Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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The Wrong Decision on Sudan
Yesterday President Bush was to unveil the long-anticipated "Plan B" for sanctioning the Sudanese regime for the genocide in Darfur. But at the last minute Bush accepted a plea to wait. The Sudanese government had again asked for more time to allow U.N. peacekeepers to arrive.

It is a trick that the Sudanese have successfully used for four years to avoid ending the slaughter of civilians, with the Islamist government's blessing, guidance and support. It simply means more people will die while the regime of Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir drags its feet, backtracks, promises, hems, haws and generally buys several more months. Sooner or later, if he can drag it out long enough, there will be no one left to ethnically cleanse, and then peacekeepers can disembark without opposition.

After at least 450,000 killed and 2 million displaced, why does anyone take Bashir's word on anything? He hasn't done anything to lessen the slaughter since the carnage began. He has repeatedly promised, then retracted, support of peacekeepers.

"The brutal treatment of innocent civilians in Darfur is unacceptable," Bush said. "The status quo must not continue." And yet it is entirely acceptable. For a few weeks, then months, then years.

The irony is that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked the sanctions be postponed, even as he was presented with concrete evidence the Bashir government was illegally flying weapons to its forces and the _janjaweed_ in Darfur. A U.N. Panel of Experts two days ago presented the UN Security Council with a report outlining the use of Antonov aircraft and helicopter gunships in the region.

In an MO that is the same as Viktor Bout used in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the aircraft were painted white with UN markings on the side. (Coincidence??)

It seems to me the solution is fairly simple. Slap the sanctions on (and even these are weak), with the promise to lift them as soon as the peacekeepers are on the ground. Enforce a no-fly zone. Are we afraid Viktor Bout will lose some old Antonovs?

Go after those who support genocide and terrorism, using the justification of Islam as a gruesome justification. (For a more complete look at Sudan's support of terrorism, see: my recent paper for IASC.

Expose the shameless pandering and spineless refusal to condemn Darfur by Islamists and world power who put their economic interests (China, Russia) above the suffering of the region.

Most troubling to me is the unwillingness of South Africa to support sanctions. Islamist states are protecting friends. China and Russia their investments. South Africa, once a beacon of true liberation, is protecting nothing other than a corrupt and brutal regime, as the Mbeki regime has continued to do in Zimbabwe as well.

The South African government's behavior is a slap in the face not only to its own courageous people who struggled for freedom, but to all who supported that struggle.
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