Category Archives: Blue Nile

South Sudan working with Japan on New Oil Pipeline

According to an article in the Sudan Tribune, Japan and specifically the Toyota Corporation will work with South Sudan to construct and oil pipeline through Kenya. If the project comes to fruition, it would radically alter the dynamic in play now. Sudan faces sanctions and numerous other limits to its income. Transit fees collected from South Sudan for oil shipped through its pipeline to Port Sudan constitute a major source of income that among other things allows the government to pay its security forces and purchase weaponry.

The simple fact is that the more that oil flows through Port Sudan, the more blood will flow in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur.

Fighting, as Sudan does, is expensive and the oil revenue is essential to maintaining the fight. Of course, building the new pipeline will take years, not weeks or months, and the suffering in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Darfur will continue.

Meanwhile, the more that Sudan works with Iran with Iran providing the Khartoum Regime both income and weaponry, the more that other nations will be willing to work with the rebel groups and to support South Sudan in its disputes with the north. With every attempt to subdue the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces that fails and results in both the death of soldiers fighting only for a paycheck and in the capture of additional military assets to be used by the SRF against the state, the situation worsens for Sudan. With every child who dies of starvation in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, the more well motivated and committed rebel troops there will be fighting against the Khartoum Regime. The strategic situation for Sudan is not a good one now and if the oil pipeline is actually developed through Kenya, it may prove to be the coup de grace against the Khartoum Regime.

All of this is yet far off, however. There is much work to do now to save innocents lives threatened by the hands of the genocidaires in Sudan.

Sudan – The Failing Economy and The Future

Over the past few months, I have written several articles dealing with the state of the Sudanese economy and implications for the ongoing conflicts in which Sudan is involved. I wrote in October about ongoing attempts to bail out the Sudanese government in direct contradiction to the sanctions imposed upon it for its genocidal actions, but I wrote as early as May and  June that the economic situation will eventually have a major impact on Sudan’s ability to maintain its military or to avoid uprisings in the streets. Economically, things have gotten much worse in the months since. Professor Eric Reeves wrote a lengthy description of the economic situation faced by the Sudanese government in which he detailed an array of major problems. I encourage you to read the full article, but wish to highlight here some of what Professor Reeves describes. He notes that:

  1. Sudan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world which makes business investment there very difficult and expensive to conduct as well as causing resentment and distrust.
  2. Sudan is one of the worst performing economies in the world. There is negative economic growth in Sudan. The economy is getting smaller at a rate of -11.2% per year.
  3. Inflation is sky-high. In October the official rate was 45.3%. Meaning that next year, everything will cost nearly one-and-a-half times what it does right now. The inflation rates for food and fuel are much worse than that. As bad as this is, Reeves notes that in September, the official rate was listed at 42% but some suggest that the actual rate was closer to 65%.
  4. The Khartoum Regime has sold off much of its oil assets in order to pay current bills.
  5. Anti-regime protests forced Khartoum to reinstate fuel subsidies that the World Monetary Fund demanded that it end so that Sudan’s currency market could stabilize.
  6. The Sudanese government is now printing money to service its increasing debt resulting in both inflation in prices and devaluing of its currency. One US Dollar now is exchanged for 6.5 Sudanese Pounds in the black market compared with 5 pounds earlier this year.
  7. Sudan has limited foreign currency reserves and thus is facing a situation in which it is forced to use its own devalued currency to purchase needed items in foreign markets including the 400,000 tons of Sugar it imports each year.
  8. Arab governments are reticent to offer financial backing to the regime. Only Qatar (and I would add, probably Iran) has offered aid. Claims to the contrary about large deposits in the Central Bank of Sudan actually diminish the regimes credibility and therefore credit with other nations and exporters.
  9. Future prospects of oil income are far more limited than they once were with most of the oil reserves located in South Sudan. In April, 2012 Sudan was actually listed as a net oil importer by the International Monetary Fund meaning that it uses more oil than it produces.
  10. Agricultural land has been poorly managed or destroyed and Sudan no longer has sufficient native agriculture to meet national food needs.
  11. A huge percentage of Sudan’s gross domestic product GDP is going to pay for military operations. These bills are being paid in Sudanese Pounds which are being devalued. Thus soldiers who are being paid the same wages each month are seeing the value of what they are being paid diminish. With 50% inflation, someone paid $3000 per year is now being paid the equivalent of $2000. That is going to promote resentment and could spell the collapse of the regime’s efforts to defend itself.
  12. Political support is weakening along with increasing resentment among those who work for and support the regime.

Professor Reeves concludes:

Despite the already acute and growing danger of complete economic implosion, the regime persists with immensely expensive and unproductive policies, including war in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, as well as hostile actions along the North/South border, and the supplying of renegade militia groups inside South Sudan.  For a regime that is ruthlessly survivalist, this makes no rational sense: current economic realities are diminishing the chances that the regime will survive.

The world needs to stand up to the Khartoum Regime and force it to change its ways or leave power, not only for the benefit of the greatly suffering peoples in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile, but also for the sake of Sudan itself and its population held hostage by an irrational, destructive, and hate-filled regime.

Protesters in Nyala Attacked and Killed

Radio Dabanga reports that a protest against rising commodity prices in the Southern Darfur city of Nyala was met by teargas and gun fire. Medical authorities report eight killed and fifty wounded, nine of whom are in critical condition. The killed include one child, six students, and a businessman according to the report. The students had, during the course of the protest, attacked and burned two police stations, a gas station, and the administration of education building in Nyala. Other reports insist that there were many more casualties in Nyala so the figures may change.

The news from Nyala comes on a day when reports have been received from people in Blue Nile of bombardment of civilian areas. Help Nuba received a report that the SPLM/N spokesperson Arnu Nugutulu stated that the Sudan Armed Forces carried out air strikes in several places that led to the killing and injuring of approximately 14 people. Antonovs dropped 37 bombs on the villages of Aura, Baleila, Magaf, Aneeli and Dakka resulting in the death of three people and injuring eleven others. In addition to that, there is a loss of 30 cattle.

Sudan Says that It Accepts Humanitarian Access

Sudan today said that it will accept humanitarian access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile as long as there are observers from the African Union and Arab League to monitor it. The deal requires the immediate cessation of hostilities. Clearly this is the primary aspect of the agreement. The fact is that the regime cannot continue to fight a losing battle against the Sudan Revolutionary Front in South Kordofan while also facing severe economic troubles and protests in the streets.

It may well be necessary for there to be a ceasefire in the south so as to allow humanitarian access to save the tens of thousands of people whose lives are in jeopardy, but it is also clear that Sudan could not in the near term return to full scale combat readiness. The Sudanese government will need to shift finances from military to domestic spending and once that shift takes place, the SAF will be worse off against the SRF than it is today. This is great news if it actually happens, that Sudan lets in humanitarian aid, but even if it does not, the very fact that it is considering doing so is an indication that the resolve and ability of the regime to maintain its previous policies is significantly weakened.

Weekend of Nuba Leadership in Des Moines

On Saturday, the SPLM North held its first ever national conference in the United States here in Des Moines, Iowa. The conference was attended by SPLM-N leaders from across the United States as well as by leaders of the Blue Nile, Darfur, Beja and South Sudanese communities. Then on Sunday morning, the leaders came to Temple B’nai Jeshurun, where Help Nuba hosted them for breakfast.

 

Surgeon to Nuba to evaluate medical needs: Will blog here as often as he can.

Dr. Alan Koslow a Des Moines surgeon will be joining a team to evaluate and organize a newly formed refugee camp.  Three weeks ago a humanitarian disaster of almost unprecedented proportions began to occur.  A new refugee camp has sprung up with 30,000 refugees currently and an expected 40,000 to pass through shortly.  1,000 are joining the camp daily, which has no  sanitation, shelter, safe water, food or medical care. Team Rubicon , an organization of veterans dedicated to international and national disaster relieve, is organizing the mission at the request of International Medical Corps (IMC) .  The goal of the team, as the first NGO on site, will be to evaluate the situation and plan the response to this humanitarian disaster.  There will be sanitation, housing water, food and medical experts on the team.  Dr. Koslow will be responsible for evaluating the actual and potential medical problems and what will be needed to treat and prevent them.

The team will leave Monday June 25, 2012 and return July 15, 2012. The team will be headed by Team Rubicon board member Andrew Stevens.    Andrew Stevens works as the Alaska state planner for critical infrastructure and heads the security vulnerability assessment team for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Prior to this he worked as the community emergency planner for the division. A former U.S. Marine, he acted as an Assistant Operation Chief and react team leader for Tango 5/11 during the initial assault on Iraq in 2003. Dr. Koslow has nine international medical mission under his belt.  This includes Haiti ten days after the earthquake when he did 32 emergency operation but saved over 60 more non-surgical cases.

In addition to poverty South Sudan remains in conflict with Sudan over the border with both armed forces attacking each other’s territory. There are regular of exchanges of rockets and artillery fire between the south Sudan and Sudan armed forces. Sudan has also been accused of aerial bombings of South Sudan territory along the disputed border towns. The refugee camps have not experienced any attack but an out of target bombing incident by the north Sudan cannot be ruled out.

The refugee camp in South Sudan:

Maban, Upper Nile state, South Sudan refugee complex
Introduction:
Hofra refugee camp is located in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan.  It is a transit site (30 km from the disputed Sudan – south Sudan border) was set up in mid May in order to move refugees further away from the Sudan border of El-Fuj site (10 km from south Sudan border) due to security concerns. According to UNHCR, the transit site currently hosts 30,000 refugees who are on transit to other refugee camps of Batil, Doro and Jamam and are composed of Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, primarily fleeing from Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. The location is remote, flood prone and lacks adequate water. UNHCR also estimates that an additional 40,000 refugees will be crossing the border via El-Fuj to Hofra in the next few weeks.

The International Medical Corps:

IMC’s Background in South Sudan:
International Medical Corps began implementing programs in South Sudan more than a decade before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed. Early programs focused on delivery of primary and secondary health services, as well as the reduction of neglected tropical diseases including River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) and Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis) among others.
International Medical Corps works in rural and urban areas focusing on improving immediate and long-term health service provision. Their work in 49 primary and secondary health facilities impacts nine counties across four states on both sides of the Nile River. Through these and other structures, International Medical Corps serves more than 483,000 refugees, returnees, and other vulnerable populations with a fully integrated package of public health services such as primary health care (including maternal and child health), secondary health care, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, Water/Sanitation, and capacity building programs.
The civil war ended in 2005 with the signing of the CPA giving South Sudan autonomy and its people the right to self-determination through a referendum on independence after six years. The referendum took place in January 2011 and the Republic of South Sudan became a sovereign state on July 9, 2011. However, despite many successes under the CPA, South Sudan remains one of the most underdeveloped areas in the world.

Dr. Koslow will be available in Des Moines until 2 PM Sunday June 24, 2012.  He will also be blogging on his facebook page  http://www.facebook.com/alan.koslow and at the Blog Help Nuba  http://helpnuba.net/.

 

Weak Military Leads to Bombing and Starvation

Sudan’s economic woes coupled with regular losses by its ground forces and the increasing cohesion of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) have led directly to the Khartoum regime’s campaign to defeat the rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile through bombing civilians in the midst of harvesting crops, planting them, or working with livestock in an attempt to create a famine. It boggles the mind that United States is allowing Khartoum to pursue this tactic while hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk. The US must act with or without support from the United Nations. Consensus will never come and hundreds of thousands will die. Help Nuba!

Please read the SPLM-North’s urgent appeal if you have not.

Urgent Appeal from the SPLM-N Leadership

Urgent Appeal from the SPLM-N Leadership
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS ARE FACING IMMINENT DEATH IN SUDAN IN FRONT OF THE EYES AND EARS OF THE WORLD
It is now one year since war started by Khartoum in the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. Approximately half a million are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands have become refugees as a result of continuous aerial and ground bombardments for the entire year. Systematic policies by Khartoum and war indicted criminals, headed by General Bashir, use mass starvation as a weapon and genocidal militias, army and aerial bombardments against civil populations. General Bashir ignores the bleeding and the efforts to open access for humanitarian operations; refused the tri-partite proposal that was signed by the SPLM-N, the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League four months ago; and ignores the Security Council Resolution 2046 article 4, which urges him to agree to the tri-partite proposal.
Given the SPLM-N’s consultation in Addis Ababa in the first week of this month with the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the Chair of IGAD and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the US Special Envoy, the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League, it is evidently clear that Khartoum is not for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution that will open access for a humanitarian operation. At the same time, in the last three weeks, more massive displacement is taking place. Thousands of people are starving and thousands are crossing the borders as refugees into the Republic of South Sudan. More than 30,000 crossed the border from Blue Nile into the Republic of South Sudan in the last three weeks, and 500-700 are crossing on a daily basis from the Nuba Mountains to South Sudan. This has been reported by the UN and credible NGOs, the last being MSF.
The “on border operations” have no capacity to respond to this situation. Courageous politicians, human rights activists, journalists, NGOs and notable and prominent personalities from all over the world have voiced their concern and worries on the fate of hundreds of thousands who are facing imminent death by hunger or war crimes. Among them are late Congressman Donald Payne, Congressman Frank Wolf, Congressman Michael Capuano, Congressman Chris Smith, Congressman James McGovern, Congressman John Olver, Congressman Jim Moran, Congressman Al Green, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator John McCain, Senator John Kerry, Senator Chris Coons, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Roger Wicker, Baroness Caroline Cox, Martin Luther King III, Nick and George Clooney, Rev. Franklin Graham, Eric Reeves, Mukesh Kapila, John Prendergast, Nicholas Kristof, Greta Susteren, Ken Isaacs, Andrew Natsios, Roger Winter, Pam Omidyar, Tom Andrews, Ryan Boyette, Humanity United, the NAACP, Act for Sudan, American Jewish World Service, Enough Project, and United to End Genocide. These are among many and we regret being unable to mention all strong voices that are giving hope to the Sudanese people and especially the displaced and the refugees.
Access had not been allowed by General Bashir, bombardment is continuing and people are dying from hunger, the rain has started and there is no clear plan to respond to the situation. We appeal and urge the friends of Sudan everywhere to combine their efforts to implement article 4 of the UN Security Council Resolution by contacting the Security Council and by pursuing every possible avenue that will put pressure on General Bashir to agree to the tri-partite proposal and to open access for humanitarian assistance, which is a human right for those who are affected, and failing to allow access is a war crime.
The SPLM-N would like to reiterate its commitment again for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2046 and we indeed submitted our proposal for a roadmap for implementation when we recently met the Chair of the AUHIP, former President Thabo Mbeki, and the Chair of IGAD, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who have been tasked by the Security Council to implement the Resolution. Moreover, we are ready for an immediate cessation of hostilities on humanitarian grounds to create a conducive environment for a humanitarian operation.
Yasir Arman
Secretary General, SPLM-N
June 14, 2012

SPLM-N Seeks a Humanitarian Ceasefire

The SPLM-N would like to sign a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Of course, the Khartoum Regime will not agree to this because it has been working hard to create the famine in the first place by bombing civilians working in fields and making it impossible to plant crops. The regime in fact, believes that it can force the SPLM-N to disarm by creating such a horrendous famine that the SPLM-N will lay down its arms in the hope of bringing relief to the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Meanwhile, the international community has thus far refused to place enough pressure upon Khartoum to relent and to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered or to work toward sending that aid through South Sudan into the region. Famine and the rainy season are the friends of Khartoum. Those who wish to deliver humanitarian aid to the starving civilians are their enemies.

Blue Nile Situation is Worsening Rapidly

The UN says that it is “alarmed” by the dramatically increasing flow of refugees from Blue Nile into South Sudan.  António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that:

Not only are refugee numbers suddenly much higher, but the condition that many of these people are in is shockingly bad. Some have been eating tree leaves to survive along the way…Despite the rain, this is an area where there’s simply not enough safe drinking water; This, and the security situation, makes it all the more urgent that people are relocated fast to better protected places.

With the world’s attention focused on the talks between Sudan and South Sudan, in recent days, Sudan has expelled NGOs from eastern Sudan, has worsened the situation in Darfur (see a village burned down and acting to worsen the medical situation in Zam Zam camp), and continues to threaten the populations of South Kordofan and Blue Nile where the famine is worsening with each passing day.