Sudan’s neighbors wary of international interference
CAIRO: Discussions focusing on the Darfur crisis between President Hosni Mubarak and Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi in Tripoli on Monday were aimed at bridging differences in their approaches to ending the violence, a Sudan expert says.
Hani Raslan, Sudanese affairs expert at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies said the Libyan government considers the crisis to be a matter of national security because of its shared border with Sudan.
“Libya’s arming of certain factions in the Darfur crisis and its mediation is really aimed at controlling the conflict to best serve its national interests, he told The Daily Star Egypt.
This form of intervention by supplying military hardware may have sparked an arms race between the fighting factions and increased the level of insecurity and instability in the area, he added.
Egypt’s role, however, has been markedly different as it has no military or strategic interests in the Darfur conflict and has been trying to deescalate tensions.
“Both approaches have been largely ineffective, he said.
The failure of regional initiatives to resolve the conflict may have opened the door for the international community to intervene in the form of United Nations Security Council pressure.
Raslan says the Sudanese government rejected Security Council Resolution 1706, which called for UN-led forces to stabilize the area, on the grounds that it doesn’t offer political solutions to the conflict. Instead, the resolution paves the way to international intervention in Sudanese affairs in issues unrelated to the conflict, undermining the government’s sovereignty in the process, he adds.
Ibrahim El-Nur, associate professor and director of African studies at the American University in Cairo, believes regional efforts to resolve the Darfur crisis may have reached an impasse.
“The Darfur crisis has been internationalized beyond [the point] in which regional players could play a role, he told The Daily Star Egypt.
The Arab League, for example, has worked towards solving the crisis by moderating the Security Council’s resolution that demanded the intervention of an international force.
“I think the UN is accepting a middle way in which African Union troops would be [enough at the moment] . It’s a possible compromise.
Egypt is also attempting to find a middle ground, Raslan explained, in trying to bring the Sudanese government closer to the UNSC resolution by stipulating that Khartoum must first approve the deployment of international forces.
“Egypt is siding with the Sudanese government against foreign intervention, says El-Nur.
Despite the setbacks and the continuing violence in western Sudan, however, regional players are trying. Raslan explains that both Egypt and Libya have met before, sometimes with other regional leaders, to find a solution to the crisis. They are trying to inject trust in the Arab and regional role as opposed to the international role, he explains.
Sudan’s neighbors are wary of international intervention, he told The Daily Star Egypt.