Darfur Peace Process

After renewed international support for the Doha peace talks in March–May 2011, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) and the Government of Sudan (GoS) signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) on 14 July 2011, just five days after South Sudan officially became independent. The Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM), the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW), and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) did not sign the agreement.
The agreement differs little in substance from the Darfur Peace Agreement of 2006, although provisions related to justice, compensation, and power-sharing formulas have evolved. The non-signatory groups’ motives for rejecting the DDPD are largely tactical. The eruption of conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and the GoS in the Three Areas has allowed SLA-AW, JEM, and SLA-MM to articulate a national—rather than a solely regional—agenda.
Militarily, JEM and SLA-MM continue to dominate. Already highly organized, JEM has been able to channel Libyan aid due to its presence in Tripoli. SLA-MM has stockpiled supplies from its period in the Sudanese government, but continues to be plagued by internal divisions. The SPLM and Uganda have stepped up support in recent months, but not at the level of Libyan (or formerly Chadian) support to JEM. SLA-AW’s area of control has been diminished by the GoS offensives of the last year, but both SLA-MM and SLA-AW also benefitted from the GoS attacks. GoS targeting of civilians created new cadres for the rebels from among the displaced, and rebels also captured GoS military materials.
The proposed AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP)-led Darfur Political Process (DPP) is contested. The US special envoy for Sudan developed a stringent set of preconditions for support. On 19 August 2011, the AU Peace and Security Commission (AU PSC) declared its support for the process even without the support of the UN Security Council (UNSC), which also set benchmarks for the DPP.
In parallel to Doha and the discussion on the DPP, an All Darfur Stakeholders' Conference (ADSC) was convened between 27 and 31 May 2011 in Qatar. The final communiqué endorsed the draft Doha agreement, but not all the participants assented to the endorsement. Nor was the conference fully representative of Darfur's many stakeholders. The ADSC agreed to the formation of a Follow-up Committee, which is led by Qatar and supported by the European Union and United States.
In September 2011, the joint chief mediator for the AU/UN, Djibril Bassolé, accepted the post of foreign minister of his native Burkina Faso. While he remains involved, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the joint special representative of the Secretary-General for the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), has been named interim mediator, despite concerns voiced by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. In another development, on 13 September Al-Haj Adam Youssef was appointed vice-president, in line with the DDPD’s stipulation that a person from Darfur receive a vice-presidential appointment. JEM and SLA-AW opposed the appointment; the LJM was slighted because it presumed the job would be given to someone from its ranks.
In October, LJM leader Tijani Sese returned to Sudan: he made contact with Sudanese political parties and toured Darfur to lobby for the DDPD. His reception was mixed, with residents of IDP camps raising concerns about premature forced returns, the need to disarm the ‘janjaweed’, compensation and accountability for war crimes. The US special envoy lobbied the Sudanese government on five points during a tour of Darfur in October and November: a mechanism for resolving land disputes; a mechanism for ensuring compensation payments; the establishment of special courts in Darfur; the establishment of a human rights commission; and development assistance.
JEM’s Chairman Khalil Ibrahim was killed by a government airstrike on 25 December 2011 in Wad Banda, North Kordofan. JEM's plans had been discovered in papers seized by the government from the Popular Congress Party's Ibrahim Sanussi, a senior assistant to party leader Hassan al Turabi, at Khartoum Airport sometime in December. The government originally said JEM had between 1,000–1,500 fighters, and 140 vehicles. Ninety-seven vehicles were said to have made their way to South Sudan, though in a later formal complaint to the UNSC and AU PSC, the figures were revised down to 350 combatants and 79 vehicles.
Tahir al Faki took the interim leadership of JEM following the dictates of JEM’s internal charter, according to which he, as president of the Legislative Council, would be in charge for a transition period of 60 days. Following a leadership conference on 26 January 2012 that was held, according to JEM, in South Kordofan, Khalil’s brother, Jibril Ibrahim was elected chairman. On 3 February 2012, a new 18-member JEM executive office was appointed.
Concurrent with Khalil Ibrahim’s killing, DDPD implementation continued to advance. The Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) was established on 27 December 2011. It consists of a mix of the DRA Executive Organ, made up of the chairperson; five governors as deputies; one assistant to the chairperson; 10 ministers; the chairperson of the Darfur Reconstruction and Development Fund; the commissioners of four other DDPD-provided bodies, and a council of 67 members. The LJM will be represented in the DRA Council by 17 members, one of whom will be the DRA vice chairperson. The appointees are a mix of LJM cadres, National Congress Party (NCP) figures, past Abuja Agreement signatories, and Darfur civil society leaders.
On 10 January 2012, President Omar al Bashir issued three decrees, which established two new Darfur states and re-shuffled the governors with the appointment of two new ones. The new Central and Eastern states center around Ed Daien and Zalingei, areas traditionally associated respectively with the Baggara Arabs (Rizeigat) and Fur.
President Bashir’s first decree relieved the governors of South Darfur state, Abdul Hamid Musa Kasha, and of West Darfur state, Al-Sharati Gaffar Abdul Hakam, of their positions. The second decree established Eastern and Central Darfur states. The GoS sought to compensate Kasha by appointing him governor of East Darfur, but he refused, claiming he had a legal mandate to continue as South Darfur governor. Yusif Tibin, a former minister of infrastructure of Khartoum state, took over as governor of Central state. While the governor of North Darfur state, Osman Kibbir, retained his position, Abdul Hakam lost his position to Haydar Koma, a Masalit vice-chairman of LJM. Another new appointee was Ismail Hamad, who was named governor of South Darfur. Hamad, a Rizeigat, was until recently one of the Darfur leaders associated with the NCP.
In late January 2012, pro-Kasha rioters clashed with security services over the removal of Kasha as governor. Kasha, a Rizeigat, had created a strong patronage network among fellow Rizeigat in the state’s local government. His removal threatens this powerful bloc.
At the federal level, Bahr Abu Garda, LJM’secretary-general, was appointed federal minister of health on 18 December 2011. Moktar Abdelkareem, LJM vice chairman, and Ahmed Fadoul, another member of LJM’s senior leadership, were appointed state ministers of industry and cabinet affairs respectively on 29 December.
Updated 29 February 2012