In his article for the New York Post, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Bush administration, Peter Brookes argues that diplomacy has categorically failed to stop or even curtail the atrocities in Darfur and that only "highly credible threats" will check Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
Last week (Brookes writes), at the same time as the organisation he leads showed the Sudanese regime to be illegally transporting weapons into Darfur UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was attempting to stop the White House proposing sanctions against Sudan. Ban Ki-Moon argued that Khartoum's decision to allow 3,000 UN troops to augment the 7,000 African Union troops in Darfur meant diplomacy could continue. But since the Security Council passed its first resolution on Darfur in 2005 Bashir has repeatedly broken his promises to stop the humanitarian disaster happening in Darfur. Furthermore, given Bashir will not countenance non-African troops in Darfur, roughly 10,000 men will be attempting to stabalise an area the size of France.
Brookes argues that peace is even more elusive that in 2006 when only one of the three main rebel groupings signed up to a US backed peace plan. Now divisions amongst the rebels mean that any negotiations would have to deal with 15 rebel groups. No, Brookes argues, diplomacy has failed, and will fail. It is time for action.
- First, we must expect Khartoum to backslide on its promises. The UN must establish firm benchmarks and deadlines for: stopping the violence, disarming the Janjaweed and beginning peace negotiations.
- Second, back up those deadlines with punitive economic and financial sanctions and implement them if Sudan fails to meet the benchmarks. Even if the UN doesn't support sanctions Brookes argues that American and European Union countries, India and Japan could "curtail all financial and business dealings with, and investment in, Sudan. They could also freeze the assets of Sudanese officials responsible for the death and destruction in Darfur".
- Third, acknowledge that without international efforts to tighten it the current arms embargo is meaningless. The Pentagon should be looking now at how to establish an ideally NATO no-fly zone over Khartoum, something that would give "Khartoum heart palpitations".
Brookes argues that unless other nations join the US in increasing "arm-twisting" the slaughter in Darfur will get worse. Another case for UK-US leadership?