Sudan needs help from everyone

Yesterday, Western and African diplomats pressured Sudanese government officials and rebels to put an end to three years of armed conflict. The international community needs to step up their response to controlling the conflict — the United States included.

The fighting started in 2003 in the Sudanese region of Darfur. According to Reuters, many ethnic rebels in the area protested over “what they saw as neglect by the Arab-dominated central government.” These groups have revolted over their political marginalization and oftentimes clashed with one another over competing interests.

To crush the rebellion, the Sudanese government has allegedly enlisted Janjaweed militias and other Arab tribes to crush the uprisings. According to Human Rights Watch, these militias have driven more than 2 million people from their homes into refugee camps and neighboring countries. Tens of thousands of people have died and even more have been raped.

For a start, Sudan needs military manpower to control this conflict now. African Union peacekeeping troops are the only real forces on the ground controlling the conflict. No disrespect to the African Union, but Sudan is going to need much more than these forces to put any constraints on the fighting whatsoever.

The United Nations has repeatedly mentioned sending peacekeeping forces of its own but hasn’t yet officially done so. The United States has not hinted at sending any of its own troops to police the conflict, and we doubt the president will deploy troops there anytime soon. However, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice indicated on CNN last week that NATO forces will be deployed to the region sometime in the near future.

To be blunt, our country has a tradition of hesitating to intervene in humanitarian conflicts that don’t promise any economic resources. We doubt the citizens of this country could stomach another U.S. war anyway.

In the interest of fairness, the United States orchestrated many of the Sudan peace talks this week in Nigeria. We just think the United States has the resources to be doing a lot more to help the situation. When you have celebrities like George Clooney speaking out louder about Sudan than the politicians who run this country, it sends a message to the masses where our government has its priorities.

Diplomatically, the Sudanese government needs to start taking the rebels’ demands more seriously. Oftentimes when governmental uprisings occur, they are because politicians have failed at addressing the needs of its constituents. Not to condone the rebel violence whatsoever, but many of these rebel groups just want to be better represented in the government.

Many of these rebel groups are militaristic by nature. Perhaps the Sudanese government could appeal to rebels by integrating them into their nation’s security forces. Mixing together clashing ethnic groups might be hectic at first, but it could make Sudan stronger in the long run.

This subject may not be the most “cheery” way to end the semester, but it’s one of the most pressing issues in the news today that isn’t gaining much attention. Earlier this week, Kent State was blessed to have Paul Rusesabagina come speak about the atrocities he witnessed in Rwanda in the early 1990s. Rwanda is happening again, and we all have a responsibility to respond.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.