Tag Archives: Khartoum

An Israeli Strike on Sudan’s Weapons Factory

There are conflicting reports about what happened overnight at the Yarmouk weapons factory just south of Khartoum.  The Sudan Tribune reports that Sudanese officials are denying reports that any foreign entity was involved and that the explosion was occurred during routine maintenance of the facility. However, the Times of Israel quotes Minister of Information Ahmed Belal Osman as saying that four aircraft coming from the east struck the facility. The Sudanese minister is quoted as saying that Sudan believes that Israel carried out the attack and that Sudan may seek to take the matter to the UN Security Council.

Weaponry from China and Iran is evidently stored and distributed from Yarmouk in addition to whatever weaponry the factory produces itself. It is entirely possible that Israel did indeed strike the factory. Israel has said nothing about the matter, its usual response to such questions.

Some might ask, why would Israel strike Sudan? It is possible that at least some of the weaponry that reaches the Gaza strip originate in Sudan. Iranian weapons delivered to Sudan could be destined for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or others in Gaza. Considering the rocket barrages now faced by Israel and the recent cross border attacks against Israeli soldiers, it is entirely possible that Israel chose to strike at the source of the weaponry used. We will likely never know.

The extent of the damage at the factory is unknown at this time.

UPDATE*****November 25, 2012

We now firmly believe that Israel did in fact strike the complex in order to take out 40 shipping containers most likely filled with long range rockets destined for Gaza. Iranian ships docked at the Port of Sudan only a few days after the strike and were likely there to transport the weaponry to the Sinai Peninsula where they would be smuggled into Gaza. Here are a few articles that add more details.

From J.E. Dyer on October 24

From the Guardian Newspaper citing the Satellite Sentinel Project on October 27

Fiddling While Sudan Burns

Furious is the word that best describes the reaction to efforts made by the United Nations, African Union, United States and Europe to improve the economic state of Sudan even as it continues to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching hundreds of thousands of people in the Nuba Mountains. The international community is so focused on prevention of fighting between Sudan and South Sudan that it has chosen to wholly abandon the demand of requiring Sudan to allow humanitarian access into rebel held areas of South Kordofan and is actively counteracting its own sanctions regimes against the genocidal government of Sudan by promoting investment. This insanity must cease!

How is it reasonable to claim to maintain sanctions on the government of Sudan while holding a conference in Vienna that seeks to promote investment in that very nation? How is it reasonable to demand that South Sudan transport oil through Sudan’s pipeline to the tune of billions of dollars worth of income for Sudan, while claiming to maintain sanctions as the United States is currently doing? The answer is that it is not reasonable at all. By doing these actions, the United States, European nations, the United Nations and African Union are all enabling the government of Omar Bashir to continue functioning, to continue to abuse, oppress, and murder the citizens of the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, and Blue Nile.

Whether or not Nero fiddled while Rome burned as the statement goes, concern about Sudan should not be for propping up a faltering genocidal dictator facing a very appropriate rebellion in his nation, but for aiding those who are being harmed by Bashir’s government. The United States and its allies in Europe need to change the tune they are playing on Sudan and play something that uplifts not just the mood of the people but lifts their very lives from the brink of oblivion. We cannot afford to fiddle around. Let’s Help Nuba, the people of Blue Nile, and the people are Darfur put the fire out and let us do it now.

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.

Appeasing the Opposition and the Politics of Bread

A little under two weeks ago, I wrote that with the economic crisis and ongoing protests in Sudan that:

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 regime seems now to have made a choice. I has chosen to cede some power to the internal opposition. According to an article in the Sudan Tribune, the regime is seeking “alternation of power.” I am not sure if what is implied is an alteration of the current standing of the minority parties or a true alternation of power with the National Congress Party NCP at some point not being in charge. I cannot at this point envision the latter as being a primary option at this point for the regime.

It is not insignificant that in addition to discussing changes in the distribution of power that the regime is strengthening discussion of creating an new Islamic constitution. This was discussed in March and caused discord among the opposition because the Popular Congress Party PCP is in favor of it along with the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood, but the National Consensus Forces NCF saw it for what it is, a way to splinter the opposition so that the regime can maintain power. The PCP at the time backed down when the NCF accused the regime of:

Forging an alliance with “religious fanatics” in order to prolong its rule of “tyranny”.

Al-Turabi, as leader of the PCP, has distanced himself and his party from these discussions, but clearly this is a carrot being offered by the NCP in an attempt to split the internal opposition. The question is whether or not it will be accepted.

Meanwhile, Sudan is now facing both a bread shortage and significant inflation of food prices. People are now having to stand in long lines for bread in Khartoum. The regime reversed a decision to lift subsidies on wheat which would have immediately increased the cost of wheat by over 50%, something recommended by the minister of finance in order avoid economic catastrophe.

The regime is facing calamity and has very few options left with which to stave it off. It simply cannot continue to fund the military and police to the extent it has been doing so while its people starve, but neither can it continue to subsidize the cost of food substantially.  The fact that the regime has chosen not to be fiscally responsible out of fear of strengthening the rebellion will lead to a downgrading of its credit and a diminishing ability to address financial concerns going forward. Sudan is heading for a cliff with a deteriorating ability to turn away.

Nerve Gas May Have Been Used Against Protesters

Reports this morning from Omdurman are that the Khartoum Regime used tear gas in heavy quantities against the crowds of protesters and directly into Al-Sayid Abdel Rahman Al-Mahdi Mosque, the epicenter of Friday’s protests. The mosque is the base of the Ansar religious sect affiliated with the opposition National Umma Party (NUP). The Sudan Tribune reports that the government may have used “nerve gas” as well at the mosque.

Police fired tear gas into the mosque as soon as the prayer service ended in an attempt to disperse the crowd quickly. They then used rubber bullets against those who tried to protest the dispersal. The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested many people who were in the area. Maryam Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, NUP member and daughter of the party leader, reports that during the attack on the mosque, the police used a type of

“Nerve gas” that caused paralyses, twitching and suffocation among dozens of worshippers.

Seeking Peaceful Resistance amid Violent Oppression

As the number of refugees flowing into South Sudan continues to increase along with the severity of the famine and drinking water crises in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, protests in Sudan against the Khartoum Regime continue. The government is using tear gas, rubber bullets, and even live ammunition to disperse protests. They are also evidently beating protesters and preventing people from accessing health care. A Standing Committee of Sudanese Physicians press release from June 29 stated that:

We witnessed the police force and large numbers of regime thugs take control of Omdurman ‘s hospital A&E entrance to prevent those injured from gaining access to the admission desk to receive treatment.

Yassir Arman, Secretary General of the SPLM-N, said in a press release from July 5th that:

As of now, more than 1,500 activists are in jail. Some of them are subject to torture including some leaders from the SPLM-N.

Meanwhile, the Khartoum Regime may indeed be allowing some aid into South Kordofan, but only into areas controlled by the regime and only if distributed by organizations supported by the regime. In other words, humanitarian aid is not at all being allowed to reach those most in need, those being attacked by the regime.

The resistance to the regime continues. In Khartoum, the opposition parties have gone to the extent of creating a “Democratic Alternative Charter” that calls for the end of the rule of the regime, but seem to be doing so primarily, if not solely, based upon economic issues and, in particular, the ending of gas subsidies. The parties do not seem to be interested in sharing power with those not in Khartoum.

This brings up more from Yassir Arman’s press release. He stated that:

The SPLM-N and the SRF will continue to support the non-violent and peaceful paths of the uprising. The uprising will continue, and the SRF, in our last meeting, resolved the following: 1) to support and to seriously be involved in the peaceful uprising; 2) to set a mechanism that will enable effective participation of the SRF supporters; 3) to look for a comprehensive alternative with other political forces. Ending the war is a priority that cannot be done without the SRF.

Help Nuba Supports The Peaceful Revolts

A Brief Statement by Help Nuba in Support of the Peaceful Revolts in Sudan

Help Nuba, an organization led by Iowan representatives of the Nuba, Darfur, and South Sudanese communities along with representatives of the UN Association of Iowa, Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian and Episcopal religious and community leaders and a growing number of supporters from around the United States along with members of the Sudanese and South Sudanese communities from around the world, calls on all people of conscience to support the peaceful revolts occurring in Sudan against the oppressive Khartoum Regime which has committed genocide in Darfur and seeks to do so in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile as well.

We stand with those who seek freedom, justice, peace and security in Sudan.