Who are the Darfur peace negotiators at Doha actually representing?
(By Radio Dabanga Editor)
KHARTOUM (22 Feb.) – The new Doha round of peace negotiations concerning Darfur has been launched in the presence of President Omar al Bashir and the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement Khalil Ibrahim. They signed a framework agreement as a kind of roadmap towards peace. The new peace round has been internationally hailed as a major breakthrough. But who are gathered around the negotiating table in Doha? At first look, they do not represent even half of the parties who were previously around the table during the Abuja peace negotiations in 2006. And already during the starting day of the negotiations, two other coalitions – previously united by the US and UN – fractured further. The remains of the two Darfur coalitions welded in Tripoli (the Tripoli group) and those united by the US in Addis Ababa are now united under the leadership of the well known elderly Darfur leader, Tijani Sese. Sese is a respected politician who served as governor in Darfur. He actively backed the National Redemption Front, uniting all movements that had opposed the Abuja agreement.
The parties around the table are:
The Government of Sudan: Headed by President Omar al Bashir with his negotiators Ghazi Salahaddin and Amin Hassan Omar. The governments signed yesterday for the second time in a year an agreement with the JEM led by Khalil Ibrahim. President Omar Al Bashir is the only head of state indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is held responsible for mass rape, killings and bombarding of civilians. The previous ‘goodwill’ agreement was not implemented. Omar Al Bashir runs for president as the major candidate of the National Congress Party (NCP) in the elections taking place in April this year.
Justice and Equality Movement (JEM): The main JEM faction is led by Khalil Ibrahim who signed a framework agreement with president Omar Al Bashir in Doha on 22 February 2010 in exchange for a temporarily cease fire, the release of his detained brother and other detained JEM-supporters. Khalil is a physician who studied in the Netherlands. He is accused by the UN Expert team of having violated the arms embargo. He is one of the authors of the famous ‘Black Book: Imbalance of Power and Wealth in the Sudan’, which described the disproportionate number of key positions held by three Northern Arab tribes. He was leader of the Islamist student movement (Al Ittijah al-Islami) run by the Muslim Brothers. He joined the Mujahedeen (Popular Defense Forces). He was state minister of Health in North Darfur. He was behind the major attack at the twin city of Khartoum, Omdurman, in May 2008. Hundreds of his men were killed, while almost succeeding to reach the main bridge towards Khartoum. After his failed attack thousands of his followers (or presumed followers) were randomly arrested and tortured. Some Darfurians in Khartoum despised his reckless action killing many of his fellow Darfurians. Others declared him as a hero. After the normalization between Chad and Sudan he lost the opportunities for free logistics and supplies through Chad.
New Liberation and Justice movement, an united new movement of the former Addis Ababa group and the Libya Tripoli Group:
- SLM – Unity (Mahjoub Hussein N-Darfur and Jaralnabe joined by Sheikh el-Din Ahmad and Abu Ammu)
- United Revolutionary Forces (Brema) Arab-led group opposing the government’s policies in Darfur. The faction was led in 2007 by Alhadi Agabeldour.
- Sudan Liberation Movement – Field Command – led by Ali Mokhtar, Adam Bambino and Abakar (North Darfur). Ali Mokhtar once joined the SLM Unity.
- SLM-Khamis wing led by Hashim Hammad. He was in 2006 a delegate for Abdel Wahid in Abuja. Hammad was before part of the group 19.
- National Reform and Development Movement (NRDM): Led by Abdelmajid Doussa. He was previously member of the United Revolutionary Forces (URF) and started with a civil society group.
- Revolutionary Forces (Arab faction led by Zubaid)
Addis Ababa Group
- United Revolutionary Front: Led by Bahr Idriss Abu Garda. He won recently the case before the International Criminal Court who dismissed allegations being involved in the attack on Hashkanita in 2008 killing 10 African peacekeepers. He was the secretary general of the JEM until July 2007. He joined before the National Islamic Front (NIF) and followed Al Turabi and the PCP after the split with Omar al Bashir and the NCP.
- Karbino-Faction (Karbino- soldiers) led by Ali Karbino a SLA commander east of Um Kadada. In early February 2008 he attacked SLM Minni Minnawi in Khazan Tunjur pushing them out.
- SLM-AW field commanders (ex SLM AW) Abdalah Khalil Abubakir from Jebel Marra-area was before deputy chairman of the political bureau of Abdel Wahid.
- SLM-mainstream (Hayder Golkuma and Mukhtar )
MAIN PARTIES Not around the table in Doha:
SLM-Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW): This is one of the biggest rebel movements led by Abdel Wahid al Nur who almost signed the Abuja agreement in 2006, but to the surprise of the international community refused to sign. He is living in Paris and has not recently been in Darfur. His position has been challenged by his own field-commanders who have been fired by him. Also his spokesman Daud Yahya Bolad was recently dismissed as spokesperson by Abdel Wahid after he called for a Darfurian secession. The military spokesperson of Abdel Wahid is Nimr Mohamed Abdel-Rahman. Abdel Wahid categorically refuses any peace negotiations. The significance of his military support is unknown, but in the displaced camps he is still an icon for many Darfuri.
SLM- Khamis: Led by Khamis Abakir from West Darfur.
SLM-Juba: is represented by Mohamed Salih Harba, Ahmed Daldos and Mohamed Nasser. Rumours surfaced that some are probably joining the JEM during the coming weeks.
SLM-AW field commanders. They recently attacked their former leader Abdel Wahid, some known names are:
- Mohamed Ibrahim (known as Wad Kailik) fights SLM-AW in West Jebel Marra (Boldong, Kutrum).
- Babikir Dali, Osman Yousif Abu Tawaila and Adam Idriss (attacked SLM-AW in North Jebel Marra).
- Osman Ibrahim and Abdelraheem Mohamed Adam (attacked SLM-AW in Katur and Dobo Al Umda in eastern Jebel Marra).
SLM-Unity (Abdallah Yahya), previously the leader of Group 19 entirely operating in North Darfur and chairman of the famous SLA conference in 2006 (Bir Mazen). SLM Ahmed Abdel Shafi (SLM AS): led by Abdel Shafi Yagoub Bassey having the nickname ‘Toba’, a Fur name for a strong tree. One of the founding fathers of the SLA. He contested the leadership of Abdel Wahid and abandoned him in 2008.
SLM-Minni Minnawi (SLM MM): led by the presidential advisor Minni Arkuoi Minnawi. He is the only rebel leader who signed an agreement with the Government of Sudan in 2006 (Abuja). After that he never achieved any of the agreed. He has few military means left. He is a declared enemy of JEM-leader Khalil Ibrahim. It is expected that Minnawi will be sidetracked soon Khalil Ibrahim signs a deal with the government.
JEM-Leadership: Led by Idriss Ibrahim Azraq one of the establishers of JEM led by Khalil Ibrahim. It is of the larger but less known groups in Darfur. Before, he joined the Tripoli- and Sirte talks in Libya.
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