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Compounding the Failure: The African Union Continues to Betray Darfur

At the moment in which the Darfur genocide has entered it final phase—as Khartoum uses the completion of its “disarmament” campaign as an excuse to accelerate pressure on displaced persons to leave camps threatened with dismantling—the African Union has chosen to resume diplomatic activities on the Darfur file by threatening sanctions against hold-out rebel groups and continuing to push the failed Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) (July 2011). There could be no more misguided effort. With it, the African Union is now complicit in forcing defenseless, displaced civilians into areas of intolerable insecurity where their farming livelihoods have been destroyed.

Instead of pressing Khartoum on the critical issues of increasing regional security in the Darfur states and augmenting humanitarian access—which is beginning to wither following the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions on Khartoum—the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) is attempting to flog yet again the diplomatic dead letter that is the DDPD—signed by Khartoum and a meaningless “rebel coalition” seven years ago. The “coalition” (given the expedient name of the Liberation and Justice Movement, LJM) was made up of disaffected and ineffectual rebel fragments with no popular support or military power on the ground; it was cobbled together by U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Scott Gration and Libyan strongman Muamar Gadhafi.

The DDPD has been rejected fully by Darfuri civil society, which had no meaningful voice in its negotiation. Indeed, the DDPD—reflecting Qatar-led efforts and supported not only by the grossly ignorant and inexperienced U.S. Envoy Gration but the African Union’s top envoy Thabo Mbeki—had no meaningful solutions to any of the most pressing problems facing Darfur, including most consequentially restitution and the restoring of lands violently expropriated from non-Arab/African farmers by armed Arab militia groups.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki

A corrupt and incompetent Mbeki is now perhaps the greatest diplomatic obstacle to meaningful peace negotiations for Darfur

What terms there were in the DDPD were observed by Khartoum only insofar as the regime benefitted; and of course “negotiation” of the DDPD allowed Khartoum to fend off any subsequent diplomatic efforts. The regime has cleaved steadily and fiercely to the DDPD for good reason, and blunted any and all subsequent initiatives.

It is worth noting that the African Union had earlier weighed in with a proposal for peace in Darfur, Thabo Mbeki’s “Roadmap for Peace in Darfur” (2009). Mbeki, who led what was then the “African Union High-Level Panel on Darfur,” made absolutely no progress, thus creating the opening for the disastrous Qatari intervention. It is also worth noting that the Mbeki Panel was re-named the “African Union High-Level Implementation Panel”—“implementation” referring to the Mbeki’s so-called and utterly unsupported “Roadmap.”

In the intervening nine years, Mbeki and his “High-Level Implementation Panel” have not a single diplomatic success to their credit. Leaving aside failure to bring about an end to hostilities in South Kordofan and Blue Nile—or to negotiate a lifting of Khartoum’s barbarous humanitarian blockade targeting hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in these troubled regions—Mbeki and his panel have done nothing to diminish violence in Darfur or to increase security or to improve humanitarian access. They have put forward no peace proposal that enjoys the support of Darfuri civil society, and have by default remained committed to the DDPD. This shows an utter lack of diplomatic initiative and an abject capitulation before Khartoum’s obduracy and determination to complete the Darfur genocide on its terms.

Moreover, one notable development in recent months, confirmed by several sources, is the gradual decline in humanitarian access throughout Darfur, an issue the African Union has never taken seriously and ignores despite its threats to impose sanctions on non-signatory rebel groups with no corresponding threats against Khartoum’s génocidaires (see Sudan Tribune at | and below). Indeed, the African Union, particularly by way of UNAMID leadership, had been complicit in obscuring the scale of humanitarian need in Darfur. See |

“UN and African Union Complicity in Obscuring Darfur’s Realities: A long and disgraceful pattern of behavior,” February 21, 2018 |

Various sources, who of necessity must remain confidential, have pointed to increasing difficulties in providing relief services to Darfuris, particularly in North Darfur. Moreover, we must wonder why the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) has not mounted an assessment mission to Central Darfur, where a serious re-emergence of cholera is affecting a number of villages in the Nierteti area. Tragically, it is patently clear from WHO’s refusal to confirm—or disconfirm—the existence of cholera in Sudan, despite highly reliable tests that have been positive for cholera, conducted by independent laboratories meeting WHO clinical standards, that the organization has been intimidated into silence by the Khartoum regime. On the issue, as on so many others, the African Union has been silent—disgracefully silent.

True peace will come to Darfur only when there is a government in Khartoum that is willing to respond with justice and commitment to the terrible realities of destruction, suffering, and displacement that have unfolded in Darfur over the past fifteen years. The current regime is the very opposite of such a diplomatic interlocutor.

Civil society unrest and demonstrations throughout Sudan make clear that the nation has lost all faith in the brutal, rapacious National Islamic Front/National Congress Party kleptocracy. That the African Union should effectively throw this regime a diplomatic life-line at the present moment by failing to focus diplomatic pressure in appropriate ways is a sign of deep corruption.

Anger at the brutality and corrupt and economic malfeasance of the Khartoum regime has risen to the boiling point

African Union urges progress on Darfur process, threatens sanctions

Sudan Tribune, February 27, 2018 (KHARTOUM)

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) urged mediators to make progress in the resolution of Darfur conflict during the upcoming three months and threatened to sanction those who continue to hinder the ongoing efforts for a lasting peace [an absurdly meaningless threat—ER]. In a meeting held on 20 February 2018, the PSC said concerned by the “unnecessarily prolonged” process for peace in Darfur and called for a rapid resolution of the 15-year conflict.

The Council further pointed to “the lack of commitment on the part of the non-signatory Darfur armed movements” and urged them to engage discussions with the government on the basis of the Doha Document for peace in Darfur (DDPD).

[What the AU PSC does not mention is that the Khartoum regime refuses to comply even with the terms of the wildly untenable Doha agreement—an “agreement” reached without meaningful representation by Darfuri civil society, or from the rebel groups with the most popular support and military strength. The DDPD was dead on arrival and is widely recognized as such; that it continues to be diplomatically flogged as a roadmap only signals the weakness and incompetence of the AU. Indeed, the DDPD (July 2011) was made necessary by the utter failure of the previous AU “Roadmap for Peace in Darfur” promulgated by Thabo Mbeki in 2009. The incompetent and morally corrupt Mbeki still leads AU diplomatic efforts, almost a decade after this monumental failure—ER]

Following what the meeting directed the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the hybrid peacekeeping mission known as UNAMID to “continue with their engagement with the parties to the conflict” and update its members on the progress made on the peace process. Based on the outcome of the mediation’s efforts ” the AU Commission should, by May 2018, elaborate possible measures, including possible sanctions, which could be applied against all those who continue to obstruct efforts towards lasting peace and security in Darfur,” said a statement released on Monday 27 February.

[The UNAMID referred to here—a colossal failure as a peacekeeping mission by any reasonable or objective measures during its decade of deployment in Darfur—has been celebrate by the AU has been celebrated as “worthy of emulation” in future peacekeeping operations in Africa. The disingenuous and desperate effort to make a success out of miserable failure tells us all too much about the African Union Peace and Security Council—ER]

The holdout groups including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement—Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) refused to sign the DDPD in July 2011 and called to open the framework agreement for talks. Other groups like the Sudan Liberation Movement—Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) had declined to join the process and rejected its outcome. The African Union mediation panel (AUHIP) led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki proposed a holistic process to end the armed conflicts and produce political reforms in Sudan.

(c) 2018 SUDAN Research, Analysis, and Advocacy

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