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Genocidal Horror In Sudan
TENS OF thousands of people have been killed and millions forced from their homes in Darfur, Sudan. Hundreds of thousands are in refugee camps and makeshift settlements in Chad.
The Khartoum government has launched a pogrom against the people in the western part of this vast country. Despite the government's denials, they organised and armed the 'Janjaweed' gangs against the peasant farmers, exploiting tensions over land between them and the nomadic cattle herdsmen. They clearly backed up Janjaweed attacks with helicopter gunships and bombing raids.
Khartoum has just concluded a peace settlement in another civil war in Southern Sudan (which claimed two million lives in the last 20 years). Pushed by the western powers, the government agreed to divide some of the spoils of government and the potential oil wealth between the warring factions in the south. The US was anxious to establish a point of support in Sudan in its fight against "international terror".
As the leader of one signatory to the peace agreement said: "The agreement was reached not necessarily because the parties wanted to but because both parties were forced to."
So the government had no wish to fight another group of 'rebels' in the west. Reluctant to use the army directly they created the Janjaweed. In response to these genocidal massacres, the UN Security Council gave the Khartoum government 30 days to act against the Janjaweed or face sanctions.
But any arms embargo could be opposed by Russia, which is selling fighter jets to Khartoum. French and Chinese oil firms' interests in Sudan could also prevent an effective oil embargo being imposed.
Western governments only act when their economic or strategic interests are threatened. The neo-colonial regimes can provide no solution either. The African Union are preparing to deploy troops into Darfur, but 300 troops backing up the handful of ceasefire monitors is a pitifully small force in such a big area.
The workers and peasants in Sudan need to form their own democratically run, multi-ethnic defence forces to protect themselves against government troops and irregular militias. And the only place they can look to for real solidarity is from the international working class. A democratic socialist federation of Africa is the only way out for the masses of the continent.
In The Socialist 7 August 2004:
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