Sunday, August 01, 2004

Why I don't trust France in Sudan 

In a post below, I said that I don't entirely trust French intentions in Sudan.

In case you're not familiar with France's Operation Turquoise during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, here's Human Rights Watch on the subject:

In early April some French authorities considered using the soldiers of their evacuation force to back the Rwandan army against the RPF but decided not to do so. In mid-June they undertook Operation Turquoise purportedly to save lives but also to preserve “territory and legitimacy” for the interim government. French soldiers went to rescue Tutsi in southwestern Rwanda, to the general acclaim of press and public. Others who went to the northwest, ready to impede the RPF advance and to protect the interim government, were hailed by RTLM [the radio station that egged on and even coordinated the efforts of the genocidaires] but drew little foreign notice. Some French soldiers were slow to act to save Tutsi, as at Bisesero, apparently because they accepted the official Rwandan explanation that the Tutsi were RPF infiltrators. In the humanitarian zone which they established, French troops took some measures against the militia but they permitted genocidal officials to continue exercising their functions. Even after conceding a RPF victory, the French took no action against the genocidal authorities, permitting—and apparently in some cases assisting—them to flee the country.(Emphasis added.)
So that's why I don't always trust France's intentions when it intervenes somewhere.

Stories like this one don't ease my mind, either.

Addressing the conference, minister of industry, Dr Jalal Yusuf al-Duqayr , has commended the Sudanese-French cooperation. France is a pioneer in establishing economic partnerships with Sudan, he said.

France is working on upgrading railways, electricity and sugar industry in the White Nile. The minister said Sudan is keen to enhance ties with France in the various domains. The minister has appreciated performance of the French companies operating in Sudan, calling for extra French investments.
Finally, this BBC article requires no comment:

As was the case in Iraq, France also has significant oil interests in Sudan.

[Junior Foreign Minister] Mr Muselier also dismissed claims of "ethnic cleansing" or genocide in Darfur.

"I firmly believe it is a civil war and as they are little villages of 30, 40, 50, there is nothing easier than for a few armed horsemen to burn things down, to kill the men and drive out the women," he said.
There's nothing easier, and apparently that is okay with France.
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