Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2008

The Ties that Bind Bush and Bashir

April 2008

Africa Policy Information Center


This February, the Sudanese government launched a series of direct assaults on towns and villages in West Darfur that harkened back to the worst periods of violence since the current conflict in Sudan's western region began in 2003. Military aircraft, including Antonov transport planes used as bombers and helicopter gunships accompanied Sudanese Armed Forces and government-supported proxy militia in attacking the towns of Sirbu, Silea and Abu Siruj, among others. While these towns were located in a region controlled by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group, no evidence provided by the government of Sudan, international journalists or human rights groups indicates that rebel elements were present in these communities at the time of assault.

Regardless, as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report, the tactics used by Janjaweed militia and supporting government troops made no attempt to discriminate between civilians and present or imagined rebel combatants. Such deliberate attacks on civilians characterize the strategy of counterinsurgency by genocide that the Sudanese government has pursued since rebellion broke 5 years ago. Although it acknowledges the genocide, the Bush administration has failed to make Darfur a U.S. foreign policy priority. The resistance to turn rhetorical opposition to the genocide into real action is summed up by the cynical words of Congressional Research Service analyst Raphael Perl, "Darfur is not terrorism." [1]

In response to growing public pressure, the Bush administration has repeatedly stated that they are doing their best to stop genocide in Darfur and promote peace across Sudan. In fact, the U.S. government has undermined its leadership on these areas by instead prioritizing intelligence cooperation with President Omar al-Bashir's brutal state security agency as a part of the global "war on terror."

This report documents these extensive linkages. It breaks down the hypocrisy of how U.S. policy on the one hand condemns Khartoum as guilty of genocide and continues to name Sudan as a state sponsor of terror and on the other coddles the genocaidaires as "damn good partners" [2] worthy of chartered flights to CIA headquarters.