September 9, 2004 | FrontPage Magazine

Symposium: Darfur – Islam’s Killing Fields

Why is it that — yet again — another Arab League member is massacring its minority populations? Why is the Western media reluctant to identify the religion and ethnicity of the mass murderers and rapists?

To discuss these and other issues on Frontpage Symposium today, we welcome:

Thomas Haidon, an advisor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Khartoum, Sudan in 2003. An American lawyer who was raised in the Catholic faith but converted to Islam, he is a member of the Board of Advisors and President of the New Zealand Chapter of the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism;

Jon Lewis, a Mid-East expert whose works on the Arab world's persecution of minorities have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Forward, In the National Interest, Middle East Quarterly and other prestigious publications;

and

Walid Phares, Professor of Middle East Studies and Religious Conflict at Florida Atlantic University and a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He serves as an Analyst on Terrorism and Conflicts with MSNBC;

FP: Walid Phares, Thomas Haidon and Jon Lewis, welcome to Frontpage Symposium. 

Mr. Lewis, let me begin with you. I would like to start with something that has puzzled me: many of the roots of the Darfur genocide reside in Islamic jihad. On many fronts, this is a holy war led by Muslims. How come we almost never hear about this in the mainstream media?

Lewis: Hi Jamie, Walid and Thomas.   

The media in the United States is very uncomfortable in attributing religious motivations to violence. We see this in the case of the Palestinian suicide bombers who are often described as motivated by poverty and frustration, rather than by religious ideology.  In Darfur, there is indeed a religious component to the violence; after all, the Khartoum government is an Islamo-fascist one.

What bothers me more about the media coverage of Darfur is its lack of historic context -Darfur is but one example of Arab racism toward non-Arabs within the broader “Arab world.”  The Darfur genocide, I believe, must be viewed not solely as a case of an Islamic jihad, but also as a case of Arab racism and should be seen as parallel to Saddam Hussein's genocide against Kurds and the Algerian government's repression of the Kaybles.  

Remember: both the Kurds and Kabyles are primarily Sunni Muslims, at least in a nominal sense. I don't mean to downplay the Islamic jihad aspect; however, I think that we cannot understand the violence in Darfur (and Iraq, for that matter) without examining the persistence of intra-Muslim ethnic conflict in the region and Arab racism.   

FP: Fair enough. One second though, before we move on, I would like to pursue a point. You say that the U.S. media is uncomfortable in attributing religious motivations to violence. I don't think this is the case. If, hypothetically, Christians or Jews were engaging in genocide somewhere in the world, and were saying that this was part of their religion (which it isn't), the media would be all over it. It is only because these are Muslims that the media ignores the theme, because criticizing Islam does not fit with the left-lib agenda. This is obvious isn't it?

Lewis: Well, in general, I think the media doesn't feel comfortable discussing religious motivations for international conflict.   However, Jaime, you are completely correct in the double-standard applied to Christians and Jews.   The liberal-left desperately wants to believe that Bin Laden and Hamas are motivated by political rather than theological means and have tried to downplay the Islamist ideology.

With Darfur, I think that because it is an intra-Muslim conflict, it is not as clearly religiously-motivated as say, Khartoum's genocidal war against Sudan's Christians.  The fact that the Darfur conflict is getting far more press than the atrocities committed against Sudan's animists and Christians indicates that the media is more comfortable with an “ethnic” conflict between Arabs and Africans than with an Islamic jihad against non-Muslims.  So, you are right, Jaime, when you say that the liberal-left agenda is not comfortable in criticizing political acts motivated by Islam.

FP: Dr. Phares, what do you make of the media's silence on the genocide being Islam-driven?

Phares: Hello gentlemen.

I have worked on the Sudan conflicts since at least 1979, when I published a chapter in my first book “Pluralism” on what I called then the Nubian and Southern Sudanese conflicts. The work was in Arabic, and it received the responses by Arab nationalist and Islamic Fundamentalist intellectuals of the time. They unanimously rejected the fact that there was a minority “ethnic claim” in Sudan to start with, let alone a legitimate “ethnic resistance.” They accused “foreign forces” of triggering domestic crisis in Sudan and the Arab world.

In that sense, nothing has significantly changed since. Recently, the region's intelligentsia is being challenged by a growing number of Arab and Muslim dissidents, such as Ezzedine Ibrahim in Egypt, or the emerging anti-Terrorist Muslim groups in the US. But the dominant elite that influence regimes and organizations hasn't change its attitude.

Because of that, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Western Governments and media simply ignored the genocide in Sudan. More than a million southern Sudanese, mostly Christian, but also Animists, died in the ethnic cleansing campaign. US and European elites didn't want to jeopardize the economic relationship with both Sudan and the Arab League as a whole. The story is long, but its bottom line was the power of oil in silencing an international outcry. I even remember the Pope being refused a visit to the south, and the demonization of the Bishop of Canterbury when he met southern Sudanese. In the US, the “Jihadist” lobby fiercely opposed any action in Congress for years. In a sense, this lobby was providing political cover to the massacres in Sudan.

When the Darfour situation exploded last year, the US was in a different mode, the European Governments as well. The Arab League had to deal with new geopolitical realities. And evidently in the Nuba area, it wasn't Muslim on Christian, but Arab on Black. That alone was a major difference. The combination of the changing international relations and the shift in the type of ethnic cleansing in Sudan produced the current media and diplomatic interest.

FP: So Dr. Phares, can you crystallize the themes for us? Why are the Muslim Arabs killing the Christians and Blacks? This is an Islamic Jihad combined with racial hate?

Phares: It is both. Probably one of the most lethal religious and racial war combined in contemporary times. In the historical roots, we see the march by Arab-Islamic dynasties through Egypt down the Nile valley and the occupation of the old Nubian kingdoms as of the 8th century AD/CE.

At that time, Arab-Muslim tribes, sent by Amr bnel A'ass, the conqueror of Egypt, clashed with Afro-Nilotic populations, many among whom were Christians in what is today the upper part of Sudan. The “Blacks” were pushed further South and West slowly and surely. So the Nubians of Darfour are the heirs – not necessarily the direct descendants – of the native Nubians of northern Sudan, marginalized towards the periphery. 

It took the Arab-Islamic Caliphates and the Ottoman Sultanate a few centuries to “create” two layers of populations in Northern and central Sudan. The northern part was demographically “Arabized” and “Islamized.” Practically, and as was the case in other areas of the empire, settler tribes, coming from Arabia and Egypt, established a province by the name of “ard el Sudan” – in Arabic, the “land of the blacks.” 

A lower layer, was the Islamized black population, the actual African Muslims, from Khartoum to the Nuba mountain in the West. The push has been for over a thousand year, from the north towards the south and the West: Arabs would dominate Blacks. And Muslim Arabs would dominate Black Muslims. 

It was only in the mid 20th century that the dominant elite of Khartoum moved further south to clash with and try to colonize the non Muslim Blacks (i.e. the Dinka tribes and other sub tropical Africans).

In a sum, and since the modern state of Sudan was established by the British in the 1950s, the northern Arab-Islamic elite attempted to dominate two ethno religious African communities. The southern Black Christians and Animists and the Nubian Black Muslims. 

Since the 1989 coup that brought the National Islamic Front NIF to power with General Omar Bashir and Hassan Turabi, the “Jihadists”in Khartoum focused on the ethnic cleansing of the southern “Christians,” on the base of religious ideology. They tried to rally the Black Muslims against the Black Christians. But as of the end of the 1990s, and especially since 2001, the Blacks understood that they were under two Jihads. One is religious against the Christians, and the other is racial against the Blacks, and they were being played against each other. 

Hence, the Nuba mountain Black Muslims started to oppose the Arab-led militias. Furthermore, a growing number of anti-Islamists Arabs, criticized Khartoum's regime for its racial and extremist attitude. 

Besides, world events, and the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq convinced the Khartoum regime to act against the weakest link first, that is, the Black Muslims in Darfour. Hence, the Jamjawed, Arab militias armed by the regime, unleashed a clear anti-African genocide. So, to summarize, the Jihadists in Khartoum are both religious extremists and racists. In addition, they are also fascists as they have suppressed the moderate Arab Muslim voices. 

FP: And the world has just stood idly by while this Arab-Islamic genocide of Blacks and Christians went on for years. Why? Mr. Haidon?

Haidon: Greetings Dr. Glazov, Professor Phares and Mr Lewis. It is certainly an honor and a pleasure.

I agree with both men. Clearly, the acts being committed against Black Darfurians are primarily based upon classical “jihad” and anti-African racism.

However, there is also a political/economic element that has added further fuel to the fire. Khartoum has used this element to further encourage the Janawid militias to murder and pillage. The ilk of the Janjawid and other nomadic Arab tribes have always been given preferential treatment by Khartoum over settled Black African Darfurian farmers. This is why government positions were attacked by Darfurians in the West. The Janjawid are therefore not only motivated by Islam, and racial hatred, but are in a prime position for a power grab over some of the sparse arable sections of the West.

Nonetheless, the concept of Jihad should be viewed as a strong undercurrent behind the governments support for the Janjawid in Darfur. “Jihad” is likely a more strong policy consideration of the Bashir regime. As Professor Phares points out, the Islamic government of Sudan was never prepared to recognize the self-determination of any other people in Sudan. This is the common thread that Islamic states have shared throughout history in terms of ethnic and religious minorities: the non-recognition of their self-determination. Self-determination does not have to mean secession or statehood, but does necessitate some level of autonomy.

The self-determination of religious and ethnic minorities is an anathema to the Islamic state. This is an essential concept of Islam. Non-Muslims are dhimmi. Thus it is of no surprise to see Muslim violence against non-Muslim's in Muslim countries, whether it be in Sudan of in Iraq.

Now to your specific question Jamie. In the context of Sudan, I think a major causation factor for inaction (in addition to the important realities Professor Phares and Mr Lewis mention) is the operation of international law and the denigration of the United Nations system (I also believe that before 11 September countries like the United States after undergoing a cost-benefit analysis realised that military or harsh political intervention would be too costly, both economically and strategically.

Since 11 September, I believe that this rationale may be giving way to the realization that the wholesale slaughter of non-Muslims or minorities in Muslim/Arab countries has now become a more compelling national interest) Going back to Rwanda, the various political agendas of states, the technicalities of international law and the United Nations, i.e. the very technical definition of genocide, effectuating the enforcement procedures of Chapter VII. These factors prevented an adequate global response.  When you have intra-state conflict, the conflict is compounded even further issues involving territorial sovereignty.

From a positivist perspective following the procedures of the United Nations, before states can intervene in a conflict (absent a case of self-defence under article 51 of the Charter), a threat to “peace and security” must be established (through a resolution of the Security Council), then and only then can states legally act. This is not to say that states always follow these procedures. However, even the United States generally follows this system despite the arguable derogation of the war in Iraq.

The UN system however does not have to “handcuff” states from acting to protect civilians from genocide/ethnic cleansing. There is an emerging doctrine in international law known as humanitarian intervention, which permits a state to take the necessary means to protect a civilian population of another state from genocide or ethnic cleansing. NATO's intervention in Kosovo is a perfect example. Although humanitarian intervention is not recognized in the UN Charter it is becoming a more accepted practice.

The inactivity of the Arab world, I believe is a certainly different animal. Protecting the Darfurians from slaughter to Arab states is far less important than preventing a UN resolution on anti-Semitism from being passed, or condemning Israel for protecting its population. The Arab world's infatuation and obsession with Israel and the United States, along with traditional Islamic beliefs on non-Muslim minorities have prevented real action to stop the atrocities.

There is only one Arab League state, Algeria on the Security Council. Algeria actually voted in favour of resolution 1556, which gives Sudan 30 days to disarm the Janawid. Pakistan, the only other Muslim country on the Security Council abstained from voting. It will be interesting to see how Algeria responds if Sudan fails to disarm the militia. If Khartoum fails to disarm them, the enforcement procedures of Chapter VII of the UN Charter will come into play.

FP: Mr. Haidon, you are quite critical of Arabs, Muslims and Islam in your commentary. Yet you are a Muslim. Could you kindly put your personal faith in the context of your critical disposition here. It is very interesting.

Haidon: I am certainly frustrated with the current state and disposition of Islam and Muslims. The problems don't stem merely from misinterpretation in the Qur'an and
Sunnah but from the sources themselves. It is my personal belief that the violent and unsavoury elements in Islam must be highlighted by Muslims, admitted and
repudiated.

Yet, I am still Muslim, because I believe that Islam can be a secular and modern faith, consistent with democracy. But this will never occur until there is as Walid Shoebat mentioned recently, a “confession”.

FP: Ok, thanks Mr. Haidon.  So Mr. Lewis what do you make of the other guests' remarks?

Lewis: I am in general agreement with both Dr. Phares and Mr. Haidon.  I think that Walid's comment that the Darfur crisis is “one of the most lethal religious and racial wars combined in contemporary times” is very true.  Outside of North Korea, Sudan perhaps has the worst human rights record on the planet, yet Sudanese embassies around the world are rarely protested.  This, of course, begs the question of why such an event has merited far less attention by human rights activists, peace activists, and NGOs than has the American effort to liberate Iraq, but perhaps that is something we can discuss further.

I did want to respond to Mr. Haidon's comment regarding Darfur and the United Nations.  I applaud him for criticizing the Arab League for its moral hypocrisy – for being obsessed with Israel and expending its diplomatic energy in passing resolutions against Israel, while at the same time doing little to stop a genocide. 

I think it is important to remember that, when the Arab League introduces resolutions against Israel in the United Nations, that they aren't simply concerned with condemning Israel.  They are using Israel as a means to distract world media attention – particularly in Western Europe – from the severe human rights abuses within Arab League member states. 

That Sudan remains on the United Nations Human Rights Commission (and will in 2005 as well) indicates how pathetically farcical the international system has become.   This may be the first time in history that a state that is actively committing genocide is a member of the international community's highest – and supposedly most influential – human rights organization.  Darfur's Blacks are thus the victims not only of Khartoum, but also of the United Nations.

Phares: Dear colleagues, Mr. Haidon's note about the Arab world's problem is correct. The central issue in the Darfur drama and in any similar situation in the region, is the fact that the dominant political and intellectual establishment in the Arab world didn't and isn't accepting the principle of self-determination to non-Arabs, or to non-Muslims if non- Arabs.

In 1981, I conducted a series of dialogues with Arab nationalists and Islamist thinkers in Beirut and raised the issue of ethnic and religious pluralism in the region. The responses were brutal and irrevocable: Non Arabs and Non Muslims simply “do not exist” as communities in the minds of the dominant elite.

I compiled these dialogues in a book in Arabic titled Hiwar dimucrati, “Democratic Dialogue.” The existence of these communities as a socio-political entity somehow “threatens” the notions of “Arabism” or “Umma.” Hence, during the Cold War or even after it, the national and religious minorities of the region had no chance of being recognized.

“Pluralism” (al Taadudiya) was a casus belli during the Lebanese attempts to achieve Peace. There is no notion of the “aakhar” or if you wish the “other.” The problem is way deeper than adjusting power or redistributing it, or even sharing it with the other ethno-nationalities or religious communities. It is about asserting that there is no other identity, other than the dominant one, but measures can be taken to accommodate those who are different from the “Uruba” or Arabness. That was the essence of Kurdish, Chaldo Assyrian, Maronite, Berber, Coptic and in our case, the Nilotic Africans of Sudan, more particularly in Darfur.

Mr. Haidon's other point is also very valid. The economic incentives of the Janjawid's Jihad are very clear. May I add that it is not an exception to the greater ideological sense of Jihad. Actually, it is an organic part of it. The Jihadists draw their doctrines from their perception of the salaf, past commanders. The raids into infidel lands, known as Ghazwa, were to produce Ghanima, or war treasures. It could range from Slaves to land. This was and remains a basic concept of Jihad. The Janjawid's acquisition of lands and sites is a classical component of Jihad. 

Mr. Haidon's other point on the post 911 “realization that the wholesale slaughter of non-Muslims or minorities in Muslim/Arab countries has now become a more compelling national interest” in America is “the” real cross road. Have we reached it yet, as US Foreign Policy? At the level of the Administration's strategic perception, I believe so. I read the President's speeches carefully, and I can see the trend becoming a doctrine. It will have to be tested, including in Darfur. The latter is an “emergency,” drawing other countries with us. But the real test will be if the Sudan regime won't comply with the UN resolutions. Even more challenging, would be to see if the US Administration would address the entire Sudanese question (i.e., the southern genocide and slavery issue). My feeling is that a second Bush Administration will go forward in that direction, with greater energy than the current positions. One would understand that in view of the priorities. I am not sure, however, that a Kerry Administration would break with the Clinton parameters of status quo with Arab-Islamic regimes. Most of his (Kerry) advisors are criticizing the incumbent for “going too far.” If they get to the White House and re-take the State Department, I don't know if they would actually “withdraw” from the Darfur position or not.

Mr. Haidon's reference to an “emerging doctrine in international law known as humanitarian intervention” is important.  Indeed, this new body of principles “would permits a state to take the necessary means to protect a civilian population of another state from genocide or ethnic cleansing.” But one has to be careful in terms of hopes. I am afraid, that while the new doctrine is in the right direction, its implementation is still selective and reflective of the classical balance of powers inside the UN. 

Yes, as my colleague pointed out, “NATO's intervention in Kosovo is a perfect example” of how saving endangered peoples could be organized, but the big question remaining, is which peoples are to be saved. Bosnians and Kosovars were, but not the southern Sudanese and the Nubians of Darfur. Why? Because of the veto the Arab League raised at any time an attempt was made any place in the Arab world. That is the real problem. 

Mr. Haidon's assertion that “Islam can be a secular and modern faith, consistent with democracy” will be always well received in the world of humanists. But, as he said, the confession is the historical passage for such transformation. 

My colleague Mr. Lewis is absolutely right when he noted that “they are using Israel as a means to distract world media attention – particularly in Western Europe – from the severe human rights abuses within Arab League member states”.  Indeed, any attempt by any progressive, humanist, democratic group or intellectuals to raise causes in the region other than the “Israeli occupation of Arab lands” was and is being accused of “pro-Zionist” ideas! 

While tens of thousands of men, women and children were exterminated from Iraq to Sudan, the Arab state system ignored them, and dodged their humanitarian responsibilities towards their own people. The list is too long. Today, Darfur is exposing the Arab League failure to protects its citizens and its minorities.  

A Couple months ago, I received a message from a Lebanese diplomat. He/she told me that the Arab diplomats are scrambling to deal with the issue of Darfur. I asked my interlocutor: “Which is more urgent now, Darfur or Iraq?” He said “Iraq is an open wound, the Arab League has little to say, but Darfur is a bleeding wound, it may be lethal.” 

As I inquired why was Darfur an issue of interest after decades of inaction regarding the whole issue of Sudan, I understood that the Arab regimes fear Darfur may degenerate into a wider conflict between the Arab League and Black Muslim Africa. Darfur, it seems,has uncovered the mask of Jihadist racism against Black Africans. As long as the Muslim/Christian divide affected the issue of Southern Sudan, the Arab League left the southern Blacks to their fate at the hands of the National Islamic Front for decades. But once a Black Muslim rebellion exploded in Darfur, the Arab regimes understood that this “front” may be dangerous. Hence, they scrambled to see what they can do.

Haidon: Sudan's presence on the Human Rights Commission provides an example of many shocking (or not so shocking) anomalies that occur within structures of the UN system (think notably of Libya's presence on that same Commission, the presence of an anti-Semitic Egyptian judge (among others) on the International Court of Justice in the Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Barrier in the Occupied Territories, and the existence of UNRWA to name a few). 

Mr Lewis is correct, the United Nations system itself, and the shackles it provides has contributed to the plight of the Darfurians, the same way it prevented action to stop the Rwandan genocide. Just looking back, to see the stall tactics and legalistic chicanery (including by the Clinton administration's play on the legal definition of genocide, and preventing real Security Council action) should intensify the urgency of the Darfur crisis. It is on the verge of happening again. Even after the passage of the Security Council deadline, attacks and atrocities still continue. The United Nations must reform itself, or die due to irrelevance.

Responding to Dr. Phares, I think an argument can be seriously made that humanitarian intervention need not be constrained by Chapter VII or the Security Council at all when the need for such intervention is instant and overwhelming, as in Rwanda and Darfur. Unilateral or regional cooperation such as in Kosovo will be at times absolutely necessary, in order to avoid the deadly bureaucracy and politics of the debate floor. In a perfect world, the Arab League a regional organization, would be in an excellent position to intervene. Ideally, Sudan would be expelled from the Arab League (after all the Arab League did not hesitate to expel Egypt after its efforts at peace with Israel), and a multi-Arab force could be established to stop the genocide. But as we have seen even political and diplomatic efforts and pressure from Arab states has been sickeningly minimal.

Dr. Phares makes the most telling point of Arab inaction. The Darfurians are representative of a Black African threat (one of the closest threats from the region the modern Arab world has encountered) to the Arab world. Predictably, if peacekeepers are sent, they will likely be predominantly from Black African nations, as is the case in most African conflicts. The Arab reaction on the Security Council floor will be interesting, as to the possible composition of such a force.

FP: Let's have a concluding comment from each panellist. Mr. Lewis?

Lewis: Colleagues, I was very happy that our discussion touched upon one of the unspoken international threats of our time: the lethal combination of an aggressive, fascistic, racially-based Arab nationalism that denies the existence of ethno-religious minority groups and the Islamic concept of jihad.   

As we have seen in Darfur, such a combination is lethal and genocidal.  No longer can we separate what is happening in Darfur from what recently, and tragically occurred, in North Ossetia where Arab jihadis were among the hostage-takers and murderers.   This is not to say that Arabs do not have the right of self-determination or that Arab states – like Egypt or Qatar – are somehow illegitimate.  It just means that the Arab world needs to accept the legitimate national aspirations of other groups, be they Darfur Africans, Kaybles, or Israeli Jews.   The Arab world's educational system must also be reformed so that the history of disparate Middle Eastern groups such as the Copts and Kurds is taught.

Unfortunately, I see little relief in sight for the long suffering people of Darfur.  If you had asked me several months ago, I was a strong proponent of military intervention.  In a way, I still am, but I am almost at a loss of what a minor intervention could do and regime change in Khartoum is simply not possible.  

It is sad, but aside from rhetoric, very few international actors want to take the first step to seriously engage the Sudanese government and back that engagement with the credible threat of military force.  As long as French foreign policy — and public opinion, for that matter – remains more concerned with vilifying President Bush than with introducing human rights into the Arab world, I see little prospect for serious change. 

That said, should the international community or a coalition of the United States, Britain, Australia, and others decide to intervene in Sudan, I would give them my full support.   Perhaps our discussion here — in which a Christian, Jew, and a Muslim agree upon the need for reform in the Greater Middle East – can start a discussion among the foreign policy elite.

It was indeed my pleasure to take part in this symposium and I wish my colleagues, Mr. Haidon and Dr. Phares, nothing but the best.

Phares: A final word on the drama of Sudan sitting on the Human Rights Committee of the UN. It wasn't just by coincidence. It was a deliberate move on behalf of the Arab League group at the UN, who lobbied (read put pressures on) with a number of African countries, to push Sudan into that position.

This appointment was not only a failure of the UN to recognize the Human Rights abuses of the Khartum regime, but a failure of the international body to resist the pressures of the Arab regimes in the General Assembly. That is the real problem with the UN today. As for the move itself, it shows the coordination, especially between authoritarian regimes to protect each others back. The main reason for why Sudan was pushed by the Arab League in the UN, was because they knew that this was Khartum's weakness. They worked on enabling the Sudanese regime to defend its human rights records from within the Commission which was supposed to indict it. This is called preemptive strike, no?

I liked Mr. Haidon's “perfect situation,” where the regional Arab organization (today called Arab League) would have expelled the Sudanese regime and sent Peace Keepers. But for that to happen, regimes must change and be replaced by democratic ones. And this is precisely why there exists a solidarity among all the existing Arab regimes. If one falls, such as in Iraq, the domino effect may take place. Which explains why in the case of Darfur, the Arab League rushed to stop as much as it could any international intervention. I value Mr. Haidon's understanding of the gravity of the situation in Darfur and his compelling arguments. I also concur with Mr. Lewis as to the essence of the problem: It is about education and a new debate that must take place yet. I thank both of them as well as Jamie for this excellent panel.

Haidon: I was certainly encouraged last week when the State Department issued a report indicating that a primary factor behind the atrocities in Darfur is racial hatred directed toward Black Africans. To me this signified that perhaps the Bush administration was moving towards a formal declaration that these atrocities are actually genocide. However, now that I have seen a copy of the draft US resolution calling for a mere expansion of African Union monitors and possible sanctions on Sudan's oil industry, without an identifiable deadline I am disheartened, and frankly a bit surprised by the weakness of that draft resolution. Sudan has rejected an extension of the mandate of African Union monitors. (The current mandate is extremely limited). Meanwhile, attacks occur daily, killing and displacing more Black Africans.

A “minor” intervention as Mr Lewis has pointed out, such as economic sanctions will be wholly ineffective, and will further exacerbate the suffering of the Darfurians. At the very least the United Nations should consider establishing  “safe zones” in the West of Sudan, not unlike the “safe havens” and “no-fly zones” in Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina, designed to protect ethnic minorities. This may well be a consideration if matters escalate further. However it could be too late for the victims of the Khartoum. Again, this could also fall under the rubric of humanitarian intervention.

To be sure, states under the Charter of the United Nations and customary international law are sovereign, politically and territorially. However, state sovereignty is not absolute. When a state abrogates the most basic of duties in failing to protect its nationals and in turn seeks to eradicate a portion of them, other states have a moral obligation to intervene to protect that portion. We already have seen the results when states fail to protect. Mr Lewis is correct, the mentality and underpinnings of the jihad occurring in Darfur, at its roots, is not dissimilar to the slaughter in Beslan. Clearly the international community is blind to this linkage! The crisis in Darfur should be seen as directly related to the global war on terrorism and related to the overall crisis facing contemporary Islam and Muslim states in the Middle East.

It has been an honor discussing these issues with all of you. Another excellent panel Jamie!

FP: Thank you. Thomas Haidon, Walid Phares and Jon Lewis, Frontpage is most grateful for your participation in this symposium. It was a pleasure and we'll see you again soon.

 

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