Tensions between Khartoum and Ndjamena
took a dramatic turn after Sudan Threatened Wednesday to destroy Chadian forces
if they invade its territory. The latest war of words between the two
neighboring countries undermines the recently signed reconciliation agreement brokered in
Chad said Khartoum backed a rebel attack earlier this month, shortly
after the two countries signed the agreement in the Qatar capital, Doha a
charge Sudan denies. Khartoum and Ndjamena have frequently accused each other
of supporting rebels in each other's country.
Fouad Hikmat is an analyst for
the International Crisis Group. He told VOA Ndjamena is taking advantage of the
indictment of the Sudanese president.
think after the last period and especially after the ICC (International
Criminal Court), the situation started to deteriorate dramatically in Sudan.
The situation remains very fragile," Hikmat said.
He said it was unlikely the
war of words between the two countries would degenerate into a problem that
would destabilize the sub-region.
"I don't think at the moment
there might be a serious escalation of which the Chadian government continues
actually pursuing the rebel groups inside Sudan," he said.
Hikmat said Khartoum has
acted with restraint despite incursion by Chadian soldiers into Sudan
"For the moment the Sudanese
government didn't retaliate and at the same time the Chadian government said
that they have lost trust in the African Union and they are going to ask the UN
to intervene to try to resolve the problem them and the Sudanese," Hikmat said.
He said Khartoum seems not
to be interested to come under international spot light after embattled
President Umar Hassan Al Bashir was
indicted by the Hague based International Criminal Court over alleged crimes
against humanity in Darfur.
"Definitely at this moment
the Sudanese government doesn't want the issue of Darfur and this to be more
internationalized," he said.
Hikmat said it was unlikely
Khartoum would engage in confrontation with neighboring Chad.
"At this moment, Sudan might
not retaliate so that it might not attract more of an international response,
to try to disconnect the situation. And I think the Chadians took that window
of opportunity to pursue the situation. They gambled, and I think they gambled
well," Hikmat said.
He said Khartoum's
support for rebels fighting government forces in Chad has been common knowledge.
"Actually everybody knows
that the Sudanese government has been supporting and hosting the Chadian
rebels, they had their attempts I think more than two times towards Ndjamena
and they failed," he said.
Hikmat said similarly
Ndjamena has been supporting Darfur rebels who have been fighting Sudanese
government forces in the Darfur region.
"Everybody knows the
connection with Chad and its support with supporting the Darfur rebels and we
know that also they tried to reach Khartoum to reach Omdurman and now it is
taking cities, so, this is not a new situation," Hikmat said.
He said Ndjamena has
admitted entering into Sudan's territory to hunt down Chadian rebels.
"The new part of it which is
very significant is that the Chadians this time pursued the rebels inside the
Sudanese territory and with air raids and with troops. And they are very clear
about it and are open about it," he said.
Hikmat said the recently
signed deal in Qatar's capital, Doha was a confidence building measure aimed to
resolving tensions between the two countries.
"I think the deal which was
brokered by the Libyans and the Qataris between Sudan and Chad was basically to
try and build a trust between these countries to build up confidence between
them," Hikmat said.
He said the peace deal was
also aimed to open negotiations between the two countries.
"To try to mobilize the two
nations so that they are able to have dialogue and they are engaged with each
other because without engagement without dialogue you won't be able to find the
solution to the problem," he said.
Khartoum says N'Djamena arms and supports the
Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), one of two main Darfur rebel groups that
launched a rebellion against the Sudanese government in 2003.
Meanwhile, Chad admitted
over the weekend launching air attacks inside Sudan in a bid to wipe out rebel
camps. It said the raids had destroyed seven groups
of fighters and that its ground forces had captured 100 prisoners on the border
before they pulled back. But Khartoum described as an act of war last week's
bombing raids on its territory.
Some political observers say
tensions between the two neighbors escalated after the United Nations said they had initial
reports which suggested that Sudanese army planes bombed land close to the Chad
border in north Darfur which has seen recent clashes between Khartoum and
Darfur rebels, including JEM.