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Clinton says Sudan is a 'Ticking Time Bomb'.

The Sudan will find a solution if it stands together in one line.

That is when the world would come to greet the country for its unity By Mahgoub El-Tigani September 14, 2010 -- Eric Reeves, professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College in Massachusetts, is one of the very few western writers who monitored with perseverance the tragedy of the Sudanese Humans in the bleeding region of Darfur. He is one of the very few critiques of western governments, as well as the United Nations and the other decision-making entities and countries for their failure to put the necessary political pressure on the Government of Sudan to end the ongoing five and a half years brutalizing catastrophe of our people in Darfur so that every hurt individual or victimized family would be fully compensated and relieved.

We welcome at this point the UN Secretary General's decision to exert the best efforts possible to ensure the return of the JEM Leader to his movement inside the Homeland to help the peace process. We call on the Secretary General to adopt the wise resolutions of the National Democratic Forces at the Juba Conference (2009) which was attended by all representatives of the Sudanese people, except for those of the Khartoum repressive regime. We call on the UN Secretary General to adopt the well-thought recommendations by the Darfur Intellectuals that came about in two conferences organized by the United States Institute of Peace (Washington: 2009 and 2010). Wisdom is not cherished by the Sudan existing rulers whose authoritative rule considered the country's national democratic forces as strangers, simply because they are opposed to the regime's policies and practices. And yet, none but the ruling regime is a stranger to the Sudanese. In the next sections, we will present to the Arabic readers a translation of Eric Reeves article, which expressed his opinion on the escalated conflict between the two ruling parties in North and South Sudan with a special focus on the American policy influential part. We will comment on Reeves article he graciously sent to this writer for two reasons: First, his analytical writings on the pervasive crisis of Sudan, particularly over the large regions of the country, are quite open for discussion, as well objectively phrased when founded on documentary materials or reliable reports. Secondly, Reeves' criticisms are most likely unbiased since they have been addressed, in the first place, to the West, chiefly his own government, the United States administration, and the European Union with copies to the United Nations and the African Union. At the same time, he criticized harshly the aggression of the Government of Sudan against Darfur and the South -- an atrocity widely condemned by the world's consciousness that has been gravely affected by the government's hypocrisy, violence, and aggression as a major player unto the escalated crisis. We appreciate Reeves unrelenting recording of the humanitarian and political conditions in Darfur and his bitter criticisms of the failures of the International Community to stand firmly against the precluding acts by the ruling regime of Sudan to the serious national and international efforts to end the war, make peace, and ensure the South-North even development by democratic rule. We must put the blame, however, on Eric Reeves as well as many other western and eastern writers who viewed the problems of our country only in terms of the governments of North and South Sudan whose ruling parties monopolized authorities by provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. By that perspective, most writers regarded the two ruling parties wrongfully as an alternative of the People of Sudan with all their parties and their politically aware masses that did not subscribe to the two ruling parties and that maintained greater contributions in the history, struggles, and governance experiences than the two CPA ruling parties unilaterally or bilaterally did. We have insistently put the blame for these political misconceptions on the writers who failed to appreciate the role played by the Sudanese national democratic forces that the West refused to listen to their advisement on Sudan affairs and the East regrettably didn't support. These national democratic forces represent the sincere struggles of our country above all those attempted by the West or the East. Our political parties, trades unions, and civil society groups resembled the symbols of our Nation's march, the voice of People, and the heart of their national sentiments through intellectual political and military formulations. These forces are entrusted with the task of uplifting the spirit of the people and their public-will to move above all obstacles or frustrations. These forces are the power instigated by the social and legal values to force the Khartoum government to guarantee freedoms, make justice, and allow the full enjoyment of rights for the whole population before any external source would find a solution or promise aid. Despite all these facts, we believe that, should Reeves fail to cast light on the National Democratic Forces of our Nation and to appreciate its size, status, and role, the biggest blame must be placed on those of the Sudanese people who failed to care for the tragedy of the country and who never organized any step to remove dictatorial rule, or uttered a word to challenge a demon ruler or an evil government. REEVES' CRITICISMS Eric mentioned in his article information published by The New Republic on September 10, 2010 indicating "Hillary Clinton Says Sudan Is a 'Ticking Time Bomb': But Will She Be Able to Defuse It?" The writer commented that:

"Finally! A sense of urgency about Sudan. In a major foreign policy address on September 8, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the country as a "ticking time bomb." Yet it may already be too late. The "bomb" has been ticking for over five and a half years, and neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration has been willing to devote the appropriate attention to defuse it." "Self-determination referenda are scheduled for early January 2011, in both Southern Sudan and the contested border enclave of Abyei. There is precious little time to avert a return to civil war in the next 120 days, as unresolved issues between the Khartoum regime and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the South threaten to derail the voting process spelled out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). A host of important electoral mechanics and procedures remain to be agreed upon, and Khartoum gives every sign that it is trying to run out the clock, thereby forcing Southern Sudan either to delay the referenda or to make a unilateral declaration of independence. Either could easily become a casus belli, as could Khartoum's blunt refusal to honor the results of the referenda--or an attempt to preempt those results militarily." "So how can we maximize the chances of a peaceful separation within Africa's largest, and ethnically most diverse, country? How can we deal with the perverse fact that Sudan's oil reserves lie so near the North/South border, as do vast quantities of arable land? The question is made especially difficult by the fact that these oil reserves are chiefly in the South--80 percent is a common figure--while Chinese-constructed oil infrastructure lies mainly in the north. Moreover, the border regions, including Abyei, are among the most populous in Sudan, and ethnic tensions are close to boiling. How can we resolve the various disputes that have festered for so many years?" "Clinton's answer to these questions received too little attention, obscured as it was by her media-friendly "ticking time bomb" metaphor. In her reply to a questioner, she laid out the core of the Obama administration's approach: "The reality is that this [an 'inevitable' Southern vote for secession] is going to be a very hard decision for the north [the Khartoum regime] to accept, and so we've got to figure out some ways to make it worth their while to peacefully accept an independent South, and for the South to recognize that unless they want more years of warfare, and no chance to build their own new state, they've got to make some accommodations with the North, as well." "Behind the equanimity of these words, Clinton's statement is little more than an upgraded diplomatic version of U.S. Special Envoy Scott Gration's declaration that the way to "engage" with Khartoum is by means of "cookies": "Kids, countries--they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement." Yet in the year since Gration made these notorious remarks, and set the course of U.S. policy, the regime has accelerated violence in Darfur, restricted humanitarian access even more severely, blocked reports on humanitarian conditions, and become even more hostile to the UN peacekeeping force (UNAMID). For good measure, the regime oversaw its continuation of power by engineering a massive electoral travesty in April. In dealing with the South, far from responding positively to the inducements the Obama administration has offered, the regime has refused to engage in good faith on many of the outstanding issues between Khartoum and Juba, capital of the provisional government of South Sudan. This is hardly a record of diplomatic success or a validation of Gration's theory about how to induce good behavior." "Based on this misconceived diplomatic theory, Clinton is offering the following prescription: reward Khartoum ("we've got to figure out some ways to make it worth their while to peacefully accept an independent South") and squeeze the South ("the South [must] recognize that unless they want more years of warfare, and no chance to build their own new state, they've got to make some accommodations with the North"). "Translation? On the many contested issues that Khartoum has refused to address in any serious fashion for five and a half years, the regime is nonetheless to be offered concessions; and since most of these issues involve zero-sum resolution, this means the South, which has generally acted in good faith, must be prepared to make sacrifices. This is obduracy rewarded, a pattern of Western diplomacy with which Khartoum is all too familiar." "But the leadership in the South can be pushed only so far, and even it has its red lines. For example, in Abyei--the most likely flashpoint for renewed conflict--Khartoum is moving many tens of thousands of nomadic Misseriya Arabs into the northern part of the enclave so that they might vote in the referendum, which will in turn determine whether Abyei remains with the north or becomes part of an independent South Sudan. If the traditional residents of the region--mainly Ngok Dinka--make the decision, the region will choose overwhelmingly to side with the South. But if the Misseriya are moved in sufficient numbers (many are heavily armed), and Khartoum again engages in electoral manipulation, the results could easily go the other way. The Sudanese government is also keeping a heavy military presence in and near Abyei, in order to ensure its ability to control or threaten the region. (The way it does so is brutal: In May 2008, Khartoum's notorious Thirty-First Brigade burned Abyei town to the ground and displaced perhaps 100,000 civilians). It is hardly accidental that the Abyei Referendum Commission, a key feature of the CPA, has yet to be formed, despite repeated complaints by the residents of Juba." "The story of Khartoum's obduracy is repeated again and again: unsettled disputes over five key border delineations; a refusal to settle issues of post-secession citizenship (key for the almost 2 millions southerners in the north); unreasonable demands about oil revenue-sharing and the portion of the huge external debt ($38 billion) that will be foisted upon an independent South Sudan; an unwillingness to engage in discussions about military disengagement; and an ominous silence on the role that will be played by the U.N. peacekeeping force in the South (UNMIS) in monitoring a demilitarized zone along the border." "It is a scandal that the United States and its partners in the Sudan peace process have allowed five and a half years to pass without solving what have long been known as the fundamental obstacles to a peaceful vote in January 2011. Secretary Clinton's expedient response to this belatedness is myopically one-sided; it will alienate the Southern leadership, embolden Khartoum, and make it all too likely that the "bomb" will explode."

This ends Reeves' article. COMMENTARY The core theme in Reeves' article is a bitter sense of regret for the inequitable handling of the South and North affairs by the American decision maker with respect to all agenda, chief of which is the referendum in Abyie. Hence, Reeves' call on the Secretary of State Clinton to strengthen her statement with more pressures on the Khartoum government to act in a straightforward way with the Government of South Sudan, to condemn the measures undertaken thus far by that government to change the demographic composition of the inhabitants in Abyie before referendum time, and to impose necessary procedure on the Khartoum government to comply with the border delineations, and to withdraw army troops instead of the "cookies" attractions that appease the Khartoum government at expense of the rights of minorities, even if the situation might end with separation. Eric Reeves told the truth as he saw it. It is certainly his right to ask the administration of his country to look into our Sudanese country with consideration. He praised the equanimity of Clinton's statement hoping a revision would be possibly made. And he criticized her Assistant Scott Gration because he implemented the administration's policy with 'notorious remarks' and 'unsuccessful diplomacy.' It is our right too, Sudanese as we are in the North or in the South, to submit our views to the enlightened Secretary of State Clinton and her active assistant Gration to consider at full length the status and role of the Sudanese National Democratic Forces to be able to appreciate the vital part these forces play in the peace process and the tranquility of the Nation exactly as it is our right as Sudanese people to require the SPLM and the National Congress Party to do the same, as representatives of the governments in Khartoum and Juba. Here, we must emphasize a clear message that these two parties and their two governments are not representatives of all of the People of Sudan or the totality of the national democratic masses of Sudan. As such, they should not be overwhelmed by temptation to decide for the Nation's major agenda, especially the issue of unity or separation, by the single-party rule on the basis of the false elections of April 2010. They have to perfect their job, that is to say, to bring together the People of Sudan without exception to enable the Nation to conclude in the right decisions for the benefit of People and protection of the Homeland from the evils of divisionism. The Sudan parties that Omer al-Bashir and his Islamists rigged their national elections, thus depriving them from the opportunity to overthrow his bad governance and to establish a true democratic system of rule in its place, comprised the influential forces that the Obama Administration has not yet addressed or the Obama Envoy approached, as had been earlier exercised by Senator Dansforth of the Bush Administration. The Sudanese national democratic forces have not yet been invited to participate fully in the ongoing talks on the fate of their country or the future of their ancient nation that has been known since the pyramids of Cush, the kingdoms of Darfur, the Funj Sultanate, the Mahdiya State, and the post-independence times as The Sudan, the Sudanese unified nation. Yes, Hilary Clinton said the truth about our country, namely that "Sudan is a ticking time bomb." And yes, the underneath fires might be slowly moving the bomb to explode. But neither the SPLM government nor the NCP government would be able to stop the crisis from further escalation while they do live in a zero-confidence relationship. They will not overcome the crisis when Darfur is still bleeding and the largest body of the Sudanese Nation is prevented from participation in national decision making. There is not a single nation on earth that would endure apportioning of its dear lands and beloved people. So who is who to claim that the Sudan of Cush, the Blue Sultanate, the Mahdiya, October, and April uprisings is a humble creature that might sink to its knees or would be satisfied on the brink? The Sudanese want to see their leaderships leading the masses in the streets. They want to hear their voices higher above a bomb's ticking or blast. That is when Western administrations will hear them. That is when Eastern regimes would respect them. The Sudan will find a solution if it stands together in one line. That is when the world would come to greet the country for its unity. The author is a sociologist at the Department of Social Work & Sociology in Tennessee State University, Nashville TN, USA. He can be reached at

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Sep 15, 2010
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