Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 31 May 2013

Sudan’s Crisis: incremental versus a holistic approach

By Ahmed Hussain Adam

May 30, 2013 - The political crisis of Sudan has reached its most precarious phase with complete paralyses of the impetus leadership that lost its moral authority, legitimacy and human dignity. The crisis proves vividly that the current Sudanese state is too dysfunctional and weak to survive. The empirical evidence supports that the status quo will never persist according to law of nature and human experience of history; the conditions are not only ripe for change but also the incoming leadership is eager to position Sudan to be a productive part of international community to enhance the world peace, security and prosperity.

The question is whether the change will be a peaceful or by force. If the leadership of revolutionary change embraces the values of justice, freedom and democracy, then certainly revolution can lay the foundation for a democratic and prosperous country. In this context, let us remember the lessons of the American Revolution. Given that the entire Sudan is marginalized by ruling elites in Khartoum that are detached from the rest of the country, the unfolding armed struggle of the Sudanese people spearheaded by the revolutionaries in Darfur, Kurdofan Blue Nile and perhaps the East of Sudan has been expanded effectively to submerge the so-called Hamdi Triangle (the detached ruling elites triangle). The military confrontations between the Bashir’s regime and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) has already extended to Umrowaba City (around 300 kilometer to the Capital-Khartoum) in north Kurdofan and SRF is hovering around the main artery that link Khartoum to the West of the country.

The recent statements of the SRF’s leaders indicated that their plan to overtake the capital is in its final stage, it is do or die. Bashir‘s recent statement made in May 27 in which he ruled out the option for a negotiated settlement, it seems that SRF will continue its military operations and advancement into the Capital City -Khartoum, in a similar way that the Justice and Equality Movements (JEM) did in May 2008.

Relatively, the current national, regional, and international circumstances are favoring the SRF than in May 2008. Recent reports show that Bashir’s regime is experiencing a critical internal power-struggle, which resulted in some serious divisions within its core constituencies including security, military and political ideologues. Most importantly, the recent military confrontations demonstrated that the Sudanese army and the government’s militias are very disillusioned and reluctant to fight. That is why President Idriss Deby of Chad deployed his army in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan to rescue his fellow dictator from sinking; however the load is too heavy, it will sink both of them. It worthy to mention that the ongoing engagement of the Chadian army in the military operations on the side of the genocidal regime of Bashir constitutes a clear volition of the founding provisions and principles of the United Nations (UN). Regrettably, the international community has been mute about it. The good side was that some elements in the Sudanese Armed Forces refused to fight alongside with the Chadian forces against their fellow countrymen.

It is obvious that the current phase of the military confrontations between the regime’s forces and those of the SRF will continue, unless there is a swift intervention by a competent, willing, and strong third party to bring the Sudanese stakeholders together to negotiate a national solution for the entire country.

The recent confrontation between the SRF’s forces and the regime’s forces suggests strongly that the international incremental policies on Sudan have failed to bring about a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in Sudan. For the unfolding conflicts to conclude peacefully the international community should abandon its current piece-meal strategy and adopt a comprehensive approach towards the Sudanese conflicts or the conflicting parties will continue the current fighting. However, in case Iran and Hezbollah continue to involve themselves in the conflicts, the last scenario not only leads to the collapse of the Sudanese State but also undermines the regional and international peace and security.

There are many valid reasons and factors which suggest the urgency of calling for an immediate and robust international third party intervention with a clear mandate of a holistic approach to facilitate a comprehensive, inclusive, peaceful and democratic transition in Sudan. The following are the main factors:

First, it is obvious that the regime cannot win these multiple wars because the balance of power on the ground isn’t in the regime’s favor. Furthermore, the economic and financial hardships have pushed the populations of the urban areas to revolt against the regime and join force with the revolutionary agents of change.

Second, the SRF founding documents, including the New Dawn Charter (NDC) which signed by the majority of the civil opposition parties and groups in January 5, 2013, have enshrined the peaceful democratic change or peaceful uprising as a first option for change in Sudan.

Third, the piecemeal approach has produced many flawed agreements which have been fueling and exacerbating the ongoing conflicts by killing and displacing thousands of innocent civilians. For instance, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Darfur Peace Agreement 2006(DPA), the East Peace Agreement (EPA) and the Darfur Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), have failed to address the root causes of the conflicts, realize democratic and structural transformation, and or even to shake up the status quo. On the contrary, the regime has exploited these agreements to advance its genocidal campaigns against the innocent civilians.

Fourth, the root causes of Sudan’s conflicts are similar on their national dimensions. Therefore, the ongoing conflicts cannot be resolved without addressing the national crisis and re-structure the center. President Thabo Mbeki (the Head of the African Union High –Level Panel on Darfur) in his Report on the Darfur Conflict in October 2009, he correctly defined the Conflict in Darfur when he stated that, "the crisis in Darfur is a manifestation of the Sudan’s inequitable distribution of wealth and power, and the Panel therefore, defines it as “Sudan’s crisis in Darfur”.

I would suggest that there should be an internationally sponsored process on Sudan, supported by the US and the UN Security Council, comprising of two phases to facilitate and assist on devising an exit strategy to end the current deadlock in Sudan. Phase one should bring together the conflicting parties on the ground to discuss the humanitarian assistance, security, and protection of civilians in Darfur, South Kurdofan and Blue Nile. The protection and well-being of the civilian populations in the conflict regions should be given the priority. Furthermore, the conflicting parties should also discuss a clear road map that leads to a new democratic and managed transition.

Phase two should bring together the stakeholders to a national and an inclusive all Sudan conference to discuss a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in Darfur, South Kurdofan and Blue Nile. The conference also should discuss the basis of comprehensive peace including constitution, governance, Identity, state and religion, the relation between the peripheries and the center and strategic relationship between Sudan and South Sudan. The proposed conference should form a national transitional government with a clear mandate and program for a managed transition that shall realize a lasting and comprehensive peace all over Sudan as well as a democratic transformation in Sudan.

The US and other key players of the international community should facilitate a new transition in Sudan. The African Union (AU) should take the lead in building a consensus in Africa and beyond for a new national, peaceful and managed transition in Sudan. The State of Qatar should recognize that the Doha Peace Document is a failure which has been inflicting a lot of suffering on the people of Darfur. Therefore, Qatar should support the inevitable change in Sudan just like the way it involved in Libya, Egypt and currently in Syria.

The NCP has to decide whether to be a part of the solution by allowing a peaceful change or to continue in being a part of the problem and bears the consequences of such intransigence. This is the only way that a revolutionary change will be averted and a peaceful and meaningful change will be materialized in Sudan.

Ahmed Hussain Adam is a Visiting Scholar and Co-Chair of the Two Sudans Forum at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR), Columbia University in the City of New York. He can be reached at: aa3109@columbia.edu