Oil and War in Sudan: the Role of Carl Bildt and Co.

A recent report confirmed that the Lundin Oil Consortium led by the Swedish Oil Company Lundin Oil AB had caused enormous loss of human lives and destruction of property in Sudan. Due to the oil exploration, over ten thousands people died and almost two hundred thousand were violently displaced. The start of oil exploration by Lundin in 1997 set of a vicious war in the area.Lundin provided both the reason and resources to the armed forces of the government of Sudan to commit crimes against humanity.

Lundin signed a contract with the government for the exploitation of oil in the concession area called Block 5A that was not at the time under full government control.And all this happened at a time when some of the currently prominent politicians in Sweden, such as the foreign minister Carl Bildt served as Board of Directors of Lundin Oil.

The brief by Keith Morgan is specifically concerned with the following:

1. There should be an investigation into the role of the Lundin Consortium in the oil war in Sudan

2. The leaders of the oil companies that made up the Consortium and their respective governments should be questioned and interrogated; and are yet to account for their failure to act

3. The victims have the right to compensation

All concerned Africans should have a say on this matter

Friday, October 8th, 2010 Peace and Security 76 Comments

Making Somaliland Matter

For most of its recent history Somaliland politics adhered to democratic ideals and rule-based contest. Occasionally, as during the late 2008 and 2009, its political leaders tried to temper with the constitution, but it didn’t succeed. President Reyale conceded defeat in the recent presidential elections in Somaliland. Good for him,good for Somaliland,and good for the region.Inept he may have been and lacking in guile, he was at least predictable. Silanyo is a more complicated and seasoned politician, but he is also presentable.
Somaliland democracy owes much of its success to the aggressive political activity of its main opposition party, Kulmiye and its leader Ahmed Silanyo.In 2003 it accepted defeat but remained vigilant. There were other factors that made Silanyo triumph nearly certain. He is more knowledgeable and experienced than any presidential candidate Somaliland would offer. Somaliland has been waiting for a strong and responsible government, and this time around it might get one. The Reyale government had run out of enthusiasm for doing good and had to leave the scene.

Friday, July 9th, 2010 Peace and Security 159 Comments

The ICC and its Enemies

The ICCs short existence has already created a number of concerns, mainly in Africa: Some genuine, others not, evidently making a more measured assessment of the ICCs relevance for Africa necessary.  I am in favor of most of the genuine concerns raised by Africans, but it would be a mistake to push them without proportions and make them political. Improvements and corrections on the approaches of the ICC going forward are the best avenue for our concerns. Outrage and political opposition only creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and capriciousness around international justice, democracy and stability in Africa. If we want to understand the real reason behind the vicious criticism and opposition towards the ICC is about, we first need to understand what it isn’t about. It certainly is not about reversing impunity and dictatorship.

The ICC faces real challenges of enforcing its arrest warrants. Eight warrants of arrest remain unexecuted; among them the most important is related to President Al-Bashir of Sudan. Nonetheless, the ICC and its focus on Africa serves as a perpetual notice to criminals, tyrants and would-be tyrants that there is a tribunal and judges constantly watching on them. They will always be put on notice that there are judges in The Hague waiting to try them. It serves as a reminder and a deterrent. The case for the ICC is much stronger than the arguments against it.

Sunday, May 16th, 2010 Peace and Security 174 Comments

Sudan: What is the Election Worth?

The April 2010 election in Sudan is not conclusive. In political terms it is less less significant.In fact it resembles a plebiscite on the NCP’s and SPLM’s rule in the rest of the country and the south respectively. Arguably, it was designed to be a spectacular piece of political theatre, what some call “Propaganda of the Deed, a provocation that would draw other actors (such as Darfuri groups) to seek peace on the NCPs terms. Elections, to some degree, tend to contribute to some kind of progressive reconfiguration of political forces and facilitate political transition. This one has nothing to do with political transition. It is beyond governance. An illusory release, a presumptuous taming of reality. It has no broader goal or national objective, other than make a message to the world the statuesque remains in charge. It is an immensely fruitless exercise and spectacle, whose primary goal has been that it happened.

For detailed analysis go to the site currentanalyst.com

Sunday, April 25th, 2010 Peace and Security 155 Comments

Somalia: The Only Approach

There are numerous opinions on what will most effectively—which is not the same as most quickly—stimulate the restoration of the Somali state. State and peace building in Somalia are often antagonistic and at times contradictory. Whenever, state building is in full swing peace building suffers the most. Worse, most of the approaches adopted by external actors to establish the central government, as a nucleus of the would-be-state, appear to be ‘unSomali’. The appropriate and most realistic approach would be to encourage, support and reinforce peace building at the local level.

The processes in Somaliland and Puntland are a clear testimony of the probable success of this approach. There is an urgent need to spark decentralized political processes in Somalia. Focus on peace building at the local/regional level than state-building at the Center. I wrote articles and a book many years back to square my belief in a bottom-up approach. In the 10 years or so since, my advice hasn’t much changed (or been taken).

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 Peace and Security 29 Comments

Time to Initiate a Security Dialogue between Egypt and Ethiopia

A major requirement for a robust regional peace and security order in the Greater Horn of Africa, including Egypt and the Red Sea is rapprochement and close cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia. And it is exactly here that we see a major strategic shortsightedness. We are talking about two major powers with a lions share in the distribution of regional power. Thus far, however, there has been little attention given by the international community to tackling the mutual suspicion between the two, a problem that does not seem to be immediate, even if the geopolitical damage that all of us would suffer should the main players in the North-east African sub-region come to blows is incalculable.

The opportunity cost of less-friendly relations between the two countries on regional security is enormous. The international community, mainly the US should focus on forging closer relations between Egypt and Ethiopia. The region has seen several bad moons rising in the horizon, including the death of a state; the proliferation of failing and pariah states; widespread radicalization and many more. Ethio-Egyptian relations deserve to be one of the major priority areas for the Obama Administration in Africa. It is time the US initiates a meaningful, serious and robust dialogue between Egypt and Ethiopia.

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 Peace and Security 188 Comments

The Doha Accord: Delusions of a Peace Agreement

A Framework Agreement was signed in the last week of February in Qatar between the Government of Sudan/GoS/ and the Justice and Equality Movement/JEM/. My preliminary reading is that what happened in Doha is not a uniquely important event. Nonetheless, the timing is intriguing. All variables keep changing in Darfur and Khartoum but very few remain constant in Sudanese politics. They include PNC leader Hass al-Turabi and JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim. The more Sudanese politics appear changing, the more it remains the same. Amazing. What about the timing? Right in the aftermath of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement/CPA/ in 2005 a major war erupted in Darfur. And now while the CPA is entering a critical stage of its possible conclusion -elections and hopefully a referendum- a stealth peace accord reappeared in Doha. Something is not right.

Send your comments: discard or enrich the preliminary analysis

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 Peace and Security 2 Comments

Haiti: Anatomy of an African Plight

Haiti became a beacon of independence and dignity to the blacks in the Caribbean, as Ethiopia was to black people all over the world. This underscores the existence of a historical parallel between Haiti and my own country, Ethiopia. The historical weight of Ethiopia cannot be overstated. Understandably, Haiti left its deepest impact in areas where white domination of blacks was most extreme. Arguably, the issue is close to home. Against this background the current analyst believes that the support provided by Africa to the disaster-ridden Haiti is less impressive and calls for a robust African solidarity and support to the proud nation of Haiti in its hour of distress.

For more reflections go to the main section of the site

Your thoughts are highly appreciated. Apart from using the comments section you can also send your reflections to mtadesse@currentanalyst.com

Sunday, February 14th, 2010 Peace and Security 31 Comments

Copenhagen and Africa

Climate Change or Resource Competition? Climate change was the domain of few and disconnected people and institutions, but now everybody even African leaders are in it. Why? What is in store? I am sure you have the sense of why, my assumption on that is as follows:

In Africa the link between climate change and conflict is largely indirect but when it comes to Copenhagen it has become direct

The conflict has always been bodies for spaces; now it has become bodies for money-climate change money

The climate issue has moved from environmental to financial debate

African countries and their leaders are pitying each other to secure resources from climate change conference

African governments also seem to be apprehensive security and governance issues from being linked to the climate issue. They worry to put the security-development-governance question in the middle of the debate.

How can African governments spend the more than 10 billion within two years? Do they have the absorption capacity to take and use it in the years 2011/12? I don’t think so.

At the end of the day the issue of resource, both natural and financial, is not about scarcity, it is about distribution.

Questions are welcome. More important, I need your comments and perspectives.

Thursday, December 24th, 2009 Peace and Security 32 Comments

Why SSR?

Over the past decade, the security sector has emerged as a vital concern for national and international policy in conflict-affected societies. The concept of security sector reform is influenced by the broader human security agenda. Meanwhile, the increasing focus of development agencies on security governance issues created the space within which a strategic emphasis on SSR began to emerge.There is a pressing need for democratizing security institutions in Africa.

Do you think SSR is important? What SSR processes are taking place in your respective countries? Please comment

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Saturday, December 19th, 2009 SSR 2 Comments