By: Mahmoud E. Yousif - Juba
When the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) was signed between the Sudan Government (GoS) and the Sudanese People Liberation Movement/Army (SLPM/A) in Nairobi-Kenya on January 10, 2005, impressions were given that, it was the end of African longest and greatest conflict, and that Darfur was thought as relatively minor solvable issue, with prospects of Democratic flourishing and changes in Sudan.
Three years had passed, things didn't moved well, started
with death of Dr. John Garang, many obstacles facing CPA implementation,
starting with implementation of Abyi protocols,
border demarcation, oppressive laws were not amended in line with the
constitution, the National Congress Party (NCP) is consolidating its power,
opposition parties are restrained from playing positive roles, depth of Darfur
Genocide slowly starts emerging, while the state of
Although this article was written on September 2007, but the contents with minor amendments still hold firmly; the article will try to answer these and other questions from a Sudanese perspective, with some suggestions.
Till March 1972, the Sudanese conflicts used to be known as
South Sudan problem, when President Gafar Mahamad Nimari signed
In 1975, three years after the agreement, several Southerners groups start entering the bush in discontents with implementation of the agreement, a gorilla war was waged once again against Khartoum government, till April 1983, when two battalions mutinied, one in Bor led by Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, the second in Pochalla led by Major William Nyuon Bany. These coincided with a holyday by Col. Dr. John Garang de Mabiour, who left Bor after Kerubino, towards the eastern part of Upper Nile, from where they launched together with Cdr Salva Kiir Mayardit and others the SPLM/A on May 16, 1983, to build the justice and democratic New Sudan, some Southerners opposed the core objectivity of liberating the whole Sudan, but the main stream of the movement succeeded in affirming that vision.
That slogan attracted thousands from
The late SPLM Chairman, Dr. John Garang urged the northern
who are already discontents with Nimary regime,
particularly among the marginalized, who represents more than 70% of the
population, whose fertilized lands in Blue Nile and
The call for New Sudan got ground even from Northerners intellectuals and humanists, who used to witness injustice and suppressions in every aspects of lives, example of that, the practice of slavery as exposed by two Sudanese scholars in 1988 .
On August 28, 1991, a group led by Dr. Reiak Machar and Dr. Lam Akol declared in Nasir town, the overthrown of Dr. John Garang as Chairman and Commander In Chief of SPLM/A, then they launched assaults towards Equatoria, at that time, the Bright Star Campaign Phase II, which captured Western Equatoria, composed of ten thousands soldiers, 90% of them were from Nuba Mountains, the bulk of the force was diverted towards the new front, five battalions commanded by Cdr Salva Kiir Mayardit which confronted and defeated the assaulting group near Gimeza (between Bor and Juba), while another three battalions commanded by Cdr William Nyuon Bany which crossed by boats, took over Bor area, these forces succeeded and managed to upholds the Movement integrity.
That great participation by Nuba with many others marginalized groups, strengthens the feelings of common objectiveness and belonging among the Southerners and marginalizes Northerners in SPLM/A, for importance of establishment of the New Sudan over the old Sudan, a force was sent to Darfur in September 1991 to fulfill that dreams, unfortunately it was exhausted by many battles, the force which was commanded by Cdr Abdulaziz Adam Alhilu assisted with the Martyr Cdr Daud Yahya Bolad, the force fought and defeated several SAF battalions and Arabs militants (which were later transformed into present Janjaweed) in 41 battles, but finally due to lack of logistical supports, it withdraw from Darfur .
From the first peace initiative at Kokadam (Ethiopia) in 1986 to resolve the Sudanese issue, through the Mulana Mahamad Osman Almargani-Dr. John Garang initiative in 1988, to Abuja one and two in April 1993, till the start of the Peace Process auspices by Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in 1994, ended by signing of CPA on January 10, 2005, SPLM/A used to conducted all negotiations on behalf of the liberated area or the New Sudan, that revolutionary mandate was transformed into democratic one at both, all Nuba Conference at Kauda on December 2-5, 2002 and All Fung Conference at Dem Mansor at outskirts of Kurmuk in December 18-20, 2002.
In his historical opening speech for the All Nuba Conference at Kauda on December 2, 2002, Dr. John Garang said “Nuba exists in Machakus and IIGAD because of the SPLM and their struggle, the Fur and Bija are amargenalized but they are not in Machakus! Because they are not in the Movement, although they are Struggling” He continued “Our people in the South Sudan and Nuba Mountains and South Blue Nile and Abei are represented by the Movement, and I would like to assure them, we will not let them down, they never let us down and there is no place in the South a Nuba soldier didn’t die on it, the Force which I led in 1990/91 to Western Equatoria was mostly structured from Nuba, they didn’t let us down in the struggling, in fighting, we will not let them down in the talks,this is a simple thing; how come they didn’t let us down in the fights and we are to let them down in the talks? This is one of the issues that should be solved at the EIGAD”, also he mentioned that: “The vision of the Movement is that of the New Sudan, we uphold that unity even at the most difficult situations, and that we had shaken in 1991, but we never quit that vision”.
Thus the aspirations towards attaining the dreams of the New Sudan into reality becomes synonymous to the hope towards values of democracy, justice and dignified life for all Sudanese people, under which democratic forces can cause change in Sudan, which may reflects positively in the whole region.
Escalation of IGAD
Peace Talks and
Since it took power militarily on June 30, 1989, the Salvation Regime or NCP never seriously conducted the peace talks, they were just gaining time hoping to wipe out SPLA from controlled areas, example for that, in December 1994, at first IGAD peace talks in Nairobi, a cease fire was suggested by Mediators on Thursday, the government announced the cease fire to start at midnight of Saturday, on Friday SAF launched assaults on Aswa bridge aiming to capture Nimuli town near Uganda border, hence to claim that SPLM/A doesn’t control any area in Sudan, then they may abandon the peace talks, what happened is that, Aswa bridge was defended by SPLA, and the whole plan failed.
At IGAD meeting in Addis Ababa in 1998, the Khartoum delegate in an attempt to wedge a rift between Southerners and Nuba/Blue Nile, they said, they could have offered South Sudan the right of self determination if not the existence of Nuba and Fung within the Movement, the Late Yousif Kuwa, bravely replied to them, that "We decided with Malik Agar, to accept the South to be given that right, in separate to our cause", felt trapped, Sudanese delegation immediately withdrew the proposal.
When Machakos Protocol was signed on July 20, 2002, Gazi Salah Al-Dina Alatabani, head of Sudanese delegation, in replaying to why
given Southerners self determination, was quoted saying "Isn't it
better to sign Machakos rather than wait for
Without knowledge or regards to that and others, some decision making centers in consultations with some, thought IGAD peace talks could drag on, unless New Sudan dimension is separate from SPLM/A, by solving the Nuba and Fung causes separately from IGAD or from the Southerners cause, to execute that, Justice Africa, headed by Dr. Alex de Waal, hold a conference in Kampala, Uganda on October 2002, delegates were invited from areas controlled by the government, representing some activists, nationalists, members of NCP, and others.
SPLM boycotted the Conference, Secretary of Information Dr. Samson Kwaje issued memorandum condemning the conference as arranged for the interest of Khartoum government to undermine the struggle of marginalized people of Sudan. Nothing justified that move, because as seen in Addis Ababa in 1998, and several speeches and personal talks with late, Cdr Yousif Kuwa Makki, all shows his convection and leaders from both areas that if Southerners aspiration is to get secession, it is their rights to do so, but Kampala conference was aimed at giving general impression that population of both areas doesn’t recognized SPLM/A representation, they want their case been solved separately, within northern Sudan, that was strange position, it is the same that Dr. Alex de Waal is aiming at through Darfurian negotiations, by restraining the ambitions of marginalized in the northern.
SPLM countered that move, by holding all Nuba conference in Kauda December 2-5, 2002, attended by Nuba from areas controlled by both SPLM and the government, and the diasporas, cease fire for humanitarian signed in 2002 helped in that, while the Fung people of South Blue Nile hold theirs at Dem Mansor at outskirts of Kurmuk in December 18-20, 2002, although the government refused to allow Fung delegates to participate, but the conference was well represented.
Both conferences mandated SPLM/A to speak on behalf of population of both areas, regardless of this popular pressure, SPLM/A failed to maintain the three areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile State and Abyei Area in IGAD peace talks, it was auspices by the Government of the Republic of Kenya, also SPLM/A failed to get the right of self determination for both areas, although both were given Popular Consultation, under Article No. 3 in their respective agreements, which is equal theoretical opportunity.
After signing Machakos Protocol, the Peace process stalled,
IGAD presented proposal document to both parties at Nakoro
In May 2003, both parties met at Nanoki,
suddenly issues start moving, where Security Arrangements was signed at
These developments in peace trends in Khartoum not due to government recognition of these conflicts nor to the international pressure (UN force to Darfur is good example in that); that trend was due to escalation of Armed activities by Darfurian Movements, Sudan government start loosing control in Darfur in early 2003, that was as demonstrated by Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) dare capture of of both Alfashir military garrison and airport on April 25, 2003 and Kotom on August 1, 2003, in Alfashir attack SLM/A arrested Chief of Sudan Air Force. The situation was so critical for GoS, with great number of SAF scattered in South Sudan, Nuba Mountains, South Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan, confronting SPLA possible assaults on Khartoum, hence there was urgent needs for ceasefire with SPLA, which they secured at Naivasha, Kenya on September 25, 2003, to concentrate their forces in Darfur, thus what took place at Nyanuki in Kenya represents a turning point for the marginalized people of Sudan; (including the Southerners).
Abuja In Comparison With Naivasha
IGAD peace process started in 1994, and ended on
In contrast to that, the peace process for Darfur
started at Apache in
Six rounds were held at Abuja in Nigeria, where two Protocols on the (1) Implementation of the Humanitarian Situation in Darfur and (2) Enhancement of the Security Situation in Darfur, were signed in November 9, 2004, and in the following year the Declaration of Principles (DoP) for the Resolution of the Sudanese Conflict in Darfur was signed on July 5, 2005.
In contrast to IGAD peace process, suddenly the AU gave the Darfurians Movements a deadline of May 5, 2006 to sign the final peace agreement, that was great mistake, it shows that, there were some forces eager to find any solution by any manse, it represents dictation and imposition of will, regardless of Darfurian interests, so that many issues could be hide, under the carpet.
The talks ended with some of the group led by Mani Arko Mani signing the agreement, while groups led by Ustaz Abdelwheed Mahamad Nur of SLM/A and Dr. Khalil Ibrahim Chairman of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) refused to sign, regardless of great pressures practiced by both President of Nigeria and the American envoy, to an extend of threatening taken these leaders to the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICJ).
In this context, can such humiliation be directed to the late Dr. John Garang? Dose those mediators knows the historical reactions to leader's humiliating? Individuals can forget but not the population, the French/Germany wagon of first and Second World War was a good example in that!
If peace talks between SPLM/A
and GoS, auspices by IGAD, was allowed to drag for ten years, why
Mediators never asked themselves, reasons behind the refusal of Darfurians to sign that agreement? Nor the link between events in Darfur and the moral responsibility of SPLM/A in initiating that, particularly the two military campaigns waged by SPLA/M to Darfur in 1991 and 2003. Suddenly the Darfurians were left alone to face consequences of New Sudan slogan, in form of great Genocidal punishments.
The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was rejected by both SLM/A and JEM, latter majority of Mani Arko Mani members and forces joined opposition to DPA, reasons behind these positions could be summarized in the follow points:
position of people of
A- Procedural: Among these are:
- AU proposed a core team to resolve the issues of difference, but never been implemented.
compiled document produce by AU, was presented on
- The Movements requested time from AU to study the document but it refused.
- Unfairness method in discussion issues such as land.
- The document lacked implementation modalities and mechanisms in all Commissions.
- General provisions and guarantees.
- Main words and phrases such as, Janjaweed, Hawakeer (communal land ownership rights) and Massaratt (Livestock routes), were not defined.
- The Agreement gives GoS (National Congress Party, NCP) absolute power to rule Darfur; it got 81% of constitutional and executive posts (State Governors, Ministers, Commissioners …etc) and 71% of legislative seats in Darfur, giving the NCP to be the really ruler.
- Deletion of several articles already agreed upon by the Parties.
- Many mistakes appeared in the Arabic version.
- Three of nine issues in the agenda of the Power Sharing Commission were not discussed at all.
solutions to the root causes, such as;
- Fair representation in both legislative and executive bodies at a national level was denied.
- Participation of the Movements in disarming the Janjaweed.
- Some essential rights of, Individual compensation, duration of the interim period.
- Control of
Movements forces during the interim period, before the UN Disarmament,
Demobilization and Reintegration programme (
- Participation in implementation.
- There is
no provision in the DPA to allow a UN Peacekeeping Force in
- In the DPA
the Movements are represented by only 19% in
concentrated only on
- The mediator’s dose not wants any obstruction to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Victims or Spoilers?
Throughout the past decades, tribal skirmishes used to take place from time to time in Darfur, mostly related to conflicts between pastoralists and farmers, but when the Arabs Alliance issued their first memorandum in 1988, with racial, political, cultural and economical dominant attitudes, they were condemned by political forces and Trade Unions and thought to be abandoned, but when the National Islamic Front (NIF) took power in 1989, it secretly embraced the alliance in both Kordofan and Darfur to encounter SPLA at South Sudan boarders.
As earlier mentioned, on September 1991 SPLM/A launched, its famous campaign to Darfur, headed by Cdr Abdulaziz Adam Alhilu and the previous Islamist Eng. Daud Yahya Bolad as his deputy, the force accomplished victories over SAF and militants in more than 41 battles, but withdraw from Darfur due to lack of logistical supports .
Coincided with first Gulf war and the formation of Arab Islamic Popular Alliance (AIPA), headed by NIF leader Dr. Hassan Abdalla Alturabi; within that environments of escalated Pan Arabism, NIF leadership reacted severely to Alhilu-Bolad attempt to create alliance between Darfur and SPLA, accordingly in June 1992 Dr. Hassan Abdalla Alturabi reached to the conclusion that:
tribes start opposing Islamic movement, therefore the Islamic movement new plan
should aimed at supporting Arabs tribes through the following procedures:
Forcefully dislodging Fur tribe from Jebel Mara and blocking them at Wadi Saleh and completely disarm
them, meanwhile to resettle Mahria, Al-Etyfat and Erigat (Arabs tribes)
in that land. The Zagawa should not be allowed to
posses weapons, and they should be dislodging from Kotom
in northern Darfur to Omrwaba (Northern Kordofan),
and that Arabs tribes should be armed and financed so as to become the core for
As a strategy, it was implemented through phases, where
representatives of the Arab Alliance mobilized some Arab Countries, the outcome
of which was sent to
Confronted with these policies, Africans tribes reacted by
starting organizing itself, some prominent Arab tribes leaders refused to get
involvements in such operation, they not only condemn, rather they refused
participation of their tribesmen. To fill the gap, Arabs groups and individual
were brought from West African countries, like
The splits within the NCP in December 1999, took place
across a racial line, most of Darfurians and Southerners went with Dr. Hassan
Al-Turabi, while President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir was supported by the northerners. This racial
division is not strange in Sudanese society, rather it was odd for an Islamic
movement, hence it brought with it great hatred, appeared in the Black Book:
Imbalance of Power and Wealth in
Since 1999, security and human rights situations started
The Janjaweed, many of whom are foreigners, possess great authorities, they can arrest, interrogate, torture, rape, kills and they became a state within a state, these through the state blessing. In early 2001, SPLA and other groups started plans to send forces to Darfur once again, the Sudanese Federal Alliances, led by both Ustaz Ahmad Ibrahim Derage and Dr Sharif Harrir got some groups in Jabal Mara, which played some role in formation of SLA .
All signals in Darfur, shows determinations by Africans to
counter the killings, with SAF scattered in South Blue Nile, South Sudan,
The establishment of both SLM/A and JEM on March 2003 was not a surprised for Khartoum, neither their daring attacks on Alfashir military garrison and airport on April 25, 2003, simply because they were the bulk fighters in SAF, hence the government decided to buy time with Southerners; although CPA was signed, attacking military hardware were bought from Russia and China, forces were moved from South Sudan, South Kordufan, Blue Nile to Darfur and Eastern Sudan, to achieve fast victories, but the opposite happened as written in the website of Mr. Jan Pronk, previous Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Sudan.
At present, the CPA is interpreted by some NCP like what
they signed between 1994 to 1998, with Southerners factions, Umma Party,
Last year, the deputy Chairman of NCP announced that, if
SPLM supported UN force intervention to
While the Director of Security and Inelegance announced
that, if UN intervenes in Darfur, they will start with the fifth column in
Three years after implementation of the CPA, the following major hurdles represent great obstacles:
- Non of the nine (9) articles, for resolving Abyei conflict were implemented, although some youth in the area formed an administrative structure, an odd sign for implementation of Article (2).
What took place in Darfur represents great conspiracy, nothing justify it, unimaginable behaviors for protection are carried out, to avoid that moving sand although they are in its middle. By that it is violating different human known norms and regulations; and therefore both CPA and DPA could represents great tactical maneuverability to gain time.
Presently in Darfur, there are more than 3,500 destroyed villages, more than 4,000,000 displaced, more than 300,000 refugees in Chad, more than 100,000 refugees distributed in other countries, destroyed villages are re-occupied by New Arabs from West African Countries, members of Janjaweed were recruited into borders Guards and Armed Police, by doing so, they were transformed from having indirect authority, to possessing governmental authorities, meanwhile security is worsening at all levels .
When Resolution 1706 was adopted by the Security Council in 2006, there was great expectations in Darfur, that UN and western countries could do something either through NATO intervention like it did in Bosnia, or like UN intervention in Kosovo, both cases were urgent humanitarian, cases resembling Darfur, a year has passed, the Resolution was not implemented, instead it was changed to present 1769 of July 31, 2007, with less mandatory regarding the protection of civilians and disarmaments of Janjaweed, to an extend some start questioning capability of such 26,000-strong hybrid African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), where Khartoum is demanding that the force should be composed from Africans, like their scenario with Resolution 1706, maybe Khartoum will succeed with their old tactics, although believers in humanity do have different idea!
As both African Union (AU) and United
Nations Special Envoys for the peace process in Darfur, Salim
Ahmed Salim and Jan Eliasson,
convened a meeting in
Then came meetings of Darfurians Movements in Juba, where more than twelve Movements united under leadership of Ustaz Ahmad Abdulshafi Toba in December 2007, followed by others.
All these never cause progress to peace initiative, where ability of these envoys to push forward peace talks had ceased, thus it becomes necessary they are to be replaced, Salim in particular, with the expectation of American election, it is thought that a lot of negatives attitudes regarding Darfur will be resolve.
On other hand,
Arabs militants from Southerners Darfur, who were aligned to the NCP, started
breaking ties with government, they are seeking new alliances, even if with
SPLM/A or SLM/A. The same is taken place with Misyria
One of them told me, that as Murahilin militants, they were exploited and misused by the Governments during the past two decades, in fighting SPLA in the South, by protecting the trains along the railroads between Babanusa and Wau in Northern Bahar-Gazal and by protecting the Oil pipeline without any benefits for their people.
As in the South,
continuation of the conflect, will lead to total
change in the general understanding in Western Sudan particularly the identity
question, which will lead to some sort of new alliances in
While, there was several initiatives aiming at ending the war in Darfur, each mainly launched from imagined and promised interests, regardless to Darfurians interests, most of these interests are conflicting with reality in Darfur, reasons for its failures.
Because next election will determine Sudan destiny, thus the intensive participation of Darfurians and Kordufanians will accelerate that, all of which are liked with the peaceful resolution of Darfur conflect, and the choice of Darfurians to join with SPLM, which was the missing link that had prolonged the war till nineties, then accelerate peace where war was not required; but planting human values in the Sudanese socity required that link, which will take place.
Presently the general Sudanese political environment is moving
towards complexities, prediction of which will help creating the long awaiting democratic
changes. The NCP, empowered by CPA, weaken opposition parties and several
contradictions, is consolidating and regaining lost political and religious
powers, shaken by political and military activities waged by SPLM/A and its
alliances, particularly in Darfur. By that, NCP will breach the CPA,
challenging SPLM in South Sudan,
Meanwhile as experiences had showed, the aspirations and hopes of marginalized people of Sudan and the democratic forces are nearly all alike, the past two decades has showed how the unity of purpose within the battlefields and negotiation tables had managed to protect and kept the Movement alive, although it was tough enough.
On the other hand, the vision of New Sudan as declared by the SPLM/A founders Cdr Salva Kiir Mayardit among them, attracted millions of marginalized, humanists and democratic people of Sudan, who helped through many sacrifices in keeping continuation of these aspirations and hops alive (among which the right of self determination for the people of South Sudan), therefore as the experiences of past three years had showed, the remnant of our common oppressor is kept alive and becoming stronger through our weakness and disintegration; therefore the unity under that vision guided by the leadership of Cdr Salva Kiir Mayardit, will prove to be a guarantee and best option to achieve the human values of Freedom, Equality, Justice and Democracy to the whole Sudanese people.
The Darfur peace process, and the expected democratic process in the whole Sudan could be seen as a coin with two faces, the NCP is not interest in genuine peace, because it may reduced its present absolute power, unless great pressure is exerted.
These alliances and goals can only be achieve by the Movement, based on its moral obligations and responsibilities towards the marginalized people of Sudan, if not as protection measure, which requires working positively to achieve among others a justice peace to people of Darfur, which will reflects on Human aspects and welfares of Sudanese people.
1- Ushari Mahmoud and Suliman Beldo, El-Diayn Massacre (Khartoum: N.P., 1987).
2- Interview with Cdr Abdulaziz Adam Alhilu in
3- Background of Darfur Genocide – Documents of Arabs Alliance: http://darfurna.com/
Mohamad (Author), Al Bander,