In Darfur, the desert of western Sudan, hideous genocide continues. A developing coalition that crosses the religious and political spectrum has lobbied hard for government bureaucracies to take action. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recently returned from a visit to the devastated region. Still, it remains to be seen whether anyone can coax Sudan's government to stop the mass rape and murder.
The Bush administration has lobbied Sudan's government in Khartoum and the United Nations to help the Darfur victims. "Our view is because of the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, we have to move now," U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton told CT (see "Stopping Genocide-Again," p. 34). "We have to move as rapidly as we can."
So far, Congress has appropriated $514 million for humanitarian aid and funding 7,000 African Union peacekeepers, currently providing the only security in a killing zone the size of France. President Bush has asked Congress for an aid increase of 20 percent for 2007. Congress is already considering the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, which has attracted bipartisan support. The bill would, among other measures, impose sanctions against individuals responsible for genocide and war crimes.
The Darfur genocide has roots in a web of religious concerns and tribal power grabs. Black Arab Muslims have been erasing black African Muslims for rejecting Arabized culture and Islam. Sudan's ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum has blocked efforts to stop the killing. The government has pressured the African Union not to become part of a proposed U.N. peacekeeping force, and uses its oil wealth as leverage against less powerful African nations. Sudan has also implied that if backed into a ...