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US must never be allowed into Darfur

By Isdore Guvamombe
June 08, 2007

AFRICA must be wary of moves by the United States and its Western allies to send Nato troops into Sudan's southern Darfur region, as the move is potentially divisive.

We all know that for years, the US spent sleepless nights trying to divide Africa so that it could easily exploit available resources.

This explains why the US and other Western countries are now exerting pressure on Sudan to accept the deployment of Nato troops under the aegis of the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Clearly, Washington wants to split the unity in the African Union over Sudan and disrupt its support to Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir.

To some of us, it is clear that as in Zimbabwe, where they have unsuccessfully fought President Mugabe over land, the main aim of the US is to get to Sudan's oil wealth.

Washington's intentions to deploy as soon as possible UN peacekeepers in Darfur is linked to its plans to give a legal base for Nato troops' presence in the country, yet the AU has the capacity to deal with that.

With the help of these troops, Americans want to limit Bashir's power and, through that, support rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army and Movement for Justice and Equality.

These rebel groups will then see the US as their master – the only one who can guarantee them support for their separatist plans.

This is the same with the MDC syndrome in Zimbabwe.

At the same time, Americans are strengthening their positions in southern provinces by creating loyal structures in rebels.

The State Department is trying to implement its programme that should turn Sudanese militia groups into special units for protection of American national security and interests in the region.

The next step will be removing from Khartoum's jurisdiction, the oil rich southern territories and giving them to rebel groups controlled by Washington.

This move will give American oil companies the opportunity to take over oil reserves there.

Africa must not be fooled. There is no doubt that the US plans to impose its will on Sudan so that it could be better placed to destabilise the entire region, if not the whole continent.

US intervention threatens the territorial integrity of Sudan and could lead to the appearance of quasi-state formations in the region.

If that happens, it will push other separatist movements in neighbouring countries to increase their dissident activities with disastrous consequences for the whole region.

The resultant chaos will attract terrorist groups and could lead to the emergence of terrorist training camps there.

It should be noted that US intervention could lead to an increase in the number of refugees in the region and not in America.

Last week, the UN was used as a smokescreen to blame the government of President Bashir through a damning report created to give the US the impetus and justification to send Nato troops into his country.

The report claimed that a Sudanese liberation movement had blamed Sudanese government forces for fresh attacks on its positions in North Darfur, saying aerial bombardment had been employed against its fighters.

Sudanese government forces, further claimed the report, clashed with rebels last week in the Rockero area of North Darfur state, the UN Mission in Darfur (UNMIS) reported, adding that it was unable to estimate the number of casualties following the violence.

A spokesman for the faction, Jar Al Nabi Abdal Karim, said government forces had resumed attacks in the area, citing other incidents in Malam al Hosh and in the Jabal Moon region.

At least five people died, he said.

Government officials denied the reports, according to local reports in the Sudanese media on May 22, saying only aerial reconnaissance had been carried out in the area.

Africa should not be fooled by such a report and, in any case, the AU has the capacity to mobilise troops and resources to deal with the situation, should the report prove to be true.

UNMIS also reported clashes in Abu Surug in South Darfur state, adding that the local defence force had fought about 120 armed men, believed to be from Arab militia, last Saturday.

The reports of attacks come amid more internally displaced persons (IDPs) arriving at Al Salam camp in South Darfur in the past few days, driven by the recent attacks on their villages by armed militiamen.

Why should all these things happen at a time the UN Secretary General's special envoy to Darfur, Jan Eliasson, has assured all that formal political negotiations to resolve the Darfur conflict could begin soon?

Why should Washington then push for urgent Nato troops intervention and not give Africa the chance to flex its muscles in Darfur?

I smell a rat here.