The most succinct document of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is Chapter VI,11. This paper is based on existing literature and the personal experience of the author, who was involved in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) negotiations as an informal advisor and an external advocate (through the organisation Justice Africa), and in the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) talks and the post-referendum talks as a member of the African Union (AU) mediation teams. For a compendium of the relevant documents, see World Peace Foundation, ‘Sudan Peace Archive’.‘Security Arrangements’. Republic of Sudan and SPLM/A, ‘Comprehensive Peace Agreement’. Signed in Naivasha, Kenya, on 25 September 2003, it runs to a little more than three pages – by far the shortest of the protocols and annexures that comprise the CPA. Nowhere is security sector reform (SSR) mentioned by name. For the Government of Sudan (GoS), the central issue is resolved in Paragraph 7(a), which states: ‘No armed group allied to either party shall be allowed to operate outside the two forces’. Ibid., Paragraph 7(a).Continue Reading →
In an interview with the editors of the World Politics Review (published April 5, 2017), Alex de Waal addresses relations between Saudi Arabia and Sudan. The editors introduced the interview by noting that:
Sudan and Saudi Arabia are currently holding a joint air force drill that reportedly involves hundreds of air force personnel from both […]Continue Reading →
Back in 2002, Meles Zenawi, then prime minister of Ethiopia, drafted a foreign policy and national security white paper for his country. Before finalizing it, he confided to me a “nightmare scenario” — not included in the published version — that could upend the balance of power in the Horn of Africa region.
The scenario went like this: Sudan is partitioned into a volatile south and an embittered north. The south becomes a sinkhole of instability, while the north is drawn into the Arab orbit. Meanwhile, Egypt awakens from its decades-long torpor on African issues and resumes its historical stance of attempting to undermine Ethiopia, with which it has a long-standing dispute over control of the Nile River. It does so by trying to bring Eritrea and Somalia into its sphere of influence, thereby isolating the government in Addis Ababa from its direct neighbors. Finally, Saudi Arabia begins directing its vast financial resources to support Ethiopia’s rivals and sponsor Wahhabi groups that challenge the traditionally dominant Sufis in the region, generating conflict and breeding militancy within the Muslim communities.Continue Reading →
The first theme is one that any scholar of the Anyanya Movement is aware of: that the Anyanya were a disparate group of peasant soldiers lacking a central command and a cohesive political ideology. In Western Equatoria, the picture that emerges from Magaya’s book is one of organised and dedicated guerillas, almost akin to the partisans in Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.Continue Reading →
What is the history of nonviolent political change in Sudan–under what conditions and with what complications were civil society actors able to challenge the state structures? Read what happens when two expert Sudanese scholars debate the finer points of Sudan’s lesser-known history of popular protest. Alex de Waal reviews W. J. Berridge’s book, Civil […]Continue Reading →
Economic and financial sanctions rarely work: their best record is when they are short-term, have specific asks, and are targeted at friendly countries. Long-term, broad sanctions punishing hostile countries tend to compound the harm. Depriving a government of any legal way of getting the finance it needs to function, means it works criminal networks instead. Sudan is a case in point: a raft of U.S. financial and economic sanctions has contributed to the dominance of an entrenched security-commercial cartel at the top of government, whose members are personally enriched by this system. When a state is captured by such a network, regime change becomes extraordinarily difficult. There’s no way out of this trap without normalizing state finance—and that means transforming the sanctions regime.
The final and most fundamental point is that we cannot escape this problem with the same tools and the same frameworks that got us collectively into it in the first place.
This agenda for change is neither charity nor coercive intervention, because the problem is ours as well. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and South Sudan, international interventions have made a bad situation worse. We share the same international financial and security systems: we all suffer the consequences, and all need to fix them. In western, developed countries, we experience the concentration of wealth into a tiny fraction of extremely rich people, alongside policies that have cut into the middle class, and limited the future of the next generation. We have a closed security establishment that considers itself above the rules that govern society as a whole, and permitted to crooks in the name of protecting the public. Their worldview subordinates public interest to greed and fear, and their prescriptions for global problems don’t challenge this formula.Continue Reading →
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