Doha Talks Reinvents the Wheels of Abuja Peace Agreement
By: Abdellatif Abdelrahman
It’s historically well known that the great nations learn from their mistakes, like the case of the USA. In its long struggling history the USA much learned valuable lessons, whether from dealing with allies against those who are different with them in ideologies or in its modern fights against International Counter Terrorism.
As an example; after the fall of the staunch ally of U.S; in the Middle East Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran on 16th of January 1979, the power in Iran was over taken by the Islamic fundamentalists who are always opposed to American policy up to this day. Carter Administration had learnt the lesson of; “keep looking beneath surface appearances, and never shrink from doing so; because you might not like what you find”. However; one of the American lesson learning came after lost of billions of dollars investment projects in Iran , that is up to date used by Ayatollah Khomeini regime to thwart the US administrations. Meanwhile; the Vietnam War also taught Nixon Administration some lessons to enter wars with clear war objectives.
However; the former U.S deputy secretary of state Robert Zolleick who is currently a head of the World Bank was assigned to make Darfur Peace Agreement DPA. He fell in to fiasco by making peace deal against the will of the people of Darfur; a reality which caused him to leave his political career to seek his luck elsewhere in world business. On that, I would assume that, The U.S policy makers would have learned that; nothing can work against the will of the people in this modern world of free markets, free minds and free people; the slogan raised by every American man and woman.
But judging American policies in Sudan from the perspective of President Obama’s Special Envoy to Sudan Jonathan Scott Gration; tracking from his deeds and provoking statements since he assumed office in 2009 and also his policy of promoting dissents within SLM/A, in order to create sub-leaders who lack any grass roots support among Darfurians; make me totally believe that this time the current US administration has not yet learned the lesson of the ancestors or otherwise, its putting American interests above everything! And if my latter assumption is the right one, then what is the National interest of President Obama Administration in Darfur to push for a futile peace agreement that will not meet the minimum legitimate requirements of Darfurian people through the ongoing Doha talks? Is it not enough the death toll and displacement inflicted on civilians by so-called Abuja Peace Agreement which signed under U.S –led International pressure? All these questions need answer from US administration.
On second of May,2006 the former U.S Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick assisted by Hillary Benn from the UK; flew to Abuja and only after three days the DPA was signed. On 8TH of May 2006 President Bush praised the agreement saying that the agreement signed is a hope for the people of Darfur and a chance to begin a new life.
Regrettably, the President Bush’s diplomatic victory and the new beginning turned to be the most catastrophic to the people of Darfur when Minni Minawi and the Government of Sudan joined hands after the signing of Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) to target innocent civilians in an attempt to subjugate them to accept the agreement. To approve the deviation or mishandling of America to Darfur problem I contacted the Military Spokesperson of Sudan Liberation Movement/Army Nimir Mohamed Abdul Rahman to give me the incidents that happened after the signing of the Abuja Peace Agreement. My main objective was to approve opposite of the statement made by former US President Bush who said that DPA will bring peace and stability to the people of Darfur; when he invited Minni Minawi to the White House. The following are some of few post-Abuja incidents:
· On first of July 2006 the allied forces of Sudan Government and Minni Arku attacked Sabi village in north east of Jebel Marra and in that attack twenty-four civilians were killed.
· From 27th of July to 9th of September 2006, the same alliance targeted series of villages in eastern Jebel Marra , including Dabah Neira, Abu Hammra, Tukumaara, Katur and Fanga; more than 357 civilians lost their lives and more than 450 others were displaced to the IDP camps in Shangil Tubaaya,El- Fashir, Dirrbat, Tuwa Shalal and Dumma
· On 17th of June 2006, Minni forces supported with government gunships attacked Dalil village, in eastern Korma in which one hundred and eleven civilians were killed among them fourteen children.
· On 22 of May 2006 the alliance forces attacked Korma village and other surrounding villages where 65 civilians were killed and more than seventy thousands people were displaced to El-Fasher and today these people are called by NGOs, Minni- displaced IDPs.
· From 6th of July to 19th of august 2006, the same alliance forces launched massive attacks on Taweila and 35 civilians were killed in Taweila. The same attackers continued to surrounding villages of Taweila and as a result total of 300 civilians were killed in the following villages: Tina Al-wadi, shokshoko, Umo, Koroo, Dali, Susuwa, Tarni, Argo, Konjara, Teibara and Al-aradeib Al-ashara. In this waves of attacks more than 270 thousand civilians were displaced to El-fashir and some to Rwanda IDP camp in Taweila. In addition to these damages about fifty women were raped during these attacks.
· On 13th of July Minni Arku forces joined by Sudan Government Janjaweed allies attacked on villages of Umm Sidir, Bir Maza, Disa, Hashaba and Sayyah that is located north and east of Kutum in which Minni forces killed 400 civilians and more than one hundred and seventy thousands people were displaced to Abu Shouk, Zamzam, Al-Salam, Naivasha, Kassab, Abdul Shakour IDP camps plus hundred of thousands others displaced to Chad.
· On 23 of November 2006-7th of January 2007, Minni forces attacked Dar Birrgid area and Khor Abashei of Southern Darfur state in which 45 dignitaries of Birrgid native administration were killed also four hundred and twenty civilians were killed in the same attacks, the attacks also led to displacement of more than one hundred and five civilians to Kalma and direige IDP camps.
· In mid December 2008, Minni forces launched massive attacks in areas of Mahajiriya, Labadou and Shaeiriya as a result Mahajiriya was totally burned to ashes, more than 360 civilians were killed and hundred of thousands civilians were displaced to Nyala.
The above mentioned dark chapter in the history of DPA signatories is not an exaggeration, but facts speaking for themselves. Although ; despite these undeniable facts I had just mentioned is because President Obama envoy Gration is pulling strings here and there to repeat the same mistake again to weaken the resistance of genocide victims, through Doha talks; disregarding the views and the suffering of the victims.
However; the perception Darfurian have today, regarding the ongoing Doha Talks is that, it’s merely a deal between the Umma Party and the National Congress Party to salvage El-Bashir from the ICC. Nevertheless, some greedy powers are working to push the result of Doha talks on the throat of genocide victims to strengthen the position of the regime and complicate matters.
Meanwhile, last week on 8th of June the AU-UN chief mediator Jibril Bassole and Ibrahim Gambari met in Nyala 56 Darfur Civil Society representatives, and they were told by the victims that Doha will not bring any peace to Darfur, they further warned AU/UN officials on partial solution to the conflict.
Furthermore; in related developments, the Association of IDPs and Refugees of Darfur in statement issued to Sudan tribune last Friday said that, they would not take part in peace negotiations with Sudan Government in Doha before the implementation of number of measures aiming to improve their security situation which include complete and verified disarmament of government militias.
Speaking on the importance of justice the IDPs representative Hussein Abu Sharati stressed that “Those responsible of Darfur crimes should be held accountable before peace”. The IDPs also accused Justice and Liberation Movement of Al-Tigani Sessei of working in connivance with the Government of Khartoum to undermine the demand for security and justice. Al-Tigani Sessei is behind the idea to bring the IDPs representatives this month in Doha, to participate as observers in discussions related to their rights; Abu Sharati added.
On the other hand; the chairman of SLM/A Abdul-wahid Al-Nour in an interview conducting by Al –arabiyya channel in which he was asked about Doha Talks he said “It’s a deliberate conspiracy to liquidate the cause of Darfur, and we are not deviating from our demands to provide full security for our people”. He also described what is happening on stop-start Doha talks as merely surrender.
I personally agree with the statements made by the IDPs representative Abdu Sharati and the chairman of SLM/A, that peace without security is just peace of positions.
However; I would like to tell Al-Tigani Sessei that no body surrenders himself to his enemy, but for Sessi such position is worst than surrender because for someone to surrender, he has to fight or oppose first. Al-Tigani Sessei has never opposed any regime in Sudan even splashing it with cold water, leave a lone to fire a bullet or throw stone using a catapult.
In 1988, the U.N racing –horse Sessei commissioned the attacks and burning of villages in Darfur during his tenure as governor of Darfur. Therefore, thinking to bring peace, through such person whatsoever; is nothing short than blatant insult to the intellectuality of Darfur victims.
What I explained above is the feeling of every ordinary lay man or woman in Darfur. The world community in fact failed to acknowledge or intentionally ignored the suffering of people of Darfur. In my opinion to put and end to the human tragedy in Darfur the World Community has to consider the will and the desire of the victims which centers on stopping the killing and disarming the Janjaweed militias or otherwise any exerted efforts to bring peace will not bear any fruits. Neither sideling with the perpetrators nor imposing solutions will achieve any thing. Finally; I hope the current US Administration will live up to what President Barak Obama wrote one day advising Bush Administration to reduce the suffering in Darfur “when the history of this tragedy is written, nobody will remember how many times officials visited the region or how much humanitarian aid was delivered, they will only remember the death toll”.
The writer is based in Kampala, Uganda and can be reached at [email protected]