Some time ago, I discussed a rather sober assessment of South Sudan’s economy. It appeared that Sudan would be able to continue fighting and that South Sudan would be unable to do so. However, a new assessment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) offers a new perspective. Sudan is facing “daunting challenges.”
The IMF noted that Sudan lost 75% of its oil reserves when South Sudan became a nation. Without the production from Heglig, Sudan would be in catastrophic economic trouble, but it is not in great shape now. In a posting from a couple of weeks ago, I noted something that has become much more significant. I said that:
While having the upper hand, Sudan should be somewhat concerned. Yes, it has substantially more financial resources to commit to war, but it will also have to spend those resources at a much higher rate to prosecute a war, even a defensive one. The difference in the motivation of the soldiers is paramount. The Sudanese soldiers would be fighting for money to support their families. Sudan is going to have to pay its soldiers substantially to motivate them.
If Sudan’s economy is in bad shape, then this dynamic becomes exceedingly important. Sudan will begin to see desertions from its armed forces and certainly from mercenary groups that it supports. People fighting for money will stop fighting when the money stops flowing or if the tide of battle turns against them. One cannot support a family if he dies. Thus, such soldiers are much more likely to abandon the fight if it gets difficult. People fighting for survival and people fighting for freedom will continue to fight. If in South Sudan and perhaps soon after, the SPLA-North, were to put anti-aircraft weaponry in the field of battle, removing the massive advantage of Sudan, the tide of the entire war could change.
In the meantime, regardless of the fighting, there are people starving in South Kordofan and Blue Nile with the rainy season rapidly approaching. That is a battle the people of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile cannot afford to lose.
Sudan has agreed to withdraw the Sudan Armed Forces troops from Abyei. This is a good step toward settling the issues of the border territories.
Sudan is accusing South Sudan of supporting the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North in South Kordofan and the Justice and Equality Movement in southern Darfur. This was obviously going to be the strategy of the government of Sudan when the UNSC made the absence of support part of the proposal. I wrote about this issue for Help Nuba on May 1st. I wrote at that time that:
As for ceasing to harbor or support rebel groups, it will be impossible to confirm compliance. If these groups continue to act on their own, the appropriate governments will be accused of supporting them regardless of whether or not they actually offer material or any other type of support. In addition, remember that the rebel groups in the south of Sudan are fighting for freedom against a genocidal government. The UN as an organization is supposed to support democracy. Yes, I know that this is farcical at this point, but to have an official policy that mandates that people combating genocide are not to be supported is at best wrong and at worst cruel and inhumane.
Nothing has changed in three weeks. Sudan is still trying to slaughter the people of South Kordofan and they are still fighting against the Khartoum regime. Neither side seems like it is going to stop anytime soon.
Posted in African Union, Darfur, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Khartoum, Nuba Mountains, South Sudan, SPLA, SPLA-N, SPLM, SPLM-N, SRF, Starvation, Sudan, United Nations, United States, UNSC
Eric Reeves, yesterday published an extensive analysis of the situation in Darfur, “Darfur in the still deepening shadow of lies,” which is well worth reading. Right now the situation seems to be one in which the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reports about the situation in a way that is almost exactly opposite that of the human rights organizations operating in the region. Reeves headlines his article on Darfur with words that should give you a good idea of what he found when he looked at the situation:
The United Nations continues with its cynical policy of “see no evil, hear no evil…report no evil” in Darfur. This institutional corruption, and active distortion of the truth, works to exacerbate massive human suffering and continuing destruction—with the growing risk that Darfur will be entirely eclipsed and engulfed in catastrophic violence.
Nabil al-Arabi, Arab League Secretary general was in Khartoum for talks with president Omer Hassan al-Bashir over the weekend. The Khartoum regime is seeking aid from the Arab League to combat potential sanctions applied by the US and United Nations failure to work with South Sudan. They haven’t said that explicitly, but it appears to be the truth. The Arab nations have consistently sided with Sudan against South Sudan and exert influence in the United Nations.
Sudan has reached security and peace agreements in the past few months with Chad, with the Central African Republic, and with the newly Ghaddafi-less Libya. It is certainly not a good thing that the newly freed people of Libya have as one of their first activities embraced Omar al-Bashir.
Meanwhile, the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan is being portrayed as one between the Arab world on the one side and South Sudan, Uganda, and Israel on the other. The Sudan Revolutionary Front, the group comprised of people from the Nuba Mountains and Darfur along with others who are persecuted by the Khartoum regime are treated as if they fight for others instead of the truth which is that they are fighting for their own peace, justice, and liberty. This is Sudan’s way of misdirecting the discussion and discouraging western support for the “rebel” groups.
In the meantime, with the focus of attention away from the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile and instead on preventing war between Sudan and South Sudan, the Khartoum regime will be able to continue its efforts to kill or expel the Blue Nile and Nuba peoples, Christians and Muslims, men, women, and children and with the approaching rainy season, the urgency grows rapidly.
Posted in Arab League, Blue Nile, Darfur, Heglig, Israel, Juba, Khartoum, Nuba Mountains, Omar Bashir, South Sudan, SPLA, SPLA-N, SPLM, SPLM-N, Sudan
Thabo Mbeki of the African Union met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir to discuss arranging negotiations with Sudan. South Sudan’s response, “Sure, let’s meet.” Sudan’s response, “No, give us what we want to achieve in the negotiations as preconditions for negotiations and then we’ll negotiate.” You can read more about the meeting between Mbeki and Kiir here.
In other news, the United States has donated $30 million to the UN World Food Program to address food insecurity in South Sudan. The donation will be delivered through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). While we have discussed the need to get food aid into the Nuba Mountains before the rainy season hits, there is also a major need to get aid to many regions within South Sudan. According to USAID’s press release:
Due to South Sudan’s poor road network, about 60 percent of the country will become inaccessible during the rainy season. This contribution helps WFP complete prepositioning of much-needed commodities across South Sudan, where roads will soon become impassable.
Meanwhile, Sudan and the UN have grossly differing estimates for the number of refugees from Sudan who are currently in neighboring countries. Sudan’s estimates are less than half of those of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Regardless, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese now reside in neighboring countries because of the inhuman conduct of the Khartoum regime in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, while hundreds of thousands more are internally displaced. Remember that the several hundred thousands Christian former citizens of Sudan have become “South Sudanese” in the eyes of the Khartoum government and are being pressured to leave. In addition, many thousands more in the border region of South Sudan have also been displaced because of Khartoum’s cross border bombing campaign and cross border raids.
Posted in African Union, Blue Nile, Christians in Sudan, Darfur, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Juba, Khartoum, Nuba Mountains, Omar Bashir, Salva Kiir, SPLA, SPLA-N, SPLM, SPLM-N, Starvation, Sudan, United Nations, United States, UNSC
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