Update on Darfur: Egypt Steps Up as the US Stands Down

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(US Defense Secretary Robert Gates with the Egyptian Military, soon to be deploying troops to Darfur)
Arab states have taken numerous hits in the media — some unwarranted, some deserved — for not taking a stronger role in condemning the violence in Darfur and arm-twisting the Sudanese government to allow for peacekeepers or peace talks. The US, by contrast, has continued to stand on a soapbox drawing attention to the issue and urging the world to move quickly to stem the violence that has claimed 200,000 lives.
But yesterday witnessed something of a reversal of positions. President Bush spoke at the UN and chastised the UN for its failures to stem the violence in Darfur (despite the breakthrough that will allow a joint UN-AU peacekeeping force) but has not been willing to put up the resources to make this breakthrough a reality as former Senator Tim Wirth stated:

This morning, President Bush admonished the UN to ‘live up to its promise to promptly deploy peacekeeping forces to Darfur.’ However, the Administration has requested funding for only 20% of its share of the Darfur mission, and is heading towards a debt of more than $1 billion for UN peacekeeping overall. It is impossible for the UN to ‘live up to its promise’ to deploy peacekeepers to Darfur if nations like the United States fail to pay for the peacekeeping missions that they vote for in the Security Council.

On the same day, Egypt, though by no means the model of human rights, took the significant step of committing 2,500 troops or 10% of the joint force to be deployed in the Darfur region. Deployments of Arab and Muslim troops cannot be understated — they will be quite valuable to both provide credibility to a western-led mission that is viewed by a large part of the world with suspicion and to dampen the resonance of al Qaeda’s twisted call to turn Darfur into another front against the West.
It’s a pity when we squander an opportunity on the global stage to lead the world on what we have termed a genocide But at the very least it’s good to see Middle East/North African neighbors beginning to warm to the notion of moral responsibility and regional stewardship on this front.
–Sameer Lalwani

Comments

6 comments on “Update on Darfur: Egypt Steps Up as the US Stands Down

  1. katherine says:

    I don’t believe that minor organisations can adequately solve the crisis in Darfur. Although I am not saying that all of us shouldn’t do what we can, with something termed as genocide, there needs to be active participation from all states to eradicate such horrendous crimes.
    The scope of the damage indicates that action is needed on a wider scale, and this means the goodwill of nation states, to stand up to what is clearly wrong.
    Haven’t we learnt from Rwanda or the Holocaust? Do we really want to look back on this 10 years or so later and think, we should have done more?

    Reply

  2. katherine says:

    I don’t believe that minor organisations can adequately solve the crisis in Darfur. Although I am not saying that all of us shouldn’t do what we can, with something termed as genocide, there needs to be active participation from all states to eradicate such horrendous crimes.
    The scope of the damage indicates that action is needed on a wider scale, and this means the goodwill of nation states, to stand up to what is clearly wrong.
    Haven’t we learnt from Rwanda or the Holocaust? Do we really want to look back on this 10 years or so later and think, we should have done more?

    Reply

  3. Dar says:

    Why is it that we expect states to play the primary role?
    It seems there is lots of room for private roles: individuals, churches, clubs, Internet collaborations and even small businesses.
    Some might provide food. Some might change business practices. Some might teach defense to villages. Some might teach trade business practice. (Trade is always a strong force for peace.) Some might act as examples of peace.
    We have a desire and (perhaps) moral obligation to help. Governments cannot have either.

    Reply

  4. Dar Scott says:

    Why is it that we expect states to play the primary role?
    It seems there is lots of room for private roles: individuals, churches, clubs, Internet collaborations and even small businesses.
    Some might provide food. Some might change business practices. Some might teach defense to villages. Some might teach trade business practice. (Trade is always a strong force for peace.) Some might act as examples of peace.
    We have a desire and (perhaps) moral obligation to help. Governments cannot have either.

    Reply

  5. Cracker Copeland says:

    G. Bush pontificates and the world takes a deep breath and swallows hard that old gag-reflex. Bush is THE American embarrassment. Possibly, disgrace would be the stronger term. Egypt acts and the U.S. acts the global bully. Action always speaks louder than bush-speak. Egypt is no role model for global peace and that is also to America’s shame.
    Bush gives a speech at the U.N. and needs the service of a phonetically diagramed speaking chart. Mahmoud Amadinejad speaks off the cuff and is eloquent and erudite. That is to America’s shame. Shame on us all. We’ve devolved into a nation of ignorant buffoons and there’s no diplomatic escape from that conundrum.

    Reply

  6. JohnH says:

    These seem to be positive steps. And it is “a pity when we squander an opportunity on the global stage to lead the world on what we have termed a genocide.” But it’s even more of a pity when we preside over the deaths of a million Iraqis. Some would call it an outrage. Others might choose stronger words–like genocide.
    By the way, are the occupation authorities doing anything to stop the spread of cholera in Iraq?

    Reply

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