Category Archives: United States

They Cry “Peace!” But There is No Peace.

Over the past couple of weeks, several developments have occurred, all of which are troubling. There is great fanfare in some parts of the world for the peace agreement between Sudan and South Sudan signed on September 27th. The Obama Administration welcomed the agreement, issuing a statement in which it declared:

The Sudanese and South Sudanese people who have suffered greatly through decades of conflict deserve the benefits of a lasting peace – a peace that can only be achieved through continued dialogue and negotiation, sustained implementation of the agreements reached to date, and steadfast work to resolve remaining issues…

The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have chosen to take another important step on the path away from conflict toward a future in which their citizens can live in dignity, security, and prosperity.

I find myself incredulous. This is a Sudan led by a man wanted by the International Criminal Court for committing genocide. In what possible reality can citizens of a nation led by such a man “live in dignity, security, and prosperity???” The Obama Administration is hoping for a time brough about by a peace agreement that is far too far off in the future for citizens of Sudan who are battling for their very survival in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Darfur and Beja.

Recently, Abdul Azziz Hilu, Malik Agar, and Yassir Arman, the leaders of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces SRF and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, were in Washington DC. To some extent, they were in the United States seeking help, most importantly humanitarian aid for the peoples of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, but to a greater extent, they were here in America seeking to promote the idea that democracy is possible in Sudan and that working to squash those advocating for it is not a good thing.

American policy, along with that of the UN and AU, right now could be described as “Peace between the Sudans, but not for all of the people of Sudan.” Dignity for Bashir, but not for the Nuba, not for Darfuris, not for the people of Blue Nile. Security for the National Congress Party, but not for people living in the refugee camps in Darfur or villages in South Kordofan, both of which were attacked by government forces or government backed forces within the past week.

I had the opportunity to speak with Commander Abdul Azziz Hilu, the leader of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces, this week. He phoned in to speak with some of our Help Nuba leaders to thank us for our efforts in speaking out against the genocidal regime in Khartoum and our efforts to bring the pro-Democracy people of Sudan together. He also told me that he had spoken with many leaders in Washington from all walks of life, diplomats, elected officials, along with intelligence and security officials and said that he did not feel like anyone really listened.

I believe that no little part of the problem is that the American diplomatic establishment believes that the pro-Democracy forces, the people from Darfur, Nuba, Blue Nile and Beja are incapable of working together with people from North and Central Sudan to create a nation in which the people truly are free. Instead there seems to be a belief  that the rebel movements who shout “Democracy and Freedom!” from bombed out villages are incapable of handling it, that the Darfuris, Nuba, and the others cannot cooperate off of the battle field.

Over the past few months, working with a wonderful group of people as part of Help Nuba and then in the creation of the United Sudanese And South Sudanese Communities Association USASSCA, I know that people from all across Sudan can work together, that the vast majority of the people want to see liberal values and freedoms put in place. The Sudanese in America cannot be that different from those in Sudan and they want to see Democracy as the basis of their government and want religious freedoms and rights for minorities and women. Why are we not working with those who want Democracy and share our values??? Let us give them a chance!

Instead, we demand that oil flow through Port Sudan that will support the oppressive regime of the dictator and we demand that support for the pro-Democracy movement in Sudan, the “Rebels”, cease, all  in the vain hope that appeasement of the dictator will stay his murderous hand, that a man who has orchestrated the slaughter of millions of innocents and is in the process of starving millions more will honor a peace agreement.

Explain this: We have imposed sanctions upon Sudan because of the genocide, but have demanded that South Sudan transport oil through Sudan providing Sudan will billions upon billions of Dollars worth of income which the regime will use to support oppression and murder. Sanctions? What sanctions?

I noted in an article published on this site in April that Samantha Power, a leading advisor to President Obama, described all too closely exactly what was going on then and what is going on today. I need to share the words of warning which I shared in April and which seem to be coming true.

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.

They cry “Peace!” But there is no peace. There will be no peace. There can be no peace until the oppression ceases. By promoting the financial well-being of Sudan and acting to discourage and impede pro-Democracy forces there, we may be saving lives on the battlefield in the short term only to sentence another generation to oppression and even genocide. It must stop. Sudan’s murderous oppression of the Nuba, the people of Blue Nile, and the people of Darfur is not a response to the rebellion.

The rebellion exists because of the oppression and the genocide. It is an attempt to combat both.

Those who are students of history know well that appeasing murderous dictators never works. “Never again!” means not repeating the mistakes of the past, ones which the world seems all too eager to repeat.

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.

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.

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.

Negotiations and Urgency

Thabo Mbeki of the African Union met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir to discuss arranging negotiations with Sudan. South Sudan’s response, “Sure, let’s meet.” Sudan’s response, “No, give us what we want to achieve in the negotiations as preconditions for negotiations and then we’ll negotiate.” You can read more about the meeting between Mbeki and Kiir here.

In other news, the United States has donated $30 million to the UN World Food Program to address food insecurity in South Sudan. The donation will be delivered through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). While we have discussed the need to get food aid into the Nuba Mountains before the rainy season hits, there is also a major need to get aid to many regions within South Sudan. According to USAID’s press release:

Due to South Sudan’s poor road network, about 60 percent of the country will become inaccessible during the rainy season. This contribution helps WFP complete prepositioning of much-needed commodities across South Sudan, where roads will soon become impassable.

Meanwhile, Sudan and the UN have grossly differing estimates for the number of refugees from Sudan who are currently in neighboring countries. Sudan’s estimates are less than half of those of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Regardless, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese now reside in neighboring countries because of the inhuman conduct of the Khartoum regime in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, while hundreds of thousands more are internally displaced. Remember that the several hundred thousands Christian former citizens of Sudan have become “South Sudanese” in the eyes of the Khartoum government and are being pressured to leave. In addition, many thousands more in the border region of South Sudan have also been displaced because of Khartoum’s cross border bombing campaign and cross border raids.

South Sudan to Receive Anti-Aircraft Weapons

The Sudan Tribune reports that General James Hoth Mai, the head of South Sudan’s military, said that South Sudan will soon be able to provide anti-aircraft weaponry to the nation’s military. It is likely that such weaponry would come by way of either Israel or the United States. As noted by Help Nuba yesterday,  South Sudan’s minister of agriculture and forestry, Betty Achan Ogwaro, is currently visiting Israel. It would make sense that as part of the mission, military assistance was discussed. Israel helped the people of South Sudan in the decades long civil war against the north.

Anti-aircraft weaponry would dramatically turn the tide of the conflict, particularly should any come into the hands of the SPLA-North which is stronger on the ground than the Sudanese Armed Forces, but is no match for Sudan’s air power. In fact, a significant threat that the SPLM-N might acquire such weaponry could well bring Sudan to the negotiating table.

This would be very good news for South Sudan if true.

Sudan Rejects UNSC Demand to Negotiate with SPLM-N

Sudan has is rejecting the UN Security Council’s demand to negotiate with the SPLM-North based upon a June, 2011 agreement. SPLM-N Secretary General Yasser Arman indicates that the SPLM-N has agreed to negotiate. A statement signed by him states that:

The entry point for the comprehensive peaceful settlement in Sudan is for the parties to address urgently and seriously the humanitarian crisis in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile immediately and to put into effect the tripartite agreement of the United Nations, African Union and the Arab League, which was signed by the SPLM-N long ago and avoided by Khartoum using different tricks to buy time. And in this regard, the SPLM-N is ready for a humanitarian cessation of hostilities that will enable the UN, African Union and Arab League to implement their proposal.

Sudan’s leader Omar Bashir, no doubt feels that since Sudan seems to currently have the upper hand in international opinion to force South Sudan to abandon support of the SPLM-N, it is time to increase Sudan’s military operation against the SPLM-N rather than to negotiate. In response to this decision by Sudan, the United States may push for sanctions against Sudan. However, there is little to no chance that sanctions will pass the UNSC as both Russia and China are likely to veto any such resolution.