What can be done about the violence that Sudan President Omar al-Bashir's regime is inflicting on the border to South Sudan?
It's obvious to all that Bashir is up to the same dirty tricks that he played in Darfur — using militias, the army, the air force against ordinary subsistence farmers in order to claim control of their land. George Clooney's Satellite Sentinel Project is providing plenty of photographs that prooved beyond a shadow of a doubt the Khartoum government's buildup troops and tanks along the disputed Abyei area. And then the satellite photos showed the expected attacks on villages and settlements.
It has created a burgeoning refugee problem as thousands of families in the border area flee for their lives.
Yet no decisive response has come from the international community.
The activist group the Enough Project is urging the Obama administration to immediately begin preparations to provide air defense capabilities to the government of South Sudan when it becomes independent. Enough is also urging the Obama administration to ramp up an array of new financial sanctions aimed at the heart of the Bashir regime's military-industrial complex.
"The threat to civilians across Sudan in the weeks before the South becomes independent on July 9, 2011, is increasingly dire, and in the absence of international support for robust measures to protect civilians from conflict, it is imperative that the United States and its allies uphold the international responsibility to protect," said Enough in a statement just released.
“War has resumed in Sudan due to the offensive military operations launched by Khartoum,” said John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project. “The current policy of offering carrots to the Sudan government has failed. President Obama should deploy immediate consequences for Khartoum’s escalation, and in the absence of international support to protect civilians, provide support to South Sudan to deter further air attacks.”
The Government of South Sudan has repeatedly asked the United States for air defense capabilities, and according to the Congressional Research Service, President George W. Bush approved this request in 2008. But it was not delivered. By fulfilling this request, the Obama administration can immediately impact the calculations of the actors in the North who have chosen to pursue military operations in violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, as well as in Darfur, partly because of the military advantage afforded by their dominance of the airways, said Enough.