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With Bashir about ready to embark on his third genocide, one wonders why Obama, who criticised George Bush’s lack of “consistency and strong consequences” in Darfur, has remained silent. He had made Sudan a plank in his election campaign but has done nothing to reign in Khartoum’s decades-old, genocidal tendencies since taking office.
Observers of the Sudan situation were also highly critical of his selection of retired Air Force General Scott Gration as his special envoy to that country. One critic, Eric Reeves, said Gration had “…no significant diplomatic experience or knowledge of Sudan…” and followed a “notorious policy of appeasement” with Bashir, wanting to “make friends” with the criminal regime. Angering the human rights community, Gration had also once said there were only “remnants of genocide in Darfur.
But silence is not the only area where Obama is hypocritical and culpable in regard to the life or death situation facing the Nuba people. Writer Daniel Goldhagen states that the president’s hypocrisy is also glaring when one considers he wanted Mubarak out and Gaddafi deposed but has “…soft-pedaled, negotiated with, even effectively lent support to Al Bashir and his totalitarian regime.” The crimes of Mubarak and Gaddafi, Goldhagen points out, were nowhere near the scale of Bashir’s.
“Going after Qaddafi and not Al Bashir is like going after Mussolini but not Hitler,” Goldhagen states.
A former US special envoy to Sudan, George Winter, probably correctly discerned part of the reason why America’s first African-American president remains silent while black Africans are being slaughtered in Sudan. Before a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa last month, Winter was critical of Gration’s “seemingly intimate relationship” with North Sudan’s leadership.
“Perhaps the eccentricities of General Gration’s approach …are related to the Administration’s commitment to ‘reach out’ to the Arab and Islamic world,” Winter said.
But a larger part of the reason for the White House’s silence probably has to do with China. The Chinese are Bashir’s biggest backer, as they buy two-thirds of Sudan’s oil production and have invested heavily in the country. In return, China sells Sudan modern weapons and remains unconcerned about the North’s human rights abuses. Despite criticism from human rights groups, for example, the Chinese leadership last month received the ICC-fugitive Bashir on a four-day state visit, during which the two governments discussed expanding ties
But if Obama fears a backlash from China for responding to the North’s new genocide, such appeasement will, as history has shown, only encourage Khartoum to commit more armed aggression. Already, several critics believe Gration’s soft diplomacy towards the Bashir regime is responsible for the current Abyei situation and the attack on the Nuba, against who the North’s armed forces are assembling with heavy weapons.
What has to be realized here is that the Nuba are only the first African people who the Islamic hardliners in Bashir’s government are planning to destroy. These are the same people who yelled out martyr, martyr in the North’s national legislative assembly when it was announced bin Laden had been killed. The assembly’s speaker had been praising bin Laden as a holy warrior at the time. During a public prayer session for the former al Qaeda leader, a Brigade of Bin Laden was also inaugurated that “many Mujahideen joined on the spot.
“Al-Bashir’s regime came pretty close to shutting down Sudan by way of official mourning of Bin Laden,” wrote one observer.
The game plan of Sudan’s Islamist regime all along has been to expand their hardline version of Islam down into East Africa. With their gallant stand, however, the southern Sudanese caused these plans to be put on hold – but only temporarily. As soon as the Nuba are exterminated, the North will renew the war with South Sudan and finish the job of annihilating the black tribes there through enslavement, war and famine, after which it will turn its attention to Uganda and Kenya.
“In Africa, Islam’s roots will go deep and become sturdy quickly. …What is there in Africa but tribalism?…We want to plant civilization in southern Sudan and beyond. They need one,” said Hasan el Turabi, once the regime’s influential Islamist theorist, about this racist and religious project of conquest.
So the current crisis in the Nuba Mountains could be compared to Hitler’s take-over of Austria or the Sudentenland. If Khartoum’s Islamist regime is not stopped now and the Nuba saved, war and bloodshed, mostly at the black Africans’ expense, will just continue its path down the Nile in the decades to come, as el Turabi has made plain. Failure to stop the Sudanese Islamists’ attempt to create “religious Lebensraum” in the Nuba Mountains will have the same catastrophic results the failure to stop the Nazis’ “racial Lebensraum” program early on did.
It is therefore imperative that the United Nations immediately establish a no-fly zone over the Nuba Mountains and humanitarian aid and weapons supplied to the Nuba for self-defense. If the no-fly zone is not respected, then Khartoum’s air bases must be bombed and other military action taken, as Western supporters of the Nuba, like Winter, have been advocating. A wild, genocidal beast like Bashir can only be tamed with a whip and not with words. But tragically for the Nuba, and for Africa, the White House has been unable so far to find either the whip or the words.
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