Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sudan Peace Efforts Continue Despite Imperialists' Destabilization Plans

Sudan Peace Efforts Continue Despite Imperialists' Destabilization Plans

Human rights charges cannot mask western aims to recolonize
the central African state

by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
Pan-African News Wire
Political Analysis

On July 14, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, charged the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, with genocide and crimes against humanity. This announcement was made while negotiations were going on to reach a negotiated settlement between the government in Khartoum, the capital, and the various rebel groups based in the western Darfur region of the country.

In response to the ICC provocations, the Advisor to the President, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, reiterated the position of the government in Khartoum, that it will in no way deal with the ICC. The Sudanese government has declared that it will never hand over any of its citizens for trial in a foreign court. Ismail maintains that the ICC has no jurisdiction or mandate over the nation of Sudan or its people.

A recent article published by the Sudanese Media Center stated that: "The Presidential Advisor said the UN Security Council decision upon which the Darfur question was transferred to the ICC was defective because it included a clause that exempts American nationals from standing before that court a matter that undermines the whole concept of international justice and allows for impunity."

Even though the African Union and the Arab League have stated openly that the recent International Criminal Court (ICC) charges leveled against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other Sudanese governmental officals, has done more to delay a peace agreement with rebel groups rather create the conditions for a settlement. The United States and its allies have demonstrated through various actions that a normalization of the political situation within Sudan is not their priority.

Ismail emphasized in the Sudanese Media Center interview that "the question of Darfur has become a window threatening the national security of the country and that Sudan has waited so long for the international community to come up with a solution and that this international community was the first to commit a breach of the accords to which it was a party when it sought to transfer the question of security arrangements from the AU, as stipulated in the Abuja Agreement, to the international community in a clear attempt to sow the seeds of sedition between the Arabs and the Africans."

The Presidential Advisor also mentioned that "the international community has so far failed to organize any meetings between the government and the Darfur rebel movements despite the continued declarations by the government that it was ready for talks any where any time."

Sudan has also warned the United Nations that there will be "serious consequences" for its personnel and infrastructure if the ICC moves forward on threats to authorize an arrest warrant for the detention of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. In an address on August 18, Ashraf Qazi, the head of the UN Mission charged with supervising the a peace accord signed in 2005 between the political parties in the north and those based in the south, indicated that the monitoring group was preparing for any such actions.

"We are taking all necessary precautionary measures including strengthening our cooperation with Sudanese security institutions," Qazi said. The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is a 10,000-person force whose objective it is to guarantee that the north and south abide by the peace accords which brought about the end of a two-decade long civil war.

Qazi also stated that the recent outbreak of fighting between the political interests in the north and south of the country in the town of Abyei placed the overall 2005 agreement to the test. In addition, the Darfur rebel attacks on the city of Omdurman also created difficulties in the efforts to reach a lasting peace with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) as well as other groups fighting the government in Khartoum.

As a result of the fighting in Abyei in May, it has been reported that tens of thousands of people had taken flight from their homes. The town of Abyei is located in an oil-rich area near the boundary between the northern and southern regions of the country, which is Africa's largest geographic nation-state.

Threats and attacks have a long history

For many years the government in Sudan has attempted to chart an independent course in regard to the interventionist policies of the United States. As far back as the US war against Iraq in 1991, Khartoum has refused to support the actions of successive imperialist regimes in Washington. During the rein of the Clinton administration in August of 1998, the United States military bombed the only pharmacuetical plant in Sudan. This was done supposedly in retaliation for attacks on the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

However, there was never any evidence that the plant at al-Shifa had ever produced any type of chemical weapons as the Clinton administration had charged. Moreover, it was never substantiated that the government in Khartoum had any connection with the attacks on the US embassies in East Africa.

Nevertheless, there was no acceptance of blame for the unprovoked attack and the US government remains unremorseful for the destruction of this facility which deprived millions of Sudanese of direct access to medicines.

Over the last decade, closer political and economic ties have developed between Sudan and the People's Republic of China. Approximately 80% of the oil exploration and distribution is done in cooperation between Khartoum and China. This phenomena has spread throughout the African continent, where China has entered into economic and political partnerships with various states in the region.

It is within this context that the present-day conflict between Sudan, the US and its allies should be viewed. It is also significant to consider that many of the people within the country are Islamic and that the ruling party is closely allied with other Muslim and Arab countries.

Consequently, the US administration can conjure up its so-called war on terrorism and radical Islam in its diplomatic, economic and military struggle against Sudan. Nonetheless, anti-war and peace movements within the US and Europe must uphold the right of Sudan to self-determination and the necessity of the country to find its own methodology for forging national unity and social stability.

The ICC indictments and the threat to issue arrest warrants against the Sudanese President and other officials is designed to provide a rationale for further interference in the country's internal affairs. On August 18, President al-Bashir traveled to Istanbul to participate in the African-Turkish summit in defiance of the ICC and other threats from the western nations.

With all of the crimes being committed against the peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Colombia, Palestine, Zimbabwe and others by the United States and its allies, any objective observer can see clearly that the current hostile posture towards Sudan is crafted to advance the interests of the imperialist countries.

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