IGAD’s dilemma and the African Union crisis

Alobeid A. Morawih

An emergency summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was held in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on January 18, at the request of the Somali Republic, following the crisis that erupted between it and its neighbor Ethiopia. The organization’s leadership included the situation in Sudan on the meeting’s agenda, despite the Sudanese government’s announcement of freezing its dealings with the quasi-regional organization regarding the war and peace file!!

Although three of the seven member states of the organization, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, boycotted the meeting, which are the countries directly concerned with the matter, the current IGAD presidency insisted on holding it on time, as if the meeting was required in itself and that it comes in the manner of “wanted executed”!!

In light of the appalling financial deficit suffered by IGAD and the majority of its members’ non-objection to selling their positions, the quasi-regional organization has handed over its leadership to donors, and its decisions have been put up for sale in the international political market. Anyone who wants to obtain a specific decision or position from the organization should submit an offer. This is the essence of Sudan’s dispute with its recent positions, after it gained some confidence from Sudan – its founding member – to be facilitated in the Sudanese dialogue, the organization’s presidency and some of its leaders found those who tempted them to play a role that would mix files and papers again, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was in conflict with the role it had been playing to stop the war through the Jeddah platform, and the organization itself was appointed as a mediator in the matter of stopping the war.

It is clear that the position taken by the Sudanese government days ago, which suspends dealing with IGAD in the war and peace file, was a carefully considered position, and the least that can be said about it is that it sent a warning message to more than one party that you have had enough of your interference in Sudan’s internal affairs, and that the organization – if it wants to have a positive role – must abide by the rules of its founding charter and respect the sovereignty of its member states, and stop treating rebels and negative movements as if they represent their countries.

However, the organization did not take that warning seriously, and it put itself in a predicament when it allowed others from outside the continent involved in the Sudanese war to determine when it would meet and direct its decisions in favor of the party behind it in the war, and the regional organization’s mother (the African Union) was involved in the quagmire when it allowed the IGAD to play a role that would mix files and papers again.

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