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 >>>>

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