My money is on Khalil Ibrahim

The international community is putting a brave face on things, but it is clear that all is not well in Darfur. Not only is the UNAMID deployment not going to plan – force commander Martin Luther Agwai is still fighting with the government over particular logistic issues – but now it seems as though the Chadian government has decided to step up its support for the rebels in the region. Well, after all, most of the key people in Chad’s government share tribal routes with the people of Darfur, or more particularly the Zaghawa, one of the biggest tribes in the region. The main difference between the Zaghawa in Darfur and the Zaghawa in Chad is that the one in Chad had the privlege of being in a position to assume power.

This is all surely going to end in tears.

And then, of course, we have the rebels themselves – which, let’s face it, are mainly seeking power rather than some nobler goal. One of the main things that Salim Ahmed Salim (envoy from the AU) and Jan Eliasson (from the UN) were pressing for last year was a closer consolidation of tribal groups – presumably so that they can whip them into line more easily.

At a press conference given yesterday, Salim proudly announced that there were now five rebel groups which they could deal with: “the SLA Unity, the United Resistance Front, the Movement led by Mr Abdul Wahid, the Abdul Shafie group, and of course JEM led by Dr Khalil Ibrahim.”

I think that it was telling that Salim let an ‘of course’ slip into the last name, as in: “and of course JEM.”

Why ‘of course’? Because JEM, of course, is the only one really kicking up a stink at the moment. The others all seem to be playing ball, whilst JEM is running around kidnapping oil workers and attacking Chinese oil companies.

Twice in the past couple of months, Salim and Eliasson have tried and failed to meet the head of JEM. “There were some security concerns,” apologised Salim, “but we made very clear our determination to continue to engage Dr. Khalil.”

This is pretty much a near-perfect repetition of what Eliasson said during his visit in December.

Is it that, perhaps, Dr. Khalil doesn’t want to come to the negotiation table just yet?

Might it also be true that Dr. Khalil is the one rebel leader that really ought to be onboard the whole peace initiative?

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One Response to “My money is on Khalil Ibrahim”

  1. Rebels in Khartoum « Blakerig’s Weblog Says:

    […] I am not actually as shocked as many other people seem to be. For months, I have been writing that JEM is the only real threat to peace in Darfur, and now it looks as though they have validated my position. It is nice to feel […]

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