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.

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