Articles and Analysies
Old Habits Die Hard: The National Congress Party is Back to Its Outmoded Tactics—By: Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman
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Sep 4, 2007 - 10:13:49 AM


Old Habits Die Hard: The National Congress Party is Back to Its Outmoded Tactics—

By: Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman

It seems that, as the Sudanese folk parable goes, the ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP’s) Halima has returned to its old habits of warfare assaults on civilian population in Darfur .   Over the past few weeks, it has continued using its military might of aerial bombardment of Mig 29 fighter jets, Antanov bombers and helicopter gunships destroying villages and hamlets, terrorizing inhabitants, killing the vulnerable and driving thousands of people from their homes .   In response JEM and Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), Unity faction attacked an army base in the Kordofan region next to Darfur , which they said was the logistical and supply centre for ongoing attacks in South Darfur . The rebels said that they cannot afford to take the defensive posture whilst the GOS forces continue warfare assaults on their civilian population in Darfur . “Victory seems to lie in the offensive posture”, one commander is reported to have said. Darfur rebel movements understandably will not remain indifferent toward the army attacks on unarmed citizens of Darfur .

 The government of Sudan wedded to the outmoded tactics by restarting to play the cat – and – mouse game with the Darfur rebel movements. It has intensified attacks against the rebel held liberated territories as expected. This kind of behaviour is concordant with what we saw in 2006 when the regime used to launch onslaughts against rebel positions prior to each round of negotiations. This is a calculated tactic to cause delay, buy time and prolong the suffering of the people of Darfur beyond the limit of their endurance to make them surrender under pressure. They are mistaken; the courage and sacrifice of rebels inspired by the just cause of the people of Darfur will continue to disrupt enemy attacks with resultant crushing defeat eventually in grueling triumphant battlefields.

It is regrettable that this pathetic tyrant regime exploits young Sudanese men as soldiers to fight their fellow compatriots in an unjust warfare with tremendous loss of life. However, in some battles, there is evidence that scores of soldiers from marginalized background changed allegiance to the regime and defected to the rebel side. Moreover, many army officers assertively said that the priorities of the Sudanese Armed Forces should have been to restore the Sudanese territories annexed by foreign troops from neighboring countries by force rather than killing innocent citizens in Darfur . Those officers were arrested and summarily sentenced to imprisonment.

The regime failed to learn lessons from its recent past blunders that led to the infamous Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) that was forced hastily to be signed by only one rebel movement faction in Abuja, Nigeria in May 2006.

People of Darfur and the movements are familiar with the negotiating style of the GOS which is characterized by preconditions and exaggerated rhetorics to show toughness, prevarication, intimidation and demonstation of military might.   We are all too familiar with how the Khartoum government attempts to exploit divisions among negotiating opponents and how it relies on uncompromising official position to draw out concessions as part of the end game of the negotiation, not to mention its continuous use of inducement and bribery so as to achieve the ends.

Observers think that given current circumstances in which the UN Security Council is authorized by the provisions of resolution 1769 (2007), deployment of United Nation- African Union ‘HYBRID’ Peace Operation will take place in bid to resolve Darfur Conflict. The Council urged the Sudanese Government and all rebel groups to negotiate a permanent political settlement to the dispute in Darfur , demanding that those parties fulfill their international obligations under relevant agreements and Council resolutions. The Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, authorized UNAMID to take the necessary action to support implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, as well as to protect its personnel and civilians “without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of Sudan ”. Government of Sudan seems to have misinterpreted at best or misunderstood at worst the previous clause when boastfully insisted that the DPA will be the basis of the forthcoming Darfur peace negotiations. The government of Sudan got it wrong and unfortunately gives wrong signals to bamboozle adversaries and associates likewise.

The principal Darfur rebel movements, namely Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and SLM-Unity are prepared to enter into peace negotiations with NCP Government. Whilst doing so, they reiterate what they have said in their Roadmap: The demands of the people of Darfur are neither prohibitive nor unreasonable. They are the basic rights of a citizen in any civilized nation that respects and cares for its people. One would wonder what would it matter if Darfur became one region similar to the Southern Sudan ? Would it matter if the people of Darfur demand to have their carved out territory restored to the borders of 1956? Furthermore, one would like to understand why the Government of Sudan is unwilling to allow the people of Darfur have a fair share power, wealth and enjoy security like other citizens elsewhere? Isn’t it ludicrous and unjust for the Government of Sudan to deny the innocent non-combatant Darfur civilians’ compensation for the suffering they endured through loss of loved ones, property, livestock and personal injuries? Isn’t it a fair demand to ask the Government of Sudan to reconstruct the war-ravaged infrastructure that was already fragile and meagre?’   The grim truth is that mere war cannot bring about peace to the people of Sudan in Darfur . The reign of terror practised by the National Congress Party regime must cease. In Darfur conflict, there are neither winners nor losers.   Sadly, there are only victims. The UN-AU Special envoys need to construct a better strategy to conduct serious peace negotiations under the auspices of a fair and impartial Mediation team.

The Khartoum regime has no choice but to pursue negotiations . It is imperative on the regime to have the issue of Darfur peace be settled. The NCP can neither dictate the venue for the upcoming Darfur peace negotiations nor can it hold the world in a hostage situation and play the cat – and mouse game continuously. Can the clever mouse elude the cantankerous cat for good? That is the question!


Author’s address:

Dr. Mahmoud.A.Suleiman

Deputy Chairman of the General for the Justice & Equality Movement (JEM)

E-mail address:

[email protected]




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