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Oil in Darfur? Special Ops in Somalia?
The New Old "Humanitarian" Warfare in Africa
By Keith Harmon Snow
February 7, 2007
No matter how you look at it, people are dying in Sudan. The questions of who is dying and how many, of who is doing the killing, and why, all fly around. For most everyone associated with the "Save Darfur!" or "Stop Ge 1 nocide!" movement for Sudan, the questions do not matter. Act now—to stop the killing—argue later: we are talking about genocide.
But there have been many remarkable and contradictory claims made about the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan, and many remarkable positions taken. Is there oil in Darfur? Does it matter? As one concerned fellow told me: "If I were in Darfur I wouldn’t care who was killing people. I’d want to get my family out of there as fast as possible, and so would you."
Seems reasonable enough. However, I disagree. If my family and I were at risk in a conflict zone like Darfur, or anywhere, I would be sure to know as much as possible about who the perpetrators are, and from where the threat was coming. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know where to run or who to run to. You don’t turn to the arsonist to put out a fire…unless you don’t know that the arsonists and fire department are one in the same.
Western Public Opinion
However, a sizeable few westerners see the Darfur conflict as merely the latest campaign to overthrow an Islamist government by any means necessary, where the necessary means, in the case of Darfur, might be described as a conspiracy to wage war on Sudan by using "peacekeeping" or "humanitarianism" as policy instruments in combination with international threats of military action. The respected bi-weekly journal, Africa Confidential, has described the recent "peace settlement" of March 2002—which ostensibly brought to a close the decades old war between north and south Sudan—as "regime change by stealth." Darfur was not included in the deal, and explosion of violence in Darfur, the journal noted, was rather suspect in its timing.
Nonetheless, Darfur is the cause celebre amongst people on the both sides of the political spectrum in the United States, and it is perceived as new Apartheid taken to the ultimate final solution: genocide. Indeed, Mel Middleton of the Christian faith-based organization Freedom Quest International makes the Apartheid model explicit:
"What we have advocated all along is the kind of international pressure that was placed on apartheid South Africa, and which, in the end, brought about the peaceful overthrow of the apartheid racist regime. But every western government that we've approached to adopt that method have rejected it. Why? The only logical answer short of alien reptilian race conspiracy theories is that they don't want to jeopardize their standing with China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Islamist world."
Both the political right and left in the U.S. have embraced the cause: Darfur is the new anti-Apartheid movement engineered as an anti-genocide movement seeking to "stop the slaughter in Darfur." Millions of people have jumped on the bandwagon, and the campaign has reached new heights. You can buy T-shirts and buttons and bumper stickers to support the cause, and even play "Save Darfur!" video games. Early February 2007 saw a new thrust to bring the "Save Darfur!" movement into every high school in America. And you can purchase the freedom of a Sudanese slave, a black boy or girl captured by ruthless Arabs, through Christian AID charities and "Anti-Slavery" groups. What’s the price of freedom? Fifty bucks. Or even twenty.
But not everyone is buying.
Staunch supporters of the Palestinian cause have claimed that the "Save Darfur!" movement is a Zionist conspiracy backed by Israel. An extension of this theme is the claim that Israel covets uranium reserves in Sudan for its nuclear programs. The leading advocates of the "Stop Genocide!" and "Save Darfur!" campaign point out that there is no substantive evidence of uranium in Darfur, or Sudan, and—anyway—that the moral imperatives of "Never Again" demand that politics be put aside in order to stem the tide of mass murder. These advocates appear to be correct: one is hard pressed to find any evidence anywhere of uranium reserves or interests in all of Sudan. It appears that there has not been a single article in the Western press that validates the uranium claim.
But that does not prove that the uranium claims about Israel aren’t true. For example, a U.S. Library of Congress Country Study for Sudan reports that uranium ores were discovered years ago around the Nuba Mountains and at Hufrat an Nahas in southern Kurdofan. If this is true, the war in the south has prevented them from being exploited. Minex Company of the United States obtained a 36,000-square-kilometer exploratory concession in the Kurdofan area in 1977, and the concession was increased to 48,000 square kilometers in 1979. Uranium reserves are also believed to exist near the western borders with Chad and Central African Republic—is that Darfur? Sure looks like it. Uranium prices have surged recently, and western companies are chomping at the bit for uranium concessions everywhere.
According to an interview with the ruler of North Darfur, Othman Yosuf Kibir, published in the United Arab Emirates’ Khaleej Times, the Darfur conflict revolves around oil and minerals, including uranium discovered in Hofrat an Nihas. Kibir stated that these resources have set off fierce competition between the U.S. and France. The U.S. has started to invest in oil industry in Chad, France's former colony, while France’s Total Corporation obtained drilling rights in Sudan.
Petroleum and other companies targeted by the Save Darfur divestment movement for their alliances with the Government of Sudan in Sudan include Total, Agip, Talisman Oil, PetroChina and Asea Brown Baveri. The latter company has close ties to former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: in the 1990’s Rumsfeld was on the board of directors.
Is there uranium in Darfur? Is there copper? Is there oil? According to some of the most vocal leaders of the "Save Darfur!" movement there are definitively NOT any natural resources up for grabs in Dardur. For others the presence or absence of natural resources in Darfur is irrelevant. For those who first vigorously reject the possibility of natural resources being in Darfur, but eventually accept that natural resources likely are up for grabs in Darfur, or at least might be found there, the point quickly shifts to the declaration that such resources are definitively NOT the issue in Darfur: what is important is to stop the ongoing genocide.
"For many years Tikkun has been a lone voice calling on the US to support international action to save the people of Darfur from genocide," reads a March 2006 story on the Tikkun web site. Another online Tikkun story, dated January 2007, puts forth the controversial thesis, under the same title, that "There is apartheid in Israel." [F]ormer Israeli Minister of Education Shulamit Aloni argues that Apartheid is already happening in the West Bank under Israeli rule…
So, you see, there is dissension about Darfur amongst even staunch supporters of the Palestinian cause. Responding to the charge that his support of the "Save Darfur!" campaign equates to supporting a regime change agenda, Rabbi Michael Lerner replied with one sentence: "I do not seek to overthrow the government of Sudan, but to stop them from murdering black African civilians."
"Rabbi Lerner is a person of integrity and courage who has spoken repeatedly against the injustices committed against the Palestinian people," one defender elaborated. "As a Rabbi, his voice carries weight and commands authority. People hear him. Jews hear him. Israelis hear him. People who are neither Israeli nor Jewish (like me) hear him [the man is south Asian]. They hear and honor his voice, as do I. I don't doubt the reality of geopolitics and the involvement of powerful countries in the machinations of politics in Asia and Africa, but, with Rabbi Lerner, I call out for us to do what we can in the way we can to stop the genocides for purely humanitarian reasons, putting politics aside."
Like war crimes and crimes against humanity, genocide advocates—predominantly from the West—perceive genocide as an issue that transcends politics.
Libyan president Muammar Khadafy has claimed that Darfur is not about genocide but about Western imperialism. Khadafy has repeatedly defended the GOS, accusing the Western powers of using the genocide charge as a strategic and tactical weapon to leverage their own interests. What the West really wants, an angry Khadafy has claimed, is access and control of Darfur’s oil, for this they demonize the Government of Sudan. To the "Save Darfur!" advocates, this, of course, is a laughable charge. Always the premier terrorist in the world, on par with Fidel Castro, Khadafy’s claims of Western petroleum rapaciousness are dismissed out of hand, and anyone who holds a similar view is no better than Khadafy. Indeed, we are talking about genocide.
Christian groups working in Sudan, like Freedom Quest International, Voice of the Martyrs and Servant’s Heart—all of whom describe themselves as "non-government humanitarian relief organizations"—have accused the GOS of committing massacres which other international bodies or organizations have claimed did not happen. (An example is given below.) The GOS of Sudan has accused Western human rights agencies of exaggerating both the scale and nature of atrocities committed in the Darfur region.
The legitimacy of either side is always in question, from the others’ point of view. The Arab world claims it is a Judeo-Christian conspiracy against Islam, in pursuit of oil, and the rest of the English-speaking world accuses the Islamist GOS, and its Chinese, Malaysian, and other business partners, of genocide.
So where does that leave the general public? Either you buy the genocide argument, and jump on the bandwagon, and you quickly write-off anyone who challenges your belief system as uncaring about human life, or you sit on the sidelines and brood about what you believe to be true but simply cannot prove. From the point of view of the general public, at the end of the day, it is impossible to sort out who is honest and who is not. The only moral choice we have is to jump on the bandwagon right? We are talking about genocide: it’s no time to quibble amongst ourselves.
To juxtapose and sift through the information warfare being produced on Darfur we can compare and contrast the writings of Dr. Eric Reeves to those of Dr. David Hoile. These two individuals couldn’t be further apart in their positions and analyses about Darfur. The former, Dr. Eric Reeves, is perhaps the premier advocate for the "Save Darfur!" movement in the Anglo-American camp. We might even call him the self-declared, self-made Voice of Sudan. The latter, Dr. David Hoile, is one of the premier advocates for the GOS, or perhaps might better be called a challenger to the "Save Darfur!" campaign spearheaded by the Anglo-American camp. Both men write in English, and both have written volumes about the Darfur conflict.
Dr. Eric Reeves is a professor of English and Literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and he has traveled to Africa once or (maybe) twice in his life, for a grand total of about two or three weeks in South Sudan. Dr. Eric Reeves began writing about Sudan in 1998, after a meeting, he says, with Joelle Tanguay, the then U.S. director of Doctors Without Borders.
According to Mel Middleton, the Director of Freedom Quest International:
"Eric Reeves has spent about the same amount of time in Sudan as you have. But, unlike you, he has spent at least 8 years doing almost exclusive research on Sudan. He took a two-year sabbatical from teaching so that he could do that. He reads everything that is put out on Sudan; has an extensive base of first hand information—everywhere from State Department contacts to NGOs and locals on the ground."
In a court of law, such "first hand information" accumulated in Sudan and communicated to a man sitting in an office in a college in America would be called here-say. Nonetheless, it is a technique that is widely used in the modern information age, and one that this author also uses to come to some understanding about what is happening in a place the writer/researcher cannot always get to.
Dr. Eric Reeves writes prolifically about Sudan, and while he claims to be concerned about the human toll in lives and suffering, he has also been a staunch advocate for the overthrow of the Khartoum government. This is the mixing of "humanitarian concern" with militant hegemony. Apparently, there are a lot of people who see no contradiction in terms in calling for the freedom and liberty of a people under siege, if we are to believe the reams and reams of media coverage and human rights reports, all from the Western media and human rights establishment, which focus on the human toll in Darfur, and the agenda of overthrowing of a sovereign government. Indeed, the idea that the Government of Sudan has any legitimacy as a "sovereign" government in today’s world is dismissed outright. There is nothing legitimate about massacring unarmed men, women and children in the deserts of Darfur, Kordufan, or Upper Nile, Sudan. It is the responsibility of moral people and civilized society to take whatever action is necessary to stop such atrocities.
In one Washington Post article titled "Regime Change in Sudan," Dr. Eric Reeves described the imperatives of overthrowing the government of Sudan, by any means necessary, and noted that some governing body needed to be created to take its place. "A proportionately representative interim governing council must be created externally but be ready to move quickly to take control when the NIF [National Islamic Front] is removed by whatever means are necessary."
Dr. Eric Reeves has not only called for the overthrow of the GOS, but he has called for this to be done by any means necessary, and for an externally created [emphasis added] "governing council" to be readied to fill the vacuum of state power. Under any other terms this would certainly be called a coup d’etat but the moral imperatives of genocide dictate that it be defined as a humanitarian gesture. Under any other terms the call for establishing an "externally created governing council" would be seen as inappropriate foreign intervention in violation of the Geneva Convention and other international covenants. No matter: we are talking about genocide.
Like the other leading advocates of the "Save Darfur!" movement, Dr. Eric Reeves frequently cites the new international humanitarian legal instrument titled "Responsibility to Protect" or "R2P," a doctrine created by the "international community" in the new millennium to protect innocent people in cases where their own government is not taking appropriate action to protect them from harm: Sudan offers the first live test case where the "R2P" doctrine is being applied. The "R2P" was designed to override state sovereignty, and it dictates the "need" for international military action.
Whether he is presenting his statistics tallying the numbers of dead killed by the Government of Sudan or admonishing Western officials, Dr. Eric Reeves is published everywhere, and all the time: seems every word out of his mouth is news that is fit to print. Dr. Reeves’ writings on genocide in Sudan began as early as 1998. Of course, back then it was not genocide in Darfur, it was genocide in south Sudan, according to Dr. Eric Reeves and Mel Middleton, around a place called Juba, in regions other than Darfur, which no one on the world had heard of, where the GOS was, then as now, accused of committing massive atrocities, crimes against humanity, and genocide of southerners. The south of Sudan is said to be mostly Christian, with some yet-to-be-converted animists, pagan animal worshippers of traditional African religions.
End of Part One
Source: Global Research,