Thursday, June 30, 2011

Unity and Faith, Part 4

In Part 1 we had an overview of Nigeria and introduced the various angles of the north/south split in the country. Then in Part 2 we considered some of the various factors in the unrest in Nigeria. Next, in Part 3 we examined the jihad and counterjihad aspects of this unrest a little more closely, encountering reason to suspect Nigeria's security forces of committing excesses, including extrajudicial killings, in dealing with the trouble.

We now review excerpts from 'Nigeria's Taliban': How Big a Threat?, dated July 30, 2009. With the ongoing violence in Nigeria today, it is important to keep in mind this article is from two years ago.

The immediate crisis may be over in Nigeria, but the threat of violence remains. Government security forces today attacked a mosque filled with Islamist militants, killing scores of fighters and forcing more to flee. The militants, blamed for days of violence across the country's north, belong to a group known as Boko Haram, which aims to overthrow the federal government in Abuja and impose a strict version of Islamic law. The sect's leader Mohammed Yusuf escaped the raid along with some 300 of his men, but was later arrested and then died in custody according to police. Four days of clashes, sparked by attacks on police stations and government buildings, have killed at least 300 people.

The Boko Haram leader died in police custody; interesting in light of the allegations against Nigeria's security forces that we considered in Part 3.


Also known as Nigeria's Taliban, Boko Haram formed about eight years ago. A huge government operation against the group in 2004 ended with the police claiming victory. But five years on and the militants are back, stronger and more vicious. In the latest outbreak of violence, in Maiduguri, the capital of northeastern Borno state, militant gunmen assaulted police stations and engaged armored-personnel backed troops.

Africa's most populous country sits on a religious fault line. Its 150 million people are split almost evenly between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south. For many years, the northern Muslim élite have dominated Nigerian politics, using their positions to enrich themselves and their families.

The allegations are that it was a "northern Muslim élite" responsible for much of the corruption.

Skipping down a little:

Over the past few years a new breed of young Muslim activists, most of them educated and from the middle class, have aggressively embraced a stricter version of Islam, rejecting anything Western and Christian.

It seems this sect may have been founded by younger Muslims who were angry at corruption among their parents. Regardless, as if often the case, the terrorist organization has its foundation among educated, middle class Muslims.

The article concludes pointing out the concern that al Qaeda might gain a foothold here, and calling attention to a special place Osama bin Laden had assigned Nigeria in the world's jihad.

A month later, Nigeria's Vanguard reported that Boko Haram ressurects, declares total Jihad:

The Islamic sect Boko Haram has declared total Jihad in Nigeria, threatening to Islamise the entire nation by force of war.


For the first time since the Killing of Mallam Mohammed Yusuf, our leader, we hereby make the following statements.

1) First of all that Boko Haram does not in any way mean "Western Education is A sin" as the infidel media continue to portray us. Boko Haram actually means "Western Civilisation" is forbidden. The difference is that while the first gives the impression that we are opposed to formal education coming from the West, that is Europe, which is not true, the second affirms our believe in the supremacy of Islamic culture (not Education), for culture is broader, it includes education but not determined by Western Education.


2) That the Boko Haram is an Islamic Revolution which impact is not limited to Northern Nigeria, in fact, we are spread across all the 36 states in Nigeria, and Boko Haram is just a version of the Al Qaeda which we align with and respect. We support Osama bin Laden, we shall carry out his command in Nigeria until the country is totally Islamised which is according to the wish of Allah.


Having made the following statement we hereby reinstate our demands:

1) That we have started a Jihad in Nigeria which no force on earth can stop. The aim is to Islamise Nigeria and ensure the rule of the majority Muslims in the country. We will teach Nigeria a lesson, a very bitter one.


3) That we shall make the country ungovernable, kill and eliminate irresponsible political leaders of all leanings, hunt and gun down those who oppose the rule of Sharia in Nigeria and ensure that the infidel does not go unpunished.

It is not uncommon that analysts point to economic disparities as a source of the violence in Nigeria. But, the terrorists themselves point to Islamic ideology. Furthermore, at least some of the economic disparity is the fault of a corrupt "northern Muslim élite". Consequently, any analysis that does not factor in jihadist Islamic ideology is inadequate.

Fast forward to June 15, 2011, when an article in the Nigeria Daily News entitled Nigerian Islamist sect, Boko Haram vows fiercer, wider attacks quoted Boko Haram as declaring:

"Very soon, we will wage jihad...We want to make it known that our jihadists have arrived in Nigeria from Somalia where they received real training on warfare from our brethren who made that country ungovernable...," said the group in a handwritten statement.

"This time round, our attacks will be fiercer and wider than they have been," it said, adding it would target all northern states and the country's capital Abuja. The statement in Hausa, a widely spoken language in the North, was anonymously delivered to journalists in the North-eastern city of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, where the attacks were concentrated.

The sect admitted links with a foreign Islamist group connected to Al-Qaeda, although security experts had already speculated that it had established ties with Islamists in North Africa.

Maiduguri featured in an attack only days later.

From Nigerian Boko Haram Islamists 'kill nurse' in Maiduguri, June 20, 2011:

Gunmen from Nigeria's radical Islamist sect Boko Haram have killed a nurse who was playing cards in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, according to police.

Police said four people were also wounded in the shooting at a bus stop in the city.

Of interest is the connection to foreign terrorist groups; this is an international Islamic extremist ideology that is manifesting itself locally in Nigeria. Boko Haram's statement specifically mentioned Somalia, and there are reasons to suspect other connections.

First, we look at excerpts from Boko Haram Declares War, dated June 27, 2011:

Few seem convinced by President Goodluck Jonathan's assurances that the security situation is under control following the bombing on 16 June of Louis Edet House, the national police headquarters in Abuja. It killed at least two people and wounded seven. Agents of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived to help investigate claims of international terrorist links.


Some immediate questions emerge from the latest round of attacks: Who is behind Boko Haram? How much foreign support has it got and how can it best be confronted? After downplaying its importance and regional ties for some years, Nigerian security officials now point to cross-border links.


It seems their tactics are working: security sources speak of training camps of Hausa-speaking Nigerians in Burkina Faso and Niger as well as a wave of new recruits to Boko Haram across northern Nigeria. It's harder to trace the international links, but some officials are taking seriously claims from Boko Haram that their militants, including bomb-makers, have been training in Somalia alongside Al Shabaab and Al Qaida operatives. There are also small, highly mobile affiliates of Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb across the Sahel, which could provide the training and the materiel to launch the type of bombings and guerrilla attacks that Boko Haram favours.

Also, in Part 2 we began reviewing a paper entitled Key Issues in Nigeria's 2011 Elections, dated March 29, 2011, by Sola Tayo. We now pick up with an excerpt from page 7:

Concerns about internal security are common during electoral periods, but the possible action of outsiders is also causing concern within the government. In November 2010 a shipment of arms was intercepted in Lagos. The intended destination of the shipment was unclear, although it is claimed it was to be re-exported to The Gambia. However the trafficked rockets and explosives, which came from Iran, were the responsibility of a Nigerian and two Iranians who have been charged with the importation of prohibited firearms. The incident caused a diplomatic storm which resulted in Nigeria reporting Iran to the UN Security Council for a possible arms violation. Although Nigeria has not severed diplomatic ties with Iran, the relationship (on the Nigerian side at least) is tense.

Whatever the intended destination of that shipment, the Nigerian government is understandably wary of arms shipments entering the country and ending up in the possession of militant groups. It is equally suspicious of direct interference by outsiders. In March 2010 the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, suggested that Nigeria be split in two to end the violence between Muslims and Christians. His comments provoked a strong reaction from the Nigerian government, with Abuja recalling the Ambassador in Tripoli and accusing Libya of trying to destabilize the country. The issue of partitioning the country into a Muslim north and Christian south is a deeply sensitive subject in Nigeria.

Gaddafi is not the only one to suggest this division of Nigeria; there are calls among Nigerians for a north/south (= Muslim/infidel) "divorce" and I am sure recent events in Sudan will fuel these calls. Also, the situation in Côte d'Ivoire, where a "northerner" of questionable Ivoirian credentials was installed by force by the international community, in violation of Ivoirian law, may set a precedent that worries the southerners in Nigeria.

The arms shipment addressed in the quoted passage above was quite substantial, too.

In fact, it was so substantial that some analysts suggested it was a new way to supply anti-Israeli terrorists forces. From Nigerian arms seizure may indicate new Iran-Hamas route, October 29, 2010.

Weapons discovered in 13 shipping containers in the Port of Lagos earlier this week could signify that Iran is trying to develop a new route to smuggle arms and explosives to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, defense officials said on Thursday.

The ship, apparently from Iran, reportedly docked in the Lagos Port on Tuesday and, according to the bill of lading, was supposed to be carrying construction supplies. On inspecting the 13 containers, customs officials discovered rockets, mortars, bombs, rifles and heavy machine guns hidden among crates of building tiles.

Nigerian officials were quoted in the media claiming that the cargo had been under surveillance for some time. It was possible that the intelligence on the cargo was supplied by Western sources.

"On opening the first container, the service operatives discovered rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives; the weapons were concealed among crates of floor tiles," Nigerian State Security Service spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar was quoted as saying.

The largest rocket appeared to be a 107-mm. Katyusha, which Iran is known to manufacture and which makes up the backbone of Hizbullah's and Hamas's arsenals.

Even if most of the weapons, including the rockets, are intended for Palestinian terrorists, it is not unreasonable to expect that local Nigerian jihadists might take a cut for helping move them.

So, we have Iranian arms smuggled into Nigeria, resulting in an international incident reported to the UN.

But, the report previously quoted above, Key Issues in Nigeria's 2011 Elections, only mentions the smuggled arms; why don't we hear about the heroin?

From From Iran: Customs intercept container of heroin at Tin-Can port, November 19, 2010 (I fixed misspellings of "heroin"):

LAGOS—Nigerian Customs Service has intercepted a large quantity of heroin concealed in a 40-foot container, which was believed to have originated from Iran. The container which was brought into the Tin-can Island Port [Nigeria's Tin Can Port - EL] was concealed among machine parts.


Also confirming the interception of the large quantity of hard drugs at the Tin-Can Island Port, Customs spokesman, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, said that about ten wraps of heroin each weighing 112kg had been off-loaded from the container.

It was also gathered that CMA-CGM, the shipping company that brought in the 13 containers of arms and ammunition intercepted recently at the Apapa Port, also brought the heroin-laden container.

The heroin and the arms were being moved via the same smuggling route, it appears.

Nigeria is a major oil-producing country. We now see arms- and heroin smuggling from Iran, and connections to international Islamic terrorist groups. Where have we seen this combination before: oil, heroin, and Islamic terrorists?

A November, 2009, NATO research paper entitled An assessment of crime related risks in the Sahel touches on the role played by Nigerian organized crime cartels, and points to increasing movement of marijuana and cocaine across the Sahel region. Of course, I have been pointing to the movement of arms, terrorism and heroin through this region, and alluding to (though not yet establishing) connections between events in Côte d'Ivoire and cocaine trafficking from South America to Europe.

Boko Haram is connected to international Islamic terrorists who, in turn, are connected to international arms- and narcotics traffickers. These connections run to Iran, to Somalia, and across the Sahara/Sahel region to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. They of course run through nearby countries; Burkina Faso was specifically mentioned. Burkina Faso is a significant player in the world of transnational smuggling, and is implicated in the situation in Côte d'Ivoire; in fact, Côte d'Ivoire's new strongman, Ouattara, is from Burkina Faso. Nigerian groups are also connected to movement of South American cocaine.

Boko Haram's ideology is shared with terrorists all over the world; the "Religion of Peace" is in fact an ideology of terrorism. But, it would be cut off at the knees without all the transnational organized crime activities that fund it, via smuggling of cocaine, heroin, arms and other commodities, and that supply it with potent weapons.

Unfortunately, though, our "War on Terror", or whatever they call it these days, will only deal the most superficial aspects of terrorism. Political correctness will not allow us to connect terrorism to Islam, and corruption and illicit money which finds its way to important officials in Washington from transnational organized crime will not allow us to effectively address terrorism in any case.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Inter-Sudan War, Part 3

Before continuing, you may wish to be familiar with the contents of Land of the Blacks, Part 5, as well as Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

We begin this post reviewing Sudan's South Kordofan governor says life back to normal in region, dated June 26, 2011.

KHARTOUM, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Sudan's South Kordofan State Governor Ahmed Haroun said Saturday that life in the region has been restored to its normal course after clashes it has witnessed since June 6.

Haroun, who was speaking through a video conference Saturday from the state's capital Kadogli, reiterated that the situation was stable and that the Sudanese army were maintaining the initiative in all parts of the region.

"The humanitarian conditions are stable thanks to the efforts of the Humanitarian Aid Commission and the UN agencies, top of them the World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF besides the Sudanese Red Crescent," said Haroun.

"The citizens who deserted the region have started to return," he added.

On June 6, military clashes broke out in South Kordofan State on the border between north and south Sudan between the Sudanese army and military groups belonging to Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA)-Nuba Mountains' sector, in what the army termed as "rebellion."

It is important to keep in mind that Governor Ahmad Muhammad Harun (and I spell his name the way the International Criminal Court does) is under indictment for a long list of crimes, and has an international warrant out for his arrest (see Land of the Blacks, Part 5).

He was President Bashir's main guy in charge of genocide in Darfur; Bashir moved him to South Kordofan in 2009, with an intention that was obviously to prepare to do the same thing there; and that is what is now happening.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir

We now consider excerpts from Plight of the Nuba of Kordofan, by El-Tahir El-Faki:

June 20, 2011 — During the height of the Darfur crisis the Islamic regime of President Bashir lead massive ethnic and genocide campaigns against the indigenous Africans to replace them with Arabs from countries such as Chad, Central Africa, Niger, Mauretania and Mali. While the international community was concentrating on the Darfur crisis, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) was reminding all concerned that the issue was national requiring holistic solutions. Furthermore it stressed that it would only be a matter of time before Bashir would repeat the same scenario in Kordofan. The indicators were clear and copious. The Nuba of Kordofan are indigenous multi-religious Africans who are mostly supporters of the SPLM and perceived by Islamic regime of Bashir as infidels whose rich and fertile lands must be evacuated and given to the Arabs. Thanks to the intervention of the international community and SPLM for not allowing the Islamic Jihadists project to materialise. A period of relative peace and stability ensued until the recent events on the 5th of June 2011.

When the Darfur problem broke out in 2003, Kordofanese with farsighted vision rushed and joined (JEM) and have overtime grown to a sizable group within the movement. What concerned them was its manifesto that categorised the Darfur crisis as part of an all Sudanese problems and has always included Kordofan in every aspect of its negotiations with the Government of Sudan (GoS). The international community was in no mood to mandate the inclusion of Kordofan parallel with the solution to the Darfur crisis. At every level JEM has been considered an intransigent element and a spoiler of the peace processes due to its nationalist aspirations and on its stance regarding Kordofan. In 2006 in Abuja and for the last two years in Doha, Kordofan has been utterly excluded on the same grounds even though Thabo Mbeki's report unambiguously stated the problem a Sudanese one that requires holistic approach.

We now consider excerpts from Crisis in Sudan: Allegations of Ethnic Cleansing in the Nuba Mountains, June 24, 2011, by Rebecca Hamilton. The first part of the article, at the end of which I begin the excerpt, is an italicized introduction to a letter that Hamilton got from a Western journalist and "long-time Sudan analyst" who had been in Southern Kordofan and just got out. His identity has been protected to prevent retaliation against people back in Sudan.

Commenting on what media coverage of the crisis he has read since he left the area, he had one message to convey: "This is not a north/south war. This is not an Arab/black war. This is not a Muslim/Christian war. This is a war against one of the minority groups in northern Sudan."

Here is his letter:

Dear friends,

Sorry to have been so out of touch. Just got out of Nuba a couple of days ago by which time it was already a full-on war zone. Twenty-five days there seemed like a lifetime. While I was there, it was obvious the election process had become so seriously flawed that despite great efforts to inform voters and put forward candidates, the government simply wants no even democratic opposition. Making Haroun, an indicted war criminal wanted for genocide, the governor was a clear message to the people of South Kordofan.

Then in the first week of June, Bashir's forces started an operation to "remove" any local people who had sided with the opposition during the recent elections. There was an enormous build-up of troops, artillery, tanks, and machine gun carriers. And now they've started ground attacks with strong air support. All access is cut off, official statements that any United Nations planes will be shot down, no commodities, going in or out, no humanitarian access, roads mined, large numbers of militias armed.

With the invasion of troops in Kadugli, people began to run. Before Nuba became completely cut off we started working with local people and the remaining local staff of NGOs to respond to the enormous needs of the displaced. We were bombed by Antonovs and strafed by MiGs. Heavy shelling was never far away but we never ran into trouble except from the air. It seems that there is an overt operation to completely "neutralise" (either by killing or by terrifying) any likelihood of opposition. There are very brutal and aggressive attacks with new weapons. We heard stories (we are not sure) of what sounded like phosphorous bombs that cause fires that never go out and horrible burning. People are terrified. There are many civilian casualties already and I fear it is going to get much worse.

What can only be called ethnic cleansing, when an ethnic group is targeted for extermination, started in Kadugli and Dilling while we were there. Door to door executions of completely innocent and defenseless civilians, often by throat cutting, by special internal security forces. We don't know how many yet; hundreds seems for sure, but could be much worse. Terrible accounts of civilians – friends – attempting to find safety in the UNMIS (United Nations Missions of Sudan) compound being pulled out of vehicles and executed immediately. And now we hear that all the displaced who had been seeking some form of security alongside the perimeter fence of UNMIS are being forced to move by the government authorities. What will happen to them? So we just had to stay focused and get things moving on the ground. Incredibly brave and impressive locals both experienced aid workers and villagers leading the response; freed up by the immediate exit of all expats before thingswent wrong. Probably over 100,000 already displaced and more coming.

The ethnic cleansing is not just a war against one of the ethnic groups; it is very much an effort on behalf of Bashir make Sudan an Arab Islamic state where sharia is the law.

The method of conducting this jihad is the same that the Bashir/Harun team developed for Darfur: aerial attacks with Sudan's obsolete aircraft (against which unarmed civilians are unable to defend), attacks by government-sponsored militias (janjaweed in Darfur), and support by regular Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) units.

Skipping down, we come to the explanation as to why the analyst says it is not Muslim/Christian, Arab/black or North/South:

So you know, this is not a war about south versus north, nor Christian against Muslim, or black against Arab. There are as many Muslim Nuba as Christian (and a healthy percentage of traditional spirituality), they see their future in the north, they are intermarried and have been living along side Arab nomadic groups and northern communities for centuries. There are nomadic Arab communities in southern Kordofan who also voted for the SPLM (Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement) and many of the Misseriya and Hawazma groups remain as marginalised as the Nuba ; and as vulnerable to the policies of the center. The Nuba SPLM are not the same as the southern SPLM/A. They are fighting to resist a regime that refuses them basic rights and a voice – access to justice and even basic social and economic rights. This is so important because the Nuba offer a vision for Sudan that builds on religious tolerance and a local understanding of democracy – relevant for so many areas of the world right now.

If you are a Muslim, and you advocate religious tolerance, then you are takfir, and no better than infidels. In fact, you are worse; infidels might still submit, but as takfir, you have fallen into apostasy: you are under sentence of death, and prior to that, the jihadists can and will do anything they want to you, with Allah's approval. (Those are the rules; I didn't make them up.)

Consequently, this is very much a Muslim/infidel thing.

We next examine the first part of Southern Kordofan: Ethnic cleansing under our watch by Parek Maduot, June 15, 2011:

(Washington, DC) - The current fighting in Southern Kordofan is playing out exactly as designed by the brutal strategists of the National Congress Party in Khartoum, and unless the discourse around it and the reaction to horrors we are hearing are reversed, they will achieve almost all their devious strategic aims at minimal cost. The international community has fecklessly resorted to the use of vague exhortations for cessation of hostilities in the Nuba Mountains without explicitly condemning what are incontrovertible acts of ethnic cleansing by the regime against innocent civilians.

The US and other leading guarantors of the CPA find themselves mediating another manufactured crisis by Khartoum according to dubious terms that ignore the fact that it wantonly violated the CPA, and is engaged in brutal killing and displacement of tens of thousands in the border regions. Taking advantage of the sensible restraint shown by the SPLM when Abyei was invaded, and sensing that the focus on reaching July 9th in one piece has become an albatross on the neck of its peace partner and the international community, the NCP calculated that pushing the envelope might win it a few more prizes in these remaining weeks.

It could try to redraw the balance of power in the longest border point with South Sudan along Southern Kordofan by crushing the SPLA elements from that region under the pretext of asserting national sovereignty over Northern territories, while confident that the usual dilly-dallying by mediators and the slow pace of UN security council action will afford it enough time to decimate the SPLA, eliminate as many of the active cadres of the SPLM, and alter the demographic character of Nuba areas by instigating and accelerating resettlement by Arab tribes. Achieving this will certainly give it an upper hand suppressing the nascent political opposition represented by the SPLM in the North; grant it an advantage negotiating post-independence issues with South Sudan, and as a bonus, find another excuse to blackmail the international community over allowing the independence of the South to proceed unhindered.

I have been saying this for some time now - since before Madout's piece was published. This is all going exactly according Khartoum's plan.

Picking up where we left off in Crisis in Sudan: Allegations of Ethnic Cleansing in the Nuba Mountains:

And the war is in a large part our fault again. The UN “peace-keeping” forces are not only totally ineffective (summary executions going in front of blue berets in Kadugli) but may even add to the problem. The diplomatic efforts are too often driven by ill-informed strategies or self-serving policies more related to economic gain for us rather than any sense of humanity or justice. This return of a horrific war needn’t have happened if only there had been much stronger international support for the planned political process. There was never enough international pressure to promote a genuine chance for a just peace.

If a Republican were in office, he would be called a racist for allowing this genocide to occur against people of color. But, since it is a Democrat President of partial African descent who is violating campaign rhetoric to allow the genocide to proceed, the media is silent.

"UN peacekeeping" - a big part of the problem, if for no other reason, because they provide a false sense of security to the locals and make the limousine liberals think something is being done.

Finishing Sudan's South Kordofan governor says life back to normal in region:

The governor, meanwhile, refuted the claims that the Sudanese army has committed ethnic cleansing in South Kordofan, saying "the incidents which took place because of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) did not have any ethnic nature."

"What happened in South Kordofan was a rebellion by a limited groups of the SPLM/SPLA. We do not mix matters when dealing with the groups involved in the incidents from the SPLM. Nobody was targeted on ethnic bases."

Thus says the man with an international warrant out for his arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in what the international community called a genocide in Darfur.

Please read the rest of all the articles quoted above.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Special Place in the World

A comment in a debate on Facebook:

At the risk of sounding arrogant, we saved Europe before, and it looks like they didn't learn their lesson, so we will have to do it again.

Those who seek to destroy the United States do not understand how difficult that task is.

Despite modern rhetoric that disputes this position, the United States is a special country; whereas other nations derived their authority from royalty, in other words from a human, our nation recognized that its authority is derived from the people who, ultimately, derive their authority from their Creator. The fact that we recognize our Creator as Supreme, Lord over the people, and the people as lords over governments instituted by the people to serve at the pleasure of the people to codify and protect Divinely-provided rights is what makes the United States special.

Elsewhere in the world, too many people somehow see their rights as being granted by people; thus, those rights can be taken away by people. In America, though, there is a critical mass of people that still understands that our rights are given to us by our Creator and that these rights are inalienable; thus, there is a critical mass of people willing to fight to defend those rights against oppression, whether from corrupt government or from corrupt religion as, ultimately, all such corrupt oppression stems from a common source.

Until Europeans stop acting "European" and start to recognize their Creator and give Him His due, they will be sheep for the slaughter of any tyranny that comes along.

Any time another nation chooses to recognize humanity's Creator and give Him His due, that nation can be special, as well, as the Lord shows no favoritism, but opens wide His arms to embrace all who would seek Him.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Inter-Sudan War, Part 2

In Part 1 we began looking at the violence in Sudan, which I believe may very well lead to a new war. Since South Sudan is expected to declare its independence on July 9, this unrest could easily become what I call an Inter-Sudan war, though currently it is being billed as a potential new civil war.

We will review reports regarding the current situation, recent background reports and news, and background information, beginning with Signs point to northern Sudan's targeting of civilians in border region by Laura Heaton, dated June 16, 2011. A short way into her article we find the following; I have included the links in the original:

An internal UN memo, the ethnic make-up of the displaced, and accounts by those who fled indicate a campaign by the Sudanese government to deliberately target civilians, with the aim of depopulating the Abyei area of residents that identify as southerners.

As I pointed out in Land of the Blacks, Part 5, this is obviously a premeditated, deliberate move by Bashir. He has for two years been getting people and forces in place to deal with the situation in the Nuba Mountains and the Abyei regions. What we are seeing now is a plan that worked for him in Darfur, implemented by the same people.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir

Skipping down in Signs point to northern Sudan's targeting of civilians in border region:

With South Sudan's independence from the north just weeks away, the northern government led by President Omar al-Bashir, notorious for its targeting of civilians based on ethnicity and use of local militias to flame local tensions, seems set on destabilizing the border area in a last-ditch effort to back the southern government into a wall. Diplomats have been clear that the recent violence won't derail the South's secession, but much is still at stake in negotiations between the two sides over arrangements on combustible issues such as oil, citizenship, debt, and boundaries, including the status of Abyei.

As we saw in Land of the Blacks, Part 2 Bashir uses conflict as a bargaining tool, to improve his negotiating position. He's not trying to stop the south's secession. He has promised that if the south secedes, the north will revise its constitution, implementing sharia. (North) Sudan will definitely be in the Arab/Muslim camp. There are reports of members of Bashir's government referring to the fighting as a jihad, and Khartoum calls its bandit militias mujahideen, while the rest of the world refers to them as janjaweed (see Land of the Blacks, Part 2). However, I wonder how committed Bashir himself is to jihad for the sake of Allah; my bet is he is more concerned about taking care of himself, and will use whatever is available for that purpose.

For more backgrouned, we consider some excerpts from Sudan's Bashir threatens a repeat of Abyei and S. Kordofan "lessons", dated June 19, 2011:

The oil-rich state of Southern Kordofan, on the ill-defined border with the south, is among several flashpoints as Sudan's south prepares to secede on July 9.

Fighting between SAF and SPLA in the state erupted on June 5th under mysterious circumstances. The Northern army said that the SPLA launched an attack on a police station and stole weapons prompting a response.

However, the SPLA claimed that SAF attempted to disarm their units by force. The North gave SPLA in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan until June 1st to evacuate the two states and head South of the 1956 borders.

But officials in the south's dominant party said that fighters in these border regions are Northerners and therefore cannot be asked to migrate southwards.

Prior to that the SAF moved on May 21st to seize the contested region of Abyei in retaliation for an ambush on its forces near the area that was blamed on the SPLA.

In both cases thousands of civilians have been displaced creating a humanitarian crisis that has partially spilled into the soon to secede south. Furthermore, several reports have alleged that the conflict in South Kordofan has taken an ethnic dimension.

This is exactly what is going on - Bashir is replacing people sympathetic to the south with people loyal to Khartoum. He wants to win against insurgents in the Nuba Mountains, and he wants Abyei to have enough pro-Khartoum people in it so any referendum results in Abyei staying with the north.

Back to Signs point to northern Sudan's targeting of civilians in border region:

Reports mount daily of atrocities carried out against civilians from the Nuba Mountains, northerners who sided with the South during the civil war. In addition to aerial bombardments – often with rudimentary explosives made of oil drums pushed out the back of Antonovs – government-aligned militias are reportedly going door-to-door abducting or executing people sympathetic to the South's ruling party. In one particularly harrowing account, a UN security report described smuggling out Sudanese staff in commercial vehicles because the northern army wasn't allowing them to be evacuated.

This is exactly how he did in in Darfur and, as I explained in Land of the Blacks, Part 5, he has the same guy doing it.

There is another interesting spin to this.

We consider excerpts from Sudan re-accuses Darfur rebel groups of fighting on side of Libyan leader, dated June 21, 2011; please see the original for links which I did not reproduce.

June 20, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan Foreign Minister Ali Karti has reiterated accusations that armed groups from his country's western region of Darfur are fighting alongside the beleaguered regime of Libyan leader Muammar Al-Gaddafi.


Sudan's relationship with its neighbour Libya has seen ups and downs, but it plummeted in May last year after Libya provided sanctuary to the leader of Darfur rebel group Justice and Equality Movement, Khalil Ibrahim, after he was shunned by his erstwhile allies in Chad. Sudan closed its shared borders with Libya in response to the harbouring of Khalil, only to re-open them again to receive citizens fleeing the unrest in eastern Libya.

Sudanese officials only summoned the courage to come out with their accusation against Libya of supporting Darfur rebel groups after the uprising against Gaddafi started.

Karti told the parliament that the government had known for a long time that Libya was the main supporter of rebellion in Darfur, saying that Tripoli had supplied them with arms and setup training camps for them in eastern and southern Libya.

So, Gaddafi's government has allegedly been helping the rebels in Darfur. In Darfur, Bashir is backing militias which the Khartoum government calls mujahideen. The rebels against Gaddafi include militant Islamic extremists. And, as we saw in Land of the Blacks, Part 2, Bashir has spoken of Sudan becoming an Islamic state in the wake of any secession of the south - no room for "diversity".

This is shaping up as a fight between 1) bad guys like Bashir and jihadists and 2) infidels and takfir like Gaddafi.

So, why is Obama supporting the rebels against Gaddafi who, by extension, may very well find themselves allied to Bashir?

And, why is Obama doing essentially nothing about Bashir's ethnic cleansing in Abyei and Southern Kordofan?

From Obama's Second "Rwanda Moment" (please see the original for an extensive chronicle of Obama's failed efforts in Sudan, as well as the footnoted background of the author):

President Obama failed to make good on his campaign commitments to Darfur; unless he takes strong action, urgently, he will have failed in the face of the second genocide on his watch, currently accelerating in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan

Eric Reeves*

June 13, 2011

Recalling President Bill Clinton's massive moral failure in the face of the Rwandan genocide of spring 1994, many spoke of Darfur as President Obama's "Rwanda moment" - the moment in which he was obliged to choose whether or not to commit truly substantial American diplomatic and political resources to halt the ethnically-targeted human destruction that has raged for more than eight years. As I've recently noted, candidate Obama virtually invited such a framing of his actions, declaring: "The government of Sudan has pursued a policy of genocide in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children have been killed in Darfur, and the killing continues to this very day" (April 2008). But more than three years later the situation has not improved in Darfur; rather, a grim genocide by attrition continues, and Obama's incompetent special envoy, former Air Force General Scott Gration, made no progress on the key issues. He failed to secure a peace agreement (or even the trust of Darfuris), and he produced no improvement in access for humanitarians or freedom of movement for the UN/African Union peacekeeping force. Conditions are if anything worse than when candidate Obama spoke, and his "Rwanda moment" has passed. He has failed.

But the consequences of General Gration's incompetence extend to critical issues that remain unresolved between Khartoum and Juba, the capital of what will be in less than a month the independent Republic of South Sudan. Most pressing is the genocidal violence that has exploded in South Kordofan over the past week and threatens to take all of Sudan back to civil war. There are increasingly ominous reports of mass executions and the ethnic targeting of civilians, especially those with origins in the Nuba Mountains - including women and children. Arab militias armed by and allied with the Khartoum regime are going house-to-house, searching out "SPLM (Southern) sympathizers," who are either summarily executed or detained. The fate of a great many of these people is unknown. Numerous reliable accounts from the ground make clear that Khartoum's military aircraft are again engaged in the indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets throughout the Nuba. Churches have been burned in Kadugli (the capital of South Kordofan) and church staff murdered. Most terrifyingly, a humanitarian situation that is already desperate is deteriorating rapidly: Khartoum has engineered a security crisis that has produced mass evacuations of humanitarian personnel from South Kordofan, and if this is not very quickly reversed, vulnerable populations that have fled up into the mountains will die from exposure, malnutrition, and dehydration.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Inter-Sudan War, Part 1

Yes, a new series on Africa. And, notice the ominous title.

I was reviewing Sudan in Transition, a blog by Rebecca Hamilton, who is an author and special correspondent now in Sudan covering the situation there. Specifically, I was reading her article What Sparked the Attack on Abyei? from June 1, 2011.

The specific part of the article that most caught my attention was this:

Press statements from the Government of South Sudan do not deny there was an incident but they do deny that there was an intentional ambush. The most detailed account I have received of Juba's version of events so far comes from the General Army Chief of Staff of the SPLA, Lt-Gen James Hoth Moi, whom I interviewed on May 27.

According to Moi, the SAF JIU was being escorted up to Goli following an incident on May 15 where an SPLA contingent of a JIU was attacked by northern-allied militia, resulting in the death of four SPLA soldiers. After this incident, Moi says that both sides agreed to move the SAF JIUs further north and the SPLA JIUs further south to avoid further problems, with the SAF accompanying the SPLA units from north to south to ensure their security and the SPLA accompanying the SAF units from south to north for the same reason. Moi says that this was the process that was under way when the incident in Dokura occurred.

According to Moi, the SAF JIU, with an SPLA commander and UN escort, was a convoy of five trucks. At Dokura, some of the SPLA JIU who had been in the group who were attacked on May 15 began arguing about whether it was wise to provide SPLA accompaniment to the SAF JIU as they headed further north from Dokura. In the midst of the argument, a shot was fired into the air from the group who were arguing (Moi says he has not confirmed who fired that shot). When a SAF soldier on the truck closest to the group heard the gunshot, Moi says he must have thought he was being attacked. Moi says the SAF soldier then overreacted, launched an RPG-7 which set a nearby car alight. After that chaos ensued. SAF troops, believing the burning car was part of an ambush, all jumped from the truck. Although the trucks at the head of the convoy continued heading north, the trucks at the back were caught up in the violence. Moi says that both SAF soldiers and some Ngok Dinka civilians were killed, although he could not confirm numbers.

Moi also places the Sudanese government's seizure of Abyei into a broader context – though it is a different contextualization than the one given by Khartoum. According to Moi, the Sudanese government had been planning to invade Abyei for many months and the May 19 incident, far from being a trigger, was instead a useful pretext.

My comment was as follows:

The version Lt. Gen. Moi gave you seems to make some sense, in that it appears that Khartoum has had contingency plans in case of southern secession. For example, the appointment of Harun as governor of Southern Kordofan two years ago, coupled with the military build-up in the region during this same time frame, indicates that perhaps Bashir is planning to use his Darfur strategy to secure the Nuba mountains area. It seems logical that he might want to apply similar methods to ensure Abyei had a higher proportion of people favorable to Khartoum so that whenever a referendum is held, the area will go to the north.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has stated that Bashir invents conflict to create a better negotiating position, according to March, 2009 Wikileaked cable. Consequently, we could expect Bashir to generate some kind of crisis, through a false-flag operation if necessary; however, given the tensions, he really only needs to wait for an inevitable incident, then blow it out of proportion.

A conflict with the south would play into Bashir's hands up to a point. The north seems to have its deals cut with Middle Eastern countries for arms shipments via Sudan to be smuggled through Egypt to Gaza. Khartoum also has useful relations with China. Consequently, as long as oil can be exported via Port Sudan, there is a way to channel foreign arms to groups friendly to Khartoum along what will soon be the Inter-Sudan Border. (Ambassador Williamson talked a little about Khartoum's support for these groups with Chinese-made weapons in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee back in January.) Even if the flow of Sudanese oil should somehow be cut, Bashir may still get what he needs from allies in the Middle East; Iran could easily supply Sudan enough to ensure Bashir finishes any conflict in an advantageous position, and might do so as a quid-pro-quo for smuggling arms to Gaza. In any case, Darfur has become a hub of arms smuggling across the Sahara/Sahel region. The opportunity is there, in the absence of an effective international response.

If the goal is not a thorough military defeat of the south, but rather a conflict to improve his negotiating position, and in particular a conflict under somewhat ambiguous circumstances so as to not galvanize any kind of international response, Bashir could pull this off quite easily. Such a scenario would be consistent with what we have seen in Sudan, it would be consistent with what we know of Bashir, and it would be consistent with Lt. Gen. Moi's observations. This might be leveraged by Bashir into more control over Sudan's oil exports which, coupled with a growing gold-mining industry in the north, would seem to secure Khartoum's position for the foreseeable future.

And, I think this is what is happening. As Governor Taban Deng said back in May, South Sudan is already at war.

It would take very minimal support to place Bashir's forces in check. For example, supplying the south with some man-portable air defense missiles could negate Bashir's use of cargo planes and vintage fighters to attack civilians. The missiles need not be state-of-the-art; thirty-year-old technology, the kind China has made widely available in the world arms market, would be perfectly adequate, as Bashir's air force likely has neither the equipment nor the training to effectively counter such a threat. (The attack helicopters would likely be a little more difficult to deal with.)

I'm betting this will all get worse before it gets better.

Thanks for the excellent work you are doing there. Please be careful.

Considering how extensive the comment became, I decided to make it the core of a new post at my blog. And, considering the conclusions I have been coming to regarding Sudan recently, especially at my previous post on Sudan, Land of the Blacks, Part 5, I decided to begin a new series.

In less than a month, the southern parts of Sudan are supposed to officially secede from Sudan, creating a new country, South Sudan.

When this happens, there will be a border between the two new daughter countries of Sudan; I am calling this the Inter-Sudan Border.

Along this border, a war is about to be fought.

(I hope I am wrong; I hope this will be a short series.)

Truth and Reconciliation, Part 5

First, you may wish to review Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, all of which are the latest posts under the label Ivory Coast.

In particular, in Part 3, I stated the following:

Ouattara's policies, acting as IMF frontman and Prime Minister in Côte d'Ivoire many years ago, helped generate the very crisis that led to the civil war which, in turn, led to a de facto partition of Côte d'Ivoire in the wake of the civil war there a few years back. This partition only ended when a disputed election was settled by international force in favor of a man who would do the bidding of the foreign powers that backed him militarily and diplomatically.

The international puppetmasters sent in their man, he did their dirty work, and they rewarded him by giving him a presidency 1) which he was not eligible for, 2) which he won in a dirty election, and 3) which was enforced only by military power of neo-colonial forces operating under the auspices of the UN.

Furthermore, the conduct alleged of Ouattara's backers then is the same kind of thing we are seeing today.

And, at the end of Part 4, I made this statement:

US government sources show Gbagbo and his closest people were basically free of narcotics-related corruption, while Ouattara has a reputation for looting Côte d'Ivoire to enrich himself and his associates.

Who controls the mainstream media? Who manipulates the international community? Because these people are telling us a very slanted story about what is going on in Côte d'Ivoire today, and they're not telling us certain aspects of Côte d'Ivoire's history.

And, by controlling what we learn today about what happened yesterday, they set the stage for colonialistic/imperialistic exploitation of Côte d'Ivoire in the future, under their puppet Ouattara.

Indeed, Ouattara is selling Ivoirians into slavery.

Now, we review an excerpt from a UN report entitled Transnational Organized Crime in the West African Region, dated 2005; the excerpt is from page 8 (17 of 48 when you download the pdf):

In countries where a full-scale war develops, such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, it becomes difficult to distinguish between organized crime and political violence. There are now disturbing signs that a similar evolution may be taking place in Côte d'Ivoire. The robbery of a bank in Bouake, a town under control of the rebel Forces nouvelles movement [Guillaume Soro was secretary general of this group at the time; these guys put Ouattara in power this year - EL], reportedly organized by one of the leaders of the rebellion, and a major bank hold-up in Abidjan in 2002 that is also believed to have been organized by a future leader of the insurrection, make clear not only the close connection between political violence and crime, but also suggest the formation of a nexus of political disorder that provides a suitable environment for organized crime, creating a triangular logic of disorder, violence and crime in which each becomes a corollary of the other.

A similar phenomenon, we have mentioned, has been noted in Senegal, where the gendarmerie reports the export of marijuana from the Casamance region, favoured by conditions of low-intensity conflict, towards other parts of the region.26 Not only does the organization of armed struggle require financing, which increasingly may come from criminal activity,27 but in extreme cases the State itself may come under the control of professional criminals. Some observers would consider this to have been the case of Liberia under the presidency of Charles Taylor, from 1997 to 2003. The rebellion of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone has often been presented in such a manner. A Sierra Leonean police officer notes the significance in this regard of the RUF's having obliged the legitimate government of the country to share power, allowing the RUF's leader, Foday Sankoh, to occupy a position equivalent to that of a vice president and gaining control of the precious minerals department of the government.28 The Sierra Leonean president, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, has represented the war in his country as a criminal enterprise on a national scale.29 Indeed, the Sierra Leone police reports that members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council, the junta that had power in 1997-1998, themselves pioneered the use of Sierra Leone as a transit point in the international drug trade.30 In such cases, distinctions between crime and legitimate activity become difficult, since the authorities responsible for enforcing the law of the land may themselves be organizers of criminal activity.

What is described above is something known as "State Capture" - where organized crime takes over an entire state.

Next, we condiser an article entitled Côte d'Ivoire: is cocoa money propping up Gbagbo regime?, from January 26, 2011:

Companies exporting from Côte d’Ivoire must publish information on taxes paid into the country's cocoa sector, and respect the temporary ban on exports announced this week by president-elect Alassane Ouattara, said Global Witness today. The embargo comes amid fears that the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo – who refuses to recognise Ouattara's November election victory – is using cocoa money to preserve his grip on power.

Global Witness's 2007 report, Hot Chocolate, exposed how money from the international cocoa trade had financed both rebels and government loyalists in the country's civil war from 2002-03. The rebels continue to control the north of the country, with Gbagbo loyalists – who rejected Ouattara's November electoral victory – ruling over the south. Concerns about the cocoa sector have not gone away, and there are now concerns that Gbagbo may now be using the industry to finance his activities, as fears grow that the country could see a return to war.

The EU has imposed sanctions on Mr Gbagbo and his allies following reports of systematic killings of groups considered loyal to Mr Ouattara. However, he was until recently able to access Ivorian state funds held at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). The governor of the BCEAO was forced to quit last week after reportedly allowing Gbagbo's government to withdraw at least $140m from state coffers(1).

Mr Ouattara's ban on exports is an attempt to restrict the cash flow to Mr Gbagbo and his supporters.

"The army's loyalty allows Gbagbo to maintain his stranglehold on the Ivorian state, and it needs to be paid," said Daniel Balint-Kurti, Campaigner at Global Witness. "Cocoa taxes have long been a major source of funds for his regime, and there's a danger money stolen from the sector is being used to fund the militias now terrorising parts of the population."

In December 2010, Global Witness wrote to several cocoa companies to make them aware of our concerns that their payments could be diverted and ask what policies they have in place to prevent this. We are awaiting their reply.

"Companies should now respect the ban and immediately publish the taxes and levies they have paid on cocoa, so that this money can be properly traced," added Balint-Kurti.

Of course, publishing information about what taxes and levies paid would allow the authorities to track down whoever received that money.

The "authorities" right now are Ouattara's gang of thugs.

As the excerpt above points out, "money from the international cocoa trade had financed both rebels and government loyalists" - how determined are Ouattara's "authorities" going to be to trace the money that leads back to themselves? There will only be investigations to determine who supported Gbagbo, so revenge can be served.

We now look at an excerpt from Cocoa speculators cash in on Côte d'Ivoire conflict by Khadija Sharife, dated May 12, 2011:

Some weeks ago, a Pambazuka article written by Pierre Sané, former secretary general of Amnesty International, disclosed the relations between Côte d'Ivoire’s new president, Alassane Ouattara, and Loïc Folloroux, stepson of the head of cocoa and coffee-trading Armajaro's Africa division. Outtara's banning of cocoa exports was seen as serendipitous to the company's fortunes, particularly Armajaro's leading cocoa speculator, Anthony Ward.

It is Ouattara, not Gbagbo, who was closely tied to those who make money off the ups and downs of cocoa exports from Côte d'Ivoire.

We now consider excerpts of French Commentary Examines Sarkozy's Personal Ties with Cote d'Ivoire's Ouattara, April 13, 2011

"A friend of Sarkozy:" Laurent Gbagbo attaches this label to Alassane Ouattara to stigmatize him, as supposed evidence of a "conspiracy" by the former colonial government against the former president, arrested Monday 11 April. However, far from concealing it, the incoming Ivorian head of state boasts of it: "Nicolas Sarkozy is an old friend," he has kept saying in recent months. "If I have five or six real friends in the world, he's one of them," he told L'Express in January, and Mr Ouattara, a former IMF official, said on Canal Plus that he is also friends with Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Laurent Fabius. "Ever since 28 November (the date of the election result -- Le Monde editor's note,) he has spoken with Nicolas Sarkozy by telephone every day," a source close to the Ivorian president told Le Monde.

Sarkozy, the President of France, manipulated the UN to get the green light for French troops to lead the charge to install his "old friend" Ouattara - an IMF front man and friend of Strauss-Kahn (the former IMF boss and accused rapist with a reputation of womanizing) as President of Côte d'Ivoire. So, abuse of power is rampant in these circles.

The story of this "friendship" begins in 1990. Mr Ouattara, then prime minister under Houphouet-Boigny, the authoritarian "father of the nation" approaching the end of his rule, negotiated the privatization of water and electricity management in Cote d'Ivoire. He chose to grant the 15-year concession to Martin Bouygues, a close friend of Nicolas Sarkozy, a business lawyer. Mr Bouygues became close friends with Mr Ouattara.

The use of political power for personal profit is also not unknown among these guys.

Skipping past the details of Ouattara's wife and her connections to people in power, including to Sarkozy, we get to the part where Ouattara helps Sarkozy rape Côte d'Ivoire nearly two decades ago:

Via Martin Bouygues, Nicolas and Cecilia Sarkozy became close friends of Alassane and Dominique Ouattara. Politics and business only strengthened the couples' friendship: in 1993, Mr Ouattara, then Ivorian prime minister, helped his French counterpart, Edouard Balladur, whose budget minister Mr Sarkozy was, to proceed with the painful devaluation of the CFA franc.

Read all of French Commentary Examines Sarkozy's Personal Ties with Cote d'Ivoire's Ouattara - it's a real soap-opera of corruption connecting Sarkozy to Ouattara.

We now consider an excerpt from HRW urges Ivory Coast to investigate human rights violations, war crimes, dated April 10, 2011, by Carrie Schimizzi, reproduced with links found in the original:

[JURIST] Democratically elected Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara should investigate "atrocities," including murder and rape, committed by opposing political forces during recent conflicts, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] report [press release] requested Saturday. According to the report, forces loyal to Ouattara, known as the Republican Forces of Cote d'Ivoire, killed more than 100 civilians, raped at least 20 supporters of rival Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] and burned at least 10 villages over the past month.

The article also points to accusations against Gbagbo's forces - but, that is really irrelevant, isn't it? I mean, the media tells us daily that Gbagbo was the "strongman" who refused to yield power to democratically-elected Ouattara, etc. But these allegations shown above are of atrocities committed by Ouattara's forces.

So, the darling of the international media, friend of Sarkozy, our knight in shining armor come to slay the dragon of despotism and restore democracy to Côte d'Ivoire - it's his forces implicated in war crimes?

From UN Reports on Murder and Rape in Ivory Coast dated June 10, 2011:

United Nations investigators have found evidence that crimes against humanity may have been committed in Ivory Coast both by forces loyal to the West African country's ex-president Laurent Gbagbo and by forces loyal to his opponent and successor, Alassane Ouattara.

Three investigators were sent to Ivory Coast by the United Nations Human Rights Council in May. Their job was to probe alleged attacks against the population since the country's presidential election last November.

What they found, the panel said Friday, was evidence of possible crimes against humanity having been committed on both sides of the political divide.

They said rape and murder were carried out through generalized and systematic attacks, targeting people based on their assumed political sympathies.

The investigator's report is set to be discussed at the Human Rights Council next Wednesday and until then they have declined to speak with VOA about its findings.

But they're not the first to say that forces loyal to Ivory Coast's current leader, Alassane Ouattara, may have committed major crimes in recent months.

The international rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both accused Ouattara's followers of targeting suspected supporters of former leader Laurent Gbagbo.

Deputy Director for Africa at Amnesty, Véronique Aubert, says that Ouattara must bring the situation under control. "He's the president and that's why we expect him to issue clear public instructions to security forces to comply with Ivorian law and international human rights law," she said.

Crimes against humanity - committed by Ouattara's forces.

We now go back in time one day to review an article entitled Ivory Coast crisis: Alassane Ouattara forces accused, dated June 9, 2011:

The United Nations has accused forces loyal to Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara of unleashing violence against supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo.

The troops killed two people and wounded dozens of others during attacks in the south and west, the UN said.

It said many residents fled to forests, leaving villages empty.

Mr Ouattara was sworn in last month, promising to end months of conflict.

The UN human rights officer in Ivory Coast, Guillaume Ngefa, demanded an immediate and impartial investigation into the attacks.

He said Mr Ouattara's forces targeted the village of Becouesin, 50 km (30 miles) north of the main city, Abidjan.

"Along the way, they beat a person who later died from his wounds," said Mr Ngefa.

After accusations that Ouattara's forces hacked at people with machetes, the article concludes:

The violence in Ivory Coast was triggered by the refusal of Mr Gbagbo to cede power and accept Mr Ouattara's victory in presidential elections last year.

At least 3,000 people were killed in the conflict.

The international community and the international media are still sticking up for their frontman, Ouattara.

The violence was not triggered by the refusal of Gbagbo to cede power; it was triggered by the decision to install Ouattara by force of arms, rather than handle the disputed election in accordance with Ivoirian law.

This decision was made by a transnational criminal cartel that includes French President Sarkozy.

Ouattara, not Gbagbo, is the criminal here - and he has been for decades.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Land of the Blacks, Part 5

I haven't written a great deal lately because I've been so busy reading!

As I do research, I find new links, and have updated my sidebar, especially regarding Africa and in particular Sudan.

Anyway, in Part 4, we were looking at the situation in Abyei.

Abyei is a district in the state of Southern Kordofan; however, as South Sudan splits from Sudan, Southern Kordofan will remain a part of Sudan, without the opportunity to vote on the matter, and Abyei was supposed to vote which country it would be a part of, (North) Sudan or South Sudan. As we saw in Part 4, Khartoum's plan is to ethnically cleanse Abyei while delaying the vote; that way, when the vote is finally held, the only people left in Abyei will want to be part of Khartoum's Sudan.

But the situation in Southern Kordofan is interesting, too.

In 2009, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir appointed as governor of Southern Kordofan a man named Ahmad Muhammad Harun.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir

Harun has an interesting past.

In fact, on April 27, 2007, the International Criminal Court issued a Warrant for his arrest.

Excerpts follow:

CONSIDERING that there are reasonable grounds to believe t hat the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Militia/Janjaweed, acting together as part of the counterinsurgency campaign, carried out several attacks on the towns of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, Arawala and surrounding areas over an extensive period of time running at least between 2003 and 2004, while these towns were devoid of any rebel activities and while the civilian population was not taking any active part in the hostilities;

CONSIDERING that there are reasonable grounds to believe that during these attacks, the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Milita/Janjaweed committed several criminal acts against civilians primarily from the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit populations, between August 2003 and March 2004, namely murders of civilians, rapes and outrages upon the personal dignity of women and girls, attacks intentionally directed against the above-mentioned civilian populations and destruction of property belonging to the above-mentioned populations and pillaging of towns;


CONSIDERING that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the attacks perpetrated by the Sudanese Armed Forces and/or the Militia/Janjaweed were of a systematic or widespread nature and were directed against civilians primarily from the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit populations pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organisational policy consisting in attacking the civilian population;

CONSIDERING that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, during these attacks, persecution, murders, forcible transfers, imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty, acts of torture, rapes and other inhumane acts and upon civilians primarily from the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit populations were committed by the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Militia/Janjaweed;


CONSIDERING that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, from in or about April 2003 until in or about September 2005, Ahmad Harun served as Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of Sudan; that, as such, he was in charge of the management of the "Darfur Security desk" thereby coordinating the different bodies of the Government involved in the counter-insurgency, including the Police, the Armed Forces, the National Security and Intelligence Service and the Militia/Janjaweed;

CONSIDERING that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, due to his position at the Darfur Security desk and through his overall coordination and personal participation in key activities of the Security Committees, namely the recruiting, arming and funding of the Militia/Janjaweed in Darfur, Ahmad Harun intentionally contributed to the commission of the above-mentioned crimes, knowing that his contribution would further the common plan carried out by the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Militia/Janjaweed, which consisted of attacking the civilian populations in Darfur;

CONSIDERING that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Ahmad Harun, by virtue of his above-mentioned position, had knowledge of the crimes committed against the civilian population and of the methods used by the Militia/Janjaweed; and that in his public speeches Ahmad Harun not only demonstrated that he knew that the Militia/Janjaweed were attacking civilians and pillaging towns and villages, but also personally encouraged the commission of such illegal acts;

... you get the idea.

The sixteen-page arrest warrant for Harun goes on to number fifty-one (51) counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity of which Harun is accused. These include murder, rape, torture, forcible relocation, pillaging of private property...

... you get the idea.

Of course, instead of handing him over to the ICC, Bashir (who also has an ICC warrant out for his arrest) placed him in charge of Southern Kordofan - about a year and a half before the referendum on whether the south would secede, and knowing that Southern Kordofan would be right on the border of both the southern part of Sudan, and Abyei.

Southern Kordofan is centered around the Nuba mountains, and there have been problems with anti-regime elements in the area.

Now, why would Bashir take this guy Harun - who orchestrated what is widely called a genocide in Darfur, recruiting the Janjaweed, ensuring they were organized, equipped and supported, and coordinating their activities with the Sudanese Armed Forces - and place him in charge of another state where there were long-standing problems and more expected to follow?

Might it be that Bashir knew what kind of work Harun did, that Bashir approved of that work, and that Bashir wanted more of that work done in Southern Kordofan?

We consider testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee entitled SUDAN AT THE CROSSROADS, January 18, 2011, Pages 50-51 (54-55 of 66 as you download the pdf). First speaking is Ambassador Williamson, previously quoted in this series, then Mr. Omer Ismail, advisor, The Enough Project:

[Ambassador WILLIAMSON.] But, as you know, if it is Human Rights First, if it is the small arms commission of the U.N., the documentation of Chinese small arms has been irrefutable. And we can assume—there have been credible reports of the flow of those arms down into regions near the border, directed by Khartoum. It is a matter of great concern.

I think, as Congressman Payne said, we were together in Abyei when the smoke was still coming up where the charred bed remains, where there were no homes as far as you can see. And then in the Gok, where 50,000 people were living under torn sheets during the rainy season when you couldn’t walk without mud up to your ankles.

The tragedy of Abyei goes on. It goes on because of the oil. The vote was good, but the tough issues lie ahead.

Mr. ISMAIL. May I add, there is information that is coming from Abyei that the weapons are there and the violence can spark at any moment. You might have heard of this project that The Enough Project, with Harvard University and others, have launched. And these are the eyes in the sky that are going to show us what is happening in Abyei, so stay tuned.

And, also, the small arms are there, and other open sources that are saying 55,000 of the 105,000 standing army of Sudan are in or around the area of Abyei. If that is not a spark that is going to start something, I don’t know what it is. So we have to be vigilant, we have to work hard to avoid that clash from happening.

So, the experts testified before Congress in January that Khartoum's deployments of troops along what is soon to be its southern border, near Abyei, was a "spark" and that hard work would be required to avoid a bigger problem.

Details on the deployments can be found in Armed Entities in South Kordofan, updated on June 4, 2011, by the Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment:

Sudan Armed Forces (SAF)

The number of SAF troops in South Kordofan is highly contested. As a result of an adjustment of forces in 2009, there are officially just two SAF divisions in the state: the 14th Division in Kadugli (formerly the site of the 5th Division, now in el Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan state), and the 15th Division in Muglad, in former Western Kordofan (which merged into South Kordofan in 2005). In addition, there are four brigades present in the state: the 53rd Brigade in Abu Jebeha, the 54th Brigade in Dilling, the 55th Brigade in Babanua, and the 56th Brigade in Heglig. In total, there are officially approximately 20,000 troops in South Kordofan.

SPLA officials claim that all four brigades have the strength of divisions and report a fifth 'independent' brigade in Liri, for a total of nearly 55,000 troops in the state — more than is needed to control the state, SPLM officials say, and more than there were at the height of the war in South Kordofan in the early 1990s.2

One of the guiding principles in the debate on security arrangements during Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) negotiations was that the downsizing of all forces to acceptable peacetime levels should begin at the start of the interim period. In line with this, the SPLM believes that SAF must reduce its presence in South Kordofan to pre-war levels—one battalion of approximately 800 men.3 The Sudanese government refutes this argument, citing a clause in the CPA that allows it to deploy forces in the North 'as it sees fit'.

And, sure enough, from UN: Civilians Targeted as Violence Worsens in Southern Kordofan, dated June 10, 2011 (link in the original is reproduced here):

The U.N. human rights office today reported that "extremely worrying" attacks on civilians and indiscriminant shelling are taking place in Southern Kordofan. Civilian deaths and injuries in the towns of Talodi and Um Durein have been confirmed while house-to-house searches near Kadugli, and attacks on both displaced people seeking refuge and civilians returning home for provisions have been reported. The U.N. also reported that "fighting forces" have erected roadblocks that are preventing medical and humanitarian access and called on all parties to the conflict to allow safe passage to civilians.

Bashir is planning a fight, and has been planning it for two years. Had the referendum in the south not gone for independence, a different contingency plan would be getting implemented now. But, in light of what has happened, Bashir is going to make a grab for the oil. He wants to secure Abyei, ensure solid possession of Southern Kordofan, and may be considering a proxy fight in what will, in less than a month, be South Sudan. He can do this, because he is getting support from the Middle East - countries whom he helps by trafficking their weapons through Sudan, smuggling them through Egypt, and up to Hamas in the Gaza Strip - as well as weapons from China, to whom he sells oil, and who has a vested interest in a reasonable degree of stability along the pipeline which is the only way for Sudan's oil to make it to the Red Sea and on to the Orient.

And who is allowing these two guys, Bashir and Harun, both with ICC warrants out for their arrest for their role in war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, to set the stage for their next war? Who is allowing them to set the stage for this next round of genocide in Africa?

From testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee entitled SUDAN AT THE CROSSROADS, January 18, 2011, Page 2 (6 of 66 as you download the pdf):

Unfortunately, the hardest work is yet to come. First, the results must be certified and accepted. Though Khartoum has pledged to accept the outcome, it has a long history of reneging on its commitments. The stakes are high, and both sides have spent the past 6 years preparing for war.

Second, outstanding issues relating to the implementation of the CPA must be resolved prior to conclusion of the transition period in July 2011, including the demarcation of the border; citizenship and nationality; wealth sharing and resource management, including for oil and water; division of assets and debt; currency; and security arrangements.

Third, the future status of the oil-rich Abyei region must be resolved fairly and in a transparent manner. Abyei is a lit match in a pool of gasoline, and continued failure to resolve its status all but guarantees war.

Likewise, the popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile must proceed in a manner that legitimately addresses longstanding grievances. These areas are awash with weapons, and tensions are high. A single security incident could set the entire region ablaze.

Finally, we must not trade peace in Darfur for independence in the South. Regrettably, it appears the administration may have forgotten key lessons from the past. Prior U.S. efforts to reward the Sudanese regime for signing peace agreements and acceding to the deployment of peacekeepers while the regime simultaneously supported genocide in Darfur, blocked humanitarian access, and stalled implementation of the CPA were broadly condemned.

In the words of then-Senator Barack Obama in April 2008, and I quote,

"I am deeply concerned by reports that the Bush administration is negotiating a normalization of relations with the Government of Sudan. This reckless and cynical initiative would reward a regime in Khartoum that has a record of failing to live up to its commitments."

Yet the Obama administration is following the same misguided concessions-driven path.