Al-Bashir Denies Vaccinations To 150,000 Children in Sudan

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Girls wait for medical aid in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains

By SSN Staff

Juba — June 25, 2013 … Republic of Sudan headed by President Omar al-Bashir, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity, has again rejected a proposition made by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N). The plea was for a humanitarian cessation of hostilities to carry out a vaccination campaign.

SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman, who leads its negotiating team, demanded again on Sunday to hold talks with the Sudanese government on how to organise a Polio vaccination campaign targeting 150,000 children under five years old in rebel held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

According to the report by the Sudan Tribune, Arman proposed a temporary humanitarian cessation of hostilities and to bring the vaccine and the material needed to carry out this operation directly from regional countries, Ethiopia and Kenya. The rebel group also requests that SPLM – humanitarian personnel should be involved instead of Sudanese staff.

He said that the families in the rebel controlled areas do not trust a vaccine brought from Khartoum which attempts to murder their children through the continued bombing.

Khartoum’s government spokesperson said they are resolved to not repeat the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) in the rebel areas.

The operation was established in April 1989, months before Bashir coup d’état, as a result of an agreement signed by the government, UN aid agencies and SPLM rebels to reach civilians regardless of their location or political affiliation in South Sudan.

Sudan said the aid agencies instead of reaching civilians in the devastated famine areas delivered food to the SPLA fighters.

On May 27, Bashir accused South Sudan of helping the rebels in the southern parts of Sudan and explicitly threatened to stop the flow of oil from South Sudan to Red Sea ports. “We warn the government in the South that if they provide any assistance to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) or to the rebels in Darfur, we will completely close the pipeline,” Bashir declared. “We will know if they stop the assistance, and we will know if they assist them.”

Experts of The Fashoda Institute (South Sudan’s Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies) believe that Khartoum’s new policy aims to markedly escalate tension, and even lead to wider war. The Islamist Government which came to power in Khartoum through a coup two decades ago made Sudan a hub of Jihadist terrorism serving as a link between the Sunni Al-Qaida and the Shiite Iran. Its decade-long genocidal war against Sudanese Christians and animalists resulted in the Darfur genocide and ICC indictment against Sudan’s President al-Bashir for crimes against humanity.

South Sudan’s independence gained in 2011 was perceived by the Islamist Government of Khartoum as a set-back in Jihad which has to be avenged.

Indeed, addressing the Khartoum rally on June 8, Bashir emphasized that stopping the flow of oil was only the beginning and that a military confrontation with South Sudan was soon to follow.

Waving his trademark baton and dancing on stage, Bashir addressed the now agitated and jubilant youth in the crowd and those watching the televised speech. Bashir urged the youths to join the Army and the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces.

Baroness Cox, Former Deputy Speaker of the British House of the Lords thinks that “it is only the resistance by Southern Sudan that is preventing the Islamization of the rest of Africa, down to Cape Town”.

American experts on African politics also believe that the real reason for Bashir’s sudden bellicosity has little to do with South Sudan’s alleged support for the rebellion in the southern parts of Sudan. The real reason is opposition’s credible threat to topple Bashir and his regime within 100 days because of the rapidly deteriorating socio-economic situation in the country. Earlier on June 8, Sudan’s opposition alliance, which is comprised of over 20 opposition parties, announced a plan for the peaceful overthrow of the Bashir regime. “I expect the regime will fall before the 100 days finish,” said alliance head Farouk Abu Issa.

The alliance’s plans include public forums and mass rallies aimed to mobilize the country’s destitute youth for peaceful protests until they are able to topple the Bashir government. The opposition alliance already prepared “an initiative for democratic change” that includes modalities for a transitional administration, and is “going to send this initiative to the president.” The opposition alliance intends to ask the state security services for permission to hold their first mass rally at Khartoum University. “If we don’t get it, then there is another step we can take but we will not announce it now,” Abu Issa told a press conference.

Bashir’s Khartoum cannot afford to ignore the opposition’s threats to agitate and mobilize the youth. Sudan is suffering from months of inflation exceeding 40%. Meanwhile, the overall unemployment rate is rapidly growing to well over 25%, with youth unemployment in the cities exceeding 60%. To date, there has been no outlet for the frustration and despair of Sudan’s urban youth. Nor was there any hope for a way out of their destitute. Now, Bashir fears, the opposition alliance might be offering these youth a venue for venting their frustrations and a hope for employment and betterment of life in the aftermath of a peaceful regime change.

Bashir’s Khartoum has no plan for economic change or recovery. Hence, Bashir desperately needs a foreign distraction for the masses, as well as excuse to dispatch the poor and discontent youth far away from Khartoum. The most expedient solution is for Bashir to send them to fight and die for the Jihad against South Sudan.