Category Archives: South Sudan

The Grave Situation in South Sudan – Updated

This is the most up to date information, we have as of Jan. 6, 2014 at 8:15 am Central Time.

  1. (Jan. 6) Pres. Omar Bashir of Sudan is meeting with Pres. Salva Kiir of South Sudan in Juba today to discuss the crisis.
  2. (Jan. 5) The Government of South Sudan is fighting to retake Bor from the rebels.
  3. (Jan. 5) A General in the South Sudan Army, Abraham Jongroor Deng, was killed in an ambush.
  4. (Jan 5.) Peace negotiations are scheduled to begin today with the sole agenda item of ending hostilities. The rebels are refusing to come to the table until the leaders arrested on December 16 are freed and allowed to come to the talks.
  5. (Jan. 5) Report of fighting ongoing in Unity State.
  6. (Jan. 4-5) Reports of gunfire or even “heavy fighting” occurring at points during the evening and night in or near military barracks in the capitol, Juba, and in Yei, a town on the Ugandan border. No reliable information is available as to the nature or extent of the gunfire or fighting. There is an unconfirmed report that soldiers in Yei may have defected to the rebel side (@ougasam).
  7. (Jan. 3) The US has evacuated most embassy personnel from Juba.
  8. (Jan 3) Reports are that the South Sudan Army was ambushed on the way to Bor suffering significant casualties. Riek Machar stated that the rebels will reach Juba soon.
  9. The South Sudan Army will again attempt to retake Bor and confront the White Army there instead of Juba.
  10. If the White Army wins in Bor, Juba may be attacked soon afterwards. The distance is not far.
  11. If the White Army fails in Bor it will be because thousands have been killed.
  12. If Juba is attacked, many more thousands will be killed.
  13. Uganda will become involved much more substantially if the threat against Juba increases. Right now Uganda is largely on the sideline. Museveni will not allow Juba to fall without engaging in the fight and using the full weight of his military including air power.
  14. This conflict seems to have begun with a power struggle within the leadership of the SPLM.
  15. Whether or not there was a coup in process at the start of this conflict (Riek Machar denies it), there is now an insurrection involving several military leaders and demands for the ouster of the President under threat of violence at the hands of the military. By definition there is currently a coup attempt in process, though the scope of this event makes that term irrelevant. This is on the scale of a civil war involving thousands, if not tens of thousands, of soldiers on both sides. East African leaders will not accept a coup in South Sudan.
  16. Riek Machar has said that he only wants to run in the next elections. However, at this point, he is leading a rebel group seeking to take over the country.
  17. Several leading figures of the SPLM are currently being held under arrest including former party leader Pagan Amum.
  18. No oil will flow from South Sudan until the conflict ends and foreign workers can return to work.
  19. Unmanned wells will deteriorate rapidly and require significant reconstruction before long, resulting in a major delay, perhaps months long, for the renewal of the oil flow and costing the nation billions of dollars in revenue resulting in a certain economic crisis following even an immediate end to this crisis and a worsening one the longer it continues.
  20. The only possibility of democracy returning to South Sudan in the near future: i.e. months, not weeks, would be for the sides to agree to a cease fire soon. The longer this conflict goes on and the more people die, the worse the animosity will be afterwards and the more difficulty it will be to work together in a democratic nation.
  21. Ethnic based killings and other human rights violations have occurred.
  22. The refugee situation in South Sudan is extreme with tens of thousands of people displaced and existing refugee camps in areas of conflict.
  23. Peace talks in Ethiopia have just begun. Failure of the peace talks will have catastrophic consequences.
You may be interested in reading Dr. Eric Reeve’s extensive analyses exploring the issues: Riek Machar’s possible end game and asking whether or not South Sudan has passed the tipping point.

Important words by Dr. John Garang about Peace

Dr. John Garang de Mabior

Dr. John Garang de Mabior

This is from a speech given by Dr. John Garang on the occasion of the signing of the Nairobi Declaration, June 5, 2004. Dr. John’s words need no commentary. They are obviously applicable to the events ongoing today in both Sudan and South Sudan:

There are many – here and elsewhere – who think that peace is about job allocation, is about apportionment of positions of authority, is about lining pockets through misuse or abuse of public assets, or is about lording it over others. Those who thus think must be reading from a different script than mine.

We have more supreme goals and loftier ideals and alternatives. My script reads that peace is what people think and believe peace should hold for them. Peace to my mind and in the depth of my soul is a promise of better living to the young, the middle aged and the aged, to each individual, to the unemployed and the destitute, to the sick and the unlettered, all over Sudan. It is also a promise to the men and women of Southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile, Abyei, Eastern Sudan and other marginalized areas of Sudan who suffered in dignified silence the loss of their dear ones in the war of liberation or who felt and still do feel a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, a promise that we shall never betray the cause for which those martyrs have made the ultimate sacrifice. And theirs is a cause for better and more honorable living.

It is also a promise to martyrs and to those who lost their dear ones on the other side,

promise that just and honorable peace

shall heal all the wounds

that we have inflicted

on ourselves on both sides.

Dissolution and Rebuilding

Those of us who have been involved with Sudan related issues for a decade or longer feel some anxiety about the decision by President Salva Kiir of South Sudan to dissolve the government and restructure it, removing numerous key leaders. However, we also know well, it was obvious in fact, that the government as it had been constituted was incapable of functioning as South Sudan needed it to function. Whether this was because there was infighting among leaders or because people had been appointed to positions based upon what they did during the long war rather than based upon their ability to direct the ministries to which they had been appointed, we do not know. We do know that the people of South Sudan have seen corruption proliferate and conflict spread while the needs of the average citizen in many parts of the country have gone largely unmet.

We also know that while things could improve quickly under the right circumstances, it is all too easy for them to deteriorate as well. At this moment, there is a significantly increased military presence in the streets of Juba and there are heightened fears of conflict between the Dinka and the Nuer, the two largest tribes, with the former Vice President Machar a Nuer. There are also many voices praising Kiir’s decision, hoping for new faces in the government with reduced corruption. Machar himself is calling for calm while criticizing the Kiir’s decisions.

For the health of South Sudan moving forward, a true multiparty political system that encourages healthy policy debate is absolutely essential. The fact is that right now, the SPLM is so dominant that free debate is difficult to achieve and tends to occur within the party itself where dissenters are criticized or even ostracized, something not helpful to the advancement of the nation on the whole. In other countries, Kiir, Machar, and Pagan Amum might well lead two or three different political parties, offering criticism of one another while promoting different solutions to the problems faced by the nation. Perhaps, this is the direction in which the nation is headed, something that would be beneficial in the long run.

Our fervent hope is that the rebuilt government will be more effective at creating prosperity and renewing hope for the people of South Sudan. Only time will tell if our hope will come to pass.

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.

Americans Exerted “Extreme Presure”

According to South Sudan’s Chief Negotiator, Pagan Amum:

It is true that the Government of South Sudan and the negotiating team, including myself personally as a chief negotiator were subjected to extreme pressure from the Americans, British, the Norwegians…and they were forcing us to give away the resources of South Sudan.

This is according to an article in the Sudan Tribune. Amum further accused the international community of siding against South Sudan on borders as well as oil. The South Sudanese Chief Negotiator continued saying that:

They were telling us…if Khartoum is taking your oil, let them take it. Continue to pump the oil. [But] When we told them the people of South Sudan have the right to own their resources and if Khartoum is taking their oil, then we will stop the flow, they said no, no.

Worse, the deal has now turned South Sudan into a major donor to Khartoum. South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, stated that the deal ” has unfortunately left a huge gap of oil revenues lost to Khartoum.” According to Vice President Machar:

South Sudan will continue to lose 17% of its total oil revenues every year for the next three and a half years.

Additionally:

South Sudan will also lose $4.97 billion of debt relief which Khartoum owed South Sudan, but is now pardoned per the agreement. There will also be an additional cash grant of $3.03 billion to be paid by South Sudan to Khartoum to improve on its economy.

Thus, it appears to be the case that the genocidal actions of the Khartoum regime are totally irrelevant and that the international community, including the United States government, is working hard to support the continued strength of the murderous and tyrannical Khartoum regime by ensuring needing cash flows while negotiating against the interests of the democratic and free nation of South Sudan. If Pagan Amum and Riek Machar’s statements are remotely trustworthy, IN-justice has been served.

Dr. John Garang’s Vision by Yassir Arman

Dr. John Garang’s Vision is the Only Game in Town for the Welfare of the Sudans
Tomorrow the 30th of July, as we commemorate the memory of Dr. John Garang and celebrate his life and contribution as well, he would be one of the rare Sudanese who can be honored on the divide of both countries and by many Northern and Southern Sudanese and by Muslims and Christians. He was and he is above the divide being ethnic or geographical, and he had crossed many areas on this great divide. And as we all know, Dr. Garang was his vision, the vision of the “New Sudan”, a vision that was essentially and in essence based on the commonality of the Sudanese historical and contemporary and what brings the Sudanese together in the past, present and future, the peaceful co-existence and the common wealth that respects diversity of all forms.
Today Dr. Garang is not around, but his vision never dies. In actual fact, South Sudan and North Sudan they cannot do much without his vision. They are both very diverse and the massive majority of the two countries are marginalized and only the vision of the New Sudan can deliver peace, food, democracy and stability. Both countries cannot achieve progress without true recognition of their diversities in a true democratic state that respects human rights, the rule of law and accountability, builds a caring society that would address the issues of marginalization including women’s rights and taking “towns to people, not peoples to towns”, the famous jargon of Dr. Garang. The two countries are in need of such a great vision.
Dr. Garang was a true democratic Pan Africanist who believed in the unity of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town and as charity starts at home, he was for the unity of Sudan and he made the biggest attempt to preserve that unity on a new basis against all odds. Now as we have two Sudans, the vision of Dr. Garang remains valid and needed by both countries, and it is also valid to re-unite Sudan, a unity between two independent viable countries and democratic states that share the same values. The present situation full of challenges and liabilities that can be changed into assets requires a huge work and struggle by all democratic forces in the two countries. Areas such as Blue Nile and South Kordofan can be and they should be a role model of economic and social integration between the two countries given the historical and social ties as well as the rest of the border states between the two countries.
As we commemorate and celebrate the life of Dr. Garang by those who are from Northern Sudan, for us Dr. Garang is a true son of Northern Sudan as well as of South Sudan. He is a point of link between the two countries and a great hero of our lifetime, and in my humble opinion, he was the most important Sudanese personality in the last century, and it will take both Sudans fifty to one hundred years to bring a wonderful charismatic leaders such as him, full of sense of humor and intelligence, a real human being. The good news is that his vision remains valid and never dies. In fact, it is the only game in town for both Sudans.
Yasir Arman
July 29, 2012

A Sickeningly Happy Smile

I don’t know about you, but I feel sick when I look at the picture of Omar Bashir’s beaming smile as he shakes hands with Salva Kiir. Bashir looks like a child who has just been told that if he shakes this man’s hand, he gets to go to Disney World. I can’t help but wonder how either man could smile at the other, much less beaming like that. Bashir is a war criminal.

Then again, looking at the situation in which both men find themselves, if they have made any progress toward an oil transfer agreement, how they can smile might actually be understandable. South Sudan’s economy is in a shambles and is only deteriorating faster as the days pass and oil does not flow. Without oil flowing, right now South Sudan is closer to becoming a failed state than prospering one. Salva Kiir is in jeopardy of becoming the leader who ran South Sudan out of business.

But Sudan is not much better off. It’s economy is in a free fall and subsidies which were essential in placating the masses so that they would not rise up against the Khartoum Regime have had to be removed. There are mass protests in the streets. Foreign governments and investors would not think about investing in Sudan or even loaning it money. In addition to the protests, rebel groups in the west, south, and east all are challenging it and the ones in the south are fighting, fairly successfully, for control over the last oil reserves the nation possesses. Opposition parties have gained enough momentum to publicly challenge the ruling party and there is for the first time in a long time, a reasonable hope for regime change.

Thus, the smile, that sickeningly happy smile.

Peace and a renewed flow of oil solve the major problems that both men face. Sudan needs it badly. South Sudan is probably in as good a negotiating position as it could hope for. Khartoum can’t afford to delay the opening of the spigot. So, a tentative agreement that allows the oil to flow.

“We’ll deal with the border region later. No one attack the other. We both need the money.” That is the obvious discussion. Mutual butt-saving.

In South Sudan, Salva Kiir will be able to fulfill promises for his suffering people and things will dramatically improve. Peace will bring massive investment and growth. The economy in the South could boom. The people will be vastly better off in the short run especially. Kiir’s butt saved.

But this will certainly put a damper on change in Sudan. The Khartoum Regime will strengthen. The inevitable collapse will not merely be delayed for a bit, but perhaps it will no longer be inevitable at all. Bashir’s butt saved.

The return of subsidies will quell demonstrations. In Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan, there will be a newly strengthened Sudanese Armed Forces and police presence. Opposition leaders will suddenly become silent, at least the ones who do not go missing. Things could get a lot worse.

I know that it is a stretch to read to much into the smile of a consummate liar, but I just get the feeling that he’s not lying. Bashir seems genuinely happy. That makes me sick.