January 2, 2011

Experts Say Sudan Vote Will Be Peaceful....



With Much at Stake, a Peaceful Vote on Dividing Sudan Appears More Likely

Africa:  Experts Say Sudan Vote Will Be Peaceful - I Say Intervene If Bashir And The "Unknown Unknowns" Prove Them Wrong

Until the January 9 referendum on southern secession and its aftermath prove peaceful and lasting, I shall remain among the "hand-wringers," as the following excerpt calls those of us who do not trust the Khartoum government and, more specifically, its president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Bashir, who has been indicted on charges of genocide in Darfur, is a murderous dictator with no credibility.  Since taking power in 1989 he has allowed his government forces and local militias to kill thousands of local defenders and innocent civilians in Darfur in western Sudan.  He has done this for political and economic gain, and territorial control.  Over a million southern Sudanese have also died as a direct result of his policies and practices since taking power.

His expressions of support for the will of the southern Sudanese in their pursuit of political self-determination and religious freedom are diametrically opposed to his Islamic political worldview.  This is evidenced by his promise of a more pervasive implementation of sharia in the north if the south secedes.  Why should he wish the southerners well in their pursuit of democracy and religious choice when he will not allow the same for his own people?  It is not something he wishes for his northern Sudanese compatriots.

I hope the professors in Khartoum and experts elsewhere are correct in their predictions the vote will be peaceful.  Bashir's allowing the referendum and secession to occur and succeed will be an admission that his sixteen-year war efforts to deny southern political autonomy and religious freedom have failed.  It appears his defeat by the SPLM/SPLA and fear of Western intervention have forced him to allow the vote and secession to happen.  His well-wishing is no virtue for a forced hand is not a virtuous act.  I wish Mr. Bashir full justice before the International Criminal Court for the crimes against humanity he has commited.

Excerpts from link:

"The stakes are so high that neither side, the Islamist northern Sudanese government or the former rebels who lead southern Sudan, seems to want to be sucked into a war again, or at least to start one. Over the past year, there has been such a steady drumbeat of Armageddon predictions and hand-wringing over the referendum that a broad array of potential problems have been prepared for and contingency plans discussed. The stage is now set for the vote to be historic and highly emotional, but not a catastrophe."
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"Though the north will clearly lose out if the south breaks off, northern leaders seem to have accepted that there is little they can do about it. According to Mohammed Hamad, a political science professor in Khartoum, Mr. Bashir will be reluctant to go to war because 'others will use it as an excuse, and Israel and the U.S. will try to dispose the regime.'"
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"The biggest risk, then, that a war will break out seems to lie in the uncontrolled elements, the “unknown unknowns,” as former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld famously said.

"For example, in Abyei, one disputed area along the yet-to-be-demarcated north-south border, there are militias aligned to the north and to the south, but they are not necessarily controlled by either. According to several analysts, these militias could fire the first shots, possibly provoked by a land dispute. Then the northern and southern armies, both of which have been buying enormous quantities of weapons in recent years, could pile in.

"Beyond that, there are rebels in Darfur in the west, rebels in the east, rebels in the Nuba Mountains and along the Nile River, raising fears that if war erupted, it could spread rapidly."

1 comment:

Kevin Graham said...

Jim,
Below is a link from CNN on the Southern Sudan
secession from the North. I read the CNN article and then went back and read yours again.

I thought CNN presented an informative overview of the history and ongoing struggles of the Southern Sudanese to achieve their independence and a level of basic humanity after decades of civil war.

Is it accurate?

I hope the experts are correct in their prediction of a peaceful vote.

President al-Bashir should be treated as Saddam Hussein was.

If the secession is not honored and implemented by the northern regime what is the international response to be?

Who is going to mediate the division and the long process of implementing a new government ?

And most importantly, what immediate provisions will be implemented to improve the standard of living for the people most deprived of the basics for so many years? How about oil for food and medicine for a change.

I hope all this talk of change is not rhetorical and will lead to a new life for millions of Sudanese who have suffered long enough.

Just trying to understand...

Kevin



http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/01/05/sudan.historic.day/index.html?hpt=T2