Category Archives: Darfur

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.

Nyala Situation Statement by Hawa Salih – Human Rights Activist

To the U.S. government, international organizations, humanitarian and human rights organizations, UN agencies, international activists both regions, honorable people of the free world.

Since the exit of the British from Sudan in 1956, crises have followed, from the handover of the territory which included shooting those Sudanese with an open mind, to slaughter in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile in the eighties, and then Eastern Sudan in the early nineties. Then came another manifestation of the crisis, the worst human disaster of the 21st century, genocide, the killing and displacement of innocent people, the burning of villages, the rape of women, systematic ethnic cleansing and the looting all the wealth of the people of Sudan. All this was done for the benefit of a specific category of citizens and the resulted in the marginalization of the vast majority of the Sudanese people by criminals, the National Congress.

What happened on Sunday, July 29 and Monday, July 30st, 2012 was a repeat of the same kind of ethnic assault, reminiscent of the genocide in Darfur in 2003.

Evidence of what happened in the city of Nyala, after thousands of school students and civilians, the majority of the city, went into the streets in protest, demanding their legitimate rights and against the rise in commodity prices. But the State Government of Nyala and the security services including the police and military security service fired live ammunition against the demonstrators, killing thirteen students and civilians and wounded more than eighty innocent people. They also arrested fifteen students who are now missing.

Those who care about all of the displaced persons and refugees, women and children, the trodden upon victims of Darfur, and all of the women among the margininalized Sudanese reject and condemn in the strongest terms the use of violence against the demonstrators. We demand a prompt investigation into these crimes and hold the perpetrators accountable while protecting civilians.

We call for a change from the bloody regime, which has killed far too many sons and daughters of the Sudanese people and to say to the Government of Sudan that

1 – The blood of the martyrs of innocent women and children will be met with justice.

2 – They must respect the will of the people and their human dignity.

3 – The people must be allowed freedom of expression and the right of demonstration guaranteed in all international and domestic laws.

4 – The indomitable will of the people will overcome suppression by the power of any one person or group.

5 – We call for the international community and the US Government to take bold positions on behalf of the innocent civilians in Sudan, especially Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile.

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.

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.

 

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.

Sudan, SPLA-N, and JEM

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.

Things are not Good in Darfur

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.