Africa Matters is a blog that follows the news and offers analysis of African affairs. Our aim is to delve deeper into the issues of African politics and development. We don’t presume to be experts, and we don’t presume to have all the answers—we are just trying to ask the right questions.

Tuesday, August 28

Sudan roundup

Alex de Waal and Julie Flint have an op-ed in today's Washington Post arguing that the Darfur conflict should no longer be seen as a genocide but more as a case of anarchy, which the government manipulates and takes advantage of. De Waal and Flint have been among the voices urging Darfur activists to avoid making inflated claims about the conflict's violence and demanding radical solutions - such as a no-fly zone - whose impact may not be well thought-out. Picking up on a development de Waal has highlighted, the L.A. Times' Edmund Sanders reports on the drop in deaths in Darfur in recent months. Meanwhile:

  • Another rebel group is getting in on the action in Darfur. Amnesty International is reporting that Khartoum is continuing to ferry arms to Darfur. And government forces attacked the largest IDP camp in the country, giving some rebels second thoughts about the new international peace initiative underway. If things go according to plan, new talks could begin in October. The AU envoy is in town this week.
  • The government in Khartoum arrested several people claiming they were planning to attack Western diplomatic missions, though newspapers weren't allowed to report on the plot. This prompted Britain to close its embassy for a few days.
  • Canada and the EU didn't close their missions. And Khartoum must have been concerned for their diplomats' safety, because both of their top envoys were told to leave the country. The EU diplomat was later told he could finish out his term, but now the Sudan director for the NGO CARE has been expelled as well.
  • A Reuters piece looks at the development boom in Juba. Lots of people are making lots of money quickly, but not that much of it is going back into the country's development. Kenyan aviation companies are doing particularly well. The Government of South Sudan, on the other hand, has seen its oil revenue drop dramatically in recent months.
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon criticized the Khartoum government for failing to withdraw its forces from the South, as called for in the 2005 peace agreement. Khartoum said Ban's remarks were "unjustified."
  • The South's information minister warned that international focus on the Darfur conflict is distracting needed attention from implementing the North-South peace agreement.