Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 7 April 2004

Bashir’s Peace of Death Escalating Tensions in US-Sudan Relations

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By Mahgoub El-Tigani

April 6, 2004 — In the news today, three Congressmen, well-reputed for their special
concerns for democracy and peace in Sudan, asked Congress to pass
resolutions condemning the Sudan Government for crimes against humanity in
DarFur, according to collected evidence by the UN official agencies, senior
experts, and a number of human rights groups (see proposed resolutions in
another place in this issue
).

This sharp mounting of congressional dissatisfaction with the Sudan
Government is apparently parallel to grave concerns by the US Government for
the non-compliance of Sudan Government with obligations to international
humanitarian law that confers on all UN Member States clear commitments to
alleviate human needs in areas of conflict, stop all acts of ethnic
cleansing or genocide, and work seriously towards the tranquility and well
being of citizens without any discrimination based on religious beliefs,
ethnicity, or any other discriminating criteria (see in this respect state
department human rights report and the US Assistant Secretary for Africa
statement in Sudan Tribune news).

The UN-American firm concerns for the full insurance of humanitarian aid and
peace in DarFur is paralleled in subtle ways by the Sudanese opposition
increasing dissatisfaction with the government’s elusiveness and reluctance
to share governance with civil society via regular democracy, and the
European Parliament Resolution (March 2004), which asked Sudan Government to
take immediate and effective measures to stop civil war in DarFur, prosecute
all perpetrators of crimes against humanity, and expedite peace agreement
with the SPLM/A with special emphasis on the need to insure full
participation for all Sudanese community leaders, civil society, and women
in the ongoing peace process.

The effort of the US Administration to help the Sudanese finalizing a
permanent and just peace agreement to resolve the Sudan’s Crisis, as Senator
Danforth the Special Envoy for Sudan’s Peace repeatedly stressed, is not
sufficiently supported by the Sudan Government since it has unnecessarily
prolonged the peace process with respect to the issues of authority sharing
and the administration of South-related regions besides the hindering of the
democratic opposition’s legitimate participation in the peace process
despite Sudanese popular pressure, including peace position of the SPLM/A
negotiators, upon the government to strengthen the process with equal
representation of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) - the Sudan’s
national opposition body that largely accommodates the major political
parties, unions, and military groups in order to make of the Naivasha
agreements a real national goal for all Sudanese to honor and achieve.

The unilateral freeze on the NDA-Government Jeddah Agreement by the Sudan
Government in protest to the NDA’s approval of the DarFur rebels (SLA)
membership with the NDA, irrespective of an important follow-up visit by the
NDA Chairman Mohamed Osman al-Merghani to support the peace negotiators in
Naivasha, indicates further the government’s disinterestedness in carrying
out the peace process within a democratic national framework. In fact, the
freeze of the Jeddah Agreement was timely planned by the government to
camouflage the government’s overall genocide of thousands of the innocent
African-descent citizens of DarFur.

Led by President Omer al-Bashir and his key ministers and presidential
advisers, the insistent determination of these most senior security officers
to reshuffle the state security apparatus to silence civil society, the
political opposition, and the free press with additional repression, instead
of democratizing the ruling system, virtually frustrated the public hope for
the government to increase the climates conducive to peace by immediate
stoppage of war in DarFur, insurance of humanitarian aid and state reforms
side-by-side with free-of-security public liberties, freedom of the press
and political assembly, immediate release of all political leaders as well
as human rights activists, to enable the Sudanese opposition parties and
civil society groups to participate actively in the ongoing peace process.

Regardless of continuous appeals for democracy and peace by the Sudan
democratic opposition and the international community, the president and his
close assistants preferred to spend the state oil-money in war mongering and
tools of air attacks to commit more crimes against humanity in DarFur, which
suppressed the positive war objections by the DarFur government
parliamentarians, army officers, and NIF-ruling or opposition supporters.
This unprecedented defiance by the Sudan ruling security managers to the UN
humanitarian obligations, as well as the national and international concerns
for the permanent peace and regular democracy, has already brought to the
surface strong condemnation by Sudanese opposition and human rights groups,
in addition the European Parliament, as well as serious allegations by the
United Nations humanitarian experts, international human rights groups, and
the United States congressmen and state department.

By the Sudan Peace Act, complex congressional decisions on Sudan will be
placed on table if the Naivasha peace negotiators fail to finalize peace
agreement within a specified period of time. The Congressional resolutions
might decisively impact the official foreign relations between the US-Sudan
governments with respect to the stumbling process of peace. If passed, the
congressional resolutions would seriously generate a negative impact on the
Sudan Government whose senior security managers are directly addressed by
congressmen for White House investigation on alleged linkages with acts of
international terrorism.

To avoid the drastic consequences of congressional negative decisions
against Sudan, many observers claim the Sudanese political authority might
positively respond with democratic firm measures to free the Khartoum
administration from allegations of international terrorism in order to
enhance the peace process. The immense pressure by the Sudanese democratic
opposition, European Parliament, and the US congressmen to subject
perpetrators of crimes, such as Janjaweed militias and government officials,
to fair trials before the Independent Judiciary must not pass without
serious decisions by the political authority of the country.

As head of state who enjoys sufficient powers, the president is particularly
expected to take effective measures to facilitate immediate humanitarian
relief to the DarFur victims of his government’s war in DarFur. The Sudanese
presidency, observers further suggest, must immediately enter into focused
negotiations with the democratic opposition on the democratic transition and
the permanent peace, including active peace negotiations with the DarFur
rebels. Such steps will render it possible to insure humanitarian relief to
the DarFur beleaguered population, as well as enabling the Sudanese civil
society and democratic opposition to establish the permanent and just peace
with the government.

Sudan needs a government establishment that is effectively willing to make
peace and stable democratic transition for the people of Sudan. The
president and his security personnel have already complicated the political
situation with escalated wars and rising hostilities, as well as isolating
peaceful governance from normal cooperation with opposition groups.
Increasing tensions with international peace sponsors is another difficult
development the Sudanese most senior security officials have also pursued -
thus swelling tensions in the long record of Sudanese-American relations,
and inviting collective congressional resolutions against "peace of death"
policies.



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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


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