As international intervention in the Sudan crisis seems increasingly likely, Sudanese President ‘Umar Al-Bashir and Foreign Minister Mu’stafa ‘Uthman Isma’il are strongly objecting and even threatening against it.
“Harsh consequences will follow in case of international intervention in Sudan,” FM Isma’il said in an interview with Al-‘Arabiyya satellite TV on July 24.
Isma’il was interviewed after two important developments in the U.S. and Britain:
The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate unanimously passed resolutions on July 22 calling on President George W. Bush, to deem the situation in Sudan ‘genocide’, and to intervene to stop it.
On the British front, General Sir Michael Jackson, Chief of the General Staff, said his country is prepared to send up to 5,000 troops to Darfur, if needed.
Although President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have still not decided whether to militarily intervene in the crisis, the political arena in Sudan is stormy.
“If Britain sends forces to Darfur, the Sudanese government will withdraw its own troops out of the region, thus turning the British forces into an occupation force and further inflaming violence,” Isma’il told Al-‘Arabiyya.
Sudan’s President Al-Bashir was even more polemic, stating that an international intervention in Darfur “is an attack against the Muslim state of Sudan,” reported the Sudanese daily A-Rai Al-‘Am.
The Sudanese parliament called to raise the level of preparedness of the Sudanese people, in order to defend the country’s sovereignty and independence. It also attacked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for not fulfilling the U.N.’s obligations, and instead intensifying its pressures.
Annan met Secretary of State Colin Powell on July 22, for the second time in three weeks, to discuss what they called the “humanitarian catastrophe” in Darfur. The two made parallel visits to Sudan earlier this month.
Some 30,000 people have died in the past 15 months in Darfur, and one million have been displaced. The U.N. has declared the situation in the region ‘the world’s worst humanitarian crisis’ but has not called it genocide, which would force it to take action.