This is the third part of a paper based on a memorandum submitted to an informal consultation on the Darfur mediation. This section is solely the responsibility of Alex de Waal. Part 3: Critical Choices for UNAMID and the Mediation Into this middle of this protracted and intractable conflict, UNAMID is being deployed. Despite its Chapter VII mandate and its task of protecting civilians, it is in fact a classic peacekeeping force with a few ornaments. Not only is it deployed into a situation that is very far from a classic two-sided conflict, but there is no peace to keep. The ceasefire and security arrangements provisions of the DPA are respected by nobody. UNAMID cannot interpose itself between the belligerent parties. The Ceasefire Commission and the Joint Commission (the political oversight body for the CFC) are completely dysfunctional. These institutions are as important as UNAMID’s military forces and without them UNAMID is severely handicapped. UNAMID forces themselves do not have the capacity to enforce their will militarily. Their mandate for civilian protection is mostly (not entirely) out of reach. Having more troops and armoured vehicles and helicopters will help but it will not address the fundamental problem that UNAMID cannot […]
This is the second part of a paper based on a memorandum submitted by Alex de Waal and Abdul Mohammed to the informal consultation on the Darfur mediation, held in Geneva last week. Part 2: What are the Interests of the Parties in a Negotiated Agreement? Analysis of the Darfur war today leads inexorably to the conclusion: the conflict cannot be resolved as it stands today. Darfur may become tractable in the months and years ahead, but the current configuration means that mediated solutions are beyond our immediate reach. Let us examine the different actors, their motivations and interests. All profess to want to reach a negotiated agreement. The current context and configuration means that for none of the belligerent parties is a negotiated agreement in their immediate interest. The Sudan government is the most powerful actor in Darfur. Its basic attitude is that it would have won the war, politically and militarily, were it not for the involvement of Chad and the engagement of the international community which has kept an otherwise defunct rebellion alive. Khartoum argues that it has signed a ceasefire and a peace deal which were unfavourably slanted against it; that it signed under international pressure […]
This is the first in a series of three postings on the challenges facing the UN-AU Mediation. It is an edited version of a paper written jointly by myself and Abdul Mohammed and presented to the AU-UN informal consultations with the international partners on the mediation strategy held in Geneva last week. Part 1: Is the Darfur Conflict Intractable? The war in Darfur is showing all the signs of an intractable conflict. By this we do not mean a conflict that cannot be resolved, rather one that is very difficult to bring to a mediated, peaceful resolution. According to Chester Crocker and his colleagues Fen Hampson and Pamela Aall, who studied such conflicts and attempts to resolve them, intractable conflicts have a number of salient characteristics. One characteristic of intractable conflicts is that they are long-standing, so that deep psychological wounds, a sense of victimization and grievance run deep. This is certainly true of Darfur—each of the parties considers that it is the victim of a deep injustice. The victims of the extreme violence of 2003 and 2004—primarily the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa—believe that the wrongs they suffered during that period of intense hostilities have yet to be addressed. These […]
The point of departure for the report, Darfur: Dimensions and Dilemmas of a Complex Situation, published by the Uppsala University Department of Peace and Conflict Research, is a field study conducted by the author in Sudan during the fall of 2007. The purpose of this analysis is to deepen knowledge about the current crisis in Darfur through a broad approach. The study includes a short background to the crisis in Darfur and examines some of the major actors, the situation on the ground, the peacekeeping process, the negotiations and the international response. It is argued that the current situation in Darfur is a result of three parallel and interlinked types of conflicts: communal conflicts, conflicts between different regional elites, and periphery-centre conflicts. It is also argued that a comprehensive approach to Sudan is needed to find a lasting solution in Darfur and other areas of Sudan. Moreover, the report stresses the vast problems that both the negotiations and the peacekeeping operation face at the moment. Finally, a call is made for a stronger commitment from, and co-ordination by, the international community to solve the conflicts in Darfur.
Powers of Persuasion, a new publication from Conciliation Resources is a series of essays on the role of sanctions, incentives and conditionalities in peacemaking. Alongside theoretical, historical and comparative essays by leading figures in the field, there are case studies of a number of conflicts from four continents, including an analysis of the Darfur peace process which I contributed, and an interview with the UN Special Envoy, Jan Eliasson. In their introduction, the editors (Catherine Barnes, Celia McKeon and Aaron Griffiths) draw four main conclusions. (1) External actors need to prioritize support for sustainable peace as their primary goal in a conflict situation and craft their strategy to help achieve it. This doesn’t rule out other goals such as national foreign policy objectives, humanitarian aims, achieving justice, etc., but rather recognizes that peace is an enabling condition for achieving such goals. (2) Sanctions, incentives and conditionalities are most likely to be effective when they are designed to align with the belligerent parties’ own motivational structures and support a pre-existing domestic processes of conflict resolution. (3) Each of these instruments needs to be designed and implemented in ways that help to create momentum in the resolution process, which (4) typically requires […]
Posted on behalf of AbdouMaliq Simone The discussion that has taken place on this weblog over the last weeks concerning urbanization in the Sudan has raised many critical points to which I do not take issue. These discussions have provided incisive attention to how the complex and multiple historical trajectories—of movement, political mobilization, and economic exigency—that have given Sudanese urbanization a particular character now interact with the contestations around how the country is articulated to various facets of the global economy. So in certain respects the struggle for Sudan is the struggle for Khartoum. As a ramification of these struggles is the rapid urbanization of other areas of the country—an urbanization that proceeds without discernible economic substance, and thus intensifies skewed markets in land and opportunity. The point of the following comments is more to offer some further texture to the analysis so far, and to complement the concerns expressed over the lack of urban integration with some questions as to what cities are actually capable of in terms of integrating diverse populations, interests and aspirations. Even when the absence of integration poses many dangers for the city, a focus on how diverse peoples and agendas intersect may provide an […]
War in Darfur and the Search for Peace is by far the best and most authoritative introduction to the Darfur crisis that I have read. But so fast-moving is the crisis, even since the publication of this book last year, that it is increasingly inaccurate to talk of a Darfur crisis, since the conflict(s) now include much of eastern and central Chad and spill over into the Central African Republic (CAR). I shall come back to this point. The book comprises fifteen substantial studies starting with a lengthy overview by the editor. What follows is not so much a review, but a commentary on some on the themes in the book that have struck me as an historian of the region; I do so under four headings, ethnicity, land, legitimacy and intervention. Most of what I discuss here is documented in greater detail in my The Darfur Sultanate. A History (New York: Columbia University Press: forthcoming), which focuses on the history of Darfur until 1916, when it was conquered by the British and annexed to the Sudan. Ethnicity A thread that runs virtually through all the contributions is ethnicity. The population of Darfur can be divided into those who claim […]
*Posted on behalf of Philip Honour The time has come for talks Yesterday, the U.S State Department published a report on Human Rights Practice’s in Sudan. The report makes it clear that the Sudanese Government are failing dramatically to live up to their commitments to the civilian population in Darfur, but it also sheds a troubling insight on the larger role that the various Rebel factions are playing in the destabilization of the region. In a year that saw at least 1600 people killed and thousands more displaced, abducted and raped, it is increasingly hard to distinguish between the government backed Janjaweed, implicated for acts of genocide in the past five years, and the Rebel movements spearheaded by the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudanese Liberation Army. It is obvious though, that the victim in all this, is the Darfuri civilian. The U.S State Department report observes that "the [Sudanese] government are committing political motivated killing in connection with the conflict in Darfur", a fact that will be used by the rebels to justify their increasingly violent intifada that seems more indiscriminate every day. The last thing Darfur needs, is for the Sudanese Government to be able to use […]
Darfur’s Arabs are back in the spotlight—as victims, as Janjawiid, and as rebels. The relationship between the Sudan government and the Darfur Arabs has never been simple, and it’s not getting any less so now. Most important is to recognize that Darfur’s Arabs—despite their silence—are nobody’s fools.
To avoid the continuity of conflict over land and its resources in the Sudan, it should be constitutionally and legally confirmed that "land belongs to the community" and that "community land should not be sold." Community land for investment can be leased out and not sold out at all to outside users. For any investment to take place communities must be consulted and made to understand what type of investment it is and how it will benefit them. The gross injustices that have been condoned, so far so bad, in the world today in the name of investment and national economic growth (that does not trickle-down to the local poor community) should never be allowed to take deep roots in the Sudan. It is better to live poor and closer to nature in a community owned land than let go the community land in the name of modern advancement in infrastructure that is only affordable and disposable to the elite and the rich. In a research we carried out all over Southern Sudan in 2004 on Community Land Tenure and Ownership, no single community told us that they would reject government to make use of their land; what they require […]