Monthly Archives: July 2013

Plan International Helps Children of South Sudan

champman_southsudan

By Matata Safi

Juba — July 29, 2013 (SSN) … The Chief Executive Director of the global child charity organization Plan International Mr. Nigal Champman has urged authorities in South Sudan and its partners to focus more intensively on the young people which he said is “crucial in reducing poverty” in the country.

Champman said child- focused interventions are the cost effective ways of improving health, reducing poverty and benefitting society. 

“Investing in children and the youth in South Sudan provides benefits to the next generation in terms of reducing child mortality rates, improved outcome at birth, reduced rates of low-birth-weight babies and reduced vertical transmission of diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS” he said. 
While children and youth represent more than 50 percent of the population in developing countries, Champman said young people are nearly 60 percent of the poor. He said this is coupled with the growing number of orphans and extremely vulnerable children resulting from the AIDS pandemic, conflict, child labour and exclusion which he makes the situation more complex.
Unemployment, low levels of education, health, low levels of nutrition and infant mortality rates he said, are the intergenerational consequences that young people across Africa face as a result of these problem.

“We all know that young people can play an important role in national development if provided with the right tools, the learning and capacity to employ those tools, and a supportive environment in which to use them” Mr. Champman said.
He however said the same energy and vitality that can lead young people to play crucial role in development, if marginalized could have “dramatic negative effects on social and economic stability.

 
Having invested United States $30 million in South Sudan since opening shop in 2006, Mr. Champman said the child charity organization has earmarked another $30 million to deepen its impact in the world’s youngest nation over the next three years.

“We are going to work closely with the government and other players to reduce number of children who are out of schools especially girls, children and their rights is centre to our development efforts” he announced in a press briefing in Juba after visiting Juba, Lanya and Yei River counties in his four-day official visit to South Sudan. The Plan International CEO’s visit was to see first-hand some of the organization’s project in South Sudan.
Plan International’s country programs in South Sudan focuses on improving community health, giving children access to education, water and sanitation, strengthening children’s capacity to participate in issues that affect them, emergency response support and peace-building initiatives.

“In terms of our humanitarian support especially in Jonglei State, between February 2012 and April 2013, Plan’s in-field of food distribution, agricultural livelihoods assistance, child protection and education- in emergencies support and as well as our water and sanitation projects reached 204,000 children and their families.

“Of these 81,000 were children and youth, mainly drawn from the displaced population, returnees and vulnerable host communities. A further 62,000 men and 60,000 women also benefitted,” he said. He reiterated his organization’s commitmment  to support in growth and development the Republic of South Sudan.

 

South Sudan President Kiir Assures Parties New Government Will Be Inclusive

By Joe Odaby

Juba — July 28 2013 (SSN) … The President of the Republic of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit held a consultative meeting with the leaders of 17 South Sudanese political parties.

President Kiir briefed the party leaders on the current political situation in South Sudan and notified them that the coming new government will be an inclusive, representative as well as a gender sensitive government.

Leaders of the political parties during the meeting congratulated President Kiir for peacefully managing the political situation in the country and for reducing the South Sudan Cabinet to nineteen ministers. Political party leaders expressed their support for the President and thanked him for consulting them on the formation of the coming new government, which they say illustrates democratic governance.

Shortly after the meeting, the leader of the South Sudan Democratic Forum (SSDF) Dr. Elia Lumoro told the press on behalf of his colleagues that the meeting came out with a decision that “the parties should send in a list of three nominees” and President Kiir is mandated to select from each list a person who in his opinion is the best candidate for a portfolio in the new Government.

 

South Sudan President Kiir Ends Government Paralysis, Fires Corrupt Cabinet

south-sudan-president-salva-kiir400

By Joe Odaby

Juba — July 24, 2013 … On July 23, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a presidential decree removing Vice-President Riek Machar Teny and dissolving the whole government of South Sudan.

Kiir dismissed all 29 ministers and deputy ministers. Kiir did not appoint a new vice-president or national ministers and deputy ministers. The decree directed the under-secretaries of the various ministries to run South Sudan’s ministries until further notice. The decree also stipulated the new government will have only 18 national ministers and deputy ministers in order to streamline government work. A senior official at the presidency predicted that government ministers will be replaced in a “very short time, as soon as possible.”

Officially, Kiir’s presidential decree does not explain the reason for the major shake-up. Senior government officials, including some fired by the decree, called the undertaking a “reshuffle” that had long been expected given the mounting problems in government work. Nhial Bol, the editor of the independent Citizen TV, concurred. He believes that the president must have acted in order to end government paralysis. “Things have not been moving in the government because of this internal fighting over who is going to control the SPLM,” Nhial Bol said.

Fashoda Institute, the leading, Juba-based think-tank, asserts that “in embarking on the profound reshuffle of government, President Kiir put the national interest ahead of internal politics and the early posturing for the 2015 presidential elections”.

South Sudan is facing numerous emergencies and challenges as a result of the attempt at economic stifling by Sudan. The economic development of South Sudan has been arrested by the Sudanese blocking of oil exports – thus depriving South Sudan of its primary source of revenues.

The Fashoda Institute states that Sudan has been sponsoring – primarily through the supply of weapons, ammunition and funds – the sustenance and escalation of insurgencies and tribal violence throughout South Sudan to the detriment of internal development. Allegations of endemic corruption throughout the entire government – which already led Kiir to undertake drastic measures such as suspending two senior ministers – considerably restricted the availability of foreign aid.

“The ability of the Kiir Government to tackle these daunting challenges has been needlessly complicated by their cynical exploitation by Vice-President Machar”, reports the Fashoda Institute. “In recent months, Machar aggravated national crises and problems in order to further his own personal political ambitions – namely, present himself as a presidential candidate and would-be national savior. Thus, in early 2013, Machar abused his role as chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee in order to increase his power by stocking internal rifts and tribal-based tensions.

Under Machar, the integrity of the reconciliation process – so crucial for South Sudan tormented and fragmented population – was being sacrificed on the altar of his personal political ambitions. The Machar camp argued that national leadership should be transferred from the Dinka to the Nuer because, in the words of a Machar key supporter, “it’s our turn to eat”.

On April 15, President Kiir issued a decree which removed some of the executive powers delegated to Vice-President Machar. The Presidential decreed “the withdrawal of all duly delegated powers assigned to the Vice-President” and restricting him to “discharg[ing] only his powers as stipulated” under the draft constitution. Machar remained the Vice-President, member of the cabinet and the national security council – albeit with significantly less power and authority. As well, President Kiir issued a decree dissolving the National Reconciliation Committee that was to be chaired by Machar.

In early July, after Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir once again arbitrarily shut down the oil pipelines, Kiir dispatched Machar to Khartoum to lead the negotiations on the resumption of South Sudan’s vital oil exports via the Sudanese pipeline. Instead of hard bargaining and marshaling international law and agreements to push Khartoum to the corner – Machar was forthcoming, conciliatory and compromising.

He permitted negotiations to slide to uncharted territories and expressed eagerness to compromise at all cost. Significantly, Machar exceeded his mandate and discussed reaching understandings about the long-term relations between the two countries under terms favorable to Khartoum. In a subsequent meeting with a Sudanese opposition leader, Machar hinted at some regret about the break-up of Sudan. “If we did not survive as one country, we should now survive as two neighboring sisterly countries,” Machar said. Little wonder that official Khartoum hailed Machar’s visit and senior Sudanese officials told Arab diplomats they were ready for dialogue with Juba if the government is run by Machar. 

Ultimately, even Machar’s unilateral and unwarranted concessions were not enough because Khartoum exploited what it perceived to be Juba’s weakness and indecision to announce the complete shutdown of oil. Although detrimental to the future of South Sudan, Machar seems to be convinced that such a crisis would serve his own political ascent. Machar’s allies and confidants in London and Juba are convinced that Machar’s ascent to power is so important as to warrant intentional harming of the vital national interests of South Sudan. Simply put, the national interests should be sacrificed on the altar of expediting Machar’s own rise to power.

Machar’s allies and confidants explain that “a renewed oil cutoff could bring South Sudan to its knees, triggering a wider governmental collapse” which Machar “can capitalize on to force [Kiir] out and then rise to power.” This observation of Machar’s plans by his own allies and confidants sheds a sinister and significant light on Machar’s own conduct of the negotiations in Khartoum.

President Kiir will have a new and invigorated government that will be able to finally tackle the key challenges facing South Sudan: building alternate oil export venues – both short-term and long-term regional infrastructure; enhancing security and suppressing violence both internally and along the borders with Sudan and the Central African Republic; and launching overdue major social and economic development to put the country on a long-term ascent track. Juba will thus demonstrate activism – that is, initiate and launch major programs rather than be beholden to foreign aid.

President Kiir is correct in arguing that it was impossible to initiate anything beforehand because of the endemic lack of funds and government crises. Soon, with a new government in office and limited income from the short-term export push coming in – President Kiir’s Juba will be moving fast and resolutely to alleviate crises the moment this becomes possible.

The West Has Failed South Sudan

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — July 23, 2013 (SSN) … The Fashoda Institute, South Sudan’s leading think-tank, asserts in its latest analysis that the West has betrayed this young democracy.

Two years ago, on July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan became the world’s youngest nation. Independence came in the aftermath of more than two decades of genocidal liberation struggle and five years of failed stifling autonomy.

South Sudan has huge potential. The land is exceptionally rich. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, South Sudan’s natural resources include hydropower, fertile agricultural land, gold, diamonds, petroleum, hardwoods, limestone, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, and silver.

Yet, presently, two years after independence, the Republic of South Sudan is one of the world’s poorest and under-developed countries.

South Sudan has a failed economy and non-existing infrastructure. The country is plagued by internal fratricidal violence and strife that aim to tear the country apart. The 2013 Failed State Index (FSI) ranks South Sudan near the top.

How come that a country with so huge a potential for development and success finds itself in such a dire state? The answer is that the industrialized world failed South Sudan. Simply put, the Republic of South Sudan is not a failed state – but a state failed by these states South Sudan considered best allies and friends.

Under the Obama administration, the US committed to Islamist-empowerment policies throughout the Middle East. Obama’s Washington did not interfere with Khartoum’s aggression and stifling policies that are aimed to return South Sudan into the Sudanese fold. Thus, Sudan’s continued flagrant disregard of international and bilateral agreements, as well as unilaterally stopping the oil exports from South Sudan, elicit only faint pro-forma criticism from Washington and other West European capitals.

At the same time, Obama’s Washington has led incessant international pressure on Juba to enact reforms, mainly social and internal, in complete disregard of the prevailing conditions in the country. The US led Western Europe in creating needless tension and pressure when help was due. Ultimately, the silence and tacit support of the US-led West encourages Khartoum to intensify the violent suppression of its own restive minorities, as well as sponsor much of the internal violence plaguing South Sudan and arresting its socio-economic development.

Until recently, the PRC and Russia that had invested mightily in Sudan were somewhat reluctant to reexamine their basic policies. Other members of the BRICS were also reluctant at first to alienate Khartoum and look at Juba. However, the national security and foreign policy establishments in both Moscow and Beijing are run by area experts.

They quickly identified the huge geo-strategic and geo-economic potential of South Sudan just as Sudan was succumbing to Islamist dictatorship and fratricidal violence. There began a gradual yet profound shift of attention and focus toward Juba in both Moscow and Beijing. The rest of the BRICS are sure to follow.

Hopefully, the West will also follow.

Instead of focusing on, and prioritizing, the impractical and unattainable – the West should join in focusing on the economic development of South Sudan. Once long-term oil export is restored, Juba will have the funds required for securing the state and embarking on long-term socio-economic development and reforms. And once a state need not worry about the availability of basic food staples and vital services such as education and medical services, as well as worry about meeting security threats to its very existence and stability, that state can focus on improving governance and implementing reforms.

In the case of the Republic of South Sudan – the challenge is easy to meet.

South Sudan does not need hand-outs. South Sudan is staunchly pro-Western, committed to Judeo-Christian values, and inherently democratic. In the immediate term, South Sudan desperately needs assistance in securing long-term oil exports in order to alleviate the economic stifling.

Ultimately, South Sudan requires economic investments and technological knowhow for developing its huge potential. As well, South Sudan needs assistance in breaking the Sudanese siege by developing alternate routes for exporting oil and other natural resources.

Until such time, the Republic of South Sudan will continue to be a state failed by countries it considered soul-mates – namely, by the US-led West.

 

Omar Al-Bashir Presses For War, Not Peace With South Sudan To Save Himself

By Joe Odaby

Juba — July 19, 2013 (SSN) … The Fashoda Institute, South Sudan’s leading think-tank, asserts in its latest analysis that Khartoum’s objective in provoking armed conflict with Juba  goes beyond the on-going drive to coerce South Sudan into giving up on independence and returning to the Sudanese fold. This time Khartoum is yearning for a major crisis that will serve its own domestic imperatives – particularly the building of international pressure on President Omar al-Bashir.

At the same time, Khartoum seems convinced that the crisis will not get out of control because of the limitations of force movements imposed by the rainy season. However, given the tenuous control Khartoum exercises over many of its cross-border proxies and in-home militias – Khartoum’s incitement to violence might get life of its own.

Mid-July saw a marked escalation in fratricidal fighting, ostensibly over cattle wrestling, throughout South Sudan. The escalation in Jonglei State has been the most intense. Confronting the ongoing rebellion led by David Yau Yau is compounded by new clashes between the rival Lou Nuer and Murle tribes in which thousands of rival militiamen are fighting each other and the military of South Sudan.

Over 100,000 civilians have been cut off from vital aid because of the fighting between the rebels and rival tribes. Because of the fighting and the rainy season overland travel is impossible in the Jonglei area and the UN does not have enough helicopters.

Fratricidal violence has now escalated to the point that both the South Sudan military and the UN warn they cannot provide security in most of Jonglei. “Much as we believe in the ideals of the responsibility to protect, our mandate as the government and the mandate of the UN cannot match with resources that are there,” South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Defense Majak D’Agoot acknowledged on July 16. D’Agoot explained that, for example, in Jonglei’s Manyabol area the army had only one company and the UN had a handful of peacekeepers that are jointly confronting, and are vastly outnumbered by, some 7,000 militia troops.

UN officials note that this escalation of violence has been made possible by the large flow of weapons and ammunition from Sudan.

Meanwhile, the build-up of Sudanese military forces just north of the border continues. In July 2013, the Sudanese forces expanded their illegal presence in the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SBDZ). The Sudanese military is building new reinforced company-level encampments – each with three tanks, three or four howitzers, five to eight technicals, two or three supply trucks, and tents and other structures for some 150 – 200 troops. Such new encampments were detected in early July near the Sudanese towns of Keri Kera (White Nile State) and al-Miqenis (South Kordofan State) – near the northernmost tip of the South Sudanese border.

Meanwhile, Khartoum is raising the ante in the confrontation with Juba over oil exports from South Sudan. On July 18, Khartoum formally reaffirmed that Sudan will stop oil flow through its pipelines in early August despite signed agreements to the contrary.

“We have been notified through our embassy in Sudan that as of [August] 7th, the Republic of Sudan will cease oil belonging to South Sudan from passing through its territory,” Nhial Deng Nhial, South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The reason for this escalation is the growing pressure felt in Khartoum on account of the chaos in Egypt and falling support for Bashir from the African Union (AU). With Egypt increasingly looking at a war with Ethiopia over the Nile waters as a national diversion from the chaos and destitute at home – Sudan must also come up with excuses for its own military deployments to the south. The building tension with South Sudan provides this justification. As well, the AU’s disenchantment with Khartoum’s antics was aptly demonstrated during President Bashir’s heralded official visit to Abuja, Nigeria.

Bashir had to cut short the visit and literally flee Nigeria for fear of arrest over the ICC warrant. Hence, Bashir is petrified that once his immunity as a head of state is stripped away he’ll end up in The Hague. Hence, despite previous promises to retire in 2015, Bashir must now get reelected, and the promise of returning South Sudan is an invincible crowd pleasing theme. Ultimately, the Sudanese government is refusing to accept or legitimize the very independence of South Sudan. Hence, reigniting of populist Islamist zeal over the reoccupation of South Sudan remains an infallible cause.

Khartoum is cognizant that the Islamist youth will rally in support for any confrontation with South Sudan irrespective of their plight or domestic destitute. Thus, for Bashir’s Khartoum banging the war drums is a sure diversion from the building domestic and international pressure.

The Fashoda Institute’s analysis point out that Juba will not accommodate Khartoum’s need for a diversion. Nor will Juba succumb to the growing pressure from Khartoum. President Salva Kiir articulated the resolve of South Sudan in his Independence Day speech on July 9. “The Republic of South Sudan attained freedom and independence after a generation long and bitter struggle in which our people were subjected to untold atrocities and genocidal persecution. Yet, we held together and endured the ordeals, and overcame the hardships. The untold sacrifices of so many led to our cherished freedom and independence,” President Kiir declared.
“This freedom, which we won through so much blood, sweat and tears, will never be reversed by current challenges.”

It is high time Khartoum internalizes this.

 

South Sudan Urges Youth To Desist From “Tribal Politics”

sudan_tribal
 
By Joe Odaby  
 
Juba — July 18, 2013 (SSN) … The South Sudan National Ministry of Culture, Youth and
Sports has urged politicians to desist from tribal politics and think positively towards nation building.
 
South Sudan Minister Cirino Hiteng Ofuho warned the country will not go ahead if leaders continue with tribal politics and games that threaten cultural diversity of the country.
 
In a meeting with the British Ambassador Dr. Alastair McPhail the minister said that the killings happening in Jonglei state are to a larger extend as a result of such bad games that “only serve personal interest”.
 
Hiteng also urges authorities at the Ministry of General Education and other government institutions to devote special attention to Jonglei in order to create awareness among the communities especially the warring youth from Lou Nuer and Murle communities which he said is threating peace and security in Jongolei state and South Sudan in general.
 
 
“You can not reconciled people who don’t understand one another unless it is done through education”, the minister told the British ambassador. South Sudan has over 60 languages and tribes with Juba Arabic as the linkage between them.
 
 
Hiteng further pledges to setup cultural centers in the ten states to bridge the cultural differences of languages.
 
 

South Sudan: Speaker’s Forum Proves True Success

By Juliet Abango

Juba — July 17 … South Sudan Speakers’ Forum aimed at strengthening good governance continues in Juba, South Sudan bringing together all the governors from the 10 states, speakers, Ministers of Parliamentary Affairs, the National Executive and the leadership of the Council of States.

Opened by the South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit on July 15th, the three-day event according to Hon. Speaker James Wani Igga of the National Assembly who is also the Chairperson of the forum will act as a robust coordinating point between the national legislature and the states’ parliaments.

The forum also aims at improving parliamentary procedures, engagement with the governors, executives and other civil servants to iron out some of the issues on the ground.

More so, it aims at reviewing and evaluating the resolutions of the previous forum. The speaker also said the forum is expected to focus on the security in the country, debate youth unemployment, and establish a coordinating secretariat and to draw out how the legislature can help the executive on improving provision of basic services to the citizens among others.

President Salva Kiir called the participants to put unity ahead of them in chatting out the possible solutions to the challenges the country is facing.

“This platform is a critical opportunity to learn from another,” Kiir said. “As we collectively assess the State of democracy in South Sudan we must look on what is the basis of our unity and contribute to our strength,” he added.

“As leaders our ultimate goal must focus on service delivery through working in a decentralized system which is only effective when there is effective coordination.” 

Kiir also called for the participants to intensify the understanding of the roles of the various government organs and structures and defining their responsibilities.

Botswana’s former President Festo Mogae is among global leaders to share experience with South Sudanese politicians. The participants are expected to share experiences with former leaders from Kenya, Botswana and South Africa. 

Though it’s the sixth Speaker’s Forum following numerous others held before the South Sudan independence, this forum is the first of its kind following South Sudan’s gain of independence in 2011. 


East Africa Committed To South Sudan, President Kiir’s Success

 

By Philip Johnston

Juba — July 11, 2013 … One of the main accomplishments of the two years of South Sudan’s independence is broadening regional cooperation in East Africa and unwavering support neighboring countries give to this youngest independent democracy.

That support was highlighted during the second independence anniversary celebrated in Juba, South Sudan on July 9th.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has received pledges of cooperation and committment from Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Botswana, South Africa, UN, EU, USA and the African Union.

Despite the effects of the oil shutdown, used by the Jihadist regime of Khartoum to strangle South Sudan, the regional East African leaders underscored the tremendous progress South Sudan has made in its bid to develop the country devastated by the two decades long civil war.

“When I was coming, flying over Juba, I looked down through the window of the plane, seeing the expansion of the city, I thought we were lost. Juba has grown in such a very short time”, said President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda. He wondered how much more would have been achieved had precious time not been lost in the many years of civil war.

“We must learn from each other and share experiences of each our recent past and work together to form a future that will be beneficial to all of us,” said said Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

Calling for regional integration, President Kagame said South Sudan is bound to contribute to peace, security and development in the region and Africa as a whole. He said there is need to strengthen intra-African infrastructure and create economic growth in the region.

Reaffirming the commitment of his government to work with South Sudan and the region, the Rwandan President called for unity in the region to avoid what he said is “divide in action”.

Botswana’s President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, former South African President Thabo Mbek and UN Special Representative of the Secretary General Hilde Johnson, were many among regional and international dignitaries that graced the second independence anniversary attended by hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba.

US Secretary of State John Kerry stated: “On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, we extend our best wishes to the people of the Republic of South Sudan on the second anniversary of your independence.”
 

Kerry added: “The vision that South Sudan laid out for itself two years ago requires a sustained commitment to democracy and good governance, justice and accountability, and respect for the rule of law and the human rights of all of South Sudan’s people. We support South Sudan’s efforts to institute governmental reform at all levels, resolve outstanding conflicts, promote economic growth, and ensure peace and stability. The United States remains committed to helping South Sudan build a more prosperous, inclusive, and democratic society – one that is at peace internally and with its neighbors. On the second anniversary of your nation’s independence, the journey continues and we stand ready to help support economic prosperity, democratic governance, and respect for human rights in South Sudan for years to come.”

South Sudan VP Machar Placates Khartoum, Plots To Unseat Kiir

By Juliet Abango
South Sudan News

Juba — July 6, 2013 … Having failed miserably in his latest diplomatic mission to Khartoum to restore and sustain oil exports from South Sudan via the Sudanese pipeline – South Sudan Vice-President Riek Machar is raising the ante in his criticism of South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

At the very same time Sudan not only rebuffed Machar’s conciliatory approach, but reiterated its own assertiveness by attacking and bombing civilian-refugee targets inside South Sudan – Machar finds its expedient to tell the international media that he can, and should, be a better president of South Sudan.

On June 8, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir suddenly announced the stopping of oil experts by South Sudan irrespective of international and bilateral agreements. Bashir was motivated by higher regional and global strategic considerations demanded by Iran.

The stopping of oil exports would have caused a tremendous setback to the economic recovery and development programs of South Sudan by depriving Juba of its most important source of hard currency income. Because the stopping of oil exports constituted a flagrant violation of numerous international agreements, as well as internationally recognized bilateral agreements, Khartoum hesitated for a few days about the pace of implementation of Bashir’s order. However, on June 21, Khartoum reiterated its principled decision to stop South Sudan’s oil exports.

In an effort to capitalize on this hesitation and alleviate the horrendous impact of the oil stoppage on South Sudan, on June 30, President Kiir dispatched his Vice-President Machar to Khartoum in order to convince Sudanese leadership to reconsider their decision. Machar led a high level delegation that included five ministers. Their objective was to launch a comprehensive dialogue in order to restore bilateral relations and cooperation. However, Machar sought to monopolize the negotiations and determine their outcome through his own meetings with his counterpart Ali Osman Taha and subsequently also President Omar al-Bashir.

Instead of hard bargaining and marshaling international law and agreements to push Khartoum to the corner – Machar was forthcoming, conciliatory and compromising. He permitted negotiations to slide to uncharted territories and expressed eagerness to compromise in order to reach a deal at all cost.

Significantly, the lengthy discussions between Riek Machar and Ali Osman Taha went beyond addressing proper modalities for the full implementation of bilateral cooperation agreements to including reaching an understanding about the long-term relations between the two countries. In a subsequent meeting with a Sudanese opposition leader, Machar hinted at some regret about the break-up of Sudan. “If we did not survive as one country, we should now survive as two neighboring sisterly countries,” Machar said. Little wonder that official Khartoum hailed Machar’s visit and senior Sudanese officials told Arab diplomats they were ready for dialogue with Juba if the government is run by Machar. 

Ultimately, Khartoum permits the export of only the oil already in the pipeline. South Sudan’s ability to pump and export more oil a few weeks from now is in doubt. Machar failed in the main task of his mission – to restore his country’s long-term oil exports.

Khartoum noted Machar’s weakness and lack of resolve – and interpreted it as reflecting similar insecurity in official Juba. Therefore, to increase pressure on Juba and assert Khartoum’s dominance – on July 3, the Sudanese military launched several cross-border ground and air attacks into South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Unity States. Several people, mostly civilians, were killed and wounded. First, a Sudanese fighter-bomber jet bombed the Jau area of Unity State. The jet targeted refugees fleeing the conflict in Sudan’s Nuba, South Kordofan State, to the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan’s Unity State. Both fighter-bomber jets and the ubiquitous Antonov transports (converted into bombers) launched a few bombing raids against civilian target inside South Sudan associated with helping and sheltering refugees from Sudan (rather than the “normal” civilian targets in South Kordofan just north of the border).

Meanwhile, small units of the 17th Division of the Sudan Armed Forces in Senar attacked civilian targets in the Gong-bar area, northeast of Renk County, Upper Nile State. The Sudanese forces crossed deep into South Sudanese territory before being confronted and repulsed by the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) units that rushed to the area. Sudanese army units also struck an SPLA position in the Jau area of Unity State – not far from the bombed area.

The Sudanese army also attacked SPLA positions south of Lake Jau in Unity State. All the Sudanese incursions were repulsed by local SPLA units. Significantly, on instruction from Juba, the SPLA forces did not conduct hot pursuit into Sudanese territory.

Although the Sudanese military incursions and bombings failed to achieve their military objectives – they did achieve their political goals. Khartoum aptly demonstrated that it is willing and capable of destabilizing and flaring-up the sensitive border area should Juba refuse to succumb to Khartoum’s diktats. This is hardly the “new era of friendly cooperation” Machar claimed to have negotiated and attained while in Khartoum only a few days beforehand.

Rather than accept responsibility for the fiasco he had wrought – Machar went on the political offensive against President Kiir. On the eve of the second anniversary of South Sudan, Machar told the UK paper The Guardian of his – Machar’s – conviction that Kiir has to be toppled and be replaced by himself – Machar.

Simon Tisdall wrote that Machar is urging Kiir “to stand down” and “vowing to replace him before or after elections due by 2015.” Tisdall observed that Machar “threatens to ignite a power struggle that South Sudan” to the point of raising “fears of a new descent into violence only eight years after the end of Africa’s longest civil war.”

While Machar insisted in his interview with The Guardian’s Tisdall that the toppling of Kiir should be accomplished through political-administrative measures at the SPLM’s leadership – Machar’s allies and confidants in London and Juba portray a different picture. According to these allies and confidants – Machar’s ascent to power is so important as to warrant intentional harming of the vital national interests of South Sudan. Simply put, the national interests should be sacrificed on the altar of expediting Machal’s own rise to power. Machar’s allies and confidants explain that “a renewed oil cutoff could bring South Sudan to its knees, triggering a wider governmental collapse” which Machar “can capitalize on to force Kiir out and then rise to power.”

This observation of Machar’s plans by his own allies and confidants sheds a new and significant light on Machar’s own conduct of the negotiations with Ali Osman Taha and Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum.

Iran, Sudan Surge To West Africa

iran_port_sudan

By Juliet Abango
South Sudan News

JUBA — 1 July, 2013 … The Washington-based think-tank The International Strategic Studies Association has devoted the latest issue of Global Information System (GIS) Special Analysis, a confidential newsletter used by the Western governments and select subscribers, to the latest Sudanese-Iranian designs for the entire west Africa.

“The governments of Iran and Sudan are preparing for a major strategic surge into western Africa, into both the Sahel and the shores of the Gulf of Guinea,” the report warns.

“The ultimate objective of this surge is to consolidate control and/or influence over this extensive region and its considerable oil, gas, uranium, and other minerals (rare metals and rare earth) reserves. At the same time, the surge would pre-empt and prevent both the US/West/NATO presence and the spread of anti-Shi’ite takfiri-jihadist entities.”

The GIS Special Analysis not only raises the alarm about Sudan’s threat to international security but reiterates anew the unique strategic significance of the Republic of South Sudan for the vital interests of the industrialized world, as analyzed in the studies of the Fashoda Institute.

The GIS study, echoing the opinion of the Fashoda Institute, points out that the real reason for President Bashir’s recent stopping of the oil exports of South Sudan has nothing to do with the official line of alleged support for the SPLM-N in its fight against Sudanese genocidal suppression.

In Spring 2013, Iran began to markedly expand its strategic facilities in Sudan in order to facilitate the surge westward across western Africa all the way to the coasts of the Atlantic. “In May 2013, the pace and scope of the construction of the Iranian naval, military and logistical bases in Port Sudan grew markedly. IRGC engineering units in civilian clothes and a vast army of Sudanese workers build both logistical piers to rapidly download and upload vessels, and military piers to support warships and submarines.

Further away from the port, the Iranians and the Sudanese are building several new clusters of fortified bunkers and other storage sites. Both the new piers and the fortified storage sites would be able to handle tanks and combat vehicles, missile systems, self-propelled artillery and other heavy weaponry. In mid-May 2013, the IRGC units started the construction of fencing, watchtowers, and fortifications, as well as the construction of fortified air-defense positions where SAM batteries would be deployed.”

“By now,” the GIS study explains, “the extent of the Iranian-Sudanese activities is difficult to conceal. Khartoum and Tehran increasingly worry that Israel, the US, or other Western powers, are closely monitoring progress and even might attempt to sabotage the new port facilities.

Iranian security experts warned that their new facilities were virtually adjacent to Port Sudan’s oil exporting installations.” This realization of the proximity of the Port Sudan oil port to the Iranian naval base is the real reason for Khartoum’s decision to stop the oil exports from South Sudan. “In mid-May 2013,” the GIS study continues, “South Sudan was to start exporting its oil through the oil loading facilities in Port Sudan.

Tehran worries that when oil customers of South Sudan – the staunch friend of the West and Israel – arrive with tankers they will be in excellent position to spy on, and even strike, the Iranian sprawling military facilities in Port Sudan.” Therefore, Bashir suddenly announced on June 8 the halting of the export of South Sudanese oil via Sudan’s pipeline. The fact that this stoppage is in violation of the agreements between Juba and Khartoum does not matter for Bashir’s higher priorities – protecting the Iranian build-up in Port Sudan – dominate Khartoum’s decision. Thus, on June 21, Bashir reiterated that until South Sudan implemented “all agreements by 100 percent, no barrel of oil will be piped to Port Sudan”.

The next major phase in the Sudanese preparations for the surge took place in the second half of June with the joining of the Central African Republic (CAR) as a crucial ally. The turning point came in the aftermath of the June 17 visit of CAR President Michel Djotodia to Khartoum where he and Bashir oversaw a series of secret multi-national discussions aimed to facilitate a dramatic break-out westward for Sudan, Iran, the CAR and their allies. Djotodia is not only the first Muslim leader of the predominantly Christian CAR, but he was converted to Islamism-Jihadism while serving as a councilor in Darfur.

“He is convinced in the Sudanese tenet that a strong jihadist kernel is indispensable to ensuring the loyalty and cohesion of any revolutionary movement irrespective of its openly declared ideology or policy,” the GIS study explains. “Djotodia is convinced he is beholden to Bashir’s Sudan for his own ascent to power and soon after assuming power in Bangui started sending quantities of CAR diamonds to his friends in the Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militias in Darfur to help fund their genocidal struggle.”

One of the major topics discussed between Bashir and Djotodia is the new role for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its leader Joseph Kony (who is in Sudan, receiving supplies and shelter in return for military cooperation in both the CAR and Uganda). “Sudan’s ultimate objective is to use LRA forces based in the CAR in order to destabilize the Republic of South Sudan, and then use its territory to have LRA forces reach and destabilize Uganda. Kony has already committed to pursuing Sudan’s strategy,” the GIS study reveals. “The CAR is thus becoming a hub of subversion in the heart of the Africa with geopolitical ramifications extending far beyond the borders and capabilities of the CAR itself.”  

The most important outcome of Djotodia’s visit is the groundbreaking regional security agreement reached in a session co-chaired by the two presidents. Delegations of senior intelligence and security forces officials from Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Mali, and Mauritania took part in the meeting. They “discussed and agreed on close strategic cooperation to restore Arab-Muslim preeminence to the entire region of West Africa” and “committed to the consolidation of mutually loyal and supportive regimes, as well as to assisting other regional countries to establish Muslim-dominated governments and to have them join their alliance.

The senior officials discussed practical modalities for jointly breaking-away from stifling Western influence and demands for reforms. They agreed on cooperation in resolving security and economic crises and suppressing democratic opposition forces.”

The GIS study adds that “all countries present also committed to helping Egypt and Sudan in their ‘sacred struggle’ to sustain the Arab rights to and dominance over the Nile waters. Thus, the June 17, 2013, agreement constituted a major and strategically profound shift in the regional posture and assertiveness. If implemented, West Africa will not be the same,” states The International Strategic Studies Association.

The East-West surge – at which eastern edge South Sudan is – has become even more important for the vital interests of the industrialized world. This is a surge of radical Islam, Jihadism and organized crime that seeks to destroy the post-colonial state system and replace it with an amorphous radicalized area that will serve as springboard into Western Europe.
This surge originates in Sudan and has already reached the shores of the Atlantic in Mauritania.

It is imperative for African states to face, address and resolve this great challenge to west Africa. Because Nigeria, for long a bulwark of regional stability, is mired in rapidly escalating fratricidal violence – South Sudan in the east and Morocco in the west remain the only two viable pillars of stability and Western interests in the tumultuous region that west Africa has become.”

South Sudan, bordering both Sudan and the Central African Republic, is thus of unique crucial importance for the grand strategic interests of the industrialized world. Moreover, South Sudan is already paying heavy price for protecting the vital interests of the West. Sudan is blocking the oil exports crucial for the economic recovery of South Sudan and is sponsoring and encouraging subversion and insurrection at the heart of South Sudan to increase instability and harm nation building.

Already a victim of this Iranian-Sudanese surge, South Sudan – the country the GIS correctly calls “the staunch friend of the West and Israel” – will soldier on as the West’s bastion of stability as is expected of staunch allies.