Sudan has been under attack by the US for at least 15 years. In 1998 thousands demonstrated against the bombing of the only pharmaceutical plant in the country at al-shifa by the Clinton administration.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire Photo File
Blair tells his critics to ‘get real’ as he hints at intervention in Darfur
Tony Blair told his foreign policy critics to “get real” yesterday as he issued a warning that Britain must remain ready to use military force to prevent genocide, oppression and injustice overseas.
He gave a broad hint that he believed the international community should be prepared to intervene militarily in Darfur and said he feared that the world, especially a large body of western opinion, had become dangerously misguided about the threat of global terrorism.
Writing in The Economist, Mr Blair rejected as “seductive but dangerous” the argument that British and American intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan had made life worse for ordinary people there and allowed terrorism to flourish.
In a lengthy defence of his record in foreign affairs he gave warning that there was “no alternative” to fighting terrorism, “wherever it rears its head”.
He told those advocating a more distant relationship with Washington to “get real” and accept that Britain was “infinitely more influential” with close links to Europe and America.
In a valedictory article aimed at The Economist’s international readership, Mr Blair argued that Britain’s self-interest now dictated a “values-based” foreign policy that stood up for the principles of freedom, democracy and justice around the globe.
He wrote: “We should be prepared to intervene, if necessary militarily, to prevent genocide, oppression, the deep injustice too often inflicted on the vulnerable.”
Over the past decade Britain had taken military action in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq, in each case removing “regimes of appalling brutality”, he said.
He then referred to Darfur. “So when we come to Darfur, do we really believe that if we do not act to change this situation, the violence will stop at the borders of Sudan? In the early 1990s we could not summon the will to act in Bosnia. It took 250,000 lives lost before we realised we had no option.”
He referred to arguments that the removal of the Taleban and Saddam Hussein had worsened the plight of ordinary people and created new fronts for terrorism. But he insisted: “This is a seductive but dangerous argument. Work out what it really means.
“It means that because these reactionary and evil forces will fight hard, through terrorism, to prevent those countries and their people getting on their feet after the dictatorships are removed, we should leave the people under the dictatorship.
“It means our will to fight for what we believe in is measured by our enemy’s will to fight us, but in inverse proportion. That is not a basis on which you ever win anything.”
Mr Blair said that much of Western opinion was becoming “dangerously misguided” and complacent about the nature and scale of the threat from global terrorism.
With an ideology based on “an utter perversion of the true faith of Islam”, al-Qaeda and other groups hostile to the West were ready to use any opportunity to destabilise peace and provoke conflict, he said. “Not a single major European nation is immune.
“There is no alternative to fighting this menace wherever it rears its head,” wrote Mr Blair. “There are no demands that are remotely negotiable. It has to be beaten. Period.”
The current bloodshed in Iraq was caused not by the USled invasion of 2003, but by the efforts of al-Qaeda and the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army to destabilise the country for their own ends, he wrote. “Remove al-Qaeda, remove the malign Iranian activity, and the situation would be changed, even transformed.”
Mr Blair said that one of the key lessons he had learnt from a decade in Downing Street was that Britain must be “a player, not a spectator” in international affairs.
He voiced “real concern” about growing indifference, and even hostility, on both sides of the Atlantic to Britain’s historic alliance with the US.
300,000: people are thought to have died in Darfur from conflict, disease and starvation
Rights group asks UN to create Darfur oil fund
Thu 31 May 2007 5:09 PM ET
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK, May 31 (Reuters) - Human Rights Watch asked the U.N. Security Council on Thursday to create a fund using Sudanese oil revenues to help the country's Darfur region as part of its bid to force Khartoum to accept U.N. peacekeepers.
In a letter to the 15-member council, the U.S.-based rights group said all oil export revenues and royalties owed to Khartoum should be paid into a "Darfur Recovery Fund" until the Sudanese government agrees to several conditions.
Among those requirements are that Khartoum accept the full deployment of joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force of more than 23,000 troops and police, and that the government stops its support of the Janjaweed militia.
"Given Sudan's blatant failure to protect civilians in Darfur, the Security Council should designate Sudanese oil revenues to create a fund to assist those suffering most from Khartoum's abusive policies," said Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
"Such limits on Sudan's oil revenues have the best chance of stopping the violence and compelling Khartoum to accept the full African Union-United Nations force," he said.
More than 200,000 people have died and 2 million have been driven from their homes since the conflict in western Sudan between ethnic African rebels and the government, backed by the Arab Janjaweed militia, began in 2003. Khartoum says 9,000 have died and rejects accusations of genocide.
The Security Council last year adopted a resolution to deploy a "hybrid" U.N.-A.U. force. But Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has argued that this figure is too high. He has agreed to the deployment of 3,000 U.N. police and military personnel to aid the African Union force of about 7,000.
CHINA A MAJOR CLIENT
Human Rights Watch said a recovery fund "would permit both the Sudanese government and private firms to continue to export oil," but all monies would be paid to the fund that would be used to help the people of Sudan. China buys much of Sudan's 330,000 barrels per day of crude oil.
The rights group also again called for targeted sanctions on Sudanese leaders.
The United States imposed new sanctions on Sudan on Tuesday and sought support for an international arms embargo out of frustration at Sudan's refusal to end the Darfur conflict.
U.S. President George W. Bush also directed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to consult with Britain and other allies on pursuing new U.N. Security Council sanctions against Sudan that would extend an arms embargo on Sudan and stop military flights into Darfur, among other measures.
Britain weeks ago initiated such a resolution and both countries are still working on a text before wider consultations can be held, U.N. diplomats said.
Security Council ambassadors plan to visit five African nations in mid-June, including Sudan, so it is doubtful any sanctions would be approved before then.
(Added reporting by Evelyn Leopold at the United Nations)