UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO DEPLOY THOUSANDS OF TROOPS TO DARFUR
"The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has appealed to governments with advanced militaries, primarily the US and the European powers, to take part in a new peacekeeping mission in Darfur."
The entire 55,000 people strong population of a Darfur town has fled four hours on foot to escape the escalating violence and bloodshed, as the US-chaired UN Security Council voted to send in the troops to "restore order".
Senior US official claims US would only be involved to support African troops. The African Union has 7000 peacekeeping troops in the region.
UN Security Council decision shows recognition that African Union troops are vastly outnumbered by Sudanese-backed militias.
Sudanese-backed militias are alleged to have killed more than 200,000 civilians in the past three years. Millions more have been driven from their homes.
The African Union forces will likely be placed under command of UN peacekeeping mission.
The UN special envoy in the Sudan said a UN force of 20,000 would be needed.
The slaughters in Darfur began in February, 2003.
18 months ago, the then US secretary of state, Colin Powell, claimed the mass slaughter of civilians in Darfur constituted genocide, sparking an international debate over the difference between genocide and organised mass murder.
Australia is expected to contribute troops to the UN deployments.
Last week, US President Bush announced that within two decades, the US should be relying on the Middle East for only 25% of its international oil supply, instead of the current 75%.
The Darfur region has one of the largest untapped reserves of oil in the world, outside of the Middle East and Venezuela. Both the US and China have been waiting, impatiently, for the violence and turmoil to end so global oil corporations can move in and open up the reserves to international exploitation.
"Since February 2003, when the Darfur rebellion erupted, Washington and the EU all but ignored the atrocities taking place in Darfur in the hope that they would not impact on the main game.
"Only when the escalating crisis in Darfur threatened to...prevent the opening up of Sudan's lucrative oilfields to Western exploitation did the US start waving the threat of UN sanctions against Sudan."