Tag Archives: Sudan

Giving Thanks and Seeking Blessings

This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for what we have in our lives and seek to bring blessings into the lives of those who lack them.

As I write this article, Sudanese Armed Forces are amid an offensive against the Sudan Revolutionary Front that has largely been a failure. We are thankful that those who defend themselves against genocide have thus far been able to withstand the offensive. For many thousands of innocent civilians, however, there is no way to withstand the indiscriminate bombing of villages. From November 21-25 alone, nearly 25,000 civilians have become displaced from the intentional bombing of civilian targets. More than 460,000 people have been displaced over the course of this year.

The Khartoum Regime continues its regular campaign of displacement and ethnic cleansing and genocide through bombing huts and fields.

A video was released on November 18 of such a bombing along with a plea from Yassir Arman for help. Here is the plea. The video (graphic and difficult to watch) follows:

This video is what happened yesterday, the 17th of November, in Buram, Nuba Mountains. To all those who continue to appease the Khartoum regime and ignore the solid facts on the ground, the Khartoum regime is targeting civilian populations in Sudan, committing war crimes, and killing the very children who need to be vaccinated. And for the families of these children, the air and ground bombardment of Khartoum is a more visible threat than polio. This is a fact that many in Africa and in international community circles are deliberately ignoring because admitting it would require them to provide civilian protection as per international humanitarian law, and for them, it is better to keep a blind eye when the government of Sudan has denied access of humanitarian assistance for civilian populations for two years and is terrorizing and killing the civilian populations at the same time. We hope this video will make them, for once, tell the truth. The silence of some circles in the international community is providing the environment for General Bashir to continue killing and targeting the civilian populations in the rural and urban areas of Sudan without being questioned by anyone, even by some of those who indicted him. Bashir is being given a blank check by some circles within the international community to kill the people of Sudan, but the Sudanese people will continue to resist him and defend their right to peace, democracy, the respect of human rights, and the right for equal citizenship. We call upon all who value human life and human dignity to wage a campaign for unhindered access for humanitarian assistance in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Darfur as well as a humanitarian cessation of hostilities that addresses the civilian humanitarian needs, as required by humanitarian international law, without conditioning them on a political agenda. Civilian populations should not be punished for political purposes or gain. The right for humanitarian aid and protection is guaranteed by international humanitarian law.
Yasir Arman
Secretary General, SPLM-N
Secretary for External Affairs, SRF
November 18, 2013

Update on the Uprising

As has been the case on no few occasions over the years, when one wants to know what is going on in Sudan, one simply needs to go to Eric Reeves’ website. Reeves offered a comprehensive analysis of the events ongoing in Sudan in an article published on Saturday. Here, I would like to offer a brief summary for those without the time to access Reeves’ more extensive one.

Sudan’s economy is in shambles. The NCP government has been forced to eliminate subsidies on fuel. The protests currently ongoing are directly in response to that action, but indirectly are the result of an unsustainable situation. Subsidies were based upon sales of the oil now belonging to South Sudan. Sudan simply does not have the income to maintain them any longer.

Neither can the NCP regime continue indefinitely to fund the police state necessary to maintain order with a population becoming increasingly hostile. Subsidies help to keep the population content. The police apparatus keeps the lid on rebellion. With failure of subsidies AND a weakening ability to fund the police apparatus, the regime cannot endure. The pending economic collapse will accelerate if subsidies are reinstated. The government simply cannot afford to fund it any longer.

Eric Reeve’s summed up the situation well:

There is no exit for the regime, not after years of gross mismanagement of the economy, endemic graft, massive self-enrichment, misguided spending priorities, and a vast and expensive system of political patronage.  The value of the Sudanese pound will fall even faster; the cost of imports will grow at a devastating rate; inflation will accelerate, though not with the precipitous nature of the nearly 100 percent increase in the price of fuel and cooking oil that has been experienced over the past six days. Reinstating subsidies would also ensure that the IMF abandons the regime.

There is no way to predict which way al-Bashir will jump; but if he remains committed to “confrontation,” we may be sure that it will be bloody and may well be long, given the nature of the response already in evidence.

We can expect the situation in Sudan to continue to deteriorate so long as the Bashir regime remains in power.

The Only Thing Necessary

Edmond Burke said:

The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

The problem we face today is that good men are more than willing to speak and far less than willing to do. They look at Syria and say, “Look at the dead children in white sheets! Stop!” and they look at Sudan, if they look at Sudan at all, and sounding like Dr. Seuss’ Once-ler say, “Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!” but they do nothing and let the Once-ler go on making thneeds – ruining the world, or in the case of Sudan, go on killing innocents. Today there is rebellion in the streets of Sudan and rebellion in Syria. The best we can do is to suggest to immoral murderous dictators that we would rather they not kill?

One could make the argument that in Syria we see only bad options. There is the regime of Assad on the one hand, an ally of our enemy Iran, who has used chemical weapons against his own people, and on the other hand, rebels led by Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, not exactly our friends.

In Sudan, perhaps believing that the Sudan Revolutionary Front SRF is not capable of rising to power at this point, we see only the regime of Omar Bashir or another terrible option. This perception of Sudan would be grossly in error. The SRF can lead and how can we allow a regime we already know to be genocidal to remain in power if we have any option to end their reign?

But we spend our time searching for good options, for allies, as a dowser searches for water, blindly hoping, pretending that we will simply come upon them. In so wandering aimlessly, we let evil triumph again and again.

In what scenario in Syria now will evil not triumph; if we allow the choice to be between Assad and Al Qaeda? In what scenario in Sudan will evil not triumph; if we allow the choice to be between Bashir and a failed state? Our obligation is not only to try to choose the better of evils, but to try to create non-evil options if we can. We must DO something or evil will certainly flourish.

There is no concern that America will not speak out about perceived evils around the world. We have quite a set of pipes! The question is whether or not we will act to stop the evils. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has a simple motto which more than aptly applies:

What you DO matters!

Interview with Mukesh Kapila

Mukesh KapilaMy interview with Mukesh Kapila on “Understanding the World” is now both on Youtube and Podcast. Dr. Kapila talked about the situation in Sudan and the history of the genocides perpetrated by the Sudanese government against the people of Sudan over the past decades. Dr. Kapila is a leading authority on genocide and perhaps the leading authority on the Sudanese genocides. He is well worth listening to. Below is the Youtube recording of the program which lasts about an hour. Dr. Kapila is on for about 50 minutes of the show. At the bottom of this posting you will find the audio only podcast link.

The podcast of the interview may be found by clicking on this link.

 

When the Nazis Met with the State Department in Washington

The Washington Post has confirmed with the US State Department that:

The Obama administration is preparing to welcome a senior Sudanese delegation to the United States for some rare highest-level diplomacy between the countries.

State Department spokeswoman Hilary Renner says Sudanese presidential adviser Nafie Ali Nafie and other officials have accepted an invitation to Washington for a “candid discussion on the conflicts and humanitarian crises within Sudan.”

Sudanese Presidential Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie is also the former Chief of the National Intelligence and Security Services NISS and continues to be a leading figure, if not the leading figure, in control of the military and intelligence apparatus in Sudan.
The appropriate comparison is with Heinrich Himmler, the Director of the SS in the Nazi regime. Would the United States have “invited” Himmler to meet at the State Department during the Holocaust to talk about “the humanitarian crises” within Germany, after he played a leading role in the genocide? The question is absurd and thus must this action be so viewed. This kind of meeting is an honor undeserving of anyone who participated in genocide. In fact, so inconceivable is the callousness demonstrated by this invitation that it almost certainly cannot be a simple matter of a candid discussion about the humanitarian crisis created and sustained in no small part through the actions of Nafie Ali Nafie. Human Rights Watch’s report on Sudan from 2012 is replete with references to the NISS with which Nafie continues to be heavily involved.
It is unfortunately reasonable in my opinion that this visit has little to do with the humanitarian crises or peace with South Sudan and more to do with terrorism against the US and its allies (Al Qaeda), fighting in Syria, Iran activity in the region and events in the Central African Republic CAR (where the Islamist Seleka rebels recently took over with help from Chad, Eretria, Sudan and the Lord’s Resistance Army, turning the CAR in a terrorist haven).
The State Dept. could be trying to get Sudan to be less cooperative with radical elements or even to help the US and France deal with militants in the region, especially the situation in the CAR. In the past, there has been cooperation between the CIA and the NISS. This cooperation occurred through much of the 2000s according to an article in the Sudan Tribune. Note that while US intelligence agencies were working with Sudanese intelligence agencies, a genocide was ongoing in Darfur.
Nafie’s NISS may well have much information about the militant groups of concern to the United States today. Of that, there can be little doubt. Evil men tend to cooperate. Nafie and the NISS may well know these militant groups well.
Meanwhile, the situation in the region at this point is frightening and of great concern to the US, Europe, Russia and others:
  • The Seleka rebel (Islamist) takeover of CAR,
  • Mali rebels relaxing in Darfur and ongoing conflict in Mali against the French,
  • The potential of thousands of militants fleeing Syria for other opportunities to fight if the situation there gets out of hand,
  • Weak new Islamist regimes (Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, CAR) across the north of Africa,
  • Unrest in Jonglei province of South Sudan,
  • Ongoing rebel action against the Sudanese government in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile,
  • Ongoing Sudanese Armed Forces activities against the rebels and against civilians in rebel held areas,
  • Major financial crises in both Sudan and South Sudan,
and add to these:
  • The recent International Monetary Fund IMF pressure brought to bear on both Sudan and South Sudan to pay off the massive debt owed, and
  • Ongoing peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan,
  • Talks which center around achieving both prosperity and peace through the transfer of oil through a single largely indefensible pipeline that any number of groups would have an interest to put out of operation.
The situation is a powder keg.
So it is in this context that the State Department reached out to honor Heinrich Himmler, excuse me, Nafie Ali Nafie, with “discussions.”
One would think, however, that should this meeting be absolutely necessary for American security, it could take place at another location and without the honor granted by being hosted at the US State Department. For that reason alone, this invitation should be reconsidered. It is simply wrong to honor a genocidaire and even worse to honor him while blood is being spilled from his hands.

Join us to hear Carl Wilkens

Carl Wilkens will join Rabbi Kaufman and Mark Finkelstein live on Understanding the World tomorrow morning, April 11, 2013. The show airs beginning at 8:30 am Central and runs until 9:30 am. You may listen in live or join in the chat room on the internet at www.12Talk2.com or see the recording on Youtube at www.youtube.com/12talk2net .

Carl Wilkens will be speaking in Des Moines at Temple B’nai Jeshurun on April 20 at 7:30 pm admission is free of charge.

Wilkens Speaking 2_400x400

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Bridget Conley-Zilkic – Project Director
“The 1994 genocide in Rwanda illustrated the absolute worst in humanity — not only in how it was perpetrated, but also in how the people of Rwanda were abandoned by the world. Against this horrible history, the brave and honorable decision of Carl Wilkens to stay and help stands out as a glimmer of hope for everyone, then and now.” B. Conley-Zilkic

About Carl Wilkens-

As a humanitarian aid worker, Carl Wilkens moved his young family to Rwanda in the spring of 1990. When the genocide was launched in April 1994, Carl refused to leave, even when urged to do so by close friends, his church and the United States government. Thousands of expatriates evacuated and the United Nations pulled out most of its troops. Carl was the only American to remain in the country. Venturing out each day into streets crackling with mortars and gunfire, he worked his way through roadblocks of angry, bloodstained soldiers and civilians armed with machetes and assault rifles in order to bring food, water and medicine to groups of orphans trapped around the city. His actions saved the lives of hundreds.

Carl returned to the United States in 1996. After being featured in the 2004 PBS Frontline documentary, “Ghosts of Rwanda”, about the Rwanda genocide, he began to receive letters, phone calls and offers from teachers around the country to come and share his experiences with students.

In January 2008, with no end in sight to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan, Carl decided quit his job and dedicate himself full time to accepting these invitations.  He and his wife Teresa have since formed an educational nonprofit, World Outside My Shoes, to facilitate this important work.

Iran, Al Qaeda, and Why Sudan Matters to American Security

When I talk to most people about events in Sudan, the response is all too often simply, “Those poor people.” Those who are able to do something about the situation in Sudan spend their time working on fixing symptoms. The response to “Those poor people” is most often consideration of sending them humanitarian aid, knowing full well that they will need more of it later.  What happens when “Those poor people” are being abused and oppressed by people who not only wish to do harm to the United States and its interests, but have the ability do so? What happens when the oppressor can threaten severe harm to our allies and to our way of life? The response becomes “I’m interested.”

Starting in 1992 and ending in 1996, Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were based in Sudan. They had been invited by Hassan al Turabi, the Islamist leader, in the aftermath of a coup led by Omar al Bashir. Al Qaeda established training camps and grew in strength. The world knows the results of the failure to stop Al Qaeda then. Sudan’s troubles came to America’s cities. Moreover, when we left Sudan alone, Bashir oversaw the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents during the next decade, “those poor people,” first in Darfur and then in the Nuba Mountains.

Pleas of “never again” fall on deaf ears. Yes, we send humanitarian aid where and when we can, but as Samantha Power, in speaking about Bosnia, noted:

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.

Today, Iran supports the Sudanese government financially in exchange for the ability to operate from Sudanese soil and to manufacture weaponry there so as to ease transport to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Syria and Hizballah. Great efforts are now being made to halt weapons smuggling through the Sinai into Gaza, but weapons are freely flowing elsewhere, destabilizing the region.

Iran is seeking to station medium and long range missiles in Sudan that could be used to strike Israel. These weapons could just as easily be fired to the east towards Saudi Arabia instead of towards Israel in the north. They could also be fired by Al Qaeda affiliated militant groups instead of Iranian troops. Either way, this could be a game changer, not only for Israel but for the region.

Policy makers are so focused on the threat by Iran in the Persian Gulf that they ignore the fact that the Gulf of Aden and the entire area to the south of the Suez Canal could just as easily, if not more easily, be shut down by attacks from Sudan. How many ships attacked while attempting to cross through the Suez Canal would lead to a reduction or halt of shipping? What would happen to oil prices if the Suez Canal were shut down? How would that affect the US economy? Anyone listening now?

Meanwhile rebels from Mali have been fleeing to Darfur for refuge.

We are not paying enough attention to the threats posed by the situation in Sudan including Iranian involvement and a long history of welcoming militants who hate America including Al Qaeda. The terror incubator remains open for business and business is unfortunately booming.