June 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 May 2008
Download Complete Forecast: PDF


Expected Council Action
In early June, a Council mission will visit Sudan and Chad. Discussions are likely to include:

  • the north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA);
  • the recent violence, prospects for a cessation of hostilities and a peace process in Darfur;
  • deployment of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID); and
  • Chad-Sudan relations and the conflicts in both countries.

Non-governmental organisations are urging that Council members also raise the issue of implementation of resolution 1593, which referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A report on the mission, a briefing and a debate appear likely. It is unclear whether any new proposals on Darfur issues will emerge in June.

In June, the Council will also hear the semi-annual briefing by ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. The quarterly briefing by the sanctions committee chairman is also expected in mid-June.

Key Recent Developments
The security situation in Darfur and Chad remains extremely volatile. Clashes involving the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups, as well as Chadian armed forces and Chadian rebels continue. Sudanese government planes bombed three villages in North Darfur, killing several civilians including children. This was denounced by the Secretary-General as unacceptable. The UN estimates that more than 150,000 civilians have been forced to flee in 2008 alone.

Observers note that, as a result of the recent violence, significant numbers of Darfurians will not have been included in the recent national census, which could have further impact on CPA implementation.

On 10 May, the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) mounted an unprecedented attack reaching the outskirts of Khartoum. This might have been related to the JEM’s own national political ambitions, as well as the recent government offensive in West Darfur. It surprised both the government and UNAMID. Briefing the Council on 14 May, Under Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno said that the attack underscored “serious shortfalls in the Mission’s resources.”

Following the attack, the government announced a curfew and initiated efforts to hunt and arrest rebels. The government also accused the JEM of foreign connections, and called on states to list it as a terrorist organisation and arrest its leaders.

The southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) apparently voiced strong criticism of the attack. There are ongoing concerns about simmering instability in the south, the east and certain areas in northern Sudan. Recent fighting in Abyei involving government forces and SPLA displaced tens of thousands of civilians and prompted an expression of deep concern from the Secretary-General.

The AU-UN mediation team has voiced serious concerns at the impact of the ongoing violence on the peace process. The team approached the parties to schedule a meeting in Geneva to discuss steps for improving security situation, but it appears that some rebel groups declined the invitation. At press time, a meeting in June with the team and regional and international partners to discuss next steps was being considered.

The JEM incursion revived concerns about Chad-Sudan relations. On 11 May, Khartoum cut diplomatic ties. In his briefing, Guéhenno warned that the attack could lead to a rapid intensification of the apparent proxy war between both countries.

Guéhenno also said UNAMID had received unconfirmed reports of amassing of JEM and Chadian rebels in West Darfur, and of plans by the Darfur rebel faction Sudan Liberation Movement-Unity to attack el-Fasher, where UNAMID is headquartered.

In a presidential statement on 13 May, the Council condemned the JEM attack. However, it warned that “no retaliatory action should be taken against civilian populations, or that has an impact on stability in the region.”

Logistics, bureaucracy and shortfalls in assets continue to challenge UNAMID. The Secretariat has prepared an ambitious plan to reach 80 percent deployment by late 2008 as follows:

  • deployment of key enabling units before the rainy season and additional generation of engineering contingents;
  • rotation at UN standards of troops already deployed; and
  • deployment of military contingents from Ethiopia, Egypt, Senegal, Thailand and Nepal, and of 11 formed police units.

On 13 May, a meeting with troop contributors was convened to discuss the new deployment plan. Prospects for troop and asset generation remain uncertain. It appears that one option under consideration is switching assets from the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) to UNAMID.

Recent Developments in the Sanctions Committee
The Sanctions Committee received the mid-term report of the Panel of Experts in mid-May. The Panel apparently reported on the ongoing violence, as well as recurrent violations of international humanitarian law and the arms embargo. The midterm report is not expected to be published. On 27 May, the Committee met to discuss the report. Members noted with concern the developments identified by the Panel, but no proposals for more substantive action appear to have emerged.

Options for the Council in June include:

  • a statement following the visiting mission essentially reiterating messages on the need for a ceasefire, a peace process and cooperation with UNAMID’s deployment;
  • steps toward a new strategy involving either:
  • firm benchmarks and deadlines for progress with a ceasefire, peace talks and UNAMID’s deployment, or
  • more flexible timelines, to be revised in consultation with the Secretariat and the mediation team but linked to a mechanism for closer Council monitoring of developments, perhaps mandating Council experts and/or the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations to meet regularly with the Departments of Political Affairs and Peacekeeping, and troop-contributing countries;
  • requesting a briefing and dialogue with the mediation team on how to encourage a cessation of hostilities; and
  • leaving UNAMID deployment issues to the Secretariat and the Friends of UNAMID (which include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Tanzania, the UK, the US and the EU).

Other options include recognising that the low-key approach to Chad-Sudan relations has been exhausted and inviting the Dakar Agreement Contact Group for an Arria-style informal exchange of views.

Key Issues
The JEM attack appears to have reinforced the need for real progress with a cessation of hostilities in Darfur. The key issue in this regard is whether there is anything the Council can and should do to encourage the parties and support the mediation team. Another is how best to move forward with UNAMID’s deployment.

An important related question is whether the Council can unify behind a plan to support these goals.

Justice and accountability issues are likely to emerge again in the light of the upcoming briefing by the ICC Chief Prosecutor.

The JEM attack reinforced the deep connections between the situations in Chad and Sudan. The underlying issue facing member states, the UN, the AU, the EU and other stakeholders is whether a more assertive approach is required. This includes how best to make use of the Dakar Agreement Contact Group in that regard. (The Group includes representatives from Libya, Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Senegal, Gabon, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, or CEN-SAD, and the Economic Community of Central African States, or ECCAS. The UN and the EU have been invited as observers. CEN-SAD comprises twenty-five African states, and ECCAS eleven.)

For the Council specifically, the emerging question is whether and how to become more involved in approaching the issues from a regional—as opposed to a country-specific—perspective and also incorporating an integrated approach to the conflict in Chad.

Council and Wider Dynamics
The UK pressed hard in May for agreement on a substantive framework for assessing progress on the security and political tracks. This seemed to attract some support in the Council. However, there was also concern about setting strict deadlines for issues relating to UNAMID’s deployment (given the mission’s resource shortfalls and the delays in getting troops up to speed) and the political process (given a perceived need to ensure flexibility for the mediation team). It seems that the main reason given for a conservative approach was how the Council would address likely defiance from the parties.

It seems that demands for a broader Sudan focus may be emerging. Greater attention to the CPA is being urged by some, who also argue that this is important to ensure that Sudan does not descend into a generalised conflict.

Members also appear increasingly alarmed by the growing regional dimension, especially the interconnectedness between issues in Darfur and Chad. At present, however, members seem to prefer to defer to the Dakar Agreement Contact Group and EU peacemaking efforts within Chad. While many see a need for a more proactive involvement, proposals in that regard are likely to meet hesitation from France and Libya.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1769 (31 July 2007) established UNAMID.
  • S/RES/1672 (25 April 2006), 1591 (29 March 2005) and 1556 (30 July 2004) imposed sanctions.
  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred Darfur to the ICC.
  • S/RES/1590 (24 March 2005) established UNMIS.
Most Recent Presidential Statement

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2008/304 (9 May 2008) was the latest UNAMID report.
  • S/2008/267 (22 April 2008) was the latest UNMIS report.


  • S/PV.5892 (14 May 2008) was the most recent Secretariat briefing on UNAMID and the humanitarian situation in Darfur.
  • A/HRC/7/22 (3 March 2008) was the recent Sudan human rights report to the HRC.
  • S/2007/584 (2 October 2007) was the latest Panel of Experts’ report.

Other Relevant Facts

UNAMID: Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Rodolphe Adada (Republic of Congo)

UN and AU Special Envoys

UN: Jan Eliasson (Sweden)
AU: Salim A. Salim (Tanzania)

UNAMID: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 19,555 military, 3,772 police and 19 formed police units
  • Strength as of 30 April 2008: 7,393 troops, 128 observers, 1,716 police
  • Main troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Senegal
  • Cost: 1 July 2007 – 30 June 2008: $1.28 billion

UNAMID: Duration

31 July 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2008

UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Ashraf Qazi (Pakistan)

UNMIS: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 10,000 military and 715 police personnel
  • Strength as of 30 April 2008: 8,721 troops, 586 observers, and 631 police
  • Main troop contributors: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
  • Cost: 1 July 2007 – 30 June 2008: $887.33 million

UNMIS: Duration

24 March 2005 to present; mandate expires 30 April 2009

Useful Additional Source

  • Andrew S. Natsios, “Beyond Darfur: Sudan’s Slide Toward Civil War,” Foreign Affairs, May-June 2008

Full forecast