Sunday, 2 August 2009

Sanctions calculus

It is quite a mental exerice to follow the lines of argument put forward by the "partners" of the CPA in response to the declaration of the Obama envoy in front of the Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee, the declaration that a review of the US sanctions against Sudan is due. Again, we are confronted with the damning fact, the obvious state of affairs that we seem committed to evade, that the fate and future of our country is the product of a calculus of factors and choices made beyond our embattered "national" reach. Government and formal opposition seem to be "actors", no metaphor here, playing according to an ad hoc scenario charged with the the colonial spirit of intervening saviours. The NCP expressed pleasure with the statements of General Gration (yet another General for our history books), and SPLM's Pagan Amum was quick to announce that it was to early to ease the "pressure" on the NCP, with whom he shares the power bed. JEM's Khalil was close to saying the American have lost their mind, there is genocide around here.

One thing is clear, US policy towards Sudan is changing lanes, not reversing course, course has long being reversed, not under Obama but under Bush, when post-9/11 considerations positioned NCP to play a reasonably prominent role in the war on terror in the African realm and in Iraq for that matter, a state of affairs that has surfaced in the American media since 2007 (Los Angeles Times, 11/06/07). It comes as no surprise then that the General, talking to Sudanese businessmen in Cairo, goes as far as saying Bashir is the only option you have for the near future. Considering the audience he was talking to and the power he represents the choice is well justified. The US wants a Sudanese Musharaf and it has one.

The demand made by Pagan Amum and Khalil Ibrahim to maintain sanctions against Sudan is in this context political bigotry. These sanctions have been in place since 1993, and effectively they have harmed the whole country except the NCP, particulary the thin sector of politically conscious professionals and trained workers who could manage to stay in the country despite repression, persecution and loss of livelihoods or the threat thereof. The US is not commissioned by SPLM and JEM to bring down the NCP rather the NCP seems now in a position to collect international, particulary, US satisfaction, and so it may. If there is to be any credible opposition to the current system of shares and cuts in Sudan it must find foot in the country before seeking a foreign constituency.

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