Does the Right Hand Know That the Left Hand Is Expelling Aid Groups?

In a blog post that the Sudanese embassy would assuredly characterize as “tired and desperate…propaganda,” Nick Kristof reveals this interesting tidbit about Sudan’s recent (and reprehensible) reprisals against humanitarian organizations in Darfur:

Bashir surprised most of his own ministers with the decision (the first vice president didn’t know of it), and they seem to have mixed views.

If this decision was in fact carried out totally under Bashir’s command, then it may be a very revealing indicator of potential turmoil in Sudan’s inner political circle. Now, the first vice president is a Southerner, and his being kept out of the loop is much less surprising than if Bashir’s own party apparatchiks were similarly kept uninformed. But if — and I stress the if — this was not a move carried out without the full connivance and support of the ruling party, then it looks a lot more like Bashir trying to save his own skin than a unified retrenchment on the part of the regime. If it was only the SPLM, Southern opposition party, that was not consulted — which, unfortunately, seems more likely — then this bit of policy-making is yet another signal of the SPLM’s marginalization within the halls of power in Khartoum — a dangerous development with elections scheduled for later this year.