SUDAN WATCH: October 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reuters: South Sudan's President Salva Kiir in first call for independence

From The New York Times
By REUTERS October 31, 2009 1:46 p.m. ET
South Sudan President In First Call For Independence
JUBA, Sudan (Reuters) - South Sudan's president on Saturday urged southerners to choose independence in a referendum if they wanted to be free, the closest he has come to calling publicly for the separation of the oil-producing region.

The south secured a vote on whether to break away from Sudan as part of a peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war with the north. But until now, southern president Salva Kiir has stuck to the official line of building support for unity.

"When you reach your ballot boxes the choice is yours: you want to vote for unity so that you become a second class in your own country, that is your choice," he told a cathedral congregation in the south's capital Juba during a service to launch a prayer campaign for elections due in 2010 and the referendum in 2011.

"If you want to vote for independence so that you are a free person in your independent state, that will be your own choice and we will respect the choice of the people."

The comments will add pressure to the already troubled relationship between Kiir's Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the north's dominant National Congress Party (NCP).

Both sides promised to build up a campaign to make the unity of Sudan attractive to voters when they signed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that settled the civil war.

Most southerners, embittered by the long war and the lack of development in the south since it ended, are widely thought to support independence. But their leaders had so far not gone as far as openly saying they want to split.

Southern independence is a highly sensitive subject, particularly in the north. The bulk of Sudan's proven oil reserves are in the south, while refineries and Sudan's only port are in the north.

No one from the NCP was immediately available to comment.

Two million people were killed and 4 million fled their homes between 1983 and 2005 as Sudan's north and south battled over differences of ideology, ethnicity and religion. North Sudan is mostly Muslim while southerners are largely Christian and followers of traditional beliefs.

(Reporting by Jose Vieira, writing by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
UPDATE on Monday, 02 November 2009 UK GMT 9:16 AM:

South Sudan leader urges split

BBC News - ‎20 hours ago‎
Southern Sudan leader Salva Kiir has made his strongest call for full independence when the region's status is decided at a referendum due in 2011. ...

Labels: , ,

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mbeki: 'The Sudanese crisis in Darfur' - Reading the AU Panel Report (Alex de Waal)

From Alex de Waal's blog Making Sense of Darfur
Reading the AU Panel Report
By Alex de Waal, Friday, October 30, 2009:
The report of African Union High Level Panel on Darfur (AUPD) has injected a new dynamic into Sudanese political life. President Thabo Mbeki has confounded those who had forgotten that he was the architect of the negotiated dismantling of Apartheid, and short-sightedly misperceived him as a member of the club of African status quo statists. In his opening presentation to the AUPD seven months ago, Mbeki mentioned just one Sudanese by name: John Garang. Recalling that, the substance of the Panel’s report should come as less of a surprise.

The AUPD report moves Sudanese politics ahead in two major respects. First, it shifts the centre of political attention away from responding to immediate human rights violations and humanitarian concerns, to addressing the underlying political malaise in Sudan, that gives rise to such violations. Second, it puts the Sudanese people back at the centre of the process. The report does not contain any blueprint for peace, and correctly so, though it does make a number of proposals for discussion by the Sudanese parties. It is essentially a call for a political process—and in fact the Panel has already set such a process in motion. The challenge is to sustain and accelerate that process.

In his introduction to the Report, President Mbeki writes of ‘the Sudanese crisis in Darfur.’ This is a careful phrasing that represents a deliberate shift in focus from considering the Darfur crisis in isolation, to seeing it as a manifestation of Sudan’s historic problem of inequity. At independence in 1956, the Sudanese nation inherited a gross disparity from its two colonial episodes. The riverain elite has dominated Sudanese political and economic life since independence, and its dominance has sparked recurrent rebellions in the peripheries—notably south Sudan and Darfur.

In specifying the Darfur crisis as a symptom of national minority rule, Mbeki has taken a step beyond all previous international inquiries. Some of these have either focused on the human rights and humanitarian dimensions of the Darfur crisis—the outcome of the political crisis, not its cause. Other international approaches have zeroed in on the need for a Darfur peace, plus solutions to the problems in the three areas and a legitimate referendum in the south. On this blog, this has been criticized as a strategy of liberating the country one Bantustan at a time.

The AU Panel attempts to go straight to the centre of gravity of Sudan’s crisis, as it is manifest in Darfur. It identifies this as a historically-rooted crisis of inequality in governance and development which needs an inclusive Global Political Agreement, in which all stakeholders come to a common commitment on peace, justice, reconciliation, and Darfur’s place in the Sudanese nation, as an integrated whole.

The three pillars of peace, justice and reconciliation make no sense when considered separately. They are meaningful only when part of an overall package, agreed to by all stakeholders, to resolve the root causes of the conflict. Also, they are only meaningful in the light of Darfur’s integration into Sudan’s national political process of democratization and the debate on unity or the separation of the south.

When Mbeki took on the Chairmanship of the AUPD in March, his critics were quick to allege that was seeking an escape route for President Omar al Bashir from the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant. The ICC was indeed the spark for the AU to set up the Panel—to be precise, it was the AU Peace and Security Council’s spurned request to the UN Security Council to consider a deferral of the prosecution that angered the AU. Some wrote off the Panel in advance on these grounds, and even refused to engage with it, arguing that they knew the outcome in advance. Most press attention focuses on how the Panel deals with the ICC, and especially its proposal for a special chamber within the Sudanese judiciary staffed by international jurists to try those alleged to have committed war crimes in Darfur.

The most important point about the ICC in the Report is not whether the Panel endorses it or not, but the position that the Court has within the overall structure of the Recommendations. The ICC issue does not take pride of place in the AUPD Report. The ICC is given its place, along with consideration of a Hybrid Court and a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, as part of a broad agenda of items to be negotiated in a round table process of hammering out a Global Political Agreement. The Panel neither supports the ICC nor seeks to block it. Rather it puts the ICC in its place as one possible part of comprehensive package—perhaps useful, possibly not, depending on the views of the Sudanese themselves.

Critics have also accused Mbeki of being conservative and statist, defending the status quo in Sudan, as he allegedly did in Zimbabwe. In fact, the approach that Mbeki has taken has far more in common with his strategic role in bringing about the negotiated end of minority rule in his own country. Those seeking to understand Mbeki’s strategy should look back twenty years, not five. The implicit, tough message for the Khartoum Government is: negotiate power sharing now, or face the likelihood that Sudan will soon be fragmented and ungovernable. The message for Africa is that the continent cannot afford an irreparably fractured country at its heart.

Across the Sudanese political scene, the report has challenged the opposition to take seriously its responsibility for seeking constructive political solutions. The days of grandstanding and appealing for outside salvation are numbered. Those who respond positively will make the political running in the years ahead, those who do not risk being sidelined.

The Panel’s report therefore shifts the international debate on Sudan from the politics of condemning atrocities (where the UN Security Council has found itself stuck) to the politics of constructing political solutions. Equally importantly, it brings the Sudanese people back as the principal actors. The task of solving Sudan’s crisis in Darfur is first and foremost a challenge for the Sudanese, next for Africa, and finally for the international community.

Any number of think tanks could have articulated such an argument—indeed there is nothing fundamentally new in making the case that there needs to be an inclusive political solution leading to democratization within an ‘all Sudan’ framework. Where the AU Panel differs is its innovative method. All previous international engagements of this kind on Sudan have operated through expert consultations in high-class hotels, with chiefly symbolic trips to the Darfur’s displaced camps to shake hands and have photographs taken. The commissioners then retire to write their report which descends from on high, full of exhortations about what the Sudanese must do to meet international obligations. The UN Security Council may make solemn pronouncements, but as Khartoum has shown, these have little meaning in their own right.

Not so Mbeki and his Panel. During the last six months, the Panel’s three former Presidents, the Nigerian Abdusalami Abubaker and the Burundian Pierre Buyoya, as well as Mbeki, spent at least three months’ worth of full-time work on the task. Overall, the Panel spent more than forty days in town-hall style meetings in Sudan, mostly in Darfur. This was a grueling exercise, unmatched by any special envoy, mediator, or investigator. These were not ad hoc lectures or informal discussions, but well-prepared consultations in which the Darfurians systematically spoke about their fears and hopes. It provided an important role for the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation. As a result, every recommendation is grounded in what the people themselves have said.

For example, in long meetings with refugees and displaced persons, tribal leaders, women, civil society activists, and nomads, all these groups insisted that they should be directly represented at future peace talks. They were not content for the armed movements to represent them—all felt that the rebel leaders had been a disappointment. The Panel reflects this unanimous demand with its round table formula for political negotiations. The rebel leaders will be unhappy, and so too some of the diplomats who have run the last rounds of failed peace talks. They have already said that it is an unwieldy and complicated process. Mbeki will have a simple response: this is the people’s demand, and it is less complicated to have an inclusive process than another failed accord.

As the initial four month mandate of the Panel came to a close, Mbeki asked for an extension. He told the AU staff, advisors, and fellow panelists that he intended to make a third mission to Sudan, to discuss the draft recommendations. This was also a new departure. Meeting once again—often for the third time—with the same representatives, the Panel had shown its seriousness, and was rewarded when the Darfurian people recognized their own demands in those recommendations. Having generating this sense of ownership, a political process is now in motion.

Implementing the recommendations for peace, justice and reconciliation is a bigger task. The AU Peace and Security Council has endorsed the Report at a special summit level meeting in Abuja, Nigeria. The recommendations already have the broad support of the Darfurian population. The Sudan Government will protest, but ultimately will be under immense pressure to go along. The armed movements are criticizing some details, but will recognize that Mbeki has articulated their own critique of the imbalance of power and wealth in Sudan. Corralling the international community and re-energizing a moribund peace process are next. President Mbeki has shown strategic vision and stamina thus far. Facilitating the negotiated transformation of Sudan will demand even greater political skill.
Comment posted at “Reading the AU Panel Report”
By Ahmed Hassan: October 30, 2009
Dear Alex,
Since I did not read the report, I have just few questions to help me understand the contents of the proposal correctly:

1) How can we read this initiative together with the CPA as far as the pending issues between the North and the South, which are central to the overall crisis of Sudan, are concerned? Can the two processes go together side by side, or does it mean that we have to postpone the CPA as a partial process until we go through and exhaust the processes that the report seems to advocates.

2) You mentioned that one of the pillars of the report is that it shifts the emphasis and puts Darfur in the Centre. My question is that: are Darfur injustices represent a cause or a result of the problem of the North and why for that reason the Beja area or the Blue Nile could not be the centre of focus?; also by putting Darfur first how is that different from “Liberating the Country, one Bantustan at a time” Isn’t Darfur first, as part of the entire Sudan problem, imply that the Nuba Mountains is second, the Blue Nile is third…etc?

3) The second pillar of the proposal which calls for putting justice, peace and reconciliation as one package to be accepted by all, isn’t that quite challenging or next to impossible? I do not see any major challenges with peace and reconciliation, I do have a major concern about the type of justice and whether it will also cover atrocities by all Sudanese political parties in the past as we discussed in the Kampala Conference of 2000? What are the mechanisms to bring consensus on that? And what incentives could the guilty parts find in this proposal?
Click on labels here below to view related reports and updates.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Messiriya and Rezeigat tribes sign reconciliation agreement

Messairiya [aka Misseriya or Messiriya] and Rezeigat tribes Tuesday signed a reconciliation agreement in the presence of the Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, the Walis (governors) of South Kordofan and South Darfur States and leaders of the two tribes.

Meanwhile, Taha said that the government wants the reconciliation agreement to contribute to boosting the national rank, unity of Sudan and the social peace. He called on the two tribes to help the state realize peace in the area.

Taha appreciated the step of South Sudan State's government of establishing a council of tribal sheikhs to contribute effectively to boosting the development process. He said that the reconciliation between Messairiya and Rezeigat reflected the peaceful co-existence among the people of Sudan and their elevation to the tolerance values.

Source: SUNA/Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan, Washington DC - Messairiya and Rezeigat Sign Reconciliation Agreement - Oct. 29, 2009.

Labels: , , ,

South Sudan: Abyei MP Arop Madut accuses Messiriya of forming a militia and blocking border demarcation process

Important news from Sudan Radio Service, 26 October 2009:
Arop Madut Accuses Messiriya of Blocking Demarcation Process
(Juba) - A member of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly has accused Messiriya elders of forming a militia to protect their interests.

The elders recently unanimously rejected the results of the Abyei arbitration by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in September.

An MP for the Abyei area, Arop Madut Arop, told Sudan Radio Service in Juba that the Messiriya have deliberately blocked the process of border demarcation.

[Arop Madut]: “Recently, they held a meeting at a place called Sitip, midway between Abyei and Mujlad, in which they unanimously rejected the award, they said they will have nothing to do with it and that they are going to appeal against the award to the International Court of Arbitration and to the national constitutional commission. Meanwhile, they are forming a military command to protect their interests. So they have now stopped the demarcation of the border which should have finished in September.”

Madut said that if war erupts in the area, the Director of National Security would be responsible because he is aware of what is happening in the region.

He also threatened that any attacks against the Ngok Dinka would be considered as a direct attack on the SPLM.

[Arop Madut]: “The Ngok Dinka do not have militia, they have accommodated the SPLM since 2003, so that anybody who attacks the Ngok Dinka is attacking the SPLM/A, so I said that the responsibility for the next destruction of the area will lie with the director of national security because he is the security representative in the area. The governor of Southern Kordofan also sent officials. But the Missiriya haven’t been arrested. Supposing that I go on the street now and shout that am going to kill somebody, I will be arrested. So why are they not being arrested? This is the question now.”

The SPLM and the NCP both accepted the Abyei boundary ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in July 2009. The Court redefined the boundaries of Abyei. However the Abyei Border demarcation team has been experiencing challenges due to disagreements between representatives of the SPLM and the NCP.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration will travel to Turkey, Nigeria & Sudan

Source: US Department of State, October 27, 2009
U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration will travel to Turkey, Nigeria & Sudan
U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration will travel to Istanbul, Turkey; Abuja, Nigeria; and Khartoum and Juba, Sudan from October 27 to November 2, 2009.

Special Envoy Gration will travel to Istanbul, Turkey, to attend a meeting of the Elders, an independent group of eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela. Special Envoy Gration will discuss the current situation in Sudan with the Elders and update them on U.S. efforts to support peace and stability in Darfur and fully implement the CPA. The Elders is comprised of Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernando H Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graca Machel, Mary Robinson, Desmond Tutu, and honorary Elders Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Special Envoy Gration will attend the opening session of the African Union's (AU) Peace and Security Council in Abuja, Nigeria and will be present for the release of the report of the African Union High-Level Panel on Darfur by former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. On the margins of the AU meeting, the Special Envoy will also hold bilateral discussions with several of the African heads of state present in Abuja for the AU Peace and Security Council meeting. Special Envoy Gration will additionally participate in a meeting of the E6, comprising the envoys to Sudan from China, the European Union, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Special Envoy Gration will then travel to Khartoum and Juba, Sudan, where he will continue bilateral discussions with the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) on resolving the outstanding issues of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) implementation.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Darfur rebel group JEM rejects AU panel report

Quelle surprise. Darfur rebel group rejects AU panel report

From Reuters by Opheera McDoom (Khartoum) Tue Oct 27, 2009 - excerpts:
The Justice and Equality Movement, the most powerful rebel group in Darfur, said serious crimes committed there should be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

"The report is not clear in what they are saying about the ICC," said JEM spokesman Ahmed Adam. "Concerning the serious crimes in Darfur, including genocide, the only legal mechanism ... is the ICC. "

The report by a panel of African "wise men", headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, recommended the establishment of a special court, including foreign judges, to try those charged with atrocities in Darfur.

The AU report did not go into the question of Bashir's arrest warrant, saying only that the ICC investigations should be discussed during peace talks on Darfur.

Khartoum is saving its reaction for discussions at an AU meeting in Nigeria on Thursday, attended by Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha.

But a government source told Reuters the initial feeling was one of "cautious welcome but with reservations on some details."

The opposition Umma Party said the panel found a good compromise between international and national justice.

"(The panel) did their best to reach a solution which should be acceptable inside and outside Sudan," Umma Party Vice President Fadlalla Burma Nasir said.
(Additional reporting by Andrew Heavens; editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Labels: ,

Two Sudanese lawyers applaud AU Panel Darfur report

From Sudan Radio Service, 26 October 2009:
Two Sudanese Lawyers Applaud AU Initiative
(Khartoum) - The Government of National Unity has described the African Union report which aims to achieve justice and reconciliation in Darfur as “positive.”

The AU panel, led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, has recommended the formation of a hybrid court and changes to the Sudanese criminal law to deal with the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

GONU has also expressed it’s satisfaction with the contents of the AU report.

The adviser to the Minister of Information in GONU, Dr. Rabie Abdullaati, spoke to Sudan Radio Service from Khartoum on Monday.

[Rabie Abdullaati]: “The report by the AU panel led by Thabo Mbeki, was seen as having many positive sides whose details I can’t mention now, but the issue is that the report is being studied by the authorized bodies, in order to determine clear stances and clear replies towards what the report has mentioned, regarding the formation of African and international courts to try those who committed crimes in Darfur. So until then, we are saying that we highly appreciate these African efforts and Thabo Mbeki’s committee.”

Sudan Radio Service spoke to two prominent lawyers and experts from Khartoum about the AU panel report.

Salih Mohamoud, a lawyer specializing in international law, said that the report confirms that there are crimes and violations that were committed in Darfur.

[Salih Mahmoud]: “It is a comprehensive report and shows the great efforts that were made. If we speak specifically about the proposed hybrid court, I think this confirms that there were crimes and violations that had been committed in Darfur, and that requires bringing those who are implicated in committing these crimes to justice.”

Nabil Adib, a Khartoum-based lawyer, is in favor of the formation of a hybrid court to deal with crimes in Darfur.

[Nabil Adib]: “I think the report is reasonable and a satisfactory solution. I support the idea of the hybrid court. My opinion, and I have said it before, is that to refer the case to a hybrid court, like the hybrid courts which were formed in Rwanda and in a number of similar cases, is a very good idea. I think this report is reasonable and will satisfy all parties that the process will take place before an independent judiciary.”

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against a number of Sudanese officials for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, including the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir.
Click on labels here below to view AU Panel report and related reports.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 26, 2009

Security situation in Darfur - Oct 26, 2009

Daily Media Brief from UNAMID, El Fasher (Darfur), western Sudan
October 26, 2009/APO:
Security situation in Darfur

The security situation in Darfur remains relatively calm, but unpredictable.

UNAMID military forces conducted 167 patrols including routine, short range, long range, night, and Humanitarian escort patrols, covering 101 villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps during the reporting period.

UNAMID police advisors also conducted 109 patrols in villages and IDP camps.

Security Safety Committee Formed In Duma
On 25 Oct 09, UNAMID Police Team including Sector South Police Commander established a Security Safety Committee in Duma IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp, in South Darfur. Members of the committee included, UNAMID Police Adviser, Nomads, IDPs, Local Leaders and GoS security operatives involving both Police and Military officials. The nomads and IDPs discussed security matters including security of IDP women during farming and firewood collection. The Committee decided to meet two times every month on the first and third Sundays.

UNAMID Civil Affairs convenes its monthly meeting with Civil Society Organizations
UNAMID Sector South Civil Affairs Section (CAS) convened its monthly meeting with representatives of the Civil Society in South Darfur State.

One of the issues highlighted during the meeting was the recommendations of the African Union Panel on Darfur (AUPD) following the panel’s several visits to Darfur and its meetings with and hearings to different stakeholders to the conflict in Darfur.

The meeting is a monthly forum used by CAS to get updates from the Civil Society Organizations on their activities and issues relating to the peace process in Darfur.
Click on label 'Security Situation in Darfur' to view previous and latest reports.

Labels: , , ,

TEXT: Report of the African Union Panel on Darfur (AUPD) - Sudan in 2012: Asking New Questions (Alex de Waal)

Quote of the Day
The ‘New Sudan’ agenda has been undermined, perhaps fatally, by the agenda of southern separatism. -Alex de Waal, 26 October 2009 

Source:  Alex de Waal's analysis dated 26 October 2009 (see copy here below)
- - -

African Union Panel on Darfur (AUPD) - Download Full Report
From Sudan Tribune, Monday 26 October 2009:
October 24, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – On Thursday October 29 the African Union Peace and Security Council PSC will meet in Abuja to discuss the report submitted by a panel it established earlier this year to examine the situation in Darfur.

African Union Panel on Darfur

Photo:  Members of the African Union Panel on Darfur at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa October 18, 2009 (AU website)
The report has not been made public yet pending the conclusion of the PSC summit where it is expected to endorse the findings of the comission led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

Upon the numerous requests recieved, Sudan Tribune is making the full report available for its readers. -(ST)
Click here to download Full Report and note page 122:
APPENDIX D

EXPERTS

Barnabas Philip Afako, Lawyer
  
Professor Salah Eddine Amer, University of Cairo, Egypt 
 
Aref Mohammed Aref, Lawyer, Bar of Djibouti 
 
Catherine Cisse, Executive Director, International  Institute  for  Historical  Justice  and  Reconciliation, The Hague, Netherlands 
 
Professor Tiyanjana Maluwa, Director, School of International Affairs, 
Pennsylvania State University, US 

Dr. Sydney Mufamadi, former South African Minister for Safety and Security and later Minister for Provincial and Local  Government. Currently, Honorary Professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa 
Rakiya Omaar, Human Rights Lawyer, Director, African Rights, 
and also a member of the AUPD 

Professor Jean-Emmanuel Pondi, Head of the Department of 
International Politics at the International Relations Institute of 
Cameroon (IRIC), University of Yaoundé 

Dr. Alex de Waal, Program Director, Social Science Research Council, 
New York, US 
- - -

Making Sense of Darfur - Scenarios for 2011

From Alex de Waal's blog Making Sense of Darfur
Sudan in 2012: Asking New Questions
By Alex de Waal, 26 October 2009:
The scenario exercises by Clingendael and USIP are extremely useful, both in the possible futures that they pose, and in the questions they oblige us to ask. The comment and elaboration by John Ashworth, which portrays the CPA as no more than a truce in a war of separation that is, implicitly, generations old, concentrates the mind. Could Sudan go down the disastrous course to a new and bloodier war? Recurrent experience with Sudan’s politics gives us the answer: yes it could.

What do they tell us?

The key message from the scenarios is that avoiding a new war between north and south—with all the repercussions that entails—is the single biggest challenge in Sudan. A secondary message is that even if war is avoided, there will be serious governance challenges in both north and south. ‘Serious governance challenges’ could mean large human rights violations and a breakup of the country.

The scenarios did not focus upon Darfur, but the implications of the outcomes are that Darfur is a relatively lesser issue and solutions should be approached through this national lens, rather than the north-south issue being approached through a Darfur lens.

Another implication is that time is desperately short. There is a great deal of political business to be transacted in the few remaining months of the CPA. In fact, at the current pace of political business in Sudan, only a small amount of what is needed will be completed, a factor which could allow any party to challenge the legitimacy of the outcome. The recent call by leading Sudanese civil society figures and academics to concentrate on the key points of the CPA, makes a lot of sense.

There is a big question over whether elections are a good idea or not. The ‘mid-term’ elections were introduced into the CPA text by the international partners against initial resistance by both NCP and SPLM. The rationale against is that (a) they are a burdensome and complicating factor, and (b) the new GoNU will require a great deal of political negotiation and if the signatories to the CPA are not in a dominant position then the remaining provisions of the CPA are in question. In addition, given that the elections can no longer be considered ‘mid-term’ but are coming close to the end of the interim period, the wisdom of electing a new GoNU just a few months before that government is dissolved by the south voting for secession, is questionable. There is a resource question too: elections are expensive (though far cheaper than either war or peacekeeping).

The rationale in favour is that the government that presides over the exercise in self-determination must be a legitimate (i.e. elected) government that includes the major political stakeholders that were not part of the CPA. The major challenge to the legitimacy of the CPA negotiations at the time was the exclusion of the northern Sudanese political opposition, principally the NDA parties but also the Darfurians, and also to a lesser extent the southern parties other than the SPLM. The experience of the 1970s was that the exclusion of these parties from the Addis Ababa agreement meant that when they later joined the government, the gains of the Addis Ababa peace were reversed. The aim was therefore to achieve the democratization of Sudan and the legitimation of the CPA, through inclusivity, during the interim period itself. As Ashworth stresses, the elections are the key benefit of the CPA for northern Sudanese.

The question of whether Darfur can be included in the elections has since arisen. There are strong arguments on both sides. One particularly persuasive argument repeatedly expressed in Darfur is that if the elections are held and Darfur is not included, then this will be a strong signal to Darfurians that they are not full citizens of Sudan. In the same way that the incomplete elections of 1965, 1968 and 1986 (in which the south was underrepresented due to some constituencies being war zones) helped discredit the elected governments and the growth of separatist sentiment in the south, the selective exclusion of Darfur would be an invitation to Darfurians to demand self-determination or secession. (Especially if southern secession took place under a government without elected Darfurian representation.)

What’s missing?

A scenario exercise is only as good as the information and assumptions that are put in, and the questions that are asked. The four drivers identified in the USIP exercise are sound and useful. I suspect, however, that these drivers underplay the importance of inter- and intra-elite patronage in the working of Sudan’s political system. This is something everyone knows about, but no-one talks about in public. It is a factor that both drives and constrains southern separatist sentiment. It drives secessionism insofar as ‘Jellaba politics’ is a source of resentment: southerners see how northern elite patronage and divide-and-rule tactics keep the south in a subjugated position. It constrains separatism insofar as southerners struggle to construct their own unified political institutions, and consequently there are always opportunities for Khartoum-based patronage networks to expand their reach.

Sudanese political life can be seen an ongoing bargaining process, over both substantive political questions (such as unity or separation, Islamism or secularism, etc.) and also over the material rewards for participation in patronage systems.

Most experience and analysis suggests that there is no realistic prospect of the Sudanese political elites coming to agreement on the question of unity or secession, or on whether there is scope for agreement on the reform of the governance system in favour of a more equitable ‘New Sudan’ model. Moreover, there does not appear to be a means of getting to a consensus. The CPA ‘one country two systems’ compromise is no more than a middle point between the positions held by the main players in north and south. Whatever arguments can be marshaled in support of this position, and however much international support is given to the CPA system as a blueprint for the future, it remains a minority position within Sudan. Rather, the northern parties see the CPA as awarding too much power to the south within a united Sudan, while most southerners see it as merely the waiting room for independence.

On questions of the ‘New Sudan’ the Sudanese political elites have a wide distribution of positions and are open to greater flexibility. But there is no consensus, and nor is there likely to be one in the foreseeable future. The ‘New Sudan’ agenda has been undermined, perhaps fatally, by the agenda of southern separatism.

International influence on any outcome in Sudan is modest. Especially as the likelihood of a major political confrontation or war approaches, the Sudanese parties’ focus is on one another, and the opportunities for international leverage decline. International (especially U.S.) support for the south in a new confrontation may strengthen the south but is unlikely to deter the north, while international support for Khartoum will not swing the positions of the southern nationalists. The diversity of international interests in Sudan, and interpretations of the situation and prospects, also detracts from influence.

In Sudan, bargaining over resources, especially finance, typically produces rapid agreements, though not very durable ones. The patronage system, with its primary centre in Khartoum, has operated as a glue that keeps the country from fragmentation. Almost all of the elites are either already part of this system, to a greater or lesser degree. Within this system, ‘making unity attractive,’ does not entail improving the lot of the ordinary people of the south or making them feel valued citizens—it means paying off the elite. The basic flaw in the Khartoum governance strategy is that it has relied on patronage as the only glue, instead of using it as the basis on which to build a wider political strategy that can build deeper loyalties rather than negotiable elite financial interest.

How will this patronage system (or political marketplace) develop over time? Four drivers are important: (1) the amount of money available to the central system; (2) the ability of the Government of South Sudan to establish a cohesive centre of patronage; (3) the strategy followed by other patrons (e.g. neighbouring states, the international community); and (4) the relationship between elites and their constituencies.

The extent and speed of the unification of any patronage system depends on the amount of money in the system. With a sufficiently high oil price and large amounts of largesse to dispense, the ruling coalition in Khartoum might be able to bring most elites within a single network. Importantly, this would unify today’s rival centres of power within Khartoum, and thereby make the patronage system more efficient, freeing up resources for other uses. With a low oil price and a budget crunch, the existing situation of several different competing centres of patronage will be sustained.

Juba has emerged as a secondary patronage centre in Sudan. The viability of southern efforts to build a state that can challenge the north depend critically on the ability of the Government of South Sudan to establish a coherent patronage system of its own, centralizing its financial management. Up to now, it has not been very effective at this, both because of internal mismanagement and rivalry, and also because the Khartoum patronage networks extend into the southern elite, partly because of the SPLM presence in the national government. Many southerners hope that with independence, the northern system can be shut out and the disarray will reduce or end.

The political marketplace in Sudan, and the greater Nile Valley, has been irreversibly internationalized. We cannot expect a return to the days of a purely domestic set of patronage systems. At present, there are agreements are in place to limit Sudan’s involvement in Chad and vice versa, and to reduce Libyan involvement. Eritrea has also been reduced to a subordinate actor, and the east African governments are relatively inactive. This all makes short-term agreements more likely, for example over Darfur. However, in the event of a war of partition, we would expect many of these governments to re-enter the Sudanese affray.

Lastly, it is possible to bring elites into a compact, and then find that this has overlooked the importance of their constituents. The case of Abyei provides an interesting example: the decision of the Abyei tribunal was more-or-less satisfactory to the political elites, but the NCP had not prepared the Missiriya constituency for accepting the decision, as a result of which it faces a new political dynamic which it has so far not contained. Southern sentiment for separation is such that any of their leaders who sell them short on this, on the basis of an elite bargain in the marketplace, will face a local revolt.

This analysis suggests that the financial arrangements governing oil sector revenues during and after self-determination will be crucial. The location of the oil in the south and the pipeline through the north provides a unique opportunity to leverage an agreement, as both sides need the oil to flow. The financial arrangements could become the driver, not only of the likelihood of conflict, but also of the viability of the GoSS efforts to construct a unified patronage system that is sufficiently independent from Khartoum’s.

What makes Sudanese political life so fascinating, so turbulent, and so hard to predict is that the divisive political issues coexist with the centralizing patronage dynamics.

What could change?

Scenario exercises are highly dependent upon the starting assumptions. What happens when one of the base assumptions changes? There are a number of possibilities.

• The Darfur conflict could be resolved in time for the elections, in such a way that the electoral dynamics are shifted decisively in favour of a ‘New Sudan’ political coalition with the SPLM, especially its northern sector, playing a more prominent political role. It is almost certainly too late to alter the sentiments of the southern electorate. But might the pro-unionist bloc in the SPLM leadership be invigorated and able to explore options such as a ‘sovereign association’ between north and south that would avert the otherwise-likely political demise of the SPLM in the north?

• The financial crisis of the GoSS, with its reverberations through the patronage-governance system, has yet to play itself out. Current scenarios assume that the capacity and legitimacy of the GoSS are on an upward trend. This may not be the case.

• The fact of a southern decision in favour of secession, and the way in which that decision is made, will have far-reaching impacts and create unanticipated new scenarios, including new questions. It is possible that if some major political issues, including the financial interests of the south (and especially southern elites) in the north, are settled in advance of a decision, then that decision will pass off without significant conflict—and indeed without any major disturbances to existing relationships. On the other hand, the strategies of the two parties for managing the decision, and in particular their respective internal governance challenges in the wake of the decision, will be critical. The immediate aftermath of the referendum will be a volatile period and it will not be possible to anticipate all the issues that will arise.
- - -

Further reading

Oct. 17, 2009 - Sudan Watch: African Union High-Level Panel on Darfur reports - Darfur: The Quest for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation - Earlier this year, on June 24, the Deputy Chairperson of the SPLM, Malik Agar Eyre participated in a discussion in Washington D.C., hosted by the US Institute of Peace. Among other things, he issued a grave warning that must be of serious concern to the AU and our [African] Continent. He said that the "reading" of the SPLM was that the process of the fragmentation of Sudan would not end with the separation of Southern Sudan, if this was the result of the 2011 Referendum.

Oct. 26, 2009 - From APO's archive:
The African Union Commission Launches the State of the African Population Report, 2008

L’Organisation de la Presse Africaine renforce son action en faveur de la diffusion de l’information relative au continent africain

Excerpt:

Developed with development planners, policy makers, parliamentarians as well as program implementers in mind, the Report presents Africa as the continent that is most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, and cites declining rainfall and agricultural productivity, desertification, severe water shortages, and the spread of diseases, among other environmental challenges and adverse phenomena that will “inflict poverty and human misery on the continent if appropriate actions are not taken at the global, continental, national and community levels”.

The Report further points to a slight decline in population growth around the continent noting, however, that the total population will continue to increase as a result of the young age structure and its associated population momentum.

In 2005, the African population was estimated at 922 million and it is expected to exceed 1 billion in 2010, and approximately 2 billion some 40 years to come. The growth in size has implications for natural resource use and improvement in the quality of life.
Click on AU Panel, AUPD labels here below for related reports and updates.

Labels: , ,

Relief Beads from Darfur - Those look cool. I want one!

Relief Beads are handmade from sand by tribes in Africa and are currently being assembled by refugees in Darfur, western Sudan.

Relief Beads handmade in Darfur

Relief Beads especially supports the refugee women making Relief Beads at the Women's Development Center in Darfur and is currently raising funds to provide relief to malnourished children and build a Children's Malnutrition Center. 

From Orange County for Darfur Blog 23 September 2009:
Relief Beads is a grassroots campaign raising awareness and support for Relief International’s humanitarian efforts in Darfur. Founded in 2007, Relief Beads has raised tens of thousands of dollars, which has provided life-saving relief for thousands of refugees. Each Relief Beads bracelet truly makes a difference!

Contributions raised by Relief Beads aided in the construction of the only Women’s Development Center in Darfur. The center is a place where women and children victimized by the crisis are able to get professional medical and psychological support. Relief Beads bracelets are assembled by the women at the center and this provides them with an invaluable opportunity to contribute to their own livelihoods.

Relief Beads is also currently raising funds to build a Children’s Malnutrition Center at the second largest refugee camp in Darfur, Zam Zam.

Please vist the website at  www.reliefbeads.org  to learn more about this wonderful organization the work they’re doing to help IDP’s in Darfur, and to order bracelets for yourself and your friends!
Here's agreeing with the comment posted at Orange County for Darfur Blog on September 30, 2009: "Those look cool. I want one!"

Labels:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

USAID: New pumping station is part of a $6m water and sanitation program for Juba, S. Sudan

Good news from Sudan Radio Service, 19 October 2009:
Water on Tap in Kator and Muniki
(Juba) - Some residential areas in Juba are now enjoying clean drinking water for the first time, thanks to a USAID water pump project.

USAID delivered two water pumps to Kator and Muniki suburbs to the Southern Sudan Urban Water Corporation last week.

The pumps were inaugurated by the Goss Minister of Water Resources, Joseph Duer Jakok.

Joseph Duer Jakok: “I welcome you all to this special occasion to witness the inauguration of the Kator and Muniki community water supply system. The Government of Southern Sudan faces a daunting task to provide essential basic services after many years of the war. Most of the existing infrastructure is dilapidated and it is need of urgent repair.”

For Dennis Lado Daramola, chief of Kator, the water project came at a good time.

Dennis Lado Daramola: “We are really celebrating, for the first time the problem of water has been solved in this town, especially the parts of Juba which never had any taps.”

Kator resident, Zeinab Dawud Lado also appreciated the water project.

Zeinab Dawud Lado: “I want to tell all my fellow residents, anyone can now come and get connected with running water to their houses. We suffered especially having to go to the river to fetch water. We are very thankful to the people who connected the water in this area.”

The pumping station is part of a six-million-dollar water and sanitation program for Juba.

Labels: , , ,

Peace march against LRA in South Sudan

From Sudan Radio Service Friday 23 October 2009:
Peace March in Tombura County
(Tombura) - Tombura county has organized a one day multi-denominational march in the county in a bid to call for peace and stability in Western Equatoria state following attacks from the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army.

Speaking to Sudan Radio Service from Tombura, the county commissioner, Pauda Baabe Renzi, explains the aim of the march.

[Pauda Baabe Renzi]: “We have inter-Church prayers today, we started walking from the county headquarters and now we are going to the grave of the king of Tombura where people will pray for peace and also to drive out the evils which the LRA are doing, in particular in Western Equatoria, in Yambio, Ezo and Tombura. This is the aim of our prayer march.”

More than three thousand people from Ezo and Nagero county are participating in Friday’s march in order to pray for peace and stability for the local community.

Labels: , , ,

South Sudan: 3 police killed in LRA attack on Kor-al Madina village, Western Bahr el Ghazal

From Sudan Radio Service Friday 23 October 2009:
Three Die in LRA Attack on Raja
(Raja) - Three policemen were killed and 21 civilians were abducted following attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Kor-al Madina on Tuesday in Western Bahr el Ghazal state.

The commissioner of Raja county, Louis Ramadan Fodul, spoke to Sudan Radio Service from Raja on Friday.

[Louis Ramadan Fodul]: “The LRA attacked Kor al-Madina village. They clashed with the police at the outskirts of the town for one hour, before the police ran out of ammunition. Three police officers were killed when they were trying to withdraw. The LRA reached the town, shooting at civilians, and destroyed the market. About twenty-one people were abducted. Our force, which is in Borro, could not intervene at night because it was raining and up to now they are still running after them, the last information we heard yesterday was that our forces clashed with them but the civilians are still with them and they are heading for the Central African Republic.”

Louis Ramadan Fodul, the commissioner of Raja county, was speaking to Sudan Radio Service from Raja in Western Bahr el Ghazal.
Click on Raja label here below to view related report.

Labels: , , ,

UNAMID intervenes in deadly clashes between the Zaghawa and Birgid tribes near Shangil Tobaya, N. Darfur

UNAMID attributes the fighting to disputes over access to water, and as a temporary solution, the mission has made arrangements to supply water to the communities.

Source: United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)/
ReliefWeb 22 October 2009 - UNAMID intervenes in tribal clashes in Shangil Tobaya; provides medical aid to wounded
Peacekeepers serving with the joint United Nations-African Union mission in Sudan's war-wracked Darfur region have intervened in deadly tribal clashes, bringing the situation under control, it was announced today.

The fighting between the Zaghawa and Birgid tribes near Shangil Tobaya in North Darfur state killed two people, with six people from both sides sustaining injuries. Four people who were critically wounded were taken by helicopter to El Fasher by the mission, known as UNAMID, for treatment at a Government hospital.

UNAMID attributes the fighting to disputes over access to water, and as a temporary solution, the mission has made arrangements to supply water to the communities.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, October 23, 2009

Red Cross employee kidnapped near El-Geneina, W. Darfur

From AFP Friday October 23, 2009:
Red Cross employee abducted in Darfur is well
KHARTOUM, SUDAN - A French employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) abducted Thursday in war-torn Darfur is in "good health", Sudan's minister of state for humanitarian affairs Abdel Baqi Gilani told AFP.

"He is in good health according to the first report I have received," Gilani said about Frenchman Gauthier Lefevre, who the Red Cross earlier said was abducted near El-Geneina, capital of West Darfur state.

Gilani did not elaborate but he said he expected Lefevre to be freed "soon" because he works for the Red Cross, with has a good reputation among Darfur groups.

"I think he will be released soon. The ICRC is very respected and neutral and has no enmity among Darfur groups," Gilani said.

He also described the kidnappers as "bandits" and said that the Sudanese government "condemns" the abduction - the fifth one of a foreign relief worker in war-torn Darfur since March but the first to target an ICRC employee.

In Geneva, the ICRC issued a statement earlier saying the incident occurred around midday as Lefevre "was returning with other ICRC staff to El-Geneina after completing a field trip north of the town to help local communities upgrade their water supply systems.

"He was travelling in one of two clearly marked ICRC vehicles when he was seized a few kilometres (miles) from the town."

The ICRC has called for his immediate and "unconditional release" - a demand also made by the French foreign ministry in Paris. -AFP
- - -

From Radio Dabanga Friday October 23, 2009 - excerpt:
International staff Red Cross Darfur kidnapped
International staff Red Cross Darfur kidnapped

EL GENEINA (23 Oct 2009- Updated) – A French staff worker of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in El Geneina in West Darfur was kidnapped from his car this afternoon. He was returninmg to his compound after a fieldtrip to supervise waterprojects.

Radio Dabanga learnt that he was seized 40 kilometres from Geneina town in his ICRC marked car by around ten gun men.

The men took the Red Cross worker out of the Red Cross car, leaving other ICRC staff behind allowing them to continue their way, Tamara Al-Rifai, spokesperson of the ICRC in Khartoum told Radio Dabanga.

A local reporter of Radio Dabanga noticed that the kidnappers were heading for the nearby border with Chad. This was confirmed by a government official in El Geneina.

The new kidnap case happened few days after the release of two aid workers of GOAL after 106 of captivity. The kidnapping of two UNAMID-staff workers in Zalingei is still continuing. [...]
- - -

News release from ICRC's website October 22, 2009:
Sudan: ICRC staff member abducted in West Darfur
Khartoum/Geneva (ICRC) – An expatriate staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was abducted by several armed men today near the town of Al Geneina, in West Darfur, near the border with Chad.

The incident occurred around midday local time. The staff member, Gauthier Lefevre, a French national, was returning with other ICRC staff to Al Geneina after completing a field trip north of the town to help local communities upgrade their water supply systems. He was travelling in one of two clearly marked ICRC vehicles when he was seized a few kilometres from the town.

The ICRC currently has no indication of who the abductors might be or of their motives. It is in contact with the authorities and other parties with the aim of resolving the situation as swiftly as possible.

Mr Lefevre's family was informed of the incident immediately.

The ICRC is calling for the rapid and unconditional release of its kidnapped staff member.

For further information, please contact:
Tamara Al-Rifai, ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 183 476 464 or +249 912 17 05 76
Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17

France confirms aid worker kidnapped in Darfur

Xinhua - Lin Zhi - ‎9 hours ago‎
The ministry urged an unconditioned release of Gaughier Lefevre, a staffer for the ICRC, in a statement, saying the French embassy in Sudan kept in close ...

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

UN general serving in Sudan shot dead in Pakistan

A high-ranking member of the United Nations peacekeeping force currently serving in Sudan has been killed in Pakistan. General Moinuddin Ahmed was on leave in the Pakistani capital Islamabad when unknown gunmen riddled his jeep with bullets. Eyewitnesses say the attackers approached their target on a motorbike.

It is still unclear whether the attack, in which at least one other soldier was injured, was related to the general’s activities in Sudan, or to the current unrest in Pakistan.

In the last few weeks, Pakistan has been hit by a wave of terrorist attacks. These are thought to be linked to the Pakistani army’s current large-scale offensive against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in South Waziristan, a region of Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan.

Source: Radio Netherlands Worldwide 22 October 2009 - UN general shot dead in Pakistan

Labels:

Russian envoy to Sudan holds talks with JEM in N’Djamena, Chad re Darfur peace process

Appointed in December 2008 by the President Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian envoy Mikhail Margelov speaks fluent Arabic. His appointment signals the desire of the Russian government to play a greater role in Sudan which has good economic and military ties with Moscow.

From Sudan Radio Service, 22 October 2009:
Russian Envoy Holds Talks With JEM in Chad
(London) - The Russian envoy to Sudan, Mikhail Margelov, held talks on Thursday with the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement in N’Djamena. They discussed the Darfur peace process and democratic transition in Sudan.

The meeting follows an international workshop in Moscow where Sudan’s special envoys renewed their support for the Doha peace process.

During the meeting, Margelov stressed the need to resume negotiations with the Sudanese government in order to reach a negotiated settlement to the six-year conflict.

Speaking to Sudan Radio Service from London on Thursday, the chairman of JEM’s legislative assembly, El-Tahir El Fakie, explains the points discussed in the meeting.

[El Fakie]: “JEM was clear in this meeting, the leader of JEM spoke in this meeting and he explained some of the important points in the meeting. He welcomed mister Margelov and he appreciated the concern of Russian government to discuss the Darfur issue. The second point was that he provided the envoy with background information about the tragedy in Darfur and the root causes of the conflict in Darfur and in Sudan generally, particularly the problem of marginalization. After that, he said that JEM wanted a peaceful solution to the Darfur conflict.”

El Tahir was speaking to Sudan Radio Service on Thursday from London.
- - -

From Sudan Tribune, Thursday 22 October 2009:
Russian envoy, JEM leader discuss Darfur peace process
October 21, 2009 (PARIS) — The Russian envoy to Sudan held talks today with the leader of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the Chadian capital where the two parties discussed Darfur peace process and democratic transition in Sudan.

In his first ever meeting with a rebel group, Mikhail Margelov, held talks on Wednesday with JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim in Ndjamena. The meeting took place two weeks after an international workshop in Moscow where Sudan’s special envoys renewed their support to the Doha peace process.

Sudanese government and JEM signed a goodwill agreement in Doha last February but the talks stalled as the rebel group asks the government to implement two clauses in the deal related to the release of POWs and the improvement of humanitarian situation.

During the meeting, Margelov stressed on the need to resume negotiations with the Sudanese government in the Qatari capital in order to reach a negotiated settlement to the six-year conflict.


However, Ibrahim who renewed his commitment to the peace process said they want a "serious peace process where the stakeholders commit themselves to enforce what they agree” said Ahmed Hussein Adam, the spokesperson of the rebel movement.

The rebel leader further pointed out that a successful peace process implies to avoid chaos and to engage the main actors as well as to not involve fictive players in the process, Ahmed said.

JEM rebels further stressed they are in constant contact with the Joint Mediator Djibril Bassole and the Qatari officials in order to reach "a real strategy to achieve peace" in Darfur, he further added.

Appointed in December 2008 by the President Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian special envoy who speaks fluency Arabic language visited Darfur where more than 300 thousands are killed to assess the humanitarian situation. His appointment signals the desire of the Russian government to play a greater role in Sudan which has good economic and military ties with Moscow.

Ahmed said they informed Margelov they welcome Russia’s role in Sudan and they are not opposed to its interests in Sudan. However the rebels said that Moscow’s role could be greater if it deal equally with all the stakeholders.

The rebels also urged the Russian government to exert pressures on the Sudanese government in order to reach a just peace.

Labels: ,

South Kordofan: Sudan's 2nd VP Ali Osman Taha meets elders and community leaders

Sudan's 2nd VP, Ali Osman Taha, described his meeting with elders and community leaders as a move towards achieving sustainable peace in South Kordofan.

From Sudan Radio Service, 21 October 2009:
Elders Address Issues in South Kordofan
(Khartoum) - Elders and community leaders from South Kordofan met in Khartoum on Tuesday to discuss socio-political issues in the state.

The elders, who were drawn from different political party affiliations in Sudan, met with the second vice president, Ali Osman Taha, who described the meeting as a move towards achieving sustainable peace in South Kordofan.

[Osman Taha]: “The challenges that need to be addressed in this meeting include achieving a sustainable peace and building confidence between communities, a healthy and secure environment, and reconciliation. They should also hold discussions about political issues that may have an impact on the present and future South Kordofan in terms of elections and popular consultation. These issues require many ideas and experience, and all of you are experts in that.”

Ali Osman Taha was speaking in Khartoum on Monday.
- - -

From the newly launched website of Sudanese President Bashir:
Taha to Address Wise Men Council of South Kordofan State
Vice-President of the Republic, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, will address on Tuesday morning at the Friendship Hall the opening sitting

Vice-President of the Republic, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, will address on Tuesday morning at the Friendship Hall the opening sitting of the meeting of the Council of Wise Men of South Kordofan State. The Council of Wise Men was formed by the Wali (governor) of South Kordofan State and includes 130 members. In a statement to SUNA, the state's Wali, Ahmed Mohamed Haroun, said that the Council is intended to lead the building and development process and to realize national accord in the state.

Labels: ,

South Sudan: World Food Programme gives a bag of sorghum every month to every girl who goes to school

Nice story from Sudan Radio Service, 20 October 2009:
Food For School Scheme Exceeds Expectations in Upper Nile
(Upper Nile) - There is a major increase in the number of girls enrolling in primary schools in Nasir county, Upper Nile state, because they are given food incentives by the World Food Program.

The manager of a community-based organization in Nasir, David Nyang, told Sudan Radio Service on Monday that his organization, the World Food Programme, gives a bag of sorghum every month to every girl who goes to school.

Nyang said most parents in the county are now sending their girls to school.

The head teacher of Dr. Timothy Girls' Primary school, Both Bidong, says his school, the only girls’ school in Nasir county, has enrolled more than 1000 pupils into the school this year.

He said that with the high attendance of pupils this year, the classes are congested.
- - -

UPDATE from Sudan Radio Service, 22 October 2009:
Nasir Authorities Crack Down on Double-Jobbing Teachers
(Nasir county) - The athorities in Nasir county in Upper Nile state say teachers found working for both non–governmental organization and government institutions will be sacked.

Our producer Gabriel Galuak sent this report from Nasir county.

[Gabriel Galuak]: “The deputy commissioner, Philip Duoth Joack accused some teachers of working for NGOs while they are working with the Ministry of Education - that means they are on the government pay roll. Duoth said that the majority of teachers are working for NGOs. He said a teacher should decide to work either for an NGO or for the government. Duoth formed the committee on Thursday to inspect schools to find out which teachers are working for NGOs while they are still on the pay roll of the government. He said once they are found they shall be removed and then they will recruit other teachers in their place.”

One of the teachers, who asked not to be identified, said the amount of money paid by the education authority in the state can’t sustain him and his family.

The majorities of teachers in Nasir county receive 150 USD per month.

Nasir county has a total of 63 secondary and primary schools with only 133 teachers, some of whom are volunteers.

Labels: ,

ICC Haskanita: Eyewitness account of Sudanese rebel URF Commander Bahar Idriss Abu Garda in the dock at The Hague

Before reading the below copied eyewitness account of Sudanese rebel URF Commander Bahar Idriss Abu Garda in the dock at The Hague, please note that the targeting of peacekeepers is a war crime under article 82C1 of the Rome Statute. Excerpt from Sudan Watch's archive:
According to the ICC prosecution, militant groups frequently make the calculation that an attack against peacekeepers will prompt their withdrawal from the country – enabling them to target the civilian population, no longer under the watchful eye of the international community.

“We really hope to show very clearly to the perpetrators, ‘well, that’s not a calculation you can have any longer’,” the advisor to the prosecution said.

When you attack peacekeepers, you attack indirectly the whole population. Those AU peacekeepers were there to protect the 2.5 million displaced in Darfur. Attacking the AU peacekeepers put in danger all of the civilians that were under their care.”
- - -

Eyewitness account of Sudanese rebel URF Commander Bahar Idriss Abu Garda in the dock at The Hague

From Alex de Waal's blog Making Sense of Darfur 
By Jan Coebergh, Thursday, October 22, 2009:
Abu Garda in The Hague: A Day At The Court
One could be forgiven for not knowing a Sudanese is in the dock at the International Criminal Court for crimes committed in Darfur. The confirmation of charges hearing against Abu Garda is going on at the moment in the Hague and on Tuesday 21 October, there were about 20 people in the public gallery to watch it in the industrial estate suburb of the Hague where the ICC is based.

We were shown photos of the destruction of the AU base in Haskanita, with Abu Garda sitting there listening intently, and told how looted AU cars were seen in his possession the day after the attack. The session moves slowly with repetitions of long document numbers (did you mean …. 553 or 533?), whether they are public documents or not and working out whether translations have worked between the English, French and Arabic.

The court has not finished a trial yet, so many procedural issues are still being worked out. Yesterday the Victims’ representative was allowed to meet a prosecution witness, when speaking in English in the presence of a court official, but not about the testimony, since the court does not allow witness proofing (in contrast to the ICTY; and painfully clear when a prosecution witness in the Lubanga case said some surprising things and changed his testimony).

There was also a delayed application for a dual role of a prosecution witness to be recognised by the judges as a victim. Although already discussed in the Lubanga case it seems remarkable to me that a prosecution witness needs to give an independent truthful account of events, which could easily conflict with his (perhaps also financial) interest as a victim.

However this is the new and untested field of victim participation at the ICC. No one has been able to answer my question what they would do if say 1 million Darfuris applied to be registered as victims in a case against Bashir. Judges need to approve everyone of them as a victim. I don’t think the court could manage. That would be my strategy as the Sudan Worker’s Union to slow the court down.

However the people of Darfur probably did not expect Abu Garda to be here when the UNSC referred the case to the ICC and when it was announced Kushayb, Haroun and Bashir face arrest. Abu Garda is here of course for a crime not against Darfuris but against AU peacekeepers, a force with which Darfuris had an ambivalent relationship. The victims’ representative of a wounded AU force member said here that he could not have sex with his wife anymore. I am not sure how victims of the attacks on villages with large-scale loss of life and lifestock feel about the severity of this impediment to be recognised at the ICC.

My instinct was that the AU, who send them there, should provide help with the wounded and the families as victims, not the ICC.

Although I am not saying the crimes of an attack against peacekeepers is not important, the events here at the ICC do seem far away from Darfur and the crimes most of its people suffered. However the presence of a Sudanese at the ICC does warrant more attention, not only for the legal detail but also for the people in Darfur.
Click on Haskanita label here below to view related reports.
- - -

UPDATE on Friday 23 October 2009

From Radio Dabanga 23 October 2009:
‘African Union hosted air force captain at Haskanita base in North-Darfur’
THE HAGUE (23 Oct 2009) – A high ranked officer of the Sudanese Air force was moved from the Haskanita base of the African Union peacekeepers the same day the rebels attacked their compound.  They moved the air force captain, called Bashir, after protestors demanded the African Union to protect their civilians against the continues aerial bombing by the Sudan armed Forces in September 2007.  The mob accused the AU to take sides with the government of Sudan by hosting such a high ranked air force officer at their compound.
The African Union became scared after the threats and moved the officer quickly by helicopter to Al Daein in South Darfur. This was explained by an African Union-high military officer who appeared yesterday (Thursday).  He came as a witness for the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. 
The attack took the lives of 12 African peacekeepers. The prosecutor accuses Bahr Abu Garda for being primary responsible for the killings considered to be a war crime.  
The Nigerian AU-witness was the second in a row requested by the prosecutor to testify for the court.  He also disclosed that he had a meeting with two leaders of Darfur rebel- factions.   He said he met Abdelaziz Al Assir, at that time part of the Justice and Equality Movement and Mohamed Osman of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Unity in August 2007. The witness explained that he was working as a protection-officer of the African Union. In that meeting, Abdelaziz and Mohamed Osman told him that they were working together and controlling the area.
Update on Friday 23 Oct 2009: Radio Dabanga amended some typos in the original copy of above report and republished it, using a different URL. I have amended the above copy accordingly.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sudanese President Bashir *gets* blogging?

For years I've wished that President Bashir would start blogging in Arabic, English and French. I believe that the root cause of many problems in life (even homelessness) is a breakdown in communications.

Check out his newly launched website www.albashir.sd

Sudanese president's website

Hat tip: Sudan Tribune 21 October 2009:
Sudan launches new website for president Bashir

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pentagon convenes Sudanese war-crime cases

From Miami Herald by Carol Rosenberg, 19 October 2009:
Pentagon convenes Sudanese war-crime cases
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- With U.S.-Sudan policy in flux, the Pentagon on Monday airlifted a planeload of lawyers and other staff to this remote base for hearings in the war court cases of two long-held Sudanese captives accused of working for al Qaeda.

Noor Uthman Mohammed, in his 40s, is up first Wednesday with a Pentagon prosecutor's request for another delay in the military commissions case that alleges he helped run a jihadist training camp in 1990s Afghanistan.

Defense lawyers, meantime, are seeking more transparency in the case that accuses their Sudanese client of conspiring with al Qaeda to support terror.

In Washington, the White House announced a renewed drive toward engagement with the now-ostracized government of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, saying it is poised to ratchet up sanctions over the genocide in Darfur or offer unspecified incentives for improving human rights there.

Bashir has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, a body that has multinational backing. In contrast, the Guantánamo war court here was created in the Bush years, after the 9/11 attacks, as a unilateral American institution to handle international terror cases.

Sudan's government has been on the State Department's State Sponsors of Terrorism list since the 90s for giving sanctuary to Osama bin Laden. Sudan responded by asking him to leave, which he did for Afghanistan.

Still, the timing of the latest diplomatic drive and U.S. military commission session appeared coincidental rather than signaling a focus on Sudan by the Defense and State Departments.

The war court airlift left Andrews Air Force Base at dawn Monday, and the 100 lawyers and other staff were en route for Wednesday's session for two Sudanese men as the White House was briefing on its new carrot or stick approach to Khartoum.

"I'd love to think my government is that organized,'' said Navy Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, defense attorney for alleged al Qaeda foot soldier Ibrahim al Qosi of Sudan, who has a hearing Wednesday, too. "But I don't believe it is, particularly on anything surrounding Guantánamo.''

Moreover, the U.S. has carved out a special relationship with Khartoum over its Guantánamo detainees, even as it has condemned it over Darfur. During the Bush administration, for example, the U.S. repatriated nine Sudanese citizens from the prison camps here, the best known among them former Al Jazeera soundman turned human rights correspondent Sami al Hajj.

Wednesday, a Sudanese lawyer will watch the hearings here via a closed-circuit feed to the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. The U.S. has agreed to let him serve as a foreign legal adviser to the defense in the Qosi case.

Essentially, this week's session is designed to win government delays in the cases while the Obama White House considers how much, if at all, to use military commissions.

Defense attorneys for both men have asked their military judges to dismiss the charges, arguing that, after two earlier delays, the clock should run out on the cases even as the Obama administration decides what to do with them.

Obama has said he prefers classic criminal prosecutions but recognizes that commissions can be at times useful. Justice Department attorneys are now studying all six current war crimes prosecution to decide which should shift to federal courts on U.S. soil.

In tandem, Attorney General Eric Holder is overseeing a massive review of the files of all 221 foreign men held here to decide who should be sent home or resettled elsewhere under President Barack Obama's Jan. 22 order to empty the prison camps.

Only three detainees among the nearly 800 held here across the years have had full war crimes cases. Two were convicted, one on a plea bargain, and got such short sentences that they are now free -- in Australia and Yemen.

The third is serving life for working as Bin Laden's media aide and producing an al Qaeda recruiting film.

The two Sudanese cases up Wednesday also seek life sentences for each man, if convicted on allegations that they worked with al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the years before the 9/11 attacks.


Pakistani security forces captured Noor in a suspected terrorist safehouse in Faisalabad in March 2002 in a sweep that caught alleged arch-terrorist Abu Zubaydeh, who was sent to a CIA dark site while most of the other captives were sent here for interrogation.

Wednesday afternoon brings a hearing for Qosi, a 49-year-old Sudanese man whom the Pentagon at one time accused of being al Qaeda's payroll clerk.

It dropped those charges after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled former President George Bush's first war court unconstitutional, and he is now charged with supporting terror and conspiracy for allegedly serving as a bodyguard for Bin Laden in Afghanistan, a member of an al Qaeda mortar crew and supply officer at a Bin Laden's "Star of Jihad'' compound in Jalalabad.

The Pentagon notified news organizations late last week about Monday's trip from Washington to report on Wednesday's hearing.

But, the war court spokesman, Joe DellaVedova, said this week's hearing was scheduled "months ago" and cast the Sudan policy connection as unintended.

"The purpose of the continuance hearings is for the government to follow the President's Executive Order while the government completes its legal reviews of the Military Commissions cases,'' said DellaVedova. "The government believes it is in the interest of justice to pause proceedings until a forum determination is made in each commission case.'
CROSENBERG@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Labels: , ,

Why have international creditors reneged on repeated promises to cancel Sudan’s foreign debt?

Darfur, southern Sudan, and other ordinary Sudanese in the so-called ‘periphery’ where economic and social development lags far behind Khartoum, stand to gain most if international creditors did what they had repeatedly promised to do following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and then the May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement: cancel Sudan’s foreign debt.

Crucially, Sudan’s (pre-1989) external debt must get wiped off immediately because it needs wiggle room urgently to take on new foreign loans to lay down the roots of an economic take off and, in turn, come finally to grips with the pattern of inequitable economic development in Darfur, south Sudan and other areas of the ‘periphery’ that lies at the heart of Sudan’s history of instability. [...]
For a more nuanced discussion on Sudan’s foreign debt issue, see these recent postings by Ibrahim Adam on the IMF blog: (IMF Direct on Sudan’s foreign debt – a discussion).

Source: Alex de Waal's blog Making Sense of Darfur
Indebted to the Save Darfur Coalition?
By Ahmed Badawi Wednesday, October 14, 2009 
Ahmed Badawi has written and advised extensively on country risk on Sudan at The Economist Intelligence Unit, Dun & Bradstreet, and Fitchratings. He is also the former Middle East and Africa spokesperson for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Washington D.C. He was also the speechwriter for the Government of Sudan during the north-south Sudan peace talks. Currently, Ahmed Badawi is an advisor to the Government of National Unity, Sudan, and Chief Consultant to the Global Relations Centre, based in Khartoum.

9 Responses to “Indebted to the Save Darfur Coalition?”
Alex de Waal:
October 14th, 2009 
Ahmed is absolutely correct that the great majority of Sudan’s original debt was run up in the 1970s and early 1980s, and that the majority of today’s debt represents a build up of arrears since Sudan ceased managing the debt in a conventional way in 1985. (see: http://blogs.ssrc.org/darfur/2008/11/26/recalling-the-unmanageable-crisis-of-the-1980s/).

International aid was a crucial part of Nimeiri’s ability to grease the wheels of the patronage machine in Sudan and when the aid was suspended for even a short time in March 1985, his time was up. For the next four years, the transitional and elected governments struggled to keep politically afloat at home and on at least talking terms with their creditors abroad. It was too much to manage and democracy collapsed.

After the 1989 coup and the 1990 decision by Hassan al Turabi to support Saddam Hussein, Sudan was cut off from all forms of debt relief and international assistance. Two things then happened.

The first was that the government welcomed any other form of financial assistance, and one of those who came offering funds was Osama bin Laden. International financial ostracism tends to push its targets into the arms of criminals and others.

The second was that, unable to purchase the loyalty of domestic clients, the NIF used a combination of force and ideological fervour. After being cut off from external financial assistance, the Hamas administration in Gaza has done something similar.

In my view it is not a clever strategy to try to use these measures against the Sudan government. It is somewhat naive to suppose that they might work this time around, having been counterproductive on previous occasions.

Ana Majnun:
October 14th, 2009 
It seems to me a perfectly good strategy to use debt forgiveness as a way of leveraging NCP to continue (!?) moving to establishment of the rule of law and civil freedoms. Besides, what kind of PSRP process would condone expulsion of humanitarian relief organizations in the poorest region of the country?
Ana

Ahmed Badawi:
October 14th, 2009 
Dear Ana:
I’m sure it does seem a perfectly good strategy to you; but then again, you haven’t had to carry the burden of that strategy – as Sudanese do/have done, do you? (see post above). Sudanese don’t want to be shut out of the IMF/WB etc. It’ (the anti-debt forgiveness stance)is not in our name.

Plus, I would also encourage you to take a look a the comments by Ibrahim Adam and the IMF i listed at the end of the post, and think a little deeper about the consequences. Read the IMF report that is also linked.

My point, Ana? This issue is not a “one-trick pony”, that should be looked at – let alone linked – to the ‘issue of the moment’ (CPA, DPA, NGOS, UN, political parties, call it the flavour of the hour, if you will). This issue – debt forgiveness – is not about Sudan October 2009; the implications and consequences run much larger than that.
Ahmed Badawi

Kevin Jon Heller:
October 14th, 2009 
The author’s post assumes, of course, that Bashir’s regime would use the funds freed up by debt forgiveness for economic development — an assumption for which he offers no evidence. I do admire, however, the author’s ability to discover yet another reason to describe the regime as the victim instead of the perpetrator. Not that we should exepct anything different — after all, the author was once paid to shill for the Bashir regime. The only difference is that now he works for free.

As for Alex’s comments — do you really think you are going to convince anyone other than Bashir supporters like the post’s by arguing that the international community should continue to prop up Bashir’s regime because if they don’t (a) the regime will do business with terrorists and (b) it will become even more violent? Blackmail doesn’t seem like a very sound rationale for foreign aid.

Alex de Waal:
October 15th, 2009 
Dear Kevin,
Is the international community “propping up” the Sudan government? I don’t think so. International players are relatively marginal in the overall Sudanese political scene. The Sudan government relies overwhelmingly on its internal base, which is a mixture of its financial/patronage power, and its security institutions, enormously assisted by the weakness and disarray of its adversaries. (And one reason, in my view, why the internal opposition is so weak is its tendency to look outside for its support.)

The second point has nothing to do with blackmail. It’s not as though the Sudan government, or any other government, is a mega-version of an individual, controlled by a single will. As it happens, this government has never used this threat and I don’t believe that it would do so. But what happens when the government is cut off from western and relatively transparent sources of funds? Inevitably, its institutions turn to different ways of obtaining funds. Another source, much more accessible and attractive at the moment, is Asia. (Recall that the late 1990s campaign to get Talisman Energy to withdraw from Sudan was successful, and Asian companies filled the gap.) As for “even more violent”: with the levels of violent fatalities in Darfur hovering around the 100/month mark, those of us who have seen wars rather more violent than this, are indeed worried that these are in prospect.

The world is not divided into “for us or for Bashir”. Some of us (which includes, I strongly suspect, the majority of Sudanese) are for a more constructive political and economic engagement with Sudan, precisely because that will help shift the political centre of gravity in Sudan away from the sterile military/militaristic polarization to a civil-political process that nurtures democracy.

Ahmed Badawi:
October 15th, 2009
Dear Kevin: You missed the point. Completely.
I’m not describing “the regime as the victim”, but ordinary Sudanese people instead.
Secondly, Sudan’s unsustainable external debt is also pulling down the Government of South Sudan: it also wants to borrow money internationally, too (as it’s legally entitled to under the CPA), to butress economic development amongst its constituents. But it can’t until the foreign debt forgiveness issue is resolved.
Ahmed Badawi

Kevin Jon Heller:
October 16th, 2009
Ahmed,
As Sean Brooks points out, I didn’t miss the point at all. You are quite transparently trying to rationalize the actions of the Bashir regime by blaming the international community for not doing enough to help the government economically. And you are implying, without any evidence whatsoever, that the Bashir regime would use additional funds (beyond what it needs to purchase weapons) for economic development.
Kevin

Kevin Jon Heller:
October 16th, 2009
Alex,
It’s interesting. Whenever someone defends calling Bashir to account for his many international crimes, the response is always “anyone who replaces Bashir will be just as bad.” Whenever someone criticizes giving international aid to Bashir without preconditions, the response is always “Bashir isn’t the Sudanese government.” How convenient!
Kevin

Ahmed Badawi:
October 18th, 2009 at 9:20 am
Dear Kevin:
Thanks for your latest comment.
I, however, repeat again: you have missed the point completely by continuing to distill the foreign debt relief issue to a simple -and banal – focus on rewarding or punishing President Al-Bashir, whereas my post drew attention to the huge costs to ordinary Sudanese (Darfuris included) of the failure of international creditors to cancel Sudan’s pre-1989 odious debts.

Kevin, as for your demand of “evidence” that President Al Bashir’s “regime” would put “additional funds” from debt relief or new loans to good use, here’s a simple remedy: make the disbursement of new development finance conditional on projects that benefit the poor (i.e. use the global norm).

The tap can always be switched off if they are not.

I doubt strongly that President Al Bashir’s “regime” would object to those disbursal conditions, so why not give it a whirl – if only just for the good of conflict-affected Darfuri and southern Sudanese civilians – whose interests you claim to defend?
Best regards,
Ahmed Badawi

Labels: ,

Click HERE to scroll up ......Click HERE to scroll down