Thursday, July 30, 2009

When to say, "Shut up, you're only revealing yourself to be an idiot."

Yes that's right, sometimes it is OK to be rude. I've said this before, but when people make the comment, "But will South Sudan be viable as a land-locked country with no port and the lowest literacy rate in the world...?" You have to say, Dear Sir or Madam, South Sudan already is a land-locked region with no port and the lowest literacy rate in the world, and it currently is part of one of the most messed up countries in the world, and so yes things can get worse, or things can get better, but whatever your completely bizarre notion* of viable wouldn't even stand up to thirty seconds of scrutiny... explain what you mean, in English, Arabic, Dinka or any other language, just not in a platitude!!!!!

*Usually it turns out to be something like: a new country that has a giant wall all around its borders and maybe even a moat with crocodiles thrown in for good measure...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The U.S. as guarantor and mediator of talks and processes for implementing CPA...

The U.S. as guarantor and mediator of talks and processes for implementing CPA needs to help set an agenda that enables the north and south begin to resolve four points prior to end of 2009, on the presumption that the vote for independence has high likelihood to be favorable.

First, what attributes of southern sovereignty can be implemented right away in 2011, and which have to wait? South Sudan can take its seat at the United Nations, but maybe does not need to have dozens of waiting rooms at border crossings for the herders and farmers who straddle the north-south border.

Second, how are the assets and liabilities of Sudan to be divided? Separate sovereignty cannot accommodate the current deliberate ambiguity over responsibility for oil reserves,international debt (currently more than $20 billion), domestic government debt, infrastructure and public corporations (all concentrated in the north like the profitable Kenana sugar scheme and the giant dam near Merowe), and promises to compensate the 2.5 displaced of Darfur, who suffered war crimes committed by the Sudan Armed Forces and their irregular allies, the janjawid.

Third, how will Darfur be represented in the interim National Assembly of Sudan that will be the legislative body implementing the referendum during the period after elections in February 2010 and then agreeing to the decisions regardingthe first two questions? Elections are not possible in Darfur (at least Abdel Wahid Moh. Nuur was very clear on Radio Dabanga that he opposed elections until people feel safe enough to return, which seems highly unlikely before 2010 unless suddendly NCP completely changes tactics) because of the insecurity and the inability of the displaced to return to their homes. Some kind of temporary power-sharing arrangement has to be arrived at, then, to enhance legitimacy of southern referendum and subsequent separation.

Fourth, in lead up to 2010 elections and then referendum how can freedom of the press and freedom of association (holding meetings) be best enabled/guaranteed by international monitors, if NCP either does not want itself to guarantee that or NCP claims it is not in control of "rogue" security/militia/people's police type intimidation techniques. Applies to lesser scale in south, of course. Mobile networks ar turning out to be key flashpoints in this regard... will something like FrontlineSMS be deployable on a large scale and not interfered with?

Monday, July 27, 2009

The things people do!?!?! Kordofan and the life of Jesus...

Searching on Youtube for Kordofan, this totally weird comic book of Jesus's life told in Kordofan-style Arabic... weird! I loved the "fi al wakit da..."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Steve Paterno writing in SudanTribune...
Even though in its ruling the Court states that the ABC never exceeded its mandate, it goes on to also assert that the ABC did exceed its mandates in other instances. Therefore, the Tribunal then redraws a new map for Abyei. In the new map, the Court confirms Abyei boundaries to the north, at latitude 10º10’N. It however denies the Ngok Dinka their sharing rights to the land farther north at latitude 10º35. To the East, the court draws an intriguing line, purposely isolating the oil fields from Abyei area. To put this ruling in perspective and comparisons, the court new map reduces Abyei area to merely less than a half in size awarded by ABC—which is from 25,293 km²/9,765mi² awarded by ABC to only10, 460 km²/4,039mi² of the reduced size of the Tribunal Court.

This ruling can hardly be accepted for the facts that it grossly deprives South Sudan of its sovereignty and outlaws Ngok Dinka from the rights to their land. At the heart of this dispute and ruling is the natural resource of Abyei, the oil; the very reason NCP clings to the Abyei area. ... Perhaps the real showdown between the SPLM/A and NCP will come during the implementations of this ruling and demarcation of South-North boundaries. Salva Kiir, the chairman of SPLM/A and President of South Sudan at the press conference in awake of the ruling already hinted into this by claiming that he is very sure all the oil fields stolen by the NCP on behest of the Tribunal ruling will fall within South Sudan borders when the boundaries are demarcated. May be the new SPLM/A strategy to recover the already lost valuable land is during the demarcation of South-North boundaries, but how possible is that? In short, the dispute is never over.
I think Steve is wrong about the sovereignty... Abyei roadmap and agreement to abide by decision greatly strengthens South Sudan as sovereign entity. Exercising restraint is one of the key virtues of the sovereign- both parties exercised restraint and thus gained legitimacy, both domestically and internationally.

But the other point Steve Paterno brings up is really interesting, not just because the North-South border has to be fixed before the referendum (and the arbitration panel's precedent now is that straight lines are fine when they are acceptable compromises?) but maybe even more importantly with a vote for independence the North and South will have to negotiate a split of oil revenues again. So Heglig field maybe will get split 75-25 in that negotiation.... The ideal would be for *all* oil revenues to go to a Transparency Fund that would be monitored by... say.... anthropologists like Jane Guyer... wait... that was Chad ;-)

Saramogo's fiction was becoming reality... Mankien during the South Sudan civil war

... Our study estimated the prevalence of blindness in Mankien at 4%, which Kuper and Gilbert describe as being “beyond the range” of the studies reviewed by Pascolini et al. The review did not include any studies from the ten states that compose southern Sudan. The nearest surveys reported were conducted in 1998 in Al-Ginena province of Southern Darfur—which is within the 16 northern states of Sudan governed from Khartoum, and was not directly affected by the war in the south. The Al-Ginena studies show a blindness prevalence of 3.2% in all ages. Yet despite the geographical proximity, two decades of civil war in the south were accompanied by the absence of a health infrastructure, and no preventive health services to speak of, which makes southern Sudan unique. Comparisons with other parts of Sudan or with other countries are probably not justified or meaningful.

Our survey was conducted in Mankien, which was anecdotally known to be endemic for severe blinding trachoma, and this was subsequently confirmed by our trachoma survey, which showed an overall prevalence of trichiasis and bilateral corneal opacity of 9.6% and 3.1%, respectively. The prevalence of blinding cataract in Mankien was consistent with expectation, and would presumably have been higher had there been a systematic over-sampling of the blind. It is the prevalence of blinding trachoma that sets the population apart from all others reported and reviewed by Pascolini et al. These survey data from Mankien are extremely valuable in that they demonstrate the way uncontrolled trachoma can ravage inaccessible and underserved communities who have, quite literally, been off the map until recently. The war affected the whole of southern Sudan, and extremely high levels of active trachoma and trichiasis have been observed in all the areas that we have managed to survey in recent years.. Although not generalizable to the ten southern states, these data from Mankien are probably indicative of the overall situation in southern Sudan.
The context is a very interesting discussion of survey sampling biases... Great for the field worker to think about.

This one however is a little too much common sense for my taste... however famished for theory I may be

Famine Mortality, Rational Political Inactivity, and International Food Aid

Thomas Pluemper
University of Essex - Department of Government

Eric Neumayer
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

May 1, 2008

LSE PSPE Working Paper No. 2

Famine mortality is preventable by government action and yet some famines kill. We develop a political theory of famine mortality based on the selectorate theory of Bueno de Mesquita et al. (2002, 2003). We argue that it can be politically rational for a government, democratic or not, to remain inactive in the face of severe famine threat. We derive the testable hypotheses that famine mortality is possible in democracies, but likely to be lower than in autocracies. Moreover, a larger share of people being affected by famine relative to population size together with large quantities of international food aid being available will lower mortality in both regime types, but more so in democracies.
Dierdre McCloskey a long time ago had an article about the "it is possible" vein of theory in economic theorizing... She wasn't impressed.

While I'm idly speculating, I wonder which paper came first, the genocide one or the famine one... and did someone really think that a formal model was needed to "prove the possibility" of the intuition that all else constant if those affected by famine are less like you politically, and their famine doesn't affect your pocketbook, then you'll be less likely to care....

Quantitative research on the ICC....

A New Moral Hazard? Military Intervention, Peacekeeping and the International Criminal Court

Eric Neumayer
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Journal of Peace Research, Forthcoming

The newly established International Criminal Court (ICC) promises justice to the victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Past offenders can be punished, while future potential offenders may be deterred by the prospect of punishment. Yet, justice is no substitute for intervention for the benefit of people at acute risk of being victimized. The Court may create a new moral hazard problem if the promise of ex post justice makes it easier for states to shy away from incurring the costs of intervention. This article indirectly tests for the relevance of this potential problem by estimating the determinants of ratification delay to the Rome Statute of the ICC. I find that countries, which in the past have been more willing to intervene in foreign civil wars and more willing to contribute troops to multinational peacekeeping missions are more likely to have ratified the Statute (early on). This suggests that the Court is a complement to, not a substitute for intervention.

Abyei decision... total victory of SPLA?

That's the only way I can see it. What NCP got was some more oil money a little longer. SPLA would hardly have been improved by more money. What they have gotten now is more legitimacy and perhaps more focus. Imagine the reverse: tribunal decides to give NCP the territory (to the Messeriya!) and SPLA the money... now *that* would have been awful. Settling the border at 10.10 presumably also totally makes both referenda more likely to lead to southern independence and Abyei in the south.

And what is especially pleasing was to hear the top NCP leadership pledge to devote the entire proceeds of Heglig oil field to compensate and restitute IDPS in Darfur, enabling them to return to their homes with enough assets to start anew. Not!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Abyei decision...

Looks like ABC commission partially vindicated, as by and large their boundary stands... northern boundary is 10.10. Let's see if NCP and Messeriya respect the rule of law. Underscore that exercise of traditional grazing rights is not changed at all by boundary decision.

Encourage Presidency to appoint survey team to demarcate area.

Morning now... can actually see map... excluded Heglig oil field from previous ABC boundary. Scathing dissent from one of the panelists. All available here.

Abyei arbitration...


Failed to specify reasons... exceeded mandate with respect to some of their conclusions.

On northern boundary not an excess of mandate... lat 10.10 as northern limit of permanent habitation not incorrect

ACHHHHHH webcast failed!

Abyei arbitration...

ABC experts adopted predominantly tribal interpretation of their mandate... requiring them to delimit the are of Ngok area of 1905. Government however had territorial interpretation. Tribunal concludes that tribal interpretation *is not* unreasonable. Wording of formula can be interpreted either way, so not unreasonable. Object and purpose of formula supports tribal interpretation. Interpretation had function within context of CPA. The Ngok people were intended to be beneficiaries of provision for referendum, so interpeting as tribal not unreasonable. Tribal interpretation reasonable in historical perspective: boundaries in 1905 were uncertain; there was limited administration in 1905; Cond. officials had limited knowledge of Ngok; 1905 transfer effectuated to pacify.

Tribunal not required or authorized which (territorial or tribal) was more correct.


Abyei arbitration...

New review of evidence "if and only if" finding of exceeding mandate. If no finding of exceeding of mandate, then parties *did not* want tribunal to review evidence. Correctness of ABC decision is "beyond review" in determination if exceeded mandate.

How to know if exceeded mandate?
Reasonableness of ABC members interpretation of mandate, and ABC empowered to determine their own bounds and competencies... and principle of law is that if "primary decision maker" delegated this they should be respected. Is there "manifest breach".

Failure to state sufficient reasons for a conclusion may mean exceeding mandate. ABC included requirement to state reason. Were expected to operate within greater peace process. Supposed to be scientific, so should state reasons. They were required to explain. Insufficiency, incoherence, contradictory reasoning could mean excess of mandate.

Abyei arbitration...

Making a big point of sequencing... did ABC exceed mandate? Then if yes, what is boundary.... Also noted there was dissenting opinion.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some questions on the arrest warrants of the ICC

Alex de Waal's blog had an interesting exchange between Christine Chung, Christian Palme, and de Waal and Julie Flint. It's a National Enquirer read for the most part, so I thought I would take the discussion back to the judicious language (and less gratuitous snark) that the blogosphere is well-known for ;-)

Alex and Julie,

In the spirit of continuing the substantive discussion, rather than the character discussion (which is tawdry, no?) I would like to ask you to re-state your objections to the indictment (arrest warrant) against al-Bashir. You say, "We do not oppose ICC justice in Darfur — only for the president, now." It would be nice also to leave aside in this discussion the issue of the genocide charges, since the consequences in terms of legal reasoning and precedent of having al-Bashir be tried for genocide for what happened in Darfur is I think not essential to what, as you have stated many times, are the quite significant enough crimes of war and crimes against humanity.

My understanding at the time (last March) was that you thought it would completely derail the peace process and possibly lead to enormous human suffering if al-Bashir "angrily" retaliated at the affront to his honor (I think that is how you characterized it). It seems neither has happened to the degree predicted. If anything, the peace processes (CPA and Darfur) are on better tracks than they were before the arrest warrant (we shall see tomorrow with Abyei), and even with the charade of expulsion and readmittance and non-readmittance of aid groups, the increase in suffering, while evidently quite real to those who suffer, has neither affected policymakers and media (chastened perhaps by the joint Mamdani-de Waal offensive) nor IDP community organizers (no large movements or protests seem to have emerged).

Since your objections to the arrest warrant were largely consequentialist, and those consequences have not emerged, have you rethought your position? I would be the first to say that the arrest warrant complicates the various processes, but a "non-arrest warrant" situation (held in reserve like a secret hammer?) would also have complicated things. So I am not sure there is much basis to make judgments on the action.

My own position is that the ICC as a quasi-independent judiciary once established has a logic that is certainly quirky, but not self-evidently negative, and hard to say how it could be improved upon given what the ICC actually is (a court established by a treaty, with lots of rules spelled out in the treaty), and the division among African countries (and I'll stand with Botswana any day on this, rather than Zimbabwe and Libya and all the others!) over ICC suggests that many people value the steps being taken towards an end to impunity, as complements to local/national struggles for establishment of robust, genuine, rule of law/human rights/civil freedoms etc.

I am not sure that there is any basis to have a great objection to the arrest warrant against al-Bashir "now". Sure one can object, but when objecting one should perhaps be clear that one is objecting because of a "gut" feeling rather than because one's status as an expert means one has some secret knowledge or insight that others cannot access, and so one's objection should have more standing than other's "embrace" of the arrest warrant "now".

Lastly, I take it that you think the arrest warrants against Ahmed Haroun and Ali Kushayb were good actions (otherwise do you mean something else when you say you "do not oppose ICC justice in Darfur"). When people ask you, "Why aren't they in jail?" I presume you give the reasonable person's explanation of the limits of the ICC, the power of the Khartoum regime to protect its own, the low likelihood of outside intervention, and hence the likelihood of delay, perhaps until after 2011... and the same reasoning applies to al-Bashir, no?


Monday, July 20, 2009

Insulting free thought...

Those are Mahmoud Mohammed Taha's words at the end of his brief statement at his "trial" where he was sentenced to death.

Another reason to switch... to Burkina Faso!

Tell me you recalcitrant Sudanists... does Sudan even have *any* music EVER that came close to this gem from Floby?!?!! Listen to the whole song, I guarantee you'll be humming it all day.

Dispatches from South Sudan

This is one nice blog... Rovingbandit:
Central Equatoria State Police at it again
After a number of Sudanese girls were arrested and beaten in Khartoum earlier this week for their "provocative clothing", it seems the Juba authorities are not about to be outdone, despite Salva Kiir telling them to stop this nonsense the last time they tried it. Today a girl from my office was beaten for wearing trousers. Being a clued in government employee she went straight to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (central government, above the state government who run the police) to register a complaint. Hopefully someone will sort them out.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Singing for reconciliation in South Sudan...

From Robin Denney writing in the blog World Mission Network. In some ways the posting is touchingly naive- she can "hear the hope" and "feel the change." I've got nothing against Christian proselytizing, but when someone is so triumphant (that's how the writing comes across) about the "witch doctor" casting off his "magic" when the Christian caravan comes through... you just want to say, "Gimmie a break." (With apologies to Jerry Drino, who's a great, and understated, guy.)
Dear Friends,

The convoy of three flat bed semi-trucks, half a dozen pick-ups and SUVs, and assorted government and police vehicles, thudded over potholes, fish-tailed through muddy slews, trundled over bumps and rocks, and occasionally zigzagged out into the bush or open plain searching for a passable route, all the while accompanied by the sound of drums and song coming from the 200 singing evangelists aboard the semi-trucks. In all we were, the Archbishop and his wife, three bishops, a hand full of staff, at least 30 pastors, government officials, soldiers, and the 200 strong marching choir. In a week and a half we traveled approximately 550 miles, averaging less than 20 miles per hour, through forest and plain and swamp, across territory plagued by cattle raiders and rogues, stopping at every village and town to greet the crowds who came to welcome us, preach about reconciliation, and pray for peace and justice. This was the Archbishop's peace, reconciliation, and evangelism tour of Jonglei state.


Abyei countdown, T minus 5, "It is the transferred area."

That's the final sentence of the NCP "memorial", or briefing, for the arbitration panel, in which the NCP asserts that the small part of Kordofan below the Bahr al-Arab river is the only part that was transferred to Kordofan in 1905. The reasoning of the government is simple: they assert that the evidence shows that everyone understood the boundary before 1905 to be the Bahr al-Arab, so nothing above the river was "transferred" and so cannot be part of the "new" Abyei... That area above the river is about 4 times the size of the area below, and sits on top of the oil reserves, and is what the ABC commission decided *was* part of the "9 Ngok kingdoms" transferred to Kordofan in 1905.

The SPLA "memorial", on the other hand, argues that in 1905 the occupiers had little idea where the boundary was, and had little capacity to fix a boundary, regarding the region as basically unexplored, and moreover they were confused about which river actually was the Bahr al-Arab, some mistakenly thinking it was a more northerly river (the Ragaba al Zarga). So instead the emphasis should be on what the territory controlled by the Ngok paramount chief actually was, at the time, and the SPLA thus argues it was considerably north of the Bahr al Arab.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Abyei countdown, T minus 6, "Perceptions of doom"

The line is from commentator Sara Pantaliano, from an excellent Al-Jazeera report from earlier this year.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bleg! Negotiate with the most powerful or with everyone

I've never done a bleg before... a bloggers begging for more information... but I'm in the dark here about whether political science/IR has any received wisdom (or empirical results) on whether peace negotiations (let's leave it a durable cease-fire for now) are more likely achieved through negotiations between the two main parties or among larger numbers of actors at the table. On the one hand it is intuitive to think that admitting more parties to the JEM-NCP talks, knowing that some of them (say) hate JEM's guts, will make it more difficult to negotiate a real cease-fire between JEM and NCP, and so NCP can say they were negotiating in good faith and the other parties could not agree. On the other hand, such intuition rarely holds up to game theory, which is driven by the modeling assumptions. The various impossibility results suggest that maybe it is pointless to think about theory; there just cannot be good predictions about preference aggregation in the absence of lots of structure about how the parties interact, which by definition is not possible in a negotiation where everyone can walk away. So if you were increasing the number of parties, and knew that differences among the parties were high but unlikely to lead to conflict (are JEM and SLA really going to fight each other in serious battles? Doubtful.), but yes likely to lead to fruitless negotiations (what NCP wants, perhaps?) then how do you structure talks to minimize the bad outcome (from mediator's point of view).... I'm not looking for common sense (I could sit here for hours doing the "on the one hand" thing... I'm an economist after all)... I'm looking for any established results.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flash point coming up... July 22

The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration has fixed July 22 as the date of the announcement of the Abyei boundary... this is potentially huge... fighting between SAF and SPLA already had broken out in May 2008 and the town was destroyed... rarely does a flash point come so definitively announced in advance.

Final Award of the Tribunal

The Arbitral Tribunal will render its Final Award in the case at the Peace Palace on July 22, 2009, 10:00 a.m. For further details, please refer to this press release.

The ceremony will be webcast live on this website beginning at approximately 10:00 a.m. (CET; GMT +2), July 22, 2009.
I don't know enough about boundary law to know what they are going to decide. If they want to punt they will say there were irregularities in ABC commission (it "exceeded its mandate"), and so its report is invalid, and then throw the ball back to the two parties. But the people of Abyei, Messeriya and Dinka, will presumably decide at that point to take matters into their own hands. The NCP government appointed indicted war criminal Ahmed Haroun (he of Darfur janjawid coordination) to be governor of South Kordofan... but was it preparation for armed resolution of the "problem" or a firm hand to keep the Messeirya from bringing the country back to war? Hard to know.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some useful Sudan links

Last night I gave a talk before a great audience at St. Vincent de Paul in San Francisco. During the question period someone asked about "what to do next", and I rattled off a couple suggestions. I thought I would put them here for other budding Sudanists and activists and humanitarians.

First, I would heartily recommend the very readable What is the What, a kind of novelized autobiography of Valentine Deng as written by Dave Eggers. Great prose, and great weaving of the story of one person, and his friends, an innocent victim of a brutal civil war, with the larger story of what that war is about, and the aftermath of war, as people put together new lives in entirely transformed circumstances. After reading that, I recommend Deborah Scroggins' Emma's War, Francis Deng's War of Visions, and Katherine Applegate's lovely Home of the Brave.

That covers the south. For Darfur, although I disagree with many of his policy points, there is no better initial reading than Alex de Waal's (and Julie Flint) A New History of a Long War.

For charitable work, there is The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation working in South Sudan, and Sister Marilyn Lacey's Mercy Without Borders (whose website and Facebook page seems to be down... not the best sign!). The Darfur Peace and Development Program seems to be recommended, though I have never looked carefully at their activities.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Obama policy towards Sudan in his Accra speech

It is a commonplace that the best foreign policy for a superpower when dealing with an asymmetric conflict, like the U.S. versus National Congress Party regime in Sudan, is to make sure "they" have no real idea what "you" really want. Like bargaining at a garage sale, you get them down to the lowest price, and then say, "Well, my wife will kill me if I buy it, so that's OK, I'll pass for now, I think maybe I'll talk to her and come back later... what time are you wrapping up?"

Or is it? Truth be told, I don't think "experts" on foreign policy have any real idea what the best set of policies is or is not... they/me probably have a good notion of what bad approaches are, but since there is a lot of randomness and complexity in intergroup dynamics sometimes the really bad "never recommend" approaches may turn out to be best... "Let's build a giant missile defense shield in space... call it Star Wars."

So what to make of the ambiguity on display in the nascent Obama administration Sudan policy, with Special Envoy Scott Gration saying he's not interested in the question of a "remnants of" Darfur genocide, while President Obama makes clear that at the rhetorical level he will not let it pass by unremarked? Sending multiple signals as best policy? Administration not clear who is setting Sudan policy? Mutually agreeable strategy of distinguishing rhetoric from action? Someday the insiders will tell us outsiders.

In the meantime, it is perhaps worth asking whether the non-Darfur related content (i.e. parsed platitudes) of President Obama's speech had any significant relevance for Sudan.
But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants. In my father's life, it was partly tribalism and patronage and nepotism in an independent Kenya that for a long stretch derailed his career, and we know that this kind of corruption is still a daily fact of life for far too many.
I wish along with the general disclaimer of responsibility for everything bad in Africa, had come a more open admission of specific things (esp. Mobutu and Doe, but more Sudan-related would have been Clinton's al-Shifa cruise missile strike of 1998, an egregious example of WTF) that are direct responsibilities.
Development depends on good governance....history offers a clear verdict: Governments that respect the will of their own people, that govern by consent and not coercion, are more prosperous, they are more stable and more successful than governments that do not....This is about more than just holding elections. It's also about what happens between elections. Repression can take many forms, and too many nations, even those that have elections, are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves ... That is not democracy, that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there. And now is the time for that style of governance to end.

Pretty clear indictment of NCP rule... but the question that Obama does not pose let alone answer, and is of course the pertinent question, is how to engage with exactly one of these distasteful corrupt and repressive regimes in order to secure some other set of policy goals? My own view? Partner with Mo Ibrahim and spend $5,000,000 more on Sudan-related no-strings-attached civil society prizes (better to reward after the fact success than to "compromise" a program with direct funding of its activities.)

...what America will do is increase assistance for responsible individuals and responsible institutions, with a focus on supporting good governance -- on parliaments, which check abuses of power and ensure that opposition voices are heard ... on the rule of law, which ensures the equal administration of justice; on civic participation, so that young people get involved; and on concrete solutions to corruption like forensic accounting and automating services ... strengthening hot lines, protecting whistle-blowers to advance transparency and accountability. I have directed my administration to give greater attention to corruption in our human rights reports.

So no Millenium Challenge Corporation money anytime soon for either North or South, I guess. But a strong warning call (unless ends up just rhetoric) that South especially needs to have greater transparency in order to ensure continued flow of aid. Riek Machar, Rebecca Garang, Salva Kiir... is everyone listening? I honestly had a silent bellylaugh the other day listening to someone involved in small-scale NGO aid in South Sudan explain, "I know that they aren't *able* to keep records or receipts or anything, because it is so backwards..." There's a good middle ground between that and bogus U.N.-style over-reporting!

...our $3.5 billion food security initiative is focused on new methods and technologies for farmers

I don't think USDA has a single thing to offer South Sudan, though I'm ready to be pleasantly surprised. Bad idea. Just do small-scale cash transfers. Or give everyone a bicycle voucher.

Together, we can partner on behalf of our planet and prosperity and help countries increase access to power while skipping -- leapfrogging the dirtier phase of development. Think about it: Across Africa, there is bountiful wind and solar power; geothermal energy and biofuels.

Really weird... he didn't mention dams. The Merowe dam is one of the world's largest new dam projects, built by the Chinese. Not working too well, apparently, as kinks are worked out. Huge relocation issues. Probably will be an ecological disaster (even more people living in Khartoum). The whole paragraph actually is sad- tells you there is no new chapter... if there was a new chapter he would have talked about oil industry transparency and perhaps even announced an initiative with the Europeans and Chinese and Russians to bully the oil companies into publishing in easily digestible and accessible form their accounts esp. moneys transferred to African government accounts.

America has a responsibility to work with you as a partner to advance this vision, not just with words, but with support that strengthens African capacity. When there's a genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia, these are not simply African problems -- they are global security challenges, and they demand a global response....And that's why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy and technical assistance and logistical support, and we will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable.

Ouch for NCP. Radio Dabanga said the NCP government was "burned" by this! But who knows what the administration's real strategy is (see above). I'm not aware of any cooperation with the ICC by part of administration. Maybe they could actually join?

And let me be clear: Our Africa Command is focused not on establishing a foothold in the continent, but on confronting these common challenges to advance the security of America, Africa and the world.

So maybe Kristofian air strikes are back on the table? [Caution, gratuitous swipe ahead...] Won't Mamdani be awfully peeved to know that there is no focus on a foothold. Wonder how long the speechcrafters took to come up with that one? "I know, let's call it 'not a foothold.'"

The world will be what you make of it. You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people.

I'm sure Suliman Baldo is re-energized...

Thanks, Chris Blattman, for getting everyone organized on commenting on the speech.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Obama in Accra...

"We must bear witness to the value of every child in Darfur and the dignity of every woman in Congo. No faith or culture should condone the outrages against them. All of us must strive for the peace and security necessary for progress... America has a responsibility to advance this vision, not just with words, but with support that strengthens African capacity. When there is genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia, these are not simply African problems – they are global security challenges, and they demand a global response. That is why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy, technical assistance, and logistical support, and will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable. And let me be clear: our Africa Command is focused not on establishing a foothold in the continent, but on confronting these common challenges to advance the security of America, Africa and the world."
I guess Obama hasn't read Mamdani or Funk and Fake... In fact, he sounds just like a Save Darfur advertisement. Samantha Power at work perhaps? But probably he's really controlled by Cheney, who "we" think is no longer vice-president, but "they" know that his forces linger in the "remnants" of the genocide.

Sanctions on the Sudan: What do economists and political scientists have to say on the subject?

I wrote this one week before 9/11/01.... thought I would repost...

The United Nations has limited sanctions on the Sudan, and the United States very substantial sanctions. The House and Senate of the U.S. recently considered legislation to deny access to capital markets to companies that do business in the Sudan by prohibiting the issuance or trading of shares on U.S. stock exchanges (legislation passed in the House). I was curious about the received wisdom concerning economic sanctions, so decided to do a quick review of the literature. Do sanctions work? What kinds of sanctions work best? Here is what I found, along with a good dose of my own opinions.

Sanctions in general
If you want to answer the question of whether sanctions work, you have to start with the comprehensive work of Hufbauer, Schott, and Elliott (1990 and since updated on IIE website), from the Institute for International Economics, a centrist policy think-tank in Washington. They have created a database of the 170 or so international sanctions applied (by any country, on any country) since World War I. (So it averages to about 2 sanctions per year). The U.S. is a big sanctioner, but many other countries also implement sanctions. Russia currently has lots of sanctions on former republics of the U.S.S.R. The United Nations often coordinates sanctions. By their own criteria of “success” (was the stated objective of the sanction achieved; e.g. turning over of suspects; signing of cease-fire; restitution of assets; restoration of democratic rule), sanctions have been successful between 25-50% of the time. So it is about what you might expect. Do sanctions work? Yes, some of the time, and no, the rest of the time. Hufbauer, Schott, and Elliott do have some more pointed things to say about what to do to make sanctions effective: work with allies; have a very modest goal (i.e. sanctions to overturn a regime will rarely be effective, the impoverishment of the population seems to forestall regime change) but have large effect on the country ‘receiving the sanction; target a country that is much smaller; and the targeted country is actual ‘friends’ with the sanctioner (i.e. sanctions from trade disputes between U.S. and Europe or Japan usually end up in a settlement).

Here is how Eaton and Engers summarize the theory behind success or failure of sanctions: “Success is more likely when the threatened measure costs the sender relatively little relative to the gain from modifying the targets behavior, while the damage to the target is large relative to his cost of complying with the sender’s will.”

Sanctions on the Sudan
By the above theory, we have no clear ability to predict the effects of sanctions on the Sudan. Clearly the cost to the U.S. of implementing sanctions is very low. Even an embargo on gum arabic would be small, when the resulting price increase from non-Sudanese supplies are spread out over the entire U.S. economy, and given the large stockpiles accumulated, the incentives and ease of smuggling, and likelihood of innovation for substitutes. On the other hand, there seems to be little willingness of European allies to go along with sanctions, and certainly Sudan’s major trading partners in Africa and the Middle East (not to speak of China and Malaysia) are unlikely to go along with sanctions. Moreover, there are no clear “modest” objectives that have been enunciated by U.S. policymakers other than the original goal of the 1997 sanctions, now apparently realized of withdrawal of support for terrorist groups. Achieving a peace in the civil war, now in its 56th year (since 1955), hardly seems a “modest” goal. Operation Lifeline already had corridors open for relief to the South. High-powered sanctions are thus unlikely to have any consequentialist justification in the absence of some compelling modest goal.

There are two other concerns, however. First, to the extent that policymakers view the present military regime, and its control over the population of northern Sudan, as a clear and present threat to other interests, then keeping the regime as poor as possible may be warranted, even if the population suffers. The supposed tradeoff then is not between the U.S. population (hardly hurt by the sanctions) and the
Sudanese population (majorly affected), but rather the tradeoff between the Sudanese population and the Eritrean or Ugandan or Southern Sudanese population (now made more tricky by the large presence of southern Sudanese in northern Sudan). If this were to be the major justification for sanctions, then they should certainly be coordinated with the regimes that border the Sudan. Thus another problem arises; most of these regimes are non-democratic or even non-existent. Second, sanctions need not necessarily has any consequentialist justification.

There may be a legitimate moral obligation to not conduct trade with entities that violate basic rights and liberties. Sanctions are public displays of moral opprobrium. Here, for moral opprobrium to ring true, and be legitimate, the sanctioner must not bear responsibility for the situation, or carry out itself similar kinds of violations. This is the problem then the United States faces because of the mistaken unilateral cruise missile bombing of the al-Shifa factory, and pretty much unconditional support for an earlier dictator, Jaafar Nimieri. Until a clear and unequivocal policy of “laundry-airing, fact-finding, apologizing and stated intent to bring restitution to those damaged (through reasonable mechanisms)” is put in place, there can be no moral high ground. So, U.S. policymakers, starting with Senator John Danforth, the new U.S. envoy to Sudan, have to think hard about what they want to achieve. Blind imposition of high-powered sanctions seem like the wrong basis, at this moment in time, for moving forward. This does not condone the actions of the military regime, but only says that effective action must be thoughtfully considered.

Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffrey J. Schott, and Kimberly Ann Elliott, Economic Sanctions Reconsidered, second edition, revised, 2 vols. (Washington, Institute for International Economics, December 1990).

"Sanctions" Jonathan Eaton and Maxim Engers, Journal of Political Economy, 1992

Michael Kevane
Dept. of Economics
Santa Clara University
September 4, 2001

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What is the latest from Darfur?

The AU panel seems to have come and gone with no breakthrough or even process for going forward. Scott Gration got the NCP and SPLA to Washington, but again without anything public about what is happening going forward. The presidential elections were again postponed to April 2010 (or maybe not!). It's been a bad week for "untied" Sudan watchers (the kind like me who aren't tied into the network of people who know). So in lieu of making fun of the pronouncements of the people who know, which these days seem to mostly consist of bland exhortations to stay on track, I thought I would take a little time examining some online sources to find out what the latest is from Darfur.

First stop, Radio Dabanga, a Dutch sponsored station run by Darfuri refugees, but they seem to be having a slow news day. There's a few cases of cholera, some IDP's saying they are afraid to go back to their homes despite NCP saying it is safe, some IDPs beaten with whips by unknown assailants in military uniforms, some IDPs suffering from torrential rains and no aid organizations to assis 9since they were kicked out)... and about 50 university students from Darfur still languishing in jails for their political activism.

Next stop, Radio Miraya FM, the UN supported radio station. but they too have nothing new. Over at the fountain, the course, the voice, the throat... I mean of course UNMIS itself... nothing... just some slow news day stories.

So then I got to the wonderful UNMIS daily media summary. For July 7 nothing terribly interesting. Salva Kiir apparently says the independence referendum should be held in January 2011. i had always been figuring that it would be July 2011. There is a nice extract of a speech by al-Bashir on the occasion of the opening of the two-seater propeller plane factory...
"Sudan has its own military industry. It makes tanks, missiles and many types of guns, all made by Sudanese hands," Bashir told hundreds of supporters outside the plant in Wadi Sayidina military area, north of the capital. "Today, Sudan has entered a new industry -- aviation," he added. Bashir did not mention the global court directly, or the Western governments he says are supporting the legal case. But he told the crowd in local dialect "What we are doing will enrage our enemies," adding "sanctions cannot stop development." He added: "They conspired; they supported rebellions, and created rebellions. They pushed neighbouring countries, they imposed economic, diplomatic and political sanctions and what was the result? Everyday, thanks to God, his strength and power, we are moving forward."
I'd love to see whether al-Bashir ever gets up in one of those planes. Curious that two of al-Bashir's vice presidents of Sudan have died in air crashes. John Garang and al-Zubeir Mohammed Saleh.

I liked this small gem, but the lack of details! "Al-Sahafa reports local authorities in the town of Sudari, northern Kordofan, yesterday detainedthree SPLM leading figures accused of distributing statement on the food gap in the state.SPLM issued statement confirming detention of its members." What on earth could that be about?

An earlier short story is more troubling, "Al-Sudani reports that South Darfur Governor Ali Mohamoud has revealed that the committee charged by the Interior Ministry to investigate inter-tribal clashes between the Misseriya and Rizeigat has finished investigations and would submit its final report to the minister. He said the police are deployed along the 150km common border strip between Southern Kordofan and South Darfur. Meanwhile, authorities in South Darfur have released 19 people representing the native administration of the Fallata and Habbaniya tribes after the two sides pledged not to provoke sedition in the area."

So, all in all, very slow news over the past couple weeks. That's good!