|Africa News Digest
Rice Attempts Disruption of UN-AU Mission in Darfur
Feb. 5 (EIRNS)Less than two weeks after the peaceful referendum in Southern Sudan, President Obama's Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, launched into a new phase of her attack on the government of Sudan in Khartoum, by meddling in the still-unresolved Darfur peace process. At a UN Security Council meeting on Jan. 26, Rice attacked the United Nations African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the UN-African Union hybrid forces deployed there. Rice, following her usual interventionist profile, went on the offensive, attacking UNAMID and its leader, Ibrahim Gambari. Gambari, formerly Nigeria's UN Ambassador, who is now Joint AU-UN Special Representative, deploys the 25,000 AU troops and 6,000 civilians from UNAMID's headquarters in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.
Rice demanded that Gambari essentially change UNAMID's Chapter 7 mandate, which is to defend itself when attacked, to a more aggressive confrontational deployment against Sudan's Armed Forces (SAF). Sources close to UNAMID have said that Gambari effectively put Rice on the defensive in his briefing to the Security Council, via video conference from El Fasher. When the meeting was over, Rice went to the press to complain that Gambari and UNAMID are too timid in dealing with the SAF.
Gambari, a well-respected diplomat, does not want to deploy UNAMID forces recklessly, which would result in more casualties from Africans killing Africans, and is choosing instead to use his good working relationship with Khartoum to further the peace process in Darfur. Those opposed to the Khartoum government are trying to use UNAMID to create a new confrontation between the U.S. and Khartoum, while attempts to normalize U.S.-Sudan relations are ongoing.
Has Susan Rice now become the biggest obstacle to peace in Darfur?
AU Asks International Court To Defer Charges against Bashir
Feb. 5 (EIRNS)In a Jan. 30 interview with the editor of Sudan Vision, Dr. Jean Ping, chairperson of African Union Commission, attacked International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for his indictment of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. The interview was conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the 16th AU Summit.
Ping said that the ICCmainly the prosecutoris using double standards. He pointed out: "We asked for a deferral, using Article 16 of the ICC to enable the African Union to fulfill its commitment of justice and peace in tandem." Ping responded to a question about AU plans to establish its own criminal court, saying, "Yes, there are plans to establish our own court to avoid this double standard, this injustice, this political bias, and this targeting by the ICC."
In its official communiqué dated Jan. 31, the AU Summit called on all African parties to the Rome Statue of the ICC that have not yet done so, to co-sponsor the proposal for the amendment to Article 16 of the Statue, which requires the UN to defer charges against President Bashir for a year, to be renewed indefinitely.
Asked if the ICC were complicating the AU's task in trying to bring peace to Darfur, Ping replied, "Of course they complicated the situation.... We are dealing with a problem and someone comes and pours fuel on the fire."
The timing of the interview and statement by the AU was meant to be supportive of the government of Sudan, at the very moment that the voting results in the referendum of Southern Sudan in favor of secession were being announced.
Is Unrest Between North and South Sudan a Harbinger of the Future?
Feb. 6 (EIRNS)On the heels of the South Sudan referendum last month for the secession of the South, which accomplished the British goal of divide-and-conquer, a series of mutinies within the Sudan Army began Feb. 3 in Malakal, and spread yesterday to three other towns in the oil-producing Upper Nile state in South Sudan. Fifty have been reported killed so far.
The British have maneuvered a situation in which continual conflict can be easily manipulated, because the joint units of the Sudan Army have to be dismantled by July 9, when the South is to be declared independent. The southern members of these units are to be sent to the South after demobilization.
In the present case, former southern militiamen who had fought for Khartoum before the end of the civil war, and had become part of an integrated unit with the Sudan Army after the end of the civil war in 2005, refused to give up their heavy weapons as part of this demobilization process. Many of these southern soldiers come from smaller ethnic groups than the Dinka group which dominates the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, which rules the South, and fear score settling. Hence, they are reluctant to give up their heavy weapons, as shown by the clashes Feb. 3-5. Repeats of this type of conflict could be easily manipulated from now until July 9, and beyond, because of the procedures set up by the British empire.