SUDAN WATCH: Sudanese president urges U.S. to pressure Darfur rebels to stick to peaceful solution

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sudanese president urges U.S. to pressure Darfur rebels to stick to peaceful solution

What makes the Darfur rebels think they can keep getting away with avoiding peace talks with their government? On August 18 Kuwait News reports the Sudanese president complained to visiting US congressman Christopher Smith and his delegation that negative signals from Congress have emboldened the rebels to drag their feet on carrying on negotiations with the Sudanese government, said Sudanese News Agency.

He's probably right. The rebels must think if the Americans are on their side, the rest of the West is too, encouraging and glorifying them as freedom fighters. There was a time last year when the tide started turning against the rebels but they did not read the signs from the West. It took the UN to point out to them the error of their ways. As a result, they went back to the negotiating table.

African rebels do not appear very educated or worldly. It is doubtful if their rag bag army is disciplined or sophisticated in dealings with educated negotiators. Maybe when it comes to peace talks, rebels fear being out of their depth and suspect they may get railroaded into deals that can't be translated to those in the field. As pointed out in yesterday's post, agreements by Darfur's rebel leaders at previous peace talks was not adhered to by rebel commanders in the field.

The two main Darfur rebel groups JEM and SLA have had their differences. My understanding is JEM sprang out of the SLA. Who knows, by the time peace is agreed with leaders of JEM and SLA, some rebels may break away and pose threats elsewhere. They all need eat, make a living and raise their families. Lawless Darfur. Anarchy reins.

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