Darfour: Le Partenariat Ue/Ua N’est Pas Encore Un Duo Gagnant
Darfour: Le Partenariat Ue/Ua N’est Pas Encore Un Duo Gagnant
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
Sudan’s Imperilled Transition: Policy Recommendations for the U.S.
Sudan’s Imperilled Transition: Policy Recommendations for the U.S.
Report 99 / Africa

Darfour: Le Partenariat Ue/Ua N’est Pas Encore Un Duo Gagnant

L’intervention de l’Union africaine (UA) dans la région du Darfour, au Soudan, permet de tester son efficacité en matière de paix et de sécurité ainsi que celle de l’Union européenne (UE).

Synthèse

L’intervention de l’Union africaine (UA) dans la région du Darfour, au Soudan, permet de tester son efficacité en matière de paix et de sécurité ainsi que celle de l’Union européenne (UE). L’UA a pris la tête des négociations politiques entre le gouvernement et les rebelles, et a été la première à déployer une mission d’observation du cessez-le-feu, la mission de l’UA au Soudan (MUAS). Elle a dû faire appel à un soutien extérieur pour la MUAS, dont presque deux tiers du financement proviennent de la Facilité de soutien à la paix pour l’Afrique de l’UE. Les résultats sont mitigés. Pour que le Darfour retrouve la stabilité dans un avenir proche, et si les deux organisations régionales souhaitent atteindre leurs ambitions de devenir des acteurs majeurs dans la prévention et la résolution des conflits, la MUAS doit être dotée d’effectifs plus importants et d’un mandat de protection civile plus audacieux. Pour sa part, l’UE doit trouver le moyen de dépasser les limites que la Facilité de soutien à la paix pour l’Afrique impose à son assistance.

La relation entre l’UE et l’UA au Darfour s’intensifie rapidement. Cette relation est généralement fructueuse d’un point de vue technique (encore que la coordination au sein de chaque organisation et entre celles-ci pourrait être grandement améliorée) et elle a jeté les bases d’une coopération plus grande entre Addis Abeba et Bruxelles. Cependant, la situation sécuritaire se dégrade. Aucune des parties ne respecte tout à fait le cessez-le-feu et le processus politique est en panne. Crisis Group persiste à penser que les effectifs sur le terrain au Darfour doivent être augmentés à 12-15 000 hommes immédiatement afin d’assurer la sécurité nécessaire pour protéger les populations civiles, encourager les personnes déplacées à commencer à rentrer chez elles et établir les conditions favorables à des négociations productives vers un règlement politique.

Nous avons déjà dit qu’une force sous le commandement de l’OTAN serait le moyen le plus pratique de procéder à un tel déploiement.[fn]Voir Crisis Group, Briefing Afrique n°28, The AU's Mission in Darfur: Bridging the Gaps, 6 juillet 2005.
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 Malheureusement, ni l’OTAN ni l’UA ne semblent prêts à envisager une mesure si radicale. Une autre option possible, actuellement à l’étude, consisterait à intégrer la MUAS dans la Mission des Nations unies au Soudan (MINUS), créée en mars 2005 pour appuyer la mise en œuvre de l’Accord de paix global (APG) entre Khartoum et le Mouvement/Armée de libération du peuple soudanais (SPLA). La MINUS ainsi modifiée serait probablement plus efficace pour mener de front deux opérations de maintien de la paix dans un seul pays et donner une base financière plus solide aux opérations au Darfour, et elle offrirait un potentiel en hommes plus important qu’il ne l’est à présent. Mais la planification et le déploiement d’une telle mission prendrait des mois et l’UA est pour le moment réticente à renoncer à mener ses propres opérations au Darfour.

Crisis Group estime que les options relatives aux Nations unies et à l’OTAN doivent être envisagées plus sérieusement. Le présent rapport se concentre sur ce qui peut et devrait être fait pour répondre aux besoins du Darfour dans le cadre des arrangements actuels entre les organisations, y compris le maintien de la MUAS, et pour l’appui financier qui provient principalement d’Europe.

Dans ce contexte, le besoin le plus pressant est de rattraper le retard et de porter les effectifs de la MUAS au nombre prévu (7 331 hommes) et de la rendre plus efficace dans les limites de son mandat actuel. Au-delà, la MUAS doit de toute urgence être élargie et sa puissance militaire être augmentée dans le cadre d’un mandat de protection civile étendu dans le cadre du chapitre VII, pour une durée aussi longue qu’il sera nécessaire pour assurer un retour à la normale. Tout ceci ne sera possible qu’avec un soutien international plus fort, mais les 250 millions d’euros de la Facilité de soutien à la paix pour l’Afrique est déjà largement engagée et celle-ci ne devrait pas être révisée avent 2007.

Crisis Group a produit plusieurs rapports sur différents aspects de la situation complexe au Soudan. Le présent rapport est le premier d’une série qui examinera en profondeur les points forts et les faiblesses de la capacité de l’UE de répondre aux crises qui est en train d’être développée, ainsi que de ses politiques plus ambitieuses en matière de prévention des conflits dans le monde. Il examine la façon dont le partenariat entre Bruxelles et l’UA sur le Darfour, et ce qui devrait être fait pour le rendre plus efficace.[fn]Pour de plus amples détails sur les questions politiques et de sécurité au Darfour et leurs relations avec des problèmes domestiques au Soudan dans lesquels l’UE et d’autres membres de la communauté internationale sont impliqués, voir les récentes publications de Crisis Group, notamment le Briefing Afrique n°32, Unifying Darfur's Rebels: A Prerequisite for Peace, 6 October 2005; Africa Briefing N°30, Garang's Death: Implications for Peace in Sudan, 9 août 2005; Africa Report N°96, The Khartoum-SPLM Agreement: Sudan's Uncertain Peace, 25 juillet 2005; Africa Briefing N°24, A New Sudan Action Plan, 26 avril 2005; et le Rapport Afrique n°89, Darfur: The Failure to Protect, 8 mars 2005.Hide Footnote

Nairobi/Bruxelles, 25 Octobre 2005

The African Union's (AU) intervention in Sudan's Darfur region tests the effectiveness of its own peace and security structures and those of the European Union (EU). The AU has taken the lead both in the political negotiations between the government and the rebels and in deploying a peace-monitoring mission, the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS). It has had to rely on outside support for AMIS, with nearly two thirds of its funding coming from the EU's African Peace Facility. The results are mixed. If Darfur is to have stability anytime soon, and the two organisations are to fulfil their ambitions to be major players in crisis prevention and crisis resolution, AMIS must get more troops and a more proactive, civilian-protection mandate, and the EU needs to find ways to go beyond the present limitations of the African Peace Facility in providing assistance.

The EU/AU relationship on Darfur involves a mutually steep learning curve. It has been generally successful from a technical point of view, although coordination within and between each could be much improved, and has laid a foundation for further cooperation between Addis Ababa and Brussels. However, the security situation is worsening, with none of the parties fully respecting the ceasefire, and the political process is stalled. Crisis Group continues to believe that the troop level on the ground in Darfur needs to be brought up to 12,000-15,000 immediately in order to create the requisite security to protect civilians, encourage displaced persons to begin to return home and establish conditions conducive to more productive negotiations for a political settlement.

We have argued elsewhere that a NATO bridging force would be the most practical way of achieving this deployment,[fn]See Crisis Group Africa Briefing N°28, The AU's Mission in Darfur: Bridging the Gaps, 6 July 2005.Hide Footnote but unfortunately neither NATO nor the AU appear prepared to consider such a radical measure. Another option, now being widely discussed, is folding AMIS into the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) operation, established in March 2005 to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM). Such a "double-hatted" UNMIS would, arguably, be a more efficient way of conducting two inter-related peace operations in a single country, give the Darfur peace operation a more secure financial base, and open up a broader pool of potential troop contributing countries than at present. But the planning and deployment of such an extended mission would take many months, and the AU is for the moment quite resistant to winding up its own distinctively AU-badged operation in Darfur.

While Crisis Group believes the UN -- and NATO -- options need to be very seriously considered further, this policy report focuses on what more can and should be done to meet Darfur's needs within the present organisational arrangements, involving the continuation of AMIS, and on the basis of financial support coming primarily from Europe.

In this context, the most immediate need is to bring AMIS up to its presently authorised size (7,731), a task that is behind schedule, and make it more effective within the limited terms of its present mandate. Beyond that, AMIS urgently needs to become larger and more militarily powerful, with an expanded Chapter VII-type civilian protection mandate, and with the operation sustainable for as long as it takes for normality to be restored. All this will be possible only with greater international support, but the EU's €250 million African Peace Facility is already largely committed and not due for regular review until 2007.

Crisis Group has reported frequently on all aspects of Sudan's complex situation. This policy report, the first in a series that will examine in depth the strengths and weaknesses of the EU's growing crisis response capability and its more ambitious policies in conflict prevention situations around the world, focuses on how the partnership between Brussels and the AU has been working in Darfur and what should be done to make it more effective.[fn]For more detailed analysis of political and security issues in Darfur and their relationship to national issues in Sudan with which the EU and other elements of the international community are involved, see recent Crisis Group reporting, including Africa Briefing N°32, Unifying Darfur's Rebels: A Prerequisite for Peace, 6 October 2005; Africa Briefing N°30, Garang's Death: Implications for Peace in Sudan, 9 August 2005; Africa Report N°96, The Khartoum-SPLM Agreement: Sudan's Uncertain Peace, 25 July 2005; Africa Briefing N°24, A New Sudan Action Plan, 26 April 2005; and Africa Report N°89, Darfur: The Failure to Protect, 8 March 2005.Hide Footnote

Nairobi/Brussels, 25 October 2005

Sudan’s Imperilled Transition: Policy Recommendations for the U.S.

In a 1 February 2022 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Crisis Group’s President & CEO Dr. Comfort Ero testified on the escalating situation in Sudan and outlined four main recommendations for the U.S. to help restore the civilian-led transition to democracy.

Good morning/afternoon, Chairman Menendez, Ranking Member Risch and distinguished members of the Committee. My name is Dr. Comfort Ero, and I am the President and CEO of the International Crisis Group. Previously I served as the organization’s Africa program director and I have spent my professional and academic career focusing on peace and security issues in Africa. The International Crisis Group is a global organisation committed to the prevention, mitigation and resolution of deadly conflict. We cover over 50 conflict situations around the world and our presence in Sudan dates back more than two decades.[fn]Crisis Group Africa Report N°281, Safeguarding Sudan’s Revolution, 21 October 2019; Jonas Horner, “After the Coup, Restoring Sudan’s Transition”, Crisis Group Commentary, 5 November 2021; Crisis Group Africa Briefing N°168, The Rebels Come to Khartoum: How to Implement Sudan’s New Peace Agreement, 23 February 2021.Hide Footnote

I very much appreciate the opportunity to speak to you about the deteriorating situation in Sudan today. The country is at a dangerous crossroads. Not for the first time in its history, the military has turned its back on the demands of the Sudanese people for more just and representative rule by violently seizing power. The coup on October 25 brought a sudden halt to a civilian-military coalition that since 2019 has been charged with steering Sudan toward elections and full civilian rule.[fn]Crisis Group Report, Safeguarding Sudan’s Revolution, op. cit.; Horner, “After the Coup, Restoring Sudan’s Transition”, op.cit. It was a major reversal in a transition that had brought hope to so many in the Horn of Africa and beyond. I will share with you my analysis of the current situation in Sudan and recommendations for steps the United States might take to help guide it back on the path toward greater democracy and stability.

By way of background, the transition that was interrupted on October 25 followed 30 years of rule by the notorious strongman Omar al-Bashir.

  • After coming to office in a coup in June 1989, Bashir maintained his hold on power by repressing political opposition, fighting costly counter-insurgencies in the country’s peripheries and underwriting his factious security sector with patronage-driven expenditure that ate up, by some estimates, 70 per cent of the national budget.[fn]Shortly after taking office, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was mandated to lead the civilian-military transition in August 2019, listed as an ambition driving down military expenditure to 20 per cent of the national budget. He said in some years, that budget line had stood at 80 per cent. “Sudan PM seeks to end the country’s pariah status”, AP, 25 August 2019.Hide Footnote
     
  • The patronage system that Bashir built eventually bankrupted the country and contributed to the strongman’s ouster. A small cabal of favoured cronies including Bashir’s Islamist allies from the National Congress Party, senior military officers (many of them drawn from the tiny riverine elite that has dominated Sudan’s military and politics for decades) and newly minted allies such as the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which was blamed for some of the worst violence in the western region of Darfur, benefited substantially from Sudan’s rigged, lopsided economy.[fn]“Who are Sudan’s RSF and their Commander Hemeti?”, Al Jazeera, 6 June 2019.Hide Footnote These same actors continue to try to preserve their privileges atop Sudan’s political, economic and security establishment.
     
  • Popular frustration over political repression, rising prices and a sclerotic economy that could not absorb Sudan’s ranks of unemployed youths helped trigger the protests that eventually drove Bashir from power. The uprising began in the south-eastern towns of Damazin and Sennar, where crowds took to the streets on 13 December 2018 in response to a tripling of bread prices. By the time the protests reached Atbara, the historic bastion of unionism in Sudan, demonstrators were demanding regime change. Against long odds and despite heavy repression, the protesters eventually overwhelmed the security forces, who staged a palace coup against Bashir on 11 April 2019.  
     
  • The military tried to maintain the upper hand but was forced under pressure both from the protest movement and external actors to compromise and accept to share power with civilians. International revulsion over a 3 June 2019 massacre of protesters encamped outside the military headquarters was particularly important in forcing the generals to cede to the will of the Sudanese people.[fn]“Sudan commemorates the June 3 Massacre”, Dabanga Sudan, 3 June 2021.Hide Footnote Under the terms of a 17 August Constitutional Declaration, the country would be governed by a hybrid civilian-military coalition for 39 months leading up to elections.
     
  • The task before that coalition was enormous. The new cabinet headed by the technocrat and diplomat Abdalla Hamdok was charged with breathing new life into Sudan’s anaemic economy, reforming political institutions to lay the ground for elections and delivering justice to the many Sudanese victims of atrocities during Bashir’s rule – and in the weeks following his fall. Despite the formidable obstacles the authorities faced, that coalition represented the country’s best hope for emerging into a stable, prosperous and democratic future and was a source of hope for those supporting democratic renewal in other countries in the region.
     
  • Always reluctant participants in the alliance, the generals barely disguised their opposition to the Hamdok administration’s reforms and were particularly opposed to efforts to deliver justice and to reshape the country’s economy. In defiance of the United States government and others who warned them against doing so, they seized power and ousted the civilians.

Today, unfortunately, the picture looks grim. The military violently applied the brakes on the transition in the early hours of October 25 when they placed Hamdok under house arrest, rounded up numerous other civilian officials in the administration, declared a state of emergency and dissolved key institutions including the cabinet. Since then, Sudan’s military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has taken a series of steps to reverse the reforms the civilian-led administration had rolled out, including by disbanding a committee charged with reclaiming public assets, by packing the Sovereign Council, which serves as the country’s executive, with his allies and by appointing Bashir-era figures into key posts including in the judiciary and security forces.[fn]Crisis Group EU Watch List 2022, 27 January 2022.Hide Footnote The military attempted some window dressing when it reinstated Hamdok on 21 November, a move Sudanese protesters rightly dismissed as an effort to legitimise their power grab. Some efforts to stimulate talks among Sudanese actors to find a way out of the crisis continue although the prospects of a resolution appear dim.

[Sudan] has been on a downhill trajectory since the coup.

Overall, the country has been on a downhill trajectory since the coup. On 2 January, Hamdok resigned in frustration after failing to persuade the generals to stick to their commitments under the August 2019 constitutional charter, and in particular to give him a free hand to appoint a new cabinet. In the meantime, the public’s frustration has been growing. For the past few weeks, Sudanese people across the country have taken to the streets to signal their revulsion at the military’s power grab. The general’s response to the protests has come right out of the Bashir playbook. The security forces have repeatedly fired into crowds, killing dozens, according to human rights groups and the UN.[fn]“Bachelet condemns killings of peaceful protesters in Sudan”, UN, 18 November 2021.Hide Footnote A late December decree by military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan gave the police effective immunity for their actions. Still, the Sudanese people continue to risk their lives by staging protests, work boycotts and other strike actions.

While it is not yet clear who will come out on top in this contest between the security forces and the street, there is evidence to suggest that the generals have gravely miscalculated the strength of their hand. This is a different Sudan from the one in which the army captured control of the state at least five times in the past, including in 1989 when Bashir took office.[fn]"A history of Sudan coups”, Statista, 25 October 2021.Hide Footnote Sudan has one of the youngest populations in the world.[fn]“After the Uprising: Including Sudanese Youth”, Chr. Michelsen Institute, 2020.Hide Footnote Six in ten Sudanese are aged between fifteen and 30 – and the current generation rejects the notion that the country should go back to being governed by an unaccountable, out-of-touch elite.[fn]Sudan’s Political Impasse”, The Horn (Crisis Group podcast), 26 January 2022.Hide Footnote This mobilised, youthful population showed its power at the end of 2018 when it rose up in protest at Bashir’s repressive, kleptocratic rule. The protest movement captured the imagination of pro-democracy campaigners well beyond Sudan with its diversity, with the prominent role that women played – sometimes outnumbering men in demonstrations – with its tenacity, and ultimately with its success. Against what many viewed as tall odds, it brought a halt to Bashir’s rule. Since the coup, this movement has again shown its strength by mobilising millions of Sudanese to take to the streets and send a clear signal to the generals that they will not, as past generations of officers did, get away with imposing their will on the Sudanese people.[fn]“Deaths Reported in Sudan as ‘March of Millions’ Demands Restoration of Civilian Rule”, Voice of America, 30 October 2021.Hide Footnote

Getting the transition back on track would serve both the people of Sudan’s democratic aspirations and the interests of the United States.

Getting the transition back on track would serve both the people of Sudan’s democratic aspirations and the interests of the United States and other regional and international actors in the strategically important Horn of Africa – where Sudan sits between major regional powers Ethiopia and Egypt and shares a border with seven countries, several in the throes of conflict themselves. Support for Sudan’s transition would comport with the U.S. government’s stated commitment to champion democratic values and to “demonstrate that democracies can deliver by improving the lives of their own people”[fn]“President Biden to Convene Leaders’ Summit for Democracy”, White House, 11 August 2021.Hide Footnote . It would also be the surest pathway to medium- and long-term stability in the country.

The United States is one of Sudan’s most important external partners. It provides about half a billion dollars in assistance annually and was a champion of efforts to reconnect Sudan’s economy with international financial institutions. Given these ties and the United States government’s relations with all the main regional actors, the U.S. is well positioned to support efforts to reverse the military’s power grab and set Sudan back on a path toward elections and representative government. Specifically, it could:

  • Press the generals to immediately halt violence against protesters and coordinate targeted sanctions to hold them to account: As outlined, Sudan’s security forces have responded to peaceful protests by indiscriminately shooting into crowds and sometimes reportedly even pursuing fleeing and wounded demonstrators into hospitals.[fn]“Sudanese security forces ‘hunt down’ injured protesters in hospital”, France 24, 25 January 2022.Hide Footnote This pattern of behaviour, on top of its grave human cost, threatens to poison relations between the parties and render a resolution even further beyond reach. In coordination with partners including the African Union (AU) and the European Union, the United States should make clear that the generals will face consequences including asset freezes and travel bans if they continue to kill unarmed demonstrators. The White House should simultaneously convene an interagency process to design a targeted sanctions programs aimed at key figures in the military and outline that it is willing to deploy these against individuals that continue to sanction the killing of protesters or obstruct progress toward elections more broadly.
     
  • Support Sudanese-led efforts to rerail the transition: The United States has already signalled its backing for efforts to stimulate negotiations among the generals and civilian groups including the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), the coalition that spearheaded the protest movement and neighbourhood resistance committees, which play an integral role in the day-to-day organisation of protests and have proved a particularly effective channel of resistance to the military coup. The United States should warn the generals against taking precipitous measures that could derail these potential talks, including refraining from unilaterally appointing a new prime minister. It should further insist that these talks are maximally inclusive and in particular that they should take on board the views of the resistance committees. The 2019 power-sharing agreement should be the blueprint for a compromise that could restore civilian-military governance and lead to elections.
     
  • Withhold financial assistance until the military reverses its coup: In the immediate aftermath of the military takeover, the United states suspended $700 million in assistance to Sudan. This was the right step given the generals’ brazen decision to terminate the power-sharing agreement. The United States should make clear to the generals that this support will not resume unless they accept to return to the path toward elections laid out in the 2019 power-sharing agreement. In the meantime, the United States should advance with efforts to repurpose some of its support to civil society groups and also to work with partners including the UN to offer direct assistance to Sudan’s long-suffering people.
     
  • Urge all regional actors to back a return to a civilian-led dispensation: Many on the Sudanese street perceive some external actors, namely Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as tacitly backing military rule.[fn]Sudan’s Political Impasse”, op. cit.Hide Footnote Such perceptions will ultimately be damaging to those countries’ standing in Sudan if it is able to reinvigorate its transitional process. But it is still possible for these key regional actors to play an important role in helping Sudan return to a civilian-led transitional process, thereby protecting their relations with the Sudanese people. Given his strong background in regional diplomacy, Special Envoy Satterfield should be well positioned to engage these actors and urge them to use their privileged relations with Sudan’s generals to convey to them that the power-sharing agreement they torpedoed remains Sudan’s best and perhaps only chance for stability, a goal they all profess to share. With the welcome appointment of a new ambassador to Khartoum, the United States could play a key role in marshalling a coalition of actors within and outside Sudan that can help steer the country back toward the path to elections.


Sudan is at a historic hinge-point. The military’s power grab has derailed a transition that was an inspiration well beyond Sudan, and still could be, if the generals step back and allow Sudan’s civilians to steer the country to elections. With a piling set of challenges – not least an economy in deep distress, resurging violence in Darfur and elsewhere, and a tottering peace deal with armed groups – the generals can hardly afford to stonewall the Sudanese people’s demands for change. The world – and the United States – should stand with Sudan’s people in their quest for a more democratic and accountable government, an outcome that represents the country’s best hope for achieving long-run political, social and economic stability.

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