Category Archives: UNSC

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.

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

Sudan Pledges to Fight “Food Smuggling”

The level of incompetence being exhibited by the United Nations in response to events in Sudan is so high as to render absurd any consideration of the organization as effective at saving lives or useful at promoting peace. A few days after ordering South Sudan to retreat from Heglig and demanding that South Sudan not aid the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North, which it already said it was not doing, the UN is observing the consequences. Sudan has pledged to continue to prevent food from reaching the tens of thousands of starving people who are fighting against a government that is trying to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing against them. Actually, Sudan is arguing that it is attempting to prevent food smuggling from Sudan into the regions of South Sudan where there are also significant food shortages.

While there may well be clandestine trade between the two nations occurring, the real reason for military action against cross border food trade is not to combat rebels, but instead

  • to try to heighten the famine that will be faced by the people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile,
  • to prevent humanitarian aid from non-governmental organizations from reaching them, and
  • to force the people to flee across the border into South Sudan to find food or
  • to perish in the mountains from starvation.

The United Nations’ Security Council’s refusal to act to save the people of the Nuba Mountains by ensuring that food arrives is tantamount to abetting the Khartoum regime in its war on civilians in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur as well as in its growing campaign against Unity State. That the UN’s policy concerning aiding those being deliberately starved by their government should be to ask that very government to allow the food to be delivered is an absurdity that borders on callous indifference. If sending in food against that government’s will enables the people to save their lives and to continue fighting one of the most brutal regimes of the past century, I should hardly the think the world would be worse for having done so.