For a few years, the plight of the people of the Darfur region of Sudan captured the imagination of human rights activists in the United States when the depredations of the Islamist government of that country assumed a level of horror that many branded genocide. A series of peace initiatives including an agreement that allowed the southern region of the country to declare independence seemingly relieved well-meaning Americans of the responsibility for caring about what happens in the Horn of Africa. But the outbreak of what may well be a war that will bring a fresh round of atrocities ought to get the attention of not only the human rights crowd but President Obama.
Reuters reports that Sudan has bombed a market town in South Sudan as part of a border dispute over oil rich land and the complicated economic relationship between the two countries. Sudan’s leader, the indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir, has stated that he isn’t interested in negotiating with the South Sudanese government. And in what may not be a coincidence, a Muslim mob burned a church in Sudan that was frequented by South Sudanese, a reminder that the dispute between the Muslim north and the largely non-Muslim south has always had a religious aspect to it. But with Russia and China reportedly continuing to provide weapons and training to Khartoum, the onus now falls on President Obama to back up the speech he gave yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum about preventing atrocities.
Mia Farrow has been sounding the alarm about Sudan and risking the ire of her movie pals by calling out Obama for his abominable human rights record. She is at it again:
Last week U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that although he remains supportive of “international efforts” to bring Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to justice, the Obama administration is also pursuing “locally owned accountability and reconciliation mechanisms in light of the recommendations made by the African Union’s high-level panel on Darfur.” … Perversely, Mr. Gration has now thrown U.S. government support to a [African Union] tribunal that does not and probably will never exist. Even if it did, the “locally owned accountability” he refers to is not feasible under prevailing political conditions, as any Sudan-based court will be controlled by the perpetrators themselves.
This is a far cry from candidate Obama. And Farrow isn’t shy about reminding her readers that Obama has badly let down human rights activists — and more important, the suffering 3 million Sudanese:
When Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, hope abounded, even in Darfur’s bleak refugee camps. Darfuris believed this son of Africa could understand their suffering, end the violence that has taken so much from them, and bring Mr. Bashir to justice. The refugees hoped that “Yes we can” was meant for them too. They believed President Obama would bring peace and protection to Darfur and would settle for nothing less than true justice. … Such hopes did not last long.
Her advice is clear-headed and equally applicable to many rogue regimes that continue to brutalize their people: “lead a diplomatic offensive to convince the world to isolate [war criminal Omar] al-Bashir as a fugitive from justice.” (I’m not a fan of the International Criminal Court, in which she suggests trying him, but in this case, there may be no alternative.) But the Obama team is not in the isolating business. Rather, Obama engages thugs, sends envoys hither and yon to accomplish nothing, and leaves the oppressed to their own devices. Obama’s academic exercise in “smart diplomacy” has failed, and in Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Burma, Eygpt, China, and elsewhere, the despots cheer.