Darfur negotiators quit; Israel seeking “foothold”?

The international negotiators appointed to broker peace in Darfur have resigned, admitting that their mission has been a failure. The UN’s Jan Eliasson announced that he and his African Union counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim, would both step down, citing Sudanese government intransigence and the fracturing of the rebel movement into more than 30 factions. “It is a very, very sombre situation,” said Eliasson. (The Independent, June 27)

UN agencies in Darfur report that the rise in food prices is deepening the crisis there, further endangering families that are already vulnerable. (Prensa Latina, June 26)

Meanwhile, an editorial in Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly June 26, “Foothold in Darfur,” sees Israeli conspiracies:

Israel’s current involvement in Darfur is particularly suspicious. During a meeting between Tzipi Livni and several African envoys in Tel Aviv, the Israeli foreign minister said that her government wanted to help find a solution to the crisis in Darfur. One would think that Israel is perhaps the last country in the world that can mediate a crisis in an Arab country, especially one like Sudan that has no ties whatsoever with Israel. The only explanation is that Israel wants to take sides with the Darfur rebels against the Sudanese government.

Reports indicate that the Sudan Liberation Movement has opened an office in Tel Aviv. Israel is also said to be arming the rebels, training them in camps in Israel, sending military experts to rebel zones in Sudan, and disguising Mossad operatives as relief workers.

Abdullah Masar, adviser to the Sudanese president, says Sudan is under massive pressure to normalise its relations with Israel. The Darfur rebellion is being used as leverage to get Sudan to comply with Israel’s demands. The Israelis and Americans now have their eyes trained on the immense wealth of Sudan and Darfur in particular — oil, copper, iron, lead, etc.

A foothold in Darfur would establish Israel in the south Sahara and help it gain a foothold close to the Red Sea. And it’s not just Darfur. Israel is encouraging Sudanese refugees from Sudan’s south and Nubia to reach its borders via Egypt. Nearly 3,000 people have tried that route so far, according to Sudanese official figures. Israel wants Western Sudan to secede, for then the rebels may be persuaded to grant it a military base in their areas — a development that would endanger Egypt, Libya, Sudan and the Red Sea. This scenario is not happening in Sudan alone, but all over Africa’s many turbulent regions.

Recent reports from Western think-tanks and the US National Intelligence Council have blamed climate destabilization for the growing instability in Sudan.

See our last post on Darfur.