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Lives being destroyed inBlue Nile State, Sudan – AU and the UN expected lead by example

Posted by African Press International on June 13, 2013

Lives destroyed (file photo)

NAIROBI,  – The UN and the African Union must step forward and take decisive action to stop Sudan from committing war crimes against civilians in Blue Nile State, says a new Amnesty International report, dismissed as “false” by Khartoum.

“There has been no acknowledgement by the [UN] Security Council of the fact that Sudan is carrying out indiscriminate aerial bombardment. They need to press Sudan to stop,” Jean-Baptiste Gallopin, Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher, told IRIN.

He said the international community had a responsibility to press Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has indicted President Omar al Bashir and six others over crimes committed in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

Impunity

“Much of what we are seeing in Blue Nile and South Kordofan follows a similar pattern to the Darfur conflict and Sudan’s decades-long conflict with South Sudan. The people responsible for government policy in those conflicts – President Bashir, Defence Minister Abdel Rahman Hussein and Ahmad Harun, who is now [the] Southern Kordofan governor – are still in charge, and unless the ICC’s arrest warrants are implemented, there is little deterrence for present crimes,” he said.

The conflict in Blue Nile State is closely linked to – and started soon after – the 2011 conflict in South Kordofan between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and the Sudanese government. The SPLM-N objects to the marginalization of the region’s people and delays in “popular consultations” to determine the future of the two states; these consultations had been agreed to in 2005 under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement(CPA).

More than 200,000 people from South Kordofan and Blue Nile states have fled into South Sudan and Ethiopia, according to the UN. The fighting has displaced or severely affected some 275,000 people in government-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and another 420,000 in rebel-held areas, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Amnesty’s new report – “We had no time to bury them”: War Crimes in Sudan’s Blue Nile State – contains new satellite imagery and eyewitness testimonies from rebel-held areas of the state that allegedly prove that the Sudanese Armed Forces has used scorched-earth tactics to expel the civilian population.

Scorched earth tactics

“The Ingessana Hills, the birthplace of rebel leader Malik Agar, have been particularly hard hit. During the first half of 2012, the Sudanese government carried out a deliberate scorched earth campaign of shelling, bombing and burning down civilian villages in the area, and forcibly displacing many thousands of people. Some civilians who were unable to escape were burned alive in their homes; others were reportedly shot dead,” the report states, adding that “now, the only signs of life in these villages are Sudanese military positions”.

Amnesty urged the Sudanese government to “immediately cease indiscriminate aerial bombings and deliberate ground attacks on civilian areas” and “initiate prompt, effective and impartial investigations into violations of international human rights and humanitarian law”.

In a statement to the government-run Sudan News Agency, SAF spokesperson Col Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad said Amnesty’s allegations were “false and lacking evidence”.

The statement said the “reality of the situation on the ground” contradicted Amnesty’s report, which it said was geographically inaccurate, out of date and lacking in “scene of the crime” evidence.

This was because “there was no scene of the alleged crime” the statement cited Saad as saying, adding that the Sudanese military had in fact provided security to citizens and farmers in Blue Nile to protect their harvests.

Rebel-held areas are cut off from humanitarians (file photo)

Media reports indicated that on 11 June, Sudan’s oil ministry ordered oil companies to block the export flow of South Sudanese oil on orders from al-Bashir over South Sudan’s alleged support of the SPLM-N. The government of South Sudan denies any support to the rebels.

Matthew Leriche, a Sudan expert who visited Blue Nile in December 2012 and says he found civilians there “living in constant fear”.

“The most apparent [crime] is the use of what is essentially a terror campaign to freeze the population and render them unable to take care of the basics of daily life. This terror campaign is causing persistent hunger and suffering and has been the direct cause of displacement of populations and prevented people from returning to their homes,” he told IRIN in an email. “This massive displacement appears to be a clear tactic, that is to clear any peoples in any way connected to opposition groups from Sudan.”

He added: “The rudimentary nature of these aerial bombers – basically rolling makeshift explosive devices out the back – means the targeting must be of a general nature. That is to say, they are dropping them on populated areas and any areas with any buildings; this means schools, markets, and such. This kind of indiscriminate attack is a clear violation of international humanitarian law.”

Amnesty’s Gallopin said they had noted some violations by SPLM-N, especially the use of refugee camps to forcibly recruit men into their ranks and to divert food aid, but “the scale of the crimes committed by the Sudanese government can be considered war crimes and might be crimes against humanity”.

In May, Valerie Amos, the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, said she hoped direct talks between the government and the SPLM-N would “resume soon and that they will lead to a resolution of the conflict so that people can return to their homes and start to rebuild their lives”.

Demanding peace, access

Leriche says the AU and UN should demand that Khartoum abide by its existing obligations under the CPA. “There was a clear agreement that has been consistently flouted by the government in Khartoum. As key guarantors of the CPA, the UN and AU need to press Khartoum to stop accosting and terrorizing its own people,” he said.

“A transformation of the state, as the CPA should have brought about, is what is needed for there to be real peace. The various opposition political parties and groups have to be allowed to be a part of the power structure in Khartoum, and people need to be allowed to live without consistent attack and harassment,” he added. “As a minimum starting point, the government should allow humanitarian access not just to areas it controls but to the entire state.”

As the conflict continues, hundreds of thousands of civilians remain without access to humanitarian support. An August 2012 Memorandum of Understanding among the Khartoum government, the SPLM-N, and a tripartite mediation group of the African Union (AU), the League of Arab States and the UN failed to secure safe passage of relief supplies to areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile controlled by the rebels.

The Amnesty report noted that in the interim, and as a matter of urgency, UN agencies and international agencies needed to be allowed access to civilian populations in need in all areas of Blue Nile “to facilitate the provision of all necessary assistance to civilians affected by the conflict, including food, shelter and medical care”.

kr/aei/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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The Collapsing Sudanese Economy

Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2013

[This essay was written in early January 2013; little has changed in the macroeconomic picture for either Sudan or South Sudan.  Recent mutual threats of an oil stoppage would of course dramatically increase the economic crisis depicted here, and which is already threatening of peace in a range of ways.  Inflation continues its relentless rise in Sudan, despite “official figures” suggesting otherwise.  The connection between fighting in Jebel Amer (North Darfur) and the Khartoum regime’s desperate need of foreign exchange currency has become steadily clearer–May 28, 2013]

December 2012 commentary on the purported “coup attempt” in Khartoum provided little in the way of consensus about how serious the “coup” was or precisely who was truly involved or how far planning had moved to an actual attempt. The timing may have been governed by President al-Bashir’s health and an inevitable diminishing of power (he has throat cancer, according to multiple sources); what the stance of the military is or will be on the occasion of a transition is unclear.  Official comments from officials in Khartoum were contradictory and showed no commitment to provide an honest account.  What can’t be doubted is that the events, insofar as we can discern them, reveal growing domestic unhappiness with the current regime, which after 23 years in power has still failed to bring peace or broadening prosperity to Sudan.  The public discontent of last June and July may now be coming to fruition.

But to date political commentary has generally failed to provide a comprehensive account of how current struggles in Khartoum take place in the context of an economy that is in free-fall.  There is some acknowledgement of distress over high prices, shortages, and lack of employment; but there has been relatively little in the way of fuller and more probing assessment of  how far advanced the economic collapse is—or what the consequences of such a collapse will be in shaping Sudan’s political future.  But any analysis of current political machinations and maneuvering will be meaningless without an understanding of how a series of critical choices—military and economic—have been forced on the regime as a whole.  These choices are inevitably interrelated, and how they are made will define the future of greater Sudan.

Discussion of Khartoum’s political elite often relies on a traditional division of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party into “moderates and “hardliners”; this is better cast, in my view, as a distinction between variously pragmatic elements within the regime who cohere in their views to a greater or lesser degree, depending on international pressures. The analytic task at hand is to capture how current economic circumstances will govern the survivalist political instincts that are common to all these ruthless men.  The advantage of a focus on “pragmatism” is that it highlights how “unpragmatic” so many recent actions and decisions have been in the economic sphere, and how these decisions actually increase the threat to regime survival.  These brutal men may control the press, the news media, the security forces and the army—at present.  But the impending maelstrom of economic disarray will bring to bear pressures that many in the regime and the military clearly have not anticipated or do not fully understand.

An overview of factors precipitating the collapse of the Sudanese economy would include the following.

[1]  A recent assessment found that Sudan is the fourth most corrupt country in the world (only Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia rank lower); corruption eats at the heart of economic growth, derails rational capital expenditures, and breeds resentment.  It has long been endemic in Sudan, and its current ranking reflects that fact.

[2]  The IMF’s most recent assessment has found that Sudan’s is the worst-performing economy in the world.  This in itself is simply extraordinary for a country with so many natural resources, including vast tracts of arable land.

[3]  The best barometer of the extent of economic collapse is the revised figure for negative growth (contraction) of the economy: the April 2012 prediction from the IMF was -7.3 percent for 2012; most recently the figure stands at -11.2 percent, a depression by some measures, strongly suggesting a continuing downward spiral.

[4]  The most current (October) estimate of Sudan’s rate of inflation is 45.3 percent, up from 41.6 percent in September, 22.5 percent in March, and 15 percent in June 2011.  In fact, this figure is already dated by the weeks intervening between data collection and present prices—and certainly understates the rate of inflation for essential commodities such as food and fuel.  The official year-on-year inflation rate for food is 48.6 percent; The Economist notes (December 1, 2012) that “the price of fool, Sudan’s traditional bean breakfast, has risen from $0.33 to $1.16.,” over 300 percent.  The inflation rate for fuel is just as high as that for food generally, with ripple effects throughout the economy.

Moreover, Yousif el-Mahdi, a Khartoum-based economist, estimated in September (2012) that the real overall inflation rate was closer to 65 percent—this when the official rate was still 42 percent.  He is far from alone in believing that in the past, the actual inflation rate has been consistently understated; but when the bad news comes fully home, it will inevitably make those holding Sudanese pounds even less trusting of the currency. [Based on a number of reports and assessments, my own current estimate (May 2013) is roughly 75 percent annually–ER]

In fact, Sudan is rapidly approaching the point at which hyper-inflation will govern economic calculations and transactions, sending the pound into free-fall as desperate bank depositors and others with cash holdings in pounds  convert to a hard currency or valuable commodities (gold, silver, even food) at almost any exchange rate.  Once hyper-inflation sets in, it is almost impossible to reverse expectations of yet more hyper-inflation, particularly if there are no resources with which to back the currency under assault.  The cash economy in Sudan will grind to a halt.  Here it seems appropriate to recall that former President Jaafer Nimieri was brought down rapidly in 1985 amidst protests generated largely by hyper-inflation.

It should also be borne in mind that Khartoum has leveraged its oil resources as much as possible, and owns only a very small percentage of the two oil development consortia operating in Sudan and South Sudan (in the form of Sudapet’s 5 percent stake, which has been challenged by Juba).  Sales of additional concession blocks have generated little income, and nothing has been held in reserve.

Gold exports have been much in Sudan news, but the quantities being talked about by the regime—and thus the hard currency purportedly to be received—have been greeted with considerable skepticism.  Reports seem to come exclusively from the regime-controlled news media in Khartoum, and have an air of desperation about them.  In any event, increased gold production alone cannot begin to reverse current trends in the near- or medium-term.

[5]  The cutting of fuel subsidies from the budget—demanded by the IMF as a condition for debt relief—has been largely abandoned in the wake of Arab Spring-like demonstrations last summer; these expensive subsidies will again represent an enormous part of the non-military/security budget, even as the expense receives no honest reckoning in public comments by the regime.  Yet budgetary realities have become ever more grim, as the Sudan Tribune notes (December 7, 2012):

“The Sudanese government tabled its draft 2013 budget before parliament this week which projects 25.2 billion Sudanese pounds (SDG) in revenues and 35.0 billion SDG in expenses leaving a deficit of 10 billion SDG ($1.5 billion) which equals 3.4% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The deficit will be financed up to 87% (7.6 billion SDG) from domestic sources including 2 billion SDG from the central bank.

But the central bank has no real money, only what it prints in the way of Sudanese pounds that are rapidly declining in value.  As of December 2, 2012, $1.00 bought 6.5 pounds—a record low, and a further 3 percent decline from the previous week (the black market rate was about 5 pounds to the dollar early in the year, suggesting a decline of approximately 30 percent).  The official exchange rate is approximately 4.4 pounds to the dollar.

And while the IMF continues to insist that Sudan should cut fuel subsidies further—beyond what was cut in June—the Fund acknowledges that to do so will incur public anger and more instability of the sort seen last June, July, and August.

[6]  The reason for the continuing decline in the value of the pound is a lack of foreign exchange reserves, the direct consequence of having no oil export income.  As a result, imports purchased with Sudanese pounds are not simply more expensive—in some case prohibitively so—but harder to obtain at all, given the lack of available foreign exchange currency. Food imports are hit particularly hard, as are businesses that depend on imported parts or services.  Sudan imports some 400,000 tons of sugar annually (it is a key source of calories for many in the north); these imports will only grow more expensive, pushing the inflation rate for this particular commodity well above 50 percent.

Efforts to secure US$4 billion in foreign exchange deposits from rich Arab countries have largely failed, with the exception of Qatar, despite various claims by regime officials that large hard currency deposits have been made into the Central Bank of Sudan.  While providing temporary relief from “black market” speculation against the Sudanese pound, the long-term effect of such dishonest claims about foreign currency infusions is to diminish further the regime’s credibility about all matters financial and economic.

[7]  The oil sector as a percentage of GDP has declined precipitously following Southern secession.  Oil now provides only 20 – 25 percent of revenues going to the regime; and beyond this massive loss in revenues, the oil sector now accounts for only 3 – 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), down from about 15 percent, according to the IMF.

Oil production is also being consistently overstated by Khartoum in order to suggest that more foreign exchange will be received than is the case.  The “Medium-Term Oil Market Report 2012” by the International Energy Agency (IEA) puts current production in Sudan at 70,000 barrels per day, rising to 90,000 bpd in 2014 and dropping back to 60,000 in 2017.  And yet long-time Sudanese oil minister and NIF/NCP stalwart Awad al-Jaz claims that Sudan is currently producing 120,000 bpd, which may rise to 150,000 bpd by the end of 2012.  Gross misrepresentation of data is nothing new for the regime, but such transparently motivated manipulation of key figures is a sign of just how desperate the economic crisis is, and how urgently Khartoum feels the need to be perceived as having or receiving more hard currency than is credible.

Notably, in its April 2012 semi-annual World Economic Outlook, the IMF changed the classification of Sudan: from an oil exporter to an oil importer, making nonsense of al-Jaz’s claim.

[8]  The agricultural sector, long neglected by the regime, cannot provide enough food to avoid substantial imports; disabled by cronyism and a lack of commitment  over many years, the agricultural sector is collapsing along with the rest of the economy.  Much of the arable land between the White and Blue Niles has silted and become unusable, even as a once enviable irrigation infrastructure has badly deteriorated.  Large tracts of valuable farm land have been sold or leased to Arab and Asian concerns to provide food for their own domestic consumption.  There is simply no strategic emphasis on self-sufficiency in food, even as Khartoum counts on the UN to provide Sudan with huge quantities of food every year. As Agence France-Presse reported earlier this year (February 27):

“‘The economic situation is deteriorating further and further,’ and the economy is in crisis, says University of Khartoum economist Mohamed Eljack Ahmed. [Of Khartoum’s ‘rescue plan’] economists say the plan seems unworkable in the short term. Ahmed says agricultural infrastructure, once the country’s economic mainstay, has collapsed and neither farmers nor industrialists have an incentive to operate.”

[9]  The NIF/NCP for years has survived in large measure because it controls the security services (often overlapping) and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF); estimates of what percentage of the national budget is devoted to the security services and the army vary, but range as high as 70 percent, with “over 50 percent” the closest to a consensus figure; this makes finding spending cuts in non-military sectors of the budget extraordinarily difficult.  Moreover, these military and security personnel are now being paid in Sudanese pounds that are rapidly loosing their purchasing power, and this will breed intense resentment, defections, and possibly participation in civilian insurrection.

[10]  Resentment is also felt by those in the vast—and very expensive—patronage system that has provided the regime with political support.  The patronage system has been key to regime survival.  It was built-up during the early take-over of banks and the most lucrative parts of the Sudanese economy following the NIF coup of 1989, and then extended further by the rapid increase of oil revenues that began in 1999.  Now the patronage system is simply unaffordable, and the disgruntled within it can no longer be counted on to provide political support when it is most needed.

[11]  The demographics of the “Arab Spring” are the same in Sudan as they are in the rest of the Arab world, especially in the regions in and around Khartoum: there are a disproportionately large numbers of people under 30 years of age, many educated but with little prospect of employment commensurate with their education, or indeed any form of employment at all.  They are especially vulnerable to economic hardship.

[12]  Massive external debt—estimated by the IMF at US$43.7 billion in 2012—is on track to reach US$45.6 billion in 2013, again according to the IMF.  This represents 83 percent of Sudan’s 2011 GDP.  Such debt—largely in the form of arrears accrued under the present regime—cannot be serviced by the present Sudanese economy, let alone repaid.  It is a crushing burden on the economy, and yet Khartoum shows no sign of adhering to IMF recommendations for obtaining debt relief,  Moreover, the regime’s military actions throughout Sudan should work powerfully against debt relief among the Paris Club creditors who own most of this debt.  Certainly it would be unconscionable to negotiate debt reduction with a regime that devotes so much of its budget to acquiring the means of civilian destruction—in Darfur, in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and elsewhere.

Nonetheless, Minister of Finance Ali Mahmud Rasul declared in October that there is growing “international acceptance to write off Khartoum’s … external debt.”  The efforts of Western, African, and Arab civil society should be to make debt relief under present circumstances thoroughly unacceptable for politicians in Washington, London, Berlin, and Paris.

Current Minister of Finance Ali Mahmud Rasul also declares, despite these grim realities, that “the 2013 budget shows that we have overcome the secession of South Sudan.”  But former Minister of Finance Abdel Rahim Hamdi—whatever his own role within the regime during the 1990s—felt compelled to speak out about the current extraordinary mismanagement of the economy.  Sudan Tribune reports his broadest assessment: the current regime “is no longer able to manage the economy and lacks solutions to handle the crisis.”  Hamdi noted that “conflicting economic policies [have] led to soaring inflation levels and astronomical increases in prices. Speaking at the Islamic Fiqh Council, Hamdi pointed out that 77 percent of revenues goes to cover salaries and wages as well as federal aid to states.”  He was  also scathing in his assessment of projected revenues, which the regime has consistently oversold in a ploy to keep the psychology of inflation from taking hold (e.g., in celebrating artificially high estimates of gold production, boasting of hard currency transfers from Arab countries that never materialize).  Current Minister of Finance Rasul speaks to none of this.

For those not living in the world of self-serving mendacity from which regime pronouncements about economic development emerge, the truth is conspicuous: the economy is in a complete shambles, and hyper-inflation is relentlessly approaching. The brute economic realities outlined above cannot be talked away or cajoled into more palatable form.  Indeed, if the current budget needs—including a substantial continuation of subsidies for fuel—are not met with real revenues, the regime will be compelled to turn on the printing presses and create an even more precipitous decline toward hyper-inflation.

Why Does Khartoum Pursue Policies so Destructive of the Economy?

Despite the already acute and growing danger of complete economic implosion, the regime persists with immensely expensive and unproductive policies, including war in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, as well as hostile actions along the North/South border, and the supplying of renegade militia groups inside South Sudan.  For a regime that is ruthlessly survivalist, this makes no rational sense: current economic realities are diminishing the chances that the regime will survive.  So why is it persisting in policies and actions that work against a resumption of transit fees for oil originating in South Sudan and passing through the northern pipeline to Port Sudan?  Why is the regime creating a situation in which the generous transit fees that Juba is willing to pay have been forgone?  This seems even more peculiar, given the grasping nature of Khartoum’s greed, revealed earlier this year when Southern engineers discovered a covert tie-in line to main oil pipeline, capable of diverting some 120,000 bpd of Southern crude.  This subterfuge has not been forgotten by the South, and only makes more exigent the question: why has Khartoum put oil transit revenues in jeopardy?

At full capacity—350,000 bpd—these pipeline revenues could do a great deal to close the yawning budget gap that Khartoum faces; and this is on top of Juba’s agreement to assist Khartoum financially during a difficult transition and also to allow the regime to keep the more than $800 million sequestered during the stand-off over transit fees (the amount of oil was peremptorily calculated by Khartoum on the basis of its outrageous $36/barrel fee proposal).  What keeps Khartoum from finalizing the deal on oil transport, thereby creating further doubts in the minds of Southerners that this pipeline will remain a viable means of export?  Why does Khartoum continue to wage a brutal economic war of attrition against South Sudan, which should be its largest and most important trading partner?  The reality of lost oil income is inescapable:

Prior to [the secession of South Sudan], about three-quarters of crude production came from the south and accounted for more than 85 percent of Khartoum’s export earnings, which reached $7.5 billion in the first half of 2011, according to the World Bank.  ‘They’ve lost that (oil) income. It’s gone for good,’ an international economist said, declining to be identified.”

Here again the common distinction between “moderates” and “hardliners” is better understood as referring to differences within a regime that is at various times more and less pragmatic, or at least has very different views of what is “pragmatic.”  Ali Osman Taha, for example, is often cited as a “moderate” because of his central role in the Naivasha peace talks; it is rarely remarked that in February 2004, a year before those talks  would culminate in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Talks, Taha left Naivasha to “address the Darfur crisis.”  As anyone who followed the course of events through 2004 and into 2005 knows, this was the period marked by the very height of genocidal violence and destruction.  An October 24, 2004 report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service notes:

“In February 2004, First Vice President Ali Osman Taha, the government [of Sudan’s] chief negotiator [in Naivasha], told the mediators that he had to leave the talks to deal with the Darfur problem. In February 2004, the government of Sudan initiated a major military campaign against the Sudan Liberation Army and Justice and Equality Movement and declared victory by the end of the month.  Attacks by government forces and the Janjaweed militia against civilians intensified between February and June 2004, forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee to neighboring Chad.

As we know now, many tens of thousands of people were also killed by the violence of this period, and the killing continued long after Taha’s intervention, with total  mortality now in the range of 500,000.[22] The number of internally displaced persons would, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, grow to 2.7 million.  The UN High Commission for Refugees estimates that more than 280,000 Darfuris remain in eastern Chad as refugees.  That Taha the “moderate” played such a central role in the Darfur genocide is far too infrequently acknowledged, suggesting again that within the NIF/NCP “pragmatism” may take many forms.

After much shifting in language and positions, Khartoum would now have the world believe that it will uphold the agreement on oil transport only if Juba agrees to various “security arrangements.”  But of course just what these arrangements are keeps changing, even as Khartoum ignores the most fundamental requirement for security in both Sudan and South Sudan: a fully delineated and authoritatively demarcated border.  This of course should have been achieved in the “interim period” of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (January 9, 2005 to July 9, 2011).  That it was not is almost entirely the fault of Khartoum, which evidently thought—and still thinks—it can extort borderlands from the South and incorporate them into Sudan.  The military seizure of Abyei (May 2011) was simply the opening salvo.  Military ambitions may in fact extend to seizing more Southern oil fields and arable land.

More recently, Khartoum’s demanded “security arrangements” have come to include Juba’s disarming of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North, an utterly preposterous notion—indeed, so preposterous that it must be viewed as a means of stalling negotiations. In this respect it is very similar to Khartoum’s initial proposal of a US$36/barrel transit fee proposal during negotiations on that issue: this was not an opening gambit, not a serious proposal from which compromise could be reached.  It was meant to halt negotiations and indeed resulted in Juba’s decision to shut down oil production altogether.

So, too, the current “security arrangements” proposal is meant to put a hold on negotiations by demanding what the South cannot possibly offer or provide, even as senior officials in Khartoum continue to insist that they will not negotiate with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, insisting that the “alliance” between Juba and the SPLM/A-N must first be ended.  And yet no evidence of substance is offered to suggest any military alliance.  We may understand why the NIF/NCP wishes the army of South Sudan to disarm northern rebels, primarily in the Nuba: Abdel Aziz al-Hilu’s forces are manhandling SAF troops and militias, chewing up entire battalions and parts of some brigades and in the process acquiring a great deal of ammunition, weaponry, fuel, and other supplies (despite this, Ahmed Haroun—indicted war criminal and governor of South Kordofan—insists that the SAF will achieve victory soon).  But  does anyone living in the real world think that Juba will help to disarm the SPLA-North?  These are former comrades in arms, deeply connected by the years of suffering and fighting together, and by a deep mutual suspicion of Khartoum.  In the absence of any substantial  evidence that Juba is aiding the rebels in the Nuba in a significant way, we must conclude that something else is going on here.

It is important to remember that while the regime has been in power for 24 years, individual members and factions of this regime have relentlessly jockeyed for power, often ruthlessly pursuing their own interests, and have found themselves on occasion in significant ascendancy or decline.  The most recent example appears to be Salah Abdallah “Gosh,” once head of the extremely powerful National Intelligence and Security Services; further back, we have the sharp split between al-Bashir’s cabal and Islamic ideological leader Hassan al-Turabi in the late 1990s.  But ambition within the regime’s central cabal has never, in any quarter, been “moderated” by a desire to do what is best for the people of Sudan.

The most notable recent ascendancy is that of key senior military officials in decision-making about war and peace; this too has gone insufficiently remarked, despite very considerable evidence that on a range of issues, military views have prevailed.  The nature of this ascendancy, and the motives behind it, were first emphasized by Sudan researcher Julie Flint in an important account from in August 2011, based on an extraordinary interview with an official in Khartoum.  The official, whose account has been corroborated by other sources, warned that a silent military coup was already well under way in Khartoum before the seizure of Abyei (May 2011). There seems little doubt that if this official’s account is accurate, and there has in fact been a successful military coup from within, then there will be very little room for civilians in the new configuration of power when it comes to issues of war and peace:

“[A] well-informed source close to the National Congress Party reports that Sudan’s two most powerful generals went to [Sudanese President Omar al-] Bashir on May 5, five days after 11 soldiers were killed in an SPLA ambush in Abyei, on South Kordofan’s southwestern border, and demanded powers to act as they sought fit, without reference to the political leadership.”

“They got it,” the source says. “It is the hour of the soldiers—a vengeful, bitter attitude of defending one’s interests no matter what; a punitive and emotional approach that goes beyond calculation of self-interest. The army was the first to accept that Sudan would be partitioned. But they also felt it as a humiliation, primarily because they were withdrawing from territory in which they had not been defeated. They were ready to go along with the politicians as long as the politicians were delivering—but they had come to the conclusion they weren’t. Ambushes in Abyei…interminable talks in Doha keeping Darfur as an open wound….  Lack of agreement on oil revenue….”  “It has gone beyond politics,” says one of Bashir’s closest aides. “It is about dignity.”

How well borne out by subsequent developments is this assessment?

When the senior and quite powerful presidential advisor Nafie Ali Nafie signed on June 28, 2011 a “Framework Agreement” with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, it seemed for a moment in which war in the Nuba and Blue Nile might be averted.  Three days later President al-Bashir emphatically renounced the breakthrough agreement, declaring after Friday prayers (July 1, 2011) that the “cleansing” of the Nuba Mountains would continue.  This was clearly a declaration made at the behest of the generals, specifically Major General Mahjoub Abdallah Sharfi—head of Military Intelligence—and Lt. Gen. Ismat Abdel Rahman al-Zain— implicated in Darfur atrocity crimes because of his role as SAF director of military operations, he is identified in the “Confidential Annex” to the report by the UN panel of Experts on Darfur (Annex leaked in February 2006).

These men and their military colleagues are the ones whose actions have ensured that Abyei will remain a deeply contentious issue in growing tensions between Sudan and South Sudan; certainly they knew full well the implications of taking military action in Abyei—military action that directly contravened the Abyei Protocol of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. This action ensures that Abyei will continue to fester and may yet lead to confrontation if—as is likely—both the African Union and the UN Secretariat and Security Council continue to temporize over the AU proposal on the permanent status of Abyei, a proposal subsequently endorsed by the AU Peace and Security Council but rejected by Khartoum.  And as long as Abyei festers, negotiations over other issues are made gratuitously more  difficult, and it becomes ever less likely that sustained oil transit revenues from use of the northern pipeline will resume.  After losing almost a year’s worth of oil revenue, the South will certainly proceed with plans for an alternative export route.  Khartoum’s sequestration of  almost a billion dollars of oil revenues due to the South since independence (July 9, 2011) left Juba feeling deeply uneasy about any viable long-term arrangement with the current regime, despite the decision to allow Khartoum to keep the oil revenues it had illegally sequestered.

From the standpoint of a rational management of the economy, the military decisions made have been consistently disastrous.  This is true whether we are speaking of genocidal destruction (and economic collapse) in Darfur; renewed genocide in the Nuba Mountains, which has prompted a ferociously successful rebel military response; massive civilian destruction and displacement in Blue Nile; the military seizure of Abyei; the extremely ill-considered assaults on forces of the SPLA-South in the Tishwin area of Unity State in March/April of this year; support for renegade militia groups in South Sudan; the growing assertion of unreasonable claims about the North/South border; and the repeated bombings along the border over the past year and a half, including the “Mile 14″ area of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal.  This is an extraordinary catalog of offensive military actions.  And none of them reflects a concern for economic problems that may well bring down the regime.  On the contrary, these decisions represent a bitter, vengeful desire to “get even” with South Sudan for exercising its right to self-determination.  But vengeance will not rescue the failing northern economy, and absent the resumption of oil transport income, the economy will continue in free-fall, with hyper-inflation daily more likely.  Normal corrective measures in economic policy are impossible in the context of current military commitments; corrections that would in any event have been highly challenging in light of the precipitous cut-off of oil revenue are now unavailable.

So long as decisions about war and peace are being made in Khartoum by the generals, without regard for the effects of continuing and renewed fighting on the broader economy, Sudan will remain both brutally violent and ultimately untenable under present governance.

International Response

There is one decision the international community, and Paris Club members in particular, can take, which is not to engage in any discussions of or planning for debt relief for Khartoum until the regime disengages from all military campaigns that target civilians, and ceases military actions so indiscriminate as to ensure widespread civilian destruction such as we have seen most recently in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, previously in Abyei, and for very nearly ten years in Darfur.  The international banking system as well as international financing resources should do nothing that will convince Khartoum it may escape paying a heavy price for its continuing atrocities in these regions.  For its part, the regime continues to speak confidently about its prospects for international debt relief.  It’s hard to know whether this proceeds from expediency—even the artificial prospect of partial debt relief would help the northern economy immensely—or cynicism: the international community has capitulated before Khartoum’s demands, has accepted the validity of its commitment to signed agreements, on so many occasions that the regime may calculate it will prevail yet again.

This must not happen.  The international community has failed greater Sudan for too many years now, has accommodated a murderous, finally genocidal regime in Khartoum since June 1989, and now is a moment for moral clarity and principled decision: will the world fund this regime?  Will it accept massive atrocity crimes in Sudan in the interest of something other than the well-being of the Sudanese people themselves?

Civil society in those countries most significantly represented in the Paris Club are obligated by these circumstances to lobby their governments to state publicly that the unqualified priority in Sudan policy is ending civilian destruction throughout greater Sudan. Unequivocal evidence that this “priority” obtains in national policies must be demanded; despite the excessive caution that typically governs the imposition of multilateral sanctions, such are what vast numbers of people from greater Sudan wish, as do many well-informed friends of the region.

It is a simple “ask”: no debt relief for a regime that continues to commit atrocity crimes against civilians on a wide scale.  This debt was accrued in large measure by profligate military expenditures on weapons that are even now being deployed against hundreds of thousands of noncombatant civilians.  Yet as simple and apparently reasonable as such an “ask” is, there are very good historical reasons to believe that it will be refused; rather, some factitious “occasion” will be found to provide Khartoum with a financial life-line—a decision defined by its expediency, not its moral intelligibility.  There could be no more irresponsible use of international economic and financial resources.

– Scott Ross served as lead editor for this article

*Eric Reeves is a professor at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. 

 

 

End

 

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Does President Obama’s half-brother use IRS status to fund polygamy?

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2013

No evidence of support for poor while wives live large at resort

Published: by WND

abongo-barack-obama

NEW YORK – Funds contributed in the United States to a 501(c)3 foundation run by President Obama’s older half-brother, Abongo “Roy” Malik Obama, have been diverted to support Malik’s multiple wives in Kenya, an expert on Islamic extremism has charged.

Walid Shoebat, an Arabic-speaking former Muslim Brotherhood member, has detailed his allegations in a 22-page investigative report titled “New IRS Scandal: Islamic Extremism and Sex Slaves: Report Reveals Obama’s Relatives Run Charities of Deceit,” published on his website

After a thorough examination of available evidence, Shoebat explained to WND his allegations against the Obama family tax-exempt foundations:

“When Malik Obama and Sarah Obama raised money in the United States as the respective heads of foundations claiming to be charities, not only did the Internal Revenue Service illegally grant one of them tax-deductible status retroactively, but these foundations have supported – to varying degrees – illegal operations that acquire funding for personal gain, philandering, polygamy and the promotion of Wahhabism, the brand of Islam practiced by Al-Qaeda.”

For the past two years, long before the current IRS scandals became public, WND has been reporting irregularities in two IRS-approved 501(c)3 organizations operated in the U.S. by Obama’s half-brother and step-grandmother in Kenya:

WND reported in September 2011 the Barack H. Obama Foundation apparently received IRS approval one month after an application was submitted in May 2011. The IRS determination letter June 11, 2011, granted a highly irregular retroactive tax-exempt approval only after the group came under fire for operating as a 501(c)3 foundation since 2008 without ever having applied to the IRS.

In October 2012, WND reported a separate foundation, the Mama Sarah Obama Foundation, created on behalf of Obama’s step-grandmother in Kenya, has transferred funds, 90 percent of which are raised from U.S. individuals and corporations, to send Kenyan students to the top three most radical Wahhabist madrassas in Saudi Arabia.

Since its founding in 2008, the Barack H. Obama Foundation, operating out of a commercial mail drop in Arlington, Va., has solicited tax-deductible contributions on the Internet, listing addresses and telephone numbers both in the U.S. and Kenya, without disclosing the group lacked an IRS determination letter.

In September 2011, the IRS confirmed to WND that the Barack H. Obama Foundation had received a determination letter in June 2011, awarding the group tax-exempt 501(c)3 status retro-actively to 2008

Tax-exempt polygamy?

On March 3, 2013, Andrew Malone, reporting for the London Daily Mail, documented that Malik’s youngest wife in Kenya, Sheila Anyano, 35 years his junior, had spent the past two years living with three of Malik’s other wives at the “Barack H Obama Foundation rest and relaxation center,” a restaurant complex that profits from visitors drawn by the family’s connection to the American president.

According to the Daily Mail, members of his extended family in Kenya have accused Malik, a practitioner of Islam and a polygamist, of being a wife-beater and philanderer. Malik is accused of seducing Sheila, the newest of his estimated 12 wives while she was a 17-year-old schoolgirl – a crime in Kenya where the legal age of consent is 18.

Malone tracked down Sheila’s mother, Mary, who explained to the reporter that Malik Obama had “secret trysts” with the girl after spotting her attending prayers at the mosque he has built in Kogelo, the family’s ancestral.

Sheila, now age 20, told Ambrose that marrying Malik, now age 55, was the “worst decision” of her life and confirmed that she and Malik kept their marriage “a secret” since she was 17.

“At first he was good, after he started speaking to me at the mosque,” Sheila told the Daily Mail. “But he has changed. Marrying him has been the biggest mistake of my life. He beats me, but mostly he’s just nasty and quarrelsome.”

Several sources report the “center” where Malik Obama houses his multiple wives is a “hotel” with a restaurant.

The Egyptian independent daily newspaper Al-Masry Al Youm, on Nov. 6, 2012, reported a meeting conducted in the only hotel in Kogelo, calling it the “Barack H. Obama Recreation and Rest Center.”

A Smithsonian Magazine article published in May 2011 distinguished the Barack H. Obama Recreation and Rest Center from then open and operating Kogelo Village Resort, a 40-bed hotel and conference center owned by Nicholas Rajula. The article noted Malik Obama, “the president’s half-brother and the oldest son of Barack Obama Sr., who had eight children with four wives,” had “invested a large sum in the soon-to-open Barack H. Obama Recreation Center and Rest Area in Nyag’oma Kugelo.”

On Jan. 18, 2013, the Christian Science Monitor noted Malik Obama was running for political office in Kenya. He lost running on a campaign slogan that played on his half-brother’s electoral success in the United States.

“Just as it is in the United States, I want it here,” he Malik told the Monitor.

The paper said he was speaking in his office in a recreation center he set up with the Barack H. Obama Foundation, described as “a charitable organization he founded to build houses for women and orphans.”

Shoebot charged that Malik Obama is abusing non-profit funds.

“There is no evidence to suggest that Malik is building any houses in Kogelo for widows and orphans as claimed,” Shoebat said.

Neither is there evidence that the Mama Sarah Foundation has built any homes for widows, orphans and HIV/AIDS victims.

“The only evidence where monies were spent involves the Barack H. Obama Recreation and Rest Center in Kenya, which housed Malik’s 12 wives in a facility that includes a restaurant and a mosque with a madrassa,” he said.

“While building mosques is legally considered charity, evidence shows the entire funding came directly from entities and individuals from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain,” Shoebat said. “There is nothing of charitable nature to show for all the funds Malik raises from the United States. To date, there is no evidence for any accomplishments toward building homes for orphans, widows and AIDS victims in Kogelo or anywhere else in Kenya.”

Limited financial reporting

An IRS Form 990-EZ required for tax-exempt organizations was filed on May 23, 2011, only days before the IRS determination letter was sent.

Barack H. Obama Foundation, Form 990-EZ, filed May 23, 2011, page 1

The Form 990-EZ appears to have been hand-written by Abongo Malik Obama himself, complete with an unorthodox page of calculations evidently included to back up the amounts entered into the form.

The Form 990 reported the foundation had received $24,250 total gross income for 2010, derived from contributions, gifts and grants.

“We were not very successful this year because of limited contributions,” Malik reported on the Form 990. “The Foundation sponsored a Youth Tournement (sic) and embarked on construction of community bridges.”

The Form 990 listed Samuel Andika Obiero of Arlington, Va., and Andrew Mboya of Hackensack, N.J., as directors, in addition to Abongo Malik Obama.

GuideStar.org, the private website that posts IRS documents of non-profit organizations, indicated that no audited financial statements were available for the Barack H. Obama Foundation.

GuideStar listing for Barack H. Obama Foundation, May 28, 2013

The website homepage of the Barack H. Obama Foundation prominently features a photograph of Barack H. Obama Sr. and a statement that the foundation is “a fully tax-exempt (501(c)(3) charitable organization.”

Homepage of the Barack H. Obama Foundation http://www.barackhobamafoundation.org/

Born in Kenya to Kezia

Born in Kenya, on March 15, 1958, Abongo Malik “Roy” Obama was the first child born to Barack Obama Sr.

The son of Kezia, Obama Sr.’s first wife, Malik was only 18 months old when Barack Obama Sr. arrived in New York Aug. 8, 1959, on a BOAC flight in transit from Kenya to begin his undergraduate studies at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

Having abandoned Kezia in Kenya, Obama Sr. subsequently married Stanley Ann Dunham, Barack Obama Jr.’s mother, while in Honolulu.

In September 1962, Obama Sr. headed to Cambridge, Mass., without Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Jr. to begin graduate studies in economics at Harvard University.

Malik Obama, best man at the wedding of Barack H. Obama, Oct. 3, 1992

As WND previously reported, Barack Obama Sr., on Aug. 17, 1962, in an Immigration and Naturalization form to extend his time of temporary stay in the United States, listed Roy Obama as his only child, neglecting to list Dunham as his wife or Barack Obama Jr. as his son.

Convert to Islam

Malik is a major character in President Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams from My Father.”’

A key passage in the book concerns Obama’s reactions when Malik joins Barack to be the best man at his wedding to Michelle.

Noting that Malik had converted from Christianity to Islam, Obama wrote on page 441 that Malik had “sworn off pork and tobacco and alcohol.”

Obama continued: “Abongo’s new lifestyle has left him lean and clear-eyed, and at the wedding, he looked so dignified in his black African gown with white trim and matching cap that some of our guests mistook him for my father.”

Pointedly, Obama observed that Malik was “prone to make lengthy pronouncements on the need for the black man to liberate himself from the poisoning influences of European culture.”

Malik was featured in a family portrait taken in one of Obama’s earlier trips to Kenya, as U.S. senator, in 2006.

Obama family portrait taken in Kenya. Abongo “Roy” Malik Obama stands to Barack Obama Jr.’s immediate left

Malik surfaced during the 2008 presidential campaign, dressed in African garb and holding a photograph of Barack Obama in African garb.

Abongo “Roy” Malik Obama displays a 1980s-era photograph of Barack Obama in Kenya

WND has determined that he has a valid Social Security number, issued in Washington, D.C., between 1985 and 1987, and associated with both the names “Roy Obama” and “Abongo Malik Obama,” names that he appears to use interchangeably in the U.S.

A private investigative report commissioned by WND shows Malik Obama has been identified since 1988 with 22 different rental addresses in the Washington, D.C., area, including in Prince Georges County and Montgomery County, Maryland.

According to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times, Malik Obama, a frequent traveler between the U.S. and Kenya, has declared himself to be the “president” of Nyangoma-Kogelo, the family’s ancestral village in Kenya.

WND was not able to determine the legal status of Roy Obama to live and work in the U.S.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/obama-half-brother-uses-irs-status-to-fund-polygamy/#oyf8ychvI3AAeBMg.99

End

Source WND News Online, USA

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Mr. Nafie Goes to Washington

Posted by African Press International on May 7, 2013

  • By Eric Reeves, USA

There has been a good deal of understandable outrage at the decision by the Obama administration to invite to Washington Nafie Ali Nafie, senior advisor to President Omar al-Bashir of the Khartoum regime. Al-Bashir himself could not be invited, of course, because he has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, crimes in which Nafie is deeply complicit and for which he bears major responsibility. But al-Bashir’s voice and that of others in the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime will be well represented by Nafie. Indeed, like other members of the regime already indicted by the ICC—including Defense Minister and former Interior Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein—Nafie’s own future lies in The Hague if justice is done. His central role in orchestrating the Darfur genocide is well known, indeed is acknowledged by Nafie himself.

There are other reasons for incomprehension at the Obama administration’s decision to invite Nafie. Such a meeting in Washington is an extraordinary reward to a regime that is guilty of serial genocide: in the Nuba Mountains in the 1990s, in the oil regions along the North/South border from 1998 to 2002, and in Darfur, where vast ethnically-targeted violence broke out in 2003 and continues to this day. We must wonder with Congressman Frank Wolf:

• “In a letter to President Barack Obama, Wolf said that he was not opposed to diplomacy but that talks could take place at other locations such as the US embassy in Khartoum. ‘With Darfur worsening and continued indiscriminate attacks on civilians in the Nuba mountains displacing thousands, why would your administration reward Khartoum with an invitation to Washington?’ Wolf wrote.” (Agence France-Presse [Washington], May 1, 2013)

Indeed, the invitation of Nafie is perhaps the most dismaying decision U.S. officials could have made. Among other things, it gives him a leg up in his competition with First Vice President Ali Osman Taha to succeed al-Bashir, who is very ill with throat cancer. Africa Confidential (26 April 2013, Vol. 54 – No. 9) has very recently provided a superb overview of the dynamics of this competition, something that certainly should have figured in the Obama administration’s choice of interlocutors. Moreover, while Nafie may well have the ear of al-Bashir, his own actions and attitudes must make us wonder further about what guided the process of invitation.

Nafie was head of Khartoum’s ruthless security services, for example, when Khartoum orchestrated an assassination attempt against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa (1995); various investigations made clear Nafie’s role, and the Egyptians insisted that he be removed from his position, which he was, though this was only a minor speed-bump in gaining ascendancy within the regime. As head of security he presided over countless arrests, extra-judicial executions…and torture. Some have described his presence during torture sessions as surreally calm—the Los Angeles Times reported on an interview conducted with Nafie in Khartoum (October 2008), in the course of which a torture incident was discussed:

“‘[Nafie] was my interrogator,’ said Farouk Mohammed Ibrahim, a former University of Khartoum science professor and government critic who was arrested in 1989 and held in one of Sudan’s notorious, secret ‘ghost houses’ for 12 days. ‘I was tortured, beaten, flogged in his presence,’ Ibrahim said. ‘[Nafie] was administering the whole thing. He did it all in such a cool manner, as if he were sipping a coffee.’ In his characteristic style, Nafie expressed no regrets, saying opposition activists at the time were planning counter-coups and civil war. ‘We were there to protect ourselves,’ he said with a shrug. ‘Definitely we were not there to play cards with them.'” (Los Angeles Times [Khartoum], October 26, 2008)

More consequentially, if just as brutally, Nafie—more than any other senior NIF/NCP official—has charted the ongoing course of the Darfur genocide following the death of Majzoub al-Khalifa in June 2007. Khalifa had represented Khartoum all too effectively in the Abuja talks that yielded the exceedingly misguided and destructive “Darfur Peace Agreement” (2006). (At the same time it should be noted that over the past two years senior military and security officials within the regime have achieved increasing power, especially in decisions about war and peace.) All this comes against the backdrop of the deep division within the regime between Nafie and Taha.

In short, the Obama administration has provided an extraordinary reward to a regime that craves nothing so much as legitimacy, and to a man who is utterly ruthless and savagely cruel—and who may well trade on this visit in asserting himself as al-Bashir’s successor. For Khartoum’s chief foreign policy goal, certainly in its bilateral relations with Washington, is removal from the U.S. State Department‘s list of terrorism-sponsoring nations. And perhaps an additional gift awaits Nafie. But let’s be clear about who will be the bearer of this gift, about the man who is already celebrating having been selected to make such a high-profile trip to Washington. Larry Adre, “the top State Department official on Sudan,” is simply being disingenuous in claiming that “we do not view this visit as a reward, but as a continuation of a dialogue on issues of concern to the U.S. government” (Agence France-Presse [Washington, DC], May 1, 2013). And the “dialogue” must “continue” in Washington precisely why, Mr. Adre? And how is not a “reward” when it is so desperately desired by the Khartoum regime?

Part of the quid pro quo, which we will see only partially, no doubt included the demand that Khartoum negotiate with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N), the rebel movement that is fighting Khartoum’s tyranny in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. And a few days ago talks did begin, only to collapse almost immediately because of Khartoum’s bad faith; but Nafie’s visit remains on track.

Abyei also remains an unresolved flashpoint of renewed conflict, an issue on which we might have expected more cooperation from the regime (accepting the fully endorsed African Union proposal would be a good start); and yet as things stand, major fighting between South Sudan and Khartoum could easily be re-ignited. Notably, it was Nafie who declared for the regime that the Abyei self-determination referendum would not take place as scheduled (January 9, 2911) by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005). Subsequent tensions and Arab militia violence led to Khartoum’s military seizure of Abyei in May 2011, and subsequently to the regime’s assaults on South Kordofan (June 5, 2011) and Blue Nile (September 1, 2011). Fighting continues, and displacement is massive. Hundreds of thousands of people face starvation in the two regions, and yet Nafie and his colleagues have remained adamant for almost two years in obstructing all international humanitarian relief aid to civilians in rebel-controlled areas.

But during Nafie’s time in Washington we may also wish to focus on his record of anti-Semitism, which typically takes the form of anti-Zionism and a railing against the “Jewish lobby” in the United States. This is certainly well known to the Obama administration; indeed, former U.S. charge d’affaires in Khartoum, Alberto Fernandez, spoke bluntly about Nafie in a “wiki-leaked” cable of March 3, 2009:

• “Senior Presidential Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie, the hardline NCP Secretary for Political Affairs who holds the Darfur portfolio within the Sudanese Government, accused [SLA leader Abdel Wahid] Al Nur of planting Sudanese in Israel to convert them to Judaism and to effect a normalization of relations between Khartoum and Jerusalem. ‘Opening an office in Israel is material proof that the Darfur crisis is manipulated by foreign hands and the Jewish lobby,’ said Nafie.” (US embassy cable – 08KHARTOUM340, at Wikileaks.org)

Of course Nafie has much company within the regime; an earlier cable provides a revealing account of the views of Defense Minister Hussein:

• “On July 26 the Arabic pro-government Al-Rai’ Al-Aam reprinted an interview with Sudanese Minister of Defense Abdelrahim Hussein in which he claims that 24 Jewish organizations are provoking the conflict in Darfur. In the article, reprinted from an earlier interview from the influential Saudi newspaper Al-Ukaz, Hussein claims ‘holocaust groups’ have penetrated tribes in Darfur, carried out a propaganda campaign, and used their political and financial power to influence decision makers.” (July 29, 2007, “wikileaked” cable from U.S. embassy in Khartoum, UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001174, at Wikileaks.org)

But it is when he speaks for himself and the regime that Nafie is most revealing:

• “‘[We have] been monitoring the movements of the forces of evil and aggression represented by American imperialism, world Zionism, and neo-colonialism that are trying to eradicate the cultures of people, plunder their wealth and conquer their will.'” (Sudan Tribune, March 3, 2012)

• “Nafie further accused Israel of transporting Darfurian refugees to South Sudan’s military camps for training before to send them to wage war in Darfur against the government troops. ‘Jewish and Western circles want to make Darfur a dagger in the heart of the country to hinder its march towards renaissance and progress,’ he said.” (Sudan Tribune, May 20, 2012)

• “‘Zionist institutions inside the United States and elsewhere . . . are exploiting the latest economic decisions to destabilize the security and political situation,’ the state-linked Sudanese Media Centre quoted presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie as saying. Nafie said the government had evidence of collusion between rebel groups in Darfur, politicians in arch-foe South Sudan and Zionist institutions in the United States to sabotage Sudan. He did not present the evidence.” (Reuters [Khartoum], July 1, 2012)

• “Presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie ruled out the conclusion of a peace agreement with JEM and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur. ‘They want that Darfur issue remains unresolved to use it as a means of public action by the opposition coalition or the Zionist lobbies to change the regime,’ Nafie said.” (Sudan Tribune, June 4, 2011)

• “The Sudanese presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie on Saturday said that his country is in possession of evidence proving the involvement of external players including Jewish groups and neighbouring South Sudan in attempts to exploit the country’s recent austerity decisions to create domestic instability.” (Sudan Tribune, June 30, 2012)

• “Nafie also lashed out at the French government and dismissed its proposal to resolve the International Criminal Court row. The French role in supporting the charges against Al-Bashir is a result of the growing Zionist influence in France. ‘I see no taste or smell or use from the so-called French initiative,’ [Nafie] said.” (Sudan Tribune [Paris], August 17, 2008)

• “Dr. Nafie pointed out that the government exerted all efforts to make the secession peaceful, but the SPLM and the Zionist lobby work together to hinder that.” (Sudan News Agency [SUNA], August 20, 2011)

And of course there are a great many other examples of similar tenor.

There is no satisfactory answer to the question of why Nafie was invited by the Obama administration, and why now. At the very least the Obama administration should have secured beforehand from Khartoum explicit and detailed commitment to allow the creation of humanitarian corridors into the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, with clear and painful consequences for any reneging on such agreement. Certainly massive displacement and vast suffering will continue until such corridors are secured. Instead, without securing any visible concessions of consequence, the U.S. has invited for discussions a virulently anti-Semitic génocidaire with ties to terrorism (not only did he play a central role in the Mubarak assassination attempt—an act of terrorism—but he cozied up to Osama bin Laden during his years in Khartoum, formative for al-Qaeda).

Those who have held out hope that the U.S. might move beyond the misguided policies of appeasement so consistently promoted by former Obama special envoys Scott Gration and Princeton Lyman must be sorely disappointed.

 


 End

 

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African Political Parties Form Continental Council, Elect Zambian as Chair

Posted by African Press International on April 30, 2013

  • By Dickens Wasonga,
A two-day conference of major political parties from 34 African Countries came to a close in Khartoum, Sudan, with the formation of a continental body -The Council of African Political Parties – as a platform for a more active engagement in the continent’s social, economic and political initiatives and challenges.
The constitutive conference formally launched the Council at the end of the marathon meeting and break away committees and formed a 30 member Executive Committee consisting of six members each drawn from Eastern, Central, Southern, Western and Northern Regions of Africa.
Zambian Justice Minister Winter Kabimba who is also the Secretary General of the ruling Patriotic Front was elected the first chairman of the Council for a four-year term.
The Council’s headquarters and secretariat will be in Khartoum, Sudan with the country providing the Secretary General to steer the organization in realizing its goals and objectives , which they said will include complementing the efforts of the African Union in building peace, security and continental integration.
President Omar Al-Bashir formally opened the Conference with a call to African states to choose its global partners carefully adding that some had shown unchecked greed for the continent’s natural resources.
Al-Bashir, who is also the leader of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) recalled the struggles by the founding fathers of Africa adding that it was time the political parties to mobilize the people towards peace and sustainable development to ward off unwarranted external influence.
The conference, which was attended by representatives from the two major parties from 34 African countries discussed and adopted recommendations contained in 4 key working papers prepared over the lasts even months since the initiative was mooted.
The presentations dwelt on four key areas: The conceptual framework of the Council outlining the nature and objectives of the conference, the role of African political parties in enhancing democracy, development and integration, Africa and the
technological revolution and Statute of the Council of African Political parties.
The issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) dominated the conference with both direct and indirect references to it as “a tool by the Western Countries to intimidate” African leaders and states.
The Deputy leader of the Sudanese ruling party NCP Dr.Nafie Ali Nafie said ICC had been rejected by Africans adding that the recent polls in Kenya, which saw two indicted politicians Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto elected president and deputy president respectively was “a vote against ICC”.
The conference was attended by observers which included a powerful delegation from the Chinese Communist Party along with representatives of the Asian Political Parties Council, representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean African Union and diplomats from different countries accredited to Sudan.

END.

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One on One with Sudan Deputy Ambassador to Norway Mr Onour Ahmed Onour

Posted by African Press International on April 26, 2013

African Press International and Sudan Deputy Ambassador to Norway H.E. Onour Ahmed Onour discuss the political situation in his country, the insecurity within the border between South Sudan and Sudan, the insecurity and killings in Darfur, the International Criminal Court‘s indictment of President Al Bashir. Also the relationship between Kenya and Sudan in relations with the ICC indictments of the leaders in both countries, namely President Al Bashir (Sudan) and President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto respectively. The deputy ambassador also speaks out about the bilateral relations between Norway and his country Sudan which he says is useful to both countries..

www.africanpress.me/ - SUDAN DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO NORWAY MR ONOUR AHMED ONOUR

http://www.africanpress.me/ – SUDAN DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO NORWAY MR ONOUR AHMED ONOUR

————-
According to the Deputy ambassador the relationship between his country Sudan and the government of South Sudan has improved of late. His government with the help of former South African President Thabo Mbeki has initiated talks now taking place in Addis Ababa between the government of Sudan and the SPLM-N rebels.
On the question of Darfur the Deputy ambassador denies that there is a huge crisis. He was reacting to an article written by Mr Eric Reeves of the United States where he writes ” There is in Darfur no end in sight for conflict, murder, rape, assaults on displaced persons camps, agricultural and village destruction, brutal extortion schemes and continued violent human displacement.”

Direct Interview with the Deputy Ambassador H. E. Onour Ahmed Onour:

Mr Reeves claims further that the primary targets of the mayhem is overseen by the National Islamic Front / National Congress Party regime in Khartoum targeting civilians from African tribal groups, who are forced to survive tenuously in an increasingly chaotic Darfur. He continues to point out that it is the cruelest of counter-insurgency strategies since the military opponents of the regime are rebel groups that refuse  to accept a peace agree farmers and landholders.”

According to Mr Reeves, Khartoum seeks to subdue Darfur by means of war of attrition in which impunity, chaos and inter-ethnic violence serve the regime’s ultimate military and political purposes.

The Sudanese Deputy Ambassador dismisses Mr Reeves allegations, saying he is being alarmist.

In the question of the ICC and indictment of President Al Bashir, Mr Onour says the court is there to be used to punish African leaders citing that in Kenya the newly elected president Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto face the same fate, The Deputy Ambassador says that the trend is scary because it seems the court is used by the west to punish African leaders and now no one knows who the next target in Africa will be, adding that the Sudan government does not recognise the International Criminal Court.

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“One on One” with South Sudan Ambassador Bol Wek Agoth

Posted by African Press International on April 11, 2013

African Press International: “One on One” with H.E Ambassador Bol Wek Agoth, Republic of South Sudan. He is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary based in Oslo Norway, representing his country in the Nordic Countries. The Ambassador discussing with African Press International corruption in his country South Sudan and the volatile situation in  Jonglei area where 4 Kenyans, 5 Indians and three South Sudanese from the region working with the United Nations were murdered on Tuesday. Nine others were seriously injured when the UN convoy in the area was ambushed by over 200 people said to be loyal to a Morle tribe theologian-turned rebel leader David Yau Yau.

Bodies of Kenyans killed in South Sudan arrive in Kenya

The bodies of two Kenyans killed in South Sudan on Tuesday arrived in Kitale in readiness for their burial. The two were among four kenyans killed by some 200 militants who attacked a convoy of the united nations in southern sudan. The bodies were brought via road to Kitale in Trans Nzoia county even as the family called on the government to address the plight of kenyans working in other states and to beef up security for its citizens in south sudan.

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