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Behind Washington's scheming in Sudan:
Putting oil profits first

By Eric Ruder | June 4, 2004 | Page 2

THE U.S. government is brokering a deal to end a decades-old civil war in Sudan that threatens its interests in the Middle East--while ignoring hundreds of thousands of Sudanese who are at the brink of starvation.

Rebels in the southern part of the country have been fighting a 20-year-long war against the central government.

But over the past year, the Sudanese government has been responsible for the worst ethnic cleansing in Africa since the genocide in Rwanda 10 years ago--against the residents of Darfur in the west of the country. U.S. officials, however, have downplayed the scale of this crisis, while seeking new ties to a government that the Bush administration listed as a "sponsor of terrorism."

The reason for Washington's new warmth toward the Sudanese regime? U.S. oil corporations want to get in on the country's oil bonanza.

During the past year, at least 30,000 residents of Darfur have been killed and 1 million made homeless by government-backed militias known as Janjaweed. "They took our animals, our food," explained Musa Juma Ahmed. "They did not leave a thing. They did not even leave our homes. They destroyed everything completely."

In early 2003, the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement--made up of Darfur's Black African residents--began an uprising against Sudan's governing regime for neglecting the Darfur region. Since then, government troops and Janjaweed militants--who are predominantly Arab--have wreaked havoc on Darfur, creating the world's largest internally displaced refugee population. After government forces drop massive bombs on villages, Janjaweed forces arrive on horse or camel, looting, raping and killing.

With the rainy season beginning, food aid will be unable to reach several camps with hundreds of thousands of refugees for at least two months. Yet the U.S. is holding out the carrot of a doubling of aid to Sudan to $400 million--but only after the government concludes a peace agreement with rebels in the south.

A humanitarian catastrophe looms in western Sudan--but the Bush gang only cares about getting its hands on Sudan's oil wealth.

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