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Scott Sullivan : Sudan no-fly Zone?

 


The Obama administration is apparently oblivious to the emergence of two crises in Sudan. First, themainly  NGO's warn that hundreds of thousands of mainly Christian and animist refugees trapped in Sudan's Darfur province face annihilation as a result of the aggressive new military actions by Sudan's Muslim government, as well as by President Obama's refusal to protect Darfur's refugees by establishing a no-fly zone , as Obama promised during his presidential election campaign. According to a Reuters dispatch, more than 70,000 refugees have been forced to flee Darfur over the past several months as a result of the anti-Christian pogroms carried out by the Muslim Khartoum gov ernment.

Moreover, large numbers of new Christian refugees are being created as fighting escalates between the Khartoum government and opposition political forces, following  an Obama-brokered agreement that would  partition Sudan into a majority Chistian northern state and  a majority Muslim southern state.  The formal date for dividung Sudan into two states is in July of this year. Meanwhile, Omar Hassan al-Bashir's Islamic government in Khartoum is sabotaging the Obama-brokered separation agreement by shipping weapons to South Sudan's own secessionist tribes. In short, Northern Sudan is turning South  Sudan into a failed state well before South Sudan receives independence.

Obama should learn three lessons from his blunders in Sudan.

First, Obama should question the findings of policy assessments advocating the breakup of multi-national states like Sudan into smaller mono-ethnic states. Skepticism is warranted because most instances of ethnic partition from Pakistan in 1947 to Sudan today have led to large scale ethnic conflict within states and even war between states.

Second , Obama owes the Darfur refugees an explanation of why he refuses to honor his campaign to establish a US-led no –fly zone, as he promised during his presidential campaign.

Third, sooner rather than later, Obama may have to deploy US “boots on the ground” in Sudan to protect refugees or to deter civil war between North and South Sudan. In fact, Sudan may even hold rank above Libya as a priority for US military deployments given the greater severity of Sudan's internal problems (i.e., a refugee crisis and a civil war, as noted above). Sudan would also rank above Libya as a priority for US military deployments because of the far greater adverse regional consequences from the collapse of Sudan than the collapse of Libya. I wonder if President Gaddafi has any thoughts on this issue?

 

 


Scott Sullivan is a former Washington government employee and was the Senior Advisor for International Economics at the Crisis Management Center of the National Security Council, 1984 - 1986. Petroleumworld not necessarily share these views.

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Petroleumworld News 03/30/2011


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