Tag: <span>Darfur</span>

Sudan Appeals

The Sky Darkens in Sudan.

Featured Image: Photo by Abdulaziz Mohammed on Unsplash.

On 15 April 2023, a long-brewing conflict between two generals who had seized power in a coup in 2021 broke into armed battles especially in Khartoum. Use of tanks, jets and artillery has been reported.  The split between General Abdel Fattah al-Burham, chief of the army and General Mohamed Hamdam Daglo, better known by his battle name “Hemetti”, chief of the Rapid Support Forces is no great surprise as there is often place for only one person in a military junta.

In April 2018, civilian protests began, and in early 2019 they led to the end of nearly 30 years of the dictatorship of President Omar al-Bashir.  Al-Bashir was himself a general, but he also controlled the security services and much of the administration.  He had overseen economic contacts with foreign countries, especially China.  He was given credit for the relative economic development and the creation of a middle class, especially in the cities.  However, he was under indictment of the International Criminal Court on seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the province of Darfur in western Sudan.  Thus, when Omar al-Bashir was forced out, there was a political gap that the civilian protesters were not able to fill.

Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan (2019). By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The evildoers on horseback.

The Rapid Support Forces of Hemetti are an outgrowth of popular defense forces and tribal militias active in Darfur, originally structured as the Janjaweed (“the evildoers on horseback”). To the extent that the makeup of the Janjaweed is known, it was a collection of bandits, of Chadians who had used Darfur as a safe haven for the long-lasting insurgencies in Chad, remains of Libya’s Islamic Forces which had once been under the control of the Libyan government but left wandering when Libyan policy changed. Thus, the Rapid Support Forces, true to its origins, has been willing to fight elsewhere, especially in cooperation with the Russian Wagner Group in Yemen.  It is estimated that there are some 80,000 men in the Rapid Support Forces and some 200,000 in the regular army.  Hemetti is from Darfur and have profitted from the mineral wealth of the province.

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (commonly known as Hemedti). He is in a conference room, behind a table and a flag of Russia in the foreground.(2022). By Government.ru, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The authorities of the African Union have asked for calm and dialogue.

The army under al-Burham still has many higher officers from the al-Bashir period, and they wish to hold on to the power and funds they control.  They have few contact and not much in common with the civilians who had protested against al-Bashir.

The violence in Sudan could spread.  Thus the neighboring countries of Egypt and South Sudan have proposed good offices and a ceasefire. The authorities of the African Union have asked for calm and dialogue.  The situation merits watching closely.

President of the Republic of Sudan Omar Bashir during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (2017). By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Darfur Appeals

Renewed Violence in Darfur: An Unstable Sudan.

Featured Image: Pro-government militia in Darfur. By Henry Ridgwell, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

24 April 2022; saw renewed violence in the Darfur Provence of Sudan between Arab militias and the indigenous tribes of the area, the Masalit and the Fur. The violence began in 2003 and has caused some 300,000 deaths and some three million displaced. While most of the fighting was when General Omar al-Bashir was President; his overthrow by new military leadership has not fundamentally improved the situation.

Omar Al Bashir

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, listens to a speech during the opening of the 20th session of The New Partnership for Africa’s Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2009. By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Darfur Conflict.

Darfur is the western edge of Sudan. Its longist foreign frontier is with Chad; but communication with Libya is easy for camel herders and gunrunners. To the south lies the Central African Republic – a state with a very unstable government; which feels the fallout from the Darfur conflict. Darfur served as a buffer area between the French colony of Chad and the English-held Sudan until 1916; when French-English rivalry was overshadowed by the common enemy, Germany, in World War I. Darfur; which had been loosely part of the Ottoman Empire; was integrated into Sudan with no consultation either with the people of Darfur or with those in Sudan.

Thus; Darfur was always the neglected child in Sudan – a child no one had asked to be there. Only after 1945 were some development projects undertaken; but basically Darfur remained an area of pastoralists – some tribes specializing in camels and others in cattle – and settled agriculturalists. Camel and cattle-raising tribes from Chad would move into Darfur and vice-versa. There were frontiers between tribes; but they did not correspond to state boundaries.

The Black Book: Imbalance of Power and Wealth in Sudan.

In May 2000; intellectuals and government civil servants from Darfur; calling themselves the Seekers of Truth and Justice wrote The Black Book: Imbalance of Power and Wealth in Sudan. The study ended with specific recommendations for governmental and social action. While the book was widely read; it produced no new initiatives in sharing power or wealth. Some leaders in Darfur had the impression that the government was withdrawing services; especially in health and education. Schools were closed; and the number of children in school decreased.

After the failure of the intellectual efforts of The Black Book; the conviction that only violence was taken seriously started to grow among Darfur leaders. They started thinking about a strategy of a sharp; and swift show of violent strength that would force the government to negotiate with Darfur. The insurgency in Darfur began in the Spring of 2003. As Julie Flint and Alex de Waal point out in their useful history of the start of the Darfur war “Darfur’s rebels are an awkward coalition of Fur and Masalet villagers, Zaghawa Bedouins out of patience with Khartoum; a handful of professional who dared to take on leadership. Few of Darfur’s guerrillas had military experience or discipline before they took up arms.

The two main rebel groups are united by deep resentment at the marginalization of Darfur; but are not natural bedfellows and could easily be split apart… In the first months of 2003, these half-formed and inexperienced rebel fronts were catapulted out of obscurity to face challenges for which they were totally unprepared.” (1)

Islamic Legion.

The government in Khartoum was also unprepared for the Darfur insurgency. The government’s attention, as well as the bulk of the army, was turned toward the civil war in the south of Sudan. The government turned the fight against the Darfur movements to its security agencies – a narrow group of men uniterested in internal politics or external relations.

They decided to use the air force to bomb villages; and to use foreign troops to do the fighting on the ground. The foreign troops came from Libya. Colonel Gaddafi had created in the early 1980s an “Islamic Legion” and recruited militiamen from Mauritania, Chad, Mali in his efforts to create a union of Libya and Chad – or to annex part of northern Chad. When Gaddafi’s Chadian interests faded at the end of the 1980s; the Islamic Legion soldiers were left to look after themselves and so were ready to work for new paymasters.

Gaddafi

Muamar Muhamad Abu-minyar el Gadafi. By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Evildoers on Horseback.

The Sudanese security people brought the Islamic Legion soldiers to Darfur; gave them weapons but no pay. They were to pay themselves by taking what they could from the villages they attacked. In addition; prisoners from Darfur’s jails were released on condition of joining the militias. Rape of women and young girls was widely practiced both as a means of terror and as a “reward” for the fighters; since they were not paid. These militias became know as the Janjaweed (“the evildoers on horseback”.)

Although the Darfur conflict has largely faded from the media headlines; it continues producing many refugees, internally-displaced persons, unused farmland and political unrest. The conflicts in Darfur have destroyed many of the older patterns of dispute settlement among groups; as well as much of the economic infrastructure. The social texture and trust among groups is likely to be more difficult to rebuild than homes, livestock and water wells.

The joint African Union – United Nations peacekeeping force has not been able to produce peace. Peacekeeping forces need a peace to keep; and while there have been lulls in fighting; there has been no peace to keep. Banditry, criminal activities and periodic military action continues. It is impossible to know if the current outbreak of armed violence has local causes; or if it is a reflection of instability at the central government level. The situation in Darfur remains critical and needs to be watched closely.

 

Note.

1) Julie Flint and Alex de Wall. Darfur: A Short History of a Long War (London, Zed Books, 2005).

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Sudan Apelaciones

Sudan: Regresión Peligrosa .

Imagen de portada: la guardia presidencial de Sudán del Sur espera la llegada de dignatarios extranjeros invitados a participar en las celebraciones oficiales de independencia del país en la ciudad capital de Juba . Por Steve Evans, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

A partir del lunes 25 de octubre de 2021 por la mañana, el Primer Ministro de Sudán, Abdalla Handok y algunos miembros civiles del Consejo de Soberanía de Transición (como se llamaba al gobierno) habían sido arrestados y los militares habían retomado el control. El general Abdel-Fattah al-Burham, que encabeza la facción militar, ha dicho que se establecerá una “administración tecnocrática” hasta julio de 2023, cuando se celebrarán las elecciones. Actualmente, hay protestas de civiles en las calles de las principales ciudades, pero el impacto de estas protestas es incierto. La situación puede evolucionar de manera impredecible.

the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Handok

el Primer Ministro de Sudán, Abdalla Handok. Tuve el honor de conocer a @SudanPMHamdok, el primer líder sudanés en visitar Washington en 34 años. Mientras Sudán atraviesa una transición política histórica, espero apoyar la ambiciosa agenda de reformas de Hamdok y una mayor libertad para el pueblo sudanés. By Office of Senator Chris Coons, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, 18a Cumbre del Movimiento de Países No Alineados se pone en marcha en Baкu. By President.az, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

El Conflicto Armado en Darfur .

En abril de 2019, las persistentes protestas callejeras llevaron al fin del gobierno del general Omar Al-Bachir, que había estado en el poder desde 1989. Había enfrentado una larga guerra civil con el sur de Sudán, así como un conflicto armado, en gran parte tribales, en Darfur. La economía del país estaba en mal estado. Parte del movimiento anti Al-Bachir tenía motivaciones económicas. Sin embargo, también se deseaba un gobierno menos autoritario, y el término “democracia” se usaba a menudo.

Un gobierno militar reemplazó primero a Al-Bachir. Sin embargo, durante las protestas que llevaron a su salida y arresto, los grupos profesionales y sindicatos se volvieron cada vez más activos. Exigieron una participación en el gobierno del país. Por lo tanto, se estableció una administración bastante singular compuesta por un componente civil y militar dividido en partes iguales. Es la mayor parte del componente civil el que está ahora bajo arresto.

General Omar al-Bashir

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, presidente de Sudán, escucha un discurso durante la apertura de la vigésima sesión de La Nueva Alianza para el Desarrollo de África en Addis Abeba, Etiopía, 31 de enero de 2009, By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

La administración conjunta civil-militar no pudo hacer frente a la difícil situación económica. Para poner fin a la guerra civil que había dividido al norte y al sur de Sudán, un referéndum creó un estado separado, Sudán del Sur. Sin embargo, los problemas económicos, especialmente la producción y venta de petróleo, no se resolvieron. Como resultado, las condiciones económicas siguieron siendo muy difíciles. Incluso hubo protestas callejeras exigiendo el regreso al gobierno militar.

Otros gobiernos de Oriente Medio, en particular Arabia Saudita, Emiratos Árabes Unidos y Egipto se opusieron a los “vientos de cambio” en Sudán. Se desconoce qué papel pudieron haber jugado estos países en el golpe de octubre. Es cierto que los líderes militares sudaneses tenían contacto regular con los militares en estos países de Oriente Medio.

La situación actual en Sudán es de regresión para las corrientes democráticas y populares, situación que debe ser vigilada de cerca y apoyarse, si es posible, a las corrientes democráticas.

 

Rene Wadlow, President de  Association of World Citizens.

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Sudan Appeals

Sudan: Dangerous Regression.

Featured Image: South Sudan’s presidential guard await the arrival of foreign dignitaries invited to participate in the country’s official independence celebrations in the capital city of Juba. By Steve Evans, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

As of Monday morning, 25 October 2021, the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Handok and certain civilian members of the Transitional Sovereignty Council (as the government was called) have been put under arrest, and the military have retaken control.  General Abdel-Fattah al-Burham who heads the military faction has said that a “technocratic administration” will be put into place until July 2023 when elections will be held. Currently, there are protests by civilians on the streets of the major cities, but the impact of these protests in uncertain.  The situation can evolve in unpredictable ways.

the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Handok

the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Handok.  I was honored to meet @SudanPMHamdok, the first Sudanese leader to visit Washington in 34 years. As Sudan undergoes a historic political transition, I look forward to supporting Hamdok’s ambitious reform agenda and greater freedom for the Sudanese people. By Office of Senator Chris Coons, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, 18th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement gets underway in Baкu. By President.az, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Armed Conflict in Darfur.

In April 2019, persistent street protests led to the end of the government of General Omar Al-Bachir who had been in power since 1989.  He had faced a long-running civil war with the south of Sudan, as well as armed conflict, largely tribal based, in Darfur.  The economy of the country was in bad shape.  Part of the anti Al-Bachir movement had economic motivations.  However, there was also a wish for a less authoritarian government, and  the term “democracy” was often used.

A military government first replaced Al-Bachir.  However, during the protests that led to his departure and arrest, professional groups and trade unions became increasingly active.  They demanded a share in the government of the country.  Thus a fairly unique administration was set up comprised of an evenly divided civilian and military component.  It is most of the civilian component that is now under arrest.

General Omar al-Bashir

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, listens to a speech during the opening of the 20th session of The New Partnership for Africa’s Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2009, By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The civilian-military joint administration was not able to deal with the difficult economic situation.  To end the civil war which had divided north and south Sudan, a referendum created a separate state, South Sudan.  However, economic issues, especially the production and sale of oil was not worked out.  As a result, economic conditions remained very difficult.  There were even street protests demanding a return to military rule.

Other Middle East governments, in particular Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt opposed the “winds of change” in Sudan. It is unknown what role these countries may have played in the October coup.  It is certain that Sudanese military leaders had regular contact with the military in these Middle East countries.

The current situation in Sudan is one of regression for democratic and popular currents, a situation which must be watched closely and support given, if possible, to democratic currents.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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