Policy vs Policy

In recent weeks, as Israel has wage war against Hezbollah and Lebanon, I’ve been noticing a few ironic twists to US foreign policy. The stark contrast between our reactions to violence in Lebanon versus the violence in Sudan is utterly disheartening.

The Bush administration has been surprisingly lethargic in their efforts to put a halt to the continuing conflict in Darfur, especially considering their acknowledgement that it is an act of genocide. Yet, with only three weeks of renewed violence between Israel and Hezbollah, the US is springing to action (all quotes from this morning’s press conference).

Secretary Rice and diplomats from other countries are developing United Nations resolutions to bring about a cessation of hostilities and establish a foundation for lasting peace.

A ceasefire has existed in Sudan since May (2006). Unfortunately, the treaty was brokered between Mini Minnawi, the head of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), and the Sudanese government.

The loss of life on both sides of the Lebanese-Israeli border has been a great tragedy. Millions of Lebanese civilians have been caught in the crossfire of military operations because of the unprovoked attack and kidnappings by Hezbollah.

Since 2003, over 200,000 (and possibly as many as 400,000) people have been killed in Darfur, with more than 2 million now living in refugee camps in Chad. During the militia (and Janjaweed) attacks, women and young girls are routinely raped, while the younger girls are often kidnapped.

By taking these steps, it will prevent armed militias like Hezbollah and its Iranian and Syrian sponsors from sparking another crisis.

Since the ceasefire, the SLA has fractured, creating a myriad of rebel groups who are now getting the same government backing as the Janjaweed. Survivors and humanitarian workers are now reporting that the government is using white helicopters and planes (to mimic humanitarian aircraft) in order to continue their strikes on villages in Darfur.

Meanwhile, the African Union, with only 7000 troops, doesn’t have enough funding to continue their operation past September. The United Nations, who is negotiating with Sudan to send in its own peacekeeping force, isn’t due on the ground until January 2007 (at the earliest).

I also believe that innocent civilians in Israel should not have to live in bunkers in fear of missile attacks.

Unlike the deal that Condi Rice is attempting to broker for Lebanon and Israel, the people of Darfur have no such deal. The people of Darfur have been killed, raped, and forced into refugee camps, with no end in sight.

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