Genocide? Can the violence in Darfur be considered Genocide?
President Bush has classified the situation in Darfur as genocide as have several House and Senate members. Some of these members such as Steve Israel have been proactive in passing legislation calling for U.S. action.
Military feasibility: Is a successful intervention possible militarily at reasonable costs?
International peacekeepers can have a huge impact on the ground.
A no-fly zone around Darfur can be easily established with great impact. A contingent of Western fighter jets could effectively contain the serious role of Sudanese and Janjeweed gunships in the genocide.
Reasonable costs being a criterion, an intervention would fail. Intervention in Darfur would be a conduit for Muslim hatred as Sudan is a Muslim country and thus violating its sovereignty would be seen as presumptuous of the Western world.
International security: Is the situation in Darfur a threat to the international system?
Sudan is a threat to African peace. By showing an obvious disregard for its own people, Sudan is unlikely to show reagrd for territorial recognition of its fellow African nations, especially considering Khartoum's efforts to become an African superpower.
Sudan is a threat beyond its own campaign of genocide. Sudan has historically been linked to terrorists including Al Qaeda. Sudan served as Osama Bin Laden's base for operation in the past. Many argue that the Janjaweed itself is a terrorist organization supported tacitly by the state.
Darfur and the chaos there is a threat to the international system: There are a number of threats presented by Darfur, including regional and international humanitarian, moral threats.
Darfur is a threat to the region in Africa. The chaos in Darfur is spilling over Sudan's borders. Chad has become a destination for Darfur refugees. This creates tensions between these countries and potential for conflict. Resistance to the Janjeweed, for example, can be staged in Chad, and possibly lead to the belief among the Sudanese government that they must intervene in Chad to quell this threat.
Impotency in responding to Darfur undermines confidence and engagement in international bodies: Many instances of genocide have occurred in recent decades without international intervention, and this has weakened confidence in the UN and the international community's ability to respond to international crises and to generally act meaningfully in the international system. This growing lack of confidence is dangerous as it jeopardizes the international legal framework for action, making it appear that unilateral action is a more functional course of action.
Military humanism: Would an intervention in Darfur improve the humanitarian situation in Darfur?
US and NATO humanitarian military interventions bring their own set of atrocities Noam Chomsky's The New Military Humanism , makes the case that NATO forces committed atrocities as bad or worse than the genocide that led to NATO's intervention in 1999. He argues that the United States and NATO do not hold themselves to the same humanitarian, international-legal standards as it expects from other countries. Nevertheless, the United States and NATO are the most likely to lead any intervention in Darfur. Those that advocate for intervention should understand this reality, and the accompanying risks of US-NATO action.
War on terror: Would an intervention have a positive or negative effect on the war on terror?
US resources/priorities: Is the US able and willing to prioritize military intervention?
Preventing genocide in Darfur with US troops would take them away from preventing genocide in Iraq Why favor one over the other? Since the United States is already military strained in Iraq, it is presumable that any commitment in Darfur would result in some weakening of resources for Iraq. But, many sources consider the weakening of resources in Iraq or any withdrawal of troops to be a recipe for internecine violence and genocide in Iraq. Why should we trade one for another? Are Iraqis not equally deserving of protection from genocide as Sudanese?