Home | Comment & Analysis    Saturday 17 May 2008

JEM gift for Khartoum


By Eric Reeves, The New Republic

May 15, 2008 — On May 10, one of Darfur’s key rebel factions, the Justice and Equality
Movement (JEM), struck military targets within Omdurman, the twin city
of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Although rumored for days, the
long-distance rebel attack seemed to catch the ruling National Islamic
Front (NIF) regime by surprise. This was an extraordinary military
event, one without precedent under the regime, and its leaders have been
badly rattled—perhaps the primary ambition of an assault that had no
chance for sustainable military success.

But satisfying as the attack may have been for JEM, it is likely to
prove extremely bad news for the people of Darfur. There have already
been multiple reports from human rights groups and the Sudanese diaspora
that Darfuris are being beaten, arrested, and in some cases, summarily
executed. Most have been Zaghawa, the Darfur tribal group dominant in
JEM and its leadership.

Currently, JEM has the strongest military among the Darfuri rebel
factions, and it’s the most willing to act alone—but it’s also the
least representative of the people of Darfur as a whole. Its leader,
Khalil Ibrahim, has had deep political connections with Hassan
al-Turabi, who did much to chart the Islamist agenda that has governed
Sudan for the past 18 years. JEM’s military has been assisted by the
regime of embattled President Idriss Déby of Chad, also a Zaghawa, who
is fighting a dangerous proxy war with Khartoum. And, finally, JEM’s
political concerns are perceived by most Darfuris as having an
excessively national, as opposed to regional character—a consequence,
according to many, of Khalil’s personal ambitions.

None of these details mattered to the U.N. Security Council when it
handed Khartoum an imbalanced and excessively accommodating statement on
May 13. "The Security Council strongly condemns the attacks of 10 May
perpetrated by the ... JEM against the Sudanese government in Omdurman
and urges all parties to cease violence immediately," read the
Presidential Statement. Nothing here about the years of human rights
violations committed by Khartoum in Darfur. Reflecting on this language,
Khartoum’s especially thuggish ambassador to the U.N., Abdalmahmoud
Abdalhaleem, declared, "This is exactly what we wanted the Council to

In the balance for the U.N. was a politically consequential, but
militarily doomed, rebel effort to depose a genocidal regime on the one
hand—and, on the other, a willingness by this same regime to pursue its
aims in Darfur through a grim "genocide by attrition." Given these moral
inequities, the one-sided U.N. statement implicitly signals to Khartoum
that there will be few real consequences for future military actions,
whether directed at JEM or not.

Recently, these actions have included a brutal series of bombings in
North Darfur, one killing a number of civilians, including six
schoolchildren. This follows the savage campaign that took place north
of el-Geneina (West Darfur) in February, where hundreds of civilians of
were killed, tens of thousands displaced, and more than 150,000 cut off
from aid.

JEM’s strategy and actions are misbegotten, its increasing military
unilateralism deplorable. But we must not lose sight of the enormous
frustration within the African Darfuri populations and rebel groups as
they continue to confront what’s essentially become international
tolerance for crimes against humanity—their humanity. As a consequence,
according to sources in Darfur, other rebel factions are likely to
conclude they have been left to their own military devices. They see the
increasing likelihood that UNAMID will not deploy significant additional
protection forces for many months. They also believe—correctly, it
seems—that Khartoum has little incentive or feels any significant
pressure to engage in a good-faith cease-fire, let alone a just and
sustainable peace process. Fighting is likely to intensify.

A regime guided by the most ruthless of calculations throughout the
Darfur genocide has now been given further reason by the U.N. to believe
that it can get away with its crimes. The prospects for peace in this
tortured land have dimmed further.

Eric Reeves is author of “A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in
the Darfur Genocide”

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  • 17 May 2008 15:29, by Gatwech

    Dear Compatriots,

    What a shame on the incompetent Salva Kiir. Why back down on his bold decision which he proudly announced on the day of the opening of the SPLM National Convention that every position is open for elections including his Chair.

    Now some people from Warrap and Abyei are lobbying so that the Constitution which allows for elections be amended to forbid this to happen in order to save Kiir’s position. What undemocratic process is this?

    Kiir and his supporters have just realized in the last 24 hours that they are going to lose the elections definitely. Now they want to rig the process and make it half-democratic.

    Their cry, begging Dr. Riek Machar and Nhial Deng not to contest for Kiir’s position will not work this TIME!

    I said this ’time’ because he rejected the idea in the first place. Greater Upper Nile community suggested to him that the three leaders: Kiir, Riek and Wani should join as a team to collectively defend their current respective positions by mobilizing all their supporters to elect Salva for Chairperson, Riek for Deputy and Wani for the third position. This was also suggested by General Paulino Matip to Salva Kiir.

    Mr. Salva proudly refused this thinking that those who suggested the idea were desperate and feared elections. He thought he got the opportunity to remove Dr. Riek Machar. He initially conspired to allow elections only in the position of Dr. Machar and Secretary General but refused to allow contest for the position of SPLM Chairman.

    Dr. Riek Machar intelligently decided to accept what Kiir wanted and declared his candidacy for Chairperson. When it came to mobilization of supporters, Kiir has now realized that Dr. Riek will definitely win the elections. Instead, Kiir has now mobilized his supporters to lobby people to amend the Constitution to save him from being kicked out. Today, 1520 delegates are deliberating on the Constitution. We will see whether Kiir will be allowed to scape the elections as he begs people that this would save ’unity’ of the SPLM. Why would he think that his defeat would create disunity?

    Too late, incompetent Kiir. You are not capable to face Beshir on the CPA because you are giving in every time in the Presidency. Who knows, you may even agree with Beshir to rig referendum to fail. This is why Khartoum-NCP sponsored newspapers are calling you unionist and easy person to deal with in the CPA. You fail to face Beshir in the Presidency, ran away from your position in Khartoum and left him to destroy Abyei, etc. Face democracy incompetent, Kiir!


    repondre message

    • 17 May 2008 19:26, by A2 4 forever

      Mr. Kiir is not a strong leader, we need a strong man to lead us and take care of our business with NCP. our country is lacking even a infrastructure, strong armed forces and so on, Mr. Kiir has delivered nothing other than corruption and chaos, he is naive and thus he must step down!!

      On the hand, I am not also with Dr. Riek, as he is not better than Mr. Kiir at all, he is well-educated but has got no single characteristic of a leader, his government can not last one day, everything can quickly become chaotic and ruin, about Mr. Nhial, well, what about the money scandal, do we want corrupt leader in South???? hell no,
      Pagan, well I don’t think he is at the standard of leadership?? take your time and bring us anyone who suit the place not neccessary fro SPLA, BUT ANY SOUTHERN SUDANESE PARTY!!!!!!!!!

      repondre message

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