Saturday, November 28, 2009

The lyrics of great Darfur singer

U.S. says Sudan's 2010 elections in doubt

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - Sudan may be unable to hold credible elections in coming months because the ruling party and opposition cannot agree on ground rules for the polls, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

At the end of a trip to Sudan by President Barack Obama's special envoy Scott Gration, the State Department said it saw little movement on issues such as voter registration and border delineation between Khartoum and the semi-autonomous South -- endangering plans for national elections in April 2010 and a referendum on southern succession in 2011.

"Without immediate resolution of these disputes, we are concerned about the chances for conducting credible elections and referenda," it said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, the parties have not yet demonstrated the political will necessary to achieve resolution on these difficult and sensitive issues."

Gration's trip to Sudan was his first since Washington announced in October it would keep economic sanctions on Sudan but would also offer Khartoum new incentives to end violence in Darfur and the South.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), former southern rebels who are now junior partners in the governing coalition under the terms of a 2005 peace deal, have accused the North of stalling on a democratic transformation and undermining plans for free elections.

The SPLM and other parties said on Wednesday they would delay a decision on whether to boycott April's elections in part due to a week-long extension of the voter registration period. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sudan's UN Ambassador Says Peacekeepers Should Leave Darfur

It’s time for international peacekeepers to prepare to leave the Sudan’s Darfur region, said the Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem,

The war in Darfur is over, he said, and with peace in sight, the U.N.-African Union Peacekeeping Mission (UNAMID) should plan for an exit strategy.

Ambassador Abdalhaleem was responding to a new report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that accuses the Sudanese government of harassing international peacekeepers and limiting their movements.

Sudan-born policy analyst Omer Ismail criticized the ambassador’s statement. Read more >>>>>>.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

“Sudan at the Flash Point,” The Christian Science Monitor, November 24, 200

By Eric Reeves

Northampton, Mass. - Sudan, the largest country in Africa, is on the verge of plunging into yet another north/south civil war. International failure to guarantee the key provisions of a linchpin peace agreement means that a renewed war could be the most widespread and destructive in the country's half century of independence.

The 2005 "Comprehensive Peace Agreement" (CPA) between the present National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime in Khartoum and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) ended one of Africa's longest civil wars, with nominal agreement on security, wealth sharing, and governance issues.

However, the international community – including the African Union, the US, the European Union, and China – has not taken implementation of the peace agreement seriously enough for oil-rich Sudan. This has enabled Khartoum to renege on key elements of the agreement with little consequence and to manipulate ethnic, political, and military tensions throughout the region.

Without meaningful pressure, the NIF/NCP regime has also delayed the legislation that will guide a referendum in which South Sudan votes on whether to secede or remain part of a unified Sudanese state. The vote is scheduled for January 2011, but referendum legislation is already two years behind schedule. The self-determination vote is critical for all of Sudan, and if compromised, southern Sudanese are likely to consider this the final straw and resort to renewed war to gain the independence the majority seeks. In anticipation, Khartoum may launch a preemptive military campaign.

This is particularly bad news. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Poor significance of "Vice President from Darfur"

By Gamal A Adam

November 16, 2009 — The theme of a “Vice President from Darfur” has been a recurring issue on Sudanese websites for the last few weeks. Different sources that have discussed the issue have underlined the fact that it emanated from the National Congress Party (NCP) during one of its recent meetings and that Omer Albashir has been serious in considering it. Some of these sources went as far as pointing out that the person who is expected to represent Darfur in that position will be a leading member of the Popular Congress Party because that might, according to these sources, be a suitable dowry with which the National Congress Party can remarry the Popular Congress Party after their divorce of 1999.

However, this discussion raises a number of questions. Notably: “Is the Sudanese Problem in Darfur resolvable by reconciliation between the National Congress Party and the Popular Congress party through the position of Vice President? Has the Darfur problem only come to the fore as a result of conflict over positions between northern and western Sudanese in National Islamic Front (NIF) before 1999? Since when was the NIF representative of Darfur to the point that its reestablishment will automatically lead to the resolution of the region’s problems? If the position of Vice President was really the solution to the problems of marginalized regions in Sudan why has the position of First Vice President not solved the problem of Southern Sudan? And can even the position of President from a marginalized region solve the problem of Darfur, Southern Sudan or Eastern Sudan while the Sudanese state continues to be like a corporate enterprise run by individuals from the arbized-Nubian tribes of Ja’alyeen, Shaiguia and Danagla?

Those who think that the Darfur problem is resolvable through the creation of new positions are deliberately misinterpreting the problem of the region. These include the social, economic and education destruction specialists in National Congress Party and their puppets from Darfur whose main functions include the occupation of lower ranks in that party, patronage positions invented for them and surveillance against innocent Darfuris. My focus in the following pages is on those who have transformed the country into a tribal enterprise and who are now marketing the position of vice president for the Darfur cause. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Losing the fight for Darfur

By Michael Gerson

T he genocide in Darfur is no longer a trendy, breathless global cause. But the women of Darfur haven't gotten the message.

On May 15, a woman near the Al Hamadiya camp in Zalingei was collecting firewood. Three armed men in khaki uniforms raped her, stabbed her in the leg, inflicted genital injuries and left her bleeding. She spent 45 days in the hospital. In 2003, the same woman was raped and shot while fleeing her village.

Her story is in a recent, exhaustive, chilling report on Sudan written by a panel of experts at the United Nations. A U.N. official told me, "We have not talked to a single woman [in Darfur] who has not stated that sexual violence is their first concern." The panel documented sexual assaults against pregnant women and 12-year-old girls. Prosecutions are nonexistent. Local officials are indifferent. Read more >>>>>

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bashir misses Islamic summit

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court, has pulled out of an Islamic summit in Istanbul.

The Turkish government had previously welcomed the attendance of President Bashir at the meeting and said that he would not be arrested.

But the EU, which Turkey hopes to join, wanted the invitation to be withdrawn. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Expulsions hit Darfur rape victims: Aid groups

By Andrew Heavens

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Rape victims in Sudan's Darfur region have lost vital medical and psychological support since Khartoum expelled aid agencies working against sexual violence this year, the United Nations and aid workers said.

A Sudanese minister on Wednesday dismissed the reports as "propaganda" saying there was no widespread rape in the region and that foreigners were free to come and investigate.

Sudan ousted 13 foreign aid groups and closed three local organisations in March after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al- Bashir to face charges of masterminding atrocities in Darfur.

Khartoum accused the groups of passing information to the Hague-based court, a charge they deny.

Ten out of the 13 expelled foreign groups were doing work related to protection and sexual violence, said an official from one of the ousted organisations who asked not to be named.

"Women are now feeling a lot less safe in reporting rapes and there's been a resurgence of the bad old days when women victims are treated like criminals if they report it," the official said. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sudan: Election Crisis Reveals a Country Lurching Toward War

There is growing awareness that national elections scheduled for April 2010 will fail on many counts, with unpredictable consequences for the Khartoum regime’s ambitions to retain its stranglehold on Sudanese national wealth and power. In turn, the prospect of an aborted or compromised Southern self-determination referendum (January 2011) looms ever closer, with the potential to trigger unfathomable destruction.

Eric Reeves
November 9, 2009

With growing inevitability, Sudan has begun what the evidence suggests is a final lurch toward renewed North-South war—and the likely spread of intense fighting to other marginalized areas, including Kordofan, southern Blue Nile, Kassala and Red Sea states, Nubia, and most ominously Darfur. For the Darfuri rebel groups will certainly see the outbreak of war between Khartoum’s forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army as an occasion for overcoming the prevailing military stalemate in the west. War will begin when Khartoum decides that it has nothing further to gain from its merely nominal commitment to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)—or when Southerners become convinced that the bedrock principle of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement—a Southern self-determination referendum guaranteed in the Machakos Protocol (July 2002)—will not be honored by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime. Whether in the form of a unilateral abrogation of yet another agreement by Khartoum or a unilateral Southern declaration of independence, the moment of most desperate truth for millions of Sudanese will have arrived.

In the short term Khartoum may still decide that its interests lie in making temporary concessions on the referendum legislation that was to have been passed more than two years ago. But recent public comments, from both the Southern political leadership and Khartoum officials, suggest that this is growing less likely. Moreover, several other key issues impinge on the final meaning of the self-determination referendum, including a demarcation of the North-South border; the final status of Abyei (which is to have its own self-determination referendum, with the choice of joining the South); the role of a deeply compromised census favoring Khartoum on virtually every demographic issue; and the use to which the regime will put the April 2010 national elections, which have already been delayed twice and now lie only five months off. Further delay would push these elections into the rainy season and make an already overwhelming logistical challenge utterly impossible. Read more >>>>

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Al-Bashir should be arrested, not invited

He is back in town. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, president of Sudan, against whom the International Criminal Court, or ICC, has issued an arrest warrant, has been invited to a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC, in Istanbul. Last year, al-Bashir visited Turkey twice and despite national and international protests the Turkish government seems to have no intention at all of changing its policy on allowing a person into the country that is under strong suspicion of being responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

First the facts. Between 2003 and 2008, according to United Nations estimates, 300,000 people were killed in Darfur, a region in Sudan where armed groups oppose the central government. A campaign against these rebels was organized that included unlawful attacks on that part of the civilian population of Darfur perceived to be close to the organized armed groups. In March 2009, the ICC found that al-Bashir, as the de jure and de facto president of Sudan and commander-in-chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, is suspected of having coordinated the design and implementation of that campaign.

Until today, 110 countries have ratified the Rome Statute establishing the ICC. The Court will only intervene if national legal systems are unable or unwilling to do so. The Court can automatically exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed on the territory of a state that is a member of the ICC or by a national of that state. ICC members must cooperate with the court, including surrendering suspects when requested to do so by the court. Turkey has not yet ratified the Rome Statute despite promises made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan dating back to 2004. Read more >>>>>>>>>