Sudan would make an interesting starting place for a war on Al Qaida- Plus you get Somalia as part of the package and Libya doesn't get off the hook
because even if they do cave in on their nuke program you can blame them for supporting the enemy and geography makes it plausible. That also puts
Yemen higher on the list.
The catch is that without Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc running the show, you could easily end up with a more proportional response- 9/11 was
horrible, but not all presidents will necessarily be willing to run up a six figure body count and a 12 or 13 figure bill to avenge a few thousand
deaths, and you don't have an inside team to make sure it gets the desired result. Then there's also the issue that Sudan had already expelled Osama
and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement. So here's where I would take that probably...
Starting from the UN's timeline of Darfur as found
March 2003: Fighting breaks out in Darfur between government forces and rebels. Refugees start fleeing into Chad
January 2004: Aid agencies' response begins in earnest to help thousands of displaced
February 2004: The US, UK, AUS, and NZ field a total force of 10,000 troops to Djibouti and threaten to intervene if aid workers are attacked. Sudan
allows a force of several hundred observers to enter their borders. US Sec State Powell begins working to enlarge the international effort and give it
March 2004: JEB Bush, having made peace with his brother and procured the services of Karl Rove, clinches the Republican nomination for the presidency
on Super Tuesday and begins criticizing President Gore for not acting more decisively against Sudan. Several times he makes reference to Sudan's
former hosting of a terrorist named Osama Bin Laden, who most Americans have never heard of. He makes highly questionable allegations of ties between
Bin Laden's Al Qaida network and the Janjaweed, and suggests (very wrongly) that the entire war would have been avoided if the US had accepted an
alleged Sudanese offer to hand over Bin Laden in the mid 90s.
April 2: UN says "scorched-earth" campaign of ethnic cleansing by Janjaweed militias against Darfur's black African population is taking
April 3: The UN Security Council approves a peace keeping and humanitarian assistance mission. India agrees to participate. A Marine Air Ground Task
Force and a Carrier Battle Group arrive in the Red Sea. A reinforced battalion of Marines is the first force on the ground- they send a clear message
that the international force is not to be resisted. 10,000 troops are moved in behind them from Djibouti. Fighting temporarily slows down. The
Sudanese government signs a ceasefire, but the Janjaweed does not honor it and steps up its attacks in hopes of doing irreparable damage before the
war can be stopped.
July 2004: Frustrated with the slow progress in halting Janjaweed attacks and the increasing role of the conflict in the presidential campaign,
President Gore orders US special operations and intelligence to begin a covert offensive. Colin Powell secures a pledge of 5,000 additional troops
from India to be deployed immediately. India becomes (officially) the largest contributor of forces to the effort. The US moves an additional 10,000
troops to Djibouti. Total forces in Sudan reach about 17,000, with roughly 13,000 more in support outside the country. Forces in Djibouti take on the
secondary role of fighting piracy from Somalia.
October 12, 2004 (anniversary of USS Cole bombing): The USS Kitty Hawk is destroyed by a missile launched from inside Somalia. The missile is believed
to be a Russian SS-N-22 with a conventional payload. Approximately 3,500 out of the 5,600 man crew are killed. It is alleged that Al Qaida acquired
the missile from Syria (In reality, Adnan Kashoggi arranged the acquisition of the Syrian missile by a Somali Pirate group which fancies itself a
volunteer national navy). Images of the fire fighting effort, which abruptly ends with the explosion of the ships fuel supply (Kitty having being our
last non-nuclear carrier) floods the US airwaves.
October 13, 2004: An audio tape purporting to be from Osama Bin Laden emerges claiming responsibility for the attack on the Kitty Hawk, chastising the
West for their involvement in East Africa, and vowing to resist the US "in Somalia, Sudan, and all over the world", despite having little if any
presence in either of those nations. Syria claims not to be missing any missiles and denies everything. Conspiracy theorists immediately begin to
question the authenticity of the tape and try to figure out the origin of the missile... but they've got less than a month to prove it before it's