By Mahmoud A. Suleiman
December 14, 2007 — Darfur crisis is considered the First genocidal rampage of the 21st century 10 years after the Rwandan holocaust. Government of Sudan (GOS) and its proxy militias committed gross human rights abuses and impunity was the rule. Nevertheless the shamelessly Government of Sudan (GOS) continues to orchestrate its rejection of non-African troops in the combined United Nations/African Union 26,000 “hybrid” peacekeepers who are supposed to start operating in Darfur as from January 2008 to bring about security to its civilian people after more than 4-1/2 years of ordeal.
Swedish and Norwegian troops are not acceptable to GOS. Sudan rejected Canadian military offer from the Prime Minister who announced an additional $170 million dollars in aid for Darfur. Canada also pledged to send 100 military advisers which would include military intelligence officers, strategic planners and logistics experts to help African Union peacekeepers in the war-ravaged region of western Sudan. Faiza Hassan Taha, the Sudanese ambassador, said Ottawa didn’t consult her country about the offer. She is reported as saying that Khartoum doesn’t want any non-African troops in the country. The Canadian Prime Minister’s Office reported that their PM advised the Sudanese president of his plan before he announced it. Furthermore, troops from Thailand are not welcome either by the regime’s president even if there is a shortage of troops from the African continent. The 135 Chinese military engineers and Pakistani technical units are the only forces Marshal Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-basher is ready to accept as he reserves the right to reject.
Al-Samani al-Wasila, a GOS minister Foreign Affairs is reported as saying that the UN charter does not allow for sending of troops to a country without the approval of this country”! The regime’s minister tries to overlook the reality that the UN Security Council Resolutions about the crisis in Darfur have been passed under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter that sets out the UN Security Council’s powers to maintain peace and authorises the use of Military Force against pariah governments like the one he is a member to “restore international peace and security. This is more pertinent while the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), under the command and leadership of President (Lt. Gen.) Omer al-Bashir, continue to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur since mid-2003. These forces have overseen and directly participated in massacres, summary executions of civilians, indiscriminately burnings of towns and villages, and the forcible depopulation of wide swathes of land long-inhabited by native ethnic tribal groups.
No wonder that observers kept trying to identify the reasons behind the refusal of the National Congress Party (NCP) government in Khartoum to allow deployment of non-African peacekeeping troops in Darfur. Mr. Pagan Amum the Secretary General of the SPLM was quoted as said that troops from Nigeria, Rwanda and other countries in the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) are already there on the Darfur soil; are they not foreign troops or they are Sudanese forces?! One writer believes that some elements in the Khartoum regime will try to find a way of dropping the ICC stick by using it as a trade off for agreeing peace, disarmament and reconciliation using local traditions and customs!
Rejection of non-African troops in the AU-UN Hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur by the NCP government is a political gimmick and flawed. Non-African Western
Troops are present in the south of Sudan, Nuba Mountains and in Khartoum, why not acceptable in Darfur? Analysts said that what the elements in the National Congress Party (NCP) government really fears is that the UN troops may be used to arrest officials in the regime and its allied militia likely to be indicted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Another reason may be attributable to the earlier report by Reuters Opheera McDoom, pointing out that Al-Qaeda’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahri criticised Khartoum and called the Sudanese government as “spineless” for allowing UN-AU assessment mission into Sudan. Sudan rejects the transition to U.N. forces in Darfur, painting the move as a Western invasion of an Islamic country that would attract militants. The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, in February 2007 issued a warrant for the arrest of former Sudanese interior minister, now humanitarian affairs minister, Ahmad Haroun and pro-government Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb charging them with masterminding murderous attacks between 2003 and 2004 which caused millions of people to flee their homes in Darfur. The Sudanese government has refused to act on both warrants, saying there is no evidence against the pair and arguing Sudan, like the United States, is not an ICC signatory. Sudanese government has said repeatedly it will never hand over any of its citizens. This regime needs to understand that there will be no more impunity for these cases. The culprits in the Darfur atrocities will eventually face the predicaments of their actions as happened to Charles Taylor, the leader of Liberia who is being tried in The Hague for alleged war crimes in Sierra Leone and the former Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic who died in custody during his trial for crimes against humanity in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Will the UN Security Council continues to be held hostage by Khartoum’s adamant rejection of non-African Peacekeeping Force in Darfur and for how ling? That is the question! Perhaps until the Khartoum government succeeds in completing the Darfur genocide!
Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). He can be reached at [email protected]