Articles and Analysies
Open comments to Prof Andrew Natsios,US special envoy to Sudan By Bahar Arabi
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Sep 22, 2006 - 1:48:00 PM

Open comments to Prof Andrew Natsios,US special envoy to Sudan      could he be the savior of Darfur? By Bahar Arabi                                           The beginning of this week-[Sunday Sept.17th 2006]marked once again the beginning of placing Darfur on the map of global issues.It was the International day for Darfur,marked with rallies all over the world
by anti genocide and human rights activists, sympathisers,and well-wishers of Darfur .In New York, where I took part,as one of genocide and ethnic cleansing survivors,tens of thousands of people from all races colors and religious wasa majestic and emotional gathering, where true human brotherhood showed up and expressed its disgust, outrage ,and outright rejection to genocide,and showed solidarity e people of Darfur.the gathering called on UN Security Council to deploy peace keepers without delay whether with or without GoS consent.they also called on US president to appoint a special envoy to Sudan/Darfur,and stop the genocide.I learned that same calls were also made that day in other parts of the world .So far I did not hear the response of UN Security Council, but president Bush in a quick and prompt response appointed a special envoy , professor Andrew Natsios.To give credence and weight to the decision ,he made the announcement before a full session of a UN general assembly .The appointment also came after several months of calls by activists and congressional pressures on the White House.For us it is a welcome development,which came at a time of hightened fears and frustration,that peace-keepers might not come to Darfur.And that Albashir and his khartoum regime cronies might continue and remain in their genocidal rampage.Though Darfuris are not familiar yet with prof.Natsios peace building or making credentials, his appointment is a cause to lighten hearts burdened with grief and fear,and cheer up faces contracted by sorrow and anger .from the little back ground information we have about the man,or rather I gleaned from the media ,I have come to agree that he is the right man for the task,which by any means a difficult one.Darfuri folks have no doubt,that the man will bring dedication of time and energy,all faith and experience,to bear on his work.But we are also on guard of extravagant expectations that the mere appointment of a man of his caliber and experience on Sudan/Darfur does not mean applying a magic "slender stick" or immediate cessation of violence and killings,and return of quite and normalcy to our region.In any event the administeration need to put within his reach every possible means and ingrediants of success.he needs all the material and moral support from the White House,the Congress,and the Department of State.More importantly the understanding ,cooperation,and support of the waring parties on the ground,specially the non signatories of DPA and the generality of Darfur public. If I were to advice him,I would say,he needs to work closely with some of the influential African leaders,such as presidents:Obasanjo of Nigeria,because of his clout in black Africa,specially West African sub region,and president Thabo Embeki of South Africa,because of his experience and weight in the continent,also president Kagami of Rowanda.These leaders need to become real activists,it is in their interest and the interest of black Africa.Mr Natsios also need to know the political and socio-cultural terrain of Darfur and Sudan in general,and approach the problem and the leaders of the movements from this perspective.On his road map he must target first the moderates and level headed,the influential and articulate among the leaders of the movements.He needs to identify them to have a first hand elucidation of the knotty and intricate issues involved, that bedevil solutions,and cause dissonance among Darfuris.At thesame time he has to avoid the pit holes encountered by his UN counter part in Sudan.Some of these pit holes include : undermining or by passing senior commanders to talk to junior ones instead on the the way forward .Because this will only cause more dissonance and confusion on the ground,and lay ground for up-starter phenomenon.He has to initiate dialogue between movements,to evolve a unified common position and front,and another dialogue between the movements and Darfuri opinion leaders[intellectuals,politicians,academics,tribal leaders,etc.] to identify once again the articulated common objectives of the people of Darfur,then and importantly,he needs to work closely with African Union Mission in Sudan and the UN to organize settlement talks between the Khartoum regime--which has to be the Government of National Unity [GNU] and not only its component of NCP--and the unified Darfur front, for a final and lasting settlement of the Darfur future.We yearn to see Mr Natsios become the savior and loved one of Darfur,just as the late president R. Reagan is remembered as the savior,or the "Alhaj"who brought grain to starving Darfur in 1984-85

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