Sunday, January 03, 2010

Orchestrating Sudan’s next fateful step

GIVEN SUDAN’S tragic history, marked by decades of civil war between the north and south, and more recent mass deaths and displacement in Darfur, it might seem hard to imagine an even more precarious future. But unless the international community moves rapidly, Sudan’s future could see the division of the country into two unviable states.

The first would be a northern Islamic state ruled by an accused war criminal, lacking legitimacy and basic freedoms essential for political stability and just governance, and facing armed rebellion not only in Darfur, but in the Nuba Mountains, the Blue Nile, and the far north.

The second would be a new country in the south, likely born into “failed state’’ status, dependent on the tender mercies of antagonistic neighbors and international aid donors, divided by violent ethnic clashes, and also lacking even the most modest prospects for effective and transparent governance.

Sudan stands at a critical juncture, with national elections set for April and a southern referendum on independence in 2011. With a lost hope for the unity of Sudan, the northern National Congress Party under President Omer al-Bashir will probably do whatever is necessary to win the national elections, including rigging the vote and repressing the opposition. Badly damaged by the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the party needs elections to re-legitimize itself and tighten its grip on power. Read more >>>>>>>>

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