Yesterday, President Bush announced a new set of economic sanctions on the Sudanese government, pledging to help the victims of the genocide. “I promise this to the people of Darfur. The United States will not avert our eyes from a crisis that challenges the conscience of the world,” he said.
But Bush conviently “averted” his eyes from the role of oil in the Darfur crisis. “The sanctions will do little to stem Sudan’s oil exports, which are the main source of the country’s wealth, analysts said.”
Those companies excluded from the sanctions include China National Petroleum Corp and Gum Arabic Co., one of the world’s largest exporters of an ingredient used in soft drinks and makeup. In creating these loopholes, Bush effectively exonerated the Chinese government, which is investing heavily in Sudan’s oil industry and selling weapons to its army.
Yesterday, U.S. ambassador to Sudan Andrew Natsios offered this explanation for the toothless sanctions:
The purpose of these sanctions is not sanctions. [Their] purpose is to send a message to the Sudanese government to start behaving differently when they deal with their own people.
In the briefing, Natsios claimed sanctions on large oil firms would be “extreme” and even “militant.”
John Prendergast has more at the Enough Project.