Why does the Bush regime have a new perspective on Sudan?
Back in September 2004, then Secretary of State Colin Powel declared that Sudan was involved in the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Move forward a few months, to the 14th of April this year when Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick was sent to Sudan. Zoellick greatly underestimated the number of dead in Darfur and actually refused to endorse Powell's description of genocide.
Yet more Bush Hypocrisy:
This time it's the Sudan
Back in September 2004, then Secretary of State Colin Powel
declared that Sudan was involved in the ongoing genocide in Darfur.
Move forward a few months, to the 14th of April this year when Deputy
Secretary of State Robert Zoellick was sent to Sudan. Hopes that he
was there to to apply pressure on the Sudan government to halt its
killing in Darfur seem unfounded. At a press conference there
Zoellick greatly underestimated the number of dead in Darfur and
actually refused to endorse Powell's description of genocide.
This undoubtedly shows that the Bush Junta has a new perspective
on Sudan and, as a consequence, its previous crimes are being
downplayed to ensure that there is no attempt at humanitarian
intervention any time soon. This seems to be confirmed by the fact
that the White House wants to have a recently passed Darfur
Accountability Act stricken from the Iraq-Afghanistan emergency
supplemental appropriations bill it is party of.
Like Rumsfeld and Saddam, Zoellick was more than happy to meet
with First Vice President Ali Osman Taha, the man primarily
responsible for the Darfur policy.
So why the policy shift? Simple, the Sudan government is helping
the US in its imperial interests. The Bush Junta has forged a close
intelligence partnership with the regime which once welcomed Osama
bin Laden there. In exchange, the Sudanese government wants to be
removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and wants
Washington to lift long-standing economic sanctions barring most
trade between the two countries. The collaboration is,
unsurprisingly, not been widely unpublicised.
Then there is the oil. Yes, just as the Sudanese government's
representatives visited Washington for high-level "consultations"
with the CIA, it announced that "abundant" oil reserves have been
found in Darfur. It also happens that China is at the head of Sudan's
burgeoning oil industry and its companies are securing concessions in
choice fields (It has invested more than $15 billion in Sudanese oil
through the China National Petroleum Corp, a state-owned monolith).
US corporations will want to get access to those resources (American
investment in Sudan was officially banned in 1997). Moreover, the US
state has a real interest limiting Chinese influence as China could
become the main global competitor in the years to come.
Is it surprising that the Bush Junta has changed its tune?
Obviously committing genocide is not really that important for the
Bush Junta. Nor is the fact that Sudan is run by an authoritarian
regime whose ruling military junta took power in 1989. The fact that
Sudan continues to come under harsh international criticism for human
rights violations is also not considered relevant. As is the fact
that the Sudanese government was on the most recent US list of state
sponsors of terrorism.
Why should it? It hasn't before. Why should all that matter when
the regime has been providing access its resources and sharing
intelligence data with the United States? Can we expect the US to
become Sudan's defender at the UN rather than China, fighting off
calls for sanctions and protest resolutions just as they did for Iraq
in the 1980s?
The message is clear, help the US in its activities and you can
kill as many people as you like. Indeed, we may even sell you the
arms to do it. Just like we did with Saddam in the 1980s. So much for
Bush's rhetoric about "freedom."