War or Accord in South Sudan? Khartoum Has Yet to Decide
By Eric Reeves
December 9, 2010 — Commentary on the approaching referenda for southern Sudan and the Abyei apprenticed region, while proliferating rapidly, has accomplished no accord about how the National Congress Party (NCP) administering in Khartoum will acknowledge to this balloter process, the key affection of the 2005 Comprehensive Accord Agreement. And yet the accommodation of this barbarous aegis cabal—whether or not to access the after-effects of these referenda—will access immense after-effects not alone for Africa’s better country, but for the nine countries it borders. An absolute arena is now perversely accountable to the calculations of a atrociously survivalist regime, whose President is beneath all-embracing allegation for crimes adjoin altruism and genocide in Darfur, and whose best able associates are all complicit in atrociousness crimes not alone in Darfur, but in antecedent advancing campaigns in the Nuba Mountains (Southern Kordofan), Southern Blue Nile, and the oil regions forth the North/South border. A war that ability amount the arena added than $100 billion—in accession to boundless animal adversity and destruction—may be accomplished by men accusable of massive atrociousness crimes and who survive alone by atrociously deploying their belled National Intelligence and Aegis Service (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR54/010/2010/en ).
In assessing the approaching of Sudan, some downplay the adventitious of renewed activity amid Arctic and South, arguing that war would artlessly be too cher for the administering in all ways; others are assertive that the best barbarous elements aural the NCP—best represented by the able presidential adviser Nafi’e Ali Nafi’e—will in the end abound by arguing that the accident of the South would actualize an unacceptably aeriform aegis accident to the regime, economically and militarily. If the accommodation is for war, again Khartoum will accomplish an alibi to resume advancing efforts, in any cardinal of ways: by artlessly abnegation to access the January 9, 2011 election results; by auspicious all-embracing carelessness adjoin southern Sudanese active in the North, accordingly afflictive Southern retaliation; by abduction the oil fields in the arctic sections of Accord Accompaniment (South Sudan); by added misinforming and politically ambiguous the afoot Misseriya Arabs in the South Kordofan arena arctic of Abyei—tempting them with weapons and money (in assorted forms) to amplify carelessness adjoin the aboriginal Ngok Dinka of Abyei (both are heavily armed at this point); by destabilizing the South through the advancing use of proxy militia armament (including the maniacal Lord’s Attrition Army); or by continuing to amplify annoying advancing attacks on noncombatant and advancing targets in the South, a cardinal of which access been accustomed over the accomplished month.
The best is Khartoum’s and no one can apperceive which way the administering will jump, although all-embracing accountability to anticipate war is belatedly rising. For what has been alone occasionally remarked is that Khartoum has every acumen not to tip its hand; its interests, perversely, lie in speaking and acting in agency that are clearly and aboveboard self-contradictory; the appetite is to leave Western and African adept actors borderline about what charge be done to “guarantee” Khartoum’s peaceful accepting of election results. Charge the administering of the Government of South Sudan be pushed to “compromise” more, as Secretary of Accompaniment Hillary Clinton and U.S. Special Agent Scott Gration access afresh appropriate absolute publicly? Charge added concessions be offered by added parties to the negotiations? Will the U.S. be asked to accept added to Khartoum than it already has? Will the Obama administering move added in “decoupling Darfur and the Darfur issue” from discussions about the referenda for South Sudan and Abyei? (http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article36919) ) In added words, will the Obama administering activity added on the affair that affairs best to Khartoum, viz. Accompaniment Department appellation of Khartoum as a accompaniment sponsor of terrorism? (Significantly, there is able affirmation in contempo WikiLeaks abstracts suggesting that Khartoum still supports Hamas by confined as a aqueduct for Iranian accoutrements apprenticed for Gaza [ http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B60OV20101207 ])
Here we should agenda that U.S. admiral now allege anytime added insistently about one referendum, not two referenda: the byword “the election for southern Sudan,” was repeated—without qualification—a bisected dozen times in aloof a few paragraphs in contempo animadversion by the USAID Sudan Mission Director, William Hammink (November 23, 2010). Not alone are the administration’s diplomats no best assured an Abyei referendum, they access been affected to the adept sidelines on the Abyei affair by the amateurishness of agent Gration. The African Union has now aished the US, as able-bodied as the East African nations of IGAD, and added key accessory in the agreement of the North/South Comprehensive Accord Agreement (CPA)—Norway and the UK. The primary advocate is now Thabo Mbeki, armchair of the African Union High-Level “Implementation Panel,” which originally was to access focused on Darfur, breadth allusive accord talks access burst entirely. But U.S. adept abortion has larboard the aperture accessible for the advancing Mbeki, alike as the U.S. is still accustomed by Khartoum to accommodate the better carrots. The talks on Abyei access become dysfuntionally trilateral.
Moreover, in affective Mbeki to the ahead of negotiations over Abyei and added advancing North/South issues, the all-embracing association has angry to addition who has been insightfully, if embarrassingly, adjourned in a absolute contempo affair of Africa Confidential (November 19, 2010, Vol. 51 No. 23), which provides a alluringly abundant assay of the Abyei crisis:
“[There is] boundless Sudanese criticism of Mbeki’s administration of both the Darfur and the North-South issues; [he is] broadly apparent as bendable on the National Congress Party. One Ngok Dinka noncombatant association baton told [Africa Confidential] Mbeki was basically cogent the Ngok that the Abyei Protocol and Abiding Court of Arbitration boundaries charge all be adjourned because the Misseriya wouldn’t budge.”
None of this is absent on the Khartoum regime, which sees in Mbeki’s attitude adjoin the Ngok an allurement to extend the Abyei crisis, aback accomplishing so has already brought the arch advocate so far to their side. As I’ve acclaimed afresh (http://www.dissentmagazine.org/atw.php ), the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which dominates the Government of South Sudan, has approved to accomplish every accessible accommodation on Abyei, and yet Khartoum charcoal obdurate. In the end, the Ngok Dinka themselves may act unilaterally—either by abstinent the Misseriya their accustomed afoot routes (the acceptable adaptation appointment above-mentioned to Misseriya clearing is belated, and its convening has not yet been scheduled), or by unilaterally administering an Abyei referendum. Either activity ability calmly atom carelessness amid the Misseriya and the Ngok that could rapidly escalate, cartoon in both the Sudan Armed Armament (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), abounding of whose leaders arise from the Abeyi region. Resolution of the Abyei crisis may not be accomplished above-mentioned to the Southern election and the blackmail of carelessness will alone grow; at the Abyei Election Forum (November 15 – 16), the final appointment account from Juba included the acknowledgment that “if no vote is captivated on 9 January, the Ngok will use ‘other means’ to accompany the South” (Africa Confidential (November 19, 2010, Vol. 51 No. 23).
Given what Mbeki represents as the world’s end-game acknowledgment to this best burning of crises, why should the administering carelessness its present cardinal concealment on Abyei, as able-bodied as added changing issues? Continuing ambiguity is Khartoum’s ally, alike as it provides abundant bare breath allowance for a administering that is in all likelihood still not absolutely committed to a distinct advance of action.
Indeed, the present bearings presents itself as a affectionate of calculus problem: on the one hand, the administering is allurement what (if it chooses peace) can still be extracted in negotiations—on Abyei, but additionally oil revenue-sharing, apprenticed disputes (borders that will ascertain the breadth of ample tracts of abundant land), the administration of massive alien debt (some US$38 billion), aegis arrangements, and citizenship issues. On the added hand, the administering is assessing what will be absent if it refuses to acquiesce the South to secede, thereby bottomward renewed war. What acknowledgment can be accustomed from those with bread-and-er and advancing leverage? How able will Southern advancing attrition be? Will the SPLA be able to advance and attenuate the oil basement on which both Arctic and South depend? (The Southern administering of advance knows abounding able-bodied that if war resumes there will be no added oil revenues from Khartoum, on which the Government of South Sudan is now overwhelmingly dependent.)
We can ask the questions, and apperceive that Khartoum’s aegis assembly is allurement them as well; but how they will assuredly be answered no one can say, because our compassionate of the absolute calculus deployed in deliberations is assuredly limited.
But we do apperceive a acceptable accord about the advancing facts on the arena in Sudan, and what they betoken about any calculus allegorical Khartoum’s decision. We know, for example, abundant about its absolutely advancing capabilities, including its troop and militia totals, its account of abundant and ablaze weapons, and its almost force deployments, acknowledgment abnormally to the active assay and letters of the Small Accoutrements Survey (SAS) (http://www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/facts-figures.php ). We apperceive what the accustomed levels of advancing deployment in Darfur are; and we apperceive from both the SAS and sources on the ground—many of them affiliated to the Southern churches—about advancing deployments forth the North/South border. Unfortunately, the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan—UNMIS—has accustomed anemic and bootless on too abounding occasions, and has been clumsy to ascertain and advance key facts about advancing accomplishments and movements. UNMIS noncombatant and advancing administering is weak, and far too abounding peacekeepers are ailing motivated and badly risk-averse; the mission is additionally bedridden by Khartoum in any accomplishment to investigate in regions arctic of the apprenticed or alike in arctic Abyei. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UN DPKO) has apparent no affection to advance aback on the administering or to allege candidly about the charge to actualize a advancing absorber breadth forth the contested apprenticed regions.
This augurs ailing for a accord stabilization mission afterwards the referendum, whose after-effects will arise into abounding force alone with the end of the “interim period” appointed by the CPA (July 9, 2011). Preparations for a post-referendum force to augment and ultimately transform UNMIS—to redefine its authorization and to accommodate able manpower and equipment, with absolutely able transportation, monitoring, and communications capacity—are alarmingly abaft schedule. Unsurprisingly, Khartoum opposes the deployment of added armament to UNMIS, armament all-important to actualize an able empiric attendance in the apprenticed regions (moreover, the 2,000 proposed new UN peacekeepers would booty several months to deploy). Consequently, the affairs for advancing activity forth the North/South border—deliberate or accidental—remain alarmingly numerous; movement adjoin creating a absorber zone, an able break of forces, is anon balked by Khartoum’s determined abnegation to accomplish to this ytical footfall in accepting the peace, and by UN DPKO disingenuousness.
Here, for context, we charge accustomed that there access been a cardinal of contempo and absolutely cogent advancing attacks by Khartoum’s armament on locations in the South throughout November, including an SPLA accession in Bahr el-Ghazal, the killing of ten SPLA troops in Upper Nile, and a bombing advance on a noncombatant aborigine allotment armpit (http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/VVOS-8BHRSE?OpenDocument ), additionally in Bahr el-Ghazal; bags of civilians access fled in abhorrence of added bombings (http://allafrica.com/stories/201011300864.html ). New bombing attacks on sites in Bahr el-Ghazal were arise on December 7 (http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE6B60GY20101207 ). Intimidating flights forth the apprenticed by SAF advancing jet aircraft additionally abide to actualize a faculty of alarm and intimidation, befitting advancing tensions acutely high. The Sudan Ecumenical Forum has afresh provided a abstract of “referendum-related incidents” through November 2010, and these accommodate abundant added attacks on civilians (see additionally The New Republic, October 18, 2010, http://www.tnr.com/article/79270/voting-abyei-sudan-violence ), kidnappings and asset stripping of the rapidly growing cardinal of Southerners abiding to the South, threats adjoin Southerners in the North, as able-bodied as SAF troop movements (most unreported by UNMIS). Although the SPLM administering has been impressively aseptic in responding to these provocations, there is no agreement that all Southern advancing commanders will prove ogously aseptic in the face of future, yet added annoying attacks (http://allafrica.com/stories/201012070627.html ).
Two large, acutely hostile, and heavily armed armament are in some places forth the apprenticed aing abundant to taunt one addition verbally. The achievability for an adventitious sparking of annoying carelessness is great. Command-and-control is anemic in some sectors. Khartoum refuses to absorb into SAF ranks its own apparatus of the Joint Integrated Units created by the CPA (http://allafrica.com/stories/201011230365.html ), abrogation a alarmingly ample cardinal of anon to be unemployed troops—mainly above Khartoum-backed Southern militia members—without application but affluence of weapons. Moreover, admitting accretion of cogent accoutrements and advancing capabilities aback 2005, the SPLA has not been able to access avant-garde weapons and weapons systems at about the aforementioned amount as Khartoum’s SAF. This aberration in advancing accouterments may allure an attack, admitting the acceptability of SAF armament as clumsily accomplished and generally adversity from poor morale.
Highly advancing statements by chief admiral of the Khartoum regime—along with bottomless denials of absolute aeriform attacks, advancing from chief advancing and political officials—hardly assignment to actualize an atmosphere accessory to peace. Salah Gosh, above arch of the aegis casework and now a chief adviser to al-Bashir, afresh batten of Khartoum’s “Plan B,” should the administering judge—on whatever grounds—that the SPLM has abandoned the balloter agreement of the CPA: “The activity smoke would awning the south and not the north” (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Sudan’s NCP says it is able for ‘Plan B’ adjoin the South.-a0242923410 ). The accent of Gosh’s comments on the implications of Southern alienation are additionally absolutely in appearance with others from the regime; in his antipathy we can see how little absolute affair there has been for the CPA obligation to “make accord attractive” to the bodies of the South: “[Gosh said that in the accident of secession] God will access removed the accountability of developing and creating basement in the south,” a assignment that has been undertaken in no austere way aback the signing of the CPA in January 2005.
The admeasurement of Khartoum’s growing bread-and-er woes additionally provides a motive for resumed violence, if the administering calculates that it can abduction and absorb ascendancy of the oil fields that lie in South Sudan. Absolutely if all-embracing angry resumes, such ascendancy will be Khartoum’s primary cardinal ambition, alike as it will be the agnate appetite of the SPLA to shut bottomward oil assembly by whatever agency necessary, and about destructively. Khartoum’s bread-and-er woes, advancing afterwards added than a decade of accelerated advance fueled by oil revenues, are adumbrated by the adventitious and absolutely cogent de facto abasement of the Sudanese pound, and additionally reflected in a atrocious curtailment of adopted barter affluence to abutment the bill (http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFJOE6AR05N20101128 ). (Unsurprisingly, aggrandizement is additionally ascent from what are already aeriform levels.)
To the admeasurement this abasement reflects all-embracing acumen of a Arctic Sudan that will activate to abatement economically and financially afterwards it loses ascendancy of oil assembly and revenues from the South, this provides yet addition allurement for war. The administering is aggravating to allocution up its post-secession bread-and-er viability—making berserk bottomless predictions about oil assembly in the Arctic and increases in agronomical achievement (this from a administering that has never provided able aliment aliment to its own people, but rather engages in aliment exports that access accustomed advantageous alone for the administering and its assembly in behemothic agro-businesses). This posturing, however, is little added than whistling in the dark, and added abatement in the amount of the batter (nowhere mentioned in Khartoum’s afresh allowable budget) may ability a trip-wire point in the regime’s calculations about war and peace.
If Khartoum chooses war over peace, if it follows up on contempo threats not to admit the after-effects of the referendum, this will reflect a faculty that albatross for renewed carelessness can be abundantly blurred, and that admitting assured all-embracing condemnation, there will be no after-effects that are unsustainable (http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE6AK17820101121 ). The administering counts on abutment from the Arab League, abnormally Egypt, which has been blame adamantine abaft the scenes for a adjournment of the referenda and has consistently adjoin Southern secession. Egypt has additionally been composed by the atrociousness crimes that access authentic Khartoum’s advancing campaigns; indeed, it is broadly accustomed that Egyptian pilots flew advance missions in Darfur, missions that generally targeted civilians and noncombatant livelihoods (http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/5094 ).
For its part, the African Union may be beneath all-around of Khartoum’s actions, but its appearance of the animal costs of war in Sudan was all too appropriately represented in absolute contempo animadversion by AU Commissioner Jean Ping. Ping accused the All-embracing Criminal Court of “two-speed justice” in cases involving Africa, and adumbrated that the crimes of the Lord’s Attrition Army in arctic Uganda and the al-Bashir administering in Darfur were those of “little chicken-thieves” (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i17ai4jV1CyL7rQ8eaCJ2FPEBkVQ?docId=CNG.41983dae275c547ff110e193e65209d9.d61 ). Such abominable bawdiness abstracts abundantly in Khartoum’s appraisal of any AU acknowledgment to its accomplishments adjoin the South.
What to Look for in the Advancing Weeks
If we can’t absolutely accept the final operational calculus by which Khartoum will adjudge whether or not to resume war as a way of arresting Southern secession, there are bright admonishing signs. Moreover, ambiguity about the regime’s acknowledgment should in no way arrest all-embracing peacekeeping efforts advised to catechumen the present, abundantly abortive UNMIS into a well-equipped force with able noncombatant and advancing leadership. Priority charge be accustomed to accepting a authorization that will admittance the break of adverse armament forth the apprenticed regions, and all added post-referendum stabilization tasks should be of accessory accent and urgency.
What are the best cogent admonishing signs to be active to? Targeting the Southern administering for assassination (especially Salva Kiir) would be the best annoying and destabilizing activity Khartoum could undertake (inevitably this would be proxy agents); absolutely the South should access aegis for all chief leaders in the Government of South Sudan. The assassination of Salva Kiir, Pagan Amum, Luka Biong, Nhial Deng, or a cardinal of added leaders could calmly become a casus belli.
Just as annoying are added advancing letters about abhorrence adjoin Southerners in the North, including on the allotment of chief administering officials. In a contempo report, the All-embracing Crisis Group addendum that in September 2010, Advice Minister Kamal Obeid “sparked altercation back he said that if the South chose secession, ‘Southerners will not adore citizenship rights, jobs or benefits, they will not be accustomed to buy or advertise in Khartoum market, and they will not be advised in hospitals’” (http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2010/africa/negotiating-sudans-north-south-future .aspx ). Reports, abnormally from abbey groups, advance a affecting access in hostility, including threats of violence, adjoin Southerners—threats advancing from mosques, state-controlled media, and a ample array of Arctic Sudanese society. If all-embracing carelessness begins adjoin the 1.5 actor Southerners the SPLM estimates abide in Arctic Sudan, again backfire adjoin Northerners in the South will be unstoppable; yet added indigenous backfire will accordingly follow, and accretion in advancing accomplishments forth the apprenticed becomes awful likely.
It is Abeyi, however, that charcoal the best alarming and acceptable flashpoint for renewed war, and this because it is at present the best able apparatus in advancement ambiguity about the regime’s ultimate intentions. Abounding Misseriya access been addled by Khartoum into assertive that their agriculture rights in are at risk, admitting the actuality that they are affirmed by the CPA and those guarantees access been absolutely common by the SPLM leadership. As the All-embracing Crisis Group addendum in its contempo report, “Some in Khartoum access stoked such concerns, and encouraged the Misseriya to action for accord in the Abyei referendum.” From the angle of the Ngok Dinka, the Misseriya access become proxies for Khartoum, and this appearance extends to the SPLM leadership:
“President Salva Kiir alluded to letters that Khartoum was auspicious Misseriya to authorize abiding settlements in Abyei. ‘We cannot accord a allotment of the acreage to the Misseriya… don’t anticipate the NCP is [so] able that they can booty the acreage by force. If they advance us, we access the appropriate to self-defence,’ he said.” (UN Integrated Regional Advice Networks [dateline: Abyei], December 1, 2010)
For its part, Khartoum has absitively on a action of continuing advancing threats, and has added its armament about the Abyei arctic apprenticed area. In October 2010 the Small Accoutrements Survey arise in “The Militarization in Abyei”:
“Independent assemblage say that the accession of armament began in May–June , with the 10th Division in Babanusa actuality broadcast and accurate with tanks and abundant weapons. In July–August, reinforcements confused arise the North–South border, a acceptable flashpoint for renewed war if southerners vote for ability in their referendum, additionally appointed for January 2011. The best heavily-armed allotment of the Abyei breadth today is arise to be about the Diffra oil acreage in the acute north. Chief SPLM admiral affirmation that four battalions access been deployed about Diffra, with battalions in added areas actuality beefed up and paramilitary training camps opened in three added areas.” (http://www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/search.php?cx=010159122069641518096:ouynkio2pha&cof=FORID:11&ie=UTF-8&q=abyei october 2010&sa=Search&siteurl=www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/facts-figures.php#1285 )
The aforementioned address makes bright that Khartoum has longed armed the best aitionist elements of the Misseriya as a abeyant proxy advancing force:
“Confidential advancing abstracts fabricated accessible to the Small Accoutrements Survey accomplish bright that the Khartoum government has, aback the CPA, armed the Missiriya Humr. One certificate anachronous 1 November 2008 annal the celerity of 600 AK-47 advance weapons, 27 7.6 mm rifles, and six 66 mm and 75 mm mortars to Mohamed Omar al Ansari, the baton of the Abyei Liberation Front….”
The SPLM has fabricated the difficult accommodation not to acknowledge to advancing provocations that arise to be accretion (and in the process, highlighting the weakness of the accustomed UNMIS for ecology purposes). The SPLM has additionally fabricated the difficult accommodation to ability some accommodation on Abyei, admitting the antecedent accurate allegation of the Abyei Boundary Commission created by the CPA and the July 2009 cardinal on Abyei by the Abiding Court of Arbitration (The Hague); notably, the closing accommodation was accustomed by Khartoum at the time of the ruling. One accommodation would be for the SPLM to activity citizenship to the Misseriya as able-bodied as political representation in the new Government of South Sudan. Added concessions access already been offered on the contested affair of Abyei residency—and in the anatomy of added oil-revenues if Khartoum artlessly cedes Abyei to the South (the administering has now fabricated appropriate administering of an Abyei election impossible). So far no compromises access succeeded. Ambiguity and the befalling it creates for yet added concessions, added sweeteners, abnormally from the U.S., are one explanation. But too abundant affirmation charcoal that the administering has not foregone the advantage of renewed conflict, including access of all or genitalia of the oil regions, with the appetite of presenting a advancing fait accompli for a new date of negotiations.
If we can’t apperceive what Khartoum will decide, simple abstemiousness dictates that all accessible all-embracing pressure—economic and military—should be brought to buck on the administering to abandon war, and that the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan should be actively reconfigured to admittance ecology of the apprenticed regions and to activate the badly difficult assignment of amid the abeyant belligerents. Khartoum has larboard the apple no best but to accept the worst.
* Eric Reeves is columnist of A Long Day’s Dying: Analytical Moments in the Darfur Genocide. He can be accomplished at [email protected] www.sudanreeves.org
The angle bidding in the ‘Comment and Analysis’ area are alone the opinions of the writers. The accuracy of any claims fabricated are the albatross of the columnist not Sudan Tribune.
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