By: Iman Al Sadig Almahadi
24 November 2004
The historic meeting held by the international security in Nairobi 18-19th November with the single task of discussing the Sudanese state of affairs, and its subsequent resolution No.1574 constitute a golden opportunity to rationalize the peace process and to get rid of the IGAD fostered bilateral nature of the peace process and upgrade into a national one a quality that has characterized all thriving peace process in Africa like the CONDESA Conference which has brought peace and democracy in south Africa, and in the Arab World like Taif conference which brought peace to Lebanon in 1992-93 content of the resolution:
It urged the two warring parties in the long-lived by the end of the present year. Moreover, the resolution welcomed the agreement between the incumbent government and the two Darfurian armed movements on 9th this month. It also pledged
assistance in finalizing those agreements and in case the agreements were concluded, enormous financial support would follow.
The resolution would have been flawless if it fulfilled the following:
* If it was ordinarily issued, but since it was done on an exceptional bais, it has stirred imagination to anticipate exceptional results.
* If the resolution had made use of first hand facts well known to UN Agencies and staff, and the new reality on the ground, instead of ignoring them and thereby starting from faulty premises.
* If it had drawn the attention of the two negotiating parties to the fact that their agreement is necessary but at the same time their bilateral agreement is inadequate and that international support to the agreement constitutes an external guarantee which is inadequate if not coupled with domestic guarantee.
The outstanding requirement is to transform the bilateral agreement into a national one through an agreed-on mechanism.
The missing nationalistic spirit of the agreement constitutes the domestic guarantee that will complement the international guarantee.
However, the resolution has averted these basic facts and went on to encourage the two negotiating parties to believe that their agreement is their international passing permit, thereby aggravating the state of the recently flawed Sudanese body politic by giving weight to might is right. The Sudanese body politic will suffer much from four defects which has emerged of
late: evidence culture, ethnic politics, foreign sponsoring of domestic protests and the adoption of bilateral ways in resolving internal conflicts. The late resolution didn’t attempt to use its acquired influence in the Sudanese affairs to assist the
Sudanese to do away with those distortions.
The International security Council has avoided the demand of humanitarian relief organizations who, dissatisfied with the agreements that omitted the reality, have started to aspire after severe sanctions, however, the council stance of avoiding
imposition of economic sanctions is correct because economic sanctions proved to be ineffective when resorted to.
If the council is not to cement the effectiveness of its resolution by resorting to imposition of sanctions, then what should it do to attain effectiveness? Before answering this question, the
defects besting resolution No.1574 must be clarifies:
1- Dealing with the IGAD sponsored bilateral framework of the agreement is something inescapable, however, the defect lies in considering the bilateral framework as an irreversible necessity lacking in alternatives, because the Council could have built on the bilateral achievement and then directed it towards the required broad forum.
2- The acceptance of the flawed IGAD Premises that the incumbent government is the sole representative of the whole North and the SPLM.A the sole representative of the South and that agreement between them is adequate enough to achieve peace and at the same time assuming that the other Northern and Southern forces will approve of the agreement and then support it or accept it as a fact accompli; and last but not least the
assumption that each of the two negotiating parties is a cohesive group rallying behind its leader and is capable of translating the agreement into reality.
3- Soon after the eruption of the Darfur crisis, an American official made a statement which gave the impression that the Naivasha process is the focus of the international community whereas Darfur crisis would be left for the government to resolve. But as events unfolded and some human tragedies occurred, the international public opinion began to turn attention
to Darfur and that attention dramatically grew to unprecedented scales finally leading to making Darfur crisis top-priority and then the issuance of resolutions No.1556 and 1564.
Though the Security and humanitarian situation further
aggravated, the council resolution No.1574 relegated the Darfur crisis on the council’s priorities scale.
The UN agencies and staff working in Sudan know beyond
doubt that since the signing of Nairobi declaration in June 2004 between the government and the SPLM/A facts on the ground have changed in the following way:
Firstly: it has become evident that signing of agreements is far short of being sufficient to change the reality. It is true that fighting between the two parties has stopped but only to indulge in a direct cold war and another hot war on proxy. The late
attacks on the SPLM/A controlled areas by some non-SPLM/A Southern groups, has been claimed to be encouraged by the government. On the other hand, the Darfurian Sudan Liberation Army has escalated its military activities in Darfur and it is a lso claimed to be supported by SPLM/A.
Secondly: the UN Agencies and staff working in Sudan know that grave rifts have emerged among the ranks of the ruling national Congress and the SPLM/A, and that the rifts has much to do with the differences over peace agreements.
Thirdly: They also know that there are political and military, Northern and Southern forces keen to achieve peace and to pay its price, but they reject the harmful mistakes included in the peace protocols, in addition to rejecting exclusion from the process of shaping the national building, hence, refusing to
abide by bilateral arrangements, then what is the reason behind neglecting these glaring facts?
Fourthly: There are non-objective factors explaining the course of affairs which resulted in Resolution No.1574:
* The dominant power in the International Security Council is the United States which seems to be in a hurry to reach peace conclusion at the earliest chance even if it is not well cooked.
* The Sudanese government overloaded with the criminal
charges leveled against it can not afford to stand in the face of American threats.
* The SPLM/A deems it an achievement accelerate to peace conclusion that might patch up its rifts and it is also seeking the benefits of American promises.
* There are some important elements in both the two negotiating parties who believe that the best partisan privileges and benefits are best achieved within a bilateral agreement in essence, no matter how much it is decorated.
The Security Council, in its exceptional session, could have tackled defects of the agreement referred by the IGAD and thereby take a decision devoid of the said defects taking into account the new realities without discussing the imposition of Sanctions on the government. We should not skip the following facts:
1- The UN, whether directly or indirectly via the African Union, has acquired unprecedented influence in Sudan, and one can conceive of the present day Sudan as an international protectorate.
2- Whatever the nature of foreign influence and whatever the number of the troops under its command, it can never do without the help of the internal factor, and so many experiences the late of which is the Iraqi crisis testifies to the said claim.
3- The international influence puts its effectiveness at risk if it confined itself to the support of a bilateral agreement in which the majority is not participating whereas international influence is more effective as long as it supports connect national
The Security council could employ its legal status besides its acquired status in the Sudanese affairs to assist Sudanese in taking the right direction How?
Firstly: retaining the priority of the Darfurian Security and humanitarian crisis because it has degenerated so quickly into chaos, and in this regard, some national-spirited reforms can be made to contain security and humanitarian problems but the urgent need now is immediate administrative reform putting
qualified and trusted persons in the high positions in the different states.
Secondly: urging the two negotiating parties in Naivasha to finalize negotiations but at the same time drawing their attention to the view that the agreement between them, though necessary, is inadequate unless it is followed by an all-inclusive forum or a national constitutional conference to back the agreement and
give it a national guarantee against any deviation by any party.
Thirdly: cognizance of the existence of common demands
among the national and regional sectors targeting decentralization, just distribution of wealth, balanced participation in power and in all political, economic, administrative, security and tribal issues relating to Darfur, eastern Sudan and all other parts of Sudan. on these issues, bilateral agreements leads no way, so it is better for them to be part of the agenda of the all-inclusive forum which will discuss
and take decisions on them. Any objective look at the Sudanese state of affairs will create an objective view.
Unlike other shortsighted participants in the Security
Council’s meeting 18-19th November Kofi Annan voiced
the truth when he said: “I talked about the need for a comprehensive agreement because only comprehensive agreement can provide the whole Sudan with durable hope in stability.
Therefore, it is high time the government and its would be partner the SPLM/A were convinced to make Naivasha process a success and to speed up participation of interested Sudanese parties, pro-government groups and opposition groups whether
armed or not in a national conference to discuss the system of government they want for their country in the future; and we all, the UN, the African Union and all the international community, should exert effort and assist in planning and supporting the process”.
Overlooking that clear opinion emanating from resolution No.1574 calls into question the knowledge of the members of the Security Council of the reality of Sudanese state of affairs.
Legally speaking, the council is responsible for keeping international peace and security according to the UN convention, and the international community and the UN agencies and staff working in Sudan are acquainted with the reality of the Sudanese state of affairs, however in the exceptional session of the council, the correct resolution to contain the Sudanese crisis was not taken.
These are legitimate fears leading to two important questions:
The first question: Does the convening of an all-inclusive forum or constitutional conference mean opening the door for repeating the hard negotiations?
The Second: Will the membership for the all-inclusive forum or the constitutional conference be uncontrolled?
Answer of the first question:
A: Naivasha protocols didn’t come from vacuum, on the contrary, it had been preceded by Asmara resolutions in 1995 and many other bilateral agreements among Sudanese parties. The content of the Naivasha protocols is identical with that of the aforementioned agreements; it is a kind of accumulation leading to Naivasha protocols being identical with the preceding agreements and that is agreeable.
B- The New items included in the Naivasha protocols and which have been agreed upon by the two negotiating parties who should act upon broadening national agreement on them.
C- There are some unclear agreed upon items relating to important issues, which need to be restated clearly after discussion like the constitution commission.
Guarantee of freedoms – achievement of the national spirit of state institutions – application of Islam and by which Ijtihad (interpretative Jurisprudence)- formation of national armed forces – setting date for elections and ensuring its farness.
Answer to the second question:
The membership for the all-inclusive forum or the constitutional conference should be confined to specified national groups, and they are:
A: Parties which participated in the last democratic constituent Assembly (1986-1989) and they are parties recognized by both the government and the SPLM/A; they are listed below according to their representative leverage:
* Umma Party
* The Democratic Unionist party
* The National Islamic Front
* USAP (union of Sudanese African Parties)
* The Sudanese National party
* The Communist party
* The Beja Congress
B- The Seven Parties armed conflict-created parties:
* The SPLM/A
* The Darfurian Sudan Liberation Army
* Justice and Equality Movement
* Beja congress
* Free Lions Movement
* Southern Sudan Defence Forces – the military wing of
the Southern Salvation Front.
C- New Civil Political forces:
* The Democratic Forum for Southern Sudan
* Sudan Civil Forum
* Peace Forum on Darfur
* Alliance Four groups.
Total parties and forces 17, adding to it representation of trade unionists, women and youth as represented by students unions provided that the number of member should not exceed 150 persons. To control time for convention, a period of three months from the final signing of bilateral agreement should
be given after which the conference or forum should convene.
Conclusion: one of the most important results of the internationally supported and monitored peace protocols is the dismantling of the unilateral security grip. Also one of the most important results of a two-party power is the opening of the door wide to harsh competition between them which will create
pluralism no matter how the two parties are watchful over their two-party power.
That means the internationally sponsored bilateral agreement will lead to broadening of freedoms margin and consolidating the pluralist reality.
If the above analysis is correct, will it be in the interest of the perpetuation and stability of the agreement to employ the broad margin of freedoms to corner and isolate the two-parties of the bilateral agreement, or is it better for the two parties to make
their agreement a centre for national consensus wherein weighty civil and political forces are bought to commit themselves to supporting it and isolating those who default to commit?
The above result is possible if the two parties agreed to give the all-inclusive forum or the national conference the authority to endorse the bilateral agreement and if they made themselves ready to pay the price of that forum.
The two negotiating parties should have recognized this fact in order to preserve their own interests and at the same time the national interest. The international community should have drawn the attention of the two parties to this fact.
It is a lasting fact, polished through time and will never disappear by the passing of time.