Tag Archives: South Sudan

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.

Dr. John Garang’s Vision by Yassir Arman

Dr. John Garang’s Vision is the Only Game in Town for the Welfare of the Sudans
Tomorrow the 30th of July, as we commemorate the memory of Dr. John Garang and celebrate his life and contribution as well, he would be one of the rare Sudanese who can be honored on the divide of both countries and by many Northern and Southern Sudanese and by Muslims and Christians. He was and he is above the divide being ethnic or geographical, and he had crossed many areas on this great divide. And as we all know, Dr. Garang was his vision, the vision of the “New Sudan”, a vision that was essentially and in essence based on the commonality of the Sudanese historical and contemporary and what brings the Sudanese together in the past, present and future, the peaceful co-existence and the common wealth that respects diversity of all forms.
Today Dr. Garang is not around, but his vision never dies. In actual fact, South Sudan and North Sudan they cannot do much without his vision. They are both very diverse and the massive majority of the two countries are marginalized and only the vision of the New Sudan can deliver peace, food, democracy and stability. Both countries cannot achieve progress without true recognition of their diversities in a true democratic state that respects human rights, the rule of law and accountability, builds a caring society that would address the issues of marginalization including women’s rights and taking “towns to people, not peoples to towns”, the famous jargon of Dr. Garang. The two countries are in need of such a great vision.
Dr. Garang was a true democratic Pan Africanist who believed in the unity of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town and as charity starts at home, he was for the unity of Sudan and he made the biggest attempt to preserve that unity on a new basis against all odds. Now as we have two Sudans, the vision of Dr. Garang remains valid and needed by both countries, and it is also valid to re-unite Sudan, a unity between two independent viable countries and democratic states that share the same values. The present situation full of challenges and liabilities that can be changed into assets requires a huge work and struggle by all democratic forces in the two countries. Areas such as Blue Nile and South Kordofan can be and they should be a role model of economic and social integration between the two countries given the historical and social ties as well as the rest of the border states between the two countries.
As we commemorate and celebrate the life of Dr. Garang by those who are from Northern Sudan, for us Dr. Garang is a true son of Northern Sudan as well as of South Sudan. He is a point of link between the two countries and a great hero of our lifetime, and in my humble opinion, he was the most important Sudanese personality in the last century, and it will take both Sudans fifty to one hundred years to bring a wonderful charismatic leaders such as him, full of sense of humor and intelligence, a real human being. The good news is that his vision remains valid and never dies. In fact, it is the only game in town for both Sudans.
Yasir Arman
July 29, 2012

A Time to Unite

August 26-27 in Des Moines, Iowa

Be a part of this historic event as we unite in creating a

New and better future for the peoples of Sudan and South Sudan.

The history of the peoples of Sudan and South Sudan is filled with conflicts that have allowed certain groups in the north to dominate the majority of the peoples, oppress them and marginalize them, pitting region against region, people against people. Peace and security have been undermined. Lives, liberty, and property have all been lost.

In very recent times, South Sudan was able to gain independence from Sudan. This brought freedom to some of the oppressed peoples. Yet within South Sudan, the impact of regional conflicts along with the influence of the Khartoum regime remain strong and prevent progress; while in the north, the separation of South Sudan from Sudan has led to the dramatically increased oppression of many ethnic groups within Sudan. First, there was genocide in Darfur. Now, horrors have come to the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Eastern Sudan. These atrocities must be stopped.

Each people may fight its own battles alone or many may become stronger as one. We believe that the only path to a bright future is through unity.

Therefore, we believe that it is time to unite our efforts to improve the lives of all of the peoples of Sudan and South Sudan. We are joining together to create a new representative body to help lead us forward. In order to accomplish this great task, we need you, as a leader of your community, to join us in Des Moines, Iowa on August 26 and 27, 2012 for the first gathering of the United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association (USASSCA).

United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association (USASSCA) aims to promote:

  1. Unity and Empowerment by:
  1. Involving all of the regional, political, and ethnic organizations and associations who are interested in working together.
  2. Serving as the central coordinating body of pro-democracy organizations in Sudan and South Sudan.
  3. Providing a coherent and united voice for pro-democracy Sudanese and South Sudanese in the diaspora.
  4. Building communication and cooperation between regional and ethnic groups as well as political and military organizations.
  5. Empowering the civil and societal organizations that form the basis of healthy nations.
  1. Engagement of Sudanese and South Sudanese community leaders around the world by:
  1. Strengthening the connection and involvement of community leaders and intellectuals in the diaspora to the development of the governmental, educational, societal, cultural and economic institutions of Sudan and South Sudan.
  2. Engaging in leadership development in all of the geographic regions of Sudan and South Sudan as well as in the diaspora.
  1. Development of Needed Programs and Institutions by:
  1. Developing strategies for and establish a stabile system of fundraising.
  2. Allocating funding according to determined priorities.
  1. Strategies to resolve the ongoing humanitarian crisis by:
  1. Creating an efficient central conduit to enable interaction between Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the Sudanese and South Sudanese peoples in the region and in the diaspora.
  2. Providing Education about Sudan and South Sudan to a variety of constituencies.
  3. Preparing and disseminating authoritative and accurate news to the media.

At a later point, USASSCA may consider forming a separate lobbying organization to:

  • Develop and implement a political strategy for working with foreign governments and international institutions.
  • Conduct Lobbying in Washington, D.C.

The gathering and events to form USASSCA will be hosted by regional and national leaders of major Sudanese and South Sudanese diaspora organizations as well as by some of the leaders from the Sudanese and South Sudanese communities within those countries. The conference will feature speeches by the major leaders and the election of officers to the first Congress of Sudanese and South Sudanese Peoples. The USASSCA gathering is being held in Des Moines in conjunction with the Help Nuba conference which will include representatives of anti-genocide advocacy and relief organizations concerned with the crises ongoing in the many regions of Sudan and South Sudan today.

Help Nuba is an organization led by representatives of the Nuba, Darfur, and South Sudanese communities along with activists and others who are concerned with the plight of those suffering in Sudan and South Sudan. Help Nuba includes representatives of the UN Association of Iowa, Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian and Episcopal religious and community leaders, one of the 2011 Carl Wilken’s Fellows of United to End Genocide 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.

The USASSCA conference is by invitation only. If you would like to be included, please contact one of the members of the steering committee at this link.

All Things Being Equal, There Is No Morality

It is becoming more and more the norm that newspapers and editorials present “both sides” of any and every issue. To be considered unbiased, it seems that one must invariably find fault with each side of a dispute and to present both sides as equally responsible for any problems. The logic is that one side cannot be correct or right. They only have one opinion, one view. The other side’s view must be equally valid or they would agree with the first side. This makes no sense. It is an abdication of journalistic ethics to make no effort to determine right or wrong, truth or lies. Yet it is the new standard.

Ask both sides. Print both views.

The latest in this trend of politically correct moral equivalency may be found in a recent New York Times editorial about Sudan and South Sudan. The Times Editorial Board wrote:

South Sudan, along with Sudan, created this crisis, and they have the means to fix it.

The two sides fought a civil war that killed more than two million people before a peace deal in 2005. In the past year, they barely avoided a return to all-out conflict. Violence continues in Darfur and in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, a rebel-held area where the Khartoum government is trying to bomb and starve the people into submission. Thousands have been displaced.

It is difficult to see how South Sudan created the crisis by stopping the flow of oil that was providing an endless supply of money for Sudan to use to buy weaponry from Iran with which it has been using to bomb the border region, including into South Sudanese territory, and to commit genocide first in Darfur and now in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. Was there no conflict ongoing before South Sudan stopped the flow of oil in January, much less when it went into Heglig in March and April? In fact, I think it safe to say that there were many attacks ongoing by the Sudan Armed Forces in the border region prior to South Sudan’s military response in Heglig.

Here’s an article about the Sudan Airforce bombing Jau in Unity State in South Sudan on February 14.

Here’s one about the bombing of Western Bahr-al-Ghazal state in January.

Then of course there is the bombardment of South Sudan friendly civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile which is ongoing, but began long before the flow of oil was shut off from the south or any South Sudanese troops set foot in Heglig. Satellite Sentinel’s report from January of 2012 details similar events for months prior. One could potentially make the argument that defending civilians against genocide is a good reason to conduct military operations, but the international community has made it pretty clear that the people are on their own and that South Sudan cannot offer official help. “Genocide away,” I guess. “Never again” are words for commemorations rather than policies.

But more to the point, how can one forget the bombing of Yida Refugee Camp in Unity State in South Sudan on November 10th, 2011?  The Times must believe that Sudan’s bombing of the refugee camp must have been justified in anticipation by several months of South Sudan’s future military action or else it would be difficult to argue that “South Sudan created this crisis,” even limiting the “crisis” in question to the past year alone. Moral equivalency cannot possibly allow for Sudan to be the obvious aggressor even when its leadership is wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court!

This all said, while restoring the flow of oil through Sudan will bring money into the South Sudanese economy, it also will provide Sudan with a much needed influx of capital with which to fund its military and police activities, harming the possibility of regime change in Sudan and prolonging the ongoing crisis of oppression caused by the Khartoum Regime for decades now.

Humanitarian Team Poised To Enter South Sudan

I saw firsthand what war can do to families while in Iraq and Afghanistan. The refugees in Sudan that we are going to help have experienced tragedy on a colossal scale under circumstances we can hardly imagine. If they had been born in the US, they may be on their way to college in the fall, instead they’re hundreds of miles from their home, living in squalor and fear.” –Ford Sypher, Team Rubicon Element Leader in South Sudan

Today we launched a five person team in conjunction with the International Medical Corps to respond to a growing refugee crisis in South Sudan. At Yusuf Batil, a refugee camp cut off from recent heavy rains near the North Sudanese border, the situation is rapidly becoming dire. The population at the camp has swelled in recent weeks to over six-times capacity (from 6,000 to nearly 40,000), creating a perilous health, sanitation and security problem. Over 110,000 refugees are expected in the region over the next few weeks.

Meet the South Sudan Team

Ford Sypher – Team Leader EMT-I in 3/75 Ranger Regiment. Ford has served as TL on two prior TR deployments and extensive medical and mass casualty triage and management.

Dr. Alan Koslow – Trauma & Vascular Surgeon Previous experience includes two 10-day missions to Haiti, four mission trips to Israel, and El Salvador 2002 earthquake response.

Dr. April Kranz – Pediatrician/Family Practitioner International experience: USNS Mercy, U.S. Navy Hospital Ship to Indonesia, Hillside Belize Medical Clinic, and Maternal and Infant Nutrition Program Buguruka, Tanzania.

Philip Rapp – Civil Engineer Extensive experience in infrastructure repair. Deployed to Haiti, Colombia, Katrina, and many other disaster zones to build medical clinics and WASH systems.

Rama Mutyala – Civil Engineer/GIS Analyst Navy SEABEE served in OIF and OEF. Led 25-man, four month humanitarian mission to Central and South America to build out WASH and electrical systems

Team Rubicon’s five-person element, led by Army Ranger veteran and TR Region VII Field Operations Director Ford Sypher, consists of doctors and civil engineers who will help to construct adequate shelter, build latrines, establish hygiene standards and implement a “neighborhood watch” security program to reduce the risk of violence and sexual assault. We are prepared to continuously send teams to augment IMC’s efforts at Yusuf Batil if needed.

This past week has presented a ‘perfect storm’ of disasters and response opportunities–from a refugee crisis in South Sudan, to hundred year floods in Duluth, MN, to raging fires in Colorado, and a major tropical storm bearing down on our Gulf Shores. Team Rubicon is assessing ways to engage our Veteran Emergency Response Teams in all of these instances, and will continue to use military veterans to lead the charge in disaster relief!

Finally, our ability to engage military veterans in disaster response is only capable because of the continued support that you show for our organization. Military veterans are expertly trained and experienced first responders, and with your help we can give them a new opportunity to serve their community and the world.

Will you support o

A Bad Day for the Khartoum Regime

This morning began with the report that Sudanese Minister of Finance Ali Mahmoud told members of the Sudanese parliament that the austerity measures being put in place including the ending of fuel subsidies were a reflection of the “bankruptcy” of the state. With food prices inflating at a rate of 30% and falling currency values along with the real fact that more than 75% of its oil revenues are now gone, the prospects for the future of the Sudanese economy are grim.

The National Consensus Forces (NCF), the major opposition party to Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP), is organizing protests against the removal of the fuel subsidies and is calling for “regime change.” The NCF was joined by the Popular Congress Party (PCP) in protesting and calling for change. Hassan Al-Turabi, leader of the Popular Congress Party, reportedly said that the recent gathering of the NCF and PCP argued that the “meeting should be the kick-off a campaign to confront the regime which continues to oppress the people, stressing that the current economic crisis affects the rich and poor alike.” Al-Turabi said:

The middle class began to recede after the intensification of poverty and inflation. Therefore the opposition leaders met to plan for the after this regime.

Meanwhile, South Sudan is finalizing a deal to create an oil pipeline through Kenya that will result in a major financial loss, oil transit fees, going forward for Khatoum as well as the securing of South Sudan’s future oil income through a friendly nation.

Finally, the Egyptian military has staged what appears to be a coup d’etat in Egypt, removing the Khartoum regime friendly Muslim Brotherhood from power and suddenly putting a major wrench into Bashir’s attempt to unite the newly Islamist run states of Libya and Egypt with his own regime. The linchpin has suddenly been removed and the scheme is mid-collapse.

At this point, unless the Khartoum regime can negotiate peace with both the South Sudanese and the Sudan Revolutionary Forces, limiting its financial expenses for its war efforts and restoring a full flow of oil, it faces the real possibility of complete collapse in the months ahead.

Seeking and End to the Fighting in Jonglei, South Sudan

Efforts are being made by the Government of South Sudan to end the fighting in Jonglei province. According to an article in Gurtong:

South Sudan’s Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has urged the communities in Jonglei state to apologize to each other for reconciliation to begin peacefully among them. The premier was speaking while opening a peace and reconciliation workshop in Bor last Thursday.

Pres. Obama asks Kiir to Keep Distance from Nuba

The South Sudan Tribune reported today that President Obama is urging the Salva Kiir, the President of South Sudan not to aid their former allies in South Kordofan against the Sudanese government. This would isolate the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army which is fighting not only for independence from the Khartoum government, but in defense against the genocidal practices of Ahmed Harun, the Governor of South Kordofan and former Governor of Darfur who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for his murderous reign there.