January 24, 2008


Darfur's best hope: the ballot box: A regime-ousting election could help more than peacekeepers. (Nathaniel Myers, 1/25/08, CS Monitor)

As Mr. Bashir's latest provocation suggests, the problem in Darfur is one that ultimately cannot be resolved by peacekeepers. That's because its roots don't lie in local grievances or ethnic divisions – though both have fueled the fighting – but in the halls of power in Khartoum. The peacekeeping mission is urgently needed to improve immediate security, but lasting peace will come to Darfur and the rest of Sudan only when the country is led by a government genuinely committed to the cause. Remove the NCP from power and, as a senior UN official in Sudan told me recently, "the problem in Darfur is over."

In most misgoverned nations, talk of such regime change would seem little more than a pipe dream – but remarkably, improbably, there exists in Sudan today a chance of revolution through the ballot box. Under the terms of an existing but neglected peace agreement, signed in 2005 to end the 21-year civil war between the Khartoum government and southern rebels, Sudan is obligated to hold a national election by July 2009. This peace deal, known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), also promised the south a referendum on independence in 2011. Next year's election is essentially the last chance to stave off what will otherwise be a resounding vote for southern secession, by showing southerners that they will be allowed to compete for national power in a unified, democratic Sudan.

Why should the South or Darfur stay in such an artificial country when they are nations?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2008 8:49 PM
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