Sudanese Rebels Escalate Fighting

de Montesquiou, A. (2007). Rebel attack came at the end of Ramadan fast. Associated Press.

Facing a genocide, hard to fault the strategy (if what you are doing — waiting for the teethless African Union to save you — is not working stop doing it) of the Darfuri rebels.

The rebels overran the African Union peacekeeping outpost, seized six armored vehicles and fled Sunday morning when the Sudanese army arrived at the base on the outskirts of the town of Haskanita in North Darfur where 157 peacekeepers and support staff were stationed.

An Associated Press reporter who landed at the base hours after the attack heard bursts of sporadic gunfire in the distance.

“We were just preparing for dinner when the first rocket hit us,” said one peacekeeper, a stocky man in his 20s with a sharp nose.

Another soldier, fighting back tears, said: “The fighting was terrible. I can’t even describe it.”

The AU peacekeepers at the base repelled the first attack after dusk, but the rebels returned and a fresh battle raged for hours. Surviving peacekeepers said the rebels used several armored vehicles and rocket-propelled grenades — an indication they possess heavier weapons than previously believed.

The move naturally discourages the international community from finding a peaceful solution. The rebels are hoping that even after the attacks, the world’s hostility to Sudan trumps sympathy for Khartoum’s “law and order” program.

Russia, Iran, and Distraction

My blogfriend Ry emailed me a Stratfor analysis entitled “Geopolitical Diary: Russia’s war of words with Georgia.”

The article describes Russia’s scelerotic attempts to regain influence throughout the former Soviet bloc. Two things are clear: Russia is against democratization throughout eastern Europe and central Asia, and is becoming exactly as incompetent as an oil- and natural-gas- exporting country is expected to be. (When was the last time you saw geopolitical brilliance out of Saudi Arabia, or Venezuela, or…).

Unfortunately, Russia is able to hold American policy hostage because of her clientele with Iran. Whenver Russia wants America to look away, she supports this- or that- Iranian program, forcing Washington to make a deal to get the bear off her back.

A weakened Iran, of course, would hold less interest in the world, allowing America to focus on a “9/12” policy of supporting globalization and democracy.

From anti-WMD to anti-anti-American

Porter, B. (2007). Bush steps up anti-Iran rhetoric. Australian Broadcasting Corporation News. Available online: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/01/2048304.htm.

With an Iran War ever more possible, Bush shifts from attacking Iran’s nuclear capacity to attackign Iran’s killing of Americans.

Mr Hersh says he believes there is now a consensus within the American public that if the Iranians are actively pursuing plans to develop a nuclear weapon, they are at least five years away from their goal.

He says that has tipped the shift in the administration’s approach.

“Instead of trying to sell it, not only to the American people but to its allies, the notion of a massive bombing against the infrastructure, what they call counter-proliferation against the infrastructure of the Iraqi bomb, hitting the various facilities that we know exist – instead, they’ve now decided that they’re going to hit the Iranians, payback for hitting us,” he said.

“They’re going to hit the Revolutionary Guard headquarters and facilities, they’re going to tone down the bombing, they’re going to shift it. It’s going to be more surgical.”

Mr Hersh says the new strategy involves a subtle change of targets.

“We’re threatening Iran, we’ve been doing it constantly, but instead of saying to the American people and instead of saying internally, ‘It’s going to be about nuclear weapons’, it’s now going about getting the guys that are killing our boys,” he said.

“We’re going to hit the border facilities, the facilities inside Iraq that we think are training terrorists, we’re going to hit the facilities we think are supplying some of the explosive devices into Iraq.

If Seymour Hersh is correct, this means that the administration is more in touch with the American people — and reality — than I thought. We survived enough dangerous countries with nuclear weapons (Russia, China, Pakistan, etc) that the thought of one more is not particularly scary.

Iran’s armed forces regularly killing Americans is.