Friday, April 22, 2005

Bloggers unite to support Darfur peacekeeping mission - a troika of 30,000 forces from Sudan, New Sudan and UN/AU

My most favourite blogger Jim Moore (who, sad to say, hasn't blogged much since this great post) is back on track with another brilliant big gun idea.

Here it is, in the following copy of his latest post at Passion of the Present April 21, titled "Sudanwatch on the SPLM's offer to help in Darfur..and hey, maybe the Genocide Intervention Fund should raise money for the SPLM/A to intervene in Darfur.."
Ok, here is a really interesting idea, highlighted by Ingrid Jones over at the terrific Sudan Watch blog. Now combine this with the Genocide Intervention Fund, and we might have something.

South Sudan: SPLM/A willing and ready to deploy 10,000 of its troops to Darfur

On April 11, 2005 southern Sudan former rebel group SPLM/A issued a statement making clear its position on UN resolution 1593 [re ICC] rejected by Khartoum, and reaffirming its offer to help with security in Darfur as well as assisting Darfur and eastern Sudan to achieve a settlement along the lines of the comprehensive peace agreement for southern Sudan.

According to the statement, the SPLM/A stands in solidarity with all the marginalised people of Sudan and urges both the UN and Government of Sudan to sit down to agree on the next steps to resolve the impasse in a manner that will achieve both peace and justice in Darfur. Excerpt:

"The SPLM wishes also to reaffirm its willingness and readiness to help on the two tracts of security and political settlement in Darfur. In this regard the SPLM renews its offer of deploying 10,000 SPLA troops in Darfur drawn from its component of the Joint Integrated Units (JIU's) that are stipulated in the CPA. Under this scheme, the GOS would also deploy 10,000 troops. From its component of the JIU's while the AU upgrades its present contingent in Darfur to 10,000 troops. A tripartite command structure from GOS, SPLM and AU would then be formed to command the combined force, with logistical support from the international community. This combined force would be robust enough to provide security, stabilize Darfur and enhance prospects for a fair and just political settlement as well as forestall foreign interventions."
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Open Letters to President of Sudan Blog

Mahatma Gandhi Autobiography - The Story of My Experiments With Truth

Here's pinging a note to Jim: Thanks for above post - great - just what I needed. A few days ago, I was on the verge of giving up blogging about Darfur. Posting nearly every day for one year seemed pointless and too disheartening. So many rubbish news reports and propaganda around. Politicians and bloggers don't have much to say. It was sickening seeing Darfur news reports churned out again like a repeat from last year ... shortage of food ... short of funds ... rainy season coming ... janjaweed still attacking. Out of frustration, I experimented with starting up a blog to post "Open Letters to the President of Sudan" in a lateral thinking effort to gain some understanding of what is really going on and why peace is taking so long. I even toyed with the idea of sending President Bashir a copy of Mahatma Gandhi's Autobiography "The Story of My Experiments With Truth" via But within 24 hours, I deleted the whole thing after realising what a complete waste of time and energy it would be trying to make contact with someone who doesn't even care to understand his own people, nevermind us. I'll email you later.]
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A troika of 30,000 forces from Sudan, New Sudan and UN/AU

Last year, when John Garang first proposed an equal amount of troops, say 10,000 each, from SPLM/A, the Government of Sudan and African Union [or UN, sorry I can't recall exactly] I thought it was a great idea that might take another year to come to fruition. At that time, we thought there'd be enough AU and UN troops on the ground in Darfur by now to help the refugees return home.

Could the troika or trimvirate become a reality in two months time? With the right amount of pressure it might. How else is anarchy in Darfur to be quelled and law and order restored? Despite many politicians and diplomats working behind the scenes, helping to bring warring parties together for talks, tribal leaders included, the long awaited 1,000 AU troops for Darfur have still not arrived. [Note too here below, report says key warlords, crucial for peace in Sudan, did not turn up for talks. Pity.]

Surely a serious troika/trimvirate would be better than the military intervention option that activisits are pushing for. A force that is united to bring peace and unite Sudan would receive tons of support from the UN, EU and US [and NATO if asked by the AU] to help with disarmament and restore law and order in a fair and decent professional manner.
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Definitions of troika and triumvirate

See definitions of troika and triumvirate on the Web.
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Found on the Internet - source unknown

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "While abhorring segregation, we shall love the segregationist. This is the only way to create the beloved community."

Over and over, he stressed separating the doer from the deed. He believed this was a crucial element to nonviolent struggle not only because of the moral obligation to love our enemies, but because he knew that part of the "truth-force" that Gandhi taught was to understand that men are neither gods nor devils to be falsely exalted by either praise or scorn. A beloved community relies upon honesty and equality, which are both endangered when anyone is given the powerful and illusive label of "bad guy."
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German parliament approves deployment in southern Sudan

Today, April 22, the German parliament gave the green light to send 75 soldiers to Sudan as part of a UN mission to secure a January peace accord with southern rebels.

The deployment, initially set for six months, would be limited to southern and eastern Sudan based on a UN Security Council resolution passed in late March and approved by Khartoum this month.

The troops, mainly military observers, will join a group of 750 UN observers who form part of the contingent of 10,000 UN peacekeepers.

While the Germans will not offer any direct help to Darfur in the west of the country, they will be able to liaise with African Union troops deployed there. - via ReliefWeb Berlin April 22 (AFP)
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UK to send troops - EU ponders using troops to help quell Darfur strife

Guy Dinmore and Hubert Wetzel in Washington and Daniel Dombey, in Vilnius are doing some good reporting at

Here is an excerpt from their latest report at the FT April 22, with additional reporting by Rob Crilly in Nairobi. [Note it says "Tony Blair, the prime minister, had made plans to send a UK contingent after the summit meeting of the Group of Eight industrialised nations he is to host in early July."]:

"French and German forces could be sent to stop the violence in Sudan's Darfur region as part of a European Union peacekeeping mission that is one of several ideas to be discussed by EU foreign ministers next week, officials said yesterday.

The proposed EU peacekeeping force would support an African Union observer mission made up largely of Nigerian and Rwandan troops already in the region but in too few numbers to have a significant impact.

The EU contingent, if agreed, was likely to give logistics support to the African observers but EU ground forces had not been ruled out, provided there was the consent of the Sudanese government and the AU, the officials said.

Analysts in Washington were sceptical of either party being able to agree or that the EU would find consensus or the available troops.

EU foreign ministers have Darfur on their agenda at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday. Belgium's foreign minister, Karel de Gucht, discussed the issue in Washington this week, a Belgian spokesman said. Mr de Gucht told a separate meeting that the main issue was whether to send ground forces or just help with logistics such as airlift, helicopters and communications.

According to one participant who asked not to be named, Mr de Gucht suggested that Tony Blair, the prime minister, had made plans to send a UK contingent after the summit meeting of the Group of Eight industrialised nations he is to host in early July.

An EU official noted there was new diplomatic momentum to take action in Darfur following a successful donors' conference last week in Oslo to firm up a peace agreement signed in January to end Sudan's separate north-south civil war.

The first UN troops have started arriving in south Sudan to enforce the peace deal ending 21 years of war. Meanwhile in Nairobi attempts to reconcile warring militias with the main rebel movement and the Khartoum government ended with an appeal for unity despite the absence of key warlords.

Observers said that without figures such as Gabriel Tanginya and Paulino Matip, who both command militia blamed for abducting civilians, reconciliation attempts would be worthless."
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University of California letter-writing campaign for divestment begins

Students at UCLA are advocating pulling assets out of businesses in Sudan. Their letter-writing campaign for divestment begins today April 22.

Students will mail letters today to the University of California president and treasurer asking them to investigate the university's financial holdings and relinquish stocks held in companies that do business in Sudan, if such investment is revealed in their investigation.

Those participating in this week's letter-writing campaign, organised by the Darfur Action Committee believe that divestment can be an effective tool in persuading the country's government to change its policies, said Bridget Smith, a fourth-year international development studies student.

Adam Rosenthal, a second-year law student at UC Davis and the student regent designate for the UC Board of Regents, said it is important to know if the university holds investments in Sudan. "We have a responsibility that at least our books are clean of (the Sudanese government's) horrific policies," he said.

Divestment is a difficult policy for the UC to adopt because the university does not invest in companies individually, but rather holds stocks in an index fund comprised of a broad range of companies determined automatically by their size and nature in the market, said Trey Davis, a spokesman for the UC Office of the President.

"It's difficult to remove certain companies from an index without destroying the financial rationale for the index," he said.

Earlier this month, Harvard University announced its decision to divest financial holdings amounting to $4.4 million in PetroChina Company Limited because of the company's ties to the government in Sudan.

Edmond Keller, a UCLA political science professor, said he expects other universities will also divest, creating a "domino effect." If the divestment campaign is widespread internationally it can cause significant changes in Sudan, Keller said.

Allowing more peacekeeping forces to protect citizens in Sudan would be one significant goal that divestment efforts can potentially realise, he added.

In previous weeks, students have addressed letters to California senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and their respective representatives asking them to sign on to the Darfur Accountability Act, which will increase diplomatic pressures on the Bush administration to address the crisis in Darfur.

Both senators and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., have co-signed the legislation, though there is no indication that efforts made by student groups prompted them to do so.
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CNPC will not inject Sudan into PetroChina-source

On the subject of global citizen activism and divestment campaigns, note this copy of a report from Singapore, April 20 Reuters:

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) will leave its oilfields in politically risky Sudan out of the assets it plans to inject into its flagship listed unit PetroChina, a source close to the plan said.

The Sudanese assets accounted for more than half of the portfolio's 12.88 million tonnes of output in 2003, and according to Deutsche Bank, they account for 52 percent of CNPC's overseas crude reserves of 1.76 billion barrels.

"The Sudanese assets are not expected to be included," the source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters on Wednesday.

PetroChina, the country's largest oil and gas producer, said last month it might buy multi-billion dollar overseas assets from its state-owned parent. But it did not give details.

PetroChina has few assets abroad, and its crude output is flagging in ageing oil fields. A purchase of all of CNPC's overseas assets in one hit would have boosted PetroChina's output by up to 15 percent.

Analysts have expressed concerns that an injection of CNPC's Sudan assets would increase PetroChina's risk profile. [Heh.]
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Sudan's SPLM condemns govt use of force to quell students protest

A report from Khartoum yesterday, April 21 via Sudan Tribune says the SPLM led by John Garang has officially protested against the government use of force to quell students demonstrations staged for more than a week in Khartoum. Excerpt:

According to the Khartoum based newspaper Al-Mshaheer, the SPLM said it rejected any present effort aimed at toppling the regime in Khartoum "through confrontation and revolution incited by the demonstrations. "The SPLM is for reconciliation when dealing with the country's issues", it further said.

Pointing out at the students' demonstrations in Khartoum, the SPLM official spokesman, Yasir Arman, said the SPLM would reject any confrontation with the government in order to topple it. He said the time had come to implement the peace agreement.

In a discussion held in Khartoum yesterday between SPLM leaders, civil society activists and political forces, Arman said the SPLM was committed to cooperate with the ruling National Congress and "it should go on until the end with an open heart and mind".

[Let's hope they mean what they say. Material provided by the BBC Monitoring Service - SudanTribune April 22, 2005]
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Warm thanks to Sudan Watch readers

Thank you to Bidisha Banerjee for kindly mentionting this blog Sudan Watch in a post at Slate Magazine April 20 (my birthday, nice surprise thanks) and to the many others who link and email messsages. The Slate post got noticed in Las Vegas.

Hi here to Waveflux too ;)

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