Egyptian Decision to Support Sudanese Government

On August 5, 2008, a senior Egyptian official made perfectly clear that his country supported a political settlement to the crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan. At first glance, A Darfur advocate might see this as wonderful news. Finally, another country committed to promoting peace in Darfur! However as the Egyptian government revealed more details on its position about Darfur, its true intentions became quite clear. The political compromise suggested by Moufed Shehab, Egypt’s Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, to resolve the problem in Darfur would seem reasonable if we were only talking about political unrest. But what is happening in Darfur is not just political unrest—it is genocide. Why should the people of Darfur need to compromise with a government which has been systematically killing its people for years?

One might be under the impression that Egypt has been misinformed about the severity of the situation, or that perhaps it has the best of intentions but is woefully off the mark. But this would be giving the Egyptian government an overabundance of credit where it is not due. In reality, Egypt  is well aware of the damage its position has caused to the Darfuri people, made perfectly clear by its  declaration to support the Sudanese Government in the “crisis” triggered by ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s request for an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. It is truly amazing how the practice of diplomacy can allow the Egyptian government to mask its position  on Darfur as a charitable gesture towards “supporting the Sudanese people and protecting the unity and stability of Sudan.”

Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy would like to know why the government of Egypt has remained silent for so long and is now revealing its stance at such a crucial stage. Of course, no one should have been surprised when they saw whose side Egypt chose to support. To this day Darfuris have not forgotten how Darfuri refugees were slaughtered in front of the UN office in Cairo in December 2005. They knew, even then, that Egypt would not be their friend. Today Darfuris who have fled to Egypt, or passed through Egypt en route to Israel, find themselves brutalized or arrested by the Egyptian government. Perhaps now, with the ICC managing to make a little headway, Egyptian officials fear that leaving the Sudanese government on its own during this critical time could lead to the finger of ICC one day pointing at them.

We at Damanga would like to ask the Egyptian government to please reconsider its stance; to realize that what they are doing is supporting criminals. We need them to understand that justice should be the main concern, not simply keeping the Darfuri people quiet. That is only a simulation of peace and not a real solution. Damanga is in full support of the ICC and believes that Egypt, if it truly wishes for peace in Sudan, should lend its support to the ICC as well.