Darfur Imperialists vie for Sudan’s oil

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Since February 2003 civil war has raged in oil-rich Sudan’s western region of Darfur. As well as being sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil producer, Sudan is believed to hold Africa’s largest unexploited oil reserves. Sudan is also strategically placed near the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa. Sudan’s oil industry is dominated by Asian countries such as Malaysia, India and China. French and British oil majors are small-time players and the US non-existent due to self-imposed sanctions.

Fuelling the war are the imperialist nations Britain, France and the US, thwarting all attempts at a peaceful resolution in favour of a militaristic solution. Having failed to get UN backing for a joint NATO-African Union force of 26,000 troops into Darfur, France led an EU force of 3,700 soldiers into eastern Chad in February 2008, under the pretext of ‘protecting refugees’. Their aim is to get their hands on Sudan’s oil and other resources, so choking off the supply of a vital raw material to their strategic rival, China. Understandable concern at the suffering in Darfur is being used by the imperialists to further their ambitions for the region.  Meanwhile, the suffering in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, where over 6 million have died since 1998 and 1,200 die daily, is ignored – why? The answer is that imperialism is in the Congo using the state’s feebleness and the country’s chaos to loot its mineral riches.

War in Darfur
When the war began it was between the government of Sudan and the ‘Darfur rebels’ of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Islamist Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). These rebels have split into over 30 infighting factions, much to the chagrin of the British, French and US imperialists who have armed, trained and funded them. The imperialists have been using Israel to attempt to unify the rebels under the name of the Revolutionary Forces for West Sudan. The Deputy Chief of Israeli Intelligence, David Kimsha, has played a key role in organising training in the Al Nagab desert in Palestine. Darfur has become both a cause celebre and a political tool for the Zionists, conforming to their racist anti-Arab ideology.

Over 2.15 million people are internally displaced in Darfur and some 200,000 have fled to neighbouring Chad. According to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), present in Darfur since 2004, over 131,000 people may have died there in 2003-2005. The UN said that about 200 people were dying every month in 2006. Most of the deaths result from starvation, malnutrition and diseases which are preventable. MSF says that a fifth, some 25,000 people, have died violent deaths. To promote their interventionist aims the imperialists exaggerate the numbers who have been raped and killed.

The British shed many crocodile tears over the suffering in Darfur but were keen to arrest and detain 80 Darfuri asylum seekers in dawn raids in Britain in March 2007. Lawyers initially obtained an injunction preventing any deportations; however the government appealed and a few Darfuris were deported.

The attempt to pose Darfur’s conflict in simplistic terms of Arab versus African is false. It is pushed by groups with dubious political links and backgrounds such as the Zionist front group, the Aegis Trust, and The Independent. Policy Director for the Aegis Trust is Labour ex-minister Stephen Twigg. It is led by brothers Stephen and James Smith, who run the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in Nottingham. They have led the propaganda campaign for military intervention in Darfur. They must not succeed. Hands off Darfur! No war for oil!

Charles Chinweizu and Nicki Jameson

FRFI 203 June / July 2008