Sunday, January 14, 2007

Darfur rebels losing their vision

The recent news of the formation of a new rebel group in Darfur is disturbing, to say the least. When movements and groups start breaking up into splinter groups, know that it is the beginning of the end. It is a clear message that they have lost the collective vision of their struggle.

A bit of history from South Sudan can help clarify my argument. In early 1990's the NIF government in Khartoum engineered the of the SPLA by inciting tribal differences, personal feuds and using money among the leardership. SPLA broke up into rival factions and signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement with Khartoum. Famous names include the current Foreign Minister Lam Akol, Riak Machar, Arok Thon and Karbino Kwanyinh Bol. SPLA became so weak that the government almost took back the whole liberated areas from them.

What happened then? GoS never honoured that peace and the agreement fell through. Those who signed the agreement fled from Khartoum to rejoin the SPLA (Riak Machar and Lam Akol) while others perished in supicious circumstnaces (Karbino Kwanyin and Arok Thon). It was only after the reunification that SPLA became strong enough to negotiate the final CPA from a position of strength.

If the Darfurians should learn something it is this: being united increase their chances of getting what they want through negotiations. They should sort out their common enemy before dealing with the minor internal matters and interests. Spliting up like that clouds the vision and increases the suffering of the people they claim to be fighting for.

The English say "divided we fall" and the Arab saying "me and my brother against my enemy" (am I correct?) sums up nicely . . .

4 comments:

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