The Abuja (Nigeria) peace negotiations for Darfur are defined by the larger context of international inaction and acquiescence
June 17, 2005
Current Darfur peace negotiations in Abuja (Nigeria), conducted under the auspices of the African Union, are the first since December 2004. At the time, the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum deliberately collapsed negotiations by launching a major military offensive on the very even of resumed talks. This is the context in which to understand the regime’s current presence in Abuja. The UN’s ever-expedient Jan Pronk—Kofi Annan’s special representative for Sudan—has made various approving noises, evidently to encourage Khartoum. But this regime is unchanged in its genocidal ambitions, as is clear from a continuing stream of reports from UN organizations, international humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur, news reports, and confidential sources on the ground.
What is all too clear is that the international community, in accepting Khartoum as a legitimate negotiating partner, cannot discern a way forward that does not entail expediently accommodating the regime’s massive atrocities and its continuing defiance of international “demands.” The larger effect is to convince Khartoum’s genocidaires that by holding to their present course of obduracy, they will ultimately prevail and the international community will weary of Sudan as a focus of diplomatic and humanitarian energies. This has implications not only for Darfur, but for southern Sudan, for the marginalized areas only partially addressed by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of January 9, 2005 (particularly the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile), and for eastern Sudan.
THREATS IN EASTERN SUDAN
The Beja and other peoples in eastern Sudan have long experienced extreme marginalization and deprivation at the hands of the NIF regime, and for months tensions have been escalating. Though a full-scale insurgency by forces of the Beja Congress, as well as the smaller Rashaida Free Lions, is unlikely without the approval of neighboring Eritrea, tensions between Khartoum and Asmara are such that an explosion is now distinctly possible.
Of the reasons for a new insurgency in Sudan we may certain. A series of important and exceedingly rare dispatches from eastern Sudan has been filed by Reuters’ Ed Harris:
“When aid workers first arrived in the east in 2000, they were shocked. ‘We found a humanitarian situation that was probably one of the worst we had ever seen in Africa,’ [said] Fergus Thomas, field coordinator for the International Rescue Committee. ‘We found a population with rampant epidemics, with no health structure in place, with no education system, and illiteracy rates of more than 97 percent,’ he told Reuters, adding that fighting had exacerbated the situation. Despite the entry of aid groups, there are fears that resentment in the east of Sudan towards Khartoum could make it the next flashpoint in Africa’s largest country.” (Reuters [dateline: Hor-Milih, Eastern Sudan], June 12, 2005)
The Beja people are the most numerous in eastern Sudan, with a largely nomadic population of several million living across Sudan, Eritrea, and Egypt. Having so long endured Khartoum’s callously cruel abandonment, the Beja are now convinced that the regime understands only force. This has led to the formation on an “Eastern Front,” comprising both the military elements of the Beja Congress and the Rashaida Free Lions (the Rashaida are another of the marginalized peoples of eastern Sudan). Khartoum’s response to date has been brutally oppressive and seems designed to provoke confrontation. For example:
“Recent events in the eastern Red Sea town of Port Sudan have fed [the] anger [of the Beja people]. Sudanese forces killed at least 20 people there in January  in a crackdown on Beja demonstrations to demand talks on sharing power and wealth.” (Reuters, June 13, 2005)
An excellent overview of developments in the east was provided earlier this year by Alex de Waal of Justice Africa. Noting both the large Darfuri migration to eastern Sudan, and the presence of offices in Asmara (Eritrea) representing the two main Darfuri insurgency groups, de Waal suggests that “it is not impossible that, with Eritrean backing, these Darfur groups could open a second front in [eastern Sudan]” (Parliamentary Brief [UK], February 2005). The combined forces of the Eastern Front and the Darfur insurgency movements would be potent.
Khartoum appears ready, as de Waal notes:
“The Sudanese security services are not inactive in the face of these threats. There is substantial mobilisation of the army and Popular Defence Forces in eastern Sudan and intensified surveillance of the Darfurian population in the region. Detentions and harassment have become routine, and it would take only a single violent incident by a panicky or overzealous local security chief to spark a localised conflict, with unpredictable consequences.”
But as de Waal further observes:
“Whoever brings war to eastern Sudan will take responsibility for a war with immense repercussions, including violence against large and vulnerable civilian populations and famine in an area already suffering drought and food shortages.”
If the war in Darfur has taught us anything, however, it is that Sudanese people suffering under intolerable repression and extreme economic marginalization will at some point rebel. This is unlikely to be informed by a deliberative calculation about civilian costs, despite de Waal’s prescience about the consequences of rebellion or a response to a security crackdown. But Khartoum must bear ultimate responsibility, including for the appalling conditions defining the lives of millions of people in eastern Sudan.
THE THREATS TO PEACE IN SOUTHERN SUDAN
In southern Sudan, international complacency about the January peace agreement, as well as shamefully dilatory international financial responses to the urgent transitional humanitarian needs, leaves as an open question whether the negotiated peace will actually take hold. Of particular concern are the Khartoum-backed militias that continue to operate in oil-rich Upper Nile province. An excellent and deeply informed account of this troubling issue has recently been provided by another experienced Sudan analyst, Julie Flint. In depicting the current threats to peace in the south, she uses as her telling example not the frequently visited Rumbek (the busy provisional capital of southern Sudan, in Bahr el-Ghazal) but Payuer, on the eastern side of the White Nile River. Flint argues that the peace agreement of January “will not break down in Rumbek, but it could in Payuer”—and if it breaks down, it will be because Khartoum continues to back various militia groups that have served for years as the regime’s military proxy in Upper Nile:
“Throughout the war, the Khartoum government used ethnic militias to divide and rule, denying any hand in the resulting mayhem. ‘Tribal trouble,’ it said, as it says now in Darfur. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was negotiated, and signed, only by the Khartoum government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). The militias had no involvement in it. And in Northern Upper Nile, around Payuer, they are not fading away. Far from it: they are recruiting—at government urging, defectors say—training, and attacking. Not quite as before, it’s true. But attacking nonetheless.”
“Since the CPA was signed, government-supported Southern militias have attacked two SPLA positions around the oilfields near Payuer and displaced Southern civilians from a number of villages. The government has responded by promoting the militia leaders, confirming local people in the belief that the attacks were government-inspired. Militiamen who have chosen to join their kin in SPLA-controlled territory have paid a heavy price: their villages have been attacked and looted, and their families displaced.” (Julie Flint, The Daily Star [Lebanon], June 10, 2005)
The security protocol that constitutes a major part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement calls for the disarmament of these militias over the course of the first year: instead, Khartoum gives every sign of preserving them as a source of military leverage and a means for creating the pretext that would justify renewed war in the oil regions. Significantly, the hugely expensive UN peace support operation for southern Sudan (authorized by the UN Security Council in March 2005) does nothing to provide the means or mandate for disarming the militias, or stopping them if they seek to undermine the peace agreement. This is so despite the more than 10,000 UN-deployed personnel envisioned and the bloated US$1 billion per year budget.
There are numerous other threats to peace and security in southern Sudan, none more acute than the failure of the international community to provide the critical transitional aid that has been promised to the south. This failure occurs even as hundreds of thousands of displaced southerners are returning. A detailed UN study finds that 209,000 people returned to southern Sudan between January 2005 and March 2005 alone (“Inter-Agency Rapid Needs Assessment: March 24-April 26, 2005,” by the UN World Food Program, May 18, 2005). This number will continue to grow rapidly and may accelerate, even as extreme food insecurity already threatens a large and growing number of lives. At the same time, the most recent WFP assessment notes that its “emergency operation [for southern Sudan] is currently resourced 74 per cent below the target” (WFP Southern Sudan Operation Lifeline Sudan, Monthly Report: May 2005, page 5).
In mid-April 2005, in Oslo (Norway), international donors promised US$4.5 billion for post-war reconstruction, 40 percent of which was to go to the south. But as The Financial Times recently reports, none of the money pledged in Oslo has reached the south, and “the World Food Program has seen no significant change in its funding since Oslo [said WFP spokesman Peter Smerdon]” (Financial Times [UK], June 9, 2005). These resources are urgently needed now—and not for reconstruction but the most pressing food needs.
The under-funding of southern Sudan’s emergency transitional needs is a scandal, and a betrayal of the chance for peace to take hold. The US has been among the most generous of nations in funding humanitarian efforts in Sudan, but even the US is failing. Former US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Walter Kansteiner promised, in Congressional testimony of May 13, 2003, that there would be a “large peace dividend.” Now, when it is most urgently needed, this “dividend” is not being provided.
Instead, a primary US contribution takes the form of funding the “Famine Early Warning System Network” (FEWS), which recently reported “extreme food insecurity” in areas in northern Bahr el-Ghazal province and “high food insecurity” in areas of Western Upper Nile. The detailed FEWS account offers a recipe for instability and violence:
“‘Poor households and returnees will face significant food gaps between June and August 2005,’ [the FEWS report] said, referring to the thousands of displaced southern Sudanese expected to return to their homes in the coming months. ‘Lack of sufficient (international) response may result in the failure of returnees to cultivate, a reduction in cultivation among some of the host population, poor weeding, reduced capacity of host populations to support current and future returnees, and tension between the host and returnee populations,’ the famine warning network said.” (Agence France-Presse [Nairobi], June 13, 2005)
Because the US and other wealthy donor nations are not honoring funding commitments, food warehouses in Lokichokkio (the staging center in northern Kenya for humanitarian operations in southern Sudan) are largely empty. The results can be measured in starving children. WFP reports that the results of an April 2005 nutritional study in various regions of northern Upper Nile province yielded extremely ominous figures for children: “a Global Acute Malnutrition Rate of 28.1% and a Severe Acute Malnutrition Rate of 4.5%” (WFP Southern Sudan Operation Lifeline Sudan, Monthly Report: May 2005, page 6).
The number of beneficiaries planned for in southern Sudan has reached almost 1.4 million people (up from just over 400,000 in January 2005), even as the number of beneficiaries reached has slowly declined in the last few months (from just over 800,000 in March 2005 to under 800,000 in May). A similar disparity exists in planned food aid and actual food aid distributions (in metric tonnage) (WFP Southern Sudan Operation Lifeline Sudan, Monthly Report: May 2005, pages 7, 8).
Less precise if more telling are the blunt warnings from other aid organizations and the Catholic Church of southern Sudan:
“In April , aid workers and the Roman Catholic church warned millions of people were starving in the vast region [of southern Sudan], including tens of thousands of returnees drawn back by the promise of peace and displaced persons fleeing Darfur in the west.” (AFP, June 13, 2005)
For those dying for lack of food and the absence of meaningful international support for the transition process, the peace agreement has come to seem a cruel hoax.
Of course it should not be the exclusive responsibility of the international community to shoulder the burden of addressing critical needs in southern Sudan and other areas of this vast country that see nothing in the way of national wealth. The more than US$1 billion that flows to the Khartoum regime in the form of oil revenues should not be devoted to such profligate purchases as additional MiG-29 jet aircraft (the regime has purchased 12 from Russia and has contracted for another 12): it should be used to eliminate the causes of human misery, suffering, and death that define existence for the vast majority of Sudan’s people. The gross mismanagement of Sudan’s economy is only one reason that the National Islamic Front (NIF) should be pressured to surrender power to the various politically representative groups in Sudan. Instead of addressing an enormous external debt or the acute needs for development (including sufficient capitalization of the agricultural sector, schools, hospitals, roads, communications infrastructure), members of the NIF have lined their own pockets and financed development almost exclusively in the areas surrounding Khartoum itself.
[The US-led grass-roots divestment campaign against European and Asian companies doing business as usual with the Khartoum regime is beginning to see remarkable success (see www.sudandivestment.com and www.divestsudan.org. Harvard and Stanford Universities have made the first divestments, but numerous colleges and universities are in various stages of deliberation.
Even more significantly, state legislatures are in the process of screening tens of billions of dollars of investments for New York Stock Exchange-listed companies supporting the Khartoum regime. These include Alacatel (France), Siemens AG (Germany), ABB Ltd. (Switzerland), PetroChina (China), Sinopec (China) (see http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=14&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0). Illinois appears poised to become the first state to enact legislation mandating divestment from companies operating in Sudan, but it is far from alone (see www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?id_article=9697).
If sufficient pressure is brought against those companies providing critically important commercial and capital investments to Khartoum, this will translate into very significant economic pressure on the regime itself.]
ONGOING GENOCIDE IN DARFUR
As disturbing as developments are in eastern Sudan, and as threatening to peace in the south as Khartoum’s support of militias may be, it remains Darfur that holds the potential for greatest human destruction. And it is in responding to the terrible threat in Darfur that the international community remains most perversely accommodating, even as such accommodation only encourages the regime to believe that it can continue, without significant consequence, a campaign that has become genocide by attrition. These terrible losses among the non-Arab or African tribal peoples of Darfur will not end without humanitarian intervention. The Abuja process simply cannot yield a meaningful peace agreement in the near-term—one that genuinely provides security to civilians and humanitarian workers presently at acute risk. Moreover, given Khartoum’s years of reneging on and abrogation of various agreements with Sudanese parties, any agreement negotiated must be regarded as provisional in the extreme.
If the international community is serious about stopping massive, ethnically-targeted human destruction in Darfur, it must cease to accommodate Khartoum. And yet a survey of the various international actors in a position to convince the regime that it must disarm the Janjaweed, must allow unfettered humanitarian access, must cease its direct and indirect assault on humanitarian operations, must conform to international justice norms—such a survey reveals little more than accommodation, expediency, disingenuousness, and political weakness.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) and Egypt:
Chief ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo declared, following a meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit in Cairo, that Khartoum’s recently contrived special court for Darfur deserved respectful consideration:
“‘We will respect any genuine proceedings,’ Luis Moreno Ocampo told reporters, in reference to Khartoum’s special court which was due to hold its first hearings on Wednesday but is branded a fraud by rebels and rights groups. ‘We will assess carefully the national efforts and we will complement the efforts,’ the prosecutor said after meeting Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit in Cairo.” (Agence France-Presse [Cairo], June 15, 2005)
We should first appreciate the political context for Ocampo’s remarks. As the same AFP dispatch makes clear, Egypt—though a signatory to the Rome Statute that created the ICC—is strongly opposed to the trial of Sudanese nationals in The Hague. For Egypt wishes to preserve the present regime in Khartoum and knows full well that senior members of this regime are among the 51 names referred to the ICC under sealed “indictment.” Egypt’s way of expressing this opposition has been thoroughly explicit, and extends to threats:
“Abul Gheit insisted that Khartoum should be given a chance to complete its own investigation of the alleged war crimes. He warned against ‘adopting tough measures [i.e., proceeding with ICC investigations and prosecution—ER] that would produce contrary results, not serve ongoing efforts to resolve the issue in the Sudanese region of Darfur, and give a chance to the parties to deepen the crisis.'”
The preposterous claim that ICC justice threatens peace prospects of course echoes comments made recently by Khartoum, as the same AFP dispatch indicates:
“Khartoum warned last week that the launching of the investigation was counter-productive and could hamper the peace talks it is holding in Abuja with the rebel organisations.”
Ocampo’s accommodating of Cairo and Khartoum runs directly counter to the explicit finding of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI), which provided the basis for referral of crimes in Darfur to the ICC. Where Ocampo indicates the ICC “will respect any genuine proceedings,” and “will assess carefully the national efforts and will complement the [regime’s] efforts,” the COI declares bluntly:
“The Sudanese justice system is unable and unwilling to address the situation in Darfur. [ ] Many of the laws in force in Sudan today contravene basic human rights standards. [Many victims informed the Commission that they] feared reprisals in the event that they resort to the national justice system.” (Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the UN Secretary-General, January 25, 2005)
The Commission also declared that among those referred to the ICC are “a number of senior Government officials and military commanders.” It is simply impossible to believe that these ruthless survivalists would permit the creation of a Sudanese court that will hold them in any way accountable. Ocampo deserves credit for diplomatic tact, but as is so often the case in international responses to genocide in Darfur, this amounts to a deep disingenuousness.
The UN Secretariat:
Ocampo is certainly outdone, however, by Jan Pronk, Kofi Annan’s special representative on Sudan and Darfur. In disgracefully accommodating remarks in Khartoum, Pronk declares:
“‘[The Sudanese special court for Darfur is] positive but it cannot be a substitute for the ICC just as the ICC is not a substitute for domestic courts,’ he said. ‘Both tracks have to be followed.’ Pronk said those concerned about the credibility of the national court, which begins proceedings on June 15, should give the government the benefit of the doubt. ‘If the government takes a decision to do something which it had been asked to do late, you only have to criticise that they are late, you should not criticise that they are doing it,’ he said. ‘So give the government the benefit of the doubt.'” (Reuters, June 14, 2005)
Pronk is speaking about a genocidal regime, several of whose most senior members have been referred to The Hague for massive “crimes against humanity.” He is speaking about a regime that arrested in late May, and continues to charge, the two senior aid workers in Sudan and Darfur for Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. MSF’s “crime” is to have published a report on rape in Darfur, based on very substantial clinical data (see June 1, 2005 analysis by this writer at http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=54&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0).
Pronk is speaking about a regime that is guilty of previous genocides in Sudan–in the Nuba Mountains (southern Kordofan province) beginning in 1992 and in the oil regions of southern Sudan (1997/98 and continuing). He is speaking about a regime that has militarily targeted humanitarian operations in southern Sudan, including those of MSF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). One of countless instances was cited by this writer in the International Herald Tribune (January 23, 2001):
“The ICRC medical facility at Chelkou was the target last year  of a brutal bombing attack by the air force of the Khartoum regime. Indeed, ICRC facilities at both Chelkou (Bahr el-Ghazal) and Billing (Western Upper Nile) were targeted by the regime’s bombers. Evidently not content with aerial bombardment, the regime has now loosed its brutal Popular Defense Forces militia on Chelkou as well.”
“The ICRC—the very symbol of neutral, international humanitarian aid—was (again) savagely attacked at its medical base in Chelkou, southern Sudan, on January 12, . The attack was carried out by militia forces allied with the radical National Islamic Front regime that rules from Khartoum. All buildings were destroyed, all expatriate workers withdrawn, villagers have been killed, and the ICRC is deeply concerned about the fate of their Sudanese workers.”
“In considering the larger implications of the attack at Chelkou, it should be borne in mind that the ICRC is scrupulous in its neutrality. It has always secured permission from the Khartoum regime when operating in southern Sudan. It did so for its medical relief at Chelkou. It also made perfectly clear that Chelkou is not close to opposition military forces.” (Eric Reeves, International Herald Tribune, January 23, 2001)
This same regime, unchanged in any significant way since 2001, now deserves “the benefit of the doubt,” according to Jan Pronk, special representative of the UN Secretary-General.
The African Union:
The AU, belatedly recognizing its inability to respond adequately to the desperate security needs of Darfur, has asked for and received commitments of NATO logistical and material aid. But the AU still refuses to recognize that the 7,770 personnel it hopes to have deployed by September are woefully inadequate to current security needs, including protecting the camps and camp environs, protecting humanitarian convoys and operations, creating safe passage for civilians trapped in rural areas, disarming the Janjaweed, and offering protection to those civilians willing to return to their lands in an attempt to resume agriculturally productive lives. An experienced force at least four times the planned AU deployment, with command and communications “inter-operability,” is essential. Instead, following the lead of Nigeria, Libya, and Egypt, the AU allows Darfur to be defined as an “Africa only” problem.
Most disgracefully, the AU continues to accommodate Khartoum’s refusal to allow for an appropriate mandate to govern the response on the ground in Darfur. Present and future AU deployments to Darfur will continue to be without a mandate for civilian or humanitarian protection, or for the control of either party to the nominal “cease-fire” (Khartoum’s regular forces and the insurgency forces) or those forces not covered by the “cease-fire” (most conspicuously, the Janjaweed).
The United States:
Though the US, in the form of contributions and commitments from the US Agency for International Development, has been extremely generous in supporting humanitarian operations in Darfur, the Bush administration itself has demonstrated that it is more than willing to accommodate Khartoum in the interests of securing intelligence on terrorism. Despite President Bush’s recent reiteration of the genocide finding against Khartoum announced last September by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the CIA recently flew to Washington, DC—on executive jet—Major-General Saleh ‘Gosh,’ head of Khartoum’s security and intelligence operations and a prime architect of genocide in Darfur. In an extraordinary depiction of the controversy over this visit, even within the Bush administration, the Los Angeles Times today reports:
“The CIA and Mukhabarat [Khartoum’s intelligence service] officials have met regularly over the last few years, but Gosh had been seeking an invitation to Washington in recognition of his government’s efforts, sources told The Times. The CIA, hoping to seal the partnership, extended the invitation. ‘The agency’s view was that the Sudanese are helping us on terrorism and it was proud to bring him over,’ said a government source with knowledge of Gosh’s visit. ‘They didn’t care about the political implications.'” (Los Angeles Times, June 17, 2005)
These “political implications” of course include Khartoum’s understanding of the significance of Washington’s willingness to invite not simply a known gneocidaire, but a man directly responsible for many tens of thousands of “disappearances,” extrajudicial executions, instances of brutal torture, political arrests, and other violations of human rights.
As the Los Angeles Times dispatch continues:
“An internal debate erupted after word of the invitation [to Gosh] spread to other government agencies. Their concern stemmed in part from a 2004 letter that 11 members of Congress sent to Bush, which accused Gosh of being a chief architect of the violence in Darfur. The letter said Sudan had engaged in a ‘scorched-earth policy against innocent civilians in Darfur.’ It identified 21 Sudanese government, military and militia leaders as responsible and called on the administration to freeze their assets and ban them from coming to the US. Gosh was No. 2 on the list.” [ ]
“Several sources, including a State Department official, said the question of the propriety of the visit provoked sharp divisions at that agency. Similar opposition emerged at the Justice Department, where officials discussed arresting Gosh, according to two sources.”
The CIA is “proud” of inviting Saleh ‘Gosh’; the Justice Department considered arresting him. The State Department view is also rendered insightfully:
“Ted Dagne, a Sudan specialist with the Congressional Research service, said State Department officials believed Gosh’s trip would ‘send a political signal to the [Sudanese] government that Darfur would not prevent Sudan from winning support in Washington.'”
The signal has been received clearly in Khartoum, and the regime is acting accordingly—sanctioning attacks on humanitarian workers and operations, impeding humanitarian supplies, arresting humanitarian workers, and encouraging violent domestic opposition to international humanitarian efforts.
The Europeans have in several cases (Germany, France, and Italy most conspicuously) failed miserably in their financial contributions to Darfur’s desperate needs, and are one reason the UN World Food Program is so desperately under-funded for ongoing, life-saving work in Darfur.
But the Europeans, especially those represented on the UN Security Council, have also accommodated Khartoum’s refusal to respond to the singular demand of consequence in six resolutions bearing on Darfur: Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004) “demands” that Khartoum disarm the Janjaweed and bring its leaders to justice. Khartoum’s only response has been to recycle some of the Janjaweed into police and security forces and to set up a special court that will do nothing to hold the Janjaweed accountable.
European, as well as Asian and African, companies also continue to do business as usual with the Khartoum, accommodating not simply the regime’s genocidal nature but its gross mismanagement of the economy and national resources. And there are of course many other international actors accommodating Khartoum’s genocide in Darfur: the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the International Monetary Fund (which recently set up offices in Khartoum), as well as China and Russian, both Permanent Members of the UN Security Council.
All this occurs as the number of Darfuris in need of food climbs towards 3.5 million, as humanitarian operations reach toward the security breaking point, as continuing insecurity in rural areas ensures that agricultural production remains in a collapsed state, and as millions of people become more food dependent, indefinitely “warehoused” in camps for displaced persons with often appalling conditions (the largest of these camps, Kalma in South Darfur, is currently under blockade by Khartoum). Genocide by attrition continues to add terrible figures monthly to human mortality, currently standing at over 400,000 (see April 30, 2005 assessment by this writer at http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=51&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0).
If we wish to understand the dismaying snail’s pace of current negotiations in Abuja, we must certainly look at the inept and badly divided diplomatic responses of the insurgency movements. But ultimately, if meaningful progress were possible, we may be sure that the Khartoum regime—so fully accommodated by the international community—would see no reason to make any agreement that did not serve its own vicious ends.
Viewed superficially, and without an understanding of the potential for broader regional chaos threatened by continued NIF rule, accommodating Khartoum’s ongoing genocide in Darfur comes with no costs—other than the profoundest moral disgrace. Tragically, such intangible costs seem quite untroubling to those who might still save the hundreds of thousands of additional lives that will be extinguished in coming months and years.
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