Letter to the Editor
Daily Hampshire Gazette (www.gazettenet.com)
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Darfur tragedy isn't linked to an oil-exploration effort
To the editor: The Gazette's important reporting Dec. 9 on local Darfur advocacy notes the views of Keith Harmon Snow, including his mistaken assertion about the role of oil development in the Khartoum regime's genocidal counter-insurgency strategy in western Sudan.
Having worked and published on oil development issues in Sudan for the past eight years, including traveling to the working oil regions, I believe Gazette readers should know that there is not a shred of evidence - seismic or geological - of significant oil reserves in Darfur. All oil development and production activities occur in southern Sudan (primarily Upper Nile Province) and the very south of Kordofan Province. There exists not a single credible report indicating oil in Darfur, except for one very old and small site in the most southeastern corner of this immense province (closest to Upper Nile). There is not a single photograph of oil exploration or development infrastructure anywhere else in Darfur; no credible human rights or humanitarian organization has presented evidence of significant oil development in Darfur, even as many have frequently reported on the massively destructive consequences of Asian, Canadian and European oil development in southern Sudan.
It is convenient to explain away the passionate American outcry over genocide in Darfur as somehow orchestrated by big oil interests. It is also perversely wrong.