Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

What exactly shall we advocate concerning Darfur?

by Atlantic Review Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 02:59:36 PM EST

We all know that the situation in Darfur deteriorated - once again. We don't need to create more awareness, but should rather advocate a sensible solution, I believe.

I would like to continue the interesting discussion Colman started on Monday, but which faded out on Tuesday, when it got most interesting.

We know that:

UNMIS - United Nations Mission In Sudan
"The Security Council agreed today [Aug 31, 2006] to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping force of more than 17,000 troops in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region by the end of the year to try to end the spiralling violence and displacement there that has led senior UN officials to warn of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe.
Twelve Council members voted in favour of a resolution to expand the mandate of the existing UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) from southern Sudan to cover Darfur as well. China, Russia and Qatar abstained in the vote.
Resolution 1706 "invites the consent" of the Sudanese Government to the deployment, although Khartoum has said on several occasions that it is opposed to any kind of UN force taking over the role of the African Union's (AU) current operation - known by the acronym AMIS - in Darfur.
Under the resolution, UNMIS will have up to 17,300 additional troops and as many as 3,300 civilian police officers, and must take over AMIS' duties by no later than 31 December."

We know that Resolution 1706 gives UNMIS a robust chapter VII mandate:

"12. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
    (a) decides that UNMIS is authorised to use all necessary means, in the areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities:
        - to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, to ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers, assessment and evaluation commission personnel, to prevent disruption of the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement by armed groups, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of the Sudan, to protect civilians under threat of physical violence,
        - in order to support early and effective implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, to prevent attacks and threats against civilians,
        - to seize or collect, as appropriate, arms or related material whose presence in Darfur is in violation of the Agreements and the measures imposed by paragraphs 7 and 8 of Resolution 1556, and to dispose of such arms and related material as appropriate;"

It is my (!) understanding that he UN does not need Khartoum's approval, but desires it, because the risks for the UN troops would be smaller and more countries are likely to commit troops to UNMIS, if its mission is approved by Khartoum.
This approval seeking business is a bit crazy: If Khartoum agrees to a UN deployment, then it is basically giving up its support the genocidaires and UNMIS does not have to fight. It' s a some sort of vicious circle principle (or hen and egg or whatever the right term here is).

The problem seems to be that there is not any country that volunteered to commit troops to the UN mission.
Thus the UN is right now trying to motivate its members to commit troops by seeking Khartoum's approval. That's not likely to happen, is it?

What realistic course of action shall we advocate?
Increase AU force or urge our countries to commit troops? Many European countries are busy with Afghanistan, Balkan, Congo, Lebanon....  

If the UN can't get enough troops, why not expand the African Union force, i.e. more money for the African Union from the West, more logistical support from NATO and trying to get Egypt's air force involved...?

I don't know much at all. It is my understanding that the African Union has been willing protect civilians in Darfur, but lacked the monetary resources and logistics.  Am I wrong? Is the AU in bed with Khartoum?
Okay, I guess there are two big questions we should discuss:



The latest UN resolution suggests more than 17,000 troops. (How much more?) Darfur is huge. What can these troops achieve realistically? Do we need more troops?

How shall they protect the civilians in Darfur?

  • Create safe heavens?
  • Try to disarm the Janjaweed? How many troops do you need for that?
  • Bomb Khartoum? Then what?
  • Regime change? Are we prepared to deal with civil war and attempts of "ethnic cleansing in reverse" after the regime change? How long would that occupation last? Are we still supporting it after three years? Or do the troops then leave Sudan and civil war happens?
What realistic course of action shall we advocate?

The tougher the course of action we suggest, the more troops you need and the less likely it will be to get those troops from the international community.

What are the Darfur and military experts suggesting?
Shall we ask the international community to send more money and resources to the African Union? The consensus seems to be that the AU hasn't done enough and can't do enough (why?) and that UN troops are needed, but I don't quite understand, why the UN would do a better job. The countries with most military and peace enforcement experience are not volunteering to send troops to the UN, are they?
What exactly should the UN troops do?
Someone by the blog name "Sudanese Thinker" writes this (Hat Tip: Jewels in the Jungle):

"10,000 people in Darfur protested against the UN's plan to come in. Surprise to all of you who think all Darfurians will welcome UN troops with wide open arms. Many desperate ones want them but there are others who don't.
To sum it up, let me present to you an updated version of my famous straight forward equations.
Darfur previously = Disaster
Darfur now = Worsening disaster
Darfur - AU troops = Big fat disaster
Darfur - AU troops + Sudanese troops = I have no freaking clue
Darfur + UN troops = Bigger disaster
Darfur + UN troops + Al Qaeda = HUGE disaster
Darfur + UN troops + Al Qaeda + Sudanese Islamists = One big ass GIGANTIC Disaster
Darfur + AU troops reinforced by UN & NATO = HUGE improvements."

Another of his posts starts with this:

"Iraq Has Arrived
Many of the things I predicted are now coming true. Iraqi style instability has arrived in Khartoum and a bigger one is to be expected in Darfur real soon especially if the UN steps in.
Sudan is currently mourning the death of beheaded editor Mohamed Taha. Yes, that's right beheaded!  This is probably the first time in the history of Sudan something like this happens. The man was kidnapped from his house and found later with his head next to his body. That's murder Iraqi al-Qaeda style."

If we believe that our fellow countrymen and women don't want to commit our own troops to Darfur for years. (White folks don't care that much about black folks...) And if we can't get someone else to send enough troops to Darfur, then perhaps we can only push for more divestment and more money for aid groups, although the aid groups can't work freely to help those in need?

There is growing divestment campaign in the US.
Is there one in Europe?

This is a moral issue. We Europeans often make moralistic statements about the Americans, but there doesn't seem to be strong divestment campaign, althought (or: because) it is European rather than Americans companies who doing business in Darfur.

The US has sanctions on Sudan, the EU only has a weapons embargo. Germany promotes business ties with Sudan.  

The folks running the divestment campaign believe that it works:

UC Divestment from Sudan - Position
"The effectiveness of divestment from Sudan has clear and recent precedent. Talisman Energy's 2003 decision to extricate itself from operations in Sudan following widespread and sustained economic pressure by Western investors over human rights abuses committed by the government during the North-South civil war prompted two other international oil companies to sell their stakes in Sudan. Faced with the prospect of continuing loss of FDI, Khartoum signed the Naivasha Treaty with southern rebels shortly thereafter, paving the way for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South in January of 2005.
Finally, divestment will do minimal harm to innocent Sudanese. The divestment criteria designed by the taskforce, and specifically enumerated in Section VIII, exclude any company engaged in the provision of goods and services intended to relieve human suffering or to promote human welfare. They also exclude sectors of the Sudanese economy, such as agriculture, which provide employment for large sectors of the population."

There is a Global Day for Darfur on September 17

It seems to be big in the US, but not in Europe?

On April 30 there have been big Darfur rallies across the US, but not in Europe, but we tried to support them online.

Americans seem to be the only ones who call Darfur a "genocide". The US rhetoric on Darfur and on promoting freedom and democracy in the Arab world is much louder than anybody else's rhetoric, but the US hasn't sent any troops to Darfur. Tough talking and raising awareness isn't enough.

It's eays for the US to say that there is a genocide and the world has to stop it and the UN force should go in without Khartoum's approval, while the US is not willing to contribute any troops to the UN.

So what exactly shall we advocate?

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Freedom Fries and Sidewalk SUVs

by Atlantic Review Mon Aug 14th, 2006 at 05:30:08 PM EST

#   Superfrenchie, an interesting blog about "French-bashing America", writes that the "U.S. Congress surrenders!" based on a report in the Washington Times that the congressional cafeterias do not list French Fries as "Freedom Fries" anymore. Superfrenchie opines: "I'm not sure something ever made the U.S. look as foolish, petty, bigoted and intolerant than renaming French fries to Freedom Fries. By an act of Congress no less!"
More shocking news: "Germany Faces French Fries Fiasco", writes Deutsche Welle: "Farmers' representatives recently announced that Germany's fabulous summer did horrible things to Teutonic tubers. There's less of them -- about 20 percent are missing."
#   The Wall Street Journal writes about "Sidewalk SUVs": "Motorized scooters for the disabled are finding a lucrative new market: People just sick of walking." Related: SUVs undermine US foreign policy.

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National Review labels Joschka Fischer as Nazi Propaganda Minister

by Atlantic Review Thu Jul 6th, 2006 at 03:04:49 PM EST

Parts of the US media and blogosphere are still obsessed with Germany's former Chancellor Schroeder and his Foreign Minister Fischer, although both have been out of office for more than half a year.

The National Review describes Joschka Fischer as Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels, a "terrorist" and an "America-hater". I challenged them to back up their other totally incorrect, offensive and hateful claims as well.

World Cup => Euro-Patriotism?

by Atlantic Review Sun Jul 2nd, 2006 at 08:01:58 AM EST

It seems this is the first World Cup with only continental Western European teams as semi-finalists.

Will this increase Euro-patriotism?

Will the Euro gain in value, because all semi-finalists are Eurozone countries?

All Germans are now looking like this ;-)

Are the Portuguese, French and Italians similarly dressed? ;-)

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This weekend: Darfur rallies across the U.S. and on blogs in Europe

by Atlantic Review Fri Apr 28th, 2006 at 06:41:43 AM EST

Save Darfur, an alliance of more than 155 faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations, is holding rallies across the United States on April 30, 2006. Since there are not any rallies concerning Darfur in Germany, The Atlantic Review, Liberale Stimme and Extrablog have organised online demonstrations and call for the German government and the EU to do more to help Darfur.
You can join us by displaying the Darfur badge with this HTML-code.
More information in English in The Atlantic Review.
 Crooks and Liars has a CNN video interview with Nicholas D. Kristof, who was awarded this year's Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. The NYT offers some of his many op-eds for free now.

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Supporting the Darfur Rally in Washington D.C.

by Atlantic Review Thu Apr 20th, 2006 at 07:46:32 AM EST

Dailykos had a Darfur week in March. We missed it. However Sirocco wrote many great posts on Darfur before and afterwards.

What do you think of supporting the Rally to Stop Genocide in Washington D.C. on April 30?

We could write about Darfur on that day.
We could also encourage our friends to write about Darfur in their blogs on that day. If many blogs cover Darfur and link to the rally in Washington, then we might make an impact and Darfur gets more media attention and hopefully something gets finally done.

Those who don't have the time to write on Darfur could link to others. Eric Reeves is a good source. Check out Sirocco's War looms in eastern Sudan and All quiet on the western front. My post Why is Abu Ghraib a cover story again, but not Darfur? contains many links for further information.

I have discussed the idea with a couple of German bloggers. They like it. Are you interested as well?

Promoted by Colman

Read more... (46 comments, 257 words in story)

UPDATE: Marla Ruzicka: Sucessfully helping victims of U.S. wars

by Atlantic Review Tue Apr 18th, 2006 at 05:50:07 AM EST

Sunday was the sad anniversary of Marla Ruzicka's tragic death in Bagdad. Marla was a young woman from California, who was working to get aid to Iraqi civilians harmed by U.S. military operations.

Sarah Holewinsky, the executive director of Marla's NGO Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict writes in the Washington Post about her achievements, like the War Victims Fund the U.S. Congress created after Marla's lobbying. She is concerned that the "U.S. search for an exit strategy may encourage tactics that put civilians at greater risk."

To keep her memory alive, I posted an excerpt in the Atlantic Review:  Marla Ruzicka: Civilian Victims of War.

Our related post on Marla's successful work: Marla Ruzicka, civilian victims and reconciliation.
Cross posted at Dailykos.

UPDATE: After the terrorist attacks in London on July 7, 2005 the photo campaign We're not Afraid ("Show the world that we are not afraid of what happened in London, and that the world is a better place without fear.") became an internet phenomenon, followed by Sorry Everybody after the 2004 elections.

Now Marla's NGO started a new photo campaign I care, which is worth participating:

This photo campaign is not about being for or against the war. It is a campaign of compassion. Every day, ordinary women, children, and men are caught in the crossfire. We believe that civilian casualties are the most tragic consequences of war. And each injury, destroyed home, and death should be given the weight it deserves. Please join our campaign and send a loud and clear message to our leaders as well as to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. All over the world... We are watching. We stand in solidarity. We care.

Since this was posted on Sunday, when many of us were away, it seemed appropriate to re-post this in memory of a heroine for peace - Whataboutbob

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German-American Relations Carnival is online now

by Atlantic Review Mon Mar 27th, 2006 at 08:52:01 AM EST

30 of the more than 40 submissions are introduced in English at Atlantic Review and in German at Statler & Waldorf.

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We received several posts on each of these sub-topics:

  • American and German perceptions of each other;
  • Anti-Americanism and Pro-Americanism;
  • The German media coverage of the U.S.;
  • "Hitler's Gift" to America and the Nazi slur in the U.S.;
  • German immigrants in the U.S.;
  • Europe is the empire, not the U.S.;
  • Criticism of German policies concerning the U.S.;
  • Outlook of US-German relations.

We hope that our quarterly carnivals strengthen the ties between the German (European) and the U.S. blogosphere and improve the transatlantic dialogue. It would be great if Eurotrip diarists would participate in the next carnival, which take place on June 11th. Weare already accepting submissions. Whenever you write a post concerning U.S.-German relations, just send a trackback to our permanent Carnival Submissions Blog. Your post will be automatically listed in the right column as the latest submission.

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Seeking Submissions for the German-American Relations Carnival

by Atlantic Review Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:04:15 AM EST

The carnival of US-German relations is changed to March 25. We have received many good submissions. Unfortunately not many of them are written by liberals, which surprises me.

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I thought many liberals would care about transatlantic relations and perhaps write that the Bush administration is responsible for weakening the alliance. Or that conservative politicians, media and bloggers in the US are responsible for the alienation of many formerly pro-American Europeans, who increasingly feel estranged from the US.  

Our carnival is about dialogue between Americans and Europeans as well as conservatives and liberals (and anybody else) from both sides. The carnival is a chance for those who care about transatlantic relations to talk to each other, especially if they usually disagree with each other on most issues and read different news sources all the time. While I think it is great that we lefties have Dailykos and Eurotrib, and the conservatives have their blogs and forums, I do think that some reasonable, fact-based dialogue between us is worth a try and might even be helpful once in a while.

Therefore we would appreciate the submission of liberal and progressive diaries for the next carnival. Deadline is March 22nd.

The Atlantic Review has set up this Carnival Submissions Blog with more information, instructions and the submissions we already received.

Cross-posted at Dailykos.

Comments >> (102 comments)

Seeking Submissions for the Carnival of US-German relations on March 11, 2006

by Atlantic Review Fri Feb 17th, 2006 at 04:15:39 PM EST

The first carnival was a big success: More than 20 blogs participated with interesting posts on various aspects of our transatlantic relations, and several thousand visitors read the carnival post due to the many links by many big bloggers, incl. Eurotrib. (Thank you!)

The next carnival will be hosted by Statler & Waldorf in German and by the Atlantic Review in English.

Want this badge?

The Atlantic Review has set up this Carnival Submissions Website with more information and instructions. Besides, this website displays all submissions for the carnival. The two hosts will pick the best submissions and introduce them on their blogs on March 11, 2006.

We would appreciate your participation in this carnival. We often have the impression that most blogs that deal with US-German Relations are conservative. Therefore we would appreciate the submission of liberal and progressive diaries for the next carnival.

Breaking News: The Atlantic Review is the winner of the 2nd Annual European Weblog Awards in the category Best German Blog.

Chancellor Merkel calls for closure of Guantanamo

by Atlantic Review Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 11:23:46 AM EST

From the diaries - whataboutbob

"An institution like Guantanamo can and should not exist in the longer term," Merkel told the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, days before her first visit to the United States.

Dialog International and the Atlantic Review write about a new German-Turkish initiative for the release of a Guantanamo detainee with Turkish citizenship, who was born and raised in Germany.

Many conservative Americans expected Merkel to be less critical of US policies than Schroeder, but apparently she is even more critical. Recently she told the press that Secretary Rice admitted that a mistake was made, when El Masri was snatched.

Are you surprised by Merkel, too? What is the future of US-German relations?

Comments >> (21 comments)

What are the progressive folks writing abut Darfur?

by Atlantic Review Sat Dec 17th, 2005 at 12:51:12 PM EST

I consider myself liberal and progressive. And I think Darfur should be of concern to liberal and progressive folks, but I see so few blog posts and diaries about Darfur in liberal and progressive blogs, incl. Dailykos and Eurotrib. Am I blind?

Anyway, I would like to draw your attention to SPOTLIGHT ON DARFUR 3: Christmas Edition, which was organized by a great Blogger in New Zealand. This is progressive, I believe.

Criticizing CIA renditions, the death penalty, the war in Iraq, data mining is all fine with me. However, please let's not forget the much more severe human rights violations, mass murderer, displacements and rapes in Darfur.

We should pressure our governments to do much more to save lives in Darfur.

Comments >> (7 comments)

Carnival of German American Relations

by Atlantic Review Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 11:07:19 AM EST

from the diaries. Some of the text bumped below the fold. --Das Übergnome.

Sixty-Four years ago today, Germany declared war on the United States. To reflect on the evolution of US-German relations and the current state of our alliance, GM's Corner and the Atlantic Review are hosting a blog carnival.

Read more... (2 comments, 417 words in story)

The Guantanamo detainee from Germany

by Atlantic Review Mon Dec 5th, 2005 at 04:47:44 PM EST

Crossposted at Atlantic Review

One of the more than 500 detainees at Guantanamo is the 23 years old Murat Kurnaz, who was born and raised in Bremen in northern Germany. He travelled to Pakistan in October 2001, was arrested shortly afterwards and detained at Guantanamo Bay since at least January 2002, because a military panel ruled that he was a member of Al Qaeda. However, according to a March 2005 article in The Washington Post:

Evidence, recently declassified and obtained by The Washington Post, shows that U.S. military intelligence and German law enforcement authorities had largely concluded there was no information that linked Kurnaz to al Qaeda, any other terrorist organization or terrorist activities. (...)

The Command Intelligence Task Force, the investigative arm of the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the Guantanamo Bay facility, repeatedly suggested that it may have been a mistake to take Kurnaz off a bus of Islamic missionaries traveling through Pakistan in October 2001. "CITF has no definite link/evidence of detainee having an association with Al Qaida or making any specific threat against the U.S.," one document says. "CITF is not aware of evidence that Kurnaz was or is a member of Al Quaeda."

According to a Wall Street Journal article from January 2005, Murat Kurnaz isn't an isolated case:

American commanders acknowledge that many prisoners shouldn't have been locked up here in the first place because they weren't dangerous and didn't know anything of value. "Sometimes, we just didn't get the right folks," says Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, Guantanamo's current commander."

According to the above mentioned Washington Post article, U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green ruled that the tribunals are "illegal, unfairly stacked against detainees and in violation of the Constitution" and

criticized the military panel for ignoring the exculpatory information that dominates Kurnaz's file and for relying instead on a brief, unsupported memo filed shortly before Kurnaz's hearing by an unidentified government official.

The Bush administration has appealed her decision. Currently the Court of Appeals contemplates the case. The next post in the Atlantic Review deals with attempts to limit the access of Guantanamo detainees to federal courts.

Murat Kurnaz is the son of Turkish Gastarbeiters and does not have German citizenship. Therefore the German government does not make diplomatic representations on his behalf. The Turkish government originally viewed Murat Kurnaz as "German-Turkish" and has shown little interest in pressuring the US government over Murat Kurnaz' case, writes Amnesty International.

David at Dialog International argues that "Murat Kurnaz is a man without a country, so he is in need of our support." He has written to his Senator in Maine and urges you to take action as well.

The The Washington Post prints an op-ed by a lawyer representing Guantanamo Bay prisoners:

In a wiser past, we tried Nazi war criminals in the sunlight. Summing up for the prosecution at Nuremberg, Robert Jackson said that "the future will never have to ask, with misgiving: 'What could the Nazis have said in their favor?' History will know that whatever could be said, they were allowed to say. . . . The extraordinary fairness of these hearings is an attribute of our strength." The world has never doubted the judgment at Nuremberg. But no one will trust the work of these secret tribunals.

Comments >> (4 comments)

German-American Blog Carnival on December 11

by Atlantic Review Mon Dec 5th, 2005 at 04:28:58 PM EST

The Atlantic Review blogs on transatlantic affairs and is edited by three German Fulbright Alumni.
In transatlantic spirit, the Atlantic Review and GM's Corner present to you a Blog Carnival on US-German relations. You are cordially invited to participate with anything you have written on US-German issues in the past. You could also write something new. As George wrote in GM's Corner:

Our goal is to foster dialog between Americans and Germans, between Liberals and Conservatives, between hardliners on both sides of the big water and between peacemakers on both sides. Our initial Carnival will be on December 11, 2005. That day was one of the darkest in our joint histories, the day in 1941 when Germany declared war on the United States.

Our relationship has changed fundamentally since the Second World War. Bitter enemies became trustworthy allies and true friends. Our partnership always had its up and downs in the last six decades. In recent years, however, the United States and Germany have become quite estranged from each other, it seems. Many Americans and Germans are concerned about the future of our relationship. This carnival is your chance to share your opinion, your concern, your anger, and your hopes about transatlantic issues with a large audience.

As Alumni of the US-German Fulbright exchange program we appreciate the open, honest, tough and fair exchange of ideas across the Atlantic. Senator Fulbright once said:

The essence of intercultural education is the acquisition of empathy - the ability to see the world as others see it, and to allow for the possibility that others may see something that we have failed to see, or may see it more accurately.

Therefore we would like to know what you think and how you view the transatlantic relationship. Not just Americans and Germans, but everybody else who is interested. Often observers, who are neither US or German citizens, can judge the German-American relationship much better with less bias.

Please use our carnival submission form. An alternative is to send the link to your piece to editors@atlanticreview.org. If you don't have a blog, we could publish your text in the comments on December 11, 2005. You could also submit a great mainstream media article, preferably with your comments.
Submissions in German are appreciated as well! Please, add a short summary in English (1-3 sentences).

UPDATE: What the hell is a Blog Carnival?
Blogcarnival.com says:

Blog carnivals are a great way for bloggers to recognize each other's efforts, organize blog posts around important topics, and improve the overall level of conversation in the blogosphere.
The host of the carnival writes an introduction to each submitted post and links to it. Here are two examples recent carnivals: History Carnival and The Carnival Of Revolutions.
More info and links to other carnivals at Pajamas.
If you got any question about the carnival or the Atlantic Review, please, send me an email or write a comment here. Thanks!

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News and Views

 December 2023

by Oui - Dec 1, 28 comments

Your take on today's news media

 November 2023

by Oui - Nov 2, 187 comments

Your take on today's news media

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