By Abdullahi Osman El-Tom, Ph.D.
19-05-08: I am dismayed by de Waal’s venomous article on JEM’s invasion of Omdurman code-named “Operation Long Arm”. In this article, de Waal declares that Khartoum security agents have” no justification for arresting affiliates of the SLA”. The conclusion is clear for those who are sympathetic to JEM, but may have played no role in the invasion of the capital.
In as much as the article exposes de Waal’s enmity against JEM, it equally reveals the shallowness of his expertise. In his revelation, our guru expert alleges Khalil has transformed the insignificant JEM into a personal tribal fiefdom, that Darfurians who accompanied him had no liking for JEM, that Khalil has launched his attack in order to provoke Khartoum for further reprisal on innocent Darfurians and that Khalil is a jihadist who still retains his political Islam; whatever that means; end of thesis.
For readers who do not know de Waal, he is now the top expert on Darfur appearing in every relevant international venue. During the Abuja Peace Talks, I met his co-author and sidekick Julie Flint in a London to Abuja plane. She told me with great relief that “the Americans had just hired de Waal as their advisor to the AU and that that would put an end to their confusion about how to address Darfur crisis”. Well, as it turned out, nothing could be further from the truth. The Americans had in fact got, so to speak, “a pig in a poke”. Their choice led to Abuja Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) fiasco and the catastrophic failure of Robert Zoellick, the then Envoy of US President George Bush to Darfur. Read more >>>>>