Where the US does take action against jihadist activity, it is all too inclined to shoot itself in the foot by settling for half-measures, or backing down from a decisive — and winnable — confrontation: One will recall, for example, the “cease-fire” at Tora Bora which allowed bin Laden to escape, the unwillingness to neutralize the influence (and military power) of Muqtada al-Sadr early in the Iraq conflict, the acceptance of a toothless UN-brokered truce in last summer’s Israel-Hizballah war, and so on.
Here, the Bush administration has squandered a chance first and foremost to save lives in the Darfur conflict, but also to hold to account the Sudanese government and its Arab backers. By doing so, it has also emboldened Khartoum in its activities on many fronts (southern Sudan, flareups in neighboring Chad), and handed the jihadists who consider Sudan a prime component of their cause (including bin Laden and al-Zawahiri) another opportunity to declare victory. Lastly, it has driven another nail in the coffin of the UN’s authority to resolve disputes justly and associate any meaningful action with the hollow platitudes of the Security Council… though that’s more nails than coffin at this point, anyway.
WASHINGTON – In a major policy reversal, Washington’s special envoy for Darfur has confirmed the United States is backing away from demands for deployment of a UN peacekeeping force to the war-torn region of Sudan.
Andrew Natsios, President George W. Bush’s personal envoy to Sudan, said Washington and other Western governments were looking for an “alternate way” to deal with the violence which has left at least 200,000 people dead and 2.5 million homeless in
It was the first public acknowledgement that the United States was reconsidering its backing for an August 31 UN Security Council resolution it sponsored demanding the deployment of some 20,000 UN peacekeepers to halt what Washington has described as genodice in Darfur.
Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir has rejected the United Nations demand and refused to meet with Natsios during a visit to Khartoum last week, the US envoy said in an interview with the National Holocaust Memorial which was posted on the memorial’s website on Friday.
Natsios said Beshir was furious over Bush’s renewal this week of US financial sanctions imposed on Sudan for its involvement in the Darfur violence and alleged support for international terrorists.
The UN adopted its resolution in July mandating the deployment of some UN peacekeepers to replace an under-funded African Union force in Darfur that has failed to halt the violence.
Beshir has instead insisted that the African Union mission, over which it has more influence, be reinforced.