Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel for Darfur?

Let's not get overwhelmed with optimism, but today's cease-fire announcement by the Sudanese government is very good news. It's important to realize that this is a unilateral move and the rebel groups haven't agreed yet. But it is a rare sign that Khartoum is serious about stopping the problems in Darfur. Here's what Alex de Waal has to say:
When a solution comes to the Darfur crisis–as with Sudan’s national crisis–it will be a domestic solution, created and led by Sudanese, with the internationals in a supporting role. There is a flicker of a chance that the Sudan People’s Initiative marks the beginning of Sudanese taking ownership of the Darfur crisis and finding a way towards a solution.

But the most important reality today is that the denial and self-imposed political paralysis that have marked the Sudanese political establishment’s approach to Darfur have been decisively overcome. Sudanese leaders are back at doing what they do best–talking through their issues. There’s a glimmer of hope.
Go read the rest of his post, and if you're interested in Darfur visit his blog often for insightful analyses of the region.

So why is Bashir finally doing something about Darfur? It's hard to say but there are a few rumors floating around; maybe it's the ICC indictment or maybe the government wants get over the Darfur problem because of the 2009 elections that are planned under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which would allow Khartoum to focus on the election and the "troubles" with the South that will likely follow. In a way this might be only putting out one fire to light up another one, but let's keep some hope for now.

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