Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 28 October 2003

A promise the U.S. must keep


By Eric Reeves, International Herald Tribune

Paying for peace in Sudan

NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts, Oct. 28, 2003 — While much U.S. political debate is focused on the enormous budget requested by the Bush administration for reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, another country ravaged by war and tyranny seems destined to get nothing, despite American promises of help. Sudan is on the brink of a historic peace agreement that could end the world’s longest and most destructive civil conflict. But there has been no formal budget request for emergency transitional aid to Sudan or for the necessary peacekeeping resources.

Sudan has endured a tyranny as great as that of Saddam Hussein or the Taliban; and casualties in Sudan’s 20-year civil war are much greater than those of Iraq and Afghanistan combined. More than 2 million have perished, overwhelmingly civilians in the south; 5 million have been internally displaced or turned into refugees; and in southern Sudan there is a total lack of economic, transport or communications infrastructure. If peace finally arrives, the need for transitional aid will become extremely urgent.

As many as 1 million of the people presently displaced within Sudan, many in squalid camps outside Khartoum, the capital, would seek to return to their homes in the first six months after a peace agreement. This is a huge number of people to be moving back to areas that have seen extreme malnutrition, scorched-earth warfare, the compromising of water sources and a general decline in the already tenuous medical assistance provided by international humanitarian organizations. These people will have no chance of resuming productive lives without very significant assistance; indeed, their chances for survival on return will be substantially diminished if there is not appropriate emergency aid during resettlement.

In May, Walter Kansteiner, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, declared in testimony to Congress that "we stand ready to support reconstruction and development in post-war Sudan." In speaking of the need for the Khartoum regime and the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to reach peace under presently auspicious circumstances, Kansteiner declared further that "both sides know that there will be a large peace dividend for reconstruction and development if, but only if, there is peace."

Extraordinarily, to many Sudan observers, peace now seems clearly within reach. But the Bush administration is failing in its commitment to provide the resources to sustain peace in Sudan. There has been no budgetary request for emergency transitional assistance or for the U.S. portion of an international peacekeeping operation. This is extremely short-sighted. At the time of the greatest military danger to such a peace agreement, during the perilous process of military disengagement by forces that have almost no trust in one another, there must be a robust, well-funded, international peacekeeping force. It must have substantial transport and logistical capacity, given the vast size of Sudan - the largest country in Africa - and the lack of useable roads.

Such a peacekeeping force, which should be deployed under UN auspices, may be the most important element in any sustainable peace for Sudan. A failure by the United States to commit publicly now to an appropriate expenditure for peacekeeping would leave millions of people at significantly increased risk and would undermine America’s chances of ensuring that peace in Sudan is sustainable. Given the high levels of humanitarian assistance that the United States has provided for victims of the war for well over a decade, this seems the most ill-considered of times to withhold promised funding.

This administration explicitly promised to provide assistance at the moment of Sudan’s greatest need, and now it is reneging. This is dishonest and immoral, and would never occur if the country in distress were not African and cursed with geopolitical inconsequence. Congress should, on an emergency basis, appropriate funding that will make good on the Bush administration promises.

Sudan has suffered decades of invisibility on the global stage, and Sudanese lives have suffered a deeply disgraceful moral discounting. At its moment of greatest hope this broken nation must not be betrayed again.

The writer, a professor of literature at Smith College, has written extensively on Sudan.

The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Completion of 2nd GERD’s filling necessitates a shift in trilateral negotiations 2021-07-20 19:55:28 By A.Tesfaye Abera The completion of the second-year filling of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) instigates polarized views between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Mainly Egypt sees it as (...)

South Sudan legislators should be cautious about the oath they will take 2021-07-15 07:04:56 By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi It is a fact that the legislators of South Sudan’s incoming Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) are appointees of the parties to the (...)

What they said about Sudanese John Garang 2021-07-12 05:49:37 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman This article of a compilation of related topics comes against the backdrop of a number of issues relating to the Republic of South Sudan that was declared its inauguration (...)


Latest Press Releases

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2021 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.