SUDAN WATCH: Not the worst of accords on Darfur (Julie Flint)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Not the worst of accords on Darfur (Julie Flint)

Julie Flint, in her latest opinion piece on Darfur (Daily Star May 9, 2006) says the rebel movements have from the beginning suffered from delusions of grandeur (I agree) and their region is "of little or no strategic importance: It has now water and no oil" (sorry to disagree - she is my favourite journalist on Darfur - there does appear to be oil in Darfur, see previous Sudan Watch entries re Darfur oil, listed here below).

The piece explains that even those who have rejected the Darfur Peace Agreement acknowledge that its security provisions are surprisingly good. Excerpt:
The Sudan government must withdraw its forces from many areas it currently occupies, and must disarm the Janjaweed within five months - before the rebels even begin to lay down their guns. Guarantees include an independent advisory team that both Canada and Norway, outspoken critics of the Sudanese government, are keen to head up. The government must downsize the paramilitary Popular Defense Force (PDF) and Border Guards in which Janjaweed have been hidden. The hated PDF must be abolished in three or four years. Thousands of rebels will be integrated into the Sudanese armed forces. Some will even be given command posts.

The agreement's weakest points, from Darfur's viewpoint, are its provisions for power-sharing. At the federal level, the rebel movements have won few concessions and have been refused the third place in the national hierarchy. But they have the fourth - in itself a gigantic step up. The government has won the battle to keep Darfur divided into three states, until a referendum on a single region, and controls 50 percent of state legislatures to the rebels' 30 percent, with 20 percent going to independents - a division that could, in reality, produce an anti-government majority. Critically, however, the movements will control the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority (TDRA) and annual income of hundreds of millions of dollars. It is the TDRA which will be the real power until elections. It will implement the peace agreement, supervise reconstruction and economic development, and help the return and resettlement of the refugees. All the TDRA's commission heads will be the movements' nominees.
Further reading

Jul 12 2004 Oil and Darfur

Dec 4 2004 Oil and Darfur - India signed new pipeline deal - France interested in Uranium and has drilling rights

Dec 20 2004 Rebels attack Darfur oil, Libyans mediate in Abuja, AU probe attack on AU helicopter

Mar 29 2005 Rebels attack villages in South Darfur - Sudanese FM blames SPLM over Darfur, oil

Apr 3 2005 Oil found in South Darfur - Oil issues threaten to derail Sudan hopes for peace

Apr 16 2005 Sudan says oil discovered in impoverished Darfur

Apr 18 2005 New oil field in Darfur expected to produce crude oil by August 2005

Jun 9 2005 Friedhelm Eronat is behind Cliveden Sudan and Darfur oil deal

Jun 10 2005 Friedhelm Eronat and Cliveden Sudan named as buyer of Darfur oil rights

Jun 17 2005 Chinese sign up with Eronat's Cliveden and Canada's Encana to explore oil in Chad

Apr 26 2006 Uranium in Darfur? - Iran 'could share nuclear skills'

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