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Khartoum Bombs and the World Debates: Aerial Attacks in Darfur

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As part of its continuing effort to crush Darfur’s rebellion by attacking civilian populations purported to be supportive of the rebels, the Sudanese regime has again stepped up its aerial bombing campaign, the most definitive tactical advantage the government possesses. Because the regime continues to bomb indiscriminately and because frustrations deepen around glacial forward movement in the peace process and in deploying the proposed A.U.-U.N. hybrid force, voices from across the political spectrum are clamoring for some kind of action. President George W. Bush, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.S. presidential candidates, members of parliament and Congress in Europe and the United States, and advocacy organizations on both sides of the Atlantic have considered or called for the military enforcement of a no-fly zone.

The best means to influence Khartoum to end its pursuit of a military solution in Darfur (and to fully implement the peace deal it signed with southern Sudan) is through much greater international pressure, principally in the form of U.N. Security Council sanctions and robust diplomacy. The question this paper addresses is what form of pressure would most effectively influence the regime to stop using aerial bombardment as a part of its offensive military operations in Darfur.