Saturday, May 08, 2010


What do Sudan’s recent elections mean for the people of Darfur? In all likelihood, they augur increasing violence and deteriorating humanitarian conditions. There has already been a sharp increase in military activity by the Khartoum regime and its Janjaweed militia allies over the past four months, particularly in the Jebel Marra and Jebel Moon regions, where rebel presence is most significant. All signs since the elections suggest an even greater increase in violence. And as has been the case since the beginning of the genocidal counter-insurgency effort that began in earnest in 2003, civilians are the ones bearing the brunt of renewed attacks by the regime. Numerous reports come from The Sudan Tribune and Radio Dabanga, both of which have extensive contacts on the ground; additional reporting comes from Darfuris in the diaspora who remain in close touch with their families, villages, and important leaders in the region.

One ominous result of the electoral triumph by Omar al-Bashir and his National Congress Party is that negotiations with Darfur’s rebels will almost certainly become more unyielding. Claiming the mantle of national authority on the basis of April’s hopelessly fraudulent elections, al-Bashir and his security cabal will give less and demand more of the rebel negotiators, who themselves seem to be weakening politically. With the rapprochement between Khartoum and N’Djamena and the associated loss of military might, the Justice and Equality Movement, or JEM, has lost significant negotiating strength in Doha. (Chad has long been the mainstay for JEM logistics, weapons, and safe haven.) The various factions that make up the newly formed Liberty and Justice Movement have yet to prove themselves to be a cohesive force, either on the ground or in the talks in Doha, which seem to be withering. JEM formally suspended participation in the Doha process on May 4 because of ongoing military actions against them, despite the February 23 cease-fire signed by Khartoum—only the latest that the regime has failed to honor. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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