Axis of Jihad

9/11, the Kobar Towers, two separate embassy bombings, the USS Cole, the first World Trade Center bombing… here in the US we can debate the meaning of jihad, whether it is symbolic of an inner struggle or an overt war, but in other parts of the world the meaning is quite clear.

Armed and recruited by the Sudanese government, the Janjaweed militia is executing what many, including the UN, are calling genocide against non-muslims in that country.

Sudan's holy war against the south was reaffirmed in October by First Vice President Ali Osman Taha.

"The jihad is our way, and we will not abandon it and will keep its banner high," he said to a brigade of mujahedin fighters heading for the war front, according to Sudan's official SUNA news agency. "We will never sell out our faith and will never betray the oath to our martyrs."

...The forced conversions are just one aspect of the Khartoum government's self-declared jihad on the mostly Christian and animist south, Dennis Bennett, executive director of Seattle-based Servant's Heart told WorldNetDaily.

Villagers in several areas of the northeast Upper Nile region say that when women are captured by government forces they are asked: "Are you Christian or Muslim?"

Women who answer "Muslim" are set free, but typically soldiers gang-rape those who answer "Christian" then cut off their breasts and leave them to die as an example for others. [worldnetdaily.com]

The UN sprang into action in 2003, and guess what, the violence continues. As usual they called for peace, asked for aid, pled for talks, begged for a ceasefire, and suggested negotiations... yet the killing continues.

Many thousands have been killed and human rights groups say there has been a systematic campaign of rape, intended to humiliate and punish non-Arab groups.

The Janjaweed have attacked black Africans from the Fur, Massaleet and Zagawa ethnic groups with a ruthlessness that has not been seen in the region for some time, report aid agencies and the refugees themselves.

They have killed, raped, maimed, looted and burned down tens of thousands of village homes, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. [news.bbc.co.uk]

It's a small world after all, and as we watch these atrocities play themselves out in front of our eyes, what are our options for dealing with this? Should we even care? Is it none of our business? Or must we be involved because the ramifications will eventually catch up with us whether we like it or not? The truth is something must be done.

I am of the mind that Darfur is a part of the global war on terror. The Sudan, as a radical Muslim nation, is a part of the 'axis of jihad'. Are they a direct threat to us? No. Indirectly however, they are a part of the Al Qaeda equation. Osama Bin laden spent five years in Sudan as a guest of the Islamic government there. He issued his first fatwas against the US about the Gulf war and Somalia from there. He undoubtedly recruited there. The Sudan is an example of the kind of government which we need to 'reform'. And we need some strategies to deal with countries like Sudan that are commensurate with their indirect threat status.

As a separate issue the Darfur crisis deserves some kind of military intervention, likely a UN peacekeeping force like that which failed in Rwanda.

But I'm not sure that the UN is up to these kinds of tasks. And the use of American military continues to be problematic because of the accusations of imperialist colonialism. Perhaps we should think about creating a kind of American Foreign Legion trained by our military as peacekeepers to be used in these kinds of situations. And/or consisting of the growing private military contractors who are hired for specific jobs in specific places for specified times.

Part of the problem is obviously the nature of the UN. It is not predisposed to unanimous action. For instance, Kerry's good friends, the French, oppose sanctions against the Sudan.

In Darfur, it would be better to help the Sudanese get over the crisis so their country is pacified rather than sanctions which would push them back to their misdeeds of old," junior Foreign Minister Renaud Muselier told French radio.

France led opposition to US moves at the UN over Iraq. As was the case in Iraq, France also has significant oil interests in Sudan.

Mr Muselier also dismissed claims of "ethnic cleansing" or genocide in Darfur.

"I firmly believe it is a civil war and as they are little villages of 30, 40, 50, there is nothing easier than for a few armed horsemen to burn things down, to kill the men and drive out the women," he said.

Human rights activists say the Janjaweed are conducting a genocide against Darfur's black African population. [news.bbc.co.uk]

Colonialism does seem to be a symptom of the problem here. (Hint: it's not US colonialism.) With most of North Africa under the protectorate of the French version of 'business interest', one wonders what the condition of these countries says about the Imperialism of the French.

One thing it does for me is put to rest the idea that the old policy of containment and 'stability' should be replaced with one of active change.

Posted by Eric Simonson at July 23, 2004 3:20 PM