to prevent Bush's illegal invasion. But Darfur appeared to be an humanitarian disaster no one but the government of Sudan controverted. Four years on, virtually nothing has happened. The carnage, pillage and rape continue apace.

It has been China that has opposed action against the monstrous regime of Omar al-Bashir. Just as the real reasons for the invasion of Iraq swirled around oil, so too is oil the reason the Chinese have demonstrated intransigence regarding sanctions against the Sudanese government for its central role in arming the militias that are causing the heart wrenching mayhem in Darfur. Naturally, al-Bashir has denied any role in the genocide.

But now the UN has delivered a damning report detailing Sudanese government operations, whereby Sudanese military cargo planes, painted white and stenciled with "UN," have been delivering embargoed arms and supplies to the very militias with which al-Bashir has denied involvement. And what is the reaction at the UN Security Council? Mild would be an euphemism for what in other contexts would be regarded as criminal negligence.

Acting US Ambassador to the UN, Alejandro D. Wolff, informs us that, within the hallowed body of the UN, there is a
rising frustration and a diminished tolerance toward Sudan,
and that members might be ready to
consider the need for other measures.
Now there's a bold prescription for immediate action. After four years of murder, plunder and rape, a pogrom by which some 200,000 people have been killed and another 2 million left destitute and on the run, some UN members now have a "diminished tolerance" toward this humanitarian nightmare. Which tells me one thing: there is still tolerance for it. Diminished, perhaps. But there nonetheless.

And these people think they are going to effectively address global warming? The sun will go nova and the UN will be "considering the need for other measures."

Anyone normally reading these pages knows that there is not a high regard for George Bush to be found here. And while he has done little to halt the Darfur disaster so far, Bush has been one of the few leaders who has spoken out strongly against al-Bashir and US diplomats have been very active in helping or trying to help the desperate refugees in the region. Bush is now promising to enact unilateral sanctions if Sudan does not halt this violence. This is not a tough call, really, because there is very little trade between the US and Sudan, which means it isn't that strong of a threat. Nonetheless, I do hope Bush isn't just grandstanding on an issue about which it is easy to grandstand. At the very least, such a move might spur a few other from their disgraceful tolerance of this terrible butchery.


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