Policy Recommendation: The United States should work with the UN and NATO forces to establish a no-fly zone in certain parts of Darfur, and should also seriously consider signing the Rome Treaty, recognizing the International Criminal Court, even if it does not ratify the treaty. America should also acknowledge that taking substantive action to deter Sudan’s belligerent behavior is crucial to its national security, as Sudan has provided resources and shelter to terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Al-Qaeda, and continues to work with some of these organizations today. In light of this information, any proposal for taking action in Darfur must consider balancing U.S. foreign relations with Israel and Iran, among other countries. As President Obama reprioritizes this country’s national security objectives, I recommend that the United States take action against the Sudanese government, recognizing that it is not only the morally right thing to do, but will also increase this country’s soft power and ability to combat terror. The president must realize that Sudan is a significant actor in the Global War on Terror and take action accordingly.
The United States must intervene in Sudan for two chief reasons: increasing America’s involvement in that region is essential to securing its own national interests, and, furthermore, intervening in Darfur, especially, is the morally right thing to do. Though the first part of this paper will provide a detailed explanation of why America should intervene, the question of how we should intervene will be addressed with a final proposal of taking two steps for one reason – the U.S. should work with the United Nations and NATO forces to establish a no-fly zone (NFZ), while simultaneously working with the International Criminal Court to achieve its goals in order to bring an end to the conflict in Darfur and pave a course for future involvement in Sudan in order to protect American interests. The most obvious threat that Sudan poses to America’ national security is its status as a state sponsor of terrorism.1 While this status has been in effect for more than a decade due to Sudan’s tendency to harbor terrorists from the famed Jackal to Osama bin Laden, policymakers have recently tended to make the assumption that Sudan does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. interests.2 That assumption has recently been proven false, though, as facts now show that Iran is transporting weapons to Hamas through Sudan.3 Furthermore, the revelation that “[at least ten] camps are maintained in Sudan to train Islamist terrorist…forces,” has now come to light.4 The fact that jihadi camps are being run out of Sudan is particularly frightening due to the additional revelation that at least one “operative” associated “with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps [has] gone to Sudan to coordinate [weapons smuggling.]”5 A reality where Iranian agents can train in Sudanese terrorist camps, unchecked, and then form connections with other terrorist networks in the region that may use those same camps
U.S. Department of State. Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. State Sponsors of Terrorism. David Blair, “Man who harboured bin Laden is lodestar for terrorists,” The Gaurdian, January 30, 2006. 3 Jonathan Spyer, “Analysis: Hamas and the Sudanese Connection,” Jerusalem Post, March 26, 2009. 4 Ibid 5 Michael Gordon, “U.S. Officials Say Israel Struck in Sudan,” New York Times, March 26, 2009.
would pose a substantial threat to U.S. interests. This is unacceptable and can only be prevented if America increases its involvement in the region. Finally, the U.S. must remember that Israel has a key interest in the region as well, as Iran is smuggling arms to Gaza through Sudan on behalf of Hamas agents who would use those weapons to weaken Israel.6 Any action that poses a serious threat to Israel must be addressed as a serious threat to America as well since the U.S. would not be able to achieve its objectives in the Middle East if Israel lost any of its clout in the region. In addition to the threat posed to America by the presence of Hamas in Sudan, there is also the threat of Al-Qaeda to consider. As recently as Spring 2006, Osama bin Laden said that the “mujahidin…[should] prepare for a long war against the Crusader plunderers in Western Sudan,” with evidence showing that “after bin Laden’s statement, interest in Darfur grew in jihadi circles, with numerous postings on radical web sites concerning Darfur and how to reach it.”7 Furthermore, “the US government suspected that Saudi Arabian terrorist groups were using northeast Sudan for training purposes,” when the crisis in Darfur first emerged.8 If the world can not be convinced to intervene in Darfur for humanitarian reasons, it should certainly be convinced to intervene for the sake of global security. America, then, should lead a global force to end the genocide in Darfur with the broader purpose of providing stability to Sudan and rooting out any terrorist networks that might exist. It has been proven that Sudan is a haven for terrorists, and that can not be allowed as terrorists can travel from there to the Middle East without much difficulty. Now that the practical reasons why America should intervene in Darfur have been addressed, the question of how America should intervene can be addressed.
Ibid Rabasa, Angel. "Radical Islam in East Africa." RAND, (2009): 4. 8 Williams, Paul D.. "The Responsibility to Protect and the Crisis in Darfur." Security Dialogue, no. 36 (2005): 38.
In recent history, establishing an NFZ, defined as a “physical area of a nation that is patrolled using airpower of another sovereign state or coalition,” has been an effective way to reduce violence in the kind of situation Darfur finds itself in.9 Creating an NFZ may be the most effective way to stop the violence in the region as Janjaweed raids on villages on the ground are routinely accompanied by bombings conducted by government aircraft.10 Setting up an NFZ would also be the logical step to take if troop deployments to the region by any international body are being considered as any soldiers would need to be able to rely on close air support in order to ensure their safety.11 Furthermore, the idea of creating an NFZ has been recognized by the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and the UN Ambassador as one that may be highly effective and should be seriously considered.12 Finally, the logistics involved with establishing an NFZ would not be complicated. The French base in Abeche, Chad is suitable for creating the base, according to General McPeak, and though the UN would have to authorize the creation of an NFZ, NATO would have full control over the planning and implementation that would be involved with the task.13 In light of all this information, the arguments against establishing an NFZ must also be weighed. Some say that that creating an NFZ would cause planes delivering humanitarian aid to refugees to be accidentally shot down, but it should be noted that during NATO’s mission in Bosnia, not one flight was shot down for that reason.14 Additionally, Sudan’s threat that
Elvir Camdzic, “Implementing a No-Fly Zone in Darfur,” Weavers of the Wind (August 2007): 4 http://weaversofthewind.org/ (accessed March 20, 2009). 10 Camdzic, Elvir. “Implementing a No-Fly Zone in Darfur.” Weavers of the Wind (August 2007): 5-6 http://weaversofthewind.org/ (accessed March 20, 2009). 11 Ibid 12 Merrill McPeak, “Grounding Sudan's Killers,” Washington Post, March 5, 2009. 13 Camdzic, Elvir. “Implementing a No-Fly Zone in Darfur.” Weavers of the Wind (August 2007): 29 http://weaversofthewind.org/ (accessed March 20, 2009). 14 Camdzic, Elvir. “Implementing a No-Fly Zone in Darfur.” Weavers of the Wind (August 2007): 25 http://weaversofthewind.org/ (accessed March 20, 2009).
President Bashir will kick out aid groups if an NFZ is created can no longer be used as most aid groups have already been expelled.15 Creating an NFZ would pose little more risk than continuing America’s current policy of engagement, and would almost certainly provide immediate benefits to the Darfuri people. Additionally, establishing one would be fairly easy as NATO has the capability to run it effectively. The ability exists to reduce the plight of the Darfuri people with little cost to the U.S. – now America only needs to find the will. While enforcing an NFZ might work in brokering an end to current hostilities in Darfur, there still remains the question of how to deal with Bashir, as the ICC has declared that he is a perpetrator of genocide. Any resolution to the issue of Bashir’s arrest warrant, whether it is revoked or not, must include the U.S. If it does not, there is no way that Sudan will improve its behavior. Consider, for example what might have been if America was involved in the discussion over whether or not the ICC would issue a warrant. The U.S. might have been able to pressure the ICC to not issue the warrant and instead continue to pressure Sudan in different ways, while ensuring that the aid agencies Bashir expelled in response to the Court’s actions remained in place.16 The international community can not expect to respect the rules of the ICC when even the world’s only superpower does not recognize the Court. In light of this, the United States should sign the ICC, though we should not ratify it, which will signal that America acknowledges the goal of the institution to pursue justice everywhere and will refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of that goal.17
Stephanie McCrummen, “Sudan Ousts Aid Groups After Court Pursues President,” Washington Post, March 5, 2009. 16 David Kaye, “The U.S. must reengage with the International Criminal Court,” Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2009. 17 Organization of American States. “Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties Signed at Vienna,” 23 May 1969.
In addition to keeping in mind both international and national security concerns, America has never shied away from citing humanitarian interests as a reason to use force abroad, as has been evident in its interventions in Bosnia, Somalia, and Iraq, among other countries. The U.S. affirmed the need for action in Sudan when it passed the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act in 2006, stating that what was occurring in Darfur was, in fact, genocide and advocating that “the international community, including the United States…immediately act to mobilize sufficient political, military, and financial resources through the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to support…a United Nations peacekeeping operation with the size, strength, and capacity necessary to protect civilians and humanitarian operations.”18 As America has concluded that genocide has been committed in Darfur, it must now take substantive action to prevent further atrocities from being committed or risk losing the moral high ground it currently enjoys. In addition to the moral reasons for taking action in Darfur, there appears to be legal precedent for action when looking the actions of the United Nations, as the institution passed a resolution that endorsed the concept of the “Responsibility to Protect (R2P).” R2P states that “each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,” and that if individual nations cannot protect their citizens, they forfeit their sovereignty.19 When monitoring the situation in Darfur, it is clear that R2P must be invoked as the International Criminal Court has now issued an arrest warrant for Bashir, charging him with crimes against humanity and five counts of war crimes, including murder, torture, and rape.20 As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, America should respect the decisions passed by this body.
Congress, House, Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006, 109th Cong., 2nd sess., H.R. 3127. Official Records of the United Nations Security Council, 2005 World Summit. 20 Stephanie McCrummen, “Sudan Ousts Aid Groups After Court Pursues President,” Washington Post, March 5, 2009.
Finally, if there was any fear that policymakers who advocated for aggressive intervention in Darfur would be ignored, there is no such reason to be afraid as top representatives of the U.S. government would like to see U.S. involvement increase in the region. The Vice President, Secretary of State, and UN Ambassador are all ready to seriously consider taking more aggressive action in the region, especially Secretary Clinton who, as First Lady, “was a forceful advocate of the interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo," where no-fly zones were enforced.21 The precedent for taking action exists; all that is required now is for America’s leaders in foreign policy to obtain the will to act. Reports show that “time and again, Mr. Bashir has responded to pressure and scrutiny by improving his behavior and increasing his cooperation with the United Nations and Western countries,” suggesting that he will stop his genocidal policies if enough pressure is applied by the world community.22 Furthermore, “there are whispers in…Khartoum that other senior Sudanese leaders are thinking about pushing Mr. Bashir out of office,” as the issuance of the ICC’s warrant has been an embarrassment for Sudan and some would like to claim good will by turning in the president.23 A global force, then, could be enough to force Sudan’s hand and stop the bloodshed. While some say that the U.S. is stretched too thin already in terms of its military commitments, it must be understood that the United States is already fairly involved with assisting African Union (AU) forces in the region, and to this day, “Rwanda’s battalions [in the region are] deployed with US help, using C-130 aircraft flying between Kigali and El Fasher.”24 Additionally, European countries like France are willing to provide resources for the sake of trying to bring a meaningful resolution to this conflict, as was proven when France helped secure
Jonathan Tepperman, “The Return of Humanitarian Intervention,” Newsweek, December 22, 2008. Nicholas Kristof, “Africa's 'Obama' School,” New York Times, February 25, 2009. 23 Ibid 24 Paul Williams, “Military response to mass killing: The African Union mission in Sudan,” International Peacekeeping 13, no. 2 (June 2006): 177.
the border between Sudan and Chad in 2006.25 Recently, Britain was also prepared to place “5,000 troops from the 12th Mechanized Infantry Brigade…on standby for operations in Darfur,” to help reduce the violence in the region.26 Though other western and eastern countries have taken, or are prepared to take, small scale action individually, reports show that an effective intervention would require substantially less troops than have been suggested by different countries if those same countries were able to consolidate themselves and agree on a set of political and military goals to accomplish. For example, “most expert assessments [conclude that] the arrival of a relatively small number (circa 5,000) of foreign soldiers…[could] ensure delivery of humanitarian assistance to the various camps for refugees…[and that] set[ing] up a no-fly zone…could [make] a substantial difference to the plight of the local population.”27 The United States has the capability to rally global will around the cause of ending genocide in Darfur by making it clear that its foreign policy advisors can now agree on steps that need to be taken, and should lead the troops being offered by other countries with resources of their own in order to reestablish our soft power and show the world that it is still the world’s policeman, moral compass, and leader. Seeing uncertainty in the global community, Bashir has no problems traveling throughout Africa to meet with heads of states, and has even attended a peace summit in Qatar recently, despite the fact that the Secretary-General of the UN was also there.28 When such powerful people as the head of the African Union, Muammar Qaddafi, and the leader of the UN are unwilling to take action against someone who has been found guilty of crimes against humanity by an international court, it becomes clear that the world will not be able, or willing, to take
Nicholas Kristof, “Africa's 'Obama' School,” New York Times, February 25, 2009. Paul Williams, “Military response to mass killing: The African Union mission in Sudan,” International Peacekeeping 13, no. 2 (June 2006): 173. 27 Williams, Paul D.. "The Responsibility to Protect and the Crisis in Darfur." Security Dialogue, no. 36 (2005): 3536. 28 Ali Khalil, “Sudan's Beshir travels to Doha, defying warrant,” Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney,) March 30, 2009.
action to protect the Darfuri people without American support.29 In light of this discovery, it then becomes the responsibility of the global community to act, now that it has embraced R2P. Global security will continue to deteriorate as long as terrorist organizations are allowed to operate and associate freely with each other, as this paper has shown might be occurring in Sudan. The United States is, for better or worse, the leader in global affairs, and must intervene to stop the crisis in Darfur for the sake of maintaining its moral values and ensuring its own national security, and by extension, global security.
Bibliography Ali Khalil, “Sudan's Beshir travels to Doha, defying warrant,” Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney,) March 30, 2009. Bloomfield, Steve. “Waiting for the Court.” Newsweek, December 22, 2008.
Camdzic, Elvir. “Implementing a No-Fly Zone in Darfur.” Weavers of the Wind (August 2007). http://weaversofthewind.org/ (accessed March 20, 2009). David Blair, “Man who harboured bin Laden is lodestar for terrorists,” The Gaurdian, January 30, 2006. David Kaye, “The U.S. must reengage with the International Criminal Court,” Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2009. De Waal, Alex. Darfur: a short history of a long war. Paperback. New York: Zed Books, 2008. Edmund S., “Extremism returns to Sudan capital,”Los Angeles Times, April 13, 2008. James C. McKinley, “Uganda’s Christian Rebels Revive War in North,” New York Times, April 1, 1996. John Heilprin, “Sudan president charged with genocide in Darfur,” Newsweek, July 14, 2008. Jonathan Spyer, “Analysis: Hamas and the Sudanese Connection,” Jerusalem Post, March 26, 2009. Joseph Cirincione, “Why Not Invade Darfur?” Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2008. Lawrence F. Kaplan, “If Iraq was wrong, is Darfur right?” Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2006. Merrill McPeak, “Grounding Sudan's Killers,” Washington Post, March 5, 2009. Michael Gordon, “U.S. Officials Say Israel Struck in Sudan,” New York Times, March 26, 2009. Nicholas Kristof, “Africa's 'Obama' School,” New York Times, February 25, 2009. Organization of American States. “Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties Signed at Vienna,” 23 May 1969. Official Records of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Official Records of the United Nations Security Council, 2005 World Summit.
Rabasa, Angel. "Radical Islam in East Africa." RAND, (2009): 4. State Sponsors of Terrorism. U.S. Department of State. February 17, 2009. Stephanie McCrummen, “Sudan Ousts Aid Groups After Court Pursues President,” Washington Post, March 5, 2009. Tepperman, Jonathan. “The Return of Humanitarian Intervention.” Newsweek, December 22, 2008. Williams, Paul D. “The Responsibility to Protect and the Crisis in Darfur.” Security Dialogue no. 36 (2005). Williams, Paul. “Military response to mass killing: The African Union mission in Sudan.” International Peacekeeping 13, no. 2 (June 2006). U.S. Congress. House. Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006. 109th Cong., 2nd sess., H.R. 3127.