Wednesday, December 27, 2006

On Darfur

This is a topic that got the better of me. It was just too depressing to shout into the barrel. I started in March, 2004 and wrote more about Darfur in November, 2004. Then there was an action alert in February, 2005. Then I just gave up. I apologize.

Here are some more recent news on Darfur:

Sudan has agreed to a United Nations peacekeeping role in the Darfur region, but U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he is taking "nothing for granted" after many false starts in getting relief to the war-torn area.

Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sadeq al-Magli on Friday didn't specify how many troops would be accepted but said the U.N. would mainly provide technical assistance, consultants and military and police experts. He added that the force would be commanded by the African Union.

Annan said earlier Friday he was encouraged that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir would agree to a hybrid AU-UN force, along with a cease-fire and renewed peace efforts.

"I do fervently hope that we are now at last close to rescuing the people of Darfur from their agony," he said. "But after so many disappointments, I take nothing for granted."

The United Nations had been pushing for a much larger role in Darfur _ where AU peacekeepers are already operating _ in an effort to put an end to fighting that has claimed more than 200,000 lives and left 2.5 million displaced.

But al-Magli's comments reflected his government's long standing opposition to the deployment of 20,000 U.N. troops as proposed by the U.N. Security Council.

Between my early posts and today, how many people have died in Darfur? That came out wrong. I don't mean that my posts would have mattered, but that the wheels of international help grind so slowly that it's hard not to lose hope.