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Response by Dimitri Oram
Published October 11, 2006

by the Daily Hampshire Gazette

To the Editor:

I was dismayed but not surprised to see Tamara Kupfer and Andrew Sirulnik's letter (Sep. 22) attacking our piece "Peacekeepers in Sudan? Let's Secure the Peace First" (Sep. 15). The letter's authors are entitled to their view but their letter contains misinformation which is what they mistakenly accuse us of and misrepresents our piece.

First, the Southern rebels may also be animist but the Christian element has been played up by both the U.S Christian community and also by the SPLA rebels in South Sudan seeking support from the Christian right.

Second, there is overwhelming evidence of petroleum reserves in Darfur. According to a Reuters Alertnet piece datelined June 15, 2005 "Sudan announced in April that its ABCO Corporation which is 37 percent owned by Swiss company Clivenden had begun drilling for oil in Darfur, where preliminary studies showed there were 'abundant' quantities of oil... Cliveden, the biggest stakeholder in ABCO corporation, is a Swiss company, but an investigation for British television Channel 4 revealed that Cliveden's chief executive, Friedholm Eronat, swapped his U.S. passport for a British one shortly before signing an oil deal with the Khartoum government in October 2003."

Third, we did not write in our op-ed that NATO forces were backing the Janjaweed. We wrote that NATO forces were backing the AU mission as would be clear to those reading the article in context. Neither of us needed to don tin-foil hats (proverbial or otherwise) to state this: The information is available on the U.S. State
Department website.

Fourth, the letter confirms rather than disputes our point that Uganda is a massive humanitarian crisis and that it is left out of the news.

Finally, we asked for concerned citizens to call for good faith negotiations, accountability and transparency in U.S. foreign policy as well as full accountability for all military factions and their backers. A UN peacekeeping force cannot be deployed without the consent of Sudan's government and even if it could be deployed, in the absence of a peace deal it would become just one more faction in the fighting.

Dimitri Oram

29 Fort Hill Terrace
Northampton MA 01060
Phone:(413) 584-5065


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