This article by Lydia Polgreen in yesterday's New York Times warns that recent three-pronged attacks on villages in Darfur--attacks involving the janjaweed, aerial bombardment, and the Sudanese army--represent "a return to the tactics that terrorized Darfur in the early, bloodiest stages of the conflict."
Aid workers, diplomats and analysts say the return of such attacks is an ominous sign that the fighting in Darfur, which has grown more complex and confusing as it has stretched on for five years, is entering a new and deadly phase--one in which the government is planning a scorched-earth campaign against the rebel groups fighting here as efforts to find a negotiated peace founder.
Meanwhile, Nat Hentoff, writing in today's Washington Times, chides President Bush for planning to attend the Beijing Olympics:
Last month, during his legacy tour showing how his compassionate conservatism has indeed benefited a number of countries in Africa, President Bush did not include Sudan, let alone Darfur, in his schedule.
And, in response to Mr. Spielberg's refusal to help glorify the amoral nation that buys two-thirds of genocidal Sudan's oil and provides much of its arms that kill thousands of black Africans in Darfur, Mr. Bush said firmly: "I'm going to the Olympics. I view the Olympics as a sporting event." This was the same person who then said in Rwanda that the genocide there "is a reminder that evil in the world must be confronted." He called on all nations to stop the killing in Darfur.
Needless to say, a symbolic gesture is not what the victims of the Sudanese government's scorched-earth policy need most at this point. It may be, however, the most they can expect from President Bush--and the least he can do.