What, or Who brings peace in Darfur?(2)
Tadjadine Bechir Niam
I welcome all the comments made by the many readers to part 1 of this series, published on October 21, 2010. As promised, here is the second part. This part discusses the need to establish and build a new vision and ideas on how best for the long-suffering people of Darfur and Sudan to achieve a durable peace based on the promotion and consolidation of human rights and democratic values in our country.
In part 1 I discussed the fragmentations and unification of the movements in Doha. The two movements LJM/A and JEM-K signed Framework Agreements on 23 February and 18 March 2010, respectively. The people of Darfur, Sudan and the regional and international communities had put a lot of hope on the unification and coordination of LJM/A and JEM-K. But it was not long when JEM-K, as usual, took an uncalculated step. It withdrew from the Doha venue accusing the Mediation and the venue of bias. It called for reformation of the venue and to expel LJM/A from Doha. They vowed not to return to Doha without these essential reformations. Not long before they froze the Framework Agreement. The Chairman, Medical Doctor Khalil and all his fellows moved to Egypt. But not before long they moved to Libya and Chad. In Chad they were humiliated for their own mistakes and behaviors and forced to go back to Libya where they are waiting till now.
LJM/A wisely entered in peace talks with the Government. The Joint Mediation and the Qatari mediation worked cohesively in arranging the meetings in the five commissions (power, wealth, security, returning of IDPs & refugees, and justice and reconciliation). LJM/A prepared their position papers in a coordinated manner and went on in the process. LJM/A, in coordination with the Mediation and UNAMID invited the IDPs, refugees, Diaspora and representatives of the Darfur Civil Society to conferences to listen to their opinion, recognizing that they are important stakeholders in the process. More than 485 gathered in the Sheraton hotel in Doha under the supervision of UNAMID and the Mediation. They discussed for three days, and then expressed their position to the Mediation, the 5 permanent members of UNSC, Canada, the Special Representatives of UK, China, and Russia. They articulated the concerns of the Darfur people which are: a united region, vice –president, fair compensation, justice, and voluntary and secure return to their original areas. They appreciated LJM/A efforts and encouraged the movement to accelerate the peace process on behalf of the people of Darfur. They also urged Dr. Khalil Ibrahim and Abdel Wahid to join the talks in Doha, challenging them to serve the interest of Darfur. When LJM/A Chairman Dr. Sesi asked representatives of the civil society to go and meet Khalil and Wahid some refused the suggestion and on the contrary called both men to come to the venue. That was new development in the history of the conflict. The Doha peace process supporters went back with defying determination to preach the word of peace in and around the camps, traditional strongholds of Wahid. Wahid followers tried to silence the freedom voices and when they failed they resorted to the weapon of intimdatiation and threats. Later they carried out their bloody attack on peace seekers. But this response itself proves a change is taking place; that Wahid is losing while LJM/A gains. Now things were completely changed for better, and Wahid’s group no longer mattered, with many of his former members contacting LJM/A and asking forgiveness. Both chairs (Whid&Khalil) lost considerable support for failing to participate in Doha. Wahid who widely depended on IDPs and Khailil who depended on military equipments both of them are losing but still they are far from being wise enough to accept the reality and join or work in collaboration with LJM/A.
In fact LJM/A was delighted for the mandate of its people and their endorsement and blessing of its negotiating position. After 4 months of negotiating LJM/A has achieved a lot and is heading towards conclusion of the talks in the near future.
Under the pressure of the advancement of the talks and the calls from the international community JEM-K is planning to join the talks. LJM/A repeatedly welcomed both Khalil and Wahid to the venue, only insisting that the two leaders join the process without pre-conditions and catch the talks from where it is. Now LJM/A is planning to invite again the Darfur community and Sudanese political parties for further consultation, as the talks enter the final phase.
LJM/A vigorously plans to put an end to the present suffering of our people in Darfur and Sudan if the other partner is ready to pay the price for peace. Most African presidents prefer to spend millions in war but not ready to give equal or less in brining peace. For most of them, if not all, do not represent the will of their nations. That is why difficult to predict whether we achieve peace in Doha.
I am always optimistic of reaching peace, although many of friends who are less say Niam is always optimist. Given the political and military situation on the ground, GOS has no choice but to conclude peace before the end of this month in Doha and work collectively to facilitate all difficulties facing the referendum and make voting for our fellow Southern possible. I know more than many people in Sudan have suffered, and long and pray in different ways that they could decide their future without any interference from NCP, SPLM/A, regional or international community.
Given this context, there are three scenarios for the talks in Doha:-
To reach a comprehensive, sustainable and everlasting agreement by addressing the roots causes of the conflict and historical rights of our people in Darfur, regional and international backed. LJM/A signs it.
Reaching a comprehensive peace but JEM-K as usual rejects the offer then, some divide from JEM –K and SLA-Whid, and the breakaway team joins LJM/A and sign the comprehensive peace agreement.
GOS refuse to offer the necessary concession for a comprehensive agreement and LJM/A refuses to sign it . That brings the region of Darfur in new phase of violence and difficult to predict its future.
On the one hand if the agreement adequately addressed the concerns of the people of Darfur, as mentioned in the first scenario then, some of SLA/W and JEM-K may join with LJM/A and sign the agreement. On the other hand if the negotiating parties falls short of the aspirations of the people of Darfur, then, LJM/A will refuse to sign the agreement.
In both scenarios, the main question which everybody ask is not who signs the agreement but what issues should be added to the agreement to make it attractive for the people of Darfur. It is true that historical leaders and names are important, but it is also true that issues are more important. The best is scenario is if the agreement properly addresses the issues and all the leaders are involved in making peace. But if the issues are addressed fairly and adequately, then peace will be achieved without the historical leaders. In my opinion the determent of peace and war is not who brings it, but what brings it.
The author is a Researcher in International Affairs &Diplomacy and Chief Negotiator of LJM/A and can be reached at [email protected]