What's a Little Genocide Between Friends?

Friday, April 29, 2005

What's a Little Genocide Between Friends?

Today, the LA Times reported that Sudan have been providing valuable and extensive cooperation to the US in the fight against global terrorism, creating the odd situation of the CIA working closely with a regime that the US has accused of genocide
The paradox of a U.S.-Sudanese intelligence partnership is personified by [Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Salah Abdallah] Gosh.

Members of Congress accused him and other senior Sudanese officials of directing military attacks against civilians in Darfur. During the 1990s, the Mukhabarat assigned Gosh to be its Al Qaeda minder. In that role he had regular contacts with Bin Laden, a former Mukhabarat official confirmed.

Today, Gosh is keeping in contact with the office of CIA Director Porter J. Goss and senior agency officials.
Furthermore, the American Prospect's Mark Leon Goldberg reports that the Bush administration is quietly trying to kill the Darfur Accountability Act
Last week, the Senate unanimously passed the Darfur Accountability Act as part of the Iraq-Afghanistan emergency supplemental appropriations bill. Led by Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas and Democrat John Corzine of New Jersey, the act appropriates $90 million in U.S. aid for Darfur and establishes targeted U.S. sanctions against the Sudanese regime, accelerates assistance to expand the size and mandate of the African Union mission in Darfur, expands the United Nations Mission in Sudan to include the protection of civilians in Darfur, establishes a no-fly zone over Darfur, and calls for a presidential envoy to Sudan.

The Darfur Accountability Act is now with the House, and Republican leaders there -- no doubt under pressure from an evangelical movement that has been aiding civilians in Southern Sudan since the outbreak of a civil war nearly 20 years ago -- are similarly joining with Democrats to push for a more robust humanitarian response to the unfolding genocide in Western Sudan. In a recent meeting with Sudanese dissidents on Capitol Hill, Congressman Tom Tancredo, a conservative Colorado Republican who first visited Sudan in 2001, discussed the urgency of passing the bill. "Pressure is the only thing that Khartoum will respond to," Tancredo said. "The only time they will act is when they think they are on the precipice."

Yet in an April 25 letter from the White House's Office of Management and Budget to House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis obtained by the Prospect, the administration signaled its desire to strike the Darfur Accountability Act from the supplemental. Couching its reservations in a suggestion that the act may impede a separate peace accord reached between Khartoum and the rebels in south Sudan, the administration is now leaning on its congressional allies to scuttle the bill. "We are hearing that House Republicans will try to pull it out of conference," a well-placed congressional source told the Prospect.

The administration's assault on the Darfur Accountability Act reveals its belief that further coercion aimed at forcing the Sudanese regime to stop the killing is simply not productive. Prendergast says that the Bush administration seems to feel the need to constantly remind Khartoum that congressional pressure is not reflective of the White House position on Sudan. Now, with the attempt to scrap the act, the Bush administration is sending that message very clearly on a daily basis.
How these sorts of things fit in with Bush's "culture of life" rhetoric and his supposed commitment to freedom and human rights is a bit unclear to me.

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