Tuesday, 23 June 2009

What is it with foreign intervention? (2)

In a piece of news from Reuters today http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSHEA243369._CH_.2400 it was announced that the attendees of the Washington conference on Sudan will list amongst others China's Sudan envoy Liu Guijin and representatives of the countries and bodies that witnessed the signing of the CPA including the United Nations, the Arab League, Britain, Italy and Egypt.
Remarkably absent are the Sudanese in continuation of the conflict resolution logic that exhausts the Sudanese dilemma in the binary configuration of South (African Christian/Animist) versus North (Arab Moslem). A logic that seems to resist both factual evidence on the ground and a burgeoning discourse in Sudan and in critical Western academia, however it remains the guiding principle of political action on Sudan, more so on the part of the two adversaries/partners of the CPA, and as such it has never faded away from media reporting on the country.
One reason for this is that it serves to a great degree the interests of the two hegemons of the country, NCP in the North and SPLM in the South, as justifier for power and as a battle cry. And it serves in parallel as a simple paradigm of action for foreign interests involved in the Sudan looking for a quick pragmatic fix that maintains a centre of authority, or for that matters two centres of authority, to address.
The cost of this trade-off here is this bizarre situation were coalition partners in a government that goes by the name of "National Unity" cross the wide ocean to negotiate on matters of "national" concern in a foreign capital with mediation from all over the world but not from their own country. To fantasise the reality of this one would have to suppose a situation where the Tories and Labour, be they in ruling coalition, flying off to Harare to settle their disputes with Mugabe as mediator!
It is noteworthy that the NCP delegation in Washington was supposed to be headed by Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, a man Western powers consider since signing of the CPA a person to do business with. Now, in light of the not so insignificant distrust between Taha and Bashir he was put off the job and the Machakos chief negotiator Ghazi Salah Eldin was installed in his place. In angry response Taha announced his intention to perform the pious procedures of umra in Mecca and boarded a plane accompanied by his family to Turkey, his regular refuge and planning hub in times of crisis. Talking to Islamists from the Turabi faction their initial comment was Khartoum is not big enough for both Ali Osman and Ghazi, like a pair of pistons if one goes up the other goes down. Considering Ghazi's announced position regarding the CPA Bashir is looking for a "new deal", one that reflects his survival of Ocampo's aborted charge and the refractioning of SPLM post-Garang. He is on the offensive this time.

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This work by Magdi El Gizouli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.