Sudan threatens “Darfur Jihad”

From Reuters, March 8:

KHARTOUM – Shouting “Down, Down USA,” thousands of Sudanese protested in Khartoum on Wednesday against any deployment of U.N. troops to the western Darfur region.

“Get out all foreigners, we don’t want you here,” shouted 21-year-old student Zeinab Kheir el-Sir.

“Darfur will be the grave of the conquerors,” said banners carried by the demonstrators.

African foreign ministers are due to decide on Friday whether to ask the United Nations to take over control of their 7,000-strong mission currently monitoring a shaky ceasefire in Darfur. The AU lacks both funds and equipment.

Ahead of their meeting, senior western officials held talks in Brussels with Sudanese leaders aiming to persuade them to agree to the deployment of a robust U.N. mission in Darfur.

But following a government-led media campaign against U.N. intervention, nationalist sentiment in Sudan is running high.

The pro-government al-Intibaha newspaper has announced the formation of two new Islamist movements threatening to target foreign interests in Darfur, called the Darfur Jihad Organization and the Blood Brigades.

And on Wednesday the defense minister rallied troops against intervention at a military demonstration in Khartoum.

“Jihad, victory, martyrdom,” the soldiers chanted. “Our martyrs are in heaven, and we are ready,” said Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein.

Hussein last week threw out all foreign press from a news conference, accusing them of fabricating the Darfur conflict, which Washington calls genocide.

Khartoum denies genocide in the arid west, but tens of thousands have been killed and 2 million herded into camps by three years of rape, looting and killing. The International Criminal Court is investigating alleged war crimes there.

See our last posts on Darfur and Sudan.