Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Movement On Darfur?

As always, progress on the African continent consists of unfulfilled promises unless there happens to be oozy black liquid or trinkets under the ground, but at least this sounds encouraging.

The 53 member African Union has rebuffed President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan in his attempt to ascend to the head of the Union. The post had been promised to him at last year's meeting, but was contingent on him reining in the militias in the Darfur region. Instead, the post will go to President John Kufuor of Ghana.

Hopefully, this will open the door to the insertion of 22,000 UN peacekeepers that al-Bashir has been successful in keeping out of the region.

It also appears that the United States is prepared to put a little more muscle behind the effort to end the violence. From JTA:

A top U.S. envoy warned Sudan that the United States has an “extremely aggressive” backup plan if Sudan contunues stonewalling on Darfur.

Andrew Natsios, top U.S. envoy to the conflict-ridden region of Sudan, briefed leaders of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs on his recent negotiations in the area in a conference call Monday.

Natsios said he stressed U.S. frustration with Sudanese foot-dragging on ending the carnage, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and which the United States describes as a genocide.

Plan A hasn't been working for years, so this appears to say we'd better see movement on Plan A, or else. Still, talking and doing are two completely different things and while we are in no position to insert troops on the ground, we could very easily enforce a no-fly zone, but it remains to be seen.

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