Sunday, 19 July 2009

In another world

A few days from now, next Thursday, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague will announce its ruling on the Abyei issue. Both parties, SPLM and NCP, have nominally agreed to maintain peace, and uphold the ruling of the court. Nevertheless, news of military build up in and around Abyei are heard and getting louder. Sudanese Armed Forces have a standing contingent, and the SPLA has mobilised 2 battalions of its forces from the Nuba Mountains to the area. At least that is the news in Khartoum. Assuming that Scott Gration, Obama's mission man in Sudan together with some foreign dignitaries and state officials will be in Abyei on the day of the ruling it seems unlikely that hostilities will break out immediately. Malik Agar from the SPLM gave a statement to the BBC saying there is bound to be disappointment on one side or the other. Ghazi Salah Eldin from the NCP said the two sides are working together to prevent renewed conflict. Both have just stated the obvious. Nevertheless it's good to know that party officials know this much. On the other hand, when such big men speak of peace the man on the street should surely suspect war.
A far fetched idea when talking about Abyei would be to imagine the impossible possibility of an in-house settlement. Would it be possible in some other world that a committee of Sudanese professional civil sevants and historians together with community leaders from the area work out a settlement that makes sense in terms of Abyei, and not just the Khartoum-Juba conundrum. I guess not, we have passed that point beyond regain or it is yet in front of us, way in front. It just sounds weird, a court in the Hague ruling on Abyei and an American general playing peace-maker in a Dinka-Misseriya dispute. Well, a counterpoint would be he did grow up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and his parents were missionaries. So, he must by default have a touch for African predicaments. I guess he would. The better point would be it is not a Dinka-Misseriya dispute, with that I agree fully.

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