It seems el-Tayeb Mustafa’s relentless efforts to harass so called NCP doves into more stubborn negotiation positions is actually bearing fruit. Mustafa had for the past few weeks maintained a focus on in-house weaklings demanding from his nephew, the President, a change of course, and a reclaim of pre-Naivasha fantasies. Apart from Ali Osman, the main culprit, Mustafa was greatly angered by the ex-spy chief, Salah Gosh, who responded to Mustafa criticisms with statements like ‘they drum for war, but we have never seen them on the battlefield’.
In a bid to restore his tough credentials Gosh, who was addressing a rally in Karima, lashed out at the SPLM with extra venom. According to a report published by the NISS mouthpiece Akhir Lahza on 25 November Gosh claimed that the SPLM is refusing to agree on post-referendum arrangements under American pressure. He added that the
had demanded from the SPLM not to cede Abyei to the North. Going even further Gosh warned that Abyei would remain in the North, be it by referendum, by an alternative arrangement or by war. US
Now, for all practical purposes
’s man in America is none other than the speaker, Salah Gosh. But that is beside the point; who in the high echelons of power, in North and South, el-Tayeb Mustafa included, would not be thrilled by American recognition? From the point of view of the NCP, only American favours, lifting of sanctions, debt relief, and a possible Security Council suspension of the ICC arrest warrant against President Bashir, constitute a reasonable price for commitment to the referendum and its outcome, or in other words, a peaceful partition. Sudan
Gosh did not miss to toe Mustafa’s line by making the roaming salesman’s argument that secession would free the North from the burden of establishing infrastructure in the South, and is thus actually advantageous and desirable.
What does all this mean? My immediate guess is that the NCP is under extreme American pressure to cede Abyei to the South without a referendum in return for the favours named above; that after all is no secret. My second guess is that Gosh actually approves of the American proposal and is willing to follow through. My third guess is that the President is undecided but ready to consider such a decision depending on the tide in the ruling elite. It’s all in NCPese.