Tag Archives: South Sudan

An Open Letter From South Sudan’s Diaspora

To Those Who Hold the Fate of a Nation in Their Hands, Pres. Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the South Sudanese Diaspora and friends of the people of South Sudan send an urgent plea:

What should be said when a dream teeters on the verge of nightmare?

STOP!!!!

Celebrations and jubilation marked the founding of our nation. When the celebration waned, reality took over. Governing is hard work and leaders often have opposing points of view. Such opposing views are a necessary and vital part of a representative democracy.

South Sudan now finds itself in a situation in which the lives of hundreds of thousands of people are in jeopardy, thousands have died, and millions are suffering. Fighting could continue indefinitely. Full blown civil war could result in one side eventually triumphing over the other, but such a war would result in a pyrrhic victory, a triumph with a cost so extreme as to make it a loss for the victorious side. It is vital at this point to put forth every effort to end hostilities before they worsen.

The United Sudanese And South Sudanese Communities Association based in Des Moines, Iowa known by its acronym  USASSCA includes leaders from the South Sudanese, Darfurian, Nuba and other Sudanese and South Sudanese communities in the diaspora working together for the benefit of the communities in the diaspora as well as working toward the achievement of justice, equality, liberty and peace for the peoples of Sudan and South Sudan.

With hope to promote peace and unity in South Sudan, the United Sudanese And South Sudanese Communities Association USASSCA and those other organizations signed on to this letter below urge the following actions:

  • The prioritization of compromises and concessions aimed at ending the violence and restoring order over the pursuit of future retribution for actions related to this conflict after its conclusion. The urgent need is to stop the killing and prevent further damage to society in South Sudan. This applies to both sides of the conflict and to the international community.
  • The immediate cessation of offensive military action by either side.
  • The release of all political prisoners.
  • The withdrawal of hostile forces from the oil fields in Unity State to allow the resumption of oil production.
  • Withdrawal of foreign forces from the territory of South Sudan.
  • The placement of UNMISS forces to help maintain the cease fire and to report on violations.
  • Commitment to reconciliation efforts.

With concern for the people of South Sudan,

United Sudanese And South Sudanese Communities Association USASSCA

South Sudanese for the Eradication of Tribalism SSET

Help Nuba

Dr. Henry Lejukole, Chairman USASSCA, Des Moines, IA

Rabbi David Kaufman, Executive Advisor to USASSCA and Co-Chair of Help Nuba, Des Moines, IA

Gatwech Ring, Chairman SSET, Des Moines, IA

Mark Finkelstein, JCRC Des Moines, IA

Rev. Francis Chan, USASSCA and SSET, Des Moines, IA

Cory Williams, Co-Founder, Darfur and Beyond, Phoenix, AZ

Bill Andress, Sudan Advocacy Action Forum, Lexington, SC

Gabriel Stauring, Stop Genocide Now, Director, Redondo Beach, CA

Elana Kahn-Oren, JCRC Milwaukee, WI

Sharon Silber, US Director, Society for Threatened Peoples

Eileen Weiss, Co director, Jews Against Genocide

Neiki Ullah, Communications Director, New York Coalition for Sudan

Laura Limuli, Coordinator, Brooklyn Coalition for Darfur & Marginalized Sudan

Slater Armstrong, Founder/Director, Joining Our Voices

Bakheit Shata, Founder/Executive Director, Darfur Community, Omaha, NE

Mohamed Ebead, President, Darfur People’s Association of New York
Martha Boshnick, Darfur Interfaith Network, Washington DC

Faith J. H. McDonnell, Dir. Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, Washington DC

Gloria Crist, Co-Founder, Essex County Coalition for Darfur, Montclair, NJ

Jerry Farjalla, USASSCA, Des Moines, IA

Harun Mudung, USASSCA and Blue Nile Community Association

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

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.

South Sudan- A House Divided Against Itself

We are shocked and concerned by the violence among factions of the SPLA and tribal leaders that has taken hold in South Sudan. The beneficiary of this violence, this mistrust and resentment, is the Khartoum Regime which has spent decades fostering division. Together, the marginalized peoples of Sudan and South Sudan can overcome. Divided against one another, all are weakened. Unity brings hope, prosperity, and a bright future.

Today, USASSCA and Help Nuba which were established in Des Moines, Iowa in 2012 to combat genocide and promote this very strength through unity encourage the following:

  • An immediate cessation of violence by factions of the SPLA and tribal representatives;
  • Governmental leaders truly open their ears to listen to the concerns of those who are suffering;
  • All South Sudanese look into the eyes of others and see fellow human beings who are also living with the hope in their heart for a better future for themselves and their families
  • Recognition that Unity is the best path to justice, equality, liberty and peace; and that
  • The government must, working with all minorities in the state, strive to promote freedom, dignity, and a sense of well-being for all of its citizens.

We in America know very well the value of “E Pluribus Unum,” “Out of Many, One.” That is what it means to forge a new nation made up of smaller ones. That is the conflict faced in Sudan and South Sudan. The enemy is disunity.

It is time to unite!

South Sudan – A House Divided Against Itself

We are shocked and concerned by the violence among factions of the SPLA and tribal leaders that has taken hold in South Sudan. The beneficiary of this violence, this mistrust and resentment, is the Khartoum Regime which has spent decades fostering division. Together, the marginalized peoples of Sudan and South Sudan can overcome. Divided against one another, all are weakened. Unity brings hope, prosperity, and a bright future.

Today, USASSCA and Help Nuba which were established in Des Moines, Iowa in 2012 to combat genocide and promote this very strength through unity encourage the following:

  • An immediate cessation of violence by factions of the SPLA and tribal representatives;
  • Governmental leaders truly open their ears to listen to the concerns of those who are suffering;
  • All South Sudanese look into the eyes of others and see fellow human beings who are also living with the hope in their heart for a better future for themselves and their families
  • Recognition that Unity is the best path to justice, equality, liberty and peace; and that
  • The government must, working with all minorities in the state, strive to promote freedom, dignity, and a sense of well-being for all of its citizens.

We in America know very well the value of “E Pluribus Unum,” “Out of Many, One.” That is what it means to forge a new nation made up of smaller ones. That is the conflict faced in Sudan and South Sudan. The enemy is disunity.

It is time to unite!

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.

Rally December 14 in Washington DC for the Sudanese People Under Attack

Join Help Nuba and USASSCA in Washington DC on December 14

Join Help Nuba and USASSCA in Washington DC on December 14

  • December 14th
  • Washington DC
  • 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Lafayette Square (Directly north of the White House)

The Khartoum regime has increased bombardment and the burning of villages and crops across the Nuba Mountains. It is unimaginable. We want to have this rally as a way to show solidarity with the people of this area and the Blue Nile state. We will also remember people from other regions of Sudan who are suffering including the people of Darfur who have never rested from the brutal Sudan regime since 2003.

The world has blinded itself from what is happening in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Sudan in general. We are calling on you as humanitarian organizations, activists, Sudanese opposition and Diaspora, pro-democracy groups and everyone who cares about Sudan to come out and tell the US government that innocent lives in Sudan must be protected. We need ideas and help with graphics that will help draw attention to the rally and our call for protection. We want everybody to participate.

For more information, you can contact us at 816-200-8824.

The rally is cosponsored by Help Nuba and USASSCA, the United Sudanese And South Sudanese Communities Association, among other organizations.

Thank you very much.

Philip Tutu, Nuba Community

USASSCA Logo

Sudan, Iran, and Gaza

There is now a full blown alliance between Iran, Sudan, and Hamas.  Hamas leaders have publicly thanked Iran in recent days and Sudan’s Bashir has long been a friend of the Iranian Regime. None of this should be surprising. This was clear  in March of 2009 when:

A delegation of senior Middle Eastern leaders has travelled to Sudan to express international support for Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, who is accused of war crimes in Darfur. Officials from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah joined Syria’s parliament speaker and the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group for talks with al-Bashir in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital.

Sudan continues to host Iranian weapons shipments from Iran destined to reach Gaza.  The Times of Israel reports that

Israeli intelligence sources believe that a cargo, loaded a week ago in Bandar Abbas, Iran, would be shipped to Sudan and from there smuggled over land to Gaza. According to the report, the cargo may include Fajr-5 rockets of the likes already fired by Hamas during the recent conflict, and whose stocks were reportedly depleted by Israeli bombings. Also possibly included: components of Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, which could be stationed in Sudan and used as a direct threat to Israel.

In other words, Iran is planning on involving Sudan in the next conflict with Israel and firing missiles from Sudan at Israel.

“With a lot of effort, Iran has skillfully built a strategic arm pointing at Israel from the south,” an Israeli source was quoted as saying.

Not that sanity has regularly prevailed in the Middle East, but it would seem that this decision by Sudan runs the risk of promoting significant Israeli and American military involvement in Sudan and military cooperation with South Sudan. It functionally turns the Sudan Revolutionary Forces and the South Sudanese into full blown allies of Israel and America in their conflict with Iran, merging the conflicts into one larger one and escalating the strategic importance of events in Sudan well beyond the level of humanitarian concerns which are generally not highly prioritized.

In other news, Sudan is planning to relocate the Yarmouk Weapons Factory which was recently destroyed in what appears to have been an Israeli airstrike on October 24 to a place “outside of the capital.”

It would seem highly likely at this point that future Israeli military action in Sudanese territory is a virtual certainty, but also that there will be an increasing flow of weaponry and funds from Iran to the Khartoum Regime, enabling it to increase its military operations in the border regions against both the Sudan Revolutionary Forces and South Sudan itself.

We may already be seeing the first stages of this change with recent Sudan Armed Forces strikes crossing the border of Bahr El Ghazal in South Sudan and with attacks against multiple villages in the Nuba Mountains in recent days. The reports from the SPLM-North are heartbreaking, among them that:

On November 16, the NCP forces and its militia lit up the fire in the dry bush and crops around the villages of, Tafrang, Banat, Kumra, Alsamaha, Katraya Almak, Safora, Najar Alhabel, Wadelgeel, Hellat Mohamed Rasheed, Umsediana, Alban Jadeed, Alnugra, and Khor Basheer. The residents of these villages tried to put out the fire, but the NCP forces and its militias forbid them from doing so by force of weapons. The fire burned down the houses and destroyed the crops and garden fields. The fire continued burning until for days.

Since then numerous villages have been bombed by the Khartoum Regime with all targets being civilian. It appears that the Khartoum Regime feels emboldened by its newly strengthened alliance with Iran and we must fear that the level of attacks will continue if not increase in the weeks ahead without outside intercession.

The situation for the peoples of the Nuba Mountains is worsening and the threat of major conflict between Sudan and South Sudan is increasing rapidly.

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.