The CIA’s New
Client in Sudan
by Eric Black
It was Woodrow Wilson who called the Armenian Holocaust
‘sad, but necessary to quell an internal security threat.’ Today
it appears that the Bush administration, only eight months after former
Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that Sudan’s pro-government
committing genocide, has changed its mind and now is once again ignoring
victims of genocide and allowing a government to quell a ‘security
The Las Angeles
Times recently reported that the US government and the Sudanese government
responsible for over 180,000 deaths are forming a close intelligence partnership,
and that government in Khartoum is becoming a ‘surprisingly valuable
ally of the CIA’ in the war on terrorism, as odd as that would seem
to anyone aware of the fact that Sudan harbored Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda
a decade ago and that Sudan’s dictator retained ties with other groups
classified as terrorists by the US government after Al Qaeda left Sudan.
The Times’ report on the US’ new ally
shows very clearly the opportunistic nature of the ‘war on terrorism’
paradigm, which in reality has nothing to do with stopping violence or promoting
peace but is merely a new justification for continuing with the imperialist
program that the US has pursued since the Second World War. The article
is full of completely contradictory messages from US government officials,
and it is difficult to imagine how an establishment reader could make sense
of them without resorting to the use of doublespeak. The first few paragraphs
explain that Sudan has been charged with committing genocide by the US government,
once welcomed bin Laden, and has been described as "an extraordinary
threat to the national security" by the Bush Administration.
Paragraphs later, the readership is told that ‘"American
intelligence considers [Sudan] to be a friend" by a senior official
in the Sudanese government, and that Sudan could become a ‘top tier’
ally of the CIA by a State Department official. In addition, the Bush Administration
has recently normalized relations with Sudan in light of this recent cooperation.
According to these interviews with US and Sudanese
intelligence officials, in recent collaborative efforts partaken by the
two governments Sudan has expelled Islamic ‘extremists.’ This
leads one to wonder, have they banished themselves from the country? Among
their other services, they detained Al Qaeda suspects, members of the Iraqi
insurgency, and other terrorist operatives and gave them to the US for interrogation.
Unfortunately, no members of the Janjaweed, the pro-government militia committing
genocide against the civilians of Darfur have been detained or disarmed.
Why has the relationship between Sudan and the US
shifted so suddenly, and why is the Sudanese government so interested in
helping the US government hunt down extremists that it used to fund and
give sanctuary to? Why is the US so ready to normalize its relationship
with a country involved in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing, as the
UN calls it, or genocide, as Colin Powell called it?
Washington’s radical reversal of relations with
Sudan undoubtedly has quite a bit to do with Sudan’s oil, the majority
of which it had been selling to China. Washington has been looking for a
way to gain control over Sudan’s oil fields for a long period of time.
It is likely that the US helped train the two largest rebel groups whose
attacks elicited the government’s counter-insurgency campaign, the
Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudanese Liberation Army, in an attempt
to weaken Sudan’s government at a time when it was developing closer
ties with China. When the atrocities began to escalate in Darfur and the
US State Department officially labeled the killings in Darfur ‘genocide’,
it seemed the US was considering invading Sudan on a platform of ending
the genocide, disposing of the dictator who made the mistake of giving China
access to its oil fields, and replacing him with a leader who would allow
US corporations to funnel oil from Sudan.
However, now that Sudan has proved willing to cooperate
with the US, new questions arise. Why would Sudan be dealing so comfortably
with Washington unless it knew that it would not be held accountable for
its own atrocities in any real sense?
It doesn’t seem altogether unfeasible for the
governments of Sudan and the US have made a pact stating that the US would
use its power to prevent action against the genocide in Darfur, in exchange
for aid in countering ‘terrorism’ and, at some point, access
to untapped oil? It is hard to think of another explanation for the sudden
friendship of the two regimes. The US has been considering an attempt to
repeal the sanctions placed on Sudan, a move favored both by Khartoum and
by US oil companies.
Once again, it seems the US is being complicit with
genocide and making deals with the war criminals responsible, just as previous
US administrations were complicit with the rise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia
which was engaged in a battle with the North Vietnamese by allowing Thailand
(then a US client state) to sell arms to Pol Pot while he exterminated 1.7
million of his own people. Just as the US was silent during the Rwandan
genocide and instead focused on the bombing of Yugoslavia, the US is again
ignoring a massive tragedy in Sudan in favor of perusing its immediate imperial
interests and destroying the resistance in Iraq.
Of course, just because ties have increased between
Khartoum and Washington doesn’t mean that the US wouldn’t abandon
the Sudanese government if the US feels the alliance is no longer politically
expedient or if Sudan is insubordinate, but right now it seems like the
alliance is a win-win situation for both governments; the only losers of
course being the citizens of Darfur experiencing living hell.
The situation in Darfur is still one the of the worst
humanitarian catastrophes in the world with nearly 200,000 dead, either
due to violence or famine, and 2 million displaced. The pro-government militias
continue to raid the towns of Darfur, killing men, raping women, and plundering
entire villages, often abducting young women and using them as sex-slaves.
It is clear that rapid action is necessary to save innocent lives and end
the mass slaughter.
The solution to the tragedies in Darfur is most certainly
not an American or NATO military intervention; such an imperial intervention
would only augment the suffering felt in Sudan. To protect the human rights
of Sudanese civilians, it would be necessary for the UN to launch a major
peacekeeping mission or for the world to come together to fund the African
Union’s peacekeeping campaign. The AU has already launched a peace
keeping mission, and AU peace keepers have been effective in stopping violence
in areas where they are dispatched. However, the AU does not have the resources
to sustain the kind of mission necessary to bring any degree of peace to
Sudan, and has only been able to deploy 3,000 troops to Darfur, a region
the size of France. In addition to enduring vicious campaigns of violence,
the people of Sudan are also in dire need of humanitarian aid and are experiencing
a great shortage in food, medicine, clean water, and other life essentials.
If the international community does not work together
to build a peacekeeping campaign and the humanitarian aid campaign, the
Oxfam aid agency predicts that the humanitarian crisis in Sudan will continue
until October 2006, most likely bringing hundreds of thousands of additional
deaths. However, it seems the US may present an obstacle to such campaigns,
as it does not want to offend its terrorist ally in Khartoum.