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Darfur: Strategies for Intervention

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Darfur: Strategies for Intervention

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Darfur: Strategies for Intervention

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Michel Martin, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. By April 30th, the Sudanese government and rebel forces are supposed to reach a peace agreement to end the conflict in the Western Sudan region of Darfur. That's the deadline set by the United Nations Security Council to end a war that has dragged on for three years, killing an estimated hundreds of thousands and displacing millions of people. By now, Western leaders have condemned the atrocities in Darfur in some of the strongest terms. The U.N. calls the situation the worst humanitarian crisis of today. Last summer, president Bush called the killing genocide, breaking with the more cautious language used by the U.N. The U.S. and Britain have been pushing for a forceful intervention in the region, but the strong words so far have not translated into strong action.

Yesterday, the U.S. did ask the Security Council to impose a travel ban and to freeze the assets of four Sudanese nationals, including a Sudanese military officer and a militia leader who are accused of massive human rights violations. That would be the first time the U.N. has considered a resolution to punish individuals accused of participating in the mass killings. But so far the U.N. has no military presence in the region. The African Union has an estimated 7,000 troops on the ground, but by all accounts they have failed to reduce the violence. And last week, there were claims that the instability in Darfur had spilled into neighborhood Chad, accounting for an attempted coupe to overthrow the President.

So that led us to wonder, why is it that there seems to be such broad moral agreement in the West that something must be done, and yet, three years into the conflict, so little has changed? Later in the program, NPR's political junkie joins us to discuss the politics of the week. We'll take your calls and questions. But first, why does the killing continue in Darfur? What would stop it? If you have a comment or question about what's happening there, what the UN is doing, and what role the U.S. has in the conflict, we'd like to hear from you. Our number here in Washington is 800-989-8255. That's 800-989-TALK. Our e-mail address is talk@npr.org. And joining us now is Noel King, a freelance reporter in Khartoum, in Sudan. She joins us by phone. Welcome Noel.

Ms. NOEL KING (freelance journalist in Khartoum, Sudan): Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: Has news of the U.S. petition for U.N. sanctions against the four individuals reached Khartoum?

Ms. KING: It has reached Khartoum, but there has not been a broad, sort of, outcry over the matter at this point. There's been very little in the way of protest. There's been a display in the smaller articles in the papers, but, so far no broad protests.

MARTIN: Is that surprising to you? Do you think there will be more of a reaction at some point? And what do you think the reaction will be?

Ms. KING: No, it's not terribly surprising, because the four men who were named as possible, as possibly having sanctions put on them are fairly low level as these things go. Initially, you know, two months ago, there were some higher-ranking Sudanese officials on that list, including the Minister of Defense and the Minister of the Interior. And this time I think the reason there hasn't been such an outcry in Khartoum is the Khartoum officials' names are comparatively low-ranking.

MARTIN: So, do you believe, well, let me just say this. The U.S. Ambassador was quoted, John Bolton was quoted, as saying that imposing these sanctions would boost the credibility of the Security Council in confronting people who are obstructing the peace process. Is it your sense that the stature of these individuals is such that people don't, that people there are not viewing this as a very strong statement?

Ms. KING: Michel, I'm sorry, you're breaking up a little bit, but I hope that I got enough of that to answer properly. I think it will boost the reputation a little bit. I think it will. But I think it's going to be quite clear after those names were released, those 15 names originally released a few months ago, I think it's quite clear that they have taken it down a step by not implicating or by not threatening sanctions against the Minister of Defense and the Minister of the Interior. And I think that at this point, most attempts at sanctions will, in a sense, strengthen the credibility of the U.N. Security Council, because so far nothing has been done. But I think it's quite clear to anyone who's been observing this thing from the beginning that those four names are kind of a step down from the top guys.

MARTIN: Let's take a step back for a moment, because I wanted to talk about the negotiations over the peace agreement. And I'd like you to tell us who the parties are who were supposed to be involved in negotiating this peace agreement, and how are these negotiations looking.

Ms. KING: That question has been one of the most complicated things in this country since the beginning. There are the two main rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the Sudan Liberation Army. The Sudan Liberation Army is constantly in a state of flux, and constantly in a state of fractionalization. There are two different men who are claiming that they lead the movement. The broad support right now is behind a man named Minni Arcua Minnawi. And, the Justice and Equality Movement also has its own leader. The government of Sudan and the rebel groups have often come to impasses in these negotiations, and, you know, the Ambassador to the -- I'm sorry, the Envoy to the United States, from the AU of negotiations in Abuja, spoke very positively just yesterday about his thoughts on how the negotiations are going. But, at the same time, he admitted that while he says he expects an agreement by the end of the month, he said nobody has actually made any concessions yet. Which sounds like positive talk, but you can't really be sure why if nobody's made any major concessions.

MARTIN: What happens if no agreement is reached by the April 30th deadline?

Ms. KING: That is a very, very good question. And again, you know, there have been deadlines set in these talks before, and they have never been reached. And, generally the parties come back to Sudan, and then they go back to Abuja for more talks. And I think that's one of the disappointments, is that there's been very little said as to what will happen if this deadline is not met.

MARTIN: Are the groups that are fighting really interested in a peace agreement, or are they just going through the motions to appease the International Community?

Ms. KING: Again, that is a tremendously difficult question. The Darfur rebels have always been factionalized, almost since the beginning. And many people do doubt their credibility. And many people do doubt that they want a peace agreement, particularly since they are known for walking out of the peace talks in Abuja. The government of Sudan, again, very, very difficult to say. They are constantly lambasted for being insincere at these peace talks, and in general. And so, I think again that's a difficult thing about is Abuja is determining who really is serious and who is just there, number one, to put on the façade, and number two, who's there, you know, to actually see this thing come to fruition.

MARTIN: Now I could understand from the rebel side why they don't necessarily even have control of themselves, in order to be a credible negotiating partner. But what about the government? Is the government just impervious to outside pressure, or is there really no credible outside pressure being brought to bear on them?

Ms. KING: The government is not impervious to outside pressure, although they often act as if they are. The government was very nervous when the U.N. started threatening to intervene. And that was clear by some of the president's statements, in February, about you know, Darfur would become a graveyard for international forces. It did make them nervous when the U.N. threatened intervention. And then when the African Union said they would extend the negotiations for another six months, and the U.N. would stay out for the time being, again, I think it adds to that feeling in the Sudan government like they can draw this out, and draw this out, and draw this out. And it's into the third year now. They've been fairly successful at seeing it drawn out this long.

MARTIN: The White House has proposed sending NATO forces to advise the African Union troops in the region. Given the Sudanese government's hostility issue, describe it to outsiders, how have they reacted to that, just an advisory force?

Ms. KING: I think that nobody took that suggestion very seriously here, to be honest with you. There wasn't much of an outcry in the newspapers. A few of the conservative newspapers mentioned it and said this is more evidence of U.S. meddling. But it was the U.N. that drew the real fury, it was not NATO. And to speak to people on the ground, people who aren't heavily involved, everyone knows about this threat of the U.N. entry. Most people don't really know about this idea of sending NATO forces in. So that idea didn't really raise much of a storm at all.

MARTIN: Noel, you've been very patient and your line is breaking up, so just one more question. Last week there was an attempt to overthrow the president of Chad, and there were the allegations that this was tied to what's going on in Sudan. Can you just tell us what you know about what happened?

Ms. KING: Of course. Most observers at this point think that those rebels were absolutely (inaudible) Khartoum. Some of the evidence coming forth in N'Djamena at this point, according to news reports, I have not been there. But according to news reports, munitions has been found in Sudanese sugar sacks. Some of the rebels do not even speak Chadian dialects. Some of the rebels claim that they are Sudanese. They entered Chad, they entered (inaudible) from Darfur and they were heavily armed, and they were very well equipped, and they had (inaudible) uniforms. And previous, a few months previous in January, I believe it was, they were in Khartoum. A few members of some of the Chadian groups that continued to form the main rebel groups were in Khartoum. They were arrested after a day. They did two, you know, they did two interviews from Khartoum, which makes it seem as if they given fairly free reign in the city.

MARTIN: Thank you Noel, thank you very much, thanks for fighting through all the static to give us that report.

Ms. KING: Thank you.

MARTIN: Noel King is a freelance journalist. She joined us by phone from Khartoum. And as Noel mentioned, the U.N. has had a presence in Darfur since 2003, but it has been almost entirely comprised of the humanitarian arm of the U.N. Though there has been talk of having U.N. forces take over operations from the African Union troops that are currently in the region, there are significant obstacles. And joining us to talk about U.N. involvement is Oliver Ulich. He's Desk Officer for Sudan in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations. He joins us from NPR's New York bureau. Thank you so much for coming in.

Mr. OLIVER ULICH (Desk Officer for Sudan, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations): Thank you, good afternoon.

MARTIN: And we're only going to be able to talk for a couple of seconds before we have to take a break. So just briefly, if you would, the peace agreement deadline set by the U.N. is less than two weeks away. Is this realistic?

Mr. ULICH: I think there is some cautious optimism that they will reach an agreement on the broad terms of the four different areas to negotiating. I don't think a lot of people believe that we will have a signature on a final agreement by the end of the month, but hopefully, shortly thereafter.

MARTIN: We are talking about the ongoing violence in Sudan. Can the United Nations stop the fighting? And we're taking your calls at 800-989-TALK. You can send us e-mail. The address is talk@npr.org. I'm Michel Martin. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Michel Martin in Washington. We're talking about Darfur. The United Nations set an April 30 deadline for the government of Sudan to reach a peace agreement with rebel fighters. Will it happen? Can the U.N. bring peace to Darfur? Our guest is Oliver Ulich. He's the Desk Officer for Sudan in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations. And later in the program, we'll be joined by Samantha Power. She's author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, and Professor of Human Rights Practice at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. And if you have a question about what's happening in Darfur or what the international community should be doing, give us a call at 800-989-TALK. Our e-mail address is talk@npr.org. And Mr. Ulich, before the break, you were telling us that there is reason for cautious optimism. Is that the term that you used?

Mr. ULICH: Yeah, that's the word.

MARTIN: Why?

Mr. ULICH: Well, I think a lot of factors are coming together at the moment. The chief mediator of the African Union, who leads the talks in Abuja in Nigeria, was just here yesterday at the U.N. and was briefing the Security Council and gave a detailed update of where the negotiations stand in each of the areas that are being tackled by the parties. And at least according to that account, there has been quite a bit of progress in all of these areas. And there seems to be more reason to believe that this might actually come to a conclusion than maybe late last year when the last deadline of the end of the year 2005 came near and then passed.

MARTIN: If, well, first of all, what happens if the deadline passes and no agreement if reached? What's plan B?

Mr. ULICH: Well, plan B is, I think, as in the last case, to continue negotiating until they find an agreement. They have not stopped negotiating for several months now, and I don't think there is an alternative but to continue and put maximum pressure on the parties in a coordinated and concerted fashion and hope for them to finally resolve their remaining differences. There's, of course, the question of what other measures could be taken to convince them to come to that agreement. And I think, earlier in the show, someone referred to the discussion about sanctions on individuals and what role that might play.

MARTIN: The impression that Noel King got from Khartoum is that the whole intention of the government, at least, is to drag the negotiations out.

Mr. ULICH: I'm not sure. It's hard for me to guess what the government's real intentions are. The impression one gets from listening to the African Union, who are mediating in Abuja, is that the parties seem more willing to not drag it out anymore and come to an agreement than ever before. We'll see. The proof will be in the pudding, and whether they actually come to an agreement in the next few weeks. From the humanitarian's perspective, the agreement is long overdue. We're losing ground every single day on the ground in Darfur and are extremely worried that we won't be able to support more than three million people much longer.

MARTIN: Let's go to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Chip, who has a question. Chip?

CHIP (Caller): Yeah hi, good afternoon, thanks for taking my call. I guess the question I have is, you know, throughout the history of the U.N., they've never really had a whole lot of luck with sanctions. We didn't really see sanctions that effectively applied in the Middle East or, for that matter, anywhere that I could ever recall. Why would the African Union or anybody else take the U.N. seriously? I mean, the sanctions are just absolutely just a paper tiger with no bite. They should be trying to do -- I mean, I know back in the missile Cuban crisis, we put boats on the shore and wouldn't let anything in or anything out and, all of a sudden, we had their attention. Why isn't something a little harsher being looked at as far as getting these people to the table and making them realize that, hey, you need to start stepping up?

MARTIN: Thank you, Chip. Mr. Ulich?

Mr. ULICH: Maybe a couple of comments on that. I think, if you look at the history of how sanctions were applied and enforced by the U.N., you see a move away from general sanctions applied to countries as a whole and more targeted, or smart sanctions that are supposed to apply just to individuals. And that's exactly what the Security Council is discussing at the moment with this list of people that are supposed to be subject to travel bounds and asset freezes, etc. So that's one point to make. What we're trying -- what the Security Council is trying to do to really -- is single out individuals for those sanctions.

And secondly, I agree with the caller from the perspective of the U.N. Clearly, the better enforced other sanctions are the more effective they're going to be. In the case of Darfur, there has been an arms embargo imposed on that territory. But everybody knows that arms are still flowing into Darfur from all kinds of directions. And unfortunately, not much has been done to stop that. The U.N. itself, of course, has no ability to deploy troops to secure borders around a territory like Darfur, and that has never really been up for discussion. It's really up to the countries in the region to take their obligations under those council resolutions seriously and enforce the arms embargo that was imposed quite some time ago.

MARTIN: Let's bring in another voice to talk about the U.N.'s role in this, and also the U.S. role, potentially. And joining us to talk about that is Samantha Power. She's author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, Professor of Human Rights Practice at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. And a Pulitzer Prize winner I might add. And she joins us here in Studio 3A. Thank you so much for coming in.

Ms. POWER (Author, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide; Professor of Human Rights Practice, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government): Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: What is your view about the -- what would make an effective U.N. intervention in Darfur? I don't think there's anyone who is really satisfied with anybody's intervention thus far. I don't know how you could be when you have an estimated quarter of a million people who've already lost their lives and a million people displaced. So what is preventing an effective intervention?

Ms. POWER: Well, I think there are a couple of things. First of all, the United States, you know, has probably done more than any country to pay for the humanitarian aid that the U.N. is passing out to people in these camps, and to put Darfur on the map, as a matter of geopolitics, to bring it to international fora. But of course, the United States, given how overstretched it is, how distracted it is by Iraq, and how discredited it is to speak on moral questions internationally in the eyes of others, especially in the developing world and in the Middle East, that has really limited the U.S. ability to translate words, and conviction even, into tangible protection in Darfur itself.

And I mean, actually, the discussion of sanctions also brings to fore another issue, which is that one can talk about what the U.N. does or doesn't do as an institution, but what one is really talking about is what are the countries that make up the U.N. doing? And on the sanctions point, you know, the very fact that while the U.S. has stayed out of Sudan and has sanctions imposed and U.S. companies can't do business there, that hasn't stopped the Chinese and the French from getting in. So the U.S. can apply unilateral or bilateral pressure, but unless it actually gets defectors, as it were, sort of moral or geopolitical defectors, to join it and to create a kind of united front, it's been very easy for Sudan to wiggle out from under, you know, the sticks that we've even tried to apply.

MARTIN: Let's go to a caller in Brighton, Minnesota. Patrick, what's your question, or what's on your mind? Hello, Patrick?

PATRICK (Caller): Hello?

MARTIN: Hello.

PATRICK: Yep.

MARTIN: Okay, Patrick, what's your question?

PATRICK: I'm just really wondering, you know, what will it take for the U.N. to work faster in situations like this? And, you know, I think the biggest problem with the U.N. responding to this sort of a situation is it's sitting on bureaucracy. I mean, hundreds of people have died in Sudan already. There is no need to wait any longer. That's the problem with the African conflict, is that people who have the authority to help these situations get resolved, wait too long. You know, it's like almost calling an ambulance and they say well, we'll be there next week. You know, the sooner they react to these conflicts, the less likely hundreds or thousands of people are going to die. But it's just too slow. I don't know how the appropriations work on there. I just was wondering if somebody can tell me, why is it when it comes to African or other global conflicts, the U.N. barely responds or just takes forever responding to these conflicts?

MARTIN: Patrick, may I ask are you from Africa?

PATRICK: Yep. I'm from Liberia and we experienced the same thing when the war had just started. You know, we cried for an international presence and no one ever showed up. And even though things are getting better, you know, the scars will never remove, you know. It's just total chaos, you know.

MARTIN: Thank you, Patrick, thank you for calling.

PATRICK: Thanks very much.

MARTIN: Mr. Ulich, what about Patrick's point? Why does -- and I think he had two points. One is I think he has the sense, perhaps others do, that the U.N. is particularly non-responsive when it comes to conflicts in Africa. I don't know whether that's a fair criticism or not. But what about his overall point that it is simply not effective? I mean people look at the U.N. involvement in Rwanda and think what a disappointment. They look at three years of conflict in Darfur and hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions displaced, and they say, you know, what good is the U.N. if it cannot respond to save life? Mr. Ulich?

Mr. ULICH: I think there is some valid points there. I do want to point out though that the U.N. has led and coordinated the largest relief operation currently in the world in Darfur, and compared to two years ago when we had about 200 relief workers on the ground collectively, there are now 14,000 aid workers in Darfur assisting about 3.5 million people. So, when we say the U.N. is not there and the U.N. is not doing anything, we shouldn't forget about the massive relief effort that's keeping millions of people alive as we speak. And these people are working under tremendous pressure and security risks, etc., etc. I think what caller was really talking about was the political insecurity response that the U.N. mounts in some of these cases and there it's not so much a function of the bureaucracy I would say, but really a question of when the Security Council decides to act, which is the only organ within the U.N. that can trigger a military-type response, or sanctions, or anything like that. And that's really a question of political will and political momentum that builds up within the Security Council and particularly among the permanent five member states of the Security Council. And in many cases where you see delays or insufficient responses, etc., one needs to look at exactly why that has been the case, and why certain member states have not felt the same sense of urgency that in many times, many cases these humanitarian parts of the U.N., for example, I feel. We are constantly advocating for more rapid, more forceful response in many of these cases, but our political masters in the Security Council, obviously, are the ones that have to trigger that response.

MARTIN: Samantha Power, your thoughts?

Ms. POWER: Well, I think Oliver's got it right. I mean, ultimately we can talk about the U.N. and the lack of the U.N. response, but to some degree that actually gives specific, nameable states an alibi. I mean, it's basically, we say the world is responsible then it's almost like saying, nobody's responsible. So, to suggest that it is bureaucracy that is getting in the way, I think is very generous. In fact, two countries like France, China, and the United States, who as Oliver pointed out, are the decision makers within the U.N., but also very crucially as we think about, even if there is a peace settlement reached somehow in the next month or so, who will actually be deployed to constitute the new protection force, the much thicker, much more robust, much more mobile force, that is indispensable in terms of actually enhancing civilian protection? And there again, we have to look not at the U.N. as a whole but we have to go country by country by country and ask, who is actually willing to put their citizens, troops, their citizens' lives in harm's way for the sake of actually applying the lesson of Rwanda rather than just yammering about it.

MARTIN: I need to just pause briefly to say you're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. Samantha Power, so let's focus on the United States. I mean, clearly this is not one of these crises where anyone can say, oh, I did not know. Clearly, people know. Everybody knows that this is going on and one would suspect, given the interest that there is in faith communities in this country, college campuses, editorial pages across the country, there's interest in the American public in this crises and they, their moral sensibilities are offended by seeing people killed in this way. So, why is there no -- first of all, what would be an effective U.S. intervention, and what are the barriers in your view to that occurring?

Ms. POWER: Well, as I said at the beginning, I mean, I think the U.S. is in a very difficult position now because I would not under any circumstances nor do I think would Oliver recommend U.S. troop deployments to Darfur given the invitation that that would constitute to jihadis and to even more unsavory elements than the Janjuid who are doing the killing as it is. So, even if the United States, you know, had troops to spare, which it doesn't, I don't think that's a prescription that any of us would recommend for, again, for the sake of the people of Darfur themselves. But I think significant and sustained high-level pressure on the Sudanese government, which has temperamentally been applied. Whenever there is a wave of public pressure domestically as you mention, Michel, with evangelicals or with student groups, or with members of Congress sort of insisting that the executive branch send its Deputy Secretary of State, Robert Zoellicke, over to the region and you see political engagement of the requisite kind. But it has been temperamental, it has been spasmodic. So, I think, having a high-level American envoy who is there owning the Darfur portfolio fulltime of the caliber of a John Danforth who owned the peace process that occurred a couple of years ago between Khartoum and rebels in the south, that's an indispensable element.

But crucially, really, it's about the United States using its concern, using its domestic base, using its financial and political resources such as it has political capital internationally, and getting other countries to show up in order to expand the protection force on the ground. Right now, we have about 6,000 African Union troops, another thousand or so monitors and observers. That force would have to be tripled or even quadrupled in order to actually protect the camps that exist where these two million people are houses and to begin to insure that some of those people can go back to their homes on the heels of a settlement that we all hope will be achieved in the coming days.

MARTIN: I think we need to address this from another point of view, because I'm sure the point of view exists that, you know, what are the U.S. interests in intervening here. I'm sure there are a lot of people right now in the U.S. perceived to be hunkered down in Iraq, that not going particularly well, a lot of casualties, U.S. casualties as well as civilian casualties, I'm sure there are a lot of Americans who would say, why does the U.S. need another involvement. So, I'd like to bring in another caller, but I'd like you to answer that question in a moment. But first, let's go to New York, City, and Abraham. Abraham, what's your question?

ABRAHAM (Caller): Yeah, hello, my name's Abraham. I'm from Darfur. My question is what U.N. can do for the, just like, country of Sudan charged with genocide and he still continues killing and torturing and displacement of the people. And the country is right now, the government of Sudan refused to issue the Visa to U.N. peoples and suspend it from humanitarian organization over there. So what they going to do, because this government is not going to comply with any resolution. That resolution is coming from the U.N. If they issue it and somebody is not comply, what they going to do for that country like that one? And that country -- and another question is, this government is going to destabilize all the region. So what they going to do? Because if they keep that government in power for two or one year, it's going to displace all the region.

MARTIN: Okay, Abraham. Thank you so much for calling. We appreciate it. Mr. Ulich, and then Samantha Power, I'm sure you want to answer as well. Oliver Ulich, did you...

Mr. ULICH: Yeah, no, sorry. Yeah, I did hear the question. Well, we certainly hope the government will comply with all its obligations under the Security Council resolutions and also the promises that made almost two years ago in a joint communiqué that was agreed with the secretary general when he first visited Darfur. I think in our experience going back to 2004 when this first hit the international agenda, the government has responded to a certain level of international pressure coming from the United Nations, has opened up access for example...

MARTIN: I'm sorry, Mr. Ulich, I'm sorry. We need to take a short break.

Mr. ULICH: All right.

MARTIN: We'll come back to you when we return. Can the west realistically bring peace to Darfur? Our conversation on Sudan continues. I'm Michel Martin. It's TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Michel Martin in Washington. Today, Darfur. After more than three years of fighting in Sudan, why has the international community not done more to end what's being called a genocide? Our guests are Oliver Ulich, he's desk officer for Sudan in the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations. Also with us, Samantha Power, she is author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, and professor of Human Rights Practice at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

And before the break, Oliver Ulich, I had to interrupt you. I'm sorry for that. And you were answering a question about, from a caller, from Darfur, about how, how aggressive the U.N. could be in intervening and why can't the U.N. do more? And he also raised the question of whether this government can stabilize, I'm sorry, destabilize, kind of, the rest of the region. Do you think, first of all, taking the second point, do you think that's a credible concern?

Mr. ULICH: I think the events in the last few days in Chad across the border are cause for major concern. The Security Council has met two or three times in the last few days to discuss what happened in Chad. The role of the government of Sudan in that, of course, is disputed, but the regional implications of what's happening in Darfur have been a concern for us for some time. There are 250,000 refugees across the border in Chad, which of course imposing a pretty heavy burden on that country and poses massive challenges for us in providing relief to them. There are other regional complications towards the east, as well. So there is a very strong regional dimension to this, that we spent arguing for a long time needs to be taken into account and taken very seriously.

MARTIN: Samantha Power, before the break, you were also saying that you had said earlier that you don't think it's realistic or appropriate for the U.S. to put troops in the region, that that would not be an effective role. But I wonder, for all the compassionate interest that many Americans have in these situations, and the deep concern and horror at the treatment of innocents in these conflicts, I wonder, do you also see that there's, in a way, you've written in fact in your book that really, American leaders don't pay a political price for failing to intervene in these situations.

Ms. POWER: Well, I just think when we talk about intervention, especially now given where the U.S. is in terms of its standing in the world, it's really important to talk about a toolbox, and the variety of tools that lie within that toolbox. We talked earlier about sanctions against individuals, about travel bans, asset freezes, you know, enlisting China and France and countries who are continuing to do business in Sudan and trying to get them to think twice, you know, about their financial prospecting on the backs of victims like those in Darfur is an incredibly important piece of this. As I said, appointing a high-level envoy so that there's actually an American political sustained leadership in the Abuja peace process, which is so indispensable. But crucially getting the kind of domestic movement and the kind of compassion that students, and evangelicals, and human rights groups, and Jewish groups, and others have revealed in America, exporting that movement. I mean, ultimately European countries have completely opted out of peace keeping and of actually participating in the kind of protection force that is indispensable, that needs to supplement or to take over from the African Union force that is there now. Until we actually start to see European governments coming under, or middle powers coming, like Canada, and even countries like Pakistan or India, where they start to see their interests, moral and strategic, as being implicated somehow in this kind of carnage, we're going to be on our own in denouncing horrors, but ourselves incapacitated from actually doing anything about them.

So you know, adopting a kind of burden-sharing mentality, complete with the urgency that this conflict, I mean, for all of the American statements and use of the word genocide and so on, we know what it looks like when the Bush administration treats something with significant urgency, and that's not what this looks like. I mean, they've done more than any other country, so it's been very easy to kind of stand out on the international stage, but to actually, you know, call a global conference, find out where the troop contributors are going to come from. When the African Union finally recognizes, as it must, that by putting in sufficient troops into Darfur as it has done so far, it's costing not only the people of Darfur the protection they deserve, but its actually now going to envelope the entire region. And that's where the African Union pride as well as stability is in peril. But it's not going to be the U.S. alone that's going to be able to do it. And yet, we're still in a world where U.S. leadership is indispensable.

MARTIN: What about -- Oliver Ulich, I'm going to let you give the last word here, but before...

Mr. ULICH: Yeah, I can...

MARTIN: Go ahead then, and I...

Mr. ULICH: I couldn't agree more with what Samantha was just saying. I think from our perspective, domestic pressure in one country, even if it's the U.S. is not going to be sufficient. These battles won and lost in the domestic sphere of key member states, and unfortunately, in many of the key European countries, with the possible exception of the U.K., we have not seen the kind of mobilization of advocacy groups, etc., no where close as what we're seeing in the U.S. A lot of the non-governmental organizations that are providing assistance in Darfur are trying to do that in those countries including well-known organizations like OXFAM and Doctors without Borders, and others. But it's an uphill battle for them, and exactly when we are going out to look for troop contributors, and to be honest, funding for humanitarian assistance, that becomes extremely important because those countries will of course respond to the domestic pressure of those groups.

MARTIN: That has to be the lost word. Thank you so much. Oliver Ulich, he's a desk officer for Sudan at the United Nations. He joined us from NPR's New York bureau. Thank you so much for coming in.

Mr. ULICH: Thank you.

MARTIN: And Samantha Power is author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, and Professor of Human Rights Practice at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She joined us here in studio 3A. Thank you so much for coming.

Professor POWER: Thank you, Michel.

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