The level of incompetence being exhibited by the United Nations in response to events in Sudan is so high as to render absurd any consideration of the organization as effective at saving lives or useful at promoting peace. A few days after ordering South Sudan to retreat from Heglig and demanding that South Sudan not aid the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North, which it already said it was not doing, the UN is observing the consequences. Sudan has pledged to continue to prevent food from reaching the tens of thousands of starving people who are fighting against a government that is trying to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing against them. Actually, Sudan is arguing that it is attempting to prevent food smuggling from Sudan into the regions of South Sudan where there are also significant food shortages.
While there may well be clandestine trade between the two nations occurring, the real reason for military action against cross border food trade is not to combat rebels, but instead
- to try to heighten the famine that will be faced by the people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile,
- to prevent humanitarian aid from non-governmental organizations from reaching them, and
- to force the people to flee across the border into South Sudan to find food or
- to perish in the mountains from starvation.
The United Nations’ Security Council’s refusal to act to save the people of the Nuba Mountains by ensuring that food arrives is tantamount to abetting the Khartoum regime in its war on civilians in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur as well as in its growing campaign against Unity State. That the UN’s policy concerning aiding those being deliberately starved by their government should be to ask that very government to allow the food to be delivered is an absurdity that borders on callous indifference. If sending in food against that government’s will enables the people to save their lives and to continue fighting one of the most brutal regimes of the past century, I should hardly the think the world would be worse for having done so.