Capping off a full week of Sudan coverage in the media, generated by the high-level advocacy of actor George Clooney, The New York Times published an editorial today cautiously commending President Obama for ramping up engagement in Sudan. “We hope it’s not too late” to ensure that the referendum is credible and war is averted, they wrote.
The editorial board concedes, “We’re not sure what will change [Bashir’s] behavior.” After all, he has flouted an International Criminal Court arrest warrant by continuing to travel internationally, even recently to ICC member state Kenya. “We are sure that China and the African Union, which have enabled Mr. Bashir for years, need to press a lot harder,” they wrote.
It’s a prescient point. Just yesterday, Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch broke the story, citing four unnamed U.N. sources, that China is lobbying hard to block the publication of a report that claims Chinese ammunition was shipped to Darfur over the past year – a clear violation of U.N. sanctions. Lynch wrote:
“The findings by a U.N. Security Council-mandated ‘panel of experts’ provide some of the strongest evidence to date that the Sudanese government in Khartoum imported arms and ammunition in violation of an arms embargo, routinely channeling them into Darfur, where it is engaged in a military campaign against local rebel groups.”