Monday, July 26, 2004

CNN - EU to Push for Sanctions on Sudan

Now this is a refreshing change. It's certainly a departure from the original view expressed by everyone's champion of moral behavior in international affairs ...

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- European Union foreign ministers are to join the U.S. and push for United Nations sanctions against Sudan if its government does not move to end the bloodshed in the troubled Darfur region.
The EU ministers, in a draft statement, said they would take "appropriate further steps" if Sudan does not take action to end the fighting and resume peace talks with rebels.
An attempt by the African Union to host talks between rebels and the Sudanese government was suspended earlier this month when rebels walked out after Khartoum rejected some of their preconditions.
While not using the word sanctions, EU officials said the 25-member bloc would push for such a move by the U.N. Security Council if Sudan did not cooperate with efforts to end violence that has killed 30,000 in Darfur and caused 1 million to flee.
Some 2.2 million are in urgent need of food or medical attention, aid groups estimate.
"What is most important is to continue pressure on the Sudanese government," Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, told Reuters.
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier was visiting el-Fasher, capital of North Darfur state, Monday.
I wonder what made the French change their position (if they actually have changed their position, as one never knows with that lot). Could it be that Chirac and the boys have some sense of shame after all? But as if to remind the world that mindless "us vs. them" rhetoric isn't the exclusive preserve of the Hysterical Annies of the world, there is evidence that some extremist groups are already reaching beyond the "oppression of Arabs" rhetoric to call for a "jihad" against Westerners who try to stop Muslims killing ... other Muslims, and this in the name of Islam of all things.
Meanwhile a group calling itself Mohammed's army called on Muslims to prepare to fight Western forces sent on any mission to western Sudan.

[............]

n its warning of action against western forces, the previously unknown group said in a statement obtained by Reuters: "We have seen and heard of the American and British interference in Darfur and there is no doubt that this is a crusader war that bears no relation to the citizens of Darfur."
"We call upon you to speedily head towards Darfur and dig deep into the ground mass graves prepared for the crusader army," it added.
Witness said young Sudanese men were handing out the statements to worshippers at the central mosque in the capital, Khartoum.
Now that's chutzpah for you. When did people like the poor woman below become "Crusaders"?
Sudanese refugee
Evidently some Muslims are more "Muslim" than others, with the decisive criterion being just how thoroughly identified they are with "Arabness." Bigotry hiding behind a mask of righteousness is by no means solely a Western failing.