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Sudan's Islamic Terror By: William R. Hawkins
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 12, 2008


Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, briefed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in an open meeting June 5 about his investigation regarding Darfur. He spoke of massive atrocities being committed there and warned, “The entire Darfur region is a crime scene.” The Brazilian lawyer said that the Government of Sudan is not cooperating in the arrest and surrender of the two suspects the Court has indicted, Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb. He asked the Security Council to make it clear that the two fugitives, and those who protect them, will not receive leniency from the international community. But there is no “international community.” The UNSC is composed of individual countries with their own interests to pursue, which leaves them divided on issues like Sudan.

The crimes investigated by the Prosecutor took place during attacks on towns in West Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004. Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb are leaders of Janjaweed (Arabic for “men with guns on horseback”) militia groups in league with the Sudan government. These militiamen are primarily members of nomadic Arab tribes who have long been at odds with Darfur's darker-skinned African farmers. According to the Prosecutor's evidence, the militias assaulted the civilian population, committing mass rapes, killings, torture, looting of residences and shops, and the displacement of the resident community. According to UN sources, at least 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million (half of Darfur’s population) are thought to have been turned into refugees as result of the conflict.

In 2003, two non-Arab groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLMA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), took up arms against the oppressive Sudanese regime. In response to the uprising, the Janjaweed militias began pillaging towns and villages inhabited by members of the African communities from which the rebel armies draw their strength—the Zaghawa, Masalit, and Fur tribes. This conflict in Western Sudan is separate from, but similar to, the 22-year-old civil war that has pitted the Islamic regime against Christian and animist rebels in Southern Sudan. Black Africans make up 52 percent of the Sudanese population, with Arabs accounting for 39 percent. Sudan’s official language is Arabic. Many of the Africans are Sunni Muslims like the Arabs, but race is as important as religion in the civil war. The use of irregular forces to suppress uprisings has been a common tactic in Islamic military history, one that has always produced horrendous crimes against civilians. It is truly the practice of state terrorism.

Moreno-Ocampo plans to present a second case in July, which he says shows evidence of an organized campaign by Sudanese officials to attack civilians, in particular the Zaghawa, Masalit, and Fur communities. The commission of crimes on such a large scale, over a period of five years, has required the sustained mobilization of the entire Sudanese State apparatus, Moreno-Ocampo argued.

Following the Prosecutor’s presentation, the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added his concern about the lack of cooperation by the Khartoum regime. Security Council resolution 1593, which was adopted in 2005 under Chapter VII of the Charter, requires Sudan to “cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor” This includes an obligation to arrest and surrender the indicted individuals. Chapter VII allows not only for economic sanctions, but is the article under which military intervention can be authorized by the UN Security Council. The United States pushed for the use of Chapter VII. The Sudan regime has, naturally, refused to accept ICC jurisdiction, which it feels is an infringement on its sovereignty.

In its defiant stance, the Sudan regime is backed by UNSC member China. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's told a Beijing press conference on June 6, “China supports the proper resolution of the Darfur issue through dialogue and consultation based on respecting Sudan's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have made proactive efforts to this end, including sending a peacekeeping engineering unit to the Darfur region.” The unit mentioned is from the People’s Liberation Army.

China has been involved in Africa since the 1960s, supporting rogue regimes and revolutionary groups in accordance with an “anti-imperialist” (anti-Western) theme. Beijing’s relations with Sudan expanded in the 1990s with the development of that country’s large oil reserves. It has invested over $10 billion in Sudan. The state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) owns 40 percent, the largest share, in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC). State-owned China Petroleum Engineering & Construction (CPEC) has built a pipeline from the GNPOC fields to the Red Sea, and a refinery complex outside Khartoum.

CNPC owns most of a field in Darfur and 41 percent of a field in the Melut Basin. It is the majority shareholder in the Petrodar oil consortium. Another Chinese state firm, Sinopec, is building a pipeline to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, where CPEC is building a tanker terminal. About 70 percent of Sudan’s oil exports go to China, and account for 10 percent of China’s oil imports. In exchange for oil, Beijing provides weapons and diplomatic support. China has supplied Sudan with tanks, artillery, helicopters, and fighter aircraft. China has flooded Darfur with antipersonnel mines. It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of Sudan’s oil revenue go to the purchase of weapons, while the general population remains one of the poorest in the world.

In May, heavy fighting broke out around the oil town of Abyei. According to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the central government and the SLMA (which is honored mainly by its lapses), there is to be a special referendum in Abyei in 2011 to determine who will govern the strategic city. The Janjaweed militias are determined to drive the non-Arab population out of the area before the vote.

Beijing has helped Sudan build its own factories to manufacture small arms and ammunition, the real weapons of mass destruction in the Islamic campaign of ethnic cleansing. Chinese-built helicopter gunships reportedly operate from airfields maintained by the Chinese oil companies. It has also been reported that Chinese security forces have gone beyond just holding a defensive posture around the oil fields. They may be actively supporting offensive operations by Sudanese government troops and the Arab militias. A report by the U.S.-funded Civilian Protection Monitoring Team asserted that government troops have “sought to clear the way for oil exploration and to create a cordon sanitaire around the oil fields.” Brad Phillips, director of Persecution International, an aid group working in South Sudan, has seen the destruction firsthand. He told the Christian Science Monitor last year, "The Chinese are equal partners with Khartoum when it comes to exploiting resources and locals here.”

The oil facilities are staffed and operated by Chinese “guest workers” who assure Beijing’s control. David Blair, a reporter for the London Telegraph has reported seeing “Freshly painted billboards in Khartoum that carry pictures of smiling Chinese oil workers and the slogan: ‘CNPC - Your close friend and faithful partner.”  

At the United Nations last September, the Security Council passed resolution 1564, threatening Sudan with economic sanctions unless it curbed the violence in Darfur. China immediately threatened to veto any move to actually impose sanctions, so the threat was rendered useless. Beijing’s deployment of “peacekeeping” troops in Darfur is meant to block any further action by UN or African Union forces that could threaten China’s Sudanese allies.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang stated Beijing’s preference for “the proper settlement of the issue by the tri-partite coordination mechanism of the Sudanese Government, the African Union and the United Nations, to press ahead with in a balanced way the double-track strategy of political negotiation and peacekeeping deployment.” These negotiations have been taking place in Geneva without any discernable effects in reducing the violence. This is the way Beijing likes it. China’s endorsement of endless negotiations, whether involving Sudan, Iran or North Korea, is meant to forestall action by any of the outside negotiating partners, while the regimes in Khartoum, Tehran and Pyongyang are left free to continue their dangerous policies. Beijing knows that for the West and the UN, talking and fighting are opposite activities, whereas in Communist doctrine—dating back to at least the Korean War, talking and fighting go together, parts of the same strategy to prevail. This is a strategy Muslim militants have also learned, proving once again the wisdom of Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum, uttered over a century ago, “Diplomacy is utterly useless where there is no force behind it.”

William Hawkins is a consultant on international economics and national security issues.


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