In other disaster news, longtime Sudan observer Eric Reeves notes that African Union forces to Darfur haven’t been able to do much to stop the ongoing genocide and instability there. As predicted by, you know, just about everyone. At this point, only a “dramatic intervention,” as Reeves put it, would put a halt to the killing. The International Crisis Group has recommended a NATO “bridging force” in Sudan, to help the AU disarm the janjaweed militias and create humanitarian corridors, but not a single international leader has even made so much as a nod in their direction. (Even the ICG’s proposal, the boldest thus far, vastly underestimates the number of troops needed to stop the genocide, but as with most international reports, they tried to craft something as politically palatable as humanly possible.)
Unfortunately, the United States has probably done more than any other country to put pressure on the Khartoum government—and the U.S., mind you, has forged cooperative ties with the NIF for counterterrorism purposes, which tells you all you need to know about the extra-tepid response from Europe, Africa, and other Arab countries. But with Katrina putting a brand new hole in the U.S. budget, with Sudanese oil being more important than ever—so much for the possibility of sanctions on Sudan, right?—and with Iraq souring the American public’s taste for any more foreign adventures, the Darfur genocide will very likely rage on unaddressed until there’s no one left to kill. Meanwhile, it looks like Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has drawn all the proper lessons from the West’s silence on Darfur and decided that he too can probably get away with an organized mass murder project of his own. Future genocidaires of the world take note.
UPDATE: Speaking of Darfur, Eugene Oregon’s post on media silence deserves a look. Between last August and this August there’s been an eight-fold decrease in the number of newspaper stories devoted to the genocide in Sudan, despite the fact that the situation isn’t really improving at all (except insofar as there are somewhat fewer people to kill these days). And forget about TV: Peter Jennings and ABC devoted 18 minutes to Darfur in all of 2004, and they were ahead of the other two networks by a vast, vast margin.