Crimes Against Humanity – Again?
One of the most intriguing attitudes of the West towards the Rest (of humanity) is the way in which judgements of astroturf organisations (unelected, unaccountable) are elevated to unequivocal truths. A famous full-time anti-Sudanese activist lost his job at the International Crisis Group, got enough funds to establish another less venerable organisation and after rubbing shoulders with the G.W. Bush White House is now listened to respectfully at the Barack Obama White House. There are differences between Democrats and Republican in many respects; but they seem to observe a faultless bipartisanism vis a vis some policies towards The Rest.
An example that illustrates this is a hasty analysis by the Horn of Africa Project Director for the (ICG) International Crisis Group (who to be fair to him has in the past made some quite shrewd in-depth remarks) about the fighting in Abyei and Southern Kordofan. He argued on 5 July that the majority ruling party in Khartoum was merely pushing to the maximum in trying to gain a better position in negotiations: "I think that is what happened in the recent fighting in Kordofan and also the decision by the North to take Abyei." His words were soon taken up and repeated by many who consider the International Crisis Group the knowledgeable eyes and ears of the West in all matters relating to the Rest.
Upon examination, this statement does not hold water. Let us deal today with one of the two areas referred to. Why is there fighting in Southern Kordofan?
In early May, as part of the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, delayed elections were painstakingly organised in Southern Kordofan State. The parallel elections in Blue Nile State in April last year was won by Mr. Malik Agar (SPLA/M) and the National Congress Party accepted the result. International observers were invited to South Kordofan, headed by the Carter Center. According to the report of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission (headed by Sir Derek Plumbly, the highly respected former British Diplomat) wrote: "The state level elections in Southern Kordofan in May were judged by observers to be credible but the SPLM complained of violations and refused to accept the result." The US Special Envoy Ambassador Lyman told Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper that he had personally phoned Abdul Aziz Al Hilu (the loser) and suggested that he takes his complaint to the Law Courts; to no avail.
The wider background to the fighting is also relevant. The Assessment and Evaluation Commission published a report last year in which it stated that the Sudanese Army has withdrawn 100% from the South, while the SPLM has withdrawn only 26% of its force from the North. The CPA was explicit about the former combatants after peace. The DDR project (Demobilisation, Disarmament and Re-integration) was designed to solve the problem of all militias. Those not accepted to join the regular army were to be prepared and trained for a different future. This project stalled in South Sudan, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. The European Special Envoy told the EU Committee at the British Parliament that "in February 2011, donors and the government of South Sudan requested suspension of the programme." This shows that the SPLM (and dare we say some donors too!) were actually sowing the seeds of the clashes. To side-step all these hard facts and claim without evidence, that the fighting took place because the National Congress Party wanted to improve its negotiating position proves that the one-eyed expert is King in a West that is blind to other views and interests.
Now we see the start of the next chapter when we read about "crimes against humanity" and suspected mass graves. In other words a sequel to The Save Darfur spin strategy, likewise based on intentional economy with the truth.
22 July 2011