US says the UNSC May Sanction Both Sides

The U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice was happy with the vote:

With this vote, the Council has clearly imposed tight deadlines for concrete action, in line with the African Union decision. This Council, especially those members with particular influence, including my own, must continue to press both parties to implement the African Union Roadmap by ending hostilities, ceasing cross-border attacks and movements, halting aerial bombardments, withdrawing all their forces from the border areas including Abyei, activating the necessary border security mechanisms, and ending support to rebel groups working against the other state.

It is also essential that both parties return at once to the negotiating table under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel to reach agreement on critical outstanding issues. We support the plans of the African Union to travel to Khartoum and Juba in the coming days to begin the process. This is ultimately the only way that further conflict can be avoided.

If the parties fail to take these steps promptly, this Council is united in its determination to hold both sides accountable. We stand ready to impose Chapter VII sanctions on either or both parties, as necessary.

The clear and unmistakable impression given by this statement is that the United States will offer no support whatsoever to those people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile who are fighting for their lives against a genocidal regime that wishes to kill them precisely because fighting for their lives constitutes a rebellion against the government of Sudan’s wish for them to leave or die. Is it possible for a rational human being not to wish for regime change under such a circumstance, nor to fight for it to happen?

3 responses

  1. Do we have the ability to bring about regime change, do we have a sense of how that would play out, and are we confident the new folks won’t be worse than the current (as has happened elsewhere). Americans are skittish about open-ended foreign involvements…recent ones haven’t turned out to be as simple as promised (remember when Cheney said Iraqi oil would pay the cost of the war?). Fascinating how some folks who don’t want foreign powers to impose a settlement in the Middle East want unilateral United States military action in Africa. I think the UN resolution is a big step forward. Isn’t it likely that President Obama is pushing on this issue as fast as he can given geopolitics and the limits to American military power?

    1. I don’t think that regime change is in the cards policy-wise. I certainly don’t think that the US could possibly enter this conflict. Regime change could only happen if the Sudanese people are allowed to do it themselves and that isn’t going to be easy if possible. What the US/UN/AU need to do is to send food into South Kordofan with or without permission of the Sudanese government under the argument that mass starvation is not a legitimate battle tactic, not one acceptable by moral and ethical people in 2012 anyway. The US alone, and in my mind the UNSC as well (but that will not happen), should threaten sanctions against Sudan based solely upon its genocidal behavior. The US government, much less the UNSC, not mentioning the crimes against committed by the Sudanese government in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is simply not acceptable.

  2. If peace between Sudan and South Sudan comes to fruition because of the UNSC action, but Sudan is allowed to ethnically cleanse itself of Christians and to commit genocide against Christians and Muslims not allied with Bashir’s government, this will be an abject failure. It would be like allowing Germany to persecute and even kill the Jews while being thankful of avoiding a larger war. That happened in September of 1938 when Chamberlain achieved “Peace in Our Time.” Saved lots of Jews and avoided a war… Wait a minute! It didn’t! Worse, the people in the Nuba Mountains don’t have four months, the timetable put forth by the UNSC. They will be starving by the thousands within weeks if the world does not act to bring in hunger relief and it isn’t going to be allowed to get there through Khartoum.

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