Turkey at the Intersection of Islam and Kemalism

Andrew McGregor

August 15, 2007

Tuesday’s announcement of the re-nomination of Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul for the post of president of Turkey puts the nation’s fiercely secularist military only one step away from reporting to an Islamist politician. Yet the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) must still see its nominee through several rounds of voting in parliament (VOA, August 14). To allay opposition fears, the foreign minister, a well-known Islamist, has vowed to uphold and strengthen the secular principles of Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk,” military founder of the modern and Westernized Republic of Turkey.

Kemal 1Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk”

Defining themselves as the “absolute defenders of secularism,” Turkey’s general staff has expressed its displeasure with the direction of the government by means of a military coup four times since 1960. July’s re-election of the AKP Islamists with a parliamentary majority despite vocal opposition from the military no doubt sent a signal to the Turkish generals that a coup d’état is not the political option it once was. It is a situation that cannot sit easily with the self-appointed guardians of Kemalism, the almost sacred combination of secularism, modernism, and nationalism that saved the Turkish nation after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Kemalism is under strain in today’s Turkey, but its legacy cannot be easily abandoned.

Until now, the Turkish presidency has been viewed as the embodiment of secularist Kemalism. Under the current constitution, the president must approve all decisions of the Higher Military Council. Since these decisions include regular purges of “Islamist officers” (the latest was in July), the general staff fears that an Islamist president will interfere with this process. The problem may be short-lived, however, with reports that a new constitution will transfer most of the president’s powers to the prime minister and his cabinet, making the post largely ceremonial (Turkish Daily News, August 1). The move may be viewed as a major concession to the military’s nearly implacable opposition to an Islamist president.

Work is already underway to create a new constitution to replace the 1982 version, drafted under the supervision of the general staff after the military coup of 1980. The present document is something of a paean to Mustafa Kemal, starting with a description of Ataturk as “the immortal leader and unrivalled hero.” National principles are identified as the “six arrows” of Kemalism: nationalism, secularism, statism, republicanism, populism, and revolutionism. These principles were incorporated into the constitution in 1937 and have appeared in every version since. For many Turks, Kemalism is tied so tightly to the structure of Turkish society that the Kemalist Thought Association (ADD) recently declared “Opposing Kemalism is to oppose science… it is to go up against the scientific structuring of social rules” (Turkish Daily News, August 2).

Kemal 2AKP MP Zafer Uskul

Law professor and constitutional expert Zafer Uskul, a newly elected member of the AKP, has incited a fierce debate over the future of Kemalism by suggesting that Turkey needs a “colorless constitution… one that does not impose any ideology on the country” (Sabah, July 27). Even for many of his AKP colleagues, Uskul’s call to drop all references to “Ataturk nationalism” and “Kemalist principles” from the constitution went too far.

Turkey’s former chief prosecutor, Sabih Kanadoglu, claimed Uskul’s comments were “just a repetition of the European Union spokespersons’ expectations from Turkey” (Turkish Daily News, August 4). The Islamist politicians by no means reject the Ataturk legacy. Kemalism does not oppose the practice of Islam, but makes it a private matter with no standing in the state. The Islamists have begun mining the early history of the republic for proof that rigid secularism was not the intention of the nation’s founders. They are fond of citing Mustafa Kemal’s cooperation with Islamic leaders in the chaotic years following the Ottoman collapse, while overlooking Ataturk’s often scathing views on Islam following his consolidation of power in 1927. The Islamic Virtue Party actually campaigned in 1999 under an Ataturk slogan: “The Republic is Virtue.”

Turkey is in the middle of a social transformation in which the economic success of the Anatolian heartland is beginning to challenge the “old economy” of the dominant military-corporate class of the coastal cities. The AKP is more than a one-note religious-based party; it is also the party of economic liberalization, supported by a new class of Anatolian businessmen with traditional social values. AKP reforms intended to secure membership in the European Union have gradually reduced the military’s role as “guardian of the nation,” and the party’s triumph at the polls despite strong military opposition seems to be an endorsement of this process. For now the military is still interpreting the meaning of the AKP victory in regard to their own political role, but sooner or later the military must reevaluate its role in the republic. The nation has matured politically since Mustafa Kemal’s time, and the democratic process leaves little room for “guardians of the state.”

Nonetheless, the AKP must move slowly to achieve its aims. With so many self-appointed guardians of the Kemalist legacy, there is always the real danger of ultra-nationalist violence. It is worth noting that while ten officers were dismissed from the military in July for religious activities, a further ten were dismissed for their involvement with right-wing extremists (New Anatolian, August 11). The constitutional debate is still in its early stages and is certain to get much more heated before Islam and Kemalism are able to accommodate each other.

This article was first published in the August 15, 2007 issue of the Eurasia Daily Monitor

PKK Arms Scandal Fuels Turkish Suspicions

Andrew McGregor

August 14, 2007

U.S. policy in Kurdish northern Iraq seems to be in flux, reflecting differences within the U.S. administration and the growing bitterness in U.S.-Turkish relations since Turkey prohibited the movement of U.S. troops through its territory during the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Claims last spring by deserters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that U.S. trucks were delivering arms to PKK bases in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq have resulted in a series of denials and investigations by Washington (Milliyet, July 2).

pkk 4Since then, Turkey claims to have seized quantities of U.S.-supplied arms from the Kurdish militants of the PKK. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul noted that some of the weapons seized from the PKK (including U.S.-made M-16 rifles) came from U.S. shipments to the Iraqi army, but added that if direct arms shipments were discovered, “our relations [with the United States] would really break apart” (Kanal A TV, July 15). In response, a U.S. spokesman declared, “such reports would have no basis in fact” (New Anatolian, July 17).

To deal with this crisis in relations, William J. Haynes, general counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense, led a seven-member team of U.S. officials in closed talks with representatives of the Turkish General Staff (including the deputy chief-of-staff, General Ergin Saygun), the Foreign Ministry, the Security Directorate and the National Intelligence Organization (Today’s Zaman, July 27). The meeting discussed an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Defense into reports that U.S. arms were being sold by U.S. troops in Iraq. The session was no doubt prompted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s complaints that U.S. explanations were unconvincing as to why “a serious amount” of weapons confiscated from the PKK were U.S.-made (NTV, July 16). Shortly after the meeting, an FBI delegation headed by FBI International Operations Chief Thomas Fuentes arrived in Ankara to further discuss the problem with Turkish officials.

The Department of Defense delegation suggested that the U.S.-origin arms seized from PKK fighters were diverted from U.S. supplies to government troops by elements in the Iraqi security apparatus, but the FBI’s involvement suggests a criminal case involving unauthorized arms transfers by U.S. personnel. According to Foreign Minister Gul, the results of an internal investigation indicate that corrupt U.S. troops were involved in selling arms to the PKK (NTV, July 19). The other (and most dangerous) possibility is that covert U.S. arms supplies to the anti-Iranian Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) were shared with Kurdish comrades in the PKK. PJAK leader Rahman Haj-Ahmadi was in Washington recently seeking financial and military aid for his movement, despite PJAK and the PKK being designated terrorist organizations (Today’s Zaman, August 6). PJAK is effectively an offshoot of the PKK and shares many of the same facilities and resources in the Qandil Mountains (Terrorism Monitor, June 15, 2006). Iran claims that PJAK is already receiving arms and other assistance from the United States.

According to the Report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction in 2006, of 370,000 light weapons shipped by the United States to Iraq since 2003, only three percent had their serial numbers recorded by the U.S. Defense Department before distribution, making it very difficult to trace captured weaponry. Much of the equipment supplied by the United States is not of American type, such as AK-47 assault rifles and Austrian-made Glock pistols. The U.S. government cannot account for the ultimate destination of 190,000 weapons issued in Iraq during the 2004-2005 train-and-equip program, according to a report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO notes that record-keeping has improved, but arms are still being delivered without proper documentation (GAO-07-711, July 31). Iraqi President Jalal al-Talabani has protested the practice of American commanders arming various Iraqi factions without consulting the Baghdad government. At the same time, the Iraqi government is complaining of Washington’s slow response to Baghdad’s offer to buy $1.5 billion worth of American arms, including helicopters and M-16 rifles. China has stepped in as an alternate supply, and Iran has also offered to supply the Iraqi government with weapons and training (Agence France-Presse, July 26).

In late July, the U.S. Department of Defense provided a secret briefing to select members of Congress on a new plan to have U.S. Special Forces members assist Turkish forces in eliminating the PKK leadership in northern Iraq. The most likely targets would have been PKK leaders Murat Karayilan and Cemil Bayik, two men named in a similar scenario discussed at Washington’s Hudson Institute last June in the presence of Jalal al-Talabani’s son and two Turkish generals (ROI TV, June 23; Anatolia News Agency, June 19).

Meanwhile, problems continue to loom on the horizon for U.S.-Turkish relations. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill next month recognizing Ottoman massacres of Armenians in World War I as “genocide.” It is an unusual move by legislators who otherwise spend little time analyzing historical questions, and one that will be regarded as a slap on the face by many in the Turkish government and military. If the recently signed Turkey-Iran natural gas deal goes forward, Turkey may become subject to U.S. sanctions, creating a major NATO rift with a range of implications, few of them favorable to the United States. Reports are also surfacing in the Turkish media that the United States has started to look for alternatives to its Turkish military bases in the Balkans, Azerbaijan and even northern Iraq. If true, this suggests that planning is already underway for the eventuality of a break in Turkish-American relations (Turkish Daily News, July 26). The downward slide in relations is reflected by a July poll by the U.S.-based Pew organization showing that only nine percent of Turks had a “positive view” of the United States. More alarmingly, 75% of Turks were concerned that their NATO ally could pose a military threat to Turkey (Sunday Telegraph, July 29). In winning the “hearts and minds” of Iraq’s Kurdish minority, the United States appears to be losing those of a vital ally.


This article first appeared in the August 14 2007 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus

China’s Oil Offensive Strikes: Horn of Africa and Beyond

Andrew McGregor

August 10, 2007

In its efforts to expel an Islamist government and capture a handful of inactive al-Qaeda suspects in Somalia, the United States has risked its political reputation in the region through a series of unpopular measures. These include backing an unsuccessful attempt by warlords to take over the country, several ineffective air raids, and finally, the financing of an unpopular Ethiopian military intervention. As African Union peacekeepers struggle to restore stability in the capital of Mogadishu, China has stepped in to sign the first oil exploration deal negotiated by Somalia’s new government. The agreement is the first of its kind since the overthrow of the Siad Barre regime in 1991 began a long period of political chaos in the strategically important nation.

China Oil 1Chinese Oil Rig in South Sudan (Tong Jiang/Imaginechina)

China’s four major oil corporations have unlimited government support, allowing them to edge out the smaller Western oil companies that traditionally take on high-risk exploration projects like Somalia. Latecomers to the global oil game, the Chinese companies and their exploration offshoots have focused on oil-bearing regions neglected by major Western operators because of political turmoil, insecurity, sanctions or embargoes. China once hoped to supply the bulk of its energy needs from deposits in its western province of Xinjiang, but disappointing reserve estimates and an exploding economy have given urgency to China’s drive to secure its energy future. Twenty-five percent of China’s crude oil imports now come from African sources.

The Somalia deal is part of a decades-long Chinese campaign to engage Africa through investment, development aid, “soft loans,” arms sales and technology transfers. The European Union recently warned China that it would not participate in any debt-relief projects involving China’s generous “soft-loans” in Africa (Reuters, July 30).

Global demand for oil is expected to rise over 50 percent in the next two decades even as prices rise and reserves decline. To meet this demand, China and other Asian countries offer massive infrastructure developments in exchange for oil rights. President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders are regular visitors to African capitals and Chinese direct investment in Africa totaled $50 billion last year.

Oil in Somalia?

Last month a deal was reached between Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and China International Oil and Gas (CIOG) to begin oil exploration in the Mudug region of the semi-autonomous state of Puntland (northeast Somalia) (Financial Times, July 17). Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which has yet to secure its rule, is to receive 51 percent of the potential revenues under the deal.

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf (a native of Puntland) appears to have negotiated the deal in concert with Puntland officials but without the knowledge of the Prime Minister, Ali Muhammad Gedi, who is still working on legislation governing the oil industry and production-sharing agreements. Gedi insists that “in order to protect the wealth of the country and the interests of the Somali people, we cannot operate without a regulatory body, without rules and regulations” (Financial Times, July 17). The agreement with China may become an important test of the authority of the transitional government. China has effectively pre-empted the return of Western oil interests to Somalia, though it is unclear how the Chinese project may be affected by the passage of a new national oil bill. Somali negotiators assured the Chinese firms that new legislation would have no impact on exploration work due to begin in September (Shabelle Media Network, July 17).

Though Somalia has no proven reserves of oil, Range Resources, a small Australian oil company already active in Puntland, suggests that the area might yield 5 to 10 billion barrels (Shabelle Media Network, July 14). Somalia is also estimated to have 200 billion cubic feet of untapped natural gas reserves. Western petroleum corporations, however, conducted extensive exploration of potential oil-bearing sites in Somalia in the 1980s and found nothing worth developing.

Public unrest is already on the rise in Puntland as the local government grows increasingly authoritarian and the national treasury has mysteriously dried up. Discontent has accelerated as leaders of the one-party regime continue to sign resource development deals with Western and Arab companies without any form of public consultation. The new deal with China has the potential to ignite political unrest in one of the few areas of Somalia to have avoided the worst of the nation’s brutal political nightmare.

China’s Strategy in Africa

Last November, Beijing hosted an important summit meeting between Chinese leaders and representatives of 48 African countries. The African delegates gave unanimous support to a declaration endorsing a one-China policy and “China’s peaceful reunification” [1]. China in turn announced a $5 billion African development fund (administered by China’s Eximbank), with a promise of $15 billion more in aid and debt forgiveness to come. In exchange for secure energy supplies, China is also offering barrier-free access to Chinese markets, something Africans have been unable to obtain from the United States or the EU.

China Oil 2While China has had success in securing energy supplies in Africa, its oil offensive is by no means flawless. Chinese corporations working abroad provide little employment for local people and are remarkably tolerant of corruption and human rights abuses. Chinese overseas operations are also notorious for their disregard of environmental considerations. The latter is perhaps unsurprising, considering the environmental devastation afflicting China’s own industrial centers. Yet, the combination of all these factors tends to create unrest in nations where Chinese operations are seen as benefiting members of the ruling elite and few others. What is also notable is that of the five African countries where China is involved in major resource operations, only one, Angola, is not dealing with a major insurgency.


China continues to expand its operations in the Sudan, its most successful foreign energy project to date. Oil from southern Sudan currently supplies 10 percent of China’s imported energy needs. Chinese and Malaysian companies operating as a joint venture (with a minority Sudanese share) stepped up to take over the exploitation of Sudan’s vast oil reserves after international pressure forced out the Canadian Talisman Corporation. The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) recently announced the acquisition of a 40 percent share in a major exploration site off the Sudanese Red Sea coast. A 1997 embargo prevents U.S. companies from operating in the Sudan.

The Sudanese/Swiss ABCO Corporation claims that preliminary drilling in Darfur revealed “abundant” reserves of oil. These reserves have yet to be confirmed, but it appears that the rights may have already passed into Chinese hands (AlertNet, June 15, 2005; Guardian, June 10, 2005).


China and Malaysia, partners in the Sudan, are trying to replicate their Sudanese success in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. As a demonstration of goodwill—and to increase the incentives for cooperation—China and Ethiopia signed a debt relief agreement in May worth $18.5 million (Xinhua, May 30). In addition, a new convention center for the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa is being built with substantial Chinese assistance.

Following its usual practice, China imported its own labor to work in the Ogaden projects in preference to hiring local workers. Asian exploration companies tend to arrive in the region with large military escorts after negotiating contracts with the Tigrean-based government in Addis Ababa. The ethnic-Somali inhabitants of the Ogaden region have little input, making the operations a target of the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). A commando unit of the ONLF attacked a well-guarded Chinese oil exploration facility in northern Ogaden on April 24, killing 65 Ethiopian troops and nine Chinese workers. A further seven Chinese workers were abducted “for their own safety” and released a week later (ONLF communiqué, April 24)


In Niger the CNPC (already active in two other concessions) appears to be in the lead for the sole rights to the promising Agadem concession, to be awarded sometime this month. With financial support from the Chinese government, CNPC is offering to build a refinery and a pipeline in exchange for the rights, a commitment even Western oil giants like Exxon have shied away from. A Tuareg-based rebel movement in the resource rich north has declared Chinese oil and uranium operations “unwelcome” while accusing China of supplying the Niger army with weapons to pacify the region. Rebels attacked an armed supply convoy heading to a CNPC exploration camp in July, killing four soldiers (Reuters, July 31).


Last year, the CNOOC moved into territory previously dominated by major Western oil companies in the Niger Delta, paying $2.7 billion for a 45 percent share in an offshore oilfield expected to go into production in 2008 (Reuters, April 26, 2006). China is building $4 billion worth of oil facilities and other infrastructure in return for access to other promising Nigerian oil-fields, including the untapped inland Chad basin (BBC, April 26, 2006).

With a growing insurgency in the oil-rich Niger Delta threatening Nigeria’s oil industry, China has stepped in to supply weapons, patrol boats and other military equipment. Beijing does not share Washington’s reluctance to supply such hardware to a Nigerian military accused of corruption and human rights violations (Financial Times, February 27). The insurgents claim that Chinese, Dutch and U.S. resource companies fail to hire local labor and are devastating the local economy and environment through unchecked pollution. The world’s eighth largest oil exporter, Nigeria is also a major market for Chinese exports.


Beijing has been wooing oil-rich Angola through promises of aid and development. Its promise of $2 billion in soft loans brought a guarantee of uninterrupted oil supplies to China and offshore exploration rights for CNPC while enabling Angola to avoid Western pressure to restructure a corrupt and inefficient economy.

Competition with the United States

As China intensifies its economic engagement with Africa, the United States has been steadily increasing its military presence in Africa, supplying arms, training troops and opening new bases for U.S. personnel. Efforts such as the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative have brought U.S. forces into many countries for the first time as part of the global effort against al-Qaeda. The creation last February of AFRICOM, a new U.S. regional combatant command for Africa, reflects Washington’s new interest in the area. Despite the anti-terrorism rhetoric, it appears that the main function of AFRICOM will be to secure U.S. energy supplies in a region that is expected to provide a growing share of the United States’ future energy needs.

Ironically, U.S. arms and military training provided under the guise of “counter-terrorism assistance” may ultimately provide Chinese oil interests with the security they need to carry out operations in high-risk areas. An Ethiopian army financed and equipped by the United States for use against “Al-Qaeda terrorists in Somalia” is now being used to protect Chinese oil exploration efforts in the Ogaden region through military operations against ONLF rebels and punitive attacks on ethnic-Somali civilians.


So far, a visible disinterest in tying resource development contracts to social or economic reforms has aided China in securing its energy future in Africa. To be fair, this pattern of tolerance for corruption in regimes with desirable natural resources was set long ago by Western corporations and governments. China still employs the rhetoric of anti-colonialism in its relations with Africa, but many Africans are beginning to see China as an exploitive major power supporting corrupt regimes in the same manner as the former Western imperial powers. While China is taking some small steps to correct this impression, problems will persist unless Africans see immediate benefits from the Chinese presence, particularly in the field of employment. China’s success in presenting itself to the Third World as “the largest developing country” will eventually have limited currency if its business operations become indistinguishable from Western corporations. In the meantime, China’s rivalry with the West for control of Africa’s oil is certain to intensify.


  1. See the full text of the Declaration of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, available online at: english.focacsummit.org/2006-11/16/content_6586.htm.

Hybrid Force: The UN’s Peacekeeping Gamble in Darfur

Andrew McGregor

August 7, 2007

A close examination of the terms of the Darfur peacekeeping mission approved by UN Security Council Resolution 1769 offers little confidence that the mission will be any more successful than the current African Union deployment. The resolution approves a force of 26,000 men, including the 7,000 AU peacekeepers already in Darfur (Middle East Online, August 6). On Khartoum’s insistence, the bulk of the force must be African in origin. The proposed “hybrid” UN/AU force appears to be little more than a much larger, more complicated version of the ineffective AU operation already in Darfur. Three of the most effective Western militaries (the U.S., the U.K. and Canada) have already stated they will have no role in the force.

AMISAMIS – African Union Mission in Sudan: To be replaced by UNAMID (Rob Crilly)

The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is a “Chapter 7” peacekeeping force. Chapter 7 of the UN Charter allows for “necessary action,” including force, to protect the mission as well as humanitarian organizations and civilians. In the watered-down version of Chapter 7 negotiated with Khartoum, the Sudanese government must first approve such use of force. UNAMID will be led by Nigerian Gen. Martin Agwai, an experienced peacekeeper and chief of the Defense Staff of the Nigerian Armed Services since June 2006. Agwai has warned that it is unlikely that enough African troops can be raised to fill out the new peacekeeping force. UNAMID is not expected to fully deploy until December 31, probably an optimistic deadline given the composition of the force and the nature of the territory. Financing will be a problem with a mission expected to cost $2 billion in its first year. Despite international pledges of support, existing AU peacekeeping forces in Darfur and Somalia are notoriously under-financed, with very few funds actually reaching the troops in the field. In a road-less environment with no infrastructure, the mission will require an effective system of transport and air support. If trouble erupts, surface routes will become highly dangerous and outposts difficult to relieve or evacuate.

Instead of mandating disarmament, Resolution 1769 only calls for UNAMID to “monitor” illegal arms movements in Darfur. All parties are urged to commit to a cease-fire and the creation of “initiatives” to return the displaced, provide compensation and put new security measures in place. There are no provisions for the arrests of war crimes suspects. During Security Council negotiations on the resolution, China and the three African members of the UNSC (South Africa, Ghana and the Republic of the Congo) succeeded in dropping a key provision calling for “further measures” (i.e., sanctions) to be taken against Sudan if it failed to cooperate with the UN mission.

There is no question of the 2.5 million displaced persons returning home in the near future. The well-armed Arab tribes that have settled on seized lands must first be removed. This is not as simple as returning them to their traditional lands, however, for in many cases their old pastures have become lifeless deserts. Land redistribution or compensation cannot be achieved without the participation of Khartoum and certainly does not fall within UNAMID’s mandate. The traditional land rights system of Darfur was designed to accommodate both nomads and farmers. Some form of renegotiation of this system with the involvement of local scholars and tribal elders would seem to form the best basis for a lasting peace in Darfur. None of this will be possible, however, without a process of disarmament and the demobilization of militias and rebel groups.

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and Vice President ‘Ali ‘Uthman Muhammad Taha are consummate political survivors in a country where politics is frequently played for keeps. They will not be looking for an open clash with the UN force, but will do everything else possible to make their stay uncomfortable. The Sudanese leadership will not be easily cowed or forced to relinquish sovereignty in any degree. Its consent to a Chapter 7 UN force comes only after a considerable diplomatic effort by China, perhaps the only world power with an honest claim to influence in Khartoum today. It would be unwise to expect China’s present level of support for the Darfur mission to continue very long after the close of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The conflict is growing increasingly complicated. Arabs are fighting Arabs over depopulated regions, and former rebels who signed the 2006 Abuja agreement are now fighting their former allies on behalf of the government (al-Sudani, August 2). Just identifying the combatants will be a test for the UN/AU mission; few of the larger tribes share any single political viewpoint and it is often impossible to visually distinguish a Darfuri “Arab” from an “African.” All units will depend heavily on a small pool of translators; the local dialect of Arabic spoken as a lingua franca is poorly understood outside of Darfur. Banditry (including attacks on humanitarian convoys) will continue even through a cease-fire. Any such attack could easily provide an excuse by one party or the other to resume hostilities. With at least 16 rebel factions in the field, the development of a unified leadership is essential to the success of negotiations (Sudan Tribune, August 3).

The experience of the AU force in Somalia, where only 1,500 Ugandan troops showed up while four other countries failed to deploy the balance of the 8,000-man force, does not inspire hope that anything like 20,000 African soldiers can be in Darfur by the end of the year. It is almost inevitable that the projected “hybrid” force will have to be reshaped to include Western contingents just to maintain a presence in Darfur. Real success in restoring peace to Darfur under UNAMID’s current mandate is highly unlikely.

This article first appeared in the August 7, 2007 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus