Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 19 February 2004

Squeezing Peace from a Genocide Regime

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By Mahgoub El-Tigani

February 19, 2004 — The NDA concluded an important meeting (Asmara: February 15, 2004) in resolutions approving the Jeddah Agreement the NDA Chairperson signed with Sudan Government (December 2003), provided that "the negotiating position of the NDA [in the peace talks] goes in accordance with the NDA comprehensive political solution" of the Sudan’s Crisis. The significance of this provision, which contained a potential conflict between the Chairperson and NDA partners protesting to the agreement (Sudan Tribune: December 29, 2003), deserves a thoughtful pause by political analysts, as well as human rights observers.

Based on the NDA Fundamental Issues Conference (Asmara: June 1995) and the subsequent meetings of the succeeding years, the NDA resolutions have firmly honoured the long striving of the Sudanese civil society groups and human rights activists for the establishment of a regular democracy on the basis of international human rights norms as well as the best of Sudan laws.

Although the NDA was not able to mobilize large sections of the Sudanese disenchanted groups versus the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist rule to the extent of forcing the ruling junta to surrender within a short period of time to the Sudanese Public Will, the NDA is credited with a strong stance since October 1989 when the imprisoned politicians, trades unionists, and military opponents of the Brotherhood coup decided to "uproot the regime with all possible means of struggle."

The fact of the matter, following long-centuries tradition of the Sudanese national consensus efforts, regardless of ruling systems, the NDA democratic opposition has not yet done away with the regime, let alone "uprooting it," although the Brotherhood junta was inescapably forced to recognize the NDA as a major partner in the political settlement of the country’s crisis. Equally, the regime never was able to move on the peace talks with the SPLM/SPLA without seeking, one way or another, approval of the NDA: the Sudanese political arena continues to oscillate in the pendulum of non-balance between democratic forces and repressive structures of central governance, as it has ever been since independence times.

Since the Asmara 1995 fundamental issues conference to the present time, the NDA has not practically changed principled commitments to the Charter or the relevant executive and political resolutions that governed NDA performance, despite many weaknesses in the workaday activities and the limited popular mobilizing abilities of the NDA committees in and outside the country as a result of lacking securities, in addition to financial and administrative problems.

The NDA Charter clearly states that for regular democracy, periodical transfer of authority and a just lasting peace to materialize in the country, the Sudan Government’s Brotherhood regime must abandon all forms and expressions of repressive rule, especially the single-candidate single-party presidential system as a killing syndrome of democratic rule in Sudan. The regime must abrogate, for good, the permanent state of emergency law and the notorious Marasim Dastoriya, the coup decrees that the coup mentor Hassan al-Turabi specifically drafted to entrench the powers of his political kid Omer al-Bashir, the coup leader, at expense of peoples’ interests.

The Marasim flagrant "unconstitutionally" continues to overrule all legislative or executive orders by despotic presidential powers including irresponsible economic decisions (non-parliamentary oil deals, animal exportation, and other significant decisions), major political treaties (presidential integration and/or security agreements with neighbouring countries), and acts of war or harsh military action, as has been going on in the South, Nuba Mountains and Beja areas, as well DarFur in the most recent time.

With the Brotherhood False Caliphate’s non-constitutional Marasim, Bashir has closely tightened up security and financial relations with Usama Ben Laden, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizb Allah, and Iran throughout the harshest decade of his repressive rule, despite mounting rejection from the democratic opposition; thus Bashir made of the country, for the first time in its modern history, a State-protected political and economic sanctuary for terrorist groups from all over the globe in collaboration with the Turabi-controlled Peoples’ Arab Islamic Conference, the Ali Osman’s free-handed security crew, and the International Brotherhood Movement.

Most recently, Bashir challenged with the Marasim powers his own legislative and executive bodies with an armed forces presidential decision to "crush" the DarFur three regions with a massive genocide campaign, irrespective of all international and national concerns for the safety and the deserved wellbeing of the innocent people of DarFur.

Ironically, the very Marasim Dastoriya that the NIF ideologue, Hassan al-Turabi, furnished his political kids with them in order to brutally silence in the absence of popular censor the slightest opposition to the regime, even school demonstrations or union meetings, have been decisively turned upon Mr. Turabi by the "teen-aging" kids of the coup, as the power struggle worsened off between the two factions to the detriment of the Brotherhood Mashru Hadari [civilization project]. Correctly, an old Arab popular proverb says, "’ala nafsiha janat Baragish" [one hurts himself by his own deeds].

The Marasim tyranny has its bearing, however, on the present-time dilemma of the regime since it tries to control the rising complexities of the Sudan’s Crisis with "zigzagging" tactics upon a peace process it is hardly managing. Of these costly tactics, the sudden stoppage of the negotiations when the sensitive Abyie issue was placed on the table - accompanied by the regime’s assaults that are tearing apart the lives and properties of a million African in DarFur by intensive air raids and barbaric militia attacks - have been strongly condemned by the civil societies and democratic governments of the Globe.

Under these appalling conditions, it was indeed timely for the Honorable Congressman Donald Payne, Member of the Congress Sub-Committee on Africa, and his colleague Thomas Tancredo of Colorado to request President Bush "to investigate into the extent of involvement, direct and indirect, by senior Sudanese officials in support of terrorism and terror groups over the past decade."

The Congressmen request of February 5, 2004, reads, "? we must insure those individuals involved in the past or present must not be allowed to escape justice." The names of such individuals included with the first vice president, Ali Osman Taha, Ghazi Salahadin, and Awad al-Jaz as key ministers of the regime, Mutrif Sadig, Nafee Ali, Salah Abdalla, Qutbi al-Mahdi, El Hadi El Nakasha, Abdul Karim Abdalla, Osama Abdalla, Jamal Zamgan, Emad El Din Hussein - all top security officials of the Sudan Government’s notorious external or internal intelligence.

As expected, the government response was miserably irrational, "discrediting the Congressmen" right to request investigation from their President on the assumption that the Honorable Congressmen "have no right to request their own President to investigate acts of terrorism!" The regime’s minister of justice, Dirderi, and the foreign affairs minister Mustafa ’Ismail comments came at a time the whole world is aware the United States’ White House and Congress have pledged with most of the United Nations General Assembly Member States to hunt down terrorism and all those involved in acts of terrorism in the strongest collaboration possible with anti-terrorism national governments and regional entities.

Didn’t the Sudan Government claim it is now an anti-terrorism regime? Wouldn’t it be better for the same government to clear out ties with terrorism via honest publicly-opened independent judicial investigation with due respect to the Sudanese Public Will that is yearning to put them to trial for crimes against humanity, than helplessly denouncing the Congressmen responsible request for investigation of the alleged crimes by White House Authority?! How would the hasty rejection of the Congressmen allegations by the Sudan Government justice and foreign affairs’ ministers help to insure fair trial to the accused officials once peace agreement enters into force?

The same under-investigation officials that feverishly rushed to collaborate with the US intelligence after the September 11th horrible attacks against the United States property and public tranquility, reporting the secrets of Usama Ben Laden in Sudan (the Sudanese People never knew or condoned), and unfolding documented involvement of their Brotherhood ruling junta with terrorists over the last decade, have not yet gotten the right lesson from the Congressmen request to their own American President: collaborating with terrorist victims to stop terrorism by former terrorists is no reason by any decent ethical, religious, or secular criteria to exempt collaborating terrorists from the due process of law. What a striking lesson!

Whether this due process of justice is deservedly ignited by the distinguished Tancredo and Donald Payne, who is a long-standing supporter of Sudan’s victims of war versus the bad central governance of the North, or is pursued by the NDA and the People of Sudan, as has been the case since June 1989 without any response from the concerned officials, is not a point of dispute. Justice must prevail in the final analysis; participating in, or even leading peace negotiations, is not enough to free ’Ali ’Uthman and his terrorist crew from strict accountability for all crimes committed against humanity in the Sudan or elsewhere, including the horrible assassination attempt against the life of President Hosni Mubarak at Addis Ababa in June 1995.

The troubles of the Brotherhood tyrannous regime are additionally exacerbated with the entry of the NDA into the negotiations process. The NDA "negotiation position" entails strict adherence to the Charter and the NDA Resolutions (1995-2004): the play is not endeavoured in accordance with the Brotherhood rules.

The NDA resolutions (1999 and the aftermath) consistently ask for immediate return "via principled commitment to the climates conducive to peace" to democratic transitional rule to insure the full enjoyment of the exercise of international human rights norms, especially the right to political and union organization and peaceful assembly, full insurance of the freedoms of the press, expression, and movement, etc., and a system of justice free of government patronage over the judiciary or Bar Association besides abrogation of the Public Order Act, Criminal Law, Penal Law, Personal Status Law, and the other arsenal of the regime’s civil and military repression.

Theoretically, the NDA Resolutions concerning the right of the South and the other marginal regions to exercise the right of self-determination, decentralized systems of administration, and democratically approved agreements on wealth and authority by national consensus have been broadly endorsed within the Machekos Peace Protocol. It remains to be seen, however, whether the NDA-Government Peace Follow-Up Committee of the Jeddah Agreement would keep pace with the rushing negotiations of Nevasha to finalize the difficult talks with a "constitutionally" nationally supported elaborated peace agreement.

Chaired by Farouq Abu Eissa, Head of the NDA Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, the NDA delegates would have to penetrate into the approved skeleton of the Nevasha framework the NDA’s full-fledged constitutional and legal principles that the Machekos Protocol touched upon in general terms "perhaps" for subsequent negotiations to complete. The addition of the NDA law-makers to the negotiating table is an asset to both NDA and the SPLM/SPLA politician/jurists who strictly require the Government to recognize full independence of the judiciary, democratic laws, and a system of justice based on international human rights norms.

Unavoidably, the NDA-Government Follow-Up Committee stands at loggerheads with respect to a number of major State issues. Chief of these is the NDA’s determination to re-instate through urgent procedural steps the rule of law, periodical transfer of authority, and a "peaceful dismantle" of the Brotherhood’s dictatorial regime. The Government on the other side is struggling to maintain, as much as is possible, a "lion’s share" of the ruling Brotherhood’s political and economic leverage over the State.

This "share" has been incorporated to some extent as "agreed upon principals" by the Jeddah provisions regarding a free market economy (where the Brotherhood businesses are dominant), untouched military and security forces (where Brotherhood high ranking officers control), and a presidential form of rule (where Omer Bashir and his military junta rule continue to impose the Turabi-Marasim with iron and blood).

Practically, however, the Jeddah Agreement has been "re-set" by NDA Resolutions to tolerate inevitable revisions as long as the negotiating position of the NDA would be governed "by the Charter and the other NDA Resolutions." In the absence of clear wording in the Jeddah text to this end, however, the strength of such revisions would largely depend on the competence of the negotiating elements of both NDA and the Government jurists to influence text interpretation.

Most important, the negotiating balance would further depend on the availability of a strong NDA popular resistance to the Government plans to divert the peace process unto its own interests. Moreover, the well-known elusiveness of the Sudan Government might possibly handicap the Follow-Up Committee from active participation in the negotiations. This is why it is extremely important for the NDA/SPLM to insure strong support by the peace mediators to actualize Committee’s business.

Another area of conflict within the NDA-Government Committee relates to the security situation of the country and the military agreement already signed between the Government and the SPLM/SPLA. Led by General ’Abd al-Rahman Saeed, the NDA Deputy Chair, Leader of the Sudanese Armed Forces’ Legitimate Command (originally established by the late General Fathi Ahmed ’Ali to reinstate constitutional democratic rule, as well as reinstating the army and police officers whom the Brotherhood purged in thousands since the June military coup), an NDA Organizational Committee is entrusted with the task of strengthening the NDA performance along with the next round of peace talks.

The Committee would "review the military conditions in light of the new developments, especially the Agreement on Security Arrangements During the Interim Period (Nevasha: September 26, 2003) and the SPLM Leader Dr. Garang’s detailed report on the issue, as well as the new membership of the DarFur Sudan Liberation Movement and the need to coordinate between the Eastern and the Western Fronts." The nature of the Organizational Committee and its very tasks antagonize sharply the Government’s hallucinating obsession with harsh military action, full control over the armed forces, legitimacy of the PDFs and the other militias, and the uncompromising willingness to "use the PDFs, Allah-chosen forces, to maintain the Shari’a rule," as Omer Bashir repeatedly sang pledging more blood-shedding for political opponents before his supportive groups.

Apparently, the next round of peace between the Sudan Government and the SPLM/SPLA might be driven in conflicting cross-roads between the IGAD-led mediators (who have been meticulously concerned with closing up the ring of the two negotiators to maintain efficient short-range positive results using American carrot-stick cash strategies), the Sudan Government’s elusive desire to extract somewhat continuous mandate to rule over the North with a False Democracy to succeed the False Caliphate’s faltering rule, and the NDA entry into the balance with 15 consecutive years of political determination to dissolve the Brotherhood tyranny as a necessary condition to establish the New Sudan human rights polity with the NDA partners and twins the SPLM/SPLA and USAP, as well as the other democratic opponents. The extent to which the conflicting cross-roads might merge into a national agreement for regular democracy and international human rights constitutionality remains to be seen.

Thus far, Egypt has been at a distance, still carefully watching the conflicting scenarios while strengthening ties with the armed forces’ tyrant, Omer al-Bashir, with Nimeiri-like Takamul agreements that, as is always the case, might well end up with limited free entry or angry non-entry to the airports of each country without fruition of the desirable political and economic unity the democratic Unionists of each nation sincerely yearn to have. "No top unity scheme is possible, even if all governments worked for it," said the Sudanese in 1970 to the Nimeiri-Qaddaffi-Sadat Triple Union and the Nimeiri-Mubarak Takamul, as they are now watching the Bashir-Mubarak visa agreement.

Unlike Egypt and the other Arab League nations that preferred to stay with the Sudan Government rather than siding with the democratic opposition of Sudan, many observers note that Eritrea continues to gain "immense respect and appreciation from the NDA," as the Final Communiqué emphasized, regardless of the deplorable accusations and the rising hostilities by the Brotherhood junta and the Summit Meetings it pursues with Yemen and Ethiopia versus the Eritrean leadership.

*Member of Sudanese Writers’ Union (in exile) and the president of Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo-Branch.



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