Still a shameful response to Sudan

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Ah, so I had a post on the current Sudan crisis all ready to go, railing on the current UN resolutions and noting that yesterday’s bickering over the ICC completely misses the point. The point, of course, is that the genocide and the starvation and the humanitarian crisis going on right now need to be stopped, and the only way to stop it is to send in an intervention force. But after reading this article by Eric Reeves, I sort of realized that my rant was a bit inadequate. So please read his.

At the moment, it doesn’t appear that either the U.S. or Europe will take any sort of serious action to halt the violence in Darfur. Reeves suggests this might partly be out of fear of jeopardizing the recently-signed peace treaty halting Sudan’s other civil war between north and south, separate from Darfur, that raged on for the past 20 years or so. (Without insinuating too much, that civil war involved Christians in Sudan’s south, and hence attracted a lot more attention.) Nevertheless, the present UN measures against the Khartoum government, and the janjawid warriors carrying out the mass slaughter, has been shamefully, shamefully inadequate.

Some observers have suggested strengthening the African Union (AU) forces in Sudan to enforce the ceasefire. But even if the AU force was upped to 6,000 or so, and even if it was given a mandate to actually protect civilians in Darfur, the AU would still be inadequate for the region’s security needs. At the very least, the UN Security Council needs to enforce no-fly zones across the region, using United States airpower, so that Khartoum can’t use its planes to bomb and strafe Darfur villages. More realistically, ground forces will need to disable or destroy Khartoum’s air force. Meanwhile, UN security forces will need to be sent in to protect refugees, secure humanitarian corridors, and forcibly disarm the janjawid.

But the UN hasn’t shown signs that it is willing to do any such thing, and instead contents itself with passing half-measures like setting up a committee that will dawdle for 90 days (90 days of genocide!) before deciding who the war criminals are and then freezing their assets abroad. Woo-hoo. It’s near-impotent, and unfortunately, the National Islamic Front in Khartoum knows full well the West lacks all political will for serious action. Which means that the body count—some 300,000 at this point—will continue to rise. So much for “never again.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend