Critique of the Sudan Government’s Darfur Strategy (II)
This is Part II of the Critique, a detailed analysis of what is contained in the Draft Strategy Document.
IN ITS INTRODUCTION, the document assumes that the Strategy shall address the concerns of Darfur Community: the “Concerns” need to be defined and ascertained. Important within the concerns is pitting tribes against each other and fuelling ethnicity as a notion of admitting facts on the ground. It assumes that the situation in Darfur is exacerbated by the fragmentation and proliferation of rebel groups. But it does not tell us what that core situation before exacerbation is. It also does not qualify the “parallel division of civil society”.
It assumes that the pattern of violence in Darfur has shifted to a low-intensity insurgency; but seems to ignore the high rating for “Potential Violence”. It recognizes the need for the return of IDPs and refugees to their “original homes” which is critical. It does not use the word “original” consistently in the document. The document talks about “limitations” on the mediation process. That is very polite and misleading. It does not represent the reality of the total failure of Mediation and Doha.
In order to make the process more inclusive, the Strategy Document claims that the Doha Mediation has initiated a worthy consultation with civil society that should be complemented by a systematic, internal process. We do not see the logic in that. The inclusion of Darfur Society in Track I is a fundamental reason for the failure of Doha and the loss of lives in Kalma and Humiediyya. Internal Processes have different agenda, inputs and outputs and cannot, on their own, lead to any credible conclusions. They are generally a “feeder” into the negotiated Process with the Movements.
The Strategy assumes that UNAMID has still more to offer and should evolve to its greatest potential towards promoting peace, reconciliation and development. We argue that they are already confused and over-whelmed with their basic mandate. We are concerned that any involvement in the Political Process will confuse them even more. Gambari was making an escape from his failures by infringing on the Political Process. UNAMID’s basic job is “Stabilization” and they are not good at it.
The document suggests the possibility of reaching a comprehensive agreement recognized and supported by the international community. In Doha and even in Abuja there were no real guarantors. The agreements failed without any modality of recourse to monitoring or arbitration.
It assumes that various agreements and consultations on record can provide a basis for “this final phase” of the peace process; but did not explain in what way. GOS and the Darfur Movements may consider doing a collation and inter-twining of all the existing agreements as one foundational document in consultation with noteworthy stakeholders
GOS suggests resolving the conflict through five main elements: security (which we do not believe can come without negotiations), development, resettlement, reconciliation, and negotiations. It is not clear from the document if the resources needed are there in real terms and $$ and that there is institutional capacity and realistic and sustained political will.
The Government of Sudan sees that its comprehensive political process shall seek to address the causes of the conflict, including development, ecological degradation, arms flows, and political grievances such as inclusion and equitable wealth distribution. This is a huge task and needs massive attention in any strategy document and in any “Architecture” for any solutions. “Access” to human needs is a major factor in Identity-Based Conflicts. If not addressed, the call for Self-determination will be voiced.
The Strategy will also address the manifestations of the conflict. This is interesting. GOS needs to re-evaluate and re-address their handling for these “manifestations” that have greatly exacerbated violence. The document lists the manifestations as: insecurity and displacement; but adds “fragmentation among the Darfur community and rebel movements”. This is not a “manifestation” of the conflict. The Document could have added extensive physical international and regional forces on the ground and “aid fragmentation” where GOS has very little, if any, say or control. Extreme ethnic sensitivities are one of the more serious and longer lasting manifestations. GOS sees this to be done jointly with its partners and with the Darfur population. The document makes no mention of the Rebel Movements as partners.
The document suggests that as the North and South pursue negotiations on post-referendum issues, Darfur may be a source of tension; likewise, it suggest that tense negotiations between the North and South will likely complicate a resolution in Darfur. But the document makes no mention that post January 9th 2011 GOS will have the 28% of power-sharing with the SPLM which may be key to a settlement in Darfur.
IN ITS OBJECTIVES AND PRIORITIES
â— The document calls for the “Domestication” of the Darfur political process. This approach will turn the Movements into spoilers by sense of exclusion, true or perceived and that will be disastrous.
â— The Strategy calls for enhancing security on the ground and working to restore confidence between the population and the security forces. It did not tell us how. This is key to security. There is difference between “Security” per se and “sense and feeling” of security. The document suggests the deployment of community police where needed. This is new and intriguing.
â— The strategy calls for accelerating the voluntary, safe, sustainable resettlement of IDPs and the repatriation of refugees to their (original-inserted by Subsahara) homes. It stipulates to guarantee livelihood for nomads. “Nomads” are normally “Arab Tribes”. The Strategy needs to be clear to include sedentary agriculturalists. This bullet is a very tall order on its own. How will GOS do that? This is normally “Post Conflict Reconstruction” and “Peace Dividends”. The Strategy wants to reverse order. This came in the SPI and for 2 years now it has not happened. Why should people believe it will happen now?
â— The document calls for “political projects” on the ground. It is not clear what is meant by “Political Projects”. If it is further “dismantling” of the traditional alliances and centres of tribal power, the results can be anybody’s guess.
â— The Strategy calls for working closely with UNAMID, the Joint Mediator and the AUHIP. This is also s dangerous game. UNAMID needs to remain only for peacekeeping and stabilization. The Joint Mediator needs to remain only for negotiation. If he is replaced with a competent person under Doha Forum or a new forum, he/she will have a full plate with negotiations. It assumes that the three External Bodies can facilitate consultations among the communities in Darfur. We are not sure how GOS can do that with three un-coordinated groups that are all inefficient.
â— The Strategy calls for implementing justice through national mechanisms and in close consultation with all Darfur communities. This quashes the AUPD/AUHIP recommendations for a hybrid approach.
â— It calls for reorienting humanitarian operations to shift the focus from relief
to long-term development. With the meagre resources of $1.9 billion over 4 years and the very doubtful International Support for such a policy and the very nature of the current INGOs in Darfur, this calls for a clearer methodology of the reorientation.
â— It calls as well for mobilizing regional and international support to consolidate gains made in the peace process and support any future agreements. We note that gains will have to be made first and are visible and acknowledged.
â— It advocates promoting reconciliation amongst the Darfur communities by making use of traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution and restoring harmony and cooperation to all segments of society. This is more of a dream. The traditional modalities are failing every day since 1971 whence its backbone of Native Rule was abolished. Any possible success of such residual modalities needs to stand on the solid pillars of a Comprehensive Political Settlement.
â— It assumes the conclusion of a Global Political Agreement (GPA) based on consultations with the Darfur community and past negotiations. We do not believe this will work. One cannot have a GPA without negotiations with the primary stakeholders who are not the Darfur Society. Those are JEM Khalil and SLM Abdulwahid. Such an approach of a GPA (Mediation is shamefully adopting that) never happened before in the history of Political Settlements in the last 40 years we have been aware of.
IN ITS RE-ORIENTING THE PEACE PROCESS , The Strategy suggests a massive shift from Primary Stakeholders (Movements) to Secondary Stakeholders (Darfur Society). What is intriguing about this is how can secondary stakeholder such as Darfur Society implement agreements and stop violence?
It assumes that the Doha Forum will remain the only “agreed” venue for Darfur negotiations. It does not say agreed by whom? Even the bigger part of LJM has left. The core of the Road Map is also out. JEM and SLM Abdulwahid are out. Doha is now a ghost. The document suggests that the glitches in Doha are due to the continuing fragmentation of Darfur belligerents and the changeability of rebel movements’ positions. That is but one reason. That is not even the primary reason. What about the weakness and incompetence of Mediation?
The Document envisages a shift in the negotiations’ center of gravity towards an internal course of action, meant to allow full participation by the people of Darfur. That is still Track II. This can only be a feeder into “a” Track I. The bullet gives the impression of putting negotiation with Rebel groups as secondary. That “impression” alone will turn them into “spoilers” and enemies of the initiative. What about security arrangements and power sharing? How can Darfur Society deal with those? This is Movements’ domain.
The Strategy admits that GOS cannot go it alone; though read between the lines. We wonder why the strategy is taking external stakeholder so strongly into an internal process.
The Strategy has borrowed and adapted the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue (DDD) and restructured it into the Darfur Consultations Forum (DCF). It hopes that its resolutions shall feed into the Doha negotiations to help develop a Global Political Agreement. That shall not produce a durable agreement. The DCF do not have the “Power Mechanisms” needed to “set conditions” for a sustainable and satisfactory end to the conflict. This bullet is rather perplexing. With whom will Mediation work in Doha? With which Movements? There is nobody there; even LJM is fragmenting like any group with no cohesive glue. The Document is putting too much emphasis on “actors” who may be important but do not have the necessary structures.
The ultimate goal of negotiations has been identified as “to draft a Global Political Agreement (GPA)”. That nullifies the basic concepts of a “Negotiated Settlement” along the lines of “Principled Negotiations”. Armed movements cannot be “invited” to sign on a pre-prepared agreement. They can only “make” the agreement on which they will sign. One wonders: Can non-combatants set the tone for combatants?
IN ITS COMMITMENT TO PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS, The Document assumes that GOS will remain committed to upholding and implementing all previously signed agreements. All Primary Stakeholders may consider working on a “Foundational” document that merges and galvanizes all the existing agreements into one “compact” accepted by all.
The Strategy calls for pursuing multiple tracks for peacemaking. This is very difficult to manage. What architecture is needed? What resources are available? It also intends to include all Darfur groups. That will be impossible. The “gathering process” alone is not possible and that is why dealing with leadership that has structures is doable.
The Strategy brings to life the Sudan People’s Initiative (SPI) with all its 6 pillars. This document was, and still remains, very controversial. Attendees to Kenana and Khartoum backed out from it. It remains an NCP initiative which is 2 years old.
IN ITS SECURITY
a) The document is taking security into the local hands and away from the international hands. This is very open and undefined. Security is “provided” and not “agreed”. If the local hands can provide security, why are they not doing it now?
b) GOS intends to curb insecurity and stabilize the region. There will be more porosity from South Darfur after January-July 2011.
c) The Government shall pursue concurrent disarmament of all armed groups in Darfur as part of its comprehensive peace building strategy. Again this is easier to say than do. This may be doable only after a negotiated settlement that takes most of the arms with its men into “regular forces”. This can only be done with Movements. If self-determination call grows, as it may, new recruitment and new arms shall flow and the situation will be of a different magnitude.
d) The protection of civilians shall be handled jointly in cooperation with UNAMID’s ongoing operations. So far about 25,000 AU/UN forces have failed to do that. “The level of effort” is too weak at one soldier per 25 square kilometres.
e) The Document advocates that GOS will work to protect all the people of Darfur against armed groups by strengthening the general capacity of state security organs, enhancing border monitoring mechanisms, negotiating ceasefires with all amenable belligerents and finalizing reintegration of DPA and DoC signatories’ troops into the Sudan Armed Forces. This is a security lens approach. It is Power Brokerage and a military approach to ending the conflict.
IN ITS RECONCILIATION AND JUSTICE, There seems to be a mix between a modern sense and practice of “Justice” and traditional modalities of dealing with massive atrocities. The Strategy talks about “Compensations” but does not indicate “equitable” compensations. It does not identify the yard-stick for “equitable” compensations. Will it be International Law or Customary International Law based on precedents?
IN ITS [TRANSITION] FROM RELIEF TO DEVELOPMENT, ¸The Strategy talks about the voluntary, safe and orderly return of displaced people to their “original” homes and that it should be upheld as the ultimate “indicator” of a successful resolution” to the Darfur conflict. This can be challenged. The how is as equally important as the end. Through what mechanisms will they return? Under what sustainability and stability provisions? The return of the sedentary population is far more challenging that the pastoralists population.
This set of activities needs $4-$5 billion. Can that fund be available within a timeframe of 4-5 years? Possibly $2 billion as start?
IN ITS ADJUSTING PERCEPTIONS AND REALITY, To deal with what the Strategy calls “the sometimes wilful misrepresentation of the conflict” requires an in-depth “Conflict Analysis”. This has not been done until today in spite of heaps of reports and funds spent on it. This is the only way to rectify perceptions. This can only happen with an internationally accepted Conflict Analysis along the 4 theories of conflict. The Strategy assumes a role for UNAMID on that, but we cannot understand what do UNAMID have to do with the fabric of the conflict?
The Strategy advocates that UNAMID, in coordination with relevant agencies, should strive to use its “assets” to promote recovery. UNAMID do not have assets for that and it is not their mandate.
IN ITS “THE AFRICAN UNION PANEL ON DARFUR (AUPD) AND THE AU HIGH-LEVEL IMPLEMENTATION PANEL (AUHIP)”, The Strategy assumes a role for AUPD and the AUHIP and lists most of their current recommendations expect JUSTICE and its hybrid template. The suggested activities of the AUPD and AUHIP will clash with the AU/UN JCM?
ON ITS OTHER PARTNERS, The Strategy recognizes the need for a shift from a confrontational, obstructionist attitude towards a more constructive and cooperative one with the International Community. But that remains a “wish”. That “shift” will have pre-requisites. Some of those re-requisites require paradigm shifts in the policies of GOS/NCP. Can they do/afford that?
The Strategy requests cooperation of the International Community in refocusing from relief to development. They call upon them to encourage Darfur communities to accept speedier resettlement, thereby helping to definitively resolve the conflict much more quickly than would otherwise be the case. The International Partners will not do that, but may agree to directly implement projects under a durable and comprehensive Political Agreement. Even then will the ICC issue vanish?
IN ITS IMPLEMENTATION, The Strategy needs a whole “Architecture” for its ambitious activities. It needs a “Whole-of-Government” approach to Darfur. Not just an implementation plan. This architecture and its resources and institutional capacity can make or break any strategy. $1.9 billion over 4 years with only $900 available will not go far.
IN ITS TIMEFRAME, Timeframes of the Strategy seem to privilege the signing of a Global Political Agreement, but it does not tell us with whom? SLM/AW and JEM Khalil will not sign to it. It also suggests that the Strategy under-estimate what the two movements can do. The Strategy links the initiation of critical projects to January 2011 referendum on self-determination in the South. This is a fatal mistake. It gives the impression that Darfur is an “accessory” or corollary to something else.