Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 15 October 2007

IGAD and the north-south Sudan peace process

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By John Young, PhD

Sudan has suffered war for most of its existence as an independent state and many hoped the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 9 January 2005 would not only end the long-running southern civil war, but provide the momentum and serve as a model for resolving other conflicts in the country. While the jury is still out on whether the CPA will survive until the 2011 referendum on southern self-determination, it has not served as the stimulus to end the war and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Nor to date has the CPA advanced any reconciliation between the people of north and south Sudan, provided hope that its commitment to ‘make unity attractive’ is being fulfilled, or is ushering in a democratic transformation of the country. There is a widespread acceptance that the CPA and the broader peace process it fostered is at best stalling, or at worst is collapsing. Indeed, on 13 April 2007 at a meeting in Nairobi the IGAD Council of Ministers concluded the implementation of the CPA was ‘lagging behind schedule’ and urged an extraordinary meeting of the IGAD Heads of State be held to consider the problem (IGAD, 13 April 2007).

IGAD’s engagement in the Sudan peace process began on 7 September 1993 when it established a Standing Committee on Peace to assist negotiations and end Sudan’s civil war. A Declaration of Principles (DoP) was proposed and quickly accepted by the SPLM/A as a basis for negotiations, but was not endorsed by the Government of Sudan (GoS) until 1998. By this time the peace process was floundering and in an effort to re-activate it the mandate was renewed by the IGAD Sub-Ministerial Committee on the Conflict in Sudan (IGAD, Nairobi, 23 July 1999). This Committee established a ‘Secretariat for the IGAD Peace Process on the Sudan’ based in Nairobi with the mandate ‘to carry out continuous and sustained mediation efforts with a view to arriving at a peaceful resolution of the conflict’. This phase of the peace process led by Special Envoy Ambassador Daniel Mboya also floundered and the next and final phase – which is the subject of this evaluation - began under Special Envoy Lt. General Lazaro Sumbeiywo in May 2002. On 20 July 2002 the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed the Machakos Protocol as a framework for the conduct of the negotiations and after two and one half years of negotiations endorsed the CPA.

The Sudan mediation under Special Envoy Sumbeiywo was widely appreciated for its effective management of the process and financial accountability, particularly when measured against earlier weaknesses of the IGAD mediation. The mediation was also applauded for its impartiality, success in maintaining the integrity of the process, the generally positive role of the advisors, resource people and ambassador envoys from the region, achieving good relations with the donors, and the steady production of protocols that culminated in the CPA, and these will be duly noted and commented on as lessons to be learned. The mediation also linked together the parties to the conflict, IGAD as the regional organisation, and elements in the international community in an innovative structure. However, the Sudan peace process is in a state of crisis which is not simply due to failures in the implementation of the agreement, but is a result of its narrow approach and short-sighted vision. By assuming a limited definition of peace, focusing solely on the north-south dimension of the conflict, refusing to involve other political parties and civil society, treating the media as a threat to the process, and leaving the fate of the process to SPLM/A leader Dr. John Garang and First Vice President Ali Osman Taha, it was successful in reaching an agreement based on an acceptance of the lowest common denominators of the parties. But this approach largely precluded the realisation of its own stated objectives, which included a sustainable peace, Sudan’s democratic transformation, and making unity attractive.

The weaknesses of the IGAD mediation include:

- Lack of inclusivity of interested parties in southern Sudan, notably civil society and other political parties, and at the national level for a peace process that claimed to be comprehensive. The result is an agreement that is effectively a bilateral arrangement between the SPLM and the NCP for which most people in Sudan feel no sense of ownership.
- The peace process never developed trust and understanding between the parties, and in its absence and the failure to commit to wide-ranging reconciliation, the mediation followed Western practice and emphasised legal requirements and time-tables. But the great number of bodies and commissions formed to regulate, monitor, and adjudicate disputes have not managed to overcome the lack of trust between the SPLM and the GoS, and as a result the implementation of the agreement is far behind schedule.
- The elitist approach of the mediation was also manifest in its distain for the media. Instead of viewing the media as a partner in the peace process, a valued critic, and a crucial instrument with which to engage the Sudanese public and provide a measure of accountability, it was treated as an enemy and a threat.
- The lack of inclusivity of the peace process means that the Sudanese people can only pass judgement on the CPA through national elections, but the elections have been delayed and the difficulties in demarcating the north-south border and ending the conflict in Darfur may result in a further postponement. In addition, the development of a democratic culture conducive for the holding of fair elections has not been permitted to emerge in either north or south Sudan where security regimes dominate. Lastly, the National Assembly has passed legislation that prohibits parties participating in the national election unless they endorse the CPA, thus precluding a negative assessment of the agreement.
- The narrow focus of the mediation and the emphasis on reaching an agreement meant its implications were not fully appreciated. Thus the agreement to dissolve OAGs threatened to unleash a war between the SPLA and the South Sudan Defence Force, while the power sharing arrangement which gave the SPLM and the NCP the lion’s share of state power undermined efforts to reach a settlement in Darfur and have encouraged secessionist sentiments in the country.
- While international engagement in the peace process is necessary, the mediation failed to appreciate that this engagement posed a threat to the sovereignty of Sudan and the IGAD region. The conclusion of the US and its allies that their security and the ‘war on terror’ necessitates heightened military and diplomatic involvement in the Horn raises fears that the region could again – as it was during the Cold War – become a focus of competition and conflict for external interests.
- Although never stated, the mediation was carried out on the basis of a narrow model which focused on ending the violence (many respondents referred to it as an extended cease-fire), instead of laying the basis for a sustainable and comprehensive peace in the south and the country at large.

The lessons to be learned from the weaknesses of the Naivasha process include the need for a strong commitment to democratic change as the cement upon which any peace agreement should be built, and that in turn necessitates a comprehensive conception of peace. It requires a much wider involvement in the process, robust reconciliation, and respect for the media. This approach also recognises that endemic conflict, such as that suffered in Sudan, is the result of deep seated problems which necessitate structural change. The lessons to be learned also include the need for the mediation to weigh the effect of its endeavours on other conflicts. Although the Sudan peace process needed the financing, expertise, and legitimacy provided by the international community, the injection of external foreign policy concerns into the process posed a threat to national and regional sovereignty which IGAD needs to be aware of and respond appropriately. Lastly, the experience of the Naivasha peace process makes clear that peace processes do not end with the signing of a peace agreement, but must continue into the post-conflict period.

IGAD WEAKNESS

The background to IGAD’s engagement in the Sudan peace process was its formation as IGAD, and, the impetus for this largely came from international donors, and the same donors also favoured the organisation taking an active role in peace building. As a result, Western donors financed IGAD’s enhanced capacity to carry out peace building, and then the mediation efforts for the conflicts in Somalia and Sudan. In support of these Western efforts, the UN and the OAU, and in particular South Africa and Kenya, called for regional and sub-regional units to assume the leading role in peace-building. But the experience of IGAD has been one of administrative and political weakness on the one hand, and the domination of the resulting peace process on the other by the US and its close allies operating through Kenya, a state which has a history of subservience to Western interests. Although it provided a measure of legitimacy and a formal structure, the IGAD Secretariat had almost no other role in the Sudan peace process. The financing was largely funnelled through the Government of Kenya and GTZ, the Special Envoy reported to Nairobi, and IGAD had no control over him. The Secretariat staff reported to the Special Envoy, the observers were responsible to their respective countries, as were the ambassador-envoys. The Council of Ministers rarely questioned the Kenyan led mediation. Moreover, IGAD had no capacity to structure the peace process, influence its course or objectives, and was not even permitted under the CPA to play a role in the post-conflict era.

Although not clear in the actual negotiations, the real power behind the peace process largely lay with the US. And the US held contradictory objectives; on the one hand it wanted to build up the mediation and security capacity of the AU and its sub-regional components like IGAD so that they could be given increasing responsibility for security concerns on the continent, in particular the war on terror, and on the other, President Bush and his administration wanted to reap political benefits in the domestic forum for their leadership in the peace process, particularly at a time when the US was being widely criticised for its aggressive policies in Iraq and elsewhere in the Moslem world. In the event, by the time the agreement was reached in January 2005 US television screens were filled with images of the tragedy in Darfur and celebrating the peace in the south would appear cavalier and not provide the desired political pay-off. Indeed, it would make clear the limited nature of the achievement.

Although the US did not usually appear to dominate the negotiations, it was instrumental in bringing both the parties to the table. After the collapse of its principal benefactor, the Derg, the SPLM/A increasingly looked to the US Government and powerful groups within the country like the churches for support and this in turn gave Washington considerable leverage over the rebels. Washington’s influence over Khartoum derived from the military threat it posed, more broadly the desire of the Islamists in the post-Turabi era to have conciliatory relations with the US, and its capacity to influence Garang and the SPLM/A. But the US was able to influence the approach to the mediation and thus to ensure that the outcome met Washington’s policy needs. Foremost in the post-9/11 period was the focus on security and that meant a peace agreement that would produce stability and permit the US to maintain its intelligence relationship with Khartoum. Complicating the peace process by broadening it, or emphasising a democratic transformation which would undermine stability and could threaten the intelligence-sharing relationship with the NCP, thus had to be opposed. The fact that this stance met the needs of other interested groups, including the NCP, made it easier to pursue.

There was a need to ensure that the mediators, parties, observers, and backers from the international community accepted a narrow conception of peace which largely reduced the process to finding and agreeing to suitable mechanisms to stop the armed conflict. Any consideration of the structural causes of the conflict was carefully avoided, even though as Nathan and others have argued, it is necessary to focus more on the structural causes of violence than on violence per se, and to distinguish between symptoms and causes of intra-state crisis (Nathan, 2001). Despite this warning, the approach employed in the Sudan mediation is favoured by most mediators because limiting the scope of the mediation and its objectives is more likely to reach agreement and do so in a timely fashion. The danger, however, is the agreement may not prove sustainable, not be comprehensive, or address in a conclusive way the underlying causes of the conflict. And hence it risks a return to war or the establishment of a new status quo that offers little improvement over the one that produced the conflict in the first place.

Another problem with the Naivasha mediation is that it was inconsistent, using tools and approaches designed to affect immediate changes and end the violence, while ascribing to objectives like ‘making unity attractive’ and democratic change that could only be realised in the long-term and involved structural change and transforming relationships and attitudes. Thus far from achieving democracy the major impact of the peace process was to reinforce the power of the state and those groups that dominated it by effectively guaranteeing their existence for the six and one half years of the peace agreement. The objective of the mediation then was largely reduced to finding space in the state at the centre for the SPLM/A and creating a state in the south. However, by reinforcing the power of the state and its exploitive relationship with the peripheries, including the south, the mediation undermined its other stated objective of making unity attractive.

The commitment to reconciliation was both weak and uneven. There has been no north-south reconciliation to date and the south-south reconciliation was meagre and ineffective. Sometimes called South-South Dialogue, this effort at reconciliation was carried out by the Moi Foundation in the immediate post-CPA period under General Sumbeiywo, but was deficient at best and at worst appeared designed to win support for the CPA and the SPLM/A. The post-CPA meetings between the SPLA and the SSDF held under this rubric may have even exacerbated tensions between the two armed groups and brought them closer to war.

In addition, while claiming a commitment to democratic change, the mediation pursued this objective using undemocratic approaches. The participation of civil society was dismissed without any significant debate. Other political parties were more problematic, but were still refused participation in the negotiations, and the media – one of the few means to develop links with the Sudanese public – was treated with contempt. In the final phase of the peace process when the humanitarian crisis was reaching its height in Darfur the issue of the participation of its rebels was discussed at UN headquarters in New York, but the US and Garang were able to resist the pressures and convince Sumbeiywo not to invite them. Apparently Garang won over the UN and the Americans to the notion that he could resolve the problem outside the peace process after the CPA was signed. No doubt he also looked to the humanitarian crisis and heightened level of conflict in Darfur, which he had worked hard to stimulate, as an important means to exert pressure on the NCP at the negotiating table. Unfortunately he did not live long enough to try his hand at peace-making in Darfur, although tens of thousands died and many more were displaced before his demise in July 2005. However, such a late involvement of the Darfurians in the IGAD peace process would not have fundamentally changed the narrow focus of the mediation, nor would it have produced a long-term perspective or commitment to structural change.

While Garang was able to convince many in the international community that he held the key to the resolution of the Darfur conflict (something that in any case they wanted to believe), it would appear that was not the main reason that the SLM/A and JEM were kept from the negotiating table at Naivasha. They were denied a place in the peace process for the same reason that civil society and the other political parties were denied participation, that is, because it was feared that they would complicate the process, almost certainly delay its resolution, and maybe even make resolution of the north-south conflict impossible. Although perspectives would change as the extent of the humanitarian disaster in Darfur unfolded and became a major issue in the US, in 2004 ending the fighting in south Sudan, and claiming a major role for Washington in that task offered more political benefits than getting immersed in Darfur or permitting that conflict to disrupt the southern peace process which was within sight of being successfully completed. Indeed, the pre-occupation of the Americans with time tables and deadlines were not only a product of their desire to complete the process, but based on fear that other conflicts in Sudan threatened to undermine the north-south process.

It must also be stressed that the SPLM/A and the NCP government never initiated the IGAD peace process; at each phase of the twelve year engagement by IGAD (1993-2005) they were led to the negotiating table by outsiders. And in the end it cannot be said conclusively they were fully committed to the process or to the final result, the CPA. The SPLM/A has always looked to foreign supporters (Young, 2005b) and since the collapse of the Derg, the US has been at the top of its list, while after the NCP’s early and disastrous efforts to propagate a global Islamist revolution, it too has been anxious to mend its relations with the international community led by the sole super-power, the US. Indeed, one GoS negotiating team member acknowledged that the negotiations were an ‘elaborate exercise for the benefit of the international community’, another said in similar words that the SPLM/A ‘accepted the negotiations because we are part of the international community and couldn’t reject the intervention of IGAD’, while a third said that ‘they [the negotiations] were never serious’, and a fourth SPLM negotiating team member held that the CPA was a ‘paper agreement that didn’t constitute solutions’. As a result, there remains a marked suspicion that the involvement of both parties in the peace process had more to do with satisfying external agents than with a genuine commitment to resolve the civil war in a sustainable fashion.

Many of the negotiators assumed the Americans viewed the peace process in a similar cynical fashion, that they too understood its basic weaknesses, but were only anxious to use the process and agreement to make political gains domestically and to serve as a vehicle to pursue their foreign policy objectives in Sudan and the region. And while the Americans would not want a return to war they probably understood that was a distinct possibility. This hard-nosed realism was only tempered by their naïve faith in Dr. John Garang, who they seem to have genuinely assumed could as First Vice President in the national government bring an end to the war in Darfur and keep the country united by becoming president through elections. While some of Garang’s closest supporters thought he might be able to solve the Darfur conflict, although no one knew how, few thought that he would ever be permitted to assume the presidency, no matter what the level of support he had among northern Moslems.

CPA DEPENDENCE ON GARANG

Indeed, although outwardly very sophisticated, one of the weaknesses of the peace process was its unrealistic faith in and dependence on Dr. John Garang. Garang was the hope of the US and many in the international community, and repeatedly they deferred to him and assumed he could pull numerous rabbits out of the hat: resolution of the conflict in Darfur, containing the Islamist impulses of the NCP, winning the presidential elections, overseeing Sudan’s democratic transformation, and keeping the south in a federal Sudan against the wishes of the majority in the SPLM/A. Even the tough minded NCP politicians claimed that although the peace process was heavily weighed against unity they accepted it because they believed Garang would ensure that unity prevailed. For the mediators and observers their finest moment was facilitating the Garang-Ali Osman talks. But with Garang’s passing, the hopes placed in him died as well. The fault was to look to individuals and not broad-based structural change to bring about the desired sustainable peace.

The marked scepticism about the peace process by negotiators from both the GoS and the SPLM/A, but particularly the latter, is not entirely surprising in the Horn of Africa where war is the more likely road to sustainable peace than negotiated settlements. Thus the conflicts between the EPLF and the Derg, and between the EPRDF and the Derg were resolved with only minimal resort to negotiations, and – like Sudan – these token efforts were also largely done to impress the international community. Indeed, the Eritreans and Ethiopians now acknowledge they never placed any hopes in a negotiated end to their conflicts. The civil war in Uganda pitted Yowri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/A) against a succession of Ugandan governments and ended with the overthrow of Tito Okello. Successive efforts by IGAD to achieve a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Somalia have not to date succeeded. The international community placed great hopes in the CPA to serve as a door-opener to end the conflict in Darfur, but the Darfur Peace Agreement collapsed within days of its signing. Only the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) is holding, but it is largely an agreement between the governments of Eritrea and Sudan and is ultimately subject to their interests in keeping the agreement alive (Young, 2007).

This less than positive experience with peace-making in the Horn should serve as a caution against undue optimism or faith in the arts of diplomacy and mediation. It also makes clear that mediation efforts do not for the most part have the support of antagonists in the region, no matter what they might say publicly. As a result, there is a marked discrepancy between the claims of the diplomats on the Sudan peace process and the actual realities. Indeed, the over-selling of the CPA and the expressions of optimism that passed the bounds of realism are contributing to the current disillusionment with peace-making efforts in their entirety. And drawing from the above analysis this is at least in part due to the limited nature of the intervention and the failure to appreciate that the major conflicts in the Horn are a result of structural problems which cannot be resolved on a sustainable basis by a focus which is directed at simply stopping the fighting. It is thus time for a new approach to peace-making and peace-building in the Horn of Africa.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

While this analyst has taken a critical view of the Sudan mediation, most of those interviewed during the course of this interview – the parties in conflict, observers, resource people, ambassador-envoys, the Secretariat staff, the Government of Kenya, and the donors who funded the peace process (but notably not members of civil society and other political parties) - were largely satisfied with the process, although not necessarily with the results.

Most members of these groups approved IGAD’s broad mandate to carry out the mediation. This made clear the commitment at the highest levels of IGAD to the mediation and as a result it was never in dispute. There was also widespread agreement on the establishment of an effective functioning Secretariat. The negotiations required such a mechanism, the Secretariat had a sufficient mandate to carry out its responsibilities, and under Special Envoy Sumbeiywo it was well managed. Such a level of organisation is clearly needed in any effective peace process.

It was also appreciated that the appointment of a special envoy with close relations with the president of Kenya was helpful in the conduct of the mediation at many levels. Almost all of the respondents favourably contrasted the lack of such supportive relations under Ambassador Mboya with the positive relations between General Sumbeiywo and President Moi. The danger is that senior military officers in the Horn hold their positions at the pleasure of the head of state, and should the head of state change, as was the case in Kenya, the officer (or it could as easily be a senior civil servant or politician) could be replaced (as was almost the case with Sumbeiwyo) and that could seriously interfere with the mediation. To reduce this possibility it would be helpful if IGAD could have a role in the appointment of the special envoy (so that he could not be arbitrarily dismissed), and where feasible that the special envoy be a national figure, and hence less subject to the pressures of changing political conditions.

There was widespread support for the participation of the ambassador-envoys in the peace process. This involvement was held to provide a valued contribution to the mediation because of their knowledge and skills, as well as serving to link their countries in a direct way to the negotiations and – it was hoped – ensure the support of their countries for the resulting agreement. This system, with perhaps minor modifications to recognise the significantly increased work loads imposed on the ambassadors, should be used in any future mediation.

A difference between the engagement of the regional actors in the peace process (the special envoy and ambassador-envoys) and many of the observers from the international community is that while the former only devoted part of their time to the process, many among the latter group were able to devote all of their time to the peace process. Special Envoy Sumbeiywo (who also carried the responsibility of head of the army until he was retired by President Kibaki) was clearly over-worked in the early period of the mediation and the ambassadors were often pressed to work beyond levels consistent with making good judgements. Thus the experience drawn from the Sudan mediation suggests the need for full-time special envoys and regional peace ambassadors.

The donors were satisfied with the financial management of the peace process under Special Envoy Sumbeiywo. Their conclusion was influenced by the problems experienced during the earlier mediation, and the fact that much of the financial management in the latter phase was handled by the Kenyan Government and GTZ. This subject has not been considered in the detail it deserves in this evaluation, but it not only relates to financial management and the organisation of the Secretariat, but also raises the issue of the independence and control of IGAD and member states over the peace process. To the extent that outside countries and organisations control the financing there is a real danger that they may also exert unacceptable levels of influence over the peace process, a subject taken up below.

Many of the negotiators and even more among the observers, analysts, and donors appreciated the orderly way in which the negotiations were conducted and they attributed this to the leadership of Special Envoy Sumbeiywo. Indeed, not only did order contribute to the objectives of the mediation, but the timely production of agreements (protocols) generated confidence.

Flexibility was another attribute of the mediation that was appreciated by many. Thus when the attempt to provide a broad framework on the way forward (the Nakuru Framework) was strongly attacked by the GoS, it was quickly dispensed with and the mediators adapted the piece-meal approach preferred by the parties. And significantly by so doing they reached agreement on most of the components of the Nakuru Framework. Moreover, when Garang and Ali Osman began assuming a central role in the negotiations, the mediators acknowledged their reduced role and adapted to the new circumstances. Flexibility, however, should not be confused with the responsibility of the mediators to lead the peace process, a concern that will be addressed below.

For the most part there was an appreciation for the professionalism of the advisors utilised in the mediation. It is more difficult to generalise about the resource people since many people were involved and they had different abilities and experience, but the need for such people was universally acknowledged. One of the problems, however, is that since the special envoy and the Secretariat staff did not them-selves have an in-depth knowledge of Sudan when the mediation began, it is unclear how the decisions were made to bring in experts and on what basis they were able to assess their reports.

These are among the features of the mediation that both deserve praise and should serve as lessons to be learned. Indeed, given widespread satisfaction in both the peace process and its final product, the CPA, by the parties, Quartet, donors, and ambassador-envoys, it almost behoves this analyst to ask why the peace process is widely acknowledged to be in a state of crisis. The glib answer sometimes given is that the crisis is not due to any weaknesses of the peace process and the CPA, but because of implementation failures by Sudanese leaders in the aftermath of the agreement. However, this evaluation has concluded that the narrow approach of the mediation, the focus on ending the violence without sufficient consideration as to whether the agreement would be sustainable, and the failure to bring critical groups into the peace process produced many of the problems that later arose. Thus the crisis in the post-CPA period can largely be attributed to the IGAD mediation, and therefore many of the lessons to be learned derive from its weaknesses.

While including the positive features of the Sudan mediation, the negative lessons and the analysis above constitute an alternative approach. It is thus proposed that these lessons form the basis for developing a set of principles or model mediators and the belligerent parties would be obliged to follow in any future IGAD sanctioned mediation, a notion approved by Nathan in a recent analysis (Nathan, 2004). Such an approach would feed into IGAD’s current efforts to formulate a Peace and Security Strategy, and would have a number of advantages:

- First, it would make clear the commitment of IGAD to sustainable and comprehensive peace in the region, which necessarily involves structural change and democratic transformation and the use of appropriate forms of mediation to reach these objectives.
- Second, the approval and application of this model would provide a means by which IGAD could exert a measure of influence over the peace process, something it was not able to do in the Sudan mediation. The utilisation of the model should not be seen as an attempt to exert direct control over the mediators who need the ability to operate flexibly, but it would guide or frame their mediation.
- Third, IGAD’s formulation of an appropriate mediation model would increase the sense of regional ownership of the process and reduce the prospects that countries outside the region could impose their own models of mediation.
- Fourth, the model would make clear to the parties and the inhabitants of the conflict zone how their problems are going to be confronted and provide assurances they will have a role in their resolution.
- Fifth, just as Senator Danforth in his report attempted to ascertain whether the parties were seriously interested in peace before advising President Bush to engage in the peace process, by making them aware in advance the nature and scope of the IGAD mediation, it would help the parties decide whether they were prepared to accept the challenge. And by so doing it would make clear to IGAD whether it should invest its precious political capital in carrying out a mediation process. IGAD’s political capital is not infinite and the organisation and region should not take up a peace process simply because of the extent of the humanitarian tragedy. There must also be grounds to believe that the mediation would have a reasonable prospect of success. Nathan makes the same point: ‘the moral impulse to alleviate suffering does not constitute a sufficient basis for action. External interventions must also be based on a pragmatic assessment of their potential effectiveness’ (Nathan, 2001).
- Lastly, by formally identifying a model or approach to be used in the mediation, it would be easier to match the model and the special envoy and be assured that he or she could work within that framework.

The first lesson to be drawn is the need for the mediation team to clearly state its objectives and the methodology used to reach them. The Sudan mediation team never did this, and while aspiring to objectives like making unity attractive and democracy, both of which necessitated structural change in Sudanese society and the state, it used a methodology that focused on the short-term needs of the negotiating parties. This was deemed the quickest and easiest means to reach an agreement, but as evidenced by the problems that have arisen since the signing of the CPA, it did not give enough attention to whether its objectives would be realisable and sustainable. All efforts were directed to getting a signed agreement, after which the Sudan IGAD Secretariat was closed and the mediators went their separate ways. As Bendana has noted, ‘… internationally mediated negotiation processes may lead to a ‘peace’ that fails to address the forces that gave rise to liberation movements. In the end both the theory and practice of peace building must correspond to the reality of people living in states of oppression…’ (Bendana, 2003).

To lead the peace process the mediators must fully understand the nature of the conflict and the broader national and even regional context in which it takes place. And while not denying the capability of the internationally recognised advisors to the peace process, their expertise was in mediation and legal drafting, and not Sudan. As a result, they did not have the background to carry out the needed analysis of the conflict, understand the intimate connection between the conflict in south Sudan and those underway elsewhere in the country, and appreciate that these conflicts could not be arbitrarily separated. Thus a second lesson learned is the need for the mediation team to include people with knowledge and experience of Sudan and for them to carry out the necessary broad-based analysis and for the mediation to be shaped by those studies.

The experience of the Sudan peace process suggests the need for the proposed IGAD statement of mediation principles to endorse a forthright commitment to structural change and democratic transformation. The holding of fair and internationally supervised national elections as soon as possible after reaching a final agreement is one element of what must be a continuing and sustained process of democratisation. While there is no denying the difficulties involved in realising such a commitment, there is also no ignoring the fact that peace in the Horn has been achieved through war, not mediation. And if the mediation is not to be geared to reaching an agreement that soon unravels, the mediators must recognise that endemic conflict, such as that in Sudan, cannot be reduced to conceptions, such as Arabs versus Africans, Moslems versus Christians, and focus on ending the violence. Instead such conflicts are the product of a dysfunctional and unrepresentative state. And a mediation that is not directed to altering the character of that state in fundamental ways cannot expect to be effective or endure. Nathan identifies the main structural conditions in Africa producing conflict – and hence which need to be addressed in any mediation - as being authoritarian rule, marginalisation of ethnic minorities, socio-economic deprivation and equity, and weak states that lack the institutional capacity to manage political and social conflict effectively (Nathan, 2001). Added to this in the Sudanese context is the importance of cultural oppression.

Another concern drawn from the Sudan mediation is the threat it posed to Sudanese and regional sovereignty. The Horn was an area of great power rivalry during the colonial era between the British, French and Italians, and during the Cold War between the West and the Eastern Bloc. And as we have seen, IGADD and IGAD were largely created at the stimulus of donors and powerful international groups and later they pressed the organisation to take an active role in peace-building. Led by the US they structured the Sudan peace process, financed it, provided political and military pressures at various times on the parties, helped impart the approach utilised, served as observers, and had a major role in orchestrating it. Their participation in the peace process was directed to bringing an end to the Sudan conflict, but this effort involved issues of governance, creating political institutions, defining their authority, and establishing links between political units and the international community, all of which can pose a threat to national and regional sovereignty. Moreover, there is ample evidence from the growing role of Kenya in providing military bases to Western powers, to intelligence cooperation between Khartoum and Washington, to the close security relationship between Addis Ababa and Washington in Somalia, to the French and American bases in Djibouti to make clear the major interests of the US and its allies in the region relate to security and the war on terror. As a result, there is reason to fear the Horn could become a focus for international conflict, just as it was during the Cold War. De Waal points out that, ‘it is their [governments of the region] failure to resolve their internal and inter-state problems that has allowed the region to become prey to external agendas’, but nonetheless cautions that ‘the war on terror is to preserve a political status quo which includes indefinite militarization of US domestic and global governance’ (de Waal, 2007).

Against that background there is a need for IGAD and the mediators to be responsive to the threat to regional and state sovereignty posed by the involvement of the international community in peace processes. While appreciating the need for international engagement in regional peace processes, IGAD should endeavour to maintain the independence of the countries experiencing mediation and ensure that its peace-making efforts reflect the needs of the people of the region and are not compromised. And this concern should be reflected in the proposed IGAD statement of principles.

Against this background, the self-selection of the Quartet to provide the political backing for the negotiations is a matter of concern. Not only did the Quartet’s dominant role in the process cause bitterness among their IPF colleagues, it also narrowed the perspective of the mediation and meant that most of the observers were allies of the US, and as a result the mediation served as an entry point for them to exert influence in the region. As well as agreeing on criteria for the selection of observers, and it is suggested this be done by IGAD as part of its proposed peace-building model, there also needs to be a critical analysis of how international observers can contribute to the peace process in ways which do not compromise the sovereignty of the country in question and the region.

This paper strongly endorses the involvement of civil society in the peace process. That does not mean the various representatives of civil society and political parties need to sit around the same table. But it does mean that creative measures must be found to bring the diverse elements of society into the peace process. Efforts need to be exerted to engage traditional leaders who often have long experience at conflict resolution and considerable legitimacy. In addition, the virtual absence of women in the peace process is not only embarrassing, but denies the contribution they could have made. It is thus proposed that IGAD make clear in its model statement of principles the need for the participation of women both at the negotiating table and in the broader peace process. Instead of imposing quotas, the guarantee of involvement by civil society in the peace process in which women assume a major role in Sudan, would go far to rectify this imbalance and bring an added and welcome perspective. Many of the problems now facing the IGAD peace process, such as the failure to carry out wide ranging programs of reconciliation, the absence of a sense of ownership of the process, particularly in the north, the lack of sympathy at the grass roots to ‘making unity attractive’, and the inability to link the peace process in the south to those in the west and east, stem directly from the limited engagement in the peace process of the Sudanese people.

While on the one hand there is a rationale for limiting those employed by the Secretariat to manageable numbers, keeping the numbers to a minimum should not be used as an excuse for ignoring elements of society that are critical to achieving a sustainable peace the mediation, such as civil society. Nor can the involvement of civil society be precluded because it would unduly complicate the mediation, which was also argued. Civil society participation in the peace process must be recognised as critical to achieving sustainable peace and for post-conflict peace building efforts, in particular, reconciliation. It must also be appreciated that civil society’s role is not restricted to service delivery, but has an important advocacy role. And since the special envoy in any mediation is under enormous work pressures, one way to ensure the fullest and effective participation of civil society in the peace process would be to appoint a deputy special envoy whose primary responsibility would be to propose effective means to bring the interests and perspectives of civil society to bear in the peace process, link its engagement to the development of horizontal and vertical approaches to reconciliation, carry out assessments of its components, and report directly to the special envoy.

Sumbeiywo said that in retrospect he wished he had gone to the ground in Sudan much sooner than he did. Indeed, it is proposed that mediation staff regularly travel in Sudan and meet local authorities and a wide selection of the general population to acquaint them-selves with the conflict, ascertain the sentiments of the people, and provide frank briefings on the course of the peace process. Often in the negotiations there was an air of unreality as subjects were taken up that appeared to have little bearing to the conditions of the people in south Sudan, or conversely that the concerns of the Sudanese were not being addressed in the negotiations. While the suggestion of one SPLM respondent that the negotiations should have been conducted in southern Sudan may not have been practical, it does emphasise the need to ensure that the peace process is not divorced from the people whose problems it is attempting to resolve. In addition, the peace process in Sudan would have benefited by the Secretariat employing researchers who would regularly travel in Sudan and report their findings to the special envoy and other members of the mediation team.

There was general appreciation that the Special Envoy endeavoured to be impartial in his dealings with the parties and to constrain the activities of the observers when he viewed them as a threat to the integrity of the peace process. However, that should not mean that the mediators should permit the proceedings to be entirely driven by the parties, particularly when they can be expected to focus on their short-term needs. A greater knowledge of Sudan and a commitment to a broader set of objectives than those of the parties would hopefully encourage the mediators to challenge the parties and assume a more activist leadership role. This study has pointed out that the Sudan mediation was strongly influenced by broader political developments, a mandate, IGAD, the Kenyan Government, the donors and IPF, and most significantly by the US. These factors placed limits on the mediation, but the team further circumscribed its role by contending they were bound in their activities by the parties. This assessment rejects that conclusion and holds that the mediators should assume a leadership role in which they attempt peace-making within the proposed IGAD statement of principles and they should be prepared to walk away from the mediation if they conclude that the parties are pursuing a course that is in opposition to these principles and the achievement of a sustainable peace.

Basing the peace process on a commitment to structural change and democratic transformation would create its own dynamic, but two that deserve mention here are reconciliation and media relations. Although the Secretariat did make some proposals, reconciliation was not emphasised during the peace process because the GoS was opposed, the SPLM was lukewarm, and the mediators did not appear to appreciate its significance and link it to reaching a sustainable peace. In the event, a National Reconciliation Process was agreed to, but the lack of seriousness of the commitment is made clear by the fact that two and one half years after the signing of the CPA it has not been activated. Indeed, this lack of commitment to carry out far-reaching reconciliation among a people caught up in a vicious war for more than two decades expresses graphically the limited nature of the mediation and goes far to explaining why the peace process is currently floundering. Many interviewees noted the importance of reconciliation to not only overcoming past pain, grievances and creating a sense of ownership of the process by the population, but held it would also contribute to the goals of making unity attractive, introducing democracy, and even encouraging good governance.

Reconciliation as proposed and envisaged here must be locally owned to ensure that it reflects the values and concerns of the indigenous people and is not coloured by foreign notions. De Waal points out the danger of reconciliation processes being co-opted in a Sudanese context in which the upper echelons of the tribal administration are part of the government’s administrative and political structures (de Waal, 2007). Moreover, ‘…reconciliation means peace-building, contributing to the capacity of actors to listen to each other and to engage non-violently. Reconciliation is not an end itself but a means towards sustainable national development and participatory democracy’ (Bendana, 2002). Reconciliation should be an essential element of every peace process and should be between the parties in conflict and their respective constituencies, and within the broader community. Further, these efforts must be on-going. Reconciliation should be included in the IGAD peace-building model with the details and timing left to the mediators in discussion with civil society and the parties.

A commitment to democratic transformation would necessarily lead to a constructive approach to the media. The dismissive manner in which the media was treated during the mediation was consistent with a peace process that was pursued over the heads of the Sudanese and focused entirely on the needs of the elites. An IGAD model of peace-building that gave central place to democratic change would recognise the media as a critical element in building democracy, an important vehicle for information and debate, and a critical component in peace-building. The special envoy would be advised to adapt this statement of principles to his or her particular situation and to appoint a media officer.

The narrow focus of the Sudan mediation, the pressures from all corners for the rapid achievement of a signed agreement, and the lack of expertise of the Secretariat meant that the mediators were either not fully aware of the possible negative implications of their efforts on other groups in south Sudan and elsewhere in the country, or were not forceful enough to press for the necessary adjustments to the mediation. In particular, the humanitarian crisis in Darfur that unfolded during the last year of the peace process not only made clear the limited focus of the mediation and the danger it posed to the viability of the north-south peace process, it also suggested that the work of the mediators in dividing the spoils of state power between only two parties exacerbated the conflict. Contrary to the claims of the defenders of the CPA that it would produce peace agreements elsewhere in the country, by leaving so little power at the centre to be bargained for it made sustainable agreements with the rebels in Darfur and other groups in the north almost impossible and appears to be stimulating secessionist sentiments. Likewise, there is no indication that the mediators fully understood the implications of their agreement to dissolve the OAGs within one year, a decision that threatened to unleash an intra-south civil war between the SPLA and the SSDF.

Against that background it is proposed that a necessary component of any IGAD led mediation is that it consider the broader and long-term implications of its efforts and appreciate that its work should not be viewed in isolation, but as part of a whole that at the least includes the entire country and may have implications for the region. The notion, proposed by one respondent during the course of this research, that mediators should be guided by the dictum of ‘do no harm’, and that a member of the mediation team specially be tasked with that responsibility, should figure in the proposed IGAD model of mediation. Nathan has drawn a similar conclusion and said, ‘the design of every external intervention in an intra-state crisis should include a rigorous assessment of the potential for that intervention to not fuel conflict, intensify inequality, or otherwise exacerbate the structural cause of violence’ (Nathan, 2001).

One area in which distrust developed early in the negotiations was over the cessation of hostilities and the authority of the body tasked with overseeing it. First, it is essential at the start of negotiations to agree on a wide-ranging ceasefire. Second, the body monitoring the ceasefire must have the authority to both publicise the breaches and bring them to the attention of the highest authority in the region for further action. The Verification and Monitoring Team (VMT) was assigned the responsibility for overseeing the Cessation of Hostilities during the peace process, but it could only report on breaches of the agreement and did not have the authority to institute punitive measures, and this caused enormous frustration. Indeed, this corresponds to my own experience with the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) and leads to the conclusion that punitive measures, if handled judiciously, could play a role in encouraging accountability and reducing distrust and cynicism during the mediation. While the details of the measures need more consideration, the party at fault should first be identified and moral suasion and publicity used. But if that does not prove effective then the matter would be referred to the Conflict Committee of IGAD which would attempt to resolve the problem, and if the Committee was not successful the matter would be passed successively higher until it reached the IGAD Heads of State for disposition. The principle would be to make the military authorities responsible for any ceasefire agreement signed by referring breaches to ever higher levels of authority, and by so doing it is hoped this would bring about a resolution of the problem and create a more conducive atmosphere during the negotiations.

A similar concern was expressed that the Assessment and Evaluation Commission does not have sufficient authority, and having investigated a breach in the agreement, has no means to ensure the guilty party would act on it or suffer consequences. It was also not clear to whom or what body the AEC should report, since the present system where it reports to the presidency is widely held to be ineffective. The argument was made by respondents during the course of this research that the AEC should report to IGAD, and although there is no provision in the CPA that suggests such recourse, Tom Vraalsen, Chairman of the AEC, presented a report to the IGAD Council of Ministers in their meeting of 13 April 2007 in Nairobi on matters pertaining to his work at that body’s request. And it can be assumed that his report expressed major concerns about the implementation of the CPA because after it was delivered the Council of Ministers issued a Communiqué calling for a Summit of the Heads of State to consider the implementation of the CPA. The decision by the Council of Ministers was only possible because the GoS delegation was represented at the meeting by a low level delegation and Khartoum subsequently expressed its strong disapproval. The fact that the AEC was not given the authority to punish guilty parties or report to IGAD or another international body with legitimacy is largely due, as noted earlier, to the decisions of Garang and Ali Osman. But it is clear the original principle to support the establishment of the AEC was sound, such bodies should be an integral part of all future agreements, and they should report to IGAD.

Related to both of these issues was widespread annoyance that the Sudan IGAD Secretariat was summarily shut down upon the signing of the CPA. Although donors had expressed a willingness to continue financing the body as a means to monitor the implementation of the agreement, a decision was made by the Government of Kenya to end the affairs of the office. And in the absence of any provision in the CPA for the role of the Secretariat in the post-conflict era it is not clear how it could continue. Again there was either not sufficient consideration given to this matter or there was strong opposition to any continuing IGAD engagement in the peace process. But it is also consistent with the mediation approach utilised which focused solely on stopping the fighting and reaching a signed peace agreement. Nonetheless, a number of respondents said that as a guarantor of the CPA the IGAD Secretariat had a role in the post-agreement period, and the fact that it was not playing it was due to a lack of initiative and responsibility on its part.

While the international participants in the Sudan peace process were exhausted before the signing of the CPA, the bad news is that the Sudan peace process was rushed and an important lesson to be learned for future mediations is that if the resulting agreement is to be sustainable then the process must not be a horse race to reaching an agreement and instead will probably be longer. In particular, the period devoted to face-to-face negotiations was brief and the latter phase of the negotiations was undercut by the focus on the Garang-Ali Osman talks. Moreover, the emphasis should shift from laborious debates on legalistic issues to a focus on agreement of principles, trust-building, engaging civil society and other actors, and devoting considerable time for the parties to meet their constituencies in their home areas. Ultimately there is a choice between a relatively rapid march to a peace agreement that may well unravel and then necessitate the devotion of considerable time to putting it back in place and re-building trust, or supporting a genuinely comprehensive peace process which will inevitably be very slow, but increases the prospect of it being sustainable.

Following from this, a final lesson to be learned from the peace process is that IGAD should make a clear break from international practice and not hold a big ceremony to commemorate the signing of a peace agreement. Such ceremonies convey the entirely wrong message that the peace process is over and everyone can go home, assured that the conflict has been resolved. There is a wide body of literature which makes clear that problems of implementation of the agreement are often the cause of its collapse, and so it should be made absolutely clear that the peace process is continuing. As one GoS respondent noted, ‘it is a mistake to assume that the signing of an agreement is synonymous with peace’. Indeed, there needs to be far more emphasis on process and less on a signed agreement. There should be space for continuing dialogue to respond to unanticipated problems and to reaffirm and reform relationships. And if the role of the international community in such peace-making efforts is to be fully disinterested and genuine it must help create this space.

Despite the major efforts of the mediators and an international team of supporters and experts, the final peace agreement could not begin to resolve all the outstanding problems between the parties and equally significantly of those Sudanese who were not represented in the negotiations, but whose interests must ultimately be acknowledged if peace is to prevail. The importance attached to such signing ceremonies follows directly from the limited and Western notion of peace that has been criticised throughout this evaluation. While it is appreciated that peace signing ceremonies provide an opportunity for the parties, mediators, donors, international backers, and a host of others to congratulate them-selves and reap the political benefits, IGAD is advised to break from conventional practice. Instead, less elaborate ceremonies should be held throughout the country which express the achievements of the peace process and its continuing objectives within a local and meaningful context and involve traditional leaders, elders and dignitaries.

To summarise, many positive lessons can be drawn from the Sudan mediation in the areas of organisation, management, financial accountability, maintaining the integrity of the mediation, developing good relations with the international community, and using a structure that linked the parties with the regional organisation and international community. However, ultimately the mediation lost sight of the need for an agreement that would be sustainable and provide a basis for peace-building in the rest of conflict-ridden Sudan. Many of the problems of implementation of the agreement and the bleak assessment of those interviewed during the course of this research are due to a peace process that was not informed by an in-depth understanding of Sudan, did not appreciate a sustainable peace in Sudan necessitated structural change, gave short shrift to democracy and inclusivity, and made no effort to understand the long-term consequences of its efforts. It must be stressed that this short-sighted approach to peace-building and desire to reach an agreement as quickly and expeditiously as possible was supported by virtually all the participants in the mediation and the diplomats and analysts who followed it. However, if one fundamental lesson can be drawn from the Naivasha process it is that efforts at peace-building based on short-cuts and the failure to recognise the need for deep-seated change to end endemic conflict will not be sustainable.



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  • 15 October 2007 18:27, by Gwado J. Ador

    Slow Death of the CPA; Would It Really Survive Any Intensive Care?

    By Gwado J. Ador
    gwadoa@yahoo.co.uk

    The beginning of the end of scenario starts first with the recent crucial decision taken by the SPLM National Interim Political Bureau (NIPB) to suspend active role of the SPLM members (Ministers and advisors alike) within the Government of the National Unity, because the partner National Congress Party (NCP) has repeatedly infringed into its ability to honor its part of commitment to the CPA.

    The decision taken by SPLM/ NIPB was not a surprise to the political observers in Sudan; there have been warnings that NCP might have jeopardized the CPA and intends to kill it as it did to Khartoum and Fashoda agreements. SPLM said the NCP is not committed and drags its feet because it lacks interest to implement the CPA.

    The issue of Abeyi which was agreed upon with the international seal at Naivasha in Kenya that Abeyi problem must be studied and handled by a special neutral team of experts and its final resolution would be bound on both sides (Dinka Ngok and Missiria). Unfortunately, the final resolution passed by those experts was rejected by Al-Bashir and people of Misssiria on the ground that it is bias and favors Dinka Ngok.

    Another issue of contention between SPLM and NCP is the border demarcation between North and South. NCP is not interested or ready yet to cooperate with SPLM in this issue and would not even recognize Mr. Doglas Johnson’s report because of his background NCP preempted the report by accusing SPLM of sheeting saying that SPLM is working hard to engulf all the oil fields to the Southern domain a mater that wouldn’t be allowed to go without a question.

    The issue of SAF withdrawal to the 1956 South-North border has been resisted by NCP who claims protection of oil fields without giving clear explanation as from whom does SAF wants to protect the oil when the guardians should have been the people of Southern Sudan because all the oil fields are actually in the Southern domain.

    The use of militia to disrupt security and stability in the South Sudan has been a major problem for the government of Southern Sudan to deliver effective services to the people. There are Southern groups ready out there to sabotage and undermine the programs of GoSS. According to recent intelligence reports, these groups are ready now for deployment to target certain locations within major cities of Southern Sudan.

    Including the issue of SPLM cabinet reshuffle in the Government of National Unity GoNU which has been ignored by President Omer al-Bashir to be decreed based on the recommendation of the President of the Government of Southern Sudan.

    All the above mentioned areas of contentions have widen the gape and lost of trust between the two partners to the extent that NCP starts preparation for war and looks towards China for moral and military support to suppress or respond to any eventuality that may disrupt the current progress on the Northern ground. The Chinese understands that very well and believes that its interest lies with Omer Al-Bashir and would be always faithful and committed to protect this regime at all cost.

    On Darfur front, the International Community resolved in a UN Security council meeting to send UN Peace Keeping Forces to Darfur last year. But, Al-Bashir rejected the idea saying this is colonization that won’t be accepted by the Sudanese people.

    Then when the pressure of the outcry mounted to send urgent UN Peace Keeping forces to Darfur, Al-Bashir told the International Community that his government would only accept African Peace Keepers as a condition, a matter accepted promptly by the International Community and described as a progress.

    Also this year, when the World Community became alarmed because of the escalation of the war in Darfur which spilled over to the neighboring country Chad, Al-Bashir said he would accept this time hybrid forces a matter accepted also by the International Community without any reservation and they call it progress too.

    It is amassing to see Omer Al-Bashir stands consistently against the will of the international community in direct defiance of the international resolutions aiming to bring about peace to the people of Darfur. He vehemently rejected relinquishing Ahamed Haron and Ali Kosheib or any other Sudanese to ICC. UN General Secretary Ban ki- Moon visited Omer Al-Bashir to press for peace and restrain Khartoum from committing further atrocities, but Ban Ki- Moon seems to have secured nothing and left without any option he might have desired to induce Khartoum accept further concessions for peace.

    Another envoy in form of a group of elders led by Bishop Desmond Tutu and Former US President Jimmy Carter visited Omer Al-Bashir also in an attempt to use the power of wisdom in convincing Khartoum to stop conflict in Darfur. Al-Bashir who knows origin of his strength played down the request He told the elders that China and Sudan have pledged to contribute an amount of 300 Million US Dollars as a good will gesture a matter rejected by some rebel groups as absurd, because according to them it is like putting a cart before the horse; they need peace and security first to prevail in the area before talking about any compensation and development. The group of elders however, on the other hand said Al-Basher’s offer implies good intention and a progress in the right direction.

    There must be something up normal here, UN becomes a toothless bulldog pursuing peace persistently and aimlessly; often just sit and watch helplessly murder being committed with impunity in the region. Yet still Khartoum is being treated in a conciliatory manner unlike Afghanistan and Iraq. What leverage does Omer Al-Bashir use to induce the world leaders refrain from taking tough action against his regime in Khartoum despite evidences that show his refusal to listen to the whisper of wisdom and peace or cries of innocent victims in Darfur.

    During the cold war era, it was understandable that bad regimes played in to the hand of the Soviet Union which was there to give cover and protection for subversive intentions. But, with the breaking up of the Soviet Union, USA emerged as the only super power described by some observers as the World Police State who takes warrant of search and arrest from inside the UN Security Council with or without its consent.

    This was evident when USA troops marched into Iraq and Afghanistan to liberate them from bad regimes. Omer Al-Bashir however, belongs to that camp too, and this should have been his turn, but USA showed lack of interest to apply the same measures against Sudan may be because circumstances have changed as the following analysis might indicate:

    Firstly, the Desert Storm War in Iraq and the process of ousting Saddam Hussein from power has cost USA heavily in terms of human lives and material, the Saddam demise however is still haunting US troops until today a mater that made so many American to call for the withdrawal of their sons form Iraq and subsequently lead to the dwindling of President’s Bush popularity in America.

    Secondly, China with its quite diplomacy might have signaled to replace the Soviet Union on the world stage and presumably, might have warned the American to refrain from venturing in areas of its domain. China has vested interest in Sudan and stake in the Sudanese oil industry. Chinese won’t accept ousting Omer Al-Bashir to be replaced by another regime that might sabotage its interest in the region. Therefore, China is ready to use veto power to repulse any threat or the use of force against Sudanese government through the UN Security Council.

    Thirdly, another force to be reckoned with is El-Qaeda and other Middle Eastern groups with subversive motives to fight USA and its proxy AU peace keepers in Darfur They are present in Sudan and are determined to take the battleground to Darfur or even to South Sudan. El-Qaeda’s second top man Al-Zewahiri in a recent TV show called on all the Mujahideen in Sudan to fight the UN hybrid forces in Darfur. This might explain high tech killings and heighten threats to turn Sudan into a hell. The recent attack and killing of 10 AU members of peace keeping forces in Darfur might have been the work of this group. But, the government rushed to conclude without thorough investigation that the AU peace keepers were killed by the rebel groups active in the area, thus blindfolding the International Community from seeing the reality. Whether this scenario is true or false is a mater yet to be deplored.

    Finally, all the above mentioned scenarios might have restrained UN or America from taking proactive action such as in Iraq or Afghanistan. The threats to impose sanctions have no meaning any more in our present world where the major actors in the UN Security Council mind to pursue individual interests even at the expense of the world peace and security. Omer Al-Bashir acknowledged this very well; he has secured a patron who would be willing to protect him at any cost. He will continue subjugating the people of Darfur and the people of Southern Sudan and all other marginalized people of Sudan using forces of Janjaweed or foreign terrorists to maintain the status quo which might eventually lead to further escalation of tension and subsequent disintegration of Sudan.

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