Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bush’s Darfur policies falling short

Since the Bush administration classified the violence in Darfur as genocide two and a half years ago – making the U.S. the first and only nation to do so – some have argued that Washington has stalled in attempting to fulfill its promise to end the violence in Sudan.

An article in today’s Washington Post commented on a host of issues that have contributed to the wilting domestic and international commitment to the crisis. Despite the president’s passion for this issue, his policies have fluctuated between putting pressure on and engaging with the Islamist government. Constant turnover of crucial advisors on Darfur has also contributed to the slow progress. The current U.S. involvement in other Muslim countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, has added to the already complex foreign relations quagmire.

“It’s impossible to keep Iraq out of this picture,” said Edward Mortimer, who served as a top aide to then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and says resentment over Iraq caused many countries to not want to cooperate with the United States on Darfur.

Multilateral bodies such as the U.N., NATO, and the African Union have suffered from bureaucratic slowness, preventing a unified effort to address the humanitarian crisis.

Notably, few other Western nations besides Britain and a handful of Nordic countries have shouldered responsibility for resolving the violence either diplomatically or militarily.

According to the article: “Advisers say Bush came to accept, albeit grudgingly, the arguments against using U.S. military assets – especially the possibility that they might attract al-Qaeda.”

“In my mind, there would never be enough troops to impose order on this place,” former secretary of state Colin Powell said an interview. “The only way to resolve this problem was for there to be a political settlement between the rebels and the government.”

“Overall,” concluded John R. Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, “Sudan is a case where there’s a lot of international rhetoric and no stomach for real action.”

For the full article, click here.

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