Wednesday, July 25, 2012

People as Playthings, Part 2


In Dan's Brother Angel, Part 1, we looked at organized crime in Denmark, specifically the connection to "biker gangs" that were fighting over control of the distribution of illegal drugs. In Denmark the fight has an ethnic flavor to it, as ethnic Danes are battling "Asian" gangs. The Asian gangs are Muslims who, the Danish bikers say, do not want to assimilate. We also considered how Denmark was increasingly a destination for cocaine. From other series in this blog, we know that Latin American cocaine is increasingly being trafficked via Africa.

In Dan's Brother Angel, Part 2, we saw how heroin was specifically a drug, the trafficking of which was being fought over, and how its use was on the rise in Denmark. Furthermore, following up on an aspect of the situation in Part 1, we saw how police were allegedly taking sides in the fight, often, but not always, siding with ethnic Danish biker gangs against "immigrant" groups. We also considered how "immigrant" is a politically correct code word for Muslim groups.

Significantly, the narcotics in question focus on heroin brought in from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Trafficking of the Afghan heroin is especially done by ethnic Turkish and ethnic Albanian cartels, though I mentioned that in passing in these posts, and did not provide support for that statement.

In Dan's Brother Angel, Part 3, we skipped over to Scotland, and saw how heroin use was on the rise. We also saw how government programs were about continuing the addiction, not curing it, and how the number of heroin-related deaths was increasing. We noticed the concidence between how the treatment program continues addiction, and how the UK government is part of the military operation in Afghanistan that seems unable or unwilling to eliminate the heroin production there. I asked the question: Who benefits?

Dan's Brother Angel, Part 4 painted a picture of a Muslim leader of the UK's Muslim community named Anjem Choudary. Though disavowed by many of the UK's more mainstream Muslims, Choudary is very much of an Islamic supremacist, and seeks to destroy infidel society and replace it with Islamic law - undoubtedly, Islamic law interpreted by him. We also saw how Choudary has a past of serious drug abuse. Dan's Brother Angel, Part 5 went more in-depth, showing how Choudary was receiving money from the UK government, even as he was calling for the destruction of the UK's society and its replacement by an Islamic caliphate. Part 5 also showed us how Choudary associates with drug-traffickers, who deal in heroin and cocaine, among other drugs, and we saw how certain members of the Muslim subculture in the UK are happy to traffic heroin: it's a chemical jihad. The heroin kills infidels, and the money from selling the heroin furthers the jihad in other ways, although an article referenced explains that some of the Muslim drug dealers will sell to anybody, infidel or Muslim:

The ruthless racket is a two-pronged attack which peddles death and misery with heroin while netting massive sums to pay for future terror attacks.

A senior security source told the Daily Star Sunday: "The Afghan poppy fields are probably the biggest financial contributor to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

"The UK's heroin trade is increasing at an alarming rate and most of the cash helps arm terrorists with bombs and guns."

The US has already been targeted in the evil campaign which mirrors a terror plot in the new James Bond novel Devil May Care.

Between 1990 and 2005 Taliban-linked drug peddler Haji Baz Mohammed raked in a staggering £17billion by pouring heroin into North America.

He told a US court that "selling heroin was a jihad because they were taking Americans' money and the heroin was killing them".

[snip]

Our investigators went on the hunt for heroin in Luton and did a deal in the back of a taxi.

Pulling out a handful of wraps, the driver said: "I'll sort you a fix for £10 but a gram's £50. It’s knockout gear." Asked where the drugs came from he said: "Poppy fields between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"The big bosses have Taliban and al-Qaida connections and we're often told only to deal it to non-Muslims. They call it chemical jihad and hope to ruin lives while getting massive payouts at the same time.

"I'm more interested in the money. I knock it out to anyone, whatever their beliefs.

"But there are lots of big-hitters who only sell to non-Muslims – to poison them."

So, ethnic Muslim groups are big players in the trafficking and distribution of heroin, and now of cocaine as well, in Western Europe.

In People as Playthings, Part 1 we considered the "Amerithrax" case (the anthrax attacks of late 2001). In particular, we looked at investigative reporting that raised serious questions regarding the plausibility of the FBI's claim that the attacks were perpretated by Army scientist Dr. Bruce E. Ivins. It should be noted that the attacks came in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and were accompanied with letters calling for death to America and to Israel.


We now consider excerpts of a report entitled An Outbreak of Anthrax Among Drug Users in Scotland, December 2009 to December 2010, dated December, 2011 (excerpts from pages viii and then pgs 21-23 (10 and then pgs 37-39 of 134 as you download the pdf)):

Summary

Outbreak Characteristics

• An outbreak of anthrax was identified starting in Glasgow in December 2009, when cases of serious soft tissue infection (SSTI) among drug users were confirmed as being due to infection with Bacillus anthracis, the first such outbreak formally recorded. A local outbreak investigation began, which became a national investigation in January 2010, coordinated by Health Protection Scotland (HPS), when cases were identified in multiple NHS board areas.

[snip]

• The outbreak was declared as ended in December 2010, by which time 208 initially suspected cases had been formally investigated; 119 patients were ultimately classed as anthrax cases, classified further as: 47 confirmed cases; 35 probable cases; and 37 possible cases based on the strength of microbiological evidence, provided by the Health Protection Agency, Novel and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory (HPA-NDPL) at Porton Down; the remaining 89 initially suspected cases were finally classed as not having anthrax (anthrax negative). Fourteen anthrax cases died (13 confirmed, 1 probable).

• Most of the cases occurred between December 2009 and March 2010. The last case to be confirmed in Scotland had symptoms in July 2010; however, the last suspected case was investigated in October 2010, indicating that the risk of infection to drug users in Scotland persisted for almost a year.

[snip]

4.4.2. Genotyping of the B. anthracis Outbreak Strain

To characterize the particular strain (or strains) isolated from the outbreak cases, genotyping of B. anthracis isolates was carried out at the HPA-NDPL and by Professor Paul S. Keim of the Northern Arizona University (NAU), Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), USA.

B. anthracis is considered to be a relatively new organism in that its low genetic diversity implies that all strains existing now can be traced back to a common ancestor, evolving some thousands of years ago from its close relative Bacillus cereus. For that reason B. anthracis is considered to be a recently emerged pathogen. The nature of the B. anthracis organism allows genotyping analysis (known colloquially as DNA fingerprinting) to be used to compare and categorize an unknown or new strain into previously known genetic groups.

[snip]

Genotyping therefore enabled conclusive exclusion of the possibility that the Scottish strain was related to the former Soviet Union bio-weapons (Sverdlovsk) strain; Vollum (the former British bio-weapons strain); and the Ames strain, which was associated with the USA anthrax bioterrorism attacks of 2001, causing an outbreak of respiratory and cutaneous anthrax.

In other words, this was not the kind of anthrax involved in the 1979 Soviet bioweapons accident, nor was it the kind the British used to work with for their bioweapons program, nor was it the kind used in the 2001 terrorist attack in the US.

Continuing:

The elimination of the outbreak isolates from the Vollum branches was particularly important because these strains are found commonly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This particular exclusion was significant in that intelligence on the sources for heroin trafficking into the UK and Scotland indicated that Afghanistan and Pakistan were the most likely countries of origin. Had the heroin used by the outbreak cases been contaminated in one of these source countries (e.g. during raw heroin production), it would more likely have been of a Vollum strain type.

Exclusionary conclusions are very strong and there is therefore great confidence that the outbreak strain is not a common laboratory strain or a previously known United Kingdom variant.

Progressive sequential genotype comparisons excluded more strains, until there were only two previously identified anthrax strains that showed a closely related phylogenetic SNP profile to the outbreak variant. Both of these strains originated from animals (goats) dying of anthrax in central Turkey. Further testing using additional techniques supported this conclusion. The approximate location of these two earlier animal cases is shown on Figure 2.

In order to determine if all the heroin-associated outbreak cases were infected with heroin from a common source, an additional highly specific genotyping procedure was developed for the outbreak strain. This was accomplished by the complete sequencing of the genome (DNA sequence) of one outbreak isolate at TGen. This genome sequence was compared to other previously completed anthrax genomes to identify SNPs that could be strain specific. Screening a set of three SNPs revealed that they differentiated the outbreak strain from the two Turkish strains and all other known B. anthracis strains (~2,000). In addition, the SNPs grouped all the outbreak isolates together. This strongly suggests that all the heroin-associated outbreak isolates are of a single strain, emanating from a single infective source, perhaps even a single infected animal.

The overall conclusion from this work is therefore that the isolates of B. anthracis grown from the heroin associated anthrax outbreak cases in Scotland were most closely related to strains previously found in infected animals in Turkey. This finding provides additional support for the favoured outbreak hypothesis; that the heroin implicated as the vehicle for transmitting the anthrax identified in Scottish drug users, was probably contaminated in transit between the source country (probably Afghanistan or Pakistan) and final destination (Europe/UK/Scotland) and that a likely locus of this contamination was in Turkey, possibly via contact with a contaminated animal, carcass or hide.

Police intelligence also supports the plausibility of such a link in that Turkey is a known staging post in the distribution of illegal heroin, between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the UK.

Although evidence from the genotyping data linking the outbreak strain to the Turkish strains is not conclusive, it is highly significant and supportive of the favoured outbreak hypothesis. It is also consistent with anecdotal evidence obtained from several sources; that animal skins (particularly goat skins) are used in the transport of illegal heroin. Contamination with anthrax spores from a goat skin is therefore a plausible explanation for the origin of the anthrax spores, imported via heroin to Scotland.

To date all the isolates from the Scottish cases have been characterised as an indistinguishable novel strain, not isolated from human anthrax cases previously. The fact that all the strains identified to date are indistinguishable suggests that they are a very closely related clonal population and that they had a single common origin from one infected animal. The strains identified from cases in England and Germany similarly show that these are indistinguishable from the Scottish strains and therefore are highly likely to have shared a common single source.


Okay, so: this was a new strain of the pathogen that causes anthrax; it came from Turkey, contamination was accidental as the drugs were being moved through Turkey, the incident is over. Unlikely such a thing would happen again, right?

From Anthrax cases among injecting drug users Germany, June-July 2012 Update 6 July 2012:

Updated event background information

As of 4 July, 2012, three cases of infection with B. anthracis have been reported among IDUs in Germany. The first two cases were reported from the city of Regensburg, Bavaria. Both had symptom onset during June and anthrax infection was confirmed by blood culture and PCR [1]. The first case has died. Molecular typing on isolates of B. anthracis infecting these first two cases showed that the strains were genetically similar to each other and to the strains isolated during the 2009/2010 outbreak [1].


And, from Anthrax cases among injecting drug users Germany, June-July 2012 Update 13 July 2012:

Updated event background information

As of 10 July, 2012, five cases of infection with B. anthracis among injecting drug users have been reported in Germany, Denmark and France.

[snip]

The fourth case has been reported from the city of Copenhagen, Denmark [3]. The person had no recent travel history and reported having purchased heroin in Copenhagen.

The fifth case has been reported from Rhône-Alpes region, France [4]

[snip]

This patient acquired heroin in the Rhône-Alpes region and did not travel outside of France prior to symptom onset.

Next, we consider excerpts from Case of anthrax confirmed in Lanarkshire heroin user, from July 25, 2012:

A case of anthrax has been confirmed in an injecting drug user in Lanarkshire.

The area's health authority said the patient was being treated at one of its hospitals and was in a critical but stable condition.

NHS Lanarkshire believes the patient could have contracted the anthrax bacteria from a contaminated batch of heroin circulating in the area.

[snip]

Dr David Cromie, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lanarkshire, said: "It is possible that heroin contaminated with anthrax may be circulating in Lanarkshire and potentially other parts of Scotland."

[snip]

"Muscle-popping, skin-popping, and injecting when a vein has been missed are particularly dangerous.

"Smoking heroin carries much less risk than injecting it. If there is any pain or swelling around an injection site drug users should seek urgent medical attention."

Heroin can be smoked. Did you know that? Smoking it carries less risk of anthrax infection than injecting it.

We now return to An Outbreak of Anthrax Among Drug Users in Scotland, December 2009 to December 2010, page 57 (73 of 134):

5.3.5. Methods of Heroin Taking (Exposure Routes)

[snip]

In the anthrax outbreak muscle-popping [intramuscular injection] did not feature prominently. Most cases (who provided data) reported injection use of some sort, either exclusively or as often in combination with other methods. Some reported exclusively noninjection methods of taking heroin (e.g. smoking).

The retrospective case-control study which compared cases to non-case heroin users (historically) showed that cases had a longer history of injection use of heroin; cases were relatively less likely to have smoked heroin exclusively.

In 2009-2010, most of the victims injected somehow.

My questions are these:

If the 2009-2010 incident resulted from one batch of heroin that got accidentally contaminated, why is it continuing now?

On the other hand, if the same guys in Turkey are moving heroin with the same anthrax-contaminated materials, why haven't they come down with anthrax? Why aren't we hearing about an outbreak in Turkey among the people who are moving the drugs?

You know, Bacillus anthracis, like most pathogenic bacteria, needs iron from its host to grow and proliferate. Interestingly, it has two siderophore proteins that help get iron from the host's hemoglobin.

In other words, if you want to contaminate people with this stuff, getting them to inject it somehow might just be a great way to do it, because access to the host's blood helps the pathogen.

In 2001, terrorists hit the US with anthrax. Though the FBI tried to blame an Army scientist - in fact, one who was instrumental in helping them identify which strain of anthrax had been used - their case was hollow and contrived. The real culprits were Islamic terrorists with connections to corrupt employees of the US bioweapons military-industrial complex, and with connections to officialdom so they could subtly steer the investigation away from themselves.

Now, Islamic terrorists are deliberately targeting Western Europe with heroin laced with anthrax, and they are leveraging their connections in Western Europe's drug distribution underworld to do it: they are mixing bioweapons in with their "chemical jihad".

To be sure, the contamination with Bacillus anthracis is at a low level, and for good reasons.

In 2001, the goal was, as I pointed out in Part 1, to maximize publicity.

But, if casualties had been the goal, three essential mistakes were made: 1) they hit high-publicity targets, thus alerting us to the attack and to the need to respond; 2) they used a form of anthrax that was obviously deliberately chosen as a weapon, again making it clear that we were under attack; and 3) they delivered it in a conspicuous manner, so we could see it was a deliberate attack. These aspects spread terror, but they allow us to respond in a timely manner and thus to minimize casualties.

This time, the terrorists are: 1) hitting heroin addicts, which fewer people care about; 2) using a form of anthrax that looks more natural and less weaponized; and 3) delivering it in such a way as to make it look like it is not deliberate.

Consequently, the goal this time is to spread the pathogen and the disease in such a way that we don't realize what is going on until it is too late; the goal is to inflict casualties.

From An Outbreak of Anthrax Among Drug Users in Scotland, December 2009 to December 2010, page 53 (69 of 134):

5.2.1. Deliberate Contamination of Heroin

The possibility of deliberate or malicious contamination of heroin was considered. Some evidence might support such an explanation, especially the clonal nature of the organisms isolated from anthrax cases in Scotland and elsewhere (suggesting a single common source). Had deliberate contamination occurred due to the use of an artificially cultured organism, then it is likely that all the cases would have had the same anthrax strain. Police intelligence supported the conclusion that the heroin was from Afghanistan or Pakistan. However, there was no specific intelligence to suggest that deliberate contamination had occurred. Although this possibility cannot be completely eliminated, it seems unlikely; drug users would seem an unlikely target for a deliberate attack.

Unlikely? That depends on your objective, and on the tactics you have chosen to achieve it.

Meanwhile, the terrorists from 2001 are still at large.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Truth and Reconciliation, Part 6

We continue with our series entitled "Truth and Reconciliation". In the sidebar to the right, below the images, are the indices to my multipart series. Côte d'Ivoire has its own section, of which "Truth and Reconciliation" is the second series. I will assume a certain degree of familiarity with those posts, however this post will refer with links back to key themes in previous posts. Ideally, the reader should go through those other posts, in order, then rely on the references in this post to help put everything together.

I will examine recent reports in a roughly chronological order.

First, we look at excerpts from COTE D'IVOIRE: Former pro-Ouattara rebels still need reining in, December 30, 2011:

ABIDJAN, 30 December 2011 (IRIN) - Eight months after President Allassane Ouattara assumed office at the end of a prolonged civil conflict, peace remains fragile amid abuses and killings by former rebel fighters who once provided him support.

Ten civilians were killed and about 15 wounded this month in fighting between the former rebels, which now form part of the national army, and civilians in Vavoua, west-central Cote d'Ivoire, and in Sikensi in the south.

In a statement on 29 December, the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) called on the government to stop the violence. "UNOCI encourages the Ivorian authorities to implement the tough measures they announced and to strengthen discipline" within the Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FRCI), UNOCI spokesman Hamadoun Touré said.

He said UNOCI remained concerned about the "numerous violations of human rights attributed to FRCI in several parts of the country which have led to the reactions by residents of the affected communities." He cited cases of arbitrary arrest and illegal detention in Abidjan, the commercial capital.

Adding to this, Ivoirian Human Rights League President René Legré said: "We note that despite the promises to ensure security, there has been no progress. People are still armed."

He said the unrestrained behaviour by FRCI soldiers was beginning to anger the public, which would defend itself.

"We fear that the day will come when people will no longer respect the army," he added.

Following the Vavoua incident, Ouattara ordered the soldiers to return to barracks but they refused.

[snip]

Describing the government's response to the insecurity as "state impotence", Legré said many soldiers in villages and towns which his team had inspected appeared to be taking orders from outside the official military structure. Moreover, he quoted solders as saying that since the government was not paying them salaries, they would pay themselves by abusing the public.

In L'Abidjanaise, Part 8, we took a close look at how the forces suppporting Ouattara were becoming splintered and indisciplined. To be sure, one report quoted blamed that on strict implementation of previous peace accords by Gbagbo, as a calculated strategy to frustrate and divide the opposition. However, I pointed at reasons to suspect this warlordism was being provoked as part of someone's strategy to destabilize certain governments in the region.

It was obvious at the time the Ouattara's supporters included many local strongmen and thugs. Looking back now, I wonder if Gbagbo wasn't just using the best strategy he could against what he knew to be an internationally-manipulated coalition of criminal gangs allied against him.

In any case, it is clear now that Ouattara does not command the forces that backed him. Throughout my posts on the situation in Côte d'Ivoire, I have pointed out Ouattara's connections to the IMF, to former French President Sarkozy (see Truth and Reconciliation, Part 5), the appearance that Côte d'Ivoire is being set up to be raped by France, and the indiscipline and brutality of Ouattara's troops (see Truth and Reconciliation, Part 1).

I have also pointed out (for example, see L'Abidjanaise, Part 4) similarities to the situations elsewhere. In Serbia's Kosovo and in Libya, we have seen armed militants seek to overthrow the internationally-recognized government. The situations in Serbia, Libya and Côte d'Ivoire are different, but they have common themes, namely that the international community supported the militants, including militarily, to bring about a new government. In the Balkans, Serbia was partitioned, and its historic province of Kosovo was declared by the international community to be independent, under control of a government known for connections to transnational terrorism and organized crime. In Libya, a Pan-Africanist leader who resisted European economic domination of Africa was ousted by force. In Côte d'Ivoire, under the auspices of the UN, the French government placed a close friend of the then-President of France in power by force, and with a great deal of indiscriminate killing of Ivoirians (see Côte d'Ivoire and 2012).

Given the insecurity described above, and the fact that Ouattara's forces are involved in brutalizing civilians rather than protecting them, the UN felt it had to respond to security concerns. So, we now consider excerpts from UN expert urges continued support for Côte d'Ivoire following deadly attack, June 13, 2012:


13 June 2012 –

A United Nations independent human rights expert today urged all Ivorians and the international community to maintain their support for Côte d'Ivoire's national reconciliation in the aftermath of an attack last week which killed seven UN peacekeepers, eight civilians and one Ivorian soldier.

"This attack, through its magnitude, constitutes a major challenge for the Ivorian people and the international community," the UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Côte d'Ivoire, Doudou Diène, said in a news release.

[snip]

According to preliminary reports, on Friday, 8 June, peacekeepers serving with the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) were on patrol in the proximity of Para village, near the town of Tai, located in the country's south-west near the Liberian border, when they were attacked by a group of unidentified armed elements.

The peacekeepers were deployed in the area in response to concerns about the safety of local residents.

[snip]

[Mr. Diène] also called on the international community to speed up the adjustment of the country's arms embargo in order to enable the Ivorian Government to respond proportionately to threats to the security of its population, and to ensure that its security forces remain committed to upholding human rights.

How convenient! UN troops are deployed to respond to security concerns, they are attacked, and the attack is used as justification to "speed up the adjustment of the country's arms embargo" - in other words, to arm Ouattara's forces, who themselves are guilty of many of the atrocities, hoping they will provide security.

But, one thing doesn't make any sense.

From UN destroys hundreds of small arms and light weapons in Côte d'Ivoire, July 13, 2012:


13 July 2012 –

Some 600 small arms and light weapons have been wiped out in Côte d'Ivoire over the last two days by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) as part of the country's first weapon destruction exercise since the 2011 post-election crisis.

[snip]

The arms were collected by UNOCI staff working in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants during ad hoc weapon collection operations across the country.

[snip]

According to UNMAS, since July 2011, COMNAT-CI [National Commission of Small Arms and Light Weapons of Côte d'Ivoire] has conducted 36 ad hoc weapon collection operations across the country, with UNOCI's support, recovering 1,811 weapons and 316,600 munitions. This weaponry is collected and stocked in different military bases of UNOCI.

On the one hand, the authorities want to "speed up the adjustment of the country's arms embargo", but on the other hand, they are destroying arms.

Why?

My bet is that the people who are being disarmed are the supporters of ousted President Gbagbo, and ordinary people who just want to protect themselves.

We already established that Ouattara has little control over his own supporters, so we know they are not surrendering their weapons. But, they would probably collaborate in disarming anyone other than themselves, because that would make it easier for them to "pay themselves by abusing the public."

And, keep in mind that Ivoirians had already said back in December that the public would defend itself... this is unacceptable to foreign powers who have conspired with local warlords to steal an election and install a "president" who is ineligible under local law for the presidency.

Meanwhile, let's look at the economic situation. We examine excerpts from Ivory Coast Resumes Payments on Its Defaulted Eurobonds, June 15, 2012 (see original for links which I did not reproduce):

Ivory Coast, the world's largest cocoa producer, said it has resumed coupon payments on $2.3 billion of defaulted Eurobonds for the first time since January last year.

The country told the Central Bank of West African States, which represents Ivory Coast and a number of other former French colonies, to transfer $45 million to meet scheduled June coupon payments on June 12, Adama Kone, head of the nation's public treasury said by phone yesterday. The dollar bonds gained for a second day, jumping 1.6 percent to 72.375 cents on the dollar as of 11:23 a.m. in London, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Eurobonds due 2032 have surged 50 percent this year after the government of President Alassane Ouattara pledged to bondholders in January that the June payment would be made. The government of ousted President Laurent Gbagbo halted payments following a post-election crisis in November 2010.

[snip]

Ivory Coast dollar bonds have returned 44 percent so far this year, the best performer and beating an average return of 6.5 percent, according to the JPMorgan Chase & Co. EMBI Global Index. Venezuela had the second-highest gain with a 15 percent.

As I predicted in L'Abidjanaise, Part 6, the value of holding Côte d'Ivoire's debt is zooming up relative to where it was during the crisis: an excellent financial opportunity for those who engineered this situation and thus knew how it was going to play out.

But, let's put this in some kind of context.

A confidential report (normally I provide links; this time, you'll have to get it yourself) entitled "Côte d’Ivoire: Stability Restored, Difficult Road Ahead", dated May 15, 2012, had this to say on page 4:


Medium terms prospects for the Ivorian economy should improve as political stability is established and the business environment improves. As it is the case in many other African countries, Cote d'Ivoire has a large natural resources endowment which has not been fully tapped. The country still accounts for more than 40% of the world cocoa production. Gold production has also been expanding over the past few years and reached 870 metric tons in 2011 (up from 94 MT in 2007). Oil prospects also look good, and a turnaround in production, which fell from a peak of 62,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2006 to 40,000 b/d last year, is possible. To encourage oil companies to invest in new exploration, the authorities announced their intention to introduce significant amendments and reforms to the current hydrocarbon legislation during 2012 H1.


In addition to a big slice of the world cocoa market, and significant coffee production, there is a great deal of gold and other mineral wealth at stake; in L'Abidjanaise, Part 4 we also mentioned diamonds.

But, what about oil? Côte d’Ivoire Oil Industry by Carolyn Avery, IAS Group, dated April, 2010, starts off:

Côte d'Ivoire is a modest oil producer and an important regional refiner with ambitious plans to play a more central role in West Africa's petroleum product market. The Gbabgo administration’s goal is to more than double production to 200,000 barrels per day within the next few years, and to bring a second refinery on line. Recent oil discoveries along the Gulf of Guinea may lead to a substantial reevaluation of West African, including Ivorian, reserve estimates. The discovery in 2007 of up to 1.8 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Jubilee field off the coast of Ghana has prompted Jubilee operator Tullow Oil to intensify its exploration of neighboring Côte d'Ivoire's coast, which has yet to be thoroughly surveyed1.

A "substantial reevaluation of West African, including Ivorian, reserve estimates"...

Skipping down to page 5 in "Côte d’Ivoire: Stability Restored, Difficult Road Ahead":

FISCAL POSITION WORSENED

Political divisions during the past decade hampered tax collection in the northern region and undermined fiscal performances. Nonetheless, the authorities have been able to limit fiscal deterioration, and from 2002 to 2010 the deficit averaged 1.2% of GDP.

In other words, Ouattara's forces in the north, who were supposed to have disarmed but didn't, would not cooperate with Gbagbo's government in the south. Despite this, Gbagbo was able to keep things from spiraling out of control.

When you consider the data, though, it becomes more interesting.



What jumps out at me from these charts is that, under Gbagbo, the value of the 2032 Eurobond was going up, and external Ivoirian debt as a percent of Ivoirian GDP was going down.

Somebody just couldn't have that, could he?

I highly encourage you to read this entire article: France And The Ivory Coast-The Empire Strikes Back by Dr. Gary K. Busch, December 16, 2010. Here is an excerpt:

In summary, the colonial pact maintained the French control over the economies of the African states; it took possession of their foreign currency reserves; it controlled the strategic raw materials of the country; it stationed troops in the country with the right of free passage; it demanded that all military equipment be acquired from France; it took over the training of the police and army; it required that French businesses be allowed to maintain monopoly enterprises in key areas (water, electricity, ports, transport, energy, etc.). It is difficult to imagine what the changes were from colonial rule to today that aren’t merely cosmetic.

The civil war which broke out between the North and the South in the Ivory Coast was largely about the efforts of the Gbagbo government seeking to achieve real independence; a breakaway from the colonial dominance of the French which controlled almost every aspect of national life.

Gbagbo's history, going back decades, is one of a man looking out for the best interests of his country, seeking to help the little people, without demonizing those who were successful. His history as a statesman is that of a man who was willing to make every compromise possible in the interests of peace, without selling out the nation he represents.

The accusations of war crimes, for which Gbagbo is now detained and on trial, revolve around events during the unrest provoked by Ouattara and Ouattara's international puppetmasters as they sought to illegally seize a presidency for a man who was ineligible, so that that man, Alassane Ouattara, could open the nation up to further neocolonial exploitation by France which was, at the time, being run by Ouattara's close friend Nicolas Sarkozy.


That is the truth.

As this series continues, we will look at reconciliation.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Qatar Minimizes Impact of US Economic Sanctions on Sudan

In Victory is Ours, Part 3 we looked at the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, considering how, to a certain extent, the conflict was becoming a proxy war between Iran, supporting Khartoum in the North, and Israel, supporting Juba in the South. We also considered the possibility that the Iran/Israel proxy fight could itself be, to some small extent, a proxy fight between China and the US.

In this post, we will consider support that Bashir's government in Khartoum is receiving from Qatar.

First, we consider excerpts of an article that appeared in Sudan Now Magazine, issued by the Sudan News Agency, entitled A report: Sudan and Qatar bonds of strong relations, by Amal Mohamed Al Hassan, dated August 30, 2010. It is worth keeping in mind that the author's command of English shows a few peculiarities; for example, towards the end of the article, he writes "militants" when he clearly has in mind military personnel and officials with a military background. The article begins by providing a brief history of Sudan-Qatar relations, including major state visits, then goes into the impact of these relations.

The Sudanese – Qatari relations are characterized by depth and firmness as the leadership in the two countries are linked to each other with deeply rooted ties that appeared clearly in the exchanged political support at all the regional and international forums, and the coordination in the stances on the issues of mutual concern to the two countries.

The State of Qatar provided a considerable support to Sudan, especially with regard to issues pending before the Security Council when it assumed the world body non-permanent seat in early 2006. Qatar also extended material supports to Sudan in various fields, such as the implementation of Merowe Dam and the institute for qualification of Islamic preachers _etc.

The joint Sudanese – Qatari ministerial committee was established in Doha on March 16, 1998 and held three sessions which witnessed the signing of a number of agreements, memos of understanding and adopted a number of joint action plans in different fields, top of them were the agreements on avoiding double-taxation, encouragement of investment, education, scientific research, health, air transport as well as the cooperation in the youth, cultural, arts and media spheres.

The article then proceeds to address some of the economics of the situation and its impact, especially concerning large numbers of Sudanese who emigrated to Qatar to work in the petroleum industry. Then, the emigration of officials from Sudan's state security apparatus is introduced:

Qatar decided to seek the experience of Sudanese nationals, thus it brought consultants and experts to help establishing its ministries and important organs. At that time, Sudan managed to dispatch numbers of senior Armed Forces and Police officers, like Field Marshal Abdul-Rahman Suwaral-Dahab, the senior diplomat Mahjoub Makkawi, Al-Fatih Awooda from the Ministry of Justice and other experts from different institutions. These personalities played a great role and in an excellent manner and were appreciated by the Qatari people due to their distinguished efforts, performance, competence, skills, honesty and good deeds.

The article then gives statistics regarding the numbers of Sudanese working in Qatar, and what fields they work in:

The first Sudanese community in Qatar was formed in the year 1985. The statistics of the Qatari Ministry of Interior revealed that the number of the Sudanese nationals in Qatar reached 31,000 persons. The Sudanese community in Qatar includes labors, which is the biggest category; most of them are camel herders at Al-Shahaniya area, employees, militants, engineers, doctors, pharmacists, veterinary doctors, agronomists, lawyers, economists, media men, university lecturers. There are a considerable number of Sudanese nationals assuming leading positions at the areas of their work. Members of the Sudanese community are linked to each others with professional and geographical links.

With that background established, we look more recent and specific developments between the two nations. From Sudan, Qatar sign six co-op agreements, December 5, 2011:

KHARTOUM - Sudan and Qatar have signed six cooperation agreements and memorandum at the conclusion of the Sudanese-Qatari Economic Forum, Khartoum's Al Ray Al A'm daily reported Monday.

The agreements included the establishment of the joint Sudanese- Qatari Business Council, a memorandum of understanding in the field of mining between the Sudanese Ministry of Minerals and Qatar Mining Company, a banking cooperation agreement, an agreement between the Sudanese Ministry of Agriculture and Hasad Company of Qatar, a cooperation agreement between Ajial Medical Company of Sudan and Qatari Company for Medical solutions, and a memorandum of understanding between the Sudanese committee entrusted with public utilities and Hasad Agricultural Company of Qatar.

After addressing other details and areas for further cooperation, the article concludes:

The Qatari Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited Khartoum on Sunday where he participated in the Sudanese-Qatari economic forum and inaugurated a number of Qatari projects in Sudan.

According to official Sudanese statistics, the approved Qatari investments in Sudan amounted to 23 projects in different sectors, totaling $1.7 billion.

Sudan is the target of ongoing US economic sanctions, which appear to having an impact from the US perspective. From GAO-10-742 "SUDAN DIVESTMENT: U.S. Investors Sold Assets but Could Benefit from Increased Disclosure Regarding Companies' Ties to Sudan", dated June, 2010:

U.S. state fund managers reported that, since 2006, they have divested or frozen16 about $3.5 billion in assets primarily related to Sudan in response to their state laws and policies; U.S. investment companies, which also sold Sudan-related assets, most commonly cited normal business reasons for changes in their holdings. We found that, from 2006 to 2010, 23 states divested their assets from a total of 67 operating companies, with New Jersey’s divestment of almost $2.2 billion representing about 62 percent of the total.

[snip]

Specifically, we determined that, from March 2007 to December 2009, the total value of U.S. shares invested in six key foreign companies with Sudan-related business operations declined by almost 60 percent. This decline cannot be accounted for solely by a reduction in stock prices for these companies, indicating that U.S. investors, on net, decided to sell shares in these companies.


With about $3.5 billion in US investments gone from Sudan, Qatar has been stepping up to the plate to help Khartoum. From Qatar loans Sudan $2 billion amid slipping currency, February 6, 2012:

February 6, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The government of Qatar is set to loan Sudan USD $2 billion as the country enters a phase of deep economic crisis that was compounded by the secession of the oil rich South less than a year ago.

According to local media in Khartoum, the Emir of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani will arrive in the country on Wednesday to witness the inauguration of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA).

[snip]

Last Friday, the Sudanese president said that his government is expecting help from friendly nations at a time when the Sudanese pound reached record lows against other major currencies.

As the government lost access to 75% of oil reserves in the south, the influx of hard currency has been severely curtailed forcing the Central Bank to be extra prudent with its available foreign exchange reserves.

For more than a year Khartoum has imposed a wide range of restrictions on individuals and corporations in relation to purchasing and transferring hard currency. Many imports were placed on a black list to cut outflow of forex.

Black market traders told Reuters that the Sudanese pound on Monday hit its lowest point against the dollar since the currency was launched in 2007.

A dollar bought 5.2 Sudanese pounds on Monday, compared to 3.3 in July, dealers said. The official rate is around 3.

Demand for the dollar, and controls on the official exchange rate, have turned the black market rate into a benchmark. Even large companies have started trading money there, meeting dealers in derelict shops to dodge security.

It should be noted that, more recently, Khartoum has changed its policy, now allowing foreign currencies to be bought and sold at market prices. From Sudan central bank allows Forex bureaus to determine own exchange rate, May 17, 2012:

May 17, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Foreign exchange (Forex) bureaus in Sudan will be able to buy and sell currencies using their own exchange rate away from the official one, it was announced today.

[snip]

The move was taken in order to curb the flourishing black market for hard currency and also to attract transfers by Sudanese expatriates abroad, [Deputy Secretary General of Forex Bureaus Union Abdel-Moniem Nur al-Deen] added.

Sources told Al-Shorooq TV that the central bank will soon allow commercial banks to do the same.

Since the secession of oil-rich South Sudan, Sudan has struggled to contain the deteriorating value of its own currency as the flow of hard currency was sharply curtailed.

The US dollar traded for twice the official rate of 2.7 Sudanese pounds despite multiple interventions by the central bank to inject hard currency into the market.

But because of the depleting Forex reserves, the ability of the Central Bank of Sudan to influence the exchange rate on the market has been limited.

Khartoum dispatched several delegations to friendly nations, particularly Arab Gulf states, seeking help but so far only Qatar has made a commitment of $2 billion, which will be used to buy government bonds.

And, with Qatar's help making up over half the value of the investments lost from the US due to the sanctions, the economic situation seems less dire than it could be, though Sudan is still having significant difficulties.

From Qatar to complete purchase of Sudan government bonds by end of April, April 10, 2012:

April 10, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Qatari government informed Sudan that it will complete its promised purchase of government issued bonds as part of the deal struck by the leaders of the two countries last month.

[snip]

The report did not mention how much in Sudanese treasury bills Qatar said it will buy except to say that it is "significant". In March, the rich Arab Gulf state pledged a total of $2 billion investments in Sudan including "the purchase of government bonds issued by the Sudanese government and investments in different sectors particularly mining, oil, agriculture and services".

FINANCIAL FATWA

In a related issue the Sudanese finance minister Ali Mahmood Abdel-Rasool urged Islamic scholars in his country to issue a 'Fatwa' (religious decree) allowing the country to borrow using loans with interest.

[snip]

Lacking other immediate ways to finance its deficit, economists say the government may resort to printing money, causing more inflation and further weakening the Sudanese Pound.

Roughly $38 billion in foreign debt, along with US economic sanctions, limits Sudan's access to external financing.


Meanwhile, back in the US, there is a debate about expanding the sanctions. From US congressional committee votes to cut aid from states hosting Sudanese president, from May 17, 2012

May 17, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – A congressional committee in the United States House of Representatives voted to cut off aid to any state that hosts Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in Darfur war crimes.

The amendment to the fiscal year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill was pushed for by Frank Wolf who is one of Bashir's most vocal critics.

[snip]

The issue has already drawn concern by some of Wolf's peers in light of its implications on US foreign policy.

"We all agree that the situation in Sudan is deplorable, that President Bashir must be held accountable for his crimes," Democratic Representative Nita Lowey said.

She noted that Bashir has visited many countries including Ethiopia, China, Egypt, Chad, Malawi, Qatar, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Qatar has significant US military facilities associated with CENTCOM and with our deployment to Afghanistan; additionally, Qatar has the third largest reserves of natural gas in the world, and is the world's largest exporter of natural gas.



In the last passage quoted, Congresswoman Lowey (D - NY 18 CD) brings up a good point; punishing this list of countries may be overzealous, and perhaps not in America's best interests.

Meanwhile, H.R. 4169: Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012 is, as I write this, in committee in the House.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Victory is Ours, Part 3

Before we proceed with our first article, some context on the author may be in order. Gamal Nkrumah is considered a Pan-Africanist, which is generally considered to be someone who would like to see far greater unity among the people of Africa, and often even among people of African descent from around the world, to help end exploitation of Africa and of Africans for the enrichment of non-Africans.

Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi were also considered to be Pan-Africanists; in fact, Gaddafi took active measures to use Libya's oil wealth to promote a united Africa. One article from The Herald (Zimbabwe) points out how, among other things, Gaddafi foiled one method of European exploitation by helping finance an African communications satellite, which cost Africa $400 million to launch, rather than renting European equipment for $500 million per year.

The financial servitude of Africa is addressed in an interview with Dr. Nkrumah, which also serves to provide more insight into Dr. Nkrumah's perspective, and thus to shed further light on his article. His Pan-Africanist viewpoint is evident in the article reviewed here, and is pertinent.

Now for excerpts from The dark side of Sudan by Gamal Nkrumah, dated April 2012.

At a time when policymakers in Khartoum are focussed on the need to feed the starving millions in Sudan -- a country that could easily become the breadbasket of Africa and the Middle East -- and promote investment in the agrarian sector of the economy, funds are funnelled into Sudan's war machine. Sudanese opposition forces are up in arms.

[snip]

"We would have preferred that the government of President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir adopts a more reconciliatory attitude towards our South Sudanese brothers. His intransigence has led to the division of the country and now his stubbornness and inflexibility will lead to war and devastation," Chairman of Sudan's opposition National Congress Forces (NCF) Farouk Abu Eissa, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

The NCF groups together several moderate opposition parties including the National Umma Party (NUP) and the Popular Congress Party (PCP). The more militant Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SRF), an umbrella grouping that includes the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) the sister organisation of the ruling SPLM in South Sudan, is especially critical of Khartoum's bellicose mood.

The SRF also incorporate armed opposition groups in Darfur including the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) -- not to be confused with the SPLM and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Militias loyal to the warlike conglomeration have systematically targeted oil installations. The SRF is especially active in the oil-producing border regions especially in Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The Sudanese government forces have proved incapable of containing the guerrilla warfare tactics of the SRF.

The article provides good background on the various groups operating in Sudan, and how they relate to each other. Continuing:

The aerial bombardment by Sudan on South Sudanese border oil producing areas such as Bintui and other garrison towns has left thousands of civilians killed, injured and maimed. In both Sudans observers believe the current low-intensity warfare will inevitably leave the young open to extremists.

Whenever intra-tribal tension flares in the war-torn areas authorities in South Sudan watch for political tension in Sudan and vice versa. More than 75 per cent of the oil produced in what was formerly a united Sudan now lies in territories administered by the independent state of South Sudan. The rest of the oil is produced in adjacent disputed border areas such as Abyei. The latest outburst of violence in the vicinity of Heglig, South Kordofan, has caused a commotion in all the surrounding countryside. The Heglig disturbances threaten to evolve into a devastating war between Sudan and South Sudan. Khartoum accused Juba of instigating tribal tensions and warmongering.

Notice the comment about how each side watches the other during times of increased tribal problems.

The article concludes by pointing out South Sudan's President Kiir warning that he would send troops into Abyei - which has since happened, though it was characterized as "hot pursuit" (see The Inter-Sudan War, Part 4) - and an expectation of a real war.


If Khartoum is instigating trouble in the South, that would make sense why the South watches the North whenever there are tribal troubles. Also, that could explain "hot pursuit".

Each country - Sudan and South Sudan - has internal security problems which are to some extent supported by other side; thus, there is definitely a proxy war going on. However, both Sudan and South Sudan have, in turn, to some extent, become proxies for others.

We now review A playground for proxies, June 16, 2012:

Iran and Israel may become more involved in the Sudanese imbroglio

THE governments of Sudan and South Sudan have been enlisting support from Iran and Israel: not a good omen for peace between north and south. In early May the UN Security Council threatened both Sudans with sanctions unless they stopped fighting and began to discuss how to share oil revenues and demarcate their disputed border. But within weeks a Sudanese delegation went to Iran, where the government promised to strengthen economic ties, oil exploration included. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that his country and Sudan, both facing international sanctions, were victims of "arrogant powers and enemies of mankind".

Since an Islamist-backed military coup brought Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, to power in 1989, Shia-run Iran has seen Sunni-dominated Sudan as a useful ally in north-east Africa, and has used Sudan's east side as a corridor for weapons to be smuggled into Egypt and on to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group in the Gaza Strip. Israel bombed Iranian convoys on that route in 2009.

Some generals in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, now appear to want to co-operate even more closely with Iran, aiming at South Sudan. An Iranian surveillance drone crashed in Sudanese territory in March after coming under fire from South Sudanese-backed rebels.

Israel is just as keen to help South Sudan. President Salva Kiir and his defence minister recently visited Israel to discuss—among other things—military co-operation, private security deals and oil. Israeli ties to the southerners go back to the 1960s, when they first received arms and training. More recently Israeli security experts have reportedly been working with South Sudan's revamped military. Some say they are helping to train South Sudanese troops to operate the scores of T-72 battle tanks acquired by the government.

There have been unverified reports in the Israeli press that Iranian weapons seized in a Nigerian port in 2010 were intended to be smuggled through Chad to Sudan and Gaza. In February Israel's ambassador to the UN said that Israel was worried that west Africa had become a hub for Hizbullah, Lebanon's fiercely anti-Israeli, Iranian-backed party-cum-militia. No wonder that peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan are deadlocked.

Some of this was previously addressed at posts here. For example, in Unity and Faith, Part 4, we looked at the weapons being moved through Nigeria. Of course, we also looked at the Iranian heroin being moved through Nigeria - a topic that does not get as much attention elsewhere. ;)

If it turns out that Iran and Israel are getting involved in the Sudans, that turn of events would certainly have broader ramifications.

But that may only be the first layer under the surface. Farther down may indeed be another layer of proxy fighting.

We return to two excerpts that we had skipped from The dark side of Sudan by Gamal Nkrumah, the first near the beginning, and the second at the very end:

The age of hydrocarbons isn't over as far as the two Sudans are concerned. The world's largest oil companies facing the faltering war economies of Sudan are looking to buy growth in other developing countries in Africa. The risks of investing in oil production in Sudan deter all but the most intrepid investors such as the Chinese.

[snip]

"I personally expect full-fledged war," [said] Mariam Al-Mahdi, opposition politician and daughter of Umma Party leader, the former Sudanese prime minister Sadig Al-Mahdi. She alluded to the analogy that the current border skirmishes are like a preview to a full-scale war between Sudan and South Sudan. A rash of international oil companies is snapping up stakes in the two countries' oil wealth. They have succeeded in whipping up an anti-Sudanese rancour, particularly if the Sudanese opposition's attempts to tame Khartoum go horribly awry.

Notice two things: 1) Sudan, especially its oil, is being exploited by non-Africans; and, 2) the Chinese are high on the list of exploiters.

As we learned in The Inter-Sudan War, Part 5, China receives about 67% of Sudan's oil exports - when Sudan is exporting - and this accounts for 5% of China's oil needs.

I can't help but wonder if a nation potentially hostile to China might be involved here, jeopardizing China's investments and disrupting the flow of oil to China. And, I can think of only one superpower that has been reasonably involved in the Sudans that might wish to see China have problems there.


From China's Oil Supply Dependence by David L. O. Hayward (a retired Australian military officer who has written analytical papers on China's dependence on oil imports and related geographic, political and military considerations), June 18, 2009:

China's economic expansion has placed it on a collision course with global competitors in the market for scarce resources including critical oil and gas supplies. The PRC accounted for nearly 40% of the increase in global oil consumption between 2004 and 2007. In a short period of time, China has evolved from a position as an oil exporter in 1992 to the world's second largest oil importer in May 2008.

[snip]

China began to suffer from oil supply shortages in 2007. These shortages led to price increases in petrol and diesel of up to 18% in June 2008. In an effort to boost domestic oil production, China has invited foreign investment in its oil infrastructure. With a shortfall of some 160,000 b/d predicted for 2010, China has asked six countries to help fill this gap. The UK, South Korea, Russia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), US and Saudi Arabia have jumped on the bandwagon. Joint venture proposals with CNPC largely relate to the mainland based refining sector and include British Petroleum (BP), South Korea's SK and LG, Russia's Rosneft, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) led investor group, ExxonMobil Corporation, and various Saudi oil enterprises. Even though in 2008 China may be able to ramp up its refinery capacity by approximately 54.5 million tons, there is still the likelihood of a gaping shortfall in oil supply.

[snip]

Sudan

Additionally, China has implemented a powerful "oil for guns" programme with Sudan. With the exception of Russia, this country has become China's largest overseas oil investment. CNPC owns 40% of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium that dominates Sudan's oil fields. CNPC has invested more than US$8B in the Sudanese oil sector, including funding for new oil pipelines. Another Chinese company, Sinopec is constructing a 1,500 km pipeline to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. China is also building a new tanker terminal at this port possibly to handle very large crude carrier (VLCC) tankers. Sudan now supplies China with 10% of its total oil imports.

[snip]

The momentum could be self-perpetuating.

(4.) China sees itself as the leader of a new world economic order, to eventually become the world's leading economy by 2020/30 and to thereby acquire a dominant hegemonic position in world affairs and geopolitics. The country is deliberately posturing itself for future domination of the West.

(5.) Being "cashed up" with some US$1.95 trillion in forex reserves, China possibly will never again have such a golden opportunity to acquire crude oil/gas assets (and other worldwide energy resources) at such a low cost, while the global financial meltdown continues. Effectively, the People's Bank of China is close to becoming the world’s de facto banker and has mounted a serious challenge to the IMF, to the Arab petrodollar and to overseas financial institutions. The artificially induced low value of the Yuan has permitted China to rapidly build up its forex reserves. "Thanks for your US dollar, here's your change expressed in a foreign exchange certificate, as fifty Fens or otherwise." This is a form of "hard currency larceny". How could the West be so naive and allow itself to be financially ambushed in this manner?

(6.) China seeks to buy crude oil/gas (plus other energy resources) as it realizes these valuable commodities are finite and exhaustible. The rate of discovery of new and significant oil reserves is dramatically falling and most existing oil/gas fields have surpassed their peak. The age of easy oil is over, and what remaining oil there is will become increasingly technically difficult to extract.

(7.) China intends to greatly increase its official strategic reserve of oil (and LNG/gas products). The first annual phase of the PRC's strategic petroleum reserve is due to be completed in 2009. The reserve will hold 100 million barrels of oil (m/bo). The second annual phase is planned to hold 200 m/bo. If this annual rate of stockpiling is successful, China will launch successive phases. This may eventually increase net storage capacity to beyond 500 m/bo sometime after 2013. Should this occur the storage volume will be the largest national strategic oil reserve the world has ever known.

Having such a large strategic reserve, to the obvious disadvantage of other world powers, means that China can effectively mount a sustained conventional manpower- abundant military campaign (defensive/offensive) without the need for recourse to limited-theatre nuclear weapons and WMD. The West will be tactically impaired and might have to be the first to use nuclear weapons to impede any Chinese advances/gains.

Interesting.

Of course, as China's demand for oil increases, there is increased competition with other customers to buy the world's oil.

But, as the squeeze gets put on China's oil supply, this opens up the field for investment in China's oil infrastructure, and big American oil companies are among those that would be in the competition to help develop new refineries - ExxonMobil was specifically mentioned.

On the other hand, though, China trades its weapons for oil, supplying Sudan. Sudan is considered by the US Government to be a state sponsor of terrorism, and is the de facto enemy of South Sudan, a nation that has very cordial relations with the United States. In fact, the oil situation has significant geostrategic ramifications for the US, going so far as to help predict who would be first to use nuclear weapons in a Sino-American fight - though Sudan is worth only 5% of China's oil situation.

If the oil flow is cut off from Sudan - and it is - this will negatively impact the Chinese, and could prompt opportunities for investment by American firms to build China's oil infrastructure, while keeping China from making sales of weapons and while keeping China from arming the regime in Khartoum, which is considered hostile to US interests.

That would be a nice package for America, don't you think?

What else is interesting is the close relationship that has developed between China and Iran. From pages 5-7 (pgs 19-21 of 48 as you open the pdf) of China and Iran Economic, Political, and Military Relations, written this year by Scott Harold and Alireza Nader (numbers in superscript refer to footnotes in the original):

To a considerable extent, the Islamic Republic has become dependent on China as the regime's chief diplomatic protector in the face of internal and external pressures. In contrast to Western powers, China is unconcerned with the Iranian regime’s internal behavior. The regime's brutal suppression of the 2009 protest movement and its wider human rights abuses were met with silence from Beijing; China may have even provided active assistance in monitoring and suppressing Iranian opposition forces (through the provision of telecommunications tracking technology and crowd control devices).9

[snip]

4. Iran's Military Modernization Has Been Facilitated by China

China has aided Iran's efforts to modernize its military hardware and doctrine. As noted previously, the PRC was an essential provider of military hardware during Iran's eight-year struggle with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Iran's rupture with the United States severely impeded its ability to conduct its war with Iraq, while the Soviet Union and such major Western powers as France supplied Baghdad with military hardware while refusing similar assistance to Iran. Chinese military sales to Iran were often provided indirectly and discreetly through third-party sale/transfers carried out via countries such as North Korea, but they were recognized by Tehran as a critical form of support.10

China not only sold Iran small arms; it also supplied Iran with tactical ballistic and antiship cruise missiles. Indeed, Iran's use of Silkworm missiles against Kuwaiti shipping in 1987 became a significant source of tension between China and the United States.11 China eventually agreed to stop sales of the Silkworm and the more sophisticated C-802 missiles to Iran.12

But instead of directly selling missiles to Iran, China played a crucial role in starting up Iran's indigenous military-industrial sector, greatly helping Iran's military modernization efforts. Chinese design and technology can be seen in many Iranian missile series, from the short-range Oghab and Nazeat missiles to the long-range Shahab 3.13 In addition, Iran has developed its own relatively sophisticated antiship cruise missiles with Chinese help. These include the Nasr, which is reported as being nearly identical to the Chinese C-704. According to some reports, China even helped Iran establish a plant for the manufacture of the Nasr in 2010.14 China is also reported to have provided Iran with advanced antiship mines and fast attack boats.15 The total value of these transfers is difficult to know for certain but has been estimated by some analysts to range from a low of $4 billion to possibly as high as $10 billion.16

Such transfers of weapons and technological know-how have continued despite international sanctions, with one observer reporting allegations that Chinese arms suppliers have agreed to deliver weapon systems with the serial numbers filed off so as to obscure their origin.17 In some cases, China is suspected of transferring ballistic missile technology to Iran via North Korea.18 Even more troubling are allegations that Chinese and Iranian defense cooperation has also extended to covertly developing Iran's chemical weapons program.19

Iran's ballistic missiles and naval capabilities form the core of its military doctrine vis-à-vis the United States. Lacking an advanced air force, Iran aims to project military power through the use of its missile forces, which can be used to deter the United States or retaliate against the United States or its regional allies in the event of a military conflict. Additionally, Iran's naval capabilities can be used to disrupt shipping in the Persian Gulf, potentially inflicting pressure on the United States to end any future military conflict on terms favorable to Iran.


That's a great deal of important support that China is giving Iran: diplomatic cover, arms, technology, economic support in the face of sanctions...

I wonder if all China is getting in return is a dedicated supplier of oil?

The Sudans seem to be supporting militias and armed groups, each in the territory of the other.

However, it appears that Sudan is receiving extensive support from Iran, a fellow Islamic regime; though Sudan is Sunni and Iran is Shi'ite, they seem to have a great deal in common, including common enemies. South Sudan, for its part, seems to be receiving significant assistance from Israel.

Since Iran and Israel are not on the friendliest of terms - indeed, the government in Tehran seldom if ever misses an opportunity to call for Israel's destruction and to assure the world such destruction is coming - the situation between the Sudans could be developing, as addressed in the Economist, as a proxy war.

But I wonder if Iran is not receiving encouragement from China, and Israel from the United States, each to tie the other down, and each to impact the other's sponsor; in other words, the militias and armed groups are proxies of the Sudans, the Sudans are proxies of Iran and Israel, but are Iran and Israel to some extent proxies of China and the US, playing out a "Great Game" in northeast Africa?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Victory is Ours, Part 2


In Part 1 we looked at Bashir's Islamist government in Khartoum; we examined some controversy surrounding the regime's version of sharia, and we considered further evidence of the regime's lawlessness, in this case regarding blatant murder of a UN contractor right under the noses of UN peacekeepers last summer. We concluded that Bashir's regime comprises the "bad guys" for this war.

In this post, we begin to examine the situation in South Sudan more closely, with a focus on problems the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) faces.

First and foremost, today is the first anniversary of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan: Happy Independence Day!


On this anniversary, President Kiir delivered a speech with a focus on the economy. We examine South Sudan anniversary: Salva Kiir focuses on economy, from July 9, 2012:

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has said the world's newest country needs to be "independent economically" in his speech to mark the first anniversary of its independence.

Thousands of people danced and waved flags during official celebrations in the capital, Juba.

The BBC's Nyambura Wambugu, in Juba, says that few South Sudanese have seen much improvement in their lives.

But she says that most feel it has been a good year, despite the problems.

Our correspondent says it has also been a turbulent 12 months, with ethnic conflict in Jonglei State killing hundreds, conflict on the border with Sudan and a huge corruption scandal.

'Short man from Khartoum'

Mr Kiir told the crowd: "We still depend on others. Our liberty today is incomplete. We must be more than liberated. We have to be independent economically.

The economic liberation that President Kiir refers to largely involves the situation regarding oil. As the article mentions toward the end, South Sudan controls 75% of the oil from Sudan prior to the split. Going back to early posts dealing with the situation in Sudan, we wondered what would happen with the oil; most of the oil is located in the south, but the pipelines to get it to port facilities, and the port facilities themselves, are located in the North. South Sudan can't export its oil and cash in without cooperation from the North. However, Sudan - the North - will not make much money without working a deal with the South to charge transit fees for helping bring the South's oil to market.


In the long term, GoSS could work a deal with neighboring countries to build a pipeline to port facilities. The trouble is, the only country South Sudan borders which has a coast is Kenya. The other option would be to take the oil through Ethiopia and then through 1) Eritrea, 2) Djibouti or 3) Somalia. Eritrea is a diplomatically isolated nation, kind of like North Korea, run by a rather paranoid dictator; Djibouti has a US AFRICOM base and a French Foreign Legion base, but has not been untouched by the unrest that has rocked the Arab world in the past eighteen months; and Somalia is in an ongoing state of civil war, though northern Somalia is relatively stable. Politically and militarily, northern Somalia or Djibouti might work the best, though the pipeline would may have to run through the state of Jonglei, both the largest and most populous in South Sudan, and which is currently seeing a great deal of tribal infighting (see below); geographically, the part of Somalia rocked by civil war and pirates might be the best.

Regardless, in the short term, disputes over percentages and accusations of theft of oil have resulted in the South shutting down the flow of oil through the North, with a resulting impact on revenues for both Sudans. Since the proceeds from the export of oil made up a greater percentage of the budget for the government in the South than for Bashir's regime in the North, this may have a greater impact on the government in Juba than on Bashir's government in Khartoum.

In fact, in The Inter-Sudan War, Part 5, we examined rather closely the impact of this situation regarding the shut-down of the flow of oil, and I wondered if Bashir hadn't deliberately provoked this, since his regime is in a better position to weather the storm.

Regarding the gravity of the fiscal situation in Juba, we consider an excerpt from South Sudan Has Foreign Exchange Reserves for 18 Months, March 9, 2012 (see original for further information and links which I did not reproduce):

South Sudan, which shut down its oil industry in January, has enough foreign exchange reserves to last 18 months and is exploring new ways to raise cash including issuing bonds, Vice President Riek Machar said.

The African nation will post a budget deficit next year as a result of lost oil revenue, Machar predicted in an interview in New York today after visiting investors. To close the gap, the country may seek commercial loans, sell bonds overseas and truck at least a third of its oil production to ports in other nations, he said.

South Sudan, which gained control of about 75 percent of the previously united Sudan's 490,000 barrels a day of output at independence in July, completed a shutdown of production Jan. 28. It took the action after accusing Sudan of stealing its oil. Sudan said it confiscated the crude to make up for unpaid fees.

The dispute over the fees South Sudan pays the neighboring country to ship the crude via a pipeline to the Red Sea shows few signs of being resolved anytime soon. Oil accounts for more than 95 percent of the economy of South Sudan, according to the government.

Vice President Riek Machar - remember that name. He's on the right in the photo below.


In any case, the government in Juba is facing economic challenges at a time when it also faces internal unrest and an external threat from the North.

Regarding this latter threat, during the independence day celebrations, South Sudan has received some encouragement from Uganda. Skipping down in South Sudan anniversary: Salva Kiir focuses on economy:

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni said his country would support South Sudan in its struggle with "the short man from Khartoum" - seen as a reference to Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.

I am characterizing the situation between the two Sudans as an ongoing war, although it seems to not be terribly hot at the moment. Most of the rest of the world seems to think it is not a war, but a war is possible. Regardless, IRIN News had the following to say about the situation with the North in Briefing: South Sudan one year on from independence, July 9, 2012 (see original for links that I did not reproduce):

What are the prospects for defusing tensions with Khartoum?

Months of talks led by the African Union have yet to bear fruit. In early April, the two Sudans embarked on a month-long war on the undefined border they had agreed to start demarcating. South Sudan occupied oil fields in a disputed area that produces around half of Sudan's oil output, while Khartoum's counter-insurgency operations have included bombing raids allegedly up to 70km inside South Sudan.

Security agreements, including on a demilitarized zone along the border, have stalled, and each side claims the other is funding rebel groups within its borders.

Sudan has repeatedly accused South Sudan of supporting rebels in the border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile who during the 1983-2005 civil war were part of the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army. Juba maintains that the northern wing of the insurgency, SPLA-N, has operated independently since secession.

However, one source reports a possible ray of light regarding hostilities with Khartoum. Sudan and South Sudan pledge to end hostilities, dated July 7, 2012, has South Sudan's Chief Negotiator Pagan Amum and Sudan's Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with chief mediator and former South African President Thabo Mbeki, agreeing to commit to a cessation of hostilities and negotiation. (I don't buy it.)

Farther down in Briefing: South Sudan one year on from independence, we have this (again, I did not reproduce links found in the original):

What about internal conflict?

Ethnic clashes and cattle-rustling in a country awash with guns are a serious threat to stability. Thousands of people have been killed in cattle rustling incidents and related violence.

In late December, up to 8,000 youths from the Lou Nuer ethnic group, joined by some Dinka, marched on members of the minority Murle in neglected Jonglei State, killing hundreds, according to the UN, and thousands according to local officials.

The violence displaced over 160,000 people, and spawned a host of smaller attacks in which hundreds more were killed. This prompted a large-scale civilian disarmament operation in Jonglei State.

While South Sudan has followed a policy of "paying for peace" by integrating militias into its already swollen army, analysts say a worrying trend in the politicization of ethnic groups could see the nation turn on itself if the government fails to prosecute those responsible for attacks.

The incident mentioned was pretty significant. From South Sudan horror at deadly cattle vendetta, January 16, 2012:

An age-old vendetta between two communities known for stealing each other's cattle, women and children recently escalated to unknown proportions when over 6,000 armed Lou Nuer youths marched on Pibor to attack the Murle.

[snip]

A figure speedily produced by Pibor's county commissioner of more than 3,000 dead remains unverified.

This would make it South Sudan's worst conflict since it gained independence from Sudan in July 2011.

County medical officer James Chacha witnessed the attacks and thinks "2,000 plus" were killed by attackers en route to Pibor town, that he says stationed troops struggled to defend.

"In fact they came and they entered the town. The deployment was not that big to cover the headquarters itself", and surrounding villages felt the full force of attacks, he said.

Mr Chacha said around 800 government troops in Pibor only fired on attackers when they had been driven back.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (Unmiss) had 400 peacekeepers in Pibor at the time of the attack and has increased numbers to 1,000.

"That represents almost half of the UN's 2,100 combat ready personnel", who will be sent to reinforce densely populated areas, said Unmiss official Kouider Zerrouk.

The attacks pushed all the way into Pibor, where government troops, outnumbered more than 7 to 1, had trouble just defending themselves.


As the series continues, we will look more in depth into the internal security situation in South Sudan.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Victory is Ours, Part 1


The introduction to this series reviewed what we had learned of Sudan so far, providing links to previous posts. We now set the stage by examining the situation in the two Sudans - both in the Republic of Sudan, the "North", which could be considered "rump Sudan" after the South declared its independence in the wake of a referendum, and the Republic of South Sudan, or the South. In this post, we examine the North.

The key thing to keep in mind is that Sudan is run by indicted war criminal Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, who seized power in a coup in 1989. At the time, Bashir was a colonel in the Sudanese Army. The coup was bloodless, but was backed by Islamist forces. Bashir, who fought alongside the Egyptian Army against Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, introduced an Islamic legal code in Sudan upon seizing power. More recently, he stated that if the South secedes - which it did - he would make Sudan a state governed by sharia.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir

Though Bashir's Islamist background does not get a great deal of attention in literature dealing with the situation in the Sudans, it is a factor under the surface which, I believe, has very significant impact on the overall regional situation, especially including the trouble with South Sudan, as well as globally.


To get an idea what Bashir's idea of sharia is - it is not substantially different from sharia as implemented elsewhere - we begin by considering a situation that developed regarding Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein.

Lubna al-Hussein is a Sudanese Muslim. Significantly for Sudan, she is a woman. She was working for UNMIS (UNMIS - United Nations Mission in Sudan; its mandate ended on July 9, 2011, with the independence of South Sudan) when, on July 3, 2009, at a cousin's wedding, Sudanese Public Order Police showed up looking for any women wearing trousers. Along with other women, she was arrested. Ten of the women pled guilty immediately and were given ten lashes each and released. Hussein and two others insisted on a trial.

I now reproduce in its entirety (including two links) an editorial, written by Hussein, telling her story; When I think of my trial, I pray my fight won't be in vain by Lubna al-Hussein, September 3, 2009:

For wearing trousers, I face 40 lashes. This is the brutal reality of Sudan: we live in fear of those who should protect us

Next week I will stand trial in a Sudanese court, charged along with 12 other women with committing an "indecent act" – wearing trousers in a public place. I will face up to 40 lashes and an unlimited fine if I am convicted of breaching Article 152 of Sudanese law, which prohibits dressing indecently in public. As an employee of the UN I was offered immunity, and the chance to escape trial, but I chose to resign from the UN so that I could face the Sudanese authorities and make them show to the world what they consider justice to be.

It will seem absurd to many people that a woman could face this situation in a country that claims to be "the Dubai of the Nile". Much international media coverage of Sudan in recent years may have focused on issues of conflict. But at the same time my country has reaped millions in oil revenues; skyscrapers and modern hotels have sprung up across our capital city, and although the living conditions of most ordinary people have not improved, our government has promised that we are on the path to prosperity.

And my case is far from an isolated one. In fact the director of police has admitted that 43,000 women were arrested in Khartoum state in 2008 for clothing offences. When asked, he couldn't say how many of these women had been flogged. And it's not just about clothing. After my arrest, two girls were arrested in a public place and the police discovered that their mobile phones had video clips of scenes from the hugely popular Arab soap Noor and Mohannad in which the main characters kiss each other. The girls were charged with pornography and given 40 lashes.

In many such cases the court consists of just one policeman and a single judge – with the policeman acting as the complainant, prosecutor and sole witness. And in a growing number of cases, the accused don't even reach court. One man, in dread of what might happen to him, died recently after falling off a building where he had sought shelter after being chased by the security police.

The laws under which we live have not modernised with our economy. Despite a new constitution in 2005, a comprehensive peace agreement and the protocol of human rights, women are still constrained – not only in their freedom of dress but also their freedom to work. Journalists are prevented from speaking out and people are detained without reason.

This is not new: Sudan has a proud and sad history of courageous men and women who have had to fight against repressive laws. They taught me that we should not hide behind privilege but that we should speak out for those who cannot find their voice. My trial next week may put Sudanese justice in the spotlight for a moment. But I hope that people will not look away once my verdict is announced, because there are many greater challenges that await us.

When North and South Sudan signed a peace agreement after 20 years of brutal civil war, both promised to respect international human rights, to overturn repressive laws and prevent the atrocities of the past being repeated. But the censorship, harassment and detention of journalists and human rights defenders continues.

Next spring our country will face elections. Opposition parties will not be able to fight these elections unless the laws are changed to be compatible with our new constitution. The elections are one step towards a referendum in which our brothers and sisters from the South will decide whether they want to remain in a united Sudan or to create a country of their own. These are painful and difficult choices that will decide the future for generations to come.

I feel anger and frustration that our government will not allow people to freely discuss our future. Sudan is a great country and one rich in diversity of faith, beliefs and ways of being. It has enough resources to provide for all its people. But it will never fulfil its great potential unless we are able to contribute to our future without pressure or fear.

When I think of my trial, I pray that my daughters will never live in fear of these "police of security of society". We will only be secure once the police protect us and these laws are repealed. I also pray that the next generation will see we had the courage to fight for their future before it was too late. We need Arab, African, American and European leaders to stand with us and help us make sure that the next chapter of our history is less bloody and brutal than the last. This will require conviction and boldness from their side. I hope they will display the qualities of those Sudanese men and women I most admire.

Some background to and significance of the story can be found at Pants Pants Revolution, dated August 5, 2009; here are the first three paragraphs:


Khartoum -- To the media she is the "Sudan trouser woman." Images of Lubna Hussein wearing the outfit that led to her arrest in Khartoum last month have zipped around the world. News reports give the impression that she is a radical on a crusade, her trial a fight over women's rights in an Islamic capital city. But this impression fails to scratch the surface. What is at stake is no less than a burgeoning social movement that promises to test the authoritarian Sudanese government on a global stage.

Hussein is one of thousands of women arrested each year for one of the "public order" offenses listed in Sudan's criminal code. Article 152, the one relevant to Hussein's case, reads: "Whoever commits an indecent act or an act that breaches public morality or wears clothes that are indecent or would breach public morality which causes annoyance to public feelings is liable to forty lashes or fine or both punishments."

The laws are officially meant to keep the public safe. But in practice, public order police use the vaguely worded regulations to extract bribes from women on the street, while public order justices deliver immediate punishment for infractions, devoid of due process. This means that public order laws are the subject of suppressed but persistent debate inside Sudan.

Notice this last paragraph, about how laws meant to keep the public safe are instead used to oppress the people. :)

The article goes on with a little history, explains how Hussein had immunity due to her work for the UN but waived it to go to trial and draw attention to this law, and talks about how the incident has caused reform-minded activists to start working more closely together. But, it also explains the government's strategy of delay, hoping international attention will die down.

Interestingly, the world's feminists were conspicuously silent on the matter. This lack of feminist response was discussed on the BBC, where commentary addressed how the world's feminists dislike intervening in indigenous cultures.


However, my observation is that the West's feminists sure don't seem to mind when foreigners come to the West and intervene in our cultures, bringing this kind of oppression, in this case sharia, to our lands. Make no mistake about it: when guys like Bashir and the mullahs he empowers take charge here in the West - and that is happening - those feminists who are militant and hypocritical, whose only real goal is the destruction of Western society, will find that they had been sheltered by the very system they loved to hate.

Regardless, in the event, initial court proceedings against Hussein were marked by violent police oppression of her supporters. From Sudan police beat protesters as woman goes on trial for wearing trousers, August 4, 2009:

Police fired teargas and beat supporters of a Sudanese woman facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public shortly before her trial was adjourned this morning.

Police in Khartoum moved in swiftly and dispersed about 50 protesters, mostly women, who were supporting Lubna Hussein, a former UN worker charged with "indecent dressing" in violation of the country's Islamic laws.

Some of the women demonstrators wore trousers in solidarity with Hussein. "We are here to protest against this law that oppresses women and debases them," said Amal Habani, a female columnist for the daily newspaper Ajraa al-Hurria (Bells of Freedom).

Ultimately, Hussein was convicted and sentenced to a fine, which she refused to pay. She was then jailed until the country's journalists' union paid the fine on her behalf. However, from INTERVIEW - Sudanese woman in trouser case defies travel ban, November 23, 2009:

Hussein said the group that paid her fine had close ties to the Sudanese government, which wanted to end the case quietly.

She said she planned to pursue her campaign through the courts and would ultimately go to the African Court of Justice if necessary.

"I have received a lot of threats. Some were outright death threats. But I have faith, and I believe that I will die the day that I am meant to die," she said.

To give a further taste of the flavor of government repression in Sudan, we now turn our attention to some atrocities committed by government forces in the summer of last year, right under the eyes of the UN.

A report entitled In Close Proximity: alleged abduction, detention and extrajudicial killings by Abu Tira, dated October 13, 2011, and published by Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's Satellite Sentinel Project (website), documents the flagrant and blatant murder by Sudan's security forces of a contractor working with the UN, right in front of UNMIS peacekeepers, in addition to other atrocities in close proximity to the UNMIS Compound. In [brackets] I have added explanations and links.

Abductions and Killings

According to multiple sources, fighting in Kadugli started on 5 June. An eyewitness account collected by SSP [Satellite Sentinel Project] alleges that IDPs [internally displaced persons] abducted from the UNMIS compound on 6 June were taken to an area between the CRP [Sudan's Central Reserve Police, armed much more heavily than regular police forces, including mortars, heavy machineguns and, on occasions, artillery; weapons that are far to indiscriminate for what westerners would consider "police" activities] training center and the UN compound and reportedly killed there. Their bodies were dumped in a nearby riverbed, according to the eyewitness. In a similar incident, the August 2011 UNHCHR [UN HIgh Commissioner for Refugees] report describes armed CRP personnel moving in and out of the UNMIS protective perimeter on 8 June, conducting identity checks among the IDPs there. CRP forces reportedly abducted three IDPs suspected of supporting the SPLM-N [Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North].

Also, SSP has received an eyewitness report alleging that CRP, SAF [Sudanese Armed Forces], and PDF [Popular Defense Forces - a paramilitary organization now becoming more important for political organization activities] forces tied civilians to the gates of the Kadugli airport checkpoint on 8 June and beat them. Witness reports communicated to SSP claim that those individuals were later shot and killed, and subsequently buried in a nearby mass grave.

The Murder of Numeiri Philip Kalo

An eyewitness report received directly by SSP contradicts core aspects of the August 2011 UNHCHR report's account of the 8 June abduction and murder of a UN individual contractor. SSP has learned that the contractor, Numeiri Philip Kalo, a Nuba man and known SPLM-N supporter, worked for Tri-Star Fueling and was a Catholic seminarian. SSP has identified discrepancies regarding this incident between witness reports, the leaked UNHCHR draft and the final version of that report released in August 2011.

Eyewitness reports communicated directly to SSP claim that on 8 June Numeiri Philip Kalo, among others, was pulled out of an UNMIS vehicle directly in front of the east main gate of the UNMIS compound. CRP personnel reportedly put Numeiri Philip Kalo in a CRP-operated Toyota Land Cruiser. The CRP then took him around the corner of the UNMIS compound, near the CRP training center, and shot him while Egyptian UNMIS peacekeepers looked on. Eyewitness reports communicated to SSP state that Kalo's body was riddled with bullet holes when it was dumped out of a moving CRP vehicle on the road in front of the CRP training center. An individual who spoke to SSP independently identified the CRP training center on a map, and stated that Numeiri Philip Kalo's body was reportedly dumped on the side of the road in front of the CRP facility.

However, the August 2011 UNHCHR report states that on "8 June, an UNMIS individual contractor (IC) was pulled out of a vehicle by SAF in front of the UNMIS Kadugli Sector IV compound in the presence of several witnesses." The draft report included a notation that this occurred "while UN Peace keepers could not intervene." This point was not included in the final report. Both versions of the report continued with the following language: "He was taken away from the vicinity of the compound and gunshots were heard. Later he was discovered dead by UNMIS personnel and IDPs. Several sources confirmed that the victim was an active SPLM member." Neither version of the UNHCHR report mentions CRP personnel or the CRP facility.

Some key things to conclude: 1) (North) Sudan essentially has no rulebook when it comes to armed conflict; Bashir's forces will do whatever they feel they need to do to win; 2) peacekeeping is a joke; the peacekeepers can't even protect themselves; 3) official UN reports do not tell the whole story even about what is happening to people working for the UN, much less about the local people.




So, Bashir and his government in Khartoum are the bad guys.

However, as this series continues, we will explore some problems with our good guys in South Sudan.