Tag: <span>The United Nations</span>

Law of the Sea Appeals

Our Common Oceans and Seas.

Featured Picture: Photo by Alice Mourou on Unsplash.

The people of the earth having agreed that the advancement of man in spiritual excellence and physical welfare is the common goal of mankind…therefore the age of nations must end, and the era of humanity begin.”

Preamble to the Preliminary Draft of a World Constitution.

The Association of World Citizens has long been concerned with the Law of the Sea; and had been active during the 10-year negotiations; on the law of the sea during the 1970s; the meetings being held one month a year; alternatively in New York and Geneva. The world citizens position for the law of the sea was largely based on a

Three-point framework:

a) That the oceans and seas were the common heritage of humanity; and should be seen as a living symbol of the unity of humanity.

b) That ocean management should be regulated by world law created; as in as democratic manner as possible.

c) That the wealth of the oceans; considered as the common heritage of mankind should contain mechanisms of global redistribution; especially for the development of the poorest; a step toward a more just economic order; on land as well as at sea. 

The “Common Heritage”.

The concept of the oceans as the common heritage of humanity; had been introduced into the U.N. awareness; by a moving speech in the U.N. General Assembly by Arvid Pardo; Ambassador of Malta in November 1967. 

Under traditional international sea law; the resources of the oceans; except those within a narrow territorial sea near the coast line were regarded as “no one’s property” or more positively as “common property.”  The “no one’s property” opened the door to the exploitation of resources by the most powerful; and the most technologically advanced States.

The “common heritage” concept was put forward as a way of saying that “humanity” – at least as represented by the States in the U.N. – should have some say as to the way the resources of the oceans; and seas should be managed.  Thus, began the 1970s Law of the Seas negotiations. 

Arvid Pardo (2022). By User:MSacerdoti, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Elisabeth Mann Borgese.

Perhaps with or without the knowledge of Neptune; lord of the seas; the Maltese voted to change the political party in power; just as the sea negotiations began. Arvid Pardo was replaced as Ambassador to the U.N; by a man; who had neither the vision nor the diplomatic skills of Pardo.  Thus; during the 10 years of negotiations the “common heritage” flame was carried by world citizens; in large part by Elisabeth Mann Borgese; with whom I worked closely during the Geneva sessions of the negotiations. 

Elisabeth Mann Borgese  (1918-2002) whose birth anniversary we mark on 24 April; was a strong-willed woman.  She had to come out from under the shadow of both her father, Thomas Mann; the German writer and Nobel laureate for Literature; and her husband Giuseppe Antonio Borgese (1882-1952); Italian literary critic and political analyst. 

Frankreich, Bandol: Menschen; Elisabeth Mann (1936). By Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Thomas Mann.

From 1938; Thomas Mann lived in Princeton, New Jersey and gave occasional lectures at Princeton University. Thomas Mann; whose novel The Magic Mountain was one of the monuments of world literature between the two World Wars; always felt that he represented the best of German culture against the uncultured mass of the Nazis.  He took himself and his role very seriously; and his family existed basically to facilitate his thinking and writing.

Thomas Mann Picture: Nobel Foundation, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese had a regular professor’s post at the University of Chicago; but often lectured at other universities on the evils of Mussolini.  Borgese; who had been a leading literary critic and university professor in Milan; left Italy for the United States in 1931; when Mussolini announced that an oath of allegiance to the Fascist State; would be required of all Italian professors.

For Borgese; with a vast culture including the classic Greeks, the Renaissance Italians, and the 19th century nationalist writers; Mussolini was an evil caricature; which too few Americans recognized as a destructive force in his own right; and not just as the fifth wheel of Hitler’s armed car.  

The Age of Nations.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese met Elisabeth Mann on a lecture tour at Princeton, and despite being close to Thomas Mann in age; the couple married very quickly shortly after their  meeting. Elisabeth moved to the University of Chicago; and was soon caught up in Borgese’s efforts to help the transition from the Age of Nations to the Age of Humanity.

For Borgese; the world was in a watershed period. The Age of Nations − with its nationalism  which could be a liberating force in the 19th century as with the unification of Italy − had come to a close with the First World War.

The war clearly showed that nationalism was from then on only the symbol of death. However, the Age of Humanity; which was the next step in human evolution; had not yet come into being; in part because too many people were still caught in the shadow play of the Age of Nations.

A World Constitution for The Atomic Age.

Since University of Chicago scientists had played an important role in the coming of the Atomic Age; Giuseppe Antonio Borgese and Richard McKeon; Dean of the University felt that the University should take a major role in drafting; a world constitution for the Atomic Age.

Thus; the Committee to Frame a World Constitution; an interdisciplinary committee under the leadership of Robert Hutchins; head of the University of Chicago, was created in 1946. To re-capture the hopes and fears of the 1946-1948; period when the World Constitutions was being written; it is useful to read the book written by one of the members of the drafting team: Rexford Tugwell. A Chronicle of Jeopardy (University of Chicago Press, 1955). The book is Rex Tugwell’s reflections on the years 1946-1954; written each year in August to mark the A-bombing of Hiroshima.

Elisabeth had become the secretary of the Committee and the editor of its journal Common Cause.   The last issue of Common Cause was in June 1951. G.A. Borgese published a commentary on the Constitution; dealing especially with his ideas on the nature of justice. It was the last thing he wrote; and the book was published shortly after his death: G.A.Borgese. Foundations of the World Republic (University of Chicago Press, 1953).

In 1950; the Korean War started. Hope for a radical transformation of the UN faded.  Borgese and his wife went to live in Florence; where weary and disappointed, he died in 1952.

A Constitution for the World.

The drafters of the World Constitution went on to other tasks.  Robert Hutchins left the University of Chicago to head a “think tank”- Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions – taking some of the drafters; including Elisabeth, with him. She edited a booklet on the Preliminary Draft with a useful introduction A Constitution for the World (1965) However; much of the energy of the Center went into the protection of freedom of thought and expression in the USA; at the time under attack by the primitive anti-communism of then Senator Joe McCarthy.

In the mid-1950s; from world federalists and world citizens came various proposals for UN control of areas not under national control: UN control of the High Seas and the Waterways; especially after the 1956 Suez Canal conflict; and of Outer Space. A good overview of these proposals is contained in James A.  Joyce. Revolution on East River (New York: Ablard-Schuman, 1956).

Law of the Sea.

 After the 1967 proposal of Arvid Pardo; Elisabeth Mann Borgese  turned her attention and energy to the law of the sea. As the UN Law of the Sea Conference continued through the 1970s;   Elisabeth was active in seminars and conferences with the delegates, presenting ideas, showing that a strong treaty on the law of the sea would be a big step forward for humanity.

Many of the issues raised during the negotiations leading to the Convention; especially the concept of the Exclusive Economic Zone; actively battled by Elisabeth; but actively championed by Ambassador Alan Beesley of Canada; are with us today in the China seas tensions.

While the resulting Convention of the Law of the Sea has not revolutionized world politics – as some of us  hoped in the early 1970s – the Convention is an important building block in the development of world law.

We are grateful for the values; and the energy that Elisabeth Mann Borgese embodied especialy at a time; when cooperative action through the United Nations is under attack by some narrow nationalist leaders. World Citizens are still pushing for the concept of the common heritage of humanity.

Arvid Pardo monument at the University of Malta. By Continentaleurope at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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International Day of Conscience Rapprochement of Cultures.

Conscience: The Inner Voice of the Higher Self.

Featured Image: Photo by Lan Johnson in Pexels

By Rene Wadlow.

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 5 April; as The International Day of Conscience. An awakened conscience is essential to meeting the challenges; which face humanity today as we move into the World Society.

The great challenge which humanity faces today is to leave behind the culture of violence; in which we find ourselves; and move rapidly to a culture of peace and solidarity.

We can achieve this historic task by casting aside our ancient national, ethnic, social prejudices; and begin to think and act as responsible Citizens of the World.

The 5 April. International Day of Conscience.

An awakened conscience makes us sensitive to hearing the inner voice that warns and encourages. We have a conscience so that we may not let ourselves be lulled to sleep by the social environment; in which we find ourselves; but will remain alert to truth, justice, and reason. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says in Article 1:

“All human beings are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

There is a need to build networks and bridges among Companions of Conscience. Companions of Conscience create a ground for common discourse; and thus a ground for common life-affirming action. As Companions of Conscience; we take firm action to formulate effective responses to the challenges facing the emerging world society: armed conflicts, human rights violations, persistent poverty and ecological destruction.

However; we strive to make the world a more humane dwelling place for ourselves; and for future generations as we move toward a peaceful; just and ecologically-responsible future. We do not hide from ourselves the complexity of these challenges.

Therefore; we believe in the effectiveness of common action and enlightened leadership to build a culture of cooperation and solidarity.

The circle of Companions of Conscience is growing world wide. Conscience-based actions are increasingly felt.

Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), Lake Success, New York. November 1949. By FDR Presidential Library & Museum, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interest read: Human Rights: The Foundation of World Law.

 Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Trafficking in Persons Appeals

Concerted Efforts Against Trafficking in Persons.

Featured Image: Photo by  sammisreachers in Pixabay.

On 30 July;  there should be a world-wide concerted effort against trafficking in persons.  The United Nations General Assembly in Resolution A/RES/68/192 in 2012;  set out 30 July as a day to review and reaffirm the need for action against the criminal global networks dealing in trafficking of persons.   The traffick in human beings reveals the hunger of the global economy for human labor and the disrespect for human dignity.  Drugs, guns, illegal immigration are the nightmare avenues of how the poor world becomes integrated into the global economy. These are intricate networks and are intertwined with interests in business and politics.

A recent U.N. Report presented to the Commission on the Status of Women;  highlighted that human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries and one of the crucial human rights crises today.

From Himalayan villages to Eastern European cities – especially women and girls – are attracted by the prospects of a well-paid job as a domestic servant, waitress or factory worker.  Traffickers recruit victims through fake advertizements, mail-order bride catalogues, casual acquaintances, and even family members.  Children are trafficked to work in sweatshops, and men to work in the « three D jobs » – dirty, difficult and dangerous.

        Despite clear international standards;  such as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime  and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons;  Especially Women and Children; there is poor implementation; limited governmental infrastructure dedicated to the issue.  There is also a tendency to criminalize the victims.

Since 2002;  the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime has collected information on trafficking in persons. 

The International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization – especially in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention – and the International Organization for Migration – all have anti-trafficking programs; but they have few « people on the ground » dealing directly with the issue.

Thus real progress needs to be made through non-governmental organizations (NGOs),  such as the Association of World Citizens;  which has raised the issue in human rights bodies in Geneva. 

Trafficking in Persons

Kari Johnstone serves as Acting Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons delivers remarks at an event recognizing the release of the 2018 Trafficking in Persons report and honoring the 2018 ‘TIP Report Heroes’ at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC on June 28, 2018. (State Department photo/ Public Domain). By U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

There are three aspects to this anti-trafficking effort. 

The first is to help build political will by giving accurate information to political leaders and the press.  The other two aspects depend on the efforts of NGOs themselves. Such efforts call for increased cooperation among NGOs and capacity building.

The second aspect is research into the areas from which persons – especially children and women – are trafficked.  These are usually the poorest parts of a country and among marginalized populations.  Socio-economic and development projects must be directed to these areas so that there are realistic avenues for advancement.

The third aspect is psychological healing.  Very often persons;  who have been trafficked have had a disrupted or violent family life.  They may have a poor idea of their self-worth. The victim’s psychological health is often ignored by governments.  Victims can suffer a  strong psychological shock that disrupts their psychological integrity. Thus;  it is important to create opportunities for individual and group healing;  to give a spiritual dimention through teaching meditation and yoga.  There is a need to create adult education facilities so that persons may continue a broken educational cycle.

          We must not underestimate the difficulties and dangers; which exist in the struggle against trafficking in persons nor the hard efforts;  which are needed for the psychological healing of victims. 30 July can be a rededication for our efforts.

   

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Nuclear Weapons Appeals

UN-led International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear…

Featued Image: A U.S. Air Force McDonnell F-4C-22-MC Phantom II aircraft (s/n 64-0727) releasing a B83 nucelar bomb at Edwards Air Force Base during the last flight of the B83 project. Armed, the B83 has a maximum yield of 1.2 megatons. By Zapka, USAF, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Rene Wadlow.

“The struggle against the nuclear weapon cult and threats it poses to the international peace,
security and development, like all struggles against belief systems which have outlived their times,
is going to be long and arduous.”
K. Subrahmanyam. Nuclear Proliferation and International Security.

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, being celebrated this year for the third time;

“to enhance public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination in order to mobilize international efforts toward achieving the common goal of a nuclear-weapon free world.”

Achieving global nuclear disarmament − or at least forms of nuclear arms control − is one of the oldest goals of the UN. Nuclear weapon control was the subject of the first resolution of the UN General Assembly and it is the heart of Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” A Review Conference on the Treaty is held at the United Nations once every five years since 1975, and the representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have constantly reminded governments of their lack of “good faith”.

I chaired the NGO representatives at the 1975 and 1980 Review Conferences, and while our views were listened to with some interest, the Review Conferences have been a reflection of the status of world politics at the time not a momentum for change, as the 2015 Review showed.

There are still some 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world, largely in the hands of the USA and the Russian Federation, some on “ready alert”. There are plans to “modernize” nuclear weapons, and there are at least seven other States with nuclear weapons: North Korea, Pakistan, India and China in Asia, Israel in the Middle East and France and the UK in Europe. The instability and tensions of current world politics merit that we look at the ways in which governments and NGOs have tried to deal with the existence of nuclear weapons, their control and their possible abolition.

There have been four avenues proposed in the decades since 1945: presented, dropped, re-presented, combined with other proposals for political settlements, linked to proposals for general disarmament or focused on nuclear issues alone.

  1.  The first avenue proposed was the Baruch Plan, named after Bernard Baruch, a financier, often advisors to US Presidents going back to Woodrow Wilson and the First World War. He had been named a US delegate to the UN in charge of atomic issues. At the time, the USA had a monopoly of the scientific knowledge and technology needed to produce the A-Bomb, but the scientists who were advisors to Baruch knew that it was only a matter of time before other States, in particular the USSR, would also have the knowledge and technology.
  • Therefore it seemed that the best hope of avoiding an arms race with nuclear weapons was to bring all the atomic energy industry under international UN control. The Baruch Plan proposed the creation of all International Atomic Development Agency which would have a monopoly of all activities connected with atomic research and development such as mining, ownership and management of refineries, and the construction of atomic reactors. The Agency staff would be internationally recruited and would be free from interference from national governments.

However, the Baruch Plan was proposed as the Cold War (1945-1990) was starting to heat up and become more structured. In 1949, the US nuclear monopoly was broken by the explosion of the first Soviet bomb, and then in 1950, war started in Korea.

Bernard Baruch

 BARUCH, BERNARD. By Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Korean War led to the next stage, the second and third avenues in nuclear arms policy, someone contradictory but proposed at the same time, and in the light of the Korean War experience.

  • 2.  Avenue two proposed that limited war could be carried out but with nuclear weapons that were smaller than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and that would not necessary lead to an all-out war between the USA and the USSR. This avenue is most closely associated with Henry Kissinger and his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. (1) The 1950-1953 Korean War showed that war was a real possibility, due perhaps to political miscalculations, erroneous intelligence, and failure to see how a local situation could have a much broader impact.

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and national security advisor for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. By  LBJ Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
  • The Korean War stopped without a victor, leaving a divided Korea, a situation which has gone on until today. The Korean experience augmented by the French-Vietnamese War which ended in 1954 led strategic thinkers to reflect on the nature of limited war. At the same time that Henry Kissinger was writing his book, reflecting largely in similar ways, Robert Osgood of the University of Chicago was teaching a seminar on limited war in which I was one of his students. The seminar led to the widely-read book: Limited War: The Challenge to American Strategy. (2)
  • 3. It was in Europe where the opposing NATOWarsaw Pact forces faced each other most closely, that the third avenue was proposed: nuclear-weapon free zones. In October 1957, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adam Rapacki, put forward a plan for creating a nuclear-weapon free and neutral zone in central Europe, usually known as the “Rapacki Plan“. The first stage would be the ‘freezing’ of nuclear armaments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the two German States. The second stage would consist of a reduction of conventional armaments and complete de-nuclearization of the four States.

Adam Rapacki

Adam Rapacki (December 24, 1909–October 10, 1970) – a Polish politician and diplomat. By Official photo of members of Politbureau of PZPR after IV Congress. “Trybuna Ludu” 1964 Author:unknown. Wikimedia Commons.

Cuban Missiles Crisis.

Although there had been intense discussions within the Warsaw Pact States before the Rapacki proposal was made public, mutual mistrust and suspicion among NATO and Warsaw Pact countries was such that no negotiations were undertaken. The situation was made all the more complicated by the Western refusal to recognize the German Democratic Republic. However, Rapacki had given birth to the innovative idea of negotiated nuclear-weapon free zones coupled with confidence-building measures.

Nuclear-weapon free zones took shape after the 1962 Cuban missiles crisis. Even today, it is difficult to know how close to a war the 1962 nuclear missiles in Cuba brought the USA and the USSR. It was close enough that it worried leaders in Latin America. Led by the Ambassador of Mexico to the UN and later Nobel Laureate, Alfonso Garcia Robles, negotiations for a Latin American nuclear-weapon free zone were started, and in 1967, 21 Latin American States signed the Treaty of Tlatelolco. In Latin America, two of the largest countries, Argentina and Brazil have nuclear power industries and a potential capacity to develop nuclear weapons. Thus the Treaty provides a confidence-building framework between these two regional powers, although the two States have none of the tensions between them that colored Warsaw Pact-NATO relations.

 

the Cuban Missile Crisis

Hyde Park Protesters October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. By Don O’Brien, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

The Latin American nuclear-weapon free zone has led to other treaties creating nuclear-weapon free zones in the South Pacific, Africa and Central Asia.

  • 4.  The fourth avenue and the one most discussed at the UN these days is a convention to ban the possession and use of nuclear weapons on the lines of the conventions to ban chemical weapons, anti-personnel land mines and cluster munitions. These bans are based on the unacceptable humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, the inability to distinguish between civilians and military and other violations of the principles of humanitarian law.

A Nuclear Weapons Convention has captured the imagination of many in the disarmament community, initially among NGOs but increasingly within the governments of non-nuclear weapon States and the diplomatic community. The Nuclear Weapons Convention is strongly modeled on the Chemical Weapons Convention. Having followed from the sidelines the decade-long negotiations in Geneva which led to the Chemical Weapons Convention, I see two major differences. First, there had not been the wide discussions of the strategic use of chemical weapons as there had been on the strategic use of nuclear weapons in limited war situations.

The second difference which had its impact is that the major chemical companies in Western Europe and the USA did not want to get involved in making chemical weapons. The costs for securing the manufacture of such weapons was greater than what they could charge governments for chemical weapons. Western governments were also reluctant to construct government-owned factories for making chemical weapons, all the more so that there existed a 1925 Geneva Protocol against their use. However, there is still money to be made in the nuclear weapons field.

Track II-NGO efforts.

My own view is that effective nuclear-weapon control will come from a combined regional conflict resolution and nuclear-weapon free zone approach that was first set out in the Rapacki proposals. I believe that the Korean Peninsula holds the most potential for a settlement within a nuclear-weapon free zone. There are proposals for re-starting six-power talks, and there are some Track II-NGO efforts along this line. A Middle East nuclear-weapon free zone coupled with conflict resolution and security provisions would be the most necessary given the current tensions and armed conflicts. The recent agreement with Iran may be a step in this direction. India-Pakistan tensions have gone on so long that both States may know how not to push too hard, but there are always dangers of events slipping out of control.

26 September serves as a reminder of the avenues proposed for nuclear disarmament, but disarmament diplomacy has stalled too often and inconsistent policies by governments have made the goal of complete elimination seem unreachable in the short term. Nevertheless we, as non-governmental peacebuilders, must continue to work creatively to generate the groundswell of opinion that will create a momentum of political will to move to a world without war and without nuclear weapons.

 

NOTES.

(1) KISSINGER. H. (1957) Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. New York: Harper.

(2) OSGOOD. R. (1957) Limited War: The Challenge to American Strategy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

Rene Wadlow is President and Representative of the Association of World Citizens to the United Nations, Geneva.

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Sudan Appeals

Sudan: Difficult Transitions.

Photo by Mohamed Tohami on Unsplash.

By Rene Wadlow.

With the death on 26 November 2020 of Sadeq Al-Mahdi;  a major figure of modern Sudanese politics;  leaves the scene at a time of deep transitions within Sudan. Sadeq was the great grandson of Mehammed Ahmed;  who in the 1880s proclaimed himself as the Madhi in the struggle against the Egyptians and the British. When impiety progresses;  God inspires the Mahdi, the Messiah, to establish justice. Thus;  the Mahdi is both a political as well as a spiritual leader.

 

Sadig never declared himself to be the Mahdi;  but the family had taken Al-Madhi as the family name. He was a political leader having been Prime Minister twice, 1966 -1967 and again 1986 -1989;  both times forced out by the military;  who set up long-lasting military dictatorships; the first time by General Jaafar Nimeiry;  and the second time by General Omar Al-Bachir.

The Sufi Order.

Sadig was the head of an important Sufi order;  a tariqa as Sufi orders are called in Sudan. His political base was the Sufi order. He was educated at Oxford University in England;  and had high hope to modernize Sudan. Yet both times that he was prime minister;  he became bogged down in socio-economic tensions that would lead shortly afterwards to war. The first time;  the tensions and war which led to the creation of the separate state of South Sudan;  the second time the continuing North-South split of the country;  and the tensions which led to the armed conflict in Darfur province. In both cases;  the military were able to present themselves as more able to deal with conflicts than a civilian.

I had Sadeq Al-Mahdi as a member of the Association of World Citizens team to attend a seminar at the United Nations in Geneva;  on human rights and Islam. We had discussed at length his experiences and the nature of Mahdist movements.

The Ironies of Sudanese Politics.

One of the ironies of Sudanese politics was that his chief opponent;  the ideological brain of the Al-Bachir National Islamic Front, Hassan Al-Turabi was his brother-in-law, the men having married two sisters of the same family. While Sadeg was a Sufi highlighting; a personal relationship to God with no emphasis on the Islamic legal code or the Koran;  Hassan Al-Turabi, influenced by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood;  stressed the legal code and promoted the idea of a pan-Islamic brotherhood based on a common understanding of the legal code.

Today;  Sudan is in a period of transition. The South has become a separate country with a good number of difficulties. A good number of issues;  including oil revenues;  need to be worked out between Sudan and South Sudan. The war in Darfur continues;  but negotiations are very difficult as opposition groups have split along tribal and ideological lines. The new Sudanese government is an uneasy coalition of military and civilian members of trade unions and professional societies. It is not clear what role Sufi orders;  which are mostly rural, will play. It is also not clear to what extent new political parties will be formed based on the civil society forces;  which were largely outside the earlier political parties. Sudan remains a country in transition; to be watched closely.

 Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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