by Jerry Waxman
An envoy from the United States will try to broker a peaceful break-up of Sudan. South Sudan will realize its independence on July 9, following a referendum earlier this year in which a vast majority of South Sudanese voted for the split. The following months have been wrought with violence and border disputes. The question is, “What authority does the U.S. carry in these negotiations?”
If factions of both North and South Sudan respect the American position, then the U.S. envoy has a chance to be effective. But recent history of U.S. involvement in troubled regions does not invoke a lot of confidence. The U.S. invasion in Iraq has failed to make life better for the Iraqis. And while the U.S. army has been fighting in Afghanistan for ten years, there doesn’t seem to be a peaceful or harmonious end in sight. With what backing can a U.S. envoy help the two Sudans reach peaceful resolutions?
The Quartet on the Middle East has issued a statement discouraging activists from driving flotillas to Gaza. Why? The Quartet recognized in its statement that it remains concerned about the “unsustainable conditions facing the civilian population in Gaza” but it discouraged activists from using flotillas to bring more attention to the problem? Why?
Could it be the Quartet is concerned about its own disingenuousness being exposed? Could it be that the Quartet does not want the truth to be made more public than it already is – that the “unsustainable conditions facing the civilian population in Gaza” have nothing to do with the Israeli blockade? That they are due to the actions of the Palestinians themselves, specifically because of their elected and/or self appointed leaders.
There are questions of stewardship. And there are questions of the blind leading the blind. There are not leaders today whose motives have been purely for the welfare and betterment of the people they govern. There is not a nation today, or a group of nations, the leaders of which have a reliable track record of improving situations more than worsening them. The answer probably does not lie with leaders, envoys, or quartets. The answer lies with the people.