First, I want to say thank you to Bec and Cooper for bringing this short CBS video to my attention. Cooper made the following comment:
Bush can’t act he is barely holding his presidency together here, we certainly have no troops to send, he sent them all to Iraq and now Afghanistan is falling apart. He also need help from the world and The Sudan of course will not cooperate. I see the points for not sending in UN troops but to see the death the dying the kids withouth parents is making us sick.
Bec also asked the following question:
They [CBS] claimed that Bashir has been feeding little snippets of info about Bin Laden to the US and that’s why Bush has been hesitant to act in Darfur. Do you think this is credible at all?
I answered with this long comment:
Yes, it’s quite possible and it will certainly explain many things. I’ve always been quite amazed at the NCP’s sarcastic attitude when it brushes off threats and demands by the US and UK. You saw yourself how the right Sudanese UN rep was laughing.
Let me be clear and honest though. Is Bashir’s regime providing information about al-Qaeda to the US? Yes I can confirm that to you a 100%. Does Sudan continue to provide this information. Yes it still does BUT… There are sources that indicate the information being provided by the NCP to the US is still very valuable and there are other sources that indicate the value of the information has been decreasing significantly and that at the moment the NCP doesn’t really have much valuable information to offer like it did in the past anymore. So basically there’s a contradiction there. However the fact remains that the NCP is STILL providing information and intelligence to America. Whether this info and intel is very valuable or not, I can’t really say or confirm to you.
Another thing I would like to add is many believe that ties to al-Qaeda are still maintained. The NCP doesn’t provide material support or anything to terrorism anymore but I think it’s very logical when people say, some ties do remain between NCP and al-Qaeda. These are people who shared the ideology of Bin Laden openly and still continue to but “under the carpet” now. I doubt they’ll completely cut their ties to Osama’s people. It’s just my humble guess.
Bin Laden was in Sudan for 5 years and the NCP (formerly known as NIF ie. National Islamic Front when Turabi was in it) was working very closely with Bin Laden. Bin Laden was in Sudan together with many Taliban Afghanis who worked with him and who were also his bodyguards. Hell when I was a kid, I would go out with my uncle and we’ll drive past this huge house at the edge of his upper class neighbourhood in Khartoum called Riyadh. This big house always stood out from the rest. Why? 5-10 Afghanis stood outside it during most times. When I asked my uncle about it, he answered me in a sarcastic tone since I was a little kid at the time and he didn’t take me seriously. He replied “that’s the house of Turabi’s new best friend. His name is Osama bin Laden. They both plan on making Sudan another version of Saudi Arabia. It will be wonderfull”. My uncle is very sarcastic just like me. I guess it runs in the family
The CBS documentary is cool but it fails like many other articles to describe the root causes of the conflict correctly. They’ve oversimplified it as a racist genocidal war by Arabs against Africans. While racism is definitely an element and the war has taken a genocidal nature, other important points are ignored and some are just plain wrong. They say that Sudan’s government is an Arab dictatorship which made ethnic Africans in Darfur live for years under harsh discrimination and that after they rebeled in 2003 the Arab government moved in to exterminate them. The CBS clip makes it seem as if the whole thing errupted because of racial issues. That’s wrong. Just look at the eastern conflict. The tribes in the east are either Afro-Arabs or pure Arabs who crossed the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia and Yemen to Sudan. They’ve suffered discrimination and oppression too and it had nothing to do with the color of their skin. The dictatorship in Khartoum is corrupt and hasn’t been providing any decent money for developing basic necessities to the people of the east and west. They like money, they like power and they like keeping them all to themselves. For about a decade the eastern rebels fought for their fair share of power and wealth. The same is with the south and west except in the case of the west there’s water shortage, there’s ethnic tension amongst the tribes fighting over water and there’s hatred rising to the surface again because of a history in the region of tribes attacking each other and enslaving members. In the case of the south, religion and implementation of Sharia were the additional factors not present in all the other conflicts. Also the racism element in the war with the south was very strong and obvious. It didn’t have a tribal basis but was more of an Arab/Afro-Arab VS Africans kind of racism like the old racism that generally existed against Africans and people of color in America. Darfur is different, it’s what you could call “tribal racism”. This same racism also exists in the south amongst pure African southern tribes. For example the SPLM is mainly controled by the major Dinka tribe and other minor pure African tribes in the south have always had problems with the Dinka and complained about racism and discrimination. So you see it’s more complex than the simple Darfur is a genocide that needs to be stopped. People must know the root causes ie. water shortage, tribalism and huge corruption by the dictatorial NCP. Damn I’ve ranted way too much. I hope I didn’t give you all a headache. Grrrrr, welcome to the disease called tribalism that Sudan suffers from. Sigh! Jan Pronk will be missed. Sigh!
UPDATE: My dad and his political junkie well informed friends were having an Eid chilling session just now. Coincidentally they were discussing the same thing. Now note that these guys are not your usual anti-American, Britain hating kind of folks but rational ones. Their conclusion: No, Bush isn’t hesitant to act in Sudan because he receives info and intel about Bin Laden from the NCP. He can’t really act because he’s already got enough to deal with. Furthermore, the NCP doesn’t have much valuable intelligence to provide to the CIA like it used to anymore. I agree!