Apparently concerned that Mr. Clooney might say something strongly critical of Mr. Bashir — perhaps come down hard on genocide? — the United Nations called me on Wednesday to say that effective immediately it was pulling Mr. Clooney’s security escort as he traveled these roads along the border. Now that did seem petty and mean-spirited. A Frenchman working for Save the Children was murdered on such roads last year, and the U.N. requires a military escort for its own vehicles here.
If the U.N. is too craven to protect its own goodwill ambassadors — because they might criticize genocide — it’s not surprising that it and the international community fail to protect hundreds of thousands of voiceless Darfuris.
No response yet by the UN. If the UN gives one, I'll post it here.
(Update: UN Secretary-General Spokesperson Michelle Montas said that the UN is "still trying to ascertain the facts," but that Clooney is in Chad in his personal capacity, not as UN Goodwill Ambassador, and thus that MINURCAT, the UN mission there, doesn't provide him security. She was under the impression that another group was providing his security. She has no idea who called Nick Kristof, or whether the call even happened. More to come, I'm sure.)