Category Archives: Nuba Mountains

The Economic Crisis in Sudan and Revolution

This week, Sudan offered to admit humanitarian aid into South Kordofan and Blue Nile under certain (unacceptable) conditions, including only allowing organizations approved by the regime to distribute the aid. The conditions for the admittance of aid offered by the Sudanese are clearly both a delaying tactic and a barely veiled attempt to weaken the position of the SPLM-North and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) which have been able not only to hold off the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) but to soundly defeat them on the field of battle.

The Khartoum Regime is facing a slew of crises that are building upon one another.

First, the independence of South Sudan took with it the vast majority of the oil resources.

Second, the battle of Heglig resulted in two major losses for Sudan, even after South Sudan returned control of Heglig to Sudan. The flow of oil out of Heglig from Sudanese sources was greatly reduced due to damage to the installation there and the flow of oil through the pipeline from South Sudan was completely shut off, virtually eliminating the two primary sources of income for Sudan. This has led directly to an even bigger problem.

Third, the resulting economic crisis is forcing changes that do significant damage to the ability of the Khartoum regime to maintain power.

  • It can no longer provide subsidies for gasoline and food that keep the populace happy. It has already eliminated the gasoline subsidy and may be forced to lessen or eliminate food subsidies as well as a result of pressure on the prices due to hyper inflation. It is one thing to offer $2 worth of bread for $1 and something entirely other to offer $10 worth of bread for $1. As the real price increases, the subsidy becomes untenable.
  • It can no longer borrow large sums of money even from China because the fear of hyper inflation is so great that nations are concerned that the loans would not be repaid at all or would be paid back at pennies on the dollar. Without oil flowing through the pipeline, Sudan can’t borrow money.
  • It can no longer support the bureaucracy necessary to maintain a police state. The cost of maintaining a fighting force substantial enough to hold off rebel groups on multiple fronts, maintain a deterring presence on the South Sudanese border in disputed territories, and maintain control in the streets in the center of the country is immense. As the need for police support in the interior of the nation increases, the Khartoum Regime will have no choice but to abandon the periphery or offer significant compromises to the internal opposition groups.

The implications of this choice are profound. The regime has a choice of how to weaken, but not to avoid weakening. It can try to maintain some control by ceding some power to the internal opposition, hoping to quell rioting, or it can risk a complete collapse by defending the periphery while continuing to fight in the center as well. The choice would appear obvious except for one problem.

No matter who will run the country in the near future, there will be overriding economic problems. Let us imagine for a moment that the regime would collapse and the SRF would take over the entire country after a major fight. The nation, emerging from this conflict, would have extremely limited financial resources and millions of people facing food insecurity. The oil industry would take time to build up. The new government would need to devote substantial resources to maintaining security and much of the Arab wealth would flee the country in fear of the new regime. Sudan could become a failed state in rapid fashion with a resulting humanitarian crisis dwarfing the current problems facing the nation.

While there is hope for positive change in Sudan and the revolts occurring right now are a good sign that it might happen. Things could easily take a turn for the worse. This is a regime that has committed genocide already. To imagine that it could not use extreme violence against protesters would be delusional.

The best case scenario at this point would be for the Khartoum regime to willingly go into exile while a regime that includes the SRF, if not one led by the SRF, would work with willing parties in Khartoum to create a peaceful transition of power that allows for immediate and  massive international investment in Sudan and in the border region of South Sudan, enabling the rapid growth of oil related income for the two nations.

Let us hope for a peaceful transition of power that leads to rapid economic growth. Anything else may not be enough for hundreds of thousands of people in Sudan and South Sudan who are already struggling to survive.

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/.

 

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.