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(Update) Darfur Intimidation

10:49 AM, Mar 8, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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(From Reuters:

But after a government-led media campaign against U.N. intervention, nationalist sentiment in Sudan is running high. The pro-government al-Intibaha newspaper has announced the formation of two new Islamist movements threatening to target foreign interests in Darfur, called the Darfur Jihad Organization and the Blood Brigades. The protestors handed a statement to U.N. offices demanding the immediate eviction of the top U.N. envoy in Sudan, Jan Pronk. Sudanese women bearing kalashnikovs joined the march, declaring their readiness to fight foreign troops.

The defense minister also rallied troops against intervention at a military demonstration in Khartoum. "Jihad, victory, martyrdom," the soldiers chanted. "Our martyrs are in heaven, and we are ready," said Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein.)

The atrocities in Darfur continue. But thanks to Moscow and Beijing the government in Khartoum doesn't have to worry about UN-imposed sanctions.

From ABC News:

The U.N. Security Council remained divided Monday on imposing punitive measures over the conflict in Darfur despite calls for sanctions against Sudanese allegedly blocking peace in the region.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, on the next to last day of the U.S. presidency of the council, scheduled a closed-door meeting to discuss a report by a U.N.-appointed panel that recommended sanctions against key figures from all groups.

Most of the 15-member council were in favor of sanctions, led by the United States, Britain, France and Denmark but Qatar, China, and Russia were strongly opposed, council diplomats said. Qatar is the only Arab member of the council, China is a major buyer of Sudanese oil, and Russia traditionally opposes sanctions.

With sanctions off the table, Khartoum is now more brazen in its threats against the deployment of an effective peacekeeping force in Darfur. And, al Qaeda has reportedly made its own threats against such a force.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Envoy to Sudan Reports Threats
U.N.'s Jan Pronk says Al Qaeda has warned him and non-African troops who might go to Darfur.

UNITED NATIONS - The world body's top envoy to Sudan said Tuesday that Al Qaeda has threatened him and any peacekeeping troops deployed there from outside Africa, following the Sudanese government's rejection of a proposed U.N. force meant to protect civilians in the nation's Darfur region....

The U.N. is drawing up plans to transform a 7,000-strong African Union force into a U.N.-led operation as the regional troops run out of funding and logistical support. But Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir on Saturday denounced the U.N.'s plan to field a force of as many as 20,000 troops, some from outside Africa, to quell continuing violence in Darfur.

On Feb. 17, President Bush said the number of peacekeepers on the ground in Darfur should be doubled, perhaps with the support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Bashir responded Saturday that such international troops would be at risk.

"We are strongly opposed to any foreign intervention in Sudan, and Darfur will be a graveyard for any foreign troops venturing to enter," he said in Khartoum. Bashir summoned Pronk on Monday to underline his government's insistence on African troops....

The heated political climate in Khartoum has made negotiations over the next step difficult, Pronk said, describing intelligence that suggested that Al Qaeda terrorists were present in the Sudanese capital and had made death threats against him and any U.N. troops that might be deployed to the country.

Sudan's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Omar Manis, reiterated his government's objections to the mission but questioned Pronk's reports of Al Qaeda threats.

"I don't know from where Mr. Pronk got this idea. Sudan is not Al Qaeda. We don't speak for Al Qaeda," he said.

Manis added that Khartoum prefers African troops to international soldiers, even if the existing force is absorbed by a U.N. mission.

"The Sudanese government has already said no," Manis said. "If there are problems with the African Union, let us solve those problems. If there are financial constraints, give them more money. If there are logistical constraints, help them. But nobody seems to be interested in going that path."