Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The conflict in Darfur, Maynooth branch

Someone was asking in the comments below if it wasn't all a bit silly and self-important for me to be pretending that the ins and outs of left wing blogs and the Comment Is Free website were potentially having an effect on outcomes in Darfur. Check this out, via Sudan Watch. It's an Open Letter from the JEM/NRF, which is the rebel movement responsible for breaking the ceasefire in Darfur and undermining the US-led peace agreement. (The guy says that "Minnawi´┐Żs forces have melted down" implying that they have disbanded due to lack of popular support, but actually his lot killed them). Obviously I do not exculpate the Khartoum regime for whatever they are doing behind the news blackout in North Darfur, and their operation in el-Fasher is a breach of the peace agreement too, but it is pretty definite that the peace was holding until the faction of which Dr. Abdullahi Osman El-Tom is a representative broke it. (One interesting detail in this open letter is that El-Tom does not accuse SLA/Minnawi forces of having started the violence).

And it turns out that Dr El-Tom is a lecturer in Anthropology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. His research interests are in Development, Globalization and Political Conflicts. And he is apparently empowered to speak on behalf of the JEM/NRF (the NRF is the JEM plus SLA/G19, plus, in the opinion of Jan Pronk, a lot of Middle Eastern money and weapons).

I don't doubt that this guy is sincere in his views and has the best interests of Darfur at heart. I suspect that he is the contact that "Faycan" in the CiF Darfur discussion threads refers to having spoken too. However, he is clearly involved in the decision-making process of the JEM, which means that when they are deciding whether to accept a peace deal or to reject it, it will be Abdullahi Osman el-Tom's view of how likely they are to get a UN force backing them up that they will be considering.
0 comments this item posted by the management 9/06/2006 05:24:00 AM

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