The National Congress Party (NCP) is under attack by Deng Alor, the Sudanese foreign minister. He has stated that the parties must sit at the negotiating tables. Deng Alor is also a key figure of the SPLM. The foreign minister has stated that the accusations from the international community are not needed, and that instead they need consensus to solve the problems. Alor has pointed out that the NCP has no choice but to deal with the ICC and that demonstrations and protests will not solve anything.
Regarding Chinese intervention, Alor has expressed that the Chinese will not sacrifice their interests with the West for Sudan’s sake.
Ten local radio journalists in El Fasher have started a radio journalism training and capacity building program. Basic radio journalism training will be conducted for Darfurians by UNAMID between September and December 2008.
In response to not being informed of the government plan to conduct a raid on the Kalma camp last week, 3 ministers and 15 legislators, all SPLM, suspended their participation in executive and legislative bodies. The Darfuri SPLM officials have stated that elections cannot be held without a resolution and a return of the refugees and IDPs to Darfur. In response, a figure of the NCP, has called the action an attempt to make political gains and predicts that they will reverse their decision.
A former Dean of the Islamic Law department at Qatar University, Professor Abdel-Hammed Al-Ansari has been quoted as saying, “Al-Bashir does not need the ALS to defend him, but the Darfur victims and the millions of oppressed are in desperate need of legal help from these advocates. It should be noted that a delegation of the ALS flew to Khartoum after the ICC announcement to support Al-Bashir. Al-Ansari provided a historical context for ALS backing by stating that they have also backed Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad and the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. He endorses the genocide charges made by the ICC prosecutor. He argues that the ALS always tries to ignore the victims and that they are promoting double standards. Echoing the former Dean, French-Libyan born counsel Dr. Hadi Shalluf calls the ALS a political body that serves regimes that provide them with money and that they are not acting in the interests of oppressed victims.
According to a tribal leader in the Kalma camp, Ibrahim Adam, more than 100 police vehicles loaded with heavily armed men laid siege on the camp searching for weapons. The IDPs refused. Thirty people were killed and ten were injured as police opened fire. An official for the South Darfur state stated that Darfur rebels had been using the camps to create agitation against the government.
Little is known about Al-Turabi’s recent visit to the African Center for Human Rights in Switzerland. He said that he conducted talks with diplomats and officials and that Switzerland was seeking to play a role in settling the Darfur crisis. His objectives were financial, political and cultural. Al-Turabi is expected to tour the US, Britain and other Western countries.
From my Perspective:
When will Darfurians have status and choice, and enjoy the means and the context for peace? The conflict has seen serious debate about foreign intervention, with calls for political, military and humanitarian-related approaches meeting various levels of support. However, as Columbia University’s Mahmoud Mamdani has stated, "Anyone wanting to end the spiraling violence would have to bring about power-sharing at the state level and resource-sharing at the community level, land being the key resource." This means that Darfurians must have choice. The timeline for this has been suggested and is described below. As perplexing, the answer to why Muslim press and leaders still seem to be in denial about the conflicts in Darfur and why it seems that Darfur has fallen into its blind spot is not to come in this piece. Instead, it will point out that a monopoly of power enjoyed by a few has continued to marginalize populations and empowered rebels to chose not to pursue power-sharing as an obvious step toward peace. This has still left many indigent Darfurians wondering when and how it will ever be safe to go about their lives without a reliance on the refugee camps, which are now also under attack.
Choice: The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) assigned the responsibility of enhancing cooperation and coordination among the three Darfur states (West, South and North Darfur) to the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority (TDRA). Membership of the TDRA includes Minni Minnawi (Chairman), Dr. Mohammed Suleimann Adam (Secretary General), Osman Mohamed Yousif Kibir (Governor of North Darfur), Ali Mahmoud (Governor of South Darfur), Abu el-Gasim al-Hajj (Governor of West Darfur) and Ibrahim Madibo (Chair of the Darfur Reconstruction and Development Fund). It is an interim authority, and the permanent status of the Darfur region is supposed to be determined by a referendum in July 2010. Darfuris will chose between a single autonomous region of Darfur that includes the three current states or status quo. What will Darfurians chose?
Muslim leaders: The identity that has been pushed in Sudan on a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious Sudan is a historical problem that ignores this diversity. Individual rights and freedoms have been the price for those who resist an imposed identity. There are no human rights in this context even when tribes or groups might all just want to be left to live simply with respect and dignity and access to participating in public debates that affect their lives. What is the role of Muslim leaders in current Sudan? Shouldn't they be avoiding narrow political or religious interests and embracing tackling the plight of those who are stuck in camps unsure of how they will ever return to Darfur? Shouldn't they be answering the questions of their communities who are looking for the right dialogues that lead toward setting aside the prioritization of sovereignty over curtailing and ending impunity? How can allowing people to kill each other not feel like a horrible license to kill based on thumbing a proverbial nose on what the responsibility of government is? In August of this year, the SPLM, which wants to continue to have good relations with major powers like the US, and the NCP met to draw common grounds on peace plans in Darfur. Ideological differences in the interpretation of the 2005 peace agreement have created mistrust. I hope that differences can be set aside so that national identity can include the reality of the situation: a diversity of beliefs and ethnicity.