Sunday, September 16, 2007

Darfur: This time Brown means business. Again.

The platitudes are flying in a BBC interview with Gordon Brown over the situation in Darfur. Calling the conflict "one of the great tragedies of our time", Brown calls for the planned UN/African Union peacekeeping force to be in place by the end of the year, which it's supposed to be anyway, and warns of "further sanctions" against Sudan if attacks on refugees continue.

Considering that the 'international community' – led by those staunch internationalists China and Russia – has consistently refused to impose meaningful sanctions on Sudan, and that the peacekeepers' mandate basically limits them to running the UN flag up the pole every morning, President Omar al-Bashir and his coterie of thugs are unlikely to be quaking in their boots.

This is the most important intervention by Brown since his joint statement with Sarkozy last month calling for "intense action" to secure a ceasefire", which came hot on the heels of some tough talk at the UN in July

But help is on the horizon! The BBC reports that today has been declared a Global Day for Darfur (you didn't know?) with events planned in 30 nations around the world…

Campaigners from groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Save Darfur Coalition plan to wear blindfolds in an appeal to world leaders not to look away from the continuing violence in Darfur.

Maybe if Amnesty and HRW expended a bit less energy on attacking America for slapping around the occasional mass-murdering jihadi, and Israel for having the temerity to defend its very existence, they might be able to move Darfur a little further up the agenda.

In the meantime I don't understand why President Bush doesn't take advantage of a glaring PR opportunity, and send a single B1 to vaporise the entire Sudanese air force in two minutes. Bashir would be at the negotiating table before the fires were out, and Bush would be able to tell the world: this is how to get things done.

I know that there are various international legal niceties that are supposed to be observed, and that the above groups would probably cry merry hell because said bomber was American, and not, say, Belgian, but what's the worst that could happen? Sanctions?

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