The Darfur Peace Agreement seems like a long time ago – it was 2006, and the rebel movement showed its fracture lines to the world when of the three main rebel forces invited to the table signed the agreement (the SLA Minni Minawi) and the other two refused (SLA Abdel Wahid and the Justice and Equality Movement).Since then, the rebel groups have split into even more factions – some significant military and political players, and some just random bandits who are using the conflict as an excuse for violence and profit. And every attempt at a peace process since has failed.
The Government of Sudan and the international community have both used the splintering of rebel groups as an excuse for the often embarrassing state of the Darfur peace process, saying the rebels can’t decide on a unified platform. In a new strategy paper entitled “Darfur Rebels 101,” the ENOUGH Project, points out that this is only partially true: in reality, despite all the splinter groups, the main rebel groups currently relevant to the peace process are for the most part the same ones that participated in the DPA. Furthermore, there have been enough common goals expressed by all groups that any serious peace process would in fact have some points of unity to start working from.
It is now more important than ever to understand who the rebels really are: the past week has been marked by severe fighting between JEM and SLA-MM and the Government that has displaced tens of thousands of Darfuris. With new peace efforts facilitated by Qatar to begin soon, the questions of which groups to involve and why are at the forefront. What is clear is that confusion should be no excuse for delay and uncertainty in the peace process.
-Nina McMurry, STAND Education Coordinator