SUDAN WATCH: UN warns of massive build-up of weapons, intensification of violence, including air attacks, groups rearming and violence spreading beyond Darfur

Saturday, January 08, 2005

UN warns of massive build-up of weapons, intensification of violence, including air attacks, groups rearming and violence spreading beyond Darfur

A report in the Guardian today quotes Charles Gurdon, an analyst with a British consultancy firm, as saying Darfur was more important to the Sudanese government than the south, because its population is Muslim, like most of the north, and because the bulk of the army comes from there.

The report also quotes him as saying the southern Sudan peace deal was a result both of Western pressure and Sudan's desire to end its pariah status in the international community. "If Libya and Iraq and others can come off the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, Sudan also has to try," he said. "It is a calculated position - this way they can have more time to sort out western Sudan."
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Note, Khartoum has so much breathing space now, it's unreal. No wonder Sudan's President is excited and acts magnanimous offering to now "consider" power sharing with Darfur. Khartoum must be feeling free to carry on as they wish. The peace deal means they don't even have to completely withdraw their troops from southern Sudan for another 2.5 years.

While Khartoum gives the impression of welcoming peace (what they really welcome is the heat being taken off them) it seems as though Darfur is back to square one. The past 22 months of hell -- costing 400,000 lives and displacing millions of people - and two U.N. Security Council resolutions threatening possible sanctions along with a bill signed by President Bush last month -- it's like none of it ever happened.

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Early next week, the UN Security Council meets to discuss Kofi Annan's latest report warning that swift action must be taken over the security situation in Darfur or intense violence could break out. In the report, Mr Annan said groups were re-arming and violence was spreading beyond the region -- both the government and rebels had repeatedly violated the ceasefire agreement, and the government had started a massive build-up of forces and logistics -- and the massive build-up of weapons and intensification of violence, including air attacks, suggested the security situation in Darfur was deteriorating.
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How many times have we heard that before? It feels like a return to April/May of last year. Even the BBC news online is dusting off its old Janjaweed photo [see below] from eight months ago. And the caption still seems the same.

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Mr Annan says Khartoum is again using militia in its operations
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SUDAN'S PARTIAL PEACE

Here is an excerpt from an article entitled "Sudan's Partial Peace" via Crisis Group Jan 7:
When the Khartoum government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) sign Sunday's peace deal, Sudan will take a big step away from two decades of war that have cost millions of lives but the hard part will just be beginning.

The agreement contains sensible compromises painfully negotiated over several years and demonstrates the effectiveness of African-led peacemaking supported by the wider international community. Yet, the document is more important for potential than immediate impact. If the parties uphold it, a principled peace will come to southern and central Sudan. If the government applies the blueprint it offers and moves vigorously towards peace in Darfur, the country could be transformed.

But most indicators point towards a different outcome. The government is signing partially to deflect pressure over Darfur. It is likely to use resulting goodwill to increase attacks there and further undermine opposition elsewhere in the country. Without great international vigilance, implementation of the deal with the SPLM will slide, risking a standoff and return to war.
Note, in the article John Prendergast says, "The government's objective is to maintain power. Supporters of the peace deal need to understand it pursues contradictory approaches in different regions with different opposition elements to confuse outsiders and defuse criticism. At once it is concluding peace with the SPLM, attacking in Darfur, and driving the armed groups from eastern Sudan out of the Cairo talks."

4 Comments:

Blogger Christopher said...

Thanks, Ingrid, for the link over at Passion of the Present. I thought you'd be interested to know that, in following up on the comment I made the other day, I did a long, long post explaining the historical parallels between the Naivasha Protocol and the Addis Ababa agreement of 1972.

The conclusion that I draw is that, while some of the circumstances are different, enough of them are unchanged and (with the addition of the oil discovered in 1978) Naivasha will probably break down in far, far less time than the 11 years it took Addis Ababa.

All the best,
Christopher

Saturday, January 08, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, January 08, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, January 08, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Hello Christopher. Thanks for another interesting comment. It arrived just as I was publishing today's post. I have deleted the two comments I left here for you earlier on because I have now added the info into today's post and edited a few paras. Here's looking forward to catching up on your posts.

Sadly, it looks like Uganda's ceasefire agreement has fallen apart, dashing hopes for peace after 18 years of war and causing a continuation of the humanitarian crisis affecting 1.6 million people in northern Uganda. I hope the same does not happen in Sudan. SPLM rebel leader John Garang said today if the peace deal is not implemented, Sudan will break apart.

Saturday, January 08, 2005  

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