At some point in the next year, the Sudanese public and the world community will be presented with a "deal", and every person concerned will have to ask whether the deal is an attempt to hoodwink the most marginalized and preserve the positions of power and wealth enjoyed by the few.
Who are the few?
- the NCP regime insiders comfortable with power
- the Southern Sudanese elites in the SPLM
- the oil company execs who have staked themselves on Sudan in intra-company competitions
- the government oil deciders who have made bets, and derive gains, from ensuring that current oil companies are able to stay in position
- the arms manufacturers and dealers who are happy to continue supplying current elites
- the lobbyists to the two regimes, north and south
- the diplomats who get feathers in their caps
The argument of the elites will be the same as usual:
- "This is the last chance. If this deal is not accepted, the future will be far worse."
- "This is the only deal possible. Either this deal is accepted or there will be no deal."
- "This deal is a reasonable compromise, good enough for everyone."
The broad spectrum of actors in the Sudanese public should be skeptical of these claims. The Sudanese public should be very worried that the elites involved would be very comfortable with turning Sudan into Nigeria. Pretty soon "Operation Sweep Away Indiscipline" will be announced, and lonely voices at the periphery will be hanged. (Wait, that's already been happening for 30 years... can it get worse with the "deal"? You bet.)
1- Robust demobilization of NCP/SAF armed proxies in Darfur, permitting IDPs to return in security or stay in camps in security.
2- Stiff sanctions against NCP for violations of normal press freedoms and freedom of assembly.
3- Very aggressive international monitoring of elections, voter registration and referendum, enabling international backup if processes are tampered with.
4- Oil revenues into a transparent account, and out of the hands of military
A couple more... right?
Development as... a better postal service - Francis from Oregon writes: "I am a young postcard collector working on a geography project. For this project, I would really love a postcard from Sudan or...