Sudan has been voted down overwhelmingly in its bid for a UN Security Council seat. When the final ballot of today’s General Assembly vote was counted, Sudan had 55 votes and Mauritius had 113.
It was a moment of moral sanity for the world body.
Eric Reeves [October 10, 2000]
Smith College firstname.lastname@example.org
Northampton, MA 01063
Why was the Khartoum regime voted down in such stunning fashion? Why did so many African and non-African nations emphatically reject the National Islamic Front government of Sudan? The answer is encapsulated in a report today from the town of Ikotos (Equatoria) in southern Sudan. An extremely reliable on-the-ground source reports yet another savage aerial assault by Khartoum on civilian life and humanitarian aid:
“Ikotos [Equatoria] was bombed this morning [October 10, 2000] at 10:30 am. The Antonov plane dropped six bombs; five houses were destroyed and six were damaged. Two people were seriously injured. The bombs fell close to the school where 210 children were in the class and many people were for the distribution of food.”
This is the regime that had the unspeakable arrogance to present itself as a candidate for the UN Security Council. On the very day of a long-scheduled UN vote on their candidacy, the regime orders this brutal aerial attack.
Evidently convinced that the presence of oil companies like Talisman Energy of Canada provides enough moral cover in the world’s diplomatic circles, Khartoum went forward with “business as usual.” For there was nothing out of the ordinary in this attack. Indeed, Ikotos had been bombed before—just a month ago, with immense destruction.
But precisely because of this moment of moral sanity at the UN, we may expect to see from Khartoum an intensified assault on civilians and humanitarian relief. Operation Lifeline Sudan in particular will certainly be targeted in one way or another. A vicious, vengeful new cycle of violence is all too predictable on the part of a regime that has all along remained bent on genocidal destruction in the south.
And all the while, oil revenues are flowing into the coffers of this same regime, courtesy of Talisman Energy and its partners in the Greater Nile oil project. Money that will allow the purchase of additional weaponry, more bombs, more means of destroying civilian life in the south—all flows to Khartoum.
The UN acted with reason and wisdom in denying Khartoum a seat on the Security Council. The question is whether that reason and wisdom can be matched by the countries whose oil companies are sustaining this regime and are complicit in unfathomable human suffering and destruction.