Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 28 February 2013

Darfur peace stays a mirage

By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

February 27, 20132 - This article comes against the backdrop of the tenth anniversary by 26 February 2003 when the two Darfuri rebel groups the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) had to take up arms against the central government in Khartoum. They resorted to armed rebellion in response to the announcement of President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir that he would not negotiate with those who do not carry weapons. Thus, the Sudanese government decided to resort to the military option to counter the Darfur fighters. Prior to that turn of events, the rebel group accused the Islamist putschists government of the so-called National Salvation Revolution (NSR) of political and economic marginalisation of the people of the Darfur region by depriving them their rights of sharing power and wealth of the country.

Since then people of Sudan in Darfur have witnessed uncountable tribulations and atrocities at the hands of the National Islamic Front (NIF) government and allied militias imported from the neighbouring countries. Darfur and its civilian population subjected to all kinds chilling atrocities included crimes against humanity, war crimes; ethnic cleansing and genocide similar to the calamity the Tutsi people of Rwanda endured at the hands of their fellow Hutu Génocidaire ten years earlier, in 1994. A question arises and naively wondering about this phenomenon of ‘Ten Years” which hit both the Tutsi of Rwanda and the people of Darfur is it a coincidence or bad omen?

Quoting the Enough, the project to end genocide and crimes against humanity http://www.enoughproject.org/publications/irresolution-un-security-council-darfur, Article 24 of the Charter of the United Nations (UN) confers upon the Security Council (UNSC) “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,” a unique mandate in international law. Its 15 members have the power to impose sanctions, establish peacekeeping missions, and authorize military action in the name of international peace and security”. This was not the case in Darfur for mysterious undisclosed reasons.

The regimes that commit atrocious crimes such as genocide will only opt for accepting peace when confronted with force. History tells us that the Cambodian genocide/Holocaust of the Khmer Rouge rule (1975-1979) where 2 million people died of political executions, starvation and forced labour by the Pol Pot entity only ceased when Vietnam, the former ally, intervened. Similarly, the Kosovo War atrocities (28th February 1998-21st June 1999) perpetrator being the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia only ended when NATO forces intervened acting on the UNSC Resolution1244. By contrast, the inaction of the international community represented by the UNSC has encouraged the Rwandan Hutu government and the National Islamic Front/ National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime in Sudan to exercise their favourite hobby of civilian killing spree. Moreover, The Holocaust which was programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, where of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds (6 million) were killed by the Nazis only halted when the Western Allies intervened forcibly during the Second World War. Therefore, it is absurd and lacking of responsibility that the international community calling on the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the Sudanese people who signed the New Dawn Charter (NDC) not to use military force to topple and change the NCP regime led by International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted fugitive Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir and his clique. The Sudanese people yearn for ousting the NCP regime and replace it with a democratic government, good governance, rule of law, which allows freedoms and provides justice and equality among the Sudanese people without discrimination. The SRF and the other Sudanese opposition aim to do justice, after toppling the NCP regime, by handing over those perpetrators of harrowing crimes committed against the people of Sudan in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and elsewhere in Sudan to the ICC at The Hague to stand trial.

It is crystal clear and without a shred of doubt that the International Community is applying the principle of double standards. This is more so in the issue of Darfur in respect to use of military force and creation of a ‘No-fly Zone’, which was used in Libya to topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi while it was denied for Darfur and/or in South Kordofan and Blue Nile where aerial bombardment continues to shell the civilian population. The UNSC Resolutions on Darfur, despite their huge number on the issue of Darfur did not succeed in deterring the Khartoum government army of killing unarmed civilians.

The chronology of the marathon peace agreements between the NCP regime and JEM are phenomenal over the years. The NCP government delegation met JEM representatives for the first time since 2007 in Doha, Qatar to begin discussions for peace talk and signed goodwill and confidence building agreement in 2009 followed by a framework agreement. Al-Bashir’s regime, as predicted, violated that.

Darfur rebels negotiated with the NCP government in Sudan over the 10-year period of the crisis starting by N’Djamena and Abéché in Chad, Abuja in Nigeria agreement of 2006 and Doha in Qatar. The Abuja peace agreement was signed by only one rebel group under the threat of the large stick of the representatives of the international community led by the US envoy in Abuja. Nevertheless, that peace agreement signed in May 2006 abjectly failed due to the usual behaviour of the NCP regime of lack of commitment to implement what it signed in terms of agreements, treaties and covenants with the parties to the conflict. Prevarication and manoeuvring to gain time and a desperate attempt to fool opponents practiced by the NCP government was the main factor for prolonging the suffering of the citizens of Sudan in Darfur. However, other main factors included the UNSC failure to enforce and implement its plentiful Resolutions, some of which are under Chapter VII of the United Nation Charter, which authorise the Council to intervene militarily especially in the light of the continued genocide in Darfur with impunity . Furthermore, it is disgraceful that the UNSC to stand paying lip service in the face disregard, even contempt, of the regime led by Omer al-Bashir who refuses humanitarian aid to the internally displaced person (IDPs) in Darfur, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile state who endure Antonov airship bombardments on daily basis; And failing to honour signed agreements.

While the people of Darfur highly value the support, they have been receiving from the public of the Western World. This is more so from the US, UK, Norway and France; yet they find it hard to condone the attitude of the envoys of the very countries in taking the side of the Génocidaire regime of the NCP in Khartoum by giving it more time to continue ruling Sudan with iron fist. Apparently, the special envoys might be hoping that the NCP regime to reform, which is among the ‘Three’, impossibilities of the ‘Old World’: the Ghoul, the Phoenix and the all-time sincere Friend! Sudan saw long series of US Special envoys, in soap opera fashion, beginning with John Danforth (September2001 –June2004 for CPA), Andrew Natsios (October 2006 – December 2007 for Abuja), Richard Williamson (January 2008 – January 2009), General Scott Gration (March 2009 – March 2011) and Princeton Lyman (31 March 2011 to date but stepping down)! Nevertheless, praise goes to the former US Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Zoellick for once pressing on the Sudanese government to take specific steps that would demonstrate it is cooperating to halt the violence in Darfur, including allowing NATO or the U.S. military to assist in a rapid expansion of an African-led monitoring force. He was also reported to have looked to Sudan’s south for blueprint to end Darfur’s conflict.

Most of that mentioned in the preceding paragraphs is a rumination of a painful history of the Darfur crisis. As the Popular proverb goes: “Nothing scrapes your itchy skin better than your finger nails”! Therefore, it is high time for the Sudanese people to end their suffering by their own effort and refrain from their total dependence on the international community whose interests of keeping the NCP regime in power at all cost conflict/ intersect with the aspirations and wishes of the people of Sudan. The people of Sudan have no option other than pairing the peaceful civilian protests with the military force of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) to oust the NCP regime. The current regime be replaced by the alternative contained in the New Dawn Charter document, which has been approved by, signed as a place of consensus of all the Sudanese political spectrum, civil society organisations of youth, women, students, journalists and professional associations.

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). He can be reached at mahmoud.abaker@gmail.com.