The American government is missing its chance in Darfur and in the southern Sudan. The inhabitants of Darfur, if they could somehow get word out, would also ask for American forces, as some Somalis are now said to be doing, and with greater cause.
And over the past 20 years, the Christians and animists in southern Sudan have done so. But during the past twenty years the West did not listen, just as during the Biafra War it did nothing to help the Biafrans, and nothing to stop the Egyptian pilots from strafing Ibo villages. But now the Camp of Islam can be better comprehended. The Arab Muslims of Khartoum are supported completely by Egypt and other Arab Muslims. Nor has there been a single word of protest about the 20-year-long Jihad against the Christians and animists in the southern Sudan from the Arab League or any Arab government or spokesman. And that is to be expected: the solidarity of the umma al-islamiyya is what matters. Why should Arabs care what Arabs to Christian and animist blacks in the southern Sudan, or Kurds in Iraq, or any non-Muslims anywhere?
There has also been the same silence, complicity, support for the Arab Muslims in Darfur, where the inferior — because non-Arab — Muslims are being killed and driven out of their lands by Arab Muslims. The Americans could use as justification any number of actions by the Sudanese government to seize, without an enormous effort, both the southern Sudan and Darfur — or at the very least, to destroy every plane and helicopter in possession of the Khartoum regime, as a warning that it must stop, and to ensure that it will, in any case, no longer possess the means to continue.
That might be enough to change the balance of forces. It might be enough to hearten non-Muslims and non-Arab Muslims in the Sudan and especially among black Christians in Ethiopia. Those groups need to be reminded, to have their consciousnesses raised at every step, of how Islam has always been a vehicle for Arab supremacism. (The other day the BBC had a long piece on Harar, described by the female reporter as “the fourth city of Islam.” Her sympathies were clearly with the Muslims. Her voice dripped with fellow feeling for the put-upon Muslims, and incomprehension and hostility toward the government of Ethiopia that in her view was leaving Harar as an ill-considered backwater, no doubt part of a Christian plot against those inoffensive — everywhere inoffensive — Muslims.)
And such a move would hearten Christians in southern Nigeria, in Togo, in the Ivory Coast, and in Kenya and Tanzania. They need a boost. They need to believe that Islam is on the run, that what they see as the Christian West will defend them, as it did not defend the Biafrans during the 1967-69 War. It will send a message to Egypt: stop telling Ethiopia what it can or cannot do with the headwaters of the Nile, some of which Ethiopia quite rightly wishes to use for irrigation projects. The Nile does not belong to Egypt alone.
And the destruction of the Sudanese airforce will be a signal as well to the Arab countries that Dar al-Islam can not only not expand, but be forcibly contained, or even subject to violent contraction. Remove those planes and those helicopters in one fell swoop. It should not take much. It would send a message the way messages are sent in the Muslim world:
This far, and no farther.
American troops should only be sent where the end result will be to damage the Camp of Islam and Jihad in the most cost-effective way possible. The greatest damage to Islam’s spread, and to the Camp of Islam, that could right now be done is in the Sudan, through a humanitarian effort to protect those being mass-murdered. Even Nicolas Kristof would have to approve. And even the E.U. and, outwardly, most of the U.N. would have to go along. Only the Arab League would still dare to express its rage at this effort to protect non-Arab Muslims and non-Muslims.
Every move should be calculated. Does this weaken the Camp of Islam and Jihad, at the low cost to us? Does it properly exploit the pre-existing fissures within Islam? Perhaps, in Somalia, the answer is yes. Or perhaps not — perhaps the locals” hatred for the Islamic Courts will soon be outweighed by dislike, or whipped-up hatred, for the Infidels — whatever the local warlords and those in the previous government think. That is only to be expected from a Muslim population. In the Sudan, however, the black Africans in Darfur have had their own experience with Arab Muslims murdering them, and their own Islam is rudimentary — as it would have to be with a largely illiterate population. They are much less likely to be prompted by the anti-Infidel sentiments than the Muslims of Somalia, who have not experienced the full fury of the Arab Muslims. That is, they have not experienced or recognized Islam as a vehicle of Arab imperialism. They may even complacently think of themselves as Arabs, and continue to do so until the real Arabs decide to let them know otherwise.
One hopes that Sudan (that is, southern Sudan, with its already producing oil wells, and Darfur, with potential oil wealth — which would allow a new independent state to be self-sustaining) will still be higher on the list of places where American forces should intervene directly, than Muslim Somalia. By intervention one means something far less than the massive, fool’s errand mess of Iraq, but something beyond the odd A-130 attack and whatever supplies and training are now being offered Ethiopia and other non-Muslim forces in and close to the Horn of Africa.