I guess this is Rwanda Part 2.
Sudan has learned that the West will largely do nothing in the face of genocide unless a) there are vast oil reserves for the taking (there are vast oil and mineral reserves but our banker, China, has claim to a large portion of them), b) We have an ulterior motive and c) White people are the victims. But what about Libya, you are wondering? Our motives for going in were sketchy at best and I don’t buy it was really to prevent genocide because we generally don’t fight wars on human rights grounds, irrespective of what politicians say. Libya was a relatively easy situation all things considered and of course, they have oil, although the US arguably has significantly less dependence on Libyan oil than do some of our European allies.
This article was in the NYT Global Edition online- I guess they didn’t want to bother regular readers of the NYT print edition or online American edition with pesky facts about global injustice. Except of course when it comes to Iran, then it’s on the front page of the NYT.
The trail of corpses begins about 300 yards from the corrugated metal gate of the United Nations compound and stretches for miles into the bush.
There is an old man on his back, a young woman with her legs splayed and skirt bunched up around her hips, and a whole family — man, woman, two children — all facedown in the swamp grass, executed together. How many hundreds are scattered across the savannah, nobody really knows.
South Sudan, born six months ago in great jubilation, is plunging into a vortex of violence. Bitter ethnic tensions that had largely been shelved for the sake of achieving independence have ruptured into a cycle of massacre and revenge that neither the American-backed government nor the United Nations has been able to stop.
The United States and other Western countries have invested billions of dollars in South Sudan, hoping it will overcome its deeply etched history of poverty, violence and ethnic fault lines to emerge as a stable, Western-friendly nation in a volatile region. Instead, heavily armed militias the size of small armies are now marching on villages and towns with impunity, sometimes with blatantly genocidal intent.
Eight thousand fighters just besieged this small town in the middle of a vast expanse, razing huts, burning granaries, stealing tens of thousands of cows and methodically killing hundreds, possibly thousands, of men, women and children hiding in the bush.
The raiders had even broadcast their massacre plans.
“We have decided to invade Murleland and wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth,” the attackers, from a rival ethnic group, the Nuer, warned in a public statement.
The United Nations, which has 3,000 combat-ready peacekeepers in South Sudan, tracked the advancing fighters from helicopters for days before the massacre and rushed in about 400 soldiers. But the peacekeepers did not fire a single shot, saying they were greatly outnumbered and could have easily been massacred themselves.
That last bit is so reminiscent of Rwanda. I just finished reading the book about the Rwandan genocide, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevich and the tragic results of having minimal UN peacekeepers with “no shoot” orders was played out time and time again.