Genocide? Can the violence in Darfur be considered Genocide?
Genocide is defined by most to include the systematic murders of a group of peoples as well as deliberate displacement and abuse. More than 200,000 people have died since 2003 with other estimates ranging up to 400,000 according to Amnesty International and the UN. Over 2 million people have become displaced and many are in danger of starvation due to lack of water and food. Conclusively, Darfur is the worst humanitarian abuse in Africa, and a genocide.
President Bush has classified the situation in Darfur as genocide as have several House and Senate members. Some of these members such as Steve Israel have been proactive in passing legislation calling for U.S. action.
Military feasibility: Is a successful intervention possible militarily at reasonable costs?
International peacekeepers can have a huge impact on the ground.
A no-fly zone around Darfur can be easily established with great impact. A contingent of Western fighter jets could effectively contain the serious role of Sudanese and Janjeweed gunships in the genocide.
Intervention that is coordinated by the UN is destined to fail. Many troops are under-supplied and lack basic military training. Beyond a lack of training, many soldiers do not even speak the same language making effective communication an impossibility. The funding for intervention is non existent. First hand accounts report currently deployed AU and UN peace keepers flee at the impending attacks of the Janjaweed due to fear and incapability. UN and AU troops do not stand a chance against the better armed and better funded Janjaweed.
Key international powers such as Russia and China would prevent the success of any mission undertaken. Russia and China are hesitant if not outright opposed to sanctions against Sudan, let alone military action. China imports 80% of Sudan's oil and has guarded economic interests in the nation while Russia has sold arms to Sudan in the past. These compounding factors make the possibility of military strikes infeasible.
Reasonable costs being a criterion, an intervention would fail. Intervention in Darfur would be a conduit for Muslim hatred as Sudan is a Muslim country and thus violating its sovereignty would be seen as presumptuous of the Western world.
International security: Is the situation in Darfur a threat to the international system?
Sudan is a threat to African peace. By showing an obvious disregard for its own people, Sudan has hinted that it is unlikely to show regard for territorial recognition of its fellow African nations. Such an apathy to African stability is especially troubling considering Khartoum's rhetoric on efforts to become an African superpower.
History likens Sudan's actions to that of Hitler. Precedence shows that countries that start with internal acts of terror are very likely to extend their terror beyond their borders. Hitler's Germany is a prime example of a country that rallied for geographical extension following a removal of domestic human rights. The analogous issue of Darfur does not bode well for the future of Africa if we are non progressive.
Sudan is a threat beyond its own campaign of genocide. Sudan has historically been linked to terrorists including Al Qaeda. Sudan served as Osama Bin Laden's base for operation in the past. Many argue that the Janjaweed itself is a terrorist organization supported tacitly by the state.
Darfur and the chaos there is a threat to the international system: There are a number of threats presented by Darfur, including regional and international humanitarian, moral threats.
Darfur is a threat to the region in Africa. The chaos in Darfur is spilling over Sudan's borders. Chad has become a destination for Darfur refugees. This creates tensions between these countries and potential for conflict. Resistance to the Janjeweed, for example, can be staged in Chad, and possibly lead to the belief among the Sudanese government that they must intervene in Chad to quell this threat.
Impotency in responding to Darfur undermines confidence and engagement in international bodies: Many instances of genocide have occurred in recent decades without international intervention, and this has weakened confidence in the UN and the international community's ability to respond to international crises and to generally act meaningfully in the international system. This growing lack of confidence is dangerous as it jeopardizes the international legal framework for action, making it appear that unilateral action is a more functional course of action.
Military humanism: Would intervention improve the humanitarian situation?
US and NATO humanitarian military interventions bring their own set of atrocities Noam Chomsky's The New Military Humanism , makes the case that NATO forces committed atrocities as bad or worse than the genocide that led to NATO's intervention in 1999. He argues that the United States and NATO do not hold themselves to the same humanitarian, international-legal standards as it expects from other countries. Nevertheless, the United States and NATO are the most likely to lead any intervention in Darfur. Those that advocate for intervention should understand this reality, and the accompanying risks of US-NATO action.
War on terror: Would an intervention have a positive or negative effect on the war on terror?
US resources/priorities: Is the US able and willing to prioritize military intervention?
A military intervention is unlikely from America. The United States is constrained in the War in Iraq and popular opinion is against any more wars considering the released criticisms on the debacles of intelligence in the pre-Iraq escalation. Thus, the most likely U.S. action would be sanctions, particularly economic ones that force the Bashir regime to restore human rights to the Fur peoples.
Preventing genocide in Darfur with US troops would take them away from preventing genocide in Iraq Why favor one over the other? Since the United States is already military strained in Iraq, it is presumable that any commitment in Darfur would result in some weakening of resources for Iraq. But, many sources consider the weakening of resources in Iraq or any withdrawal of troops to be a recipe for internecine violence and genocide in Iraq. Why should we trade one for another? Are Iraqis not equally deserving of protection from genocide as Sudanese?