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Published 6th August 2004

Vol 45 No 16


Fighting the foreign front

The Darfur massacres have finally put the NIF government back on the international watchlist - but it believes it can evade more serious sanctions

The Darfur war is intensifying on two fronts - on the scorched scrublands of western Sudan, where more than 50,000 civilians have been killed already, and on the milder terrain of media diplomacy. Oppositionists and regime-loyalists agree on one point: that the Darfur war has critically changed the balance of forces in Sudan's power struggles. The National Islamic Front (National Congress) government in Khartoum faces growing armed opposition in the West, the East and again, say many, the South, and is said by both critics and supporters to be weaker than at any time since it seized power in 1989. At the same time, its opponents insist that claims of a dangerous power vacuum developing in Khartoum are empty rhetoric from NIF politicians manoeuvring for yet another tactical twist: 'The change is that events are now shaping the regime's tactics and not vice-versa as before,' said one dissident.

Deaths mount, time passes

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Diplomatic failures are hampering efforts to hold the militias and their masters to account

Bureaucratic squabbles and diplomatic evasions are derailing plans for a peacekeeping force to protect civilians or even ceasefire monitors in Darfur. No interested government has ...

Caution, democrats at work

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Everyone is quarrelling healthily ahead of the elections and the result is still open

The race to the national elections on 7 December is getting closer and noisier. Despite the governing New Patriotic Party's mixed record on the economy, it remains a narrow favouri...

Parliament in sight

By squeezing the delegates, mediators hope to get a faction leaders' parliament

Somalia is about to be endowed with a parliament, say mediators at the reconciliation conference in Nairobi. They have been squeezing the delegates. In May, the foreign ministers o...

New brooms

The President hopes to prosecute his corrupt predecessors, who keep fighting back

President Bingu wa Mutharika has surprised those who dismissed him as his predecessor's uncharismatic surrogate. He has won cross-party support and is rapidly becoming popular, thr...


On the trail

Pressure is mounting on the government to speed its probe into the Anglo Leasing affair and act against the Kenyan and foreign traders involved in it. The company was at the centre...

Price of peace

The government promised at talks in Brussels in mid-July to open a dialogue with the opposition and to improve its management of state finances. In a first gesture of goodwill, it ...

Military matters

The 3 August announcement that Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Mohamed Lamari had resigned for health reasons (for treatment in Spain for an eye condition) came after weeks of ne...