Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It now looks (despite the misleading claim at the end of The Guardian's article) as if the Khartoum regime will accept a combined AU-UN force in Darfur. American newspapers and wire services are reporting a new 'hope' for an agreement in Khartoum. An interesting recent article by Julie Flint for the Lebanese Daily Star gives some insight into what is happening. On the one hand, she notes that the present peace deal is unworkable, because the rebel groups controlling rural Darfur oppose it and will continue to do so. Secondly, she notes that none of the solutions presently on offer from various bodies are workable: an arms embargo will not be imposed while China has a say in the matter (although in fact most G8 countries still sell arms to Khartoum including those participating in a formal EU embargo); economic sanctions are unlikely to undermine Khartoum's ability to wage war if it wants to; and a no-fly zone would destroy the basis for the stabilisation of the humanitarian crisis that has so far been achieved by aid organisations. There is no alternative to a prolonged series of peaceful negotiations, (and Flint, by the way, is of the persuasion that the initial violence in 2004 was 'genocidal' even if it is very different now).
From all this, two conclusions appear to suggest themselves: the first is that Sudan is being gradually brought back into the fold, as it were; and the second is that the regime no longer trusts the groups it has been using to do its fighting for it, and is looking to an international force to contain both.