One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

So much for that ceasefire

If unilaterally imposed ceasefires don’t work in theory, then they certainly don’t work in practice — particularly when their guarantor, the Sudanese government, has a practically reflexive habit of ignoring them wholeheartedly.

Darfur rebels accused Sudan government forces on Saturday of bombing their territory, just days after the president announced a ceasefire in the region.

That didn’t take long. Realizing the bad p.r. of this news, though, Khartoum quickly pivoted its messaging. The military action, you see, did not count as breaking the “immediate and unconditional” ceasefire, because the targets were simply “armed bandits.”

A senior official with Sudan’s dominant National Congress Party told reporters Friday’s fighting did not amount to a breach of the ceasefire as the agreement did not cover bands of armed robbers who have proliferated in lawless Darfur during its near six-year conflict.

The only problem with this explanation is that the Sudanese government has consistently described the Darfur rebels as little more than “armed bandits.” But in a final galling twist of irony, Khartoum manages to pin the blame for the attack on the UN peacekeepers whose deployment it has so effectively stifled.

“The ceasefire will not be successful unless UNAMID (an undermanned force of joint U.N.-African Union peacekeepers) go on the ground, fix the location of the armed forces and start the process. The ceasefire is not just a decision, it is a process.”

Fair enough. But the process can only begin once the government — as well as the rebels — decide they are no longer interested in a military solution.


November 17, 2008 - Posted by | Darfur

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