Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let the bluffing begin

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.)

So I only have one piece of advice for that Sudanese public.  Get some of those arm things that are used by civil disobedience demonstrators everywhere in the world.  Store them at Lubna Hussein's house, and break them out when the "deal" is announced and it doesnt contain four things:
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?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reading proposals. Is the book by Nathan Richardson relevant to the situation in Sudan. Does it give a perspective that gives a new perspective on the 2011 referendum in Sudan? If so, I will have to pick it up.