This posting is a guide to three online sources of scholarly material on Darfur (and Sudan in general) that provide different resources for the student or professor. The most comprehensive online resource on Sudan is the Rift Valley Institute’s Sudan Open Archive. The Center for African Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, hosts UnderstandingSudan.org, which is a resource specifically geared for teachers planning classes on Sudan including Darfur. Prof. R.S. O’Fahey, the premier historian of Darfur, has a website dedicated to his research in Darfur.
Posted on behalf of Hassan E. Talib. Hassan is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS), in Khartoum, Sudan Press conference diplomacy has been resorted to by Sudanese partners of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed between Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and government of Sudan in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 9, 2005. In one of significant manifestations of resorting to press conference diplomacy to mobilize public opinion, vice president of the Republic of the Sudan Mr. Ali Othman, conducted one on 21 October 2007, at the aftermath of the declaration of the Political Bureau of the (SPLM), which ten days before this press conference has suspended its participation in the Government of National Unity (GONU). This event is a major hurdle that GONU faced since its establishment in October 2005, as per the provisions of the CPA. At its meeting in the town of Juba, the capital city and seat of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), on Thursday October 11, 2007, the SPLM has declared its suspension of participation in GONU. Mr. Pagan Amum, secretary general of SPLM, cited slowness in implementation of CPA, the stalemate in the talks to resolve the question of Abyei […]
Posted on behalf of Peter Schumann, a former UNDP staff member with extensive experience in UN Peacekeeping operations, most recently as the Regional Coordinator and Representative of UNMIS in Southern Sudan
One of the last activities I was involved with was facilitating to strengthen the political relationship between the SPLM and the ‘Darfur Rebels’–we had two very important meetings in Juba, pre and post Abuja.
This posting continues a discussion of the main themes of War in Darfur and the Search for Peace (Harvard University Press 2007). The second part of the book draws on an appraisal of the Darfur peace process, conducted shortly after the closure of the Abuja peace process by several of the leading mediators and their advisers, and an analysis of the international response. Three chapters were written by members of the African Union mediation team in Abuja, and another assesses Darfurians’ reactions to the agreement, and its failure. In addition, Chapter 13 (by Deborah Murphy) focuses on the coverage of Darfur in the U.S. media and chapter 14 (by Rebecca Hamilton and Chad Hazlett) is the first detailed account of the origins and organization of the mass campaign for Darfur in America. Let me draw together some of the key points from the analysis of the Darfur peace process and why it did not succeed. From within the mediation process, the central problem was that there was not enough time to develop confidence among the negotiators, both with the issues and with one another. This was particularly so for the movements. In his essay in the book, Laurie Nathan argues […]
Moments of crisis are also moments of opportunity. Sudan at the present has all the dimensions of an imminent crisis that could unravel the major achievements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the uncertain progress towards democracy. The sharpest manifestation of the crisis is the SPLM’s suspension of its participation in the Government of National Unity, announced on October 11. As well as an attempt to push through an overdue cabinet reshuffle–held up by President Omar al Bashir–it was a signal that caught the attention of the international community, especially the U.S., which had been neglecting the CPA. But it was also a risky step, especially insofar as the SPLM does not appear to have had a clear plan for how to follow it up. The SPLM action may yet generate its own momentum, with unforeseeable consequences. A disturbing and unanticipated event was Monday’s press conference by vice president Ali Osman Taha, in which the NCP’s leading proponent of the CPA angrily condemned the SPLM, and also implied that the U.S. was complicit in the withdrawal. It is hard to read exactly what compelled Ali Osman to make this statement, but we should be worried that it could prefigure a […]
War in Darfur and the Search for Peace is a collection of 15 essays by six Sudanese and eleven non-Sudanese scholars and specialists, published in September 2007 by Harvard University Press. This is the first of two postings that provides an outline of the origins of the book, its significance, and some of the main threads of the argument. This posting focuses on the "turbulent state" framework for understanding Sudan’s persistent dysfunction.
President Jimmy Carter on his recent visit to Sudan was outspoken in his criticism of the Sudan government, which he accused of “ethnic cleansing” and a “crime against humanity.” But he also argued that it was “unhelpful” to describe the crimes committed in Darfur as “genocide,” adding that they didn’t fit the definition contained in the 1948 Genocide Convention. There is room for honest disagreement over whether the crimes committed during the phase of large-scale hostilities in Darfur, during 2003 and 2004, qualifies as “genocide” or not. While I agree that the genocide debate has been unhelpful, my own view differs slightly from President Carter’s. My reflections on this were published in the Harvard Journal of Human Rights this spring. I argue that the 1948 Genocide Convention is so broadly drawn that Darfur–and in fact many episodes in Sudan’s wars of the last 20 years, not to mention events during wars in Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and elsewhere in that time period–would legally count as “genocide” if the definition were applied uncritically. I draw on my personal experience of working in many of these wars, and especially in the Nuba Mountains in 1995–an occasion marked by a heated debate on […]
Too much of the attention to Darfur has overlooked that it is part of Sudan, and that a peace agreement in Darfur makes sense only as a buttress to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. In today’s Los Angeles Times I have an oped drawing attention to the dangers of a stalling or collapse of the CPA, prompted by the October 11 SPLM pullout from the Government of National Unity.
Posted on behalf of Julie Flint.
Two questions about the original posting about the attack on the AMIS base in Haskanita:
1. The attackers have been "clearly identified" as rebels. Clearly identified by whom? And what makes the identification "clear"? I very much doubt that AMIS personnel in Haskanita had much interaction with the mass of rebels in Haskanita, and the evidence I have seen suggests that no rebel leaders participated in the attack. As one investigator says, those who did were "some way down the food chain".
2. The attack was "clearly planned and premeditated". I think evidence is needed to support this statement. I personally do not have it. One of those inside the base during the attack has said that the men who attacked the base were "very drunk". They "ransacked and looted EVERYTHING"¦ They took all the food, fuel, vehicles, ransacked the clinic." This does not suggest a "clearly planned" attack. It suggests a drunken rampage.
An article by Abdul Mohammed posted in today’s Sudan Tribune defends the AU against those who have criticized or demeaned the AU. For more than two years, we have heard a chorus of complaints that the AU is inadequate, incompetent, or biased, both in its peacekeeping mission and its diplomatic efforts. The criticisms need to be taken seriously. But the AU and its role need to be assessed objectively–and there is much to defend.