15 Sep 2014
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Time to "Help" Sudan?

MiddleEastOnline reports that about 1,000 people gathered in Sudan's capital city of Khartoum on Saturday to protest the regime's brutal crackdown on protesters and "calling for the government's overthrow".

The initial protests were sparked by a dramatic jump in fuel prices in recent weeks but have since become focused on the government's response to these earlier gatherings. Claims vary, but authorities there are saying that at least 33 people have been killed. According to the report, "Activists and international human rights groups say at least 50 people have been gunned down, most of them in the greater Khartoum area....The real toll is difficult to determine but 'could be as much as 200,' a foreign diplomat said Sunday on condition of anonymity."

The stage may be set for an Egypt-style revolt, when protesters, fed up with the brutality of President Hosni Mubarak ( a "family friend" of the Clintons who  enjoyed the support of the US government for three decades), took to the streets of Cairo and Alexandria as part of a widespread movement that swept Mubarak from power and installed the much better Mohamed Morsi.

(In case anyone missed it, this last statement was meant sarcastically;  Morsi did not turn out to be such a nice guy. Like Egypt's politics in the past, this event too felt the guiding hand of the US government.)

People in Sudan are very upset, taking to the streets, crying "Freedom! Freedom!" and demanding regime change. Surely we can offer them small arms, special forces assistance, or maybe even some airstrikes; the least we could do is send some aid money. After all, the US has been busy in South Sudan for years, and things there are just great. Why not help out their northern neighbors as well?

(Slight digression: Before "helping" Sudan, shouldn't we finish "helping" Egypt? Just askin'.)

As violence and radicalism spread across the region (see also Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Mali, Syria, Lebanon), President Obama should instead consider the possibility that intervening in other countries' affairs doesn't work out so well for the people who have to live there after well-intentioned westerners have moved on. A presidential administration with a foreign policy as whimsical as a 3-year-old on crack ought to spend some time in the corner thinking about what US intervention has done, continued, or helped to do, to people all over this part of the world.

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