Darfur crisis puts Sudan top of 'failed states' list


By Claire Soares in N'Djamena, Chad and Daniel Howden 
Published: 03 May 2006 

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article361582.ece

The humanitarian crisis in Darfur, which is now
spilling over into neighbouring Chad, has pushed Sudan
to the top of the Global Index of Failed States. 

The report - compiled by the American magazine Foreign
Policy and the think- tank Fund for Peace - was
published as diplomats from Britain and the US flew to
Africa to push for a peace settlement in Darfur.

African nations made up six of the top 10 failed
states in the study and the regional impact of the
Darfur crisis was reflected in Chad's presence at
number six.

The US trade representative, Robert B Zoellick, and
Britain's International Development Secretary, Hilary
Benn, made unexpected arrivals at the talks in Nigeria
in an attempt to pressure rebels and the Sudanese
government into striking a deal before a midnight
deadline last night.

The failed states index ranked nations by giving them
a score based on criteria such as the massive movement
of refugees and internally displaced peoples,
widespread violation of human rights and intervention
of other states.

The three-year internal conflict in Darfur has led to
the deaths of at least 180,000 people and the
displacement of more than two million. The scale of
the crisis put Sudan ahead of the Democratic Republic
of Congo and the previous poll topper, Somalia, as
well as Iraq.

The Darfur peace talks, taking place in the Nigerian
capital, Abuja, have dragged on for two years, with
mediators expressing frustration at the warring
parties' unwillingness to compromise or to respect a
ceasefire.

The African Union had set a deadline on Sunday, but
extended the talks by 48 hours when the rebels
rejected an AU draft agreement. AU officials said
yesterday there may be another two-day extension.

Ted Chaiban, who heads Sudan operations for Unicef,
said that attacks were escalating in several areas in
Darfur. Mr Chaiban said the factions were probably
expecting a treaty and were jockeying to hold the most
territory before a ceasefire was declared.

"It is important that the agreement be signed so that
this kind of jockeying ... would cease," Mr Chaiban
said in an interview.

The fighting in Darfur has destabilised neighbouring
Chad, where President Idriss Déby is almost certain to
extend his 16-year rule as the country heads to the
polls today.

Chad's main opposition parties are boycotting the
poll, which leaves Mr Déby, who changed the
constitution so he could stand for a third term,
facing four candidates that are either officials in
his government or lead parties allied to him.

It is only three weeks since a rebel attack on the
capital and analysts have warned that the President's
playing down of the insurgency could see Chad slide
into a civil war.

Chadian rebels, who have vowed to oust Mr Déby, forced
their way inside the gates of the capital N'djamena
before being repelled by government forces.

"It spells civil war," said Suliman Baldo, Africa
programme director at the International Crisis Group
think-tank. "Chad should evidently be higher on the
international list because ... the crises in Darfur
and Chad have converged to a point where it would be
impossible to settle one without addressing the
other."

Albissaty Saleh Allazam, a spokesman for the FUC rebel
group, said: "I can tell you that there will certainly
be another action, even more striking."

The UN refugee agency said four Chadians were killed
and five wounded on Monday near a refugee camp by a
group of 150 armed men. The attackers were described
as belonging to the Janjaweed Arab militia that the
Sudanese government is accused of using against Darfur
civilians in response to the rebellion.

The fact that the Sudanese government is believed to
be backing the Chadian insurgents only complicates the
situation.

"There's a risk that if Déby's regime collapses, then
the refugee camps will not be protected," Olivier
Bercault of Human Rights Watch said.

More than 200,000 refugees are sheltering in camps
inside Chad, having already fled Darfur after attacks
by the Janjaweed.

The top 10 failed states

Sudan

Chaos in western region of Darfur has undermined the
peace dividend from the end of the north/south civil
war

Democratic Republic of Congo

Millions have been displaced by a bloody internal
conflict that has lasted for decades

Ivory Coast

Protracted civil war has shattered country and
government has only now met after two-year hiatus

Iraq

In political deadlock and on the verge of civil war
after US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein

Zimbabwe

Facing starvation and in economic freefall under the
regime of Robert Mugabe

Chad

Destabilised by Darfur fighting

Somalia

Still in near anarchy under warlords. Government has
only recently returned from Kenya

Haiti

Massive human rights abuse and popular unrest followed
a US-backed regime change

Pakistan

Tensions between secular government and popular
Islamist pressure

Afghanistan

Taliban insurgency on rise again and government hemmed
in at Kabul

List compiled by the US magazine Foreign Policy 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hopes fade for Darfur peace deal 
By Paul Vallely in Abuja 
Published: 02 May 2006 

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article361312.ece

Peace talks aimed at ending the violence in Darfur
have been extended until midnight tonight. But
observers in the Nigerian capital are pessimistic that
a settlement will be reached. 

There was hope at the weekend that the Sudanese
government and the two main rebel groups could reach a
deal to bring peace to the region, where 200,000
people have been killed and two million more driven
into refugee camps.

A deal was almost done at the weekend, in talks
between the Sudanese government, which has been
accused of fostering genocide in the region, and the
two main rebel groups. The agreement would have
disarmed the notorious government-backed jangaweed
militia and rebel groups, declared the three Darfur
regions a transitional region and promised a
referendum by 2010 on further autonomy, and offered an
annual $200m subsidy to the region. But at the last
minute the rebels split, with two factions refusing to
sign.

The extension to the talks, in which mediators are
shuttling back and forth between the two sides, came
after pressure from Washington, where at the weekend a
mass rally of protestors including Jewish Holocaust
survivors and the Hollywood actor George Clooney took
place. It also followed a personal intervention at the
talks on Saturday by the Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo who leaned on the rebels to sign.

But few observers expect success from the deadline
extension. Yesterday (mon) morning the Sudanese vice
president Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, who arrived here
three weeks ago and held face-to-face meetings with
rebel leaders, left Abjua convinced the rebels were
not open to a settlement.

Over the weeks Khartoum, widely portrayed as the
villain in Darfur, has played its diplomatic cards
cleverly. It agreed to sign on Saturday. The main
rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army, seemed ready
too, but a breakaway faction, together with the
smaller hardline Justice and Equality Movement
refused, leaving the rebels, despite the huge
international sympathy for their position, looking
like spoilers.

There are two main rebel sticking points. They object
to the demand that their troops lay down their arms
before they are integrated into the Sudanese army. And
they are insisting that a vice president's post in the
Khartoum government be given to a Darfurian rather
than the No 4 post the draft agreement offered.

But the deal offered them major concessions. It agreed
their key demand that Darfur's borders to revert to
where they were at independence in 1956, before land
was transferred to Northern Sudan by successive
governments. And it placed the Transitional Darfur
Regional Authority under the control of the SLA and
JEM rebels.

Failure of the talks will reflect badly on the African
Union which was created three years ago with the idea
of "African solutions for African problems". Its
credibility has already received a serious blow from
the inability of its 7,000 peacekeepers in Darfur to
stop the violence in the region. It must now decide
whether to hand over its first major peacekeeping
operation to the United Nations.

Whether the international community has the stomach
for a bigger and better-equipped United Nations force
with more aggressive terms-of-engagement is another
matter. Despite the celebrity protest in Washington at
the weekend, and countless pious expressions of
outrage and concern, the UN's World Food Programme has
received just one-third of the $746 million it
requested from rich countries to feed three million
people in Sudan. Unicef has received only one sixth of
the money it asked for.

As a result, rations of grain, beans, oil, sugar and
salt for the starving people of Darfur are soon to be
halved. 





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