Saturday, September 11, 2010

“Clinton Says Sudan Is a ‘Ticking Time Bomb’: But Will She Be Able to Defuse It?"

Finally! A sense of urgency about Sudan. In a major foreign policy address on September 8, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the country as a "ticking time bomb" (http://allafrica.com/stories/201009090002.html ). Yet it may already be too late. The “bomb” has been ticking for over five and a half years, and neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration has been willing to devote the appropriate attention to defuse it.

Self-determination referenda are scheduled for early January 2011, in both Southern Sudan and the contested border enclave of Abyei. There is precious little time to avert a return to civil war in the next 120 days, as unresolved issues between the Khartoum regime and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in the South threaten to derail the voting process spelled out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). A host of important electoral mechanics and procedures remain to be agreed upon, and Khartoum gives every sign that it is trying to run out the clock, thereby forcing Southern Sudan either to delay the referenda or to make a unilateral declaration of independence. Either could easily become a casus belli, as could Khartoum’s blunt refusal to honor the results of the referenda—or an attempt to preempt those results militarily.

So how can we maximize the chances of a peaceful separation within Africa’s largest, and ethnically most diverse, country? How can we deal with the perverse fact that Sudan’s oil reserves lie so near the North/South border, as do vast quantities of arable land? The question is made especially difficult by the fact that these oil reserves are chiefly in the South—80 percent is a common figure—while Chinese-constructed oil infrastructure lies mainly in the north. Moreover, the border regions, including Abyei, are among the most populous in Sudan, and ethnic tensions are close to boiling. How can we resolve the various disputes that have festered for so many years? Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

1 comment:

john said...

Darfur seems to be a dead topic for so many people nowadays but the Genocide hasn’t stopped. I think this new movie Attack on Darfur will really get people interested again.