Guest Post - Comments Needed

Here is a guest post from an anonymous Stand'er seeking feedback:

Recently, I've been asked to share my thoughts on Darfur as it stands today. That deadline has sharpened in my mind some of the questions I have on region right now. Obviously, situations change, and the Darfur we see today is not the same as that of four or five years ago.

Darfur has evolved to become far more complex than its original two- or three-sided conflict (the Government vs. one or two major rebel groups). I am also aware that rebel groups are guilty of adding to the chaos, having recruited child soldiers and engaged in acts of violence themselves (to what degree is an underreported issue). So, one question is, who much power does Sudan actually have to stop the violence? If the GoS suddenly wanted to bring peace to Darfur (and to its strained relations with South Sudan), would they be able to?

Given the painfully sluggish attempt to get 26,000 peacekeepers on the ground (I think we've reached about 50% of that goal), I am unclear on how much of this is Sudan's fault, and how much is the fault of UN Member States. Certainly, the GoS has in the past shown a lot of intransigence, and back-and-forth on UNAMID--rejecting contributions by certain nations, and flip-flopping whether or not to accept UNAMID or componenets thereof. Where my knowledge lags is in Sudan's actions of late--has the threat of ICC arrests made her more cooperative, or is this same-old, same-old? A final question is this: is targeted divestment still the right way to go with Sudan? Is it possible that it's no longer the correct remedy for the problem?

Knowing who holds the most influence in Sudan should directly affect where we focus our activist energies. I have my own hunches on all this, but what better place than the Stand blog to ask my peers for some research help!

We're in the thick of the holidays, but any links or responses you can give would help--short or long.


Here are a couple links to get us started:

Both place continued blame strongly on Khartoum. From the former, here is an interesting side note: "Since July this year the Government and specially the National Congress Party priority has sharply changed. The issue of the ICC Chief Prosecutor's endeavour to indict President Omer al Bashir has become the only agenda in their calendar....[the GoS] has changed their instinct for common survival into individual concern for self-preservation. Every single one of them is looking back to see whether he has any link with the violations committed in the Darfur conflict and what responsibility he may have which could take him to The Hague. Some of the NCP leaders are even contemplating handing over President Bashir to save the Islamic movement. This movement recently elected Mr Ali Osman Taha to become its Secretary General, the post which used to be occupied by Dr Hassan al Turabi before the 1999 split."


Ian said...

Great post with some solid questions. I don't think the Government of Sudan COULD stop the conflict if they wanted to - in fact, that's why they armed to Janjaweed to begin with, counter-insurgency on the cheap. The government has never been particularly successful in securing the country from rival groups.

In terms of whether the government is still doing bad things, they are. The basic pattern of the past few months has been to announce some sort of peace effort to placate the international community and then immediately follow it with a bombing campaign. This suggests two things to me: 1) different actors within the government are pulling it in different directions. I don't think the NCP is nearly as cohesive as we give it credit for sometimes and the ICC move has people panicked as to what is the appropriate action. 2) the government wants to look good for the international community but doesn't want to look weak to the rebels or other dissident groups within Sudan.

Basically, all in all, the ruling party seems to be in a bit of a tough position that they are not exactly sure how to get out of. Additionally, they have very little control in Darfur, but when they do invariably try to assert some control, civilians still bear the brunt of it, through bombing campaigns, sponsored violence, or raids on the IDP camps.

Gerrit said...

I totally agree that the conflict has become more and more complicated, especially with the division of rebel groups.

Since a lot of instability has been brought about by the division of rebel groups I think one way to help bring stability would be unifying rebels for the purpose of peace talks. Although it seams the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim these days since the JEM doesn't want to deal with other rebel groups.

One thing STAND always suggests is the creation of a special envoy to Sudan who could help to unify the rebels. I think thats a good start, and we can pressure our government easily for that. And maybe because our government is/was feeling the pressure of being overthrown they may be more willing to listen to us.

However aside from pressuring our own government I think we should look at how the north-south peace process was brought about. I was told it was through international pressure (especially countries bordering on Sudan) and threat of economic sanctions. I don't know if thats true... a fault of my own I guess for not researching more.

But if it is true then that is something we can try to achieve or if its not how was the north-south peace process brought about?