October 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2011
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Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to receive a briefing and hold consultations on recent developments in Darfur and the Secretary-General’s report on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). At press time, no outcome was anticipated. 

The report may begin to outline a roadmap for the peace process in Darfur, focusing on implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), engagement with rebel groups and the Darfur-based Political Process (DPP). It is likely, however, that the roadmap will be discussed in greater detail in the subsequent UNAMID report, expected in January 2012.

UNAMID’s mandate expires on 31 July 2012. 

Key Recent Developments  
Key figures from various Darfur rebel groups—the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdul Wahid (SLM-AW) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)—reportedly met sometime during the week of 29 August to 4 September at an undisclosed place with representatives of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-South Kordofan (SPLM-SK) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to discuss potential military collaboration against Khartoum. 

The Implementation Follow-Up Committee for the DDPD met for the first time on 11 September. Representatives from Sudan, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), the AU, the EU, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the UN and numerous governments (including all five permanent members of the Council) participated. They exchanged ideas on how to support the implementation of the DDPD, which focuses on seven areas: human rights; power-sharing; wealth-sharing; justice and reconciliation; compensation of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs); ceasefire and security arrangements; and internal dialogue and consultation. Ibrahim Gambari, joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur, noted that the agreement of the LJM and the government of Sudan to abide by the DDPD was evidence that sustainable peace could be achieved in Darfur.   

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir appointed al-Haj Adam Youssef as second Vice President on 13 September, making him the third-ranking official in the Sudanese government and the first Darfurian to hold such a high position. However, spokespersons for the SLM-AW and JEM rebel groups criticised the appointment as a meaningless gesture, citing Youssef’s Arab heritage and indicating that he would not represent the interests of Darfur’s non-Arabs. 

In Khartoum on 14 September, Gambari called on the SLM-MM, SLM-AW and JEM to join the peace process in Darfur. He also said that UNAMID had “significantly stabilised the situation in Darfur”. Gambari further estimated that armed attacks in the region had decreased by up to 70 percent during the past three years. He noted that, as a consequence, more IDPs had been able to return home. Hussein Abu Sharati Niyala, a spokesperson for IDPs in Darfur, challenged Gambari’s assertions. 

On 21 September, al-Bashir appointed Tijani el-Sissi as head of the Darfur Regional Authority, which is responsible for implementing the DDPD. A former Darfur governor, el-Sissi is a member of the LJM, the rebel group that has signed the DDPD with Khartoum. 

Violent incidents continued to occur in Darfur. On 2 September, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and allied militias reportedly attacked the ethnic Fur town of Tabra, killing 58 people and wounding 86.  On 8 September, 13 Sudanese police were killed and at least 30 wounded in clashes with an armed group in the Jebel Marra region. Sudanese officials said the violence occurred while police were attempting to rescue three hostages—two Sudanese and one Italian aid worker—from an armed group. The SLM-AW reportedly said it was the armed group that had clashed with the police. However, it refuted Khartoum’s claim that it was holding hostages. 

On 11 September, JEM announced that its leader, Khalil Ibrahim, had returned to Darfur from Libya, where he had been in exile since May 2010. Some JEM fighters had reportedly fought for Qaddafi during the recent conflict in Libya. It appears that the fall of the Qaddafi regime, which had rebuffed several requests by the Sudanese government to expel Ibrahim, prompted his return to Darfur.   

The Sudan Sanctions Committee met on 29 September.  During the meeting, it seems that concerns were raised about the continued fighting in Darfur, and the flow of arms in the region.  It also appears that there have been tensions between the Secretariat and the Committee’s panel of experts which may affect the panel’s work.   

Key Issues
A key issue is whether or not a Darfur-based political process can be successful in the midst of ongoing fighting and government repression, with civil society groups, IDPs, tribal leaders and other stakeholders fearful of violations of their political and civil rights. Several major rebel groups—JEM, SLA-AW and SLA-MM—have not signed the DDPD, and the Sudanese government has not lifted the emergency laws in Darfur.  

Another key issue is what impact the ties between rebel groups in Darfur and the SPLM-N—and Khartoum’s response to those ties—will have on the level of violence in Sudan. (The SPLM-N is currently engaged in conflict with Sudan in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.)

An ongoing issue is how Khartoum’s lukewarm acceptance of UNAMID impacts on the mission’s effectiveness. In its last resolution renewing its mandate, the Council deplored delays in issuing visas to UNAMID staff, demanded removal of restrictions on the use of UNAMID aircraft and expressed deep concern over the detention of national UNAMID staff.  Sudan expressed displeasure with the mandate renewal, saying that it altered the initial mandate and interfered in domestic matters. 

Options for the Council include:

  • taking no action in October but using the Secretary-General’s report as a platform for starting discussions on next steps;
  • reiterating calls on Khartoum to lift the emergency laws in Darfur;
  • reiterating calls for rebel groups that have not signed the DDPD to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict; and
  • expressing concern in the statement at the ties between certain Darfur rebel groups and the SPLM-N. 

Council Dynamics
There are contrasting perspectives among Council members on the viability of the Darfur-based political process under current circumstances. The US and the UK have expressed reservations about the immediate feasibility of such a process, given ongoing repression and human rights violations on the part of the Sudanese government. Other Council members, notably African members and Russia, have been more supportive of it, believing that better options currently do not exist.

African members Nigeria and South Africa have been particularly concerned that the call for an enabling environment as a precondition for the political process in Darfur contravenes the wishes of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). (During the joint consultative meeting between the Council and the PSC on 21 May in Addis Ababa, the two Councils appear to have differed over whether to launch the DPP as soon as possible, which resulted in the issue of the timing of the DPP not being included in the final communiqué. The communiqué called for the government of Sudan and the armed movements to “contribute to the necessary enabling environment” and spelled out a number of human rights related requirements. On 19 July, the PSC also issued a communiqué in which it indicated that the DPP should be a priority upon the successful completion of the Doha negotiations.) South Africa and Nigeria have expressed the view that the AU position has been given short shrift and that the spirit of partnership that should be an important element in the AU-UN relationship in Darfur has in this case been violated.

While several Council members have indicated the importance of UNAMID’s role in protecting civilians, the US and the UK in particular have emphasised this aspect of the mission’s mandate.   

The UK is the lead country on Darfur in the Council, while Colombia chairs the Sanctions Committee. 

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UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2003 (29 July 2011) extended UNAMID’s mandate until 31 July 2012. 
  • S/RES/1982 (17 May 2011) extended the mandate of the Sudan sanctions panel of experts until 19 February 2012.
  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.
  • S/RES/1591 (29 March 2005) and  S/RES/1556 (30 July 2004) imposed sanctions.

Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2011/422 (8 July 2011) was the latest quarterly report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID.
  • S/2011/252 (15 April 2011) was on implementation of the DPP.

Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6597 (29 July 2011) was the Council’s discussion of the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMID. 
  • S/PV.6548 (8 June 2011) was the latest briefing by the ICC prosecutor.


  • S/2011/466 (27 July 2011) contained the communiqué of the AU PSC on UNAMID’s mandate renewal.
  • SC/10291  (23 June 2011) was the Council press statement on the Doha peace process.
  • Communiqué (21 May 2011) adopted at the consultative meeting between the members of the Security Council and the AU PSC. 

Other Relevant Facts

UNAMID: Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Ibrahim Gambari (Nigeria)

UNAMID: Force Commander

Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba (Rwanda)

UNAMID: Size, Composition, Cost and Duration

Maximum authorised strength: up to 19,555 military personnel, 3,772 police and 19 formed police units (total police 6,432)
Main troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda, Egypt, Ethiopia and Senegal
Military strength as of 31 July 2011: 17,759 military personnel 
Police Strength as of 31 July 2011: 4,526 police personnel
Annual Budget: $1.69 billion
Duration: 31 July 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2012 

Sanctions Committee Chairman

Néstor Osorio (Colombia)

full forecast 

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