Sudan: Two Crises, One Solution?
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.
The center of gravity of Sudan’s national question remains the twin issues of relations between North and South and national democratization. These are extraordinarily difficult, almost intractable challenges. Darfurians have the opportunity to take a lead in resolving Sudan’s national crisis, by bridging the Nilocentric “Arab”-“African” polarity and becoming the key electoral bloc in support of a “unity in diversity” approach. Or Darfur’s crisis, addressed inconclusively and in isolation from the national questions, could become the thread that unravels Sudan’s social and political fabric, causing even greater disaster. Either way, it’s essential that national and international political efforts are refocused on the CPA and its promise of the democratic transformation of Sudan.
Should Darfur’s peace process continue to be a sideshow in Sudanese national politics, while Sudan’s national crisis is a sideshow in international diplomacy? Or should the two crises now be addressed as a single challenge?