Darfur delusions

What happens if you organize and arm janjaweed militias who rape, kill, and pillage for years, displacing millions from their homes and leaving at least 200,000 dead? And what happens if you recently imprisoned an American journalist, his translator, and driver, kept the U.S. president’s envoy waiting for three days – despite her offer of ...

607053_AlBashir5.jpg
607053_AlBashir5.jpg
The Chairman of the African Union, Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, left, with President of Sudan Field Marshall Omar Al-Bashir, after the opening of the African Union 6th Summit in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, Jan. 23, 2006. The chairmanship of the organization traditionally goes to the country hosting the summit. That would make the next chairman Sudanese President el-Bashir, a military coup leader accused of fueling the conflict in Western Darfur that has killed some 180,000 people in three years, displaced 2 million and spilled over into neighboring Chad.(AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

What happens if you organize and arm janjaweed militias who rape, kill, and pillage for years, displacing millions from their homes and leaving at least 200,000 dead? And what happens if you recently imprisoned an American journalist, his translator, and driver, kept the U.S. president's envoy waiting for three days - despite her offer of a one-on-one meeting with Bush - because you are "too busy" to meet, and then rejected all international calls for U.N. troops to be deployed in your country, despite demonstrations around the world over the weekend demanding just that? Well, if you're Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, you get a nice package of economic incentives offered to you - think debt relief, increased trade, and more aid. Is this how the international community hopes to address the worsening violence in Darfur? By so richly rewarding one of the men responsible?

What happens if you organize and arm janjaweed militias who rape, kill, and pillage for years, displacing millions from their homes and leaving at least 200,000 dead? And what happens if you recently imprisoned an American journalist, his translator, and driver, kept the U.S. president’s envoy waiting for three days – despite her offer of a one-on-one meeting with Bush – because you are “too busy” to meet, and then rejected all international calls for U.N. troops to be deployed in your country, despite demonstrations around the world over the weekend demanding just that? Well, if you’re Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, you get a nice package of economic incentives offered to you – think debt relief, increased trade, and more aid. Is this how the international community hopes to address the worsening violence in Darfur? By so richly rewarding one of the men responsible?

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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