Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Anne Pitcher, Mary Moran and Michael Johnston, in "Rethinking Patrimonialism and Neopatrimonialism in Africa" (ASR, April 2009) take issue with the overuse of patrimonialism, and the need to distinguish between patrimonialism as a mechanism for creating and sustaining authority in a variety of political regimes (from democracies to dictatorships). They note that Botswana, arguable the "best" country on the continent, and a democratic regime, easily meets the Weberian notion of patrimonialism as a source of authority for politicians. In concluding, they suggest "scholars might be better served by calling them [African states] what they are: authoritarian regimes, dictatorships, or democracies with adjectives."
Aaron deGrassi, likewise, in "'Neopatrimonialism' and Agricultural Development in Africa" (ASR, Dec 2008) chides scholars on the empty and overused phrase. His is more a survey of the literature, indicating heavy users and noting how meaningless the use of the word usually is.
It occurs to me that this issue of the relative importance of sources of political authority/legitimacy are terribly relevant for Darfur. There are multiple rebel groups, and they have double authority issues. Within Darfur, are some rebel hierarchies going to emerge with more command and control authority, and will that authority be based on identity, fear, cash, expectation of cash, ideology, charisma, emotional evocation through semiotic texts, etc.? All are possible. Then, as the Darfur rebels negotiatiate with GOS, the authority of GOS itself, and of mediators, will come into play. Authority is easily conflated with power in places like Darfur and Sudan more generally, where legitimacy has been eroded in the North, and so it is no wonder that al-Bashir exercises power (expulsion of aid groups) as a mechanism to enhance authority ("next time they will do what I say").
I also found statements like this, "Political progress was frozen, at least until the implications of the International Criminal Court arrest warrant had become fully clear." to be disingenuous (if in fact that is what he said. The implications of the ICC arrest warrant are crystal clear. What is not clear is how GOS will deal with this. Note that this lack of clarity is not of a par with the inability of rebel commanders to come to agreement on a unified front. On one side is a formal government, whose head of state has been subject to an arrest warrant, through a legitimate international legal tribunal action stemming from a Security Council resolution. The lack of clarity stems from a deliberate flouting of international law. (Obligatory "Guantanamo too" parenthesis.)
Monday, April 27, 2009
ADW: How do I do that? Should I tell a Saidi joke? Maybe the one about the chicken?
ADWF: No Alex, that's not what I meant. How about criticising Save Darfur, but, you know, in a more fun way?
ADW: I've got it! I can make fun of their pet bowl. It is very funny.
ADWF: And in your capable hands, for sure readers will appreciate the humor. I'm chuckling already.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
More from ST. Imagine those cheeky French, suggesting that GOS solve the Darfur problem first. Everyone knows those rebels will stop at nothing, nothing. Well, they may stop when Nafi no longer has a job. Actually, I think they'd likely stop if SAF just withdrew. But if SAF withdrew, who would protect civilians from the janjawid?
April 26, 2009 (PARIS) — The Sudanese presidential assistant and his delegation has been given a cool reception from the French Communist Party officials during his three day visit to Paris this week.
Nafi Ali Nafi held a series of meetings described as "unsuccessful" with French and British officials in Paris on Darfur conflict, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The presidential assistant suggested to France ways to improve bilateral relations and to work together for the resolution of Darfur crisis as well as to ensure the democratic transition. However Paris said Khartoum should end Darfur conflict and cooperate with ICC first before dialogue on normalizing ties.
April 26, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – The United States of America is positioning itself to become “friends” with the Government of Sudan, seeing this approach as the best way to improve the situation in Darfur and reach a political settlement, according to a closed briefing given by Special Envoy Scott Gration at the US State Department on April 20, 2009.
- US special envoy to Sudan J. Scott Gration, left, arrives at the Sudanese foreign ministry for meetings with officials after his arrival in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday, April 2, 2009 (AP)
According to someone who attended the briefing, which Gration gave to representatives of several non-governmental organizations, the envoy discussed rolling back sanctions imposed on the Khartoum government. “Some sanctions are doing more harm than good,” Gration reportedly said.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
April 23, 2009 (JUBA) – Southern Sudan development partners have decided to form a platform to be known as Inter Donor Coordination Forum (IDCF) to improve aid efficiency and effectiveness in Southern Sudan.Can this really be true? The donors had no coordinating mechanism until now? What have they been doing in their tent cities?
Is this budget "crisis" really a crisis, then? Aid officials and government officials are perhaps manufacturing a sense of crisis so that donors will cough up even more money (though the Bank people identify the "funding gap" as being only about $100m). GOSS should have been putting 30% of those peak revenues of 2008 in a rainy day fund. So why enable inflated expenditures by responding to the "crisis" with more development assistance?
# Eric Reeves:
April 24th, 2009 at 6:25 pm
“We should ask why leaders find if acceptable and meaningful to use words like ‘evil.’”
[Alex de Waal, April 2009]
“This [counter-insurgency in Darfur] is the routine cruelty of a security cabal, its humanity withered by years in power: it is genocide by force of habit.”
[Alex de Waal, August 2004]
I think it’s fair to ask why de Waal’s description of 2004 may not serve as an occasion to ask him the very question he poses in April 2009. I’m not sure there is necessarily any difference between “routine cruelty,” “withered humanity,” “genocide by force of habit” and what I and others mean by evil.
Speaking just for myself, I’ve spent the entirety of my careers, literary and in Sudan advocacy, reflecting on the issue of human evil. It is a word I use with extreme hesitation, but find unavoidable in speaking of the leadership of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party. I don’t see why this should make me subject to the relentless homogenizing of Darfur advocacy and the caricatures that seem a staple method of dismissal (de Waal is in this post explicit about his initial caricaturing; elsewhere—a strategy he shares with Mamdani—this is not the case).
Until there is a frank acknowledgement that “Darfur advocacy,” or even “American Darfur advocacy,” is a more representative designation than “Save Darfur” (with its inevitable connections to the “Save Darfur Coalition”), it seems unlikely that there will be improvement in the discourse between what de Waal elsewhere refers to as “landscape painters” and the real experts, the “mountaineers.” The implicit assertion is of a trumping expertise, made endlessly with the dismissive use of the loaded phrase “Save Darfur.” This in turn depends upon an untenable account of American civil society efforts on behalf of Sudan, a number going back more than a decade. Such relentlessly invidious distinctions invite a harsh rhetoric of response.
# Alex de Waal:
April 24th, 2009 at 10:28 pm
it is deeply unfortunate that your health has prevented you from visiting Darfur, and that you have never had the opportunity to visit Khartoum or to live in Sudanese society. It is also a shame that you have never had the chance to match your literary study of evil with first hand experience of countries and communities that are going through traumatic events. Were you to benefit from such chances, I am confident you would understand at once that the deductions and characterizations you make today would need to be revisited.
As I wrote, there are phenomenal strengths in the ‘Save Darfur’ movement (it’s an odd quibble for you to condemn that phrasing as ‘loaded’ or ‘invidious’). It has been phenomenally energetic and, at its best, reflective and effective. But one of its weaknesses has been its difficulty in acknowledging its own successes. The ‘Save Darfur’ movement (for me this label carries no derogatory baggage) contributed to a remarkably successful humanitarian operation. Without it, relief agencies would have struggled for funds. It helped deter the levels of violence seen in 2003 and 2004 from recurring. Other forms of engagement have helped keep the key provisions of the CPA more-or-less on track.
As the English say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Please show me that you are not a caricature, a standard formula that doesn’t change.
Eric Reeves the caricature will lose no chance to lambast any commentator or diplomat for any form of constructive engagement with Sudan. This caricature will predict doom, knowing that nine times out of ten he won’t be proven wrong.
But Eric Reeves the person who cares for Sudan and for mitigating its traumas will welcome the progress that is being made, week in and week out, and will nurture these small but real openings that will, once or twice out of ten tries, bring a real transformation in the lives of the Sudanese. Which one is it to be, Eric?
with best wishes for your rapid recovery.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Bashir has challenged the arrest warrant by make foreign trips to countries in the region. All the states he visited however are not legally obliged to apprehend them.
One African ambassador at the airport described to VOA the turnout as “an ironic show of solidarity” for a man facing war crimes charges.
The envoy, who asked not to be named, said it is ironic because many Africa leaders fear that if President Bashir can be prosecuted, they could be next.
President Bashir at the press conference dismissed the notion that the arrest warrant by ICC could restrict his travel and create negative influence in his country.
“We went to this summit to show those who said we couldn’t travel out side Sudan that we can travel outside Sudan” he said adding “nothing can intermediate us into stopping traveling”
Bashir believes that the ICC decision has actually brought positive contribution to his country.
“Unlike what people might think the issued arrest warrant has rather strengthen our bond with countries of African Union (AU), Arab league and also with international organizations” he said.“It also has strengthened the unity of the Sudanese people” Bashir underscored
Read more at Sudan Tribune...
Monday, April 20, 2009
Lam Akol is pretty sharp generally, but I found him incoherent when he discussed the ICC... at one point his argument is "Where was the international community when the same al-Bashir was waging war on the South?" with the implication being that the international community is simply "playing politics". But the argumentation makes no sense. There are a number of assumptions or implications that, if examined, lead Akol to incoherence.
i.e., so Akol's premise is that al-Bashir is a war criminal then in South and now in Darfur... but was only indicted/punished for Darfur, and so that invalidates the ICC indictment. Huh?
Alternatively, al-Bashir is just a general in a messy war, but then why ask the rhetorical question about "where was the international community in the war in the south?"
Alternatively, the premise is that back then the interest of the international powers was to have a peace agreement, now it is to have regime change... but, if anything, the reverse should be true... back then it was the interest of the U.S. to have regime change and now it should be the interest to have peace and overlook the war crimes... So the conclusion? (not stated by Akol)- it must be all Save Darfur's fault- they ruined it for everyone!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
1. South: Referendum and likely separation to happen through free and fair referendum in 2011
2. Darfur: Darfur armed groups to demobilize, IDPs to have safe return and compensation
3. Justice: Persons responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity to face some reasonable form of justice (I'd settle for exile from Sudan, if that is what it took to get 1/2 to happen).
4. Poverty: Basic framework for sustained pro-poor growth established in North and South
5. Extremism: Extremist Islamic impulses channeled to civil society rather than to militancy
6. North: Restoration of rule of law and civilian rule in North (Mansour Khalid wrote is well more than two decades ago... The Government they Deserve
So a commentator could begin an article with:
Darfur, Justice, Poverty, South, North, Extremism (Save Darfur?)
Extremism, North, Darfur, South, Poverty, Justice (the Neocons?)
Poverty, Darfur, South, North, Extremism, Justice (Sachs?)
Poverty, North, Darfur, South, Extremism, Justice (Mamdani?)
Then you would know what they think is the priority. We could then ask what they thought the social welfare function was, starting with which population was included in the welfare function: only Northern Sudanese, all Sudanese except Northerners, Sudanese and Europeans and Americans, etc.
Useful exercise also is to ask how particular actors would likely prioritize these goals. Six actors in particular are important. China/Russia; Umma/DUP; U.S.; SPLM; JEM; NCP.
Let's see what I think the matrix looks like:
Gosh, nobody seems to care much about restoration of rule of law in the North. Doesn't that make people like Abdullahi An-Na'im pissed off?
by Kevin Jon Heller
In his new book Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror, Mahmood Mamdani claims that, “in its present form, the call for justice is really a slogan that masks a big power agenda to recolonize Africa.” There is more than a grain of truth to that; I think my friend Tony Anghie’s seminal work Imperialism, Sovereignty, and the Making of International Law should be required reading not only for all students of international law, but for all law students period. That said, I find claims like Mamdani’s to be woefully overbroad — and ultimately counterproductive, because they delegitimize all attempts to do justice in Africa, no matter by whom, against whom, or for what.
Consider the International Criminal Court. I have been exceptionally critical of the ICC’s exclusive focus on Africa, both in my published work and in lectures — including one I gave at the ICC. But I think it is completely absurd to claim that the ICC’s regrettable focus on Africa somehow reflects racism or “masks a big power agenda to recolonize Africa.” The ICC has many flaws, but being a puppet of the big powers isn’t one of them. Three of the permanent members of the Security Council are not members of the Court: the US, Russia, and China. And of the 108 members of the Court, approximately 65 are from the Global South,16 are from Eastern Europe, and only 23 are from Western Europe or North America (and that includes such traditional imperialist powers like San Marino, Andorra, Ireland, and Malta).
That is a remarkable degree of geographic diversity — and it is reflected in the diversity of the Court’s personnel…
[list of personnel]
Not exactly a big-power lineup. Indeed, it takes one hand to count the number of colonial powers represented among the Court’s leadership.
To be sure, neither the geographic nor individual diversity of the Court guarantees that it will not serve the interests of the big powers. The structural interests of international organizations all too often trump the personal interests of their members. But I think the Court’s diversity problematizes claims like “in its present form, the call for justice is really a slogan that masks a big power agenda to recolonize Africa.” At the very least, it would seem to obligate those who make such overbroad claims to explain why, despite the fact that it is very much a global project, the ICC is nothing more than a colonial tool.
You have to read the comment to the posting, too...
I agree, Kevin, and would add that Pres. Al Bashir denounced the ICC as a “white man’s tribunal” even though the 3-judge Pre-Trial Chamber issuing the arrest warrant had no men, and the Presiding Judge was an African woman.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
1) That Save Darfur, through its media advocacy campaign, changed the bargaining position of the Darfur rebel groups, making them more intransigent, thus prolonging the Darfur civil war. [For extra credit: Show how the advocacy campaign led to the splintering of the rebel movements.]
2) That Omar al-Bashir, in his role as commander of the Sudan Armed Forces, and president of Sudan, had command responsibility for numerous crimes against humanity and war crimes on a large scale across Darfur, targeting in particular three ethnic groups (Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit). [For extra credit: Find examples of initiatives by President al-Bashir to speed and enable humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in their efforts to bring humanitarian relief and security to Darfur.]
Teacher note: No credit given for answers that say that one or the other is "possible".
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I wonder whether models like this are very much preferable to some of the alternatives. An example of an alternative is the 2008 article of Alex de Waal (yes, I keep harping on him, for no particular reason) "Mission Without End" in International Affairs, which does no formal modeling, and so veers wildly from a bargaining view to an apparent supply and demand view of the "political marketplace". There's a price of something, and a quantity of something, and some actors transacting, but it never is actually specified, which is convenient for the modeler, because then when frost hits Brazil causing the price of coffee to rise legislators in Singapore receive more assurances that long-term corruption relationships will endure. Huh? Exactly.
De Waal's policy conclusion reflects his apparent current predilection against third-party involvement in Darfur (except when he was involved in the DPA) but there's no logic to how it is derived from the model, because in his text he apparently seems to assume that there is only one third-party and that is Save Darfur (ahem, no I meant to say the U.S., a completely independent entity from the mighty Save Darfur puppet-masters, honest). So this third party, in his view, messes everything up- the price of loyalty is higher for the "irritated" Khartoum elite! Never mind that there are a gazillion other third parties involved- from Total, to Deby, to Qaddafi, to China, to Qatar, to Iran, to al-Qaeda, to PricewaterhouseCoopers ...
An aside on de Waal's paper, is the apparent asymmetry between "we" (who respond to discursive reason embedded in articles like this one, and hence might change our political goals in "our" peacemaking operations, because "we" aren't in a political marketplace, did I say bazaar?, haggling over loyalty, did I use the word haggling there?) and "they" (the Sudanese in de Waal's political marketplace who respond only to power and money and apparently never read academic articles and wouldn't respond to them if they did). Phrased this way, one of course immediately objects- surely lots of Sudanese actually do engage in discursive reason and change their political goals as they engage. But then the premise and conclusion of the model-- that third-parties only change the "prices" in the marketplace, for the bad-- no longer seems so compelling.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I William Zartman
Three approaches are tested as explanations of the outcome of the Oslo negotiations. Ripeness theory explains the onset of the Madrid negotiations, which then talked themselves into a mutually hurting stalemate, but it accounts only for the beginning of Oslo, not its outcome. Process analysis shows neither a formula-detail nor a concession-convergence process but a hybrid constructed substantive process with two turning points of toughness, alongside a two-phased procedural process created by the need to officialize the proceedings. This approach explains rather well the nature of the constructed outcome. Contending theories of mediation bring out the importance of seeking a settlement rather than a resolution, of turning track two into track one diplomacy, and of using a powerless rather than a muscled mediator. But they also show how the type of outcome reached at Oslo prepared its own undoing when brought back home.
HARARE, Zimbabwe — President Robert Mugabe’s top lieutenants are trying to force the political opposition into granting them amnesty for their past crimes by abducting, detaining and torturing opposition officials and activists, according to senior members of Mr. Mugabe’s party.
Mr. Mugabe’s generals and politicians have organized campaigns of terror for decades to keep him and his party in power. But now that the opposition has a place in the nation’s new government, these strongmen worry that they are suddenly vulnerable to prosecution, especially for crimes committed during last year’s election campaign as the world watched.
• Dutch auction style solutions, with a pre-announced schedule of possible solutions and side-payments. On the day the auction begins, the solution presented is available for both sides to negotiate over mutually agreed solutions with the specified allocation as the initial bargaining point (That is, to split the available pie when the pie has been divided a certain way.) If consensus is reached, the negotiation is over. If negotiation is not reached in a pre-specified time, the previous deal is no longer available, and discussion moves to the next possible deal, where the overall pie is smaller. (All kinds of mechanisms may be used to create commitment, such as complex contracts that deliver funds from third parties if deals are made, or even betting possibilities on Intrade.)
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
De Waal and Flint use as their source for much criticism of Moreno-Ocampo's handling of the court the former deputy prosecutor Andrew Cayley.
Guess who Cayley is defending now before the Sierra Leone tribunal? Charles Taylor.
Then there is the matter of ascribing new citizenship. Plainly the initial option should be for dual citizenship. Everyone should be allowed to have both passports, and be able to move unhindered across the border. or is it plain?
Monday, April 6, 2009
Against my better judgment, yesterday I bought Mamdani’s book on Darfur, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror. Anyone who knows me knows that I have very little patience for the oeuvre of Mamdani, so I knew that I was going to hate this book, but I had no idea how bad it was actually going to be. I’m about a quarter of the way in, and so far, he’s attacked by name Save Darfur, Eric Reeves, Gérard Prunier, Philip Gourevitch, Nicholas Kristof, John Prendergast, Harold Pinter, Brad Pitt, Steven Spielberg, George Bush and Tony Blair, just to name a few, but strangely Omar al-Bashir is mentioned only once in the first 192 pages, and only to attack the ICC for focusing on “the consequences of the violence [in Darfur], not its context.” (Emphasis his - p. 5.) So, with the exception of two or three canned adjectives to slap Khartoum on the wrist (”brutal counterinsurgency”), Mamdani seems to have more of a problem with Save Darfur and Eric Reeves than he does with the Sudanese regime’s violence.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
JOEL ADECHI (Benin) said the vote was a major event in the context of the international community’s attempts to ensure there was no impunity for violations of international humanitarian law in the past decade. Benin had voted in favour of the resolution because it was party to the Rome Statute and also because the worsening of the situation in Darfur meant that the Council must take action to end the suffering of the civilians, ending impunity by providing impartial justice. Benin had also voted in favour out of respect for human dignity and the right to life. The African Union recognized that the international community had a responsibility to protect civilians when they were not protected by their own governments. The resolution must help them to achieve their legitimate dream of an end to their suffering and enable them to look ahead to the future with serenity.