lunedì 6 giugno 2011

5 weeks to go...

Another week has passed, South Sudan's independence is only 5 weeks away now. Over the weekend there have been some disturbing news: U.N. blue helmets in Abyei "locked themselves up for a couple of days" during the worst clashes in the town, last month, probably to avoid being caught in cross-fire; and clashes were reported in Southern Kordofan. As for the U.N. peacekeepers, I doubt there is much to comment, their behaviour - if proven true - speaks for itself.

Clashes in Southern Kordofan are worrying indeed. Again, news are sparse and undetailed, so it is very difficult, if not impossible, to understand what happened and is going on there. But they are another proof that tensions are increasing, adding fuel to a possible fire. Now, the point is: how possible or even probable this "fire" is? New York Times's Jeffrey Gettleman says, citing unidentified Sudanese and diplomatic sources, that Khartoum's might be "a carefully devised strategy meant to ensure just one thing: that when southern Sudan declares independence next month, his northern government controls as much oil as possible, or at least is richly compensated." Brinkmanship, on both sides. "Calculated risks", which both governments hope will remain such, without running amok.
Gettleman's analysis may be correct, even if I am not convinced all is about oil only. But I totally agree that those paying the highest price for the situation are civilians in Abyei and elsewhere (let us not forget the rebellions going on inside Southern Sudan...). Intersos, an Italian Ngo, reports today news about Abyei's IDPs. I must declare my bias: I know Intersos team in South Sudan and have first-hand knowledge of their commitment.
I still hope things will settle down, in a (peaceful) way or another. It would be extremely sad and dispairing if all the optimism, hopes and expectations Southern Sudanese expressed during January referendum (and in the song linked below) were washed away by governments' calculations, tricks and inabilities.

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