“US Sudan Policy Sinks Further Into Disarray:
Key Agreements Now Lacking Enforcement, Renewal of Mandate”
A clear sign of how poorly the State Department’s Africa Bureau is handling Sudan policy is crystallized in its failure to have renewed the mandate for the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, set to expire in three weeks (March 31, 2003). This is so despite the increasingly important work of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT), and the very significantly expanded mandates that it has inherited in the wake of agreements signed by Khartoum and the SPLM/A on February 4, 2003. Such belatedness insures that Khartoum’s National Islamic Front has much more diplomatic leverage in re-negotiating the agreement, and indeed the regime is very likely to put severe restrictions on any augmentation of this critical monitoring force, despite its expanded mandates. For Khartoum is obviously the source of the overwhelming number of violations that fall within the CPMT investigative mandate; Khartoum has occasioned far and away the most scrutiny because of its ongoing violations of the cease-fire agreements; and Khartoum has come in for the harshest, indeed almost singular criticism in CPMT reports. To be sure, Khartoum will likely sign the mandate renewal, but only after preventing the terms for an adequate augmenting of resources—personnel, logistics, transport—for the now multiple mandates of the CPMT. This, in turn, has the effect of making the February 4 agreements meaningless, at least if we attend to the provisions that justified these new agreements in the first place. And if Africa Bureau diplomatic carelessness, or indifference, has rendered the February 4 agreements meaningless, what reason do the people of southern Sudan have for believing that other agreements negotiated under the auspices of the Machakos process will be more meaningful?
Eric Reeves [March 10, 2003]
Northampton, MA 01063
In addition to its original and critically important mandate of investigating military attacks on civilians throughout Sudan, the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team has become the default mechanism for implementing the mandates of the February 4, 2003 agreements. Though the “Addendum” to the October 15, 2003 cease-fire agreement and the “Joint Communiqu” that accompanied it—signed by Khartoum and the SPLM/A on February 4, 2003–envision a “Verification and Monitoring Team,” it was clear from the beginning that a separate monitoring entity was impracticable, not least because Khartoum would have held up its deployment interminably, as it held up deployment of the CPMT for months (helped, of course, by a lack of commitment on the part of the State Department’s Africa Bureau). So the mandates of the non-existent “Verification and Monitoring Team” have appropriately fallen to the CPMT. These include:
 Monitoring the terms of the October 15, 2002 cease-fire on the basis of the February 4, 2003 Addendum. Of particular importance is the stipulation that the parties will “cease supplying all areas with weapons and ammunition”; Khartoum has steadily continued to violate this key provision of the October 15 agreement, even as there has been no roll-back of any of the massive redeployments of offensive military assets that occurred between October 15 and February 4;
 Monitoring a halt in construction along the Bentiu-Leer-Adok oil road (per the February 4, 2003 Addendum);
 Overseeing the return of locations captured by either side between October 17, 2003 and February 4, 2003 (per the February 4, 2003 Addendum); this would include Khartoum’s many new garrisons along the oil road south of Bentiu, as well as towns like Akobo;
 And, implicitly, overseeing the safe return of those civilians displaced from the oil regions of Western Upper Nile by Khartoum’s January 2003 offensive (per the Joint Communiqu of February 4, 2003).
But these multiple mandates fall to a CPMT that is already vastly overworked and understaffed. Many egregious violations of the March 2002 agreement that defines the CPMT’s primary mandate have yet to be investigated because of the full-time nature of investigating Khartoum’s cease-fire violations in oil-rich Western Upper Nile. In a March 9, 2003 interim report on fighting in February and early March, the CPMT begins by noting that their “investigations throughout Western Upper Nile continued without pause during the entire month of February 2003.” The report chronicles the offensive military actions of Khartoum’s proxy militias, both in the areas west and south of Bentiu; these attacks include killings, rapes, looting, and other forms of civilian destruction. Khartoum’s regular military forces are also clearly implicated.
The reports also notes in detail the massive civilian displacement that Khartoum’s regular and militia forces have forced by means of these assaults:
“Verification and CPMT humanitarian-associated investigations confirm that villages remain empty in the northern part of Western Upper Nile southwest and southeast of Mankien [a Khartoum garrison town]. Lare is indeed virtually vacant, a formerly thriving area of over 9,000 inhabitants. All villages north and northwest of Lare remain virtually vacant also. Southeast of Mankien all villages are empty or nearly so, with the majority of the population having fled south of Tam or southeast to Leel and beyond.
“Along the Bentiu-Adok Road all the villages remain virtually empty both Northeast and Northwest of Leer. Villagers have slowly been returning to Leer itself since the 26 January incursion by the [Government of Sudan] garrison and Militia. However, there has been no significant movement noted back into the villages vacated in the area of Leer due to the road-building and deliberate actions against the civilian population by the Government of Sudan and their Militias, initiated on 31 December 02.”
The CPMT report makes clear the painstaking and time-consuming nature of their authoritative investigations, even as it highlights the failure of Khartoum to grant the CPMT access to key sites, despite the clear obligation to do so under the terms of the March 2002 and February 4, 2003 agreements. But what becomes clear in the course of reading this report is that the CPMT is spread far too thinly, and that many of its investigations are perforce cursory, involving only overflight. Actual landings, followed by on-the-ground investigations—as well as remaining overnight in various key locations—are too often not possible.
Moreover, various conclusions are drawn by the CPMT but not fully verified. For example, on the key issue of construction along the Bentiu-Adok oil road, the CPMT reports:
“Despite agreeing to stop construction on the Bentiu-Adok road, photographs on 8 February noted continued construction [by the Government of Sudan], and the presence of wheeled armored personnel carriers. This overt construction activity continued until more direct Verification was conducted by high-level US Diplomatic representation. Although associated heavy road construction equipment has departed the area, there continue to be unconfirmed reports indicating the covert dumping of All-Weather topsoil and low-level road construction continuing through the night and twilight hours.”
But these “unconfirmed reports” need to be investigated thoroughly and authoritatively, given Khartoum’s demonstrated willingness to violate the February 4 agreements. It is not a criticism of the CPMT to say that they are simply not able to monitor this important provision; it is rather to point again to the basic fact that the CPMT cannot manage its various and significantly expanded mandates without very considerable additional resources—resources that are exceedingly unlikely to be forthcoming.
For the State Department’s Africa Bureau, having delayed so long in securing a renewal of the original CPMT mandate (set to expire March 31, 2003), will in all likelihood be unable to convince Khartoum to permit an appropriate expansion of resources within the remaining short negotiating window. Further complicating the present diplomatic situation are the strenuously difficult negotiations over the contested areas (Abyei, the Nuba Mountains, and Southern Blue Nile) and the urgent need to negotiate the renewal of the cease-fire agreement itself, also scheduled to expire on March 31, 2003.
All this makes clear that the terms for renewing the mandate of the CPMT should have been attended to over a month ago, at the time of the February 4 signings: it was then, if the State Department’s Africa Bureau really intended to have the agreements mean something, that the critical issue of resources should have been addressed—not in the waning weeks of an expiring agreement, amidst a fiercely difficult negotiating context. Khartoum will in all likelihood sign on to a renewal of the March 2002 agreement that created the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, but on its own stringent terms—which are certainly not those in the interest of the civilians of southern Sudan.
Perversely, the need for a monitoring force with the requisite resources only grows clearer. In addition to the March 9, 2003 report from CPMT, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has highlighted Khartoum’s violations of the cease-fire agreements in a recent press release (March 6, 2003). ICG declares frankly that if Khartoum’s “grave breach of signed agreements is not challenged by the international community it will set a precedent that the parties have no reason to take other parts of the peace process seriously, including any final agreement and accompanying international guarantees that may be reached.”
ICG then notes the highly serious cease-fire violations independently verified by its own recent on-the-ground fact-finding investigation in Western Upper Nile:
“13 February 2003: Government sponsored militias attacked the villages of Thaker, Thargoth, and Dhornier. All three villages are situated close to Leer and a newly constructed road, built to facilitate oil industry development.
“16 February 2003: Roughly 1200 government sponsored militias under the command of Peter Gadet led a three-pronged attack out of Mankien, targeting the villages of Loth, Keriel, and Ruothnyia Bol.
“22 February 2003: Roughly 1100 government sponsored militias, again under the command of Peter Gadet, led a three-pronged attack out of Mankien, targeting the villages of Tam, Lingera and Wanglieth.”
The terrible humanitarian consequences of these attacks, directed primarily against civilians, have been confirmed by both the CPMT report as well as other extremely reliable regional sources.
This, then, is the situation created by the Sudan policies of the State Department’s Africa Bureau and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner. On March 10, 2003, only twenty-one days before the mandate of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team is set to expire, there is neither clear indication that such renewal will be forthcoming—or, more significantly, that it will be a renewal allowing the mandates of the cease-fire agreements of October 15, 2002 and February 4, 2003 to retain any meaning. There is a sickening familiarity to this ineptitude, or sheer indifference, on the part of the Kansteiner and his Africa Bureau. And in every instance, the victims are the people of southern Sudan. There is no evidence that rehabilitation is possible.