Bush changes direction on Sudan
Leon Goldberg is reporting in the Prospect that Bush has altered course with respect to the Sudan. Colin Powell in September 2004 declared that the Sudan was involved in the ongoing genocide in Darfur. On April 14, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick sent to Sudan but apparently not to apply pressure to Sudan to halt its killing in Darfur. At a press conference in Sudan Zoellick greatly underestimated the number of dead in Darfur and refused to endorse Powell's description of genocide.
Eric Reeves, the Smith College professor whose analysis of the conflict continues to prove prescient, agrees. Shortly after the press conference, Reeves surmised on his Web site that Zoellick’s comments heralded a new administration strategy meant to forestall the need for a U.S. commitment to humanitarian intervention by downplaying the urgency of the situation.
Last week the Congress passed the Darfur Accountability Act as part of the Iraq-Afghanistan emergency supplemental appropriations bill. Led by Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas and Democrat John Corzine of New Jersey, the act appropriates $90 million in U.S. aid for Darfur and establishes targeted U.S. sanctions against the Sudanese regime, accelerates assistance to expand the size and mandate of the African Union mission in Darfur, expands the United Nations Mission in Sudan to include the protection of civilians in Darfur, establishes a no-fly zone over Darfur, and calls for a presidential envoy to Sudan. The Darfur Accountability Act is now with the House, and Republican leaders there -- no doubt under pressure from an evangelical movement that has been aiding civilians in Southern Sudan since the outbreak of a civil war nearly 20 years ago -- are similarly joining with Democrats to push for a more robust humanitarian response to the unfolding genocide in Western Sudan. In a recent meeting with Sudanese dissidents on Capitol Hill, Congressman Tom Tancredo, a conservative Colorado Republican who first visited Sudan in 2001, discussed the urgency of passing the bill. “Pressure is the only thing that Khartoum will respond to,” Tancredo said. “The only time they will act is when they think they are on the precipice.”
However, in an April 25th letter from the White House's Office of management and Budget it expressed its desire to have the bill strickened from the supplemental appropiations. House Republicans are apparently going to pull it out of conference.
Here you can see a picture of Zoellick meeting with First Vice President Ali Osman Taha, the man primarily responsible for the Darfur policy.
OK so why the shift in policy? Ken Silverstein in the LA Times reveals:
The Bush administration has forged a close intelligence partnership with the Islamic regime that once welcomed Osama bin Laden here, even though Sudan continues to come under harsh U.S. and international criticism for human rights violations.
The Sudanese government, an unlikely ally in the U.S. fight against terror, remains on the most recent U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. At the same time, however, it has been providing access to terrorism suspects and sharing intelligence data with the United States.
Last week, the CIA sent an executive jet here to ferry the chief of Sudan's intelligence agency to Washington for secret meetings sealing Khartoum's sensitive and previously veiled partnership with the administration, U.S. government officials confirmed.
The article goes on to detail the development of the intelligence relationship between the US and Sudan. So here's the bottom line, help us out in the war on terror and you can kill as many people as you like and we won't care. Just when I think I can't hate this administration any more they give me a new reason.