SUDAN WATCH: France based Darfur war leader Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur dismisses all peace initiatives and proposes none

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

France based Darfur war leader Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur dismisses all peace initiatives and proposes none

Recent news reports tell us that ex-SLA rebel leader Minni Minnawi (pictured here below) has travelled to Libya for talks in his capacity of the Sudanese President's Senior Assistant and JEM rebel leader Khalil Ibrahim has sent some of his sidekicks to represent him at peace talks in Qatar.

Meanwhile, SLM rebel leader Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur continues to use the media to direct the Darfur war from Paris, France while dismissing all Darfur peace initiatives and proposing none. See details in reports copied here below.

Abdelwahid Nur is a chubby cheeked thirty-something Darfurian fat cat who directs the Darfur war from his armchair in Paris while living freely in the lap of luxury. He talks big but is too much of a coward to return to Sudan where he belongs. Why he has not been arrested, is beyond my comprehension.

Look at his photo here below, no worry marks on his face. What kind of stuff is someone like him made of I wonder. Maybe he is gullible and as thick as two short planks put together. I regard him as France's puppet, useful for French interests in Chad and oil business. Why else has France hosted and harboured Nur for so many years? What is in it for them? Surely the intelligence agencies are monitoring his every word and move.
Abdel Wahid Mohammed Nur

Photo: A picture taken on August 13, 2007 shows the leader of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Abdel Wahid Mohammed Nur addressing journalists after a meeting with Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade at Wade’s residence in Paris (AFP)
Going by what I have read and gathered here at Sudan Watch, Darfur is no longer an emergency. So why not start pulling out aid if Nur refuses to attend peace talks? Sudan is one of the most ancient civilizations in the world. It has managed to survive since the year dot. It can manage without billions of taxpayers dollars being used to prop up the careers of leeches, lowlifes and volunteer busy bodies outside of Sudan with nothing better else to do except stir up trouble. Why not send Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur back to Darfur where he belongs? Get African rebels out of Europe, especially Germany. Pay attention to the machinations of the self serving savedarfurcrowd in America and bodies like Aegis Trust here in the UK who appear to be accountable to nobody.

Of course, none of this will happen because nowadays too many people are making a living off the backs of poor uneductated Africans. The savedarfurcrowd and their ilk recently banded together and continued to allow themselves to be influenced by people who are driven by self interest. A good example is John Prendergast who is raking in a small fortune for his speeches and writings on Africa that brainwash people who are unwilling to think for themselves while ingratiating himself to naive American celebrities in order to worm his way up the greasy pole into the Obama administration. God help Mr Obama if he heeds any advice from that lot. And God help America if Hilary Clinton, in place of Dr Rice, heeds any advice from John Prendergast and the Eric Reeves' of this world. While in office as US President, Mrs Clinton's husband ordered a bombing of Sudan. Such vociferous money making pressure/lobby groups are, in my view, undermining democracy. They should be held more accountable and the news wires should stop publishing articles camouflaged as hard news or clearly label them as personal opinion pieces/press releases.

Here is a good example. An anonymously authored "Briefing" entitled Sudan - A gleam among the ruins from The Economist print edition November 20, 2008. Why is it classed as a "Briefing"? A briefing for whom? I see it is an opinion piece camouflaged as news, intent on influencing the way people think politically. Dangerous stuff. Mainstream media ought to be more discerning and cautious about their sources and the labelling of articles they print.

US President & Minni Minnawi

Photo: President George W. Bush welcomes Sudanese Liberation Movement leader Minni Minnawi to the Oval Office Tuesday, July 25, 2006, in Washington, D.C., meeting to discuss the Darfur region of western Sudan. White House photo by Kimberlee Hewitt
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December 1, 2008 (PARIS) Sudan Tribune report - excerpt:
A Darfur rebel leader has dismissed statements by Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir in which he said that France would press him to take part in peace talks mediated by the Qatari government.

“It would be better for him [Al-Bashir] to create conducive environment instead of such unproductive declarations” Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur, leader of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) told Sudan Tribune today.

Yesterday Al-Bashir was quoted as saying that his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to pressure Al-Nur to attend any future peace talks. The two presidents had met on November 28 on the sidelines of a UN meeting on development held in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar.

“I told him that the Darfur tragedy has now gone on for too long, that he must take initiatives and change things" the French president told reporters after his meeting.

Al-Nur, who is the founder of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), urged Al-Bashir to prove his seriousness for peace “by halting the killing of the innocent civilians, the rape of women and to disarm the government backed militias”.

The SLM leader further said Bashir’s statements are “lip service” and would not change his movement’s stance on the peace process. "The embattled president actually wants to persuade President Sarkozy to vote in favor of suspending his indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) more than to achieve peace in Darfur," he underscored. (...)

The rebel chief said his movement would not participate in any peace talks unless Khartoum implement a set of demands he labeled as "Conflict suspension" where he demands implementation of a ceasefire signed in April 2004, militias disarmament, return of IDPs to their villages and expulsion of newcomers who settled in the IDPs areas.

The SLM rejected the signing of Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) over the issues of individual compensation, establishment of one region in Darfur instead of the current three states and more political representation of Darfuris in the national institutions including a vice-presidency for Darfur.

Al-Nur said since he is in France, "the Republic of democracy and human rights", he had never ever been subjected to any pressure.

He stressed his demands for the state to provide security to its citizens, a matter that according to him is one of the main reasons d’être of the state as institution. He further added that no one in France or elsewhere would differ with him over that.

The rebel figure hailed the statements made by Sarkozy after his meeting last weekend in Doha about the need to stop the conflict and undertake serious steps to achieve peace in Darfur.
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December 02, 2008 KHARTOUM (Reuters) report by Andrew Heavens
A Darfur rebel leader on Tuesday said he was resisting international pressure to attend peace talks in Qatar and vowed to boycott all negotiations until government militias were disarmed and attacks ended.

Abdel Wahed Mohamed Ahmed al-Nur said he was having regular consultations with officials in France, where he currently lives, and other international bodies, who all said he should take part in talks with Sudan's government.

But the chairman of the insurgent Sudan Liberation Army said he was sticking to his often-repeated position that he would not negotiate until "security" returned to Sudan's violent west.

"Without security we will not be part of any process," Nur told Reuters.

"The first step must be conflict suspension. They must stop killing our people. They must stop the rapes. They must disarm the janjaweed (a name used for mostly-Arab government-backed militias). They must move the people who have occupied our land."

His comments came as 15 human rights groups issued a report accusing the Sudanese government of continuing attacks on Darfur civilians, despite promising a new peace push in the region. (...)

Nur said he had recently had consultations with French authorities "several times". "I respect their position. ...They want us to negotiate for peace in Darfur without security on the ground ... But our position is clear."

Darfur's rebel Justice and Equality Movement on Monday said a delegation of its commanders was in Doha, Qatar to consult with the peace talk organisers. JEM commander Suleiman Sandal told Reuters his force had still made no commitments to attend.
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December 02, 2008 (DOHA) report from Sudan Tribune:
The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has started a series of meeting with the Qatari officials in order to exchange views over the peace process that Doha intends to sponsor between Khartoum and the rebel movement in Darfur.

Ahmed H Adam

Photo: Ahmed Hussein Adam

A delegation composed of Tahir Al-Faki, Jibril Ibrahim, Ahmed Hussein Adam and Khatab Widaa arrived to the Qatari capital to deliver a message from JEM chairman Khalil Ibrahim to the Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al Thani.

The spokesperson of the rebel movement, Ahmed Hussein Adam told Sudan Tribune from Doha that the message deals with the JEM vision on the peace process. The delegation handed it to the Qatari State Minister for Foreign Affair Ahmed bin Abdullah al Mahmoud on Monday.

Adam said that JEM has formulated a comprehensive vision on the topics and procedures that the mediators could consider for the process. The delegation is expected to meet again with the Qatari official on Wednesday to discuss the paper.

JEM was very critical for the former team of mediation on Darfur crisis for the lack of consultations with the rebel movements on the organisation of the peace negotiations. They also accused the two mediators of only dealing only with Khartoum.

Last month the Qatari state foreign minister held talks with the JEM chairman in a location close to the border with Chad on Thursday November 6. Ibrahim pledged to send a delegation to discuss the mediation but cautioned that this step would not signify they accept to negotiate with Khartoum under the Qatari sponsorship.

"We are here to discuss the Qatari mediation and to exchange views over the process but yet we have to take our decision," JEM spokesperson said from Doha.

Darfur rebels have expressed reserves over the Qatari mediation because it comes as result of an Arab initiative last September to bring peace to Darfur. The Arab move, which come after the indictment of the Sudanese president by the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor last July, is seen by the rebels as attempt to help President Al-Bashir to avoid ICC arrest warrant.

Ahmed Hussein Adam said JEM believes that the peace process should not be mixed with the ICC efforts on Darfur crimes.

He also said that the Sudanese government before the talks has to create conducive environment to prove its good faith and seriousness.

"Khartoum has to stop IDPs harassment as well as bombardment of civilians; also the authorities should stop hindering the activities of aid workers." Adam said.

He further added "Sudan should release any prisoner detained in events related to Darfur."

Following a raid on Khartoum last May, the Sudanese courts sentenced to death dozens of JEM fighters including Abdel Aziz Asher the brother of Khalil Ibrahim the leader of the rebel group. However, the issue was discussed during large consultation held in Khartoum last month but the ruling NCP seemed not willing to respond to this demand.

Ahmed also said they met with joint mediator, the French and Norwegian envoys to Darfur who are in the Qatari capital. (ST)
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December 03, 2008 Sudan Vision report from Khartoum by Mona Al Bashir:
Sudan Government downplayed Abdelwahid's statement dismissing his participation in Doha talks. Authorized source described Abdelwahid statement as repetition of his same behavior. "Abdelwahid continues to reject any initiative or sincere negotiation proposals," commented spokesman to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding, "ever since the crisis sparked off up to now Abdelwahid has continued his stubbornness without delivering any alternative that proves his keenest on peace realization."

Abdelwahid uttered yesterday statements claiming that he turned down international pressures to join Doha talks and he  would not negotiate till security will have been realized in Darfur.

The  spokesman commented that Abdelwahid's preconditioned  demands are unanswerable and contravenes rational sense,  adding that Wahid should have got to the negotiating table for debating  those demands. The spokesman noted that Darfur security was the core of Doha negotiations.

"Negotiations should have been redundant if those demands were easily realizable," said him.

 He further labeled Doha summit that assembled AU -UN  and Arab League as an international initiative, describing the environment as conducive to peace attainment in Darfur. Moreover he urged Abdelwahid to recognize Darfur issue as political that should be resolved in this capacity as was the case with Southern Sudan issue.

 It is worth mentioning that France has pledged to persuade Abdelwahid to come on board.

JEM delegation chaired by Dr Jibril Ibrahim was involved in series of meetings commenced with His Highness Qatari state Minister at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Bin Abdallah.

JEM appreciated Qatar role and expressed optimism about peace and Darfur which they see as strategic as their strategic option. 
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December 02, 2008 Reuters report by Louis Charbonneau - excerpt:
The Sudanese government's continued attacks on civilians in Darfur show how empty Khartoum's promises of peace for the ravaged region are, 15 human rights organizations said in a report issued on Tuesday.

"Far from trying to improve the situation as it claims, the government of Sudan continues to conduct large-scale military attacks against populated areas, to harass aid workers and to allow impunity for the worst crimes committed in Darfur," Human Rights Watch, the Save Darfur Coalition, and 13 other rights organizations said in a highly unusual joint report. (...)

According to the rights groups' 22-page report, Khartoum has been working hard to convince the international community that it wants peace in Darfur in an attempt to pressure the Security Council into suspending the case against Bashir.

Bashir has announced a new peace initiative in western Sudan's Darfur, agreed to peace talks currently being mediated by Qatar and pledged to punish anyone guilty of crimes in Darfur.

But there are few signs of peace in Darfur and the policy of impunity for more than five years of mass murder in the region continue, making clear that the government's pledges are empty rhetoric, the report says.

The groups say that the only area of improvement has been in the deployment of the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur, known as UNAMID.

The humanitarian situation and security in Darfur have deteriorated significantly in recent months, the groups say.

Sudanese U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem told Reuters that the activist groups were "warmongers" whose main objective was "to undermine peace in Sudan because they are beneficiaries of the war." He dismissed their accusations.

"The enemies of Sudan, including those organizations, will never be lacking in their negative campaign against chances and hopes for peace in Sudan," he said.

December 02, 2008 Voice of America News report - excerpt:
15 human rights organizations said in a joint report released Tuesday, the Sudanese government is lying about improvements in the situation in Darfur.

Human Rights Watch, Save Darfur Coalition and 13 other rights organizations said the Sudanese government continues to conduct large-scale military attacks against populated areas, harass aid workers, and allow impunity for the worst crimes committed in Darfur.

Sudan wants the U.N. Security Council to suspend the International Criminal Court's consideration of an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

The new human rights report said Sudanese officials have been lobbying Security Council members to order the suspension of the ICC investigation of Mr. Bashir.

The ICC prosecutor is scheduled to brief the Security Council Wednesday about the progress of his investigation.

December 02, 2008 Reuters report from Khartoum by Andrew Heavens:
Sudanese rights campaigners are afraid the authorities will arrest more activists suspected of giving prosecutors evidence for a war crimes case against the president, a senior campaigner said on Tuesday.

Amir Suleiman, of the Khartoum International Centre for Human Rights, said he and two other activists had been held and later released last week.

"We fear that maybe other activists will be arrested," Suleiman told reporters. "We are under pressure all the time."

International Criminal Court judges are considering a request made by the ICC's chief prosecutor for an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accusing him of genocide and other war crimes in the western Darfur region.

International experts say 200,000 people have died and more than 2.5 million left homeless in five years of fighting between mostly non-Arab rebels and government-backed militia in Darfur.

Suleiman said security forces repeatedly asked him about his links to the Hague-based ICC during two days of interrogation last week. He denied supplying any evidence to the global court.

There was no immediate comment from Sudan's intelligence services.

U.N. officers told Reuters this week that aid workers faced increasing harassment in South Darfur where government officials have forced staff to hand over confidential files and emails to try to collect evidence of collaboration with the ICC.

The Sudanese government's Humanitarian Aid Commission in the region denied any harassment had taken place.

Commentators say the ICC judges may not reach a decision on the arrest warrant until the new year.

Amnesty International said along with Suleiman, security forces detained and later released Osman Hummaida, a British citizen and the former director of Sudanese Organization Against Torture (SOAT), as well as activist Abdel Monim Elgak. (Editing by Katie Nguyen)

November 30, 2008 Reuters report from Khartoum by Andrew Heavens
Humanitarian aid groups are facing growing harassment in South Darfur where government officials have forced staff to hand over confidential emails and files, United Nations officials said on Sunday.

But the head of Sudan's state Humanitarian Aid Commission in the region denied the accusations, saying his office was doing all it could to assist development groups.

The U.N. officers, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters that Sudanese officials had ordered a crackdown on aid groups they suspected of supplying evidence to the International Criminal Court for a war crimes case against Sudan's president.

Aid agencies have launched the world's largest humanitarian operation to support 2.5 million people driven from their homes by more than five years of fighting in Sudan's violent west.

"There has been really severe intimidation...NGOs are in a state of shock in South Darfur," said a senior U.N. officer.

"They have been able to intimidate international and national staff into going into computers, open their private emails -- Gmail, Hotmail. (The officials are saying) if you don't give me your password, you won't get out of this country."

Most aid workers have to apply for exit visas every time they want to leave Sudan.

Senior Sudanese officials have repeatedly accused humanitarian groups of spying on government forces in the past and scores of aid workers have been expelled since the conflict started in 2003.

Sorour Ahmed Abdullah, the head of Sudan's Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in Nyala, capital of south Darfur, told Reuters the accusations were based on "wrong information".

"There is no harassment by this authority which gives all the facilities necessary for international organisations," he said, adding that HAC officers had not launched any investigations linked to the International Criminal Court.


The U.N. Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said he had brought up the harassment reports with South Darfur's governor during a visit to Nyala last week. The governor promised to investigate the complaints, Holmes added.

A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Khartoum said its officials were also "deeply troubled" by an "ongoing campaign of harassment and intimidation of international NGOs", particularly in South Darfur.

The U.N. officers said harassment had been on the rise since ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked judges for an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Bashir in July, accusing him of masterminding genocide and other war crimes including mass rape in Darfur.

"The government feels that the information released by the (ICC) prosecutor to document his case against the president was most likely coming from the NGOs," said one Khartoum-based U.N. officer.

The officer said the government's suspicions were unfounded as most of the prosecutor's material had been gathered from human rights groups based outside Sudan, and publicly available U.N. human rights reports.

Other U.N. officials said teams from HAC visited a string of aid agencies in south Darfur in late August, demanding staff hand over copies of sensitive files in a bid to find proof of collaboration with the global court.

In the following months, internal documents from aid groups have been leaked to state media, aid workers have been denied travel permits and stopped for questioning, deliveries of fuel into displacement camps have been restricted and programmes relating to rape and sexual health shut down, they said.

The U.N. officials said there were particular worries about the copying of files containing personal information about women who had made allegations of rape or received treatment and counselling after sexual attacks.

One officer said there were "concerns about ... intimidation against individuals in case they want to go into court ... or potential retaliation against the victims." (Additional reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz)

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Blogger Nell Okie said...

You really are wrong about John Prendergast and Eric Reeves, totally and utterly wrong.

Thursday, December 04, 2008  
Blogger Ingrid Jones said...

That's what you think.

Thursday, December 04, 2008  
Blogger Nell Okie said...

Dear Ms. Jones...I am open to listening to information you are basing your claims upon. Would appreciate what you have to say.
Thank you. Sincerely,Nell Okie

Friday, December 05, 2008  
Blogger Ingrid Jones said...

I've already done thousands of hours of your homework for you by way of this blog. All you have to do is read it from beginning to end and you will have the information you are asking for.

Friday, December 05, 2008  
Blogger Nell Okie said...

Ms. Jones:

I have searched your archives for mention of John Prendergast and have copied those posts in an email to you (not wanting to take up too much space on your blog). You mention Mr. Prendergast favorably from December 2004 until February of 2006 at which point you object to this statement made by Mr. Prendergast and Mr. Don Cheadle:

"The United States has to lead the diplomacy in the United Nations - especially with China and Russia. And the Europeans must pony up more money."

You counter with: "American diplomacy eh? I've seen Chinese pottery older than America. There would be no African Union if it weren't for the European Union's initiative and funding to enable Africans to apply solutions to African problems."

From that point on, you are critical of Mr. Prendergast's motives - MAY 06 -
"Any article that quotes the International Crisis Group and/or it's Sudan expert John Prendergast, I've learned to ignore. They make it their job to get attention, whip up storms and spin the media to get attention. I see it as propaganda."

You never offer substantiation for your changed perspective.

It doesn't seem fair to me to slander people without offering proof of your accusations.

I am honored and priviledged to know both Mr. Prendergast and Professor Reeves. Neither man is living in the lap of luxury. Mr. Reeves is one of a kind - not "the Eric Reeves' of this world", as you most inappropriately refer to Professor Reeves.

Professor Reeves is living in a sterile-free environment, overwhelmed with the new cells from his stem-cell transplant and medications, while battling leukemia, all the while continuing to work to help the people of Darfur.

Mr. Prendergast, who is also one-of-a kind, devotes his days and nights to working to help the people of Darfur and Congo, as he has devoted his life for the past twenty-five years to helping the people of the Greater Horn of Africa.

Do you think that when he was 20 years old, he thought, oh, one day, a president is going to come along who I will want to be connected to, so I will spend almost every waking minute of my life working for the people of Africa until that happens.

Mr. Prendergast does not rake in monetary riches from his writings nor from his talks, believe me; I know.

I also know the hearts of both John Prendergast and Eric Reeves and aspire to be as generous and kind and as focussed in their pursuit of peace as these men are.

I don't believe for a second that George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Jeffrey Wright, Winter Miller, Eve Ensler, Robin Wright Penn, Mira Sorvino, Melinda Fitzgerald, Mia Farrow, Ryan Gosling nor other actor/activists who seek out Mr. Prendergast's expertise are naive. Most have travelled to Darfur and/or Congo and seen for themselves what is going on, and most know more about these issues than most senators on Capital Hill.

From Samantha Power, Richard Holbrooke and Nicholis Kristof:

"John goes into bad places, puts his ass on the line, and tries to figure out what governments and others should do," says his friend Samantha Power, whose reporting on Darfur in The New Yorker won a National Magazine Award. Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke puts it more bluntly: "John is one of those rare people who go out in the field, cut through the bullshit, cut through the bureaucracy, come back, and tell the truth. Attention must be paid." Nicholas Kristof, whose op-ed columns in The New York Times about his own dangerous treks in Darfur recently won a Pulitzer, calls Prendergast "the coolest policy wonk around. And probably the one most likely to come down with malaria or liver flukes.

You will find it very, very difficult to find people with more heart than John Prendergast and Eric Reeves, nor more resolve to end genocide forever.

I invite you to take a second look.

Nell Okie

From Samantha Power:

"What unites them, these amazing people whom I am so privileged to have come to know vicariously, and sometimes in person, is that they're a little antisocial. I don't know if there is a correlation that the person who is inclined to stand up in the herd when it's so overdetermined in the other direction is necessarily somebody who is going to be a little abrasive, a little monomaniacal, not very good at building coalitions; or if when they stand up, everybody else sort of melts away, and, thus, they look more antisocial than perhaps they are. But again and again, you see these people are so focused, they're not terribly attentive to the tactics of the moment, they're just on their cause. There's a savvyness to them and a relentlessness, but they do it at great professional cost to themselves -- as I mentioned earlier, they are marginalized by their colleagues -- and they do it at great personal cost as well, in that they become so consumed with it that the rest of the universe just melts away before this particular cause of stopping whatever the genocide du jour is."

Saturday, December 06, 2008  
Blogger Nell Okie said...

Apparently, I cannot email you same:


Another speaker, John Prendergast, director for African affairs for the National Security Council under the Clinton administration, said:

"Five million people have died in genocidal conflicts in the Congo and Sudan. Besides physically killing Sudanese civilians, the government virtually starved its people, preventing humanitarian groups from reaching villages in need. "[The government] used food as a weapon of war. U.S. citizens essentially have control over what the higher powers in government do. [Congress] will only take on the president if there's a large push which comes from civil action."
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Please help spread the word

Although I am writing this from England, UK, there is still something even I can do to contribute to the vigil. I know of some bloggers in the New York area and John Fitzgerald at Secession asked me to keep him informed of any events in New York on Sudan so he can attend. I shall email John, Nick and Pauly in hope they may be free to attend and take some photos and write-up some feedback for sharing here.

It's a pity there are no candlelight vigils set to take place simultaneously in central London and around Europe. Here's pinging NYC Indy Media and London too, plus Indy Media for UK, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Paris (sorry cannot list complete European network here).

February 2005
African leaders should lean on Sudan

Here is an article by Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent Laurie Goering Feb 27, who writes about the African Union, Sudan, Togo and Zimbabwe and explains that analysts are saying African leaders appear increasingly unwilling to stand for undemocratic seizures of power on the continent, but remain reluctant to act against established regimes that commit atrocities or flout democratic principles. Here is an excerpt relating to the Sudan:

"When African leaders really want to lean on somebody, they do. The peer pressure is enormous," said John Prendergast, an Africa analyst with the International Crisis Group in Washington. "There's a consensus that's developed that any kind of non-democratic transition of power, or military coup, will be vociferously opposed and overturned."

But the same leaders "bristle at anyone who tries to tell a government in Africa how to govern," Prendergast said, and that means that the African Union has hesitated to take any action on Darfur without the Sudanese government's approval.

In Sudan, the African Union has staged "an impotent, irrelevant intervention that doesn't have an impact on people's lives on the ground," even as the World Heath Organization reports 10,000 people a month dying in Darfur and a growing threat of famine, Prendergast said. That inaction, he said, threatens to compromise the African Union's standing as a body capable of dealing with Africa's problems.

As the U.S. Congress puts growing pressure on the Bush administration to take stronger action in Darfur, the United States may soon "start twisting arms in the [UN] Security Council," Prendergast said. "Then you'll see something start happening."

Specifically, he believes growing U.S. pressure and a new threat of some type of Security Council-mandated international troop intervention in Darfur could push Sudan's government to at least accept a larger contingent of African Union troops in Darfur, one with a mission to protect civilians.

"For the government of Sudan to be influenced sufficiently to accept a mandate that is much more interventionist, it has to see the larger international community, particularly countries like the U.S., pushing for that stronger mandate," Prendergast said.

If the UN Security Council fails to threaten strong action against Sudan, he said, "Sudan gets the message loud and clear that there is no cost" to continuing its campaign of what has been called ethnic cleansing against African peasants living in a region that has spawned a rebel uprising against Khartoum.

APRIL 2005

John Prendergast: Bush mistook me for Bono

Like his doppelgaenger, John Prendergast is a man on a mission - to save 2 million lives in Darfur.

Jane Bussmann pushes past Angelina Jolie and Bill Clinton to catch up with the radical peacekeeper. Full Story at Independent UK, April 11, 2005.

MAY 2005

Meanwhile, Robert Zoellick is taking flack from Sudan watchers such as John Prendergast and Eric Reeves [see his latest analysis] - even the Sudanese Embassy in Washington got involved with the politcs of numbers]. Here is the Reuters report:
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In an article at Fredericksburg 21 Aug 2005, John Prendergast, a leading Sudan expert who travels frequently to Darfur, is quoted as saying:

"The standard as to whether or not the situation is improving in Darfur must not be mortality or malnutrition rates, but rather whether the two and a half million displaced people feel safe enough to return home. Not one of them does. The situation remains urgent."

The article goes on to say:

"Prendergast's organization, the International Crisis Group, has been advocating a more robust response to the genocide. The group has put forth these recommendations:

A stronger mandate for the AU forces on the ground in Darfur, to enable them to undertake any measures necessary to prevent attacks or threats to civilians and relief workers. The existing mandate does not allow AU soldiers to intervene to stop attacks, or launch offensive operations to ensure security in the region.

A rapid reinforcement of AU troops, with adequate support from the West, to boost the number of personnel to more than 12,000 in 60 days. The current AU plan calls for about 7,500 troops on the ground by next month and 12,300 by next spring. The ICG believes the latter is the minimal number of troops needed to provide security for an area about the size of Texas.

A NATO "bridging force" for Darfur if the AU cannot quickly increase troop numbers to an adequate level."

Full story [via Contango - with thanks]

American diplomacy

Some statements by Westerners, who appear to want peace for Sudan, beggar belief. Here's one relating to Darfur, from an opinion piece authored by two Americans, John Prendergast and film actor Don Cheadle:

"The United States has to lead the diplomacy in the United Nations - especially with China and Russia. And the Europeans must pony up more money."

American diplomacy eh? I've seen Chinese pottery older than America. There would be no African Union if it weren't for the European Union's initiative and funding to enable Africans to apply solutions to African problems.
- - -


American diplomacy

Some statements by Westerners, who appear to want peace for Sudan, beggar belief. Here's one relating to Darfur, from an opinion piece authored by two Americans, John Prendergast and film actor Don Cheadle:

"The United States has to lead the diplomacy in the United Nations - especially with China and Russia. And the Europeans must pony up more money."

American diplomacy eh? I've seen Chinese pottery older than America. There would be no African Union if it weren't for the European Union's initiative and funding to enable Africans to apply solutions to African problems.
- - -

MAY 06

Any article that quotes the International Crisis Group and/or it's Sudan expert John Prendergast, I've learned to ignore. They make it their job to get attention, whip up storms and spin the media to get attention. I see it as propaganda. See July 9, 2004 Echo Chamber Project Interview with Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, Washington Bureau Chief - excerpt:

ECHO CHAMBER PROJECT: So, when you're covering it you're working outside of those blinders in a way. Do you try to challenge the viewpoints of a lot of the cultural biases?

LOBE: Well, I mean, I'm a product of the culture too, and to that extent my coverage is going to be affected by what my -- you know, what my cultural upbringing says is possible or impossible.


n March 2005, the U.N. Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs visited Darfur and remarkably claimed that the casualties of the conflict had reached 180,000. When queried on the source of those numbers, he said "he was told" that was the figure! There was no further elaboration on who might have told him.

The Washington Post, for reasons known only to its editorial staff, has uniformly insisted on advancing the casualty figures in Darfur as being as many as 400,000. In an April 24, 2005 editorial, the paper refuted out of hand the figure of 60-160,000 deaths noted by the Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Robert Zoellick, suggesting instead that the figures cited by the staunchest and most perennial Sudan critics, Dr. Eric Reeves and Mr. John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group, were more accurate.

The Post did not provide any background on why their numbers should be taken as more reliable than those of the United States Government. These wildly swinging numbers claimed by the various interests groups united only in their deep animosity toward Sudan can have only one explanation - pure politics. Not only does the truth become yet another casualty in the tragedy of Darfur, but these exaggerations serve no purpose save that of encouraging the rebel groups to keep on fighting and thus preventing a real peace process in Darfur from gaining traction.

The cynicism involved makes it clear that topping the conflict is secondary to the goal of "keeping the pressure on Khartoum." It is high time that the American sense of honest, transparent goals and fair play replace the cynicism of the biased interest groups which have only served to prolong the tragedy.

A dying peace deal in Darfur - The Boston Globe (John Prendergast)
So called "Sudan experts" seem to feed off each other and hearsay, regurgitating it into mainstream media to further their own cause and bamboozle readers in the process. They sound like clones on a game of some kind to get attention. Are they all Blair/Bush haters or what? Bad mood. Trying to track news, see hundreds of reports but only a scrap of it is hard news. It's hard work and time consuming trawling through so much rubbish. Mainstream media are letting us down. Lazy bums. Don't believe much of what I hear or read in the news.

Excerpt from an opinion piece (A dying peace deal in Darfur - The Boston Globe July 13, 2006) by doom merchant John Prendergast, senior advisor at the International Crisis Group (who pays for the food on his table?):

The specific security guarantee every Darfurian talks about is a United Nations force that will ensure the Janjaweed disarm, and that will protect refugees and help them return home.


It is time for serious pressure. The United States should tell regime officials it will work multilaterally to impose targeted sanctions, help the war crimes investigations of the International Criminal Court, and support the divestment movement that seeks to have companies stop doing business with Sudan.

Eh what? Every Darfurian? How would he know? After reading that line and his calls for sanctions, prosecutions and divestment, I couldn't take a word of the piece seriously. Most of the displaced Darfurians can't even read or write, what would they know when it comes to political issues beyond what power crazed rebel leaders are feeding them? And, while I am at it, there is no such thing as the so called janjaweed. Calling for "janjaweed" to be disarmed is like calling for "insurgents" in Iraq to be disarmed in one fell swoop. It's much more complicated, involving different tribes, tribal leaders and a culture going back to the year dot. They live on a different planet. Only they can sort it out. Get it? [Afterthought: shame them into sorting it out] See July 13 2006 Darfur: What Should the U.S. Do? (Bill Fletcher Jr).
posted by Ingrid Jones at Sudan Watch Thursday, July 13, 2006 0 comments

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
ICG's Prendergast shows frustration with slow UN action
Oct 25 2006 AFP report "US Shows Frustration with Slow UN Action" (via CFD). Excerpt:

John Prendergast, an expert at the non-governmental International Crisis Group, recently suggested that France and the United States impose a no-fly zone over Darfur and that the UN prepare "non consensual deployment" in case Khartoum persists in its refusal to accept UN peacekeepers.

Prendergast's suggestions irritated the anonymous senior US official.

"Now, I don't know who you are going to find around the world to shoot the way into Sudan. I don't know, maybe the International Crisis group or John Prendergast has an idea," the official said.

"That is the great thing about being in a think tank: You can suggest these ideas and criticize without actually having to implement the solution," he said.

Ha! Couldn't have said it better myself. Pity the US official was not named. Nicely line that - I'ved modified it for future use:

"That is the great thing about being [a non-Sudanese/non-African/non-Arab/activist/pundit/analyst/armchair critic/blogger/not on ground in Sudan] in a think tank: You can suggest these ideas and criticize without actually having to implement the solution."

Note, Mr Prendergast is featured in the video report "Searching For Jacob." See the clip online at CBS News.

"The first rule of thumb in almost every profession is 'do no harm,'" says John Prendergast, a senior analyst who studies Africa for the International Crisis Group. "I think the mediators of the peace agreement potentially made things worse by securing a deal with only one rebel faction and leaving the other two outside the tent."

Saturday, December 06, 2008  
Blogger Ingrid Jones said...

I wonder if you even know the meaning of the words "non consensual deployment".

Note, you've missed this extract:

Notable Quote

"Everything I've said is bullshit," laughs Prendergast.

(Source: 'Actorvists' make people care June 12, 2007)
posted by Ingrid Jones at Sudan Watch Thursday, June 14, 2007

Saturday, December 06, 2008  
Blogger Nell Okie said...

Actually, I do know the meaning of "non-consensual deployment".

Re John's comments, to which you referred:

"...after heaping more praise on the movie star sitting across from him.

"Gosling furrows his brows. 'It's embarrassing. It's not true.'

"'Everything I've said is bullshit,' laughs Prendergast".

"It's easy to come in and do the glamorous thing," says Gosling. 'He gets knee-deep in policy and red tape. John's life is sooo boring, and that's why he's my hero,' he adds in all seriousness."

You also managed to denigrate the Darfuri people by assuming that they couldn't understand a particular course of action. The Darfuris in refugee camps I have listened to very eloquently express themselves and have an "uncanny" ability to understand what may seem very complex to you.

Good-bye and good luck.

Sunday, December 07, 2008  
Blogger Nell Okie said...


December 5, 2008 comments: Melissa, not Melinda, Fitzgerald. My apologies to Melissa.

Sunday, December 07, 2008  
Blogger Ingrid Jones said...

Your mindset and the depth of your thinking and quality of your research and comments here prove my point exactly. Thank you.

Sunday, December 07, 2008  

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