DARFUR….So why isn’t anyone interested in doing much about the Sudanese-sponsored genocide in Darfur? Well, China and Russia both want Sudan’s oil and the United States wants Sudan’s intelligence. And nobody’s much interested in sending their kids to Africa to die in someone else’s war.

But will the U.S. do the right thing anyway, two years after Colin Powell admitted that the war in Darfur was genocide? UN ambassador John Bolton has been making the right noises lately, but Mark Leon Goldberg of the American Prospect says that the most immediate way to demonstrate seriousness on this issue is to support sanctions against Salah Abdala Gosh:

The Prospect has obtained a confidential annex to a January 30th Security Council report that identifies the 17 Sudanese individuals whom a panel of U.N. experts concluded were most responsible for war crimes and impeding the peace process….By far the most prominent name of the 17 recommended for immediate sanction is Salah Abdala Gosh.

You may not know that name, but the Central Intelligence Agency certainly does, and Langley won?t be thrilled if he is placed under an international travel ban. He is the director of Sudan?s National Security and Intelligence Services. And when Osama bin Laden found haven in Sudan from 1990 to 1996, Gosh was his personal government minder. Last year, Ken Silverstein of the Los Angeles Times detailed the extensive counterintelligence cooperation between Gosh and the CIA, and reported that the CIA even flew Gosh to CIA headquarters on a private jet to swap trade secrets.

The UN Security Council hasn’t acted on the sanctions list yet, but Mark reports today that Sudan is responding to the recommendations very nervously. “A little threat seems to go a very long way with this regime,” he says.

President Bush recently came out in favor of a NATO intervention in Darfur, and I’ll happily support this if it’s sufficiently serious to get the job done. It’s hard to say if the proposal currently on the table meets that test ? and even harder to say if Europe will get off its ass and show any interest ? but in the meantime imposing sanctions on the thugs responsible for the killings is surely the absolute least we can do if we want to demonstrate some moral leadership on this issue. Keep an eye on Bolton to see which way the wind is blowing.

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