COMMENTS BY INSTRUCTOR.
DARFUR: THE OIL FACTOR
For maps of oil fields and consortia in Sudan, see:
In Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond (2007) authors Don Cheadle and John Prendergast note that: “ Barack Obama wrote that there are three reasons why Americans should care about human suffering in Africa and anywhere else: 1) preventing and suppressing genocide is a moral imperative, Americans have made a promise and commitment to “Save Darfur”, and eradicating genocide will make Americans safer. He asks, “What does it take to make the world listen and respond?” “IT TAKES A NUMBER OF IMPORTANT TOOLS, INCLUDING DIPLOMACY, FINANCIAL RESOURCES, AND EFFECTIVE SECURITY FORCES (xiii).”
Note that President Obama didn’t name the United Nations Security Council as the deciding body. But…the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) focuses on the UNSC as the appropriate leader to conduct military humanitarian interventions.
Regarding the countervailing presence of China in the Sudan, what then has been the role of the Great Powers, and how has that affected the wars in Sudan? Tess provides historical context. Recall that the British colonial policy of ruling the north and south of Sudan under separate administrations, had exacerbated a longstanding conflict between Arab Africans in the North and Christian and Animinist Africans in the South. Sudan gained its independence in 1954. The conflict between North and South continued as a civil war until 1972. It was in the 1970s that oil was discovered in great quantities in the Sudan, mainly in the South (see maps).
Here is a brief chronology of Sudan-Great Power relations from 1972:
1974. Chevron’s Sudan Oil discovery project begins.
1979. Jafaar Nimelry, Sudan’s then head of state, breaks ties with USSR.
1979. Chevron discovers big oil reserves in Abu Jabra, south of Sudan.
1983. A second civil war begins between North and South. This time, Chevron is targeted, attacked, suspends its project in 1984, and sells off its oil concessions in 1999. Between 1983 and the peace agreement signed in January 2005, Sudan's civil war took nearly two million lives and left millions more displaced.
1999. China begins to develop oil fields abandoned by Chevron in 1983. Since then, China National Petroleum Company has become Sudan’s largest investor – at least $15 billion overall. CNPC built a pipeline from Sudan to the Red Sea, where oil is imported to China. 8% of China’s oil comes from S Sudan.
2004. A US alliance is made with “President for Life” Idriss Deby, in neighboring Chad. He is a corrupt despot. He joins the “War on Terror” and is supplied with US funds and military training. Deby launches an attack to aid Darfur militants fighting the Sudanese government.
2004. The Save Darfur Coalition was founded at the "Darfur Emergency Summit in New York City" on July 14, 2004. The Coalition began when the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and American Jewish World Service organized this event at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan featuring Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel (Wikipedia). The term ‘genocide’ is used to describe the civil war in the Sudan.
2004. A UN mission led by an Italian judge disputes using the term ‘genocide’. He refers to grave human rights abuses, and war crimes. Calls for a war crime trials instead.
2005. Sudan reports that it found oil in Southern Darfur, with a potential of pumping 500,000 barrels a day.
2005. Sudanese government officials say that the US put pressure on Sudan to limit its ties with China.
2005. Counter-terrorism cooperation between the United States and Sudan begins. General Salah Abdallah Gosh, the head of Sudanese intelligence is flown to the United States in 2005 in the course of this cooperation
2005. The BBC Corporation, UK, reports that a leader of the rebel movement against Khartoum, John Garang, has died. An obituary by the BBC notes the following “He studied at Grinnell College, Iowa, and later returned to the US for military training at Fort Benning, Georgia…He varied from Marxism to drawing support from Christian fundamentalists in the US.”
2006. Unhappy with his small share of oil profits, Deby of Chad creates his own oil company (SHT) and demands a 60 % share of Chevron’s profits.
2006. China appears in Chad, offers interest free loans and grants, and becomes a client of Chad’s oil industry.
2007. Chevron (Condoleeza Rice used to be on its Board) enters Chad, on its border with West Sudan (Darfur). With Exxon-Mobil, it completes a $3.7 million pipeline from Chad to the Atlantic Ocean and transits to the US.
2008. Chad continues its military support of militants fighting the Khartoum government.
2008. The International Criminal Court indicts Sudan's president on charges of genocide and war crimes . But the majority of African nations refuse to abide by the judgment, saying that it spoke to Western double standards .
2009. The Council on Foreign Relations notes ‘positive developments’:" CFR Senior Fellow John Campbell, former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, says the new, more comprehensive approach to Sudan is 'a positive development,' and disagrees with critics of the policy who argue that it offers engagement without requiring that the Sudanese government meet existing benchmarks. '[T]he first law of diplomacy is that you talk to people," Campbell says. "You have to talk to people, and you have to talk to people all the time. And so I think that engagement at this stage is the way to go.'
Campbell also notes the changes in the nature of the violence in Darfur of late. 'It looks much more like low-intensity warfare with a heavy dose of criminal activity," he says. "This is somewhat different from the more blatant state-sponsored terrorism that was going on more than a year ago.' Still, he says, the United States should look for signs that Khartoum is working to extricate itself from the continuing violence there, especially by cooperating with UN and African Union peacekeeping forces.
The new policy offers the Sudanese government, which 'has willy-nilly become a pariah state,' a new opportunity to reform its standing in the world 'by living up to agreements to which it has already been a party,' Campbell says.” The US has accepted the election of Bashar and sent a junior aid to his inauguration in May 2010. This appears to undermine the argument that humanitarian disasters don’t happen under an elected government. The US appears to be supporting independence in the South, with a referendum coming up this January. At least 80 per cent and perhaps as much as 95 per cent of the region's known oil reserves are in the South,where the population is expected to vote for independence. Where would that leave China’s relationship with Khartoum? In 2007 the Chinese government stopped blocking UN Security Council resolutions calling for the deployment of peacekeepers in Darfur. China has said it would support the will of the people in the South. However, a North-South split could produce more bloodshed. The North is expected to resist such a split.
My understanding is that the US was, and maybe still is, sending financial aid to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed on January 9, 2005, by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan (GOS). In my mind, this means that the US is funding the GOS, but I could be wrong and I don’t have hard figures. See a US government report: http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/countries/sudan/docs/sudan_strategy.pdf.
Accusations have appeared on the Internet that the US is funding a covert war against the Sudanese government for example: http://www.allthingspass.com/uploads/pdf-264THE%20WINTER%20OF%20BASHIRS%20DISCONTENT.pdf.
PS to Stephan: I promised you actual figures of US funds going to the Bashir government. Funds have gone to the Peace agreement, as cited above, but I couldn’t find hard figures.
NATION BUILDING AND R2P. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
Some students focused on nation building in this course. A distinction needs to be made between the concepts of nation building and R2P type interventions. Conceptually, they are different. This course looks at R2P, with nation building as possible context, but not always.
How does one make a conceptual link between American operations to aid the development of democratic institutions, and humanitarian disasters? If you have chosen this theme in your final paper, cite examples of how the two work together – or not.
Do you believe, for example, that humanitarian disasters don't happen in democracies? This brings up the question of the difference between poverty and a humanitarian disaster. It's a fine line, which we tackle in Week 8. For example, India suffers from widespread poverty, and yet it is a democracy. Rwanda is a democracy now, but still suffers enormously from the 90s humanitarian disaster. Nation building may follow a UN war and sanctions, which in themselves cause humanitarian disasters. Half of million Iraqi children died as a result of UN sanctions, according to UNICEF, from 1990 to 2003.
By the way, I've joined an excellent organization, called Women to Women, and will be helping a woman in Rwanda, to get on her feet. It’s only $30 a month, and I highly recommend it.
Stephen Baran had several comments that introduced new ideas into the course. He wrote
‘The African Union needs to be empowered to act much more efficiently, effectively, and credibly; they do not currently. They require training, resources, and guidance beyond what they currently possess. I don't think the global PR campaign is what it could be either; there is power in information which could be better leveraged.’ It’s true that the ICISS downplays the role of regional organizations in implementing 2P, and emphasizes the leadership role of the UNSC.
Stefan wrote that “Indeed, perversity seems to be the refuge of those who choose not to act but are unwilling to do so in front of a judgmental public for purely self-interested reasons. 'Based on Powers’ case work, however, it seems that where and when the U.S. made clear its intentions to prevent hostility, it succeeded in minimizing damages to the victims. The true perversity is that the legacy of inaction by the United States is often primary in perpetrators’ calculus that they may act with impunity within their own borders and without (Serbia/Bosnia).'
Here he describes the realpolitik of the perpetrators, in terms of how they take on board potential US and international reaction.
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT INDICTMENT OF al-Bashir
The ICC has recently released a second international warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir’s arrest, this time adding the crime of genocide to his list of offenses. Bashir already faces previous charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, all of which he has denied.
In fact, only 1 or 2 African countries support the decision of the ICC. The others consider it illegal intervention in another country's domestic affairs The AU will send its troops (if funded) but draws the line when it comes to arresting leaders.
AU forces are underfunded, which is why they 'have failed to materialize'. Personally, I think AU should be funded by the UN. They've done the most to broker an agreement.
The Sudanese media often alleges that international intervention was part of a Zionist conspiracy.
It's interesting to note that the major US organizations promoting R2P in Sudan, have links to Israel. See for example: