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By Eric Reeves
The Guardian Unlimited
20 June 2007

The following is Eric Reeves response to the UN Secretary-Generals Washington Post article, "A Climate Culprit in Darfur."

The failures of the UN secretariat in responding to the Darfur catastrophe are among the many signs that the international body remains incapable of responding to crises that entail confronting sovereign nations engaged in genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

To be sure there was much unctuous talk by the former secretary general, Kofi Annan, about the "responsibility to protect" civilians endangered in precisely the ways that have long been so evident in Darfur and eastern Chad. But in the end, Annan left office with a savage genocide by attrition continuing, with no end in sight, almost four years after large scale conflict began in February 2003.

()It was a grim irony that during Annan's tenure the UN World Summit of September 2005 enshrined, in an "outcome document," the "responsibility to protect," as did Security Council resolution 1674 (April 2006). While Annan often invoked such "responsibility," it never really moved beyond exhortation. The current secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, also made the obligatory noises last October: "I will work diligently to materialise our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of humanity."

()And still the genocide continues, if with more chaotic violence and a fracturing of the rebel movement. Khartoum remains obdurate in its defiance of the international community, and the UN in particular. For this regime of genocidaires, the "responsibility to protect" means little more than protecting its own officials from being extradited to The Hague for trial by the international criminal court.

In short, there is a highly embarrassing disconnect between the rhetoric of the UN secretariat, including the secretary general's various special envoys for Sudan, and the poverty of achievement in protecting millions of vulnerable Darfuris and acutely endangered humanitarian operations.

This disconnect goes a long way to explain a truly preposterous opinion essay by Ban Ki-moon this past weekend in The Washington Post, suggesting that the real explanation for the Darfur crisis lies in global warming.

Though no scientist, I'm more than convinced that the evidence accumulated to date overwhelmingly supports dismaying predictions about future climate change.

()But the real explanation to genocide in Darfur lies not in the climate but in the ruthless arrogation of national power and wealth by the brutal regime that rules in Khartoum.

()This is well established political history, all neatly excluded from Ban Ki-moon's convenient and self-exculpatory meteorological history of Darfur. But we will make no progress in either understanding or halting the ongoing, indeed spreading, human destruction in Darfur and eastern Chad unless we look not merely to the skies but to the heart of darkness that beats relentlessly in Khartoum.

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