|Africa News Digest
Sudan's President Tackles Darfur Crisis with Development
July 2 (EIRNS)Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced, in an international video press conference from Khartoum on June 30, that his government has earmarked $800 million for Darfur reconstruction, a direct challenge to the interests inside Sudan and from the West who thought they could continue using the political crisis in Darfur, which has been deepened by the pre-existing lack of water now magnified by drought, as their pretext to destroy the Sudanese nation-state. He also warned against the "Iraqization" of Darfur, which would be done by using the conflict caused by the rebellion as a pretext for foreign military intervention into the region.
He asserted, however, that the Darfur crisis has been exacerbated by other types of foreign interventions, and as an example gave a good slap to the U.S. State Department and USAID, saying that if it were not for external interference, championed by a certain Roger Winter (a long-time U.S.-based anti-Sudan-government activist), Darfur would have, in the last years, registered a fundamental transformation in terms of development. Winter has been involved in various interventions in Sudan, on behalf of U.S. agencies, for the last 25 years, and in 2005, was named Special Representative for Sudan to advise U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on policy related to Darfur and to Sudan. He was formerly the mentor of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice, and in 1998, EIR exposed Iran-Contra style capers in Africa by the duo.
Al-Bashir stated that Sudan was also investigating organizations and persons who have raised funds under the guise of helping the people of Darfur. The objective, he said, is to learn what has been done with the enormous amount of cash generated, and also to stop the abuse of the good will of donors.
As for the French initiative to threaten Sudan with a military intervention in the guise of a UN intervention, Bashir said he saw nothing new from the French conference on Darfur, in Paris. He said that President Nicolas Sarkozy was the new poodle of George Bush, hence, they (the Americans) have decided to outsource Darfur's case to the French. He said Sudan was sticking with the hybrid force with UN support, that the troops would be African, and that participants from elsewhere would participate, fulfilling functions such as providing engineers, whose expertise will map out and fine tune his country's development plans for Darfur.
On the terrorism issue, Bashir said that Sudan had provided the United States with intelligence, before the American embassies were attacked in Kenya and Tanzania, and before 9/11, that could have prevented both incidents. He said he wondered what the Americans did with that intelligence.
Sudan To Launch '1,000 Wells for Darfur' Project
July 6 (EIRNS)Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has agreed to an initiative to tackle the problem of water shortage in northwestern Sudan, which includes most of the Darfur region. The government is now moving to turn the tables on the rebels operating in Darfur by rebuilding infrastructure that the rebels have been destroying. The government's focus will initially be on water.
Al-Bashir and Egyptian scientist Farouk El-Baz, director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, agreed during a June 20 meeting in Khartoum, on the "1,000 Wells for Darfur" initiative, according to SciDev.Net, on June 25. The proposal is based on the discovery by the Boston University team, of a huge, ancient, underground lake in northern Darfur.
The initiative will be presented to the Sudan Government Council of Ministers in its upcoming meeting, to work out the details, reported SciDev.Net. According to Al-Bashir, the shortage of water resources was the "core" of the problem in Darfur. "This is a humanitarian effort in the first place, and we invite everyone to help us achieve the objective of providing water to the people that need it most. Stabilizing this important region of our country is a noble cause, which we fully stand behind," al-Bashir said.
According to SciDev.Net, individuals, nongovernmental organizations, countries, and international organizations will be invited to participate in the 1,000 Wells initiative. This will put the gang of organizations in the Western world, especially in the United States, which have been supporting the rebels and attacking the government, on the spot: Do they want to solve the problem, or are they only interested in attacking the Sudan government?
El-Baz explicitly stated the purpose of the project: "The Darfur initiative will bring hope to the people of northwestern Sudan; it will allow the migration of the labor force to locations where economic development is suitable and environmentally sustainable." He added, "This initiative can be a starting point for ameliorating the human suffering in the region and raising the quality of life and capacity of its people."