Category Archives: United Nations

South Sudan Agrees to the Terms of the UNSC Resolution

South Sudan’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor Kuol said that South Sudan would follow the terms of the resolution. He stated:

It is my privilege to reaffirm to you that, in compliance with the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council, the UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement, and in the spirit of our commitment to peace, my government ordered the withdrawal of our police force from Abyei Area on 28 April 2012. We expect the international community to exert efforts to ensure the immediate and complete withdrawal of Sudan Armed Forces from Abyei Area.

As acknowledged formally by the African Union, my government is already committed to the cessation of hostilities and the resumption of negotiations under the auspices of the African Union High Implementation Panel. We welcome the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council, and the commitment of the UN Security Council to the enhancement of the AUHIP led negotiations process through the active participation of the UN, the Chairman of IGAD and other international partners.

We appeal to the United Nations and its member states to urgently mobilize humanitarian assistance for the population affected by Sudan’s continuous aerial bombardment and ground incursions in northern states of South Sudan.

“African Ways” and Sanctions as “Extreme Measures”

The UN Security Council’s plan will likely accomplish little. Even if it does lead to Sudan and South Sudan returning to the negotiating table, it is unlikely to lead them to resolve the issues when they talk. For the Nuba Mountain people, the most important thing is what this resolution does not do. It does not help them. There is no threat against Sudan for acting against the people of South Kordofan or Blue Nile. The resolution is all about halting fighting between Sudan and South Sudan.

What is most disheartening to me, however, are the positions expressed by China and Russia as they spoke about the UNSC resolution. I find these statements to be appalling.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong said:

We are always very cautious about the use and threat of sanctions. China has all along maintained that African issues should be settled by the Africans in African ways.

“African issues?” “African ways?” What is this if not racism? I can see the point made in a discussion,

“They’ve always had tribal warfare and slaughtered each other.”

“Who are we to interfere?”

Of course, China nor the UNSC has interfered in the past. They have let millions die while nobly not interfering.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that:

The arsenal of political and diplomatic instruments for normalizing the situation has nowhere been exhausted. We consider sanctions as an extreme measure.

Sanctions? An “extreme measure” against a genocidal government whose leaders are wanted for war crimes by the ICC? Really??? “Extreme???” Is it more extreme than a government deliberately trying to starve a significant minority of its population to death or force them to flee the country amid an indiscriminate hail of bombs?

Not according to the Russian Ambassador or to the UNSC. The Sudan Tribune article tells us that:

The Russian ambassador said that sanctions should not be used in relation to conflicts in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where fighting has been raging since last year between Sudan’s army and rebels from Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) who want to topple to Khartoum government.

The resolution orders Khartoum and SPLM-N to cooperate with the mediation and use a June 2011 framework agreement as a basis for talks. The deal was signed by presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie only to be scrapped by Bashir himself later.

State of Emergency in the South of Sudan

Today, Omar Bashir declared a state of emergency in the southern part of Sudan. After numerous attacks by the Sudanese against South Sudanese forces over the past few weeks, this seems like an absurdity. Of course, there is a state of emergency in South Kordofan. The issue, however, is that the state of emergency has been caused by the Sudanese government, not just called that by it. Sudan is actively trying to starve the people in the region and those trying to counter the efforts to commit genocide in the region are deemed “rebels” thus “justifying” in some people’s minds the use of military force in the region, almost all of which is aimed at civilians. The region faces a famine deliberately caused by the government of Sudan which is not even willing to abide by the African Union proposal for a cessation of hostilities, a proposal which would all but ensure Sudan of the ability to continue its program of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the south. Hostilities would have to cease before Sudan would even need to consider shipping in humanitarian aid and when the rainy season arrives in force, it could simply delay such shipments for weeks or months, accomplishing its genocidal aim.

While the UN Security Council is going to be far more reasonable than the African Union at addressing the upcoming catastrophic famine and the military aims of the brutal Sudanese regime, the famine will only be prevented or even significantly lessened, if the UNSC decides to deliver humanitarian aid by any means necessary and not only through Khartoum or with the permission of Khartoum. Sudan rejects the proposal to bring the situation to the UNSC at all, preferring instead to have the ineffective African Union handle it alone. Meanwhile, South Sudan rejects the leadership of the African Union in trying to mediate the conflict, knowing full well that the African Union is biased in favor of Sudan. Beyond using its own army, Sudan is employing the Janjaweed and other brutal irregular forces to terrorize populations in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Abyei and even in South Sudan.

This article by Maury Clark puts it quite well:

Khartoum’s claim that both the Janjaweed in eastern Sudan and their equivalent in the RSS are not directly controlled by Khartoum is specious, but effective. Unless a direct tie to Khartoum can be proven, Bashir can arguably claim that he has no influence on their actions and their crimes against humanity.   HORSEHOOEY!

It is time to stop discussing the impending mass-scale tragedy and start to work on stopping it. The AU will be no help and the UNSC will not be a help unless it decides to act directly to save the civilians in Darfur and South Kordofan. We cannot rely on the African Union, much less upon the Government of Sudan, to help save the lives of the people in the Nuba Mountains. Let us get the food there! Help Nuba!

US worsens Sudan situation in UNSC

I wish I could have titled this blog posting, “United States uses its chairmanship of the UN Security Council to act to prevent genocide.” Unfortunately, I cannot. I’m stuck dealing with how to explain the United States’ support for the African Union proposal which

  • Defends Sudan,
  • A government that is well known to have committed genocide on a large scale in Darfur and
  • Is equally well known for its attempts to do so in South Kordofan and Blue Nile right now,
  • A government that is actively trying to starve tens of thousands of its own people in the Nuba Mountains, and is a proposal which
  • Demands that all aid going to the groups fighting those trying to commit the genocide must cease, and
  • Threatens sanctions against our friends, the South Sudanese people,
  • Unless they comply with the wishes of our enemy, the government of Sudan.

The United States has done just that introducing a resolution in the UN Security Council to this effect.

In addition, the UNSC under the direction of the United States is seeking to reduce the Darfur hybrid force as a result of “the improved security situation there.” Instead, UN undersecretary-general Herve Ladsous said, according to the Sudan Tribune article, that

Half of the infantry companies will be redeployed in East and South Darfur states which have seen an increase of attacks carried out by rebel groups who cross from South Sudan.

They are planning on using the African Union troops to combat those fighting the genocidal regime in defense of Sudan’s sovereignty.

The Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman indicated that he was happy about the downsizing of the UNAMID forces. A glowing endorsement from the representative of the genocidal regime is hardly reassuring that this is a good decision. Additionally, as Eric Reeves recently pointed out, reports of the improved situation in Darfur appear to be grossly exaggerated. US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice indicates that the reduction in UNAMID forces is not a downsizing, but a “right-sizing”, trying to get the appropriate forces in the right places. Somehow, fighting ones friends instead of fighting ones enemy does not seem like putting the forces in the “right places.”

That the United States would use its opportunity as President of the UN Security Council to take action against the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, the several rebel groups friendly to the United States who are united in trying to combat the genocidal anti-American regime in Khartoum, and to threaten South Sudan, another friend of the United States, if it tries to help the rebels is mind boggling.

Why is the United States aiding Sudan in its fight against the rebels and the South Sudanese who are our friends? Why are we not advocating for them? We do not help people who are facing genocide.

President Obama’s own Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, Samantha Power, in speaking about Bosnia, herself noted that:

No U.S. president has ever made genocide prevention a priority, and no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on.

More to the point, however, she noted something that eerily resembles the Obama Administration’s own position on the rebels in the southern part of Sudan. The Center on Law and Globalization in discussing Samantha Power’s argument about “Why the United States has Failed to Stop Genocide” notes that:

Once the killing starts, Americans tend to believe that if the civilians who are in danger just keep their heads down they will be left alone. After all, a “rational” regime would only be a threat to groups that threaten the government. Why waste time, effort and resources killing innocent people who pose no threat?

In other words, if the rebels stop fighting, the regime will stop attacking the civilians. Of course, in Sudan we have evidence that the Sudanese government deliberately targets civilians. The article goes on to cite the Armenian Genocide. This paragraph is frighteningly similar to what is happening in South Kordofan and the genocide against the Nuba people:

Henry Morgenthau Sr., U.S. ambassador to Turkey at the time, provided detailed and gruesome accounts of Turk atrocities against the Armenians to the U.S. government. However, the official line from Mehmed Talaat, Turkey’s interior minister, was that Turkish forces were merely responding to the threats of Armenian groups against the Turkish government. Civilians were not the targets.

Friends, it is time that we Help Nuba!

Blue Nile Residents are Under Attack

Human Rights Watch reported this week that citizens of Blue Nile state are under attack from Sudanese forces in a similar fashion as the residents of neighboring South Kordofan:

Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch in Blue Nile, which the government has largely shut off from the outside world, described indiscriminate bombings in civilian areas, killings, and other serious abuses by Sudanese armed forces since armed conflict broke out there in September 2011. The testimony indicates potential war crimes may have occurred.

The video below is posted by Human Rights Watch on Youtube. It contains descriptions of war crimes that are difficult to hear.

A History of Hypocrisy on Sudan

Eric Reeves’ most recent posting about the history of the international community’s hypocrisy in addressing the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan gives an excellent summary. I encourage you to read the whole thing. His conclusion, however, indicates why we must address this issue now more than ever:

Certainly the leadership in Juba has taken stock of what has transpired over the past ten days, and is even now re-calibrating what it can and cannot count on from the international community… The international community will no longer have the influence it had even a month ago.

Khartoum of course is also recalibrating its military policies, and the largest conclusion the regime has drawn is that it may continue its longstanding military policy of aerial attacks on civilian and humanitarian targets in the sovereign territory of South Sudan without meaningful consequences, and that it can continue is campaigns of annihilation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.  The regime has been persuaded, on the basis of ample evidence, that even South Sudan’s putative friends regard “sovereignty” as one thing for Khartoum and quite another for Juba.

It is hard to see a greater encouragement to war.

Groups ask UN Security Council to take escalated action against Sudan

From Act for Sudan

Groups ask UN Security Council to take escalated action against Sudan

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – April 24, 2012 – Today, in advance of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Sudan, Act for Sudan, a bipartisan, interfaith alliance of American and Sudanese grassroots advocacy organizations, is delivering to Members of the UN Security Council a public letter signed by human rights leaders in the U.S. and abroad.

The letter “expresses alarm at the inadequate international attention and action” regarding the multiple crises in Sudan and states that the government of Sudan has “effectively blackmailed the international community into accepting these ongoing crises by threatening to do even more deliberate harm to its marginalized, defenseless and displaced citizens.”

The 65 signatories to the letter include Sudanese diaspora groups and Baroness Caroline Cox signing on behalf of Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust.

“For too long, the government of Sudan has heard the international community express grave concerns without imposing consequences or enforcing UN Security Council resolutions. Worse, the international community’s concern too often devolves into a dangerous moral equivalency, blaming everyone and no one, and confusing perpetrators and victims,” the letter states.

“We urge you to end the moral equivalency, the impunity, and the crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide perpetrated by the government of Sudan, and to start imposing consequences for its actions. Condemnation is necessary but not sufficient. We strongly believe that only concrete, escalated action will change the calculations of Sudan’s government officials and break the pattern of grave crimes, human rights abuses and humanitarian crises,” continues the letter.

The groups further outline specific steps they want the UNSC to take in the letter.

The full text of the letter along with the list of signatories may be found at this link.

When Kiir Goes to China

With his country in the midst of renewed fighting with Sudan, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, went on a trip. He did not go on vacation, nor did he go to Washington or Jerusalem to visit South Sudan’s historical best friends. Salva Kiir went to Beijing to meet with China’s President, Hu Jintao. Because of the presence of a significant amount of oil in South Sudan, China is a strategic partner. However, because China also must maintain friendships with allies of Sudan, if not with the Khartoum government itself–also an oil supplier–it is not in a position to help Juba act against Khartoum. In fact, China has been the primary supporter of “Shut up and go to your rooms!” the UN Security Council’s policy on the conflict, basically telling Sudan and South Sudan to ignore their conflict, stop fighting, and let the oil flow. What South Sudan needs is for China to support sanctions on Khartoum, but that is unlikely to happen. Right now, the best that can happen is for China to oppose sanctioning both sides of the conflict and for it to invest in developing the oil resources of South Sudan in the long term.

Tobin and Cohen commentaries on the Jewish community and Sudan

Two very good commentaries to note today:

Jonathan Tobin wrote an article for Commentary Magazine in which he argued that President Obama and US policy should not abandon South Sudan. Tobin noted that US support and influence helped bring independence to South Sudan. He also pointed out that in the President’s speech given at the United States Holocaust Memorial yesterday, the President stressed “Never again!” Tobin noted that this sentiment now needs to be backed up. Will the United States stand idly by?

Ben Cohen wrote an article for the Jointmedia News Service in which he argued, as I do, that “South Sudan is a Jewish cause.” Cohen noted that:

Jewish communities around the world, and especially here in North America, need to flex their muscles in support of South Sudan. The ethical imperative is clear, as anyone following the brutal campaign waged by the Sudanese regime in the Nuba mountains in recent weeks would be aware.

I believe that not only is South Sudan a Jewish cause, but so is Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Abyei… We need to speak out. The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North is not a “rebel group,” but is instead similar to those fighting for survival in the ghettos in Europe. With an enemy killing them on site and using starvation as a tool, it is not rebels who rise up. All human beings rise up. We should stand in angry opposition to those who say, “Let them first lay down their arms!” May it not come to this:

The force that has overcome Europe and destroyed entire states within days could cope with us, a handful of youngsters. It was an act of desperation . . . We aspired to only one thing: to sell our lives for the highest possible price. 

– Mordechai Tenenbaum, resistance fighter in Vilna, Warsaw, and Bialystok

The Burning of the Church in Khartoum

General Bashir’s Racism and Promotion of Religious Hatred
are Behind the Burning Down of the Church in the Heart of Khartoum
In the last two weeks, General Bashir and his colleagues have used inflammatory language of racism and religious hatred against his own citizens and the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan, describing Southern Sudanese as insects. Later on, he tried to limit it to the Government of South Sudan, but he was much earlier exposed when he dehumanized and robbed half a million Southern Sudanese citizens from their rights. It is evidently clear that it is Southern Sudanese that he is targeting. Moreover, he used an old phrase of an Arabic poem against one of the black Egyptian rulers, which said that “you should not buy a slave without a stick.” This is not an insult to Southern Sudanese only, but it is in the first place an insult to Northern Sudanese in whose name Bashir is ruling. Moreover, it is an insult to humanity and a violation of all human rights and international charters. Likewise, it is an insult to the entire African continent and to black women and men worldwide, which includes all Northern Sudanese.
General Bashir is misreading and misjudging the recent international appeals to him and his government and he believes he is in a honeymoon with the international community. This is a recipe for disaster because it will encourage him to intensify war and human rights violations within the Republic of Sudan and to scale up the aggression against the Republic of South Sudan. He has already taken more than 500,000 civilians, displaced persons, in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile hostage, denying them from their very basic rights to humanitarian assistance, and moreover, he is bombarding them with his air force. He is encouraged that the situation of the hostages has been overshadowed with other crises. The policy of appeasement to Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, is the same policy of appeasement in a different context and environment that long ago created Adolf Hitler.
As a result of Bashir’s language of religious hatred and with direct encouragement and protection from the security and police in Khartoum, who are spoon feeding the fundamentalist groups; a religious group associated with the National Congress, burned down Algreaf Church, an evangelical church, in the heart of Khartoum. They looted the church and burned it down to ashes. This does not represent Islam and in particular the Sudanese Islam, which is a Sufi tolerant Islam. It only represents Bashir, his group and his ideology. This is an extension of what he is doing in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. The only difference is that it moved to Khartoum under his own eyes and protection. We call upon the Sudanese Muslims to stand against the policies of the National Congress and Bashir, who are destroying the very Sudanese social fabric, and we should defend the right of Sudanese Christians as equal citizens of our great country.
It is worth mentioning that the Sudanese security forces launched the biggest campaign detaining more than 30 of the SPLM-N leaders and members in the 15 different states of the North. Those are members of the SPLM-N who are not carrying arms and are working peacefully for what they believe in the areas controlled by Bashir. Among them are Izdhar Jmmua, a lawyer, and Alawya Kepada in addition to more than 200 who are missing, detained and are sentenced to death. Among them are the poet, Moniem Rahma, and Dr. Bushra Gamar and many others.
We, the Sudanese people, and all those who believe in the values of equal citizenship, human rights and religious and ethnic co-existence and those friends who are ready must stand against a racist delusional person who happens to be the president of a state and who is wanted by the International Criminal Court and is committing genocide and crimes against humanity that the world will live to regret. And in particular, the massive starvation policy that is putting more than 500,000 people on the brink of death must not be forgotten and humanitarian aid to them should be the number one priority. This is the SPLM-N’s message on my visit right now to the United States and we will leave no a stone unturned to deliver our message. The SPLM-N is ready to meet all requirements for the delivery of humanitarian aid including the cessation of hostilities on humanitarian grounds.
Yasir Arman
Secretary General
Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement North
April 24, 2012