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South Sudan VP James Wani Igga Returns To Juba From Abuja Summit

wani-igggga
Vice President HE James Wani Igga

By South Sudan News Staff

JUBA — March 7, 2014 … South Sudan Vice President HE James Wani Igga arrived in Juba from Abuja, the Capital of Nigeria on Thursday where he led a high level delegation to attend the just-concluded Human Security summit.

Upon arrival at Juba International Airport, His Excellence Igga, was received by the South Sudan Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin and other ministers and senior government officials.

“We had a very important visit to Nigeria. We arrived in Abuja on the February 27, it was a very big conference attended by over forty heads of states” the Vice President told reports in Juba. The seven-day conference centered on security, peace and development in Africa.

He said the South Sudan delegation, made fruitful engagements with a good number of heads of states within the sidelines of the conference where they briefed them on the political and economic situation in the country.

HE Igga also met with the Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan and discussed matters of bilateral relations and cooperation.

 

African Union Welcomes Conclusion of Phase Two of South Sudan Peace Process

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

ADDIS ABABA — March 5, 2014 … The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomed the conclusion of Phase II of the South Sudan Peace Process, after two weeks of substantive consultations on a Declaration of Principle and a Framework for Political Dialogue towards National Reconciliation and Healing.

She commended the IGAD Special Envoys, including its Chair, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, for their relentless efforts towards the resumption of the political negotiations and the progress they have achieved thus far.

The Chairperson of the Commission welcomed, in particular, the progress made in finalizing the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles. She expressed the hope that the parties would be able to sign this document at the resumption of the next phase of the talks, on 20 March 2014. The Chairperson reiterated AU’s full support to the envisaged deployment of an African stabilization force led by IGAD, as proposed by the Mediation.

The Chairperson of the Commission also welcomed the signing, on 3 March 2014, by the SPLM/A (in Opposition), of the Implementation Modalities in support of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities (CoH), which was signed by the Government of South Sudan on 24 February 2014.

As part of the implementation and consolidation of the CoH, the Chairperson of the Commission expresses AU’s support to the IGAD efforts. She looks forward to the early deployment of the Monitoring and Verification Teams (MVTs), as well as to the finalization of the work being done towards the deployment of the envisaged African force to protect the MVTs and contribute to the stabilization of the situation.

The Chairperson of the Commission reaffirmed the AU’s commitment to continue to work closely with IGAD and its Special Envoys to assist the South Sudanese parties in finding a consensual and comprehensive solution to the conflict in their country. In this regard, she wishes to remind the South Sudanese parties of the commitment they made to an all-inclusive dialogue and reconciliation process, with the aim of resolving the issues related to the current crisis and laying the foundation for lasting peace, security and stability in their country.

In this connection, the Chairperson of the Commission recalls earlier AU pronouncements, emphasizing the imperative of inclusivity with the participation of all stakeholders, both armed belligerents and those who did not take up arms, including other political actors, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, as well as the youth and women.

South Sudan: UN Silent On Rebels’ Atrocities

southern sudan civilians killedThe body of a man killed in a massacre of civilians by rebels lies on the ground
in the village of Kaldak, in Jonglei state in southern Sudan.

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — February 17, 2014 … The respected Sudan Tribune newspaper asks in its lead article why the international community is silent about carnage and destruction caused by the rebels lead by Riek Machar in Bentiu, Bor, Malakal, Bailiet, Akobo, Jalle, and Kolnyang.

“Why is the UN and the international community maintaining silence over these unwarranted and disheartening atrocities?” asks the newspaper.

The analytical article suggests three steps to end the crisis.

First, government and people of South Sudan must ensure that “Riek Machar’s conspiracy to destroy the country is nipped in the bud so that people’s aspirations are realized sooner than later”.

To do this, the government should institute coordinated and parallel strategies to address challenges caused by the rebels in South Sudan and their allies; namely, intensification of military offensive and formulation of a robust strategy on future negotiated political settlement. The former should be applied if the rebels continue to violate agreement on “Cessation of Hostilities,” signed on January 23rd, 2014 between the Government of South Sudan and rebels in Addis Ababa. The latter, however, should be a continuous process with support from South Sudanese true and creditable allies worldwide.

Second, the government of South Sudan should make it categorically clear to the international community that the Republic of South Sudan is a sovereign nation and should be treated as such. This means that all laws of the land must be respected. And that any attempt to side step these laws must not be tolerated whatsoever.

A wounded South Sudanese child and a relative at a hospital in Upper Nile state

“A recent concerted campaign by foreign agents on the release of seven former political detainees was a flagrant infringement into South Sudanese legal system”, stresses the Sudan Tribune. “It has to be mentioned here that the former detainees’ released to the custody of Kenyan Government was achieved through undue pressure from supposedly allies of South Sudan, particularly the US, Ethiopia, and Kenya”.

Third, “the next looming conspiracy is relentless effort to secure the release of the remaining principal four coup plotters; namely, Pagan Amum Ukiech, Oyai Deng Ajak, Majak D’Agoot and Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth. If South Sudanese’ false allies succeed to release them, God forbid, then it will be a third bitter victory against the government and people of South Sudan. Should these four coup plotters win their release any time soon, Riek Machar will definitely capitalize on his theory that what happened on December 15, 2013, was not a coup but was “only a political crisis within SPLM Party.” And the majority of uninformed South Sudanese will believe his story since no one has been held accountable of coup attempt”.

“Riek Machar and foreign agents’ misinterpretation of facts surrounding the failed coup on December 15, 2013 is worrisome if not taken seriously by Government and people of South Sudan”, warns the newspaper.

“Otherwise, the government and people of the South will always fall victims in the hands of rebels and foreign allies, a move likely to threaten national security and sovereignty in mid- and long-term”.

South Sudan: A Structural Turning Point

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — February 11 … The internationally respected African think-tank The Fashoda Institute has released a report analyzing the continuing unrest in Central African Republic, South Sudan, Mali and prescribing a change in African governance trends.

The Fashoda Institute comes to conclusion that “African states have to cope with the growing schism between the imperatives of the African modern state and the trends of the African population. Under pressure and in growing destitution, much of the African populace is returning to tribal, national, ethnic, and religious frameworks of self-identity in quest for solace, security, and shelter. This is a mega-trend which also takes place throughout Asia and even parts of Europe. In contrast, to be effective and successful in delivering security, stability, reforms, good governance, development, food and water, modern states must be tribe-blind”.

“There is an urgent imperative to formulate new checks and balances between the sub-state, state, and supra-state (regional) levels of self-identity and quests for self-determination”, asserts the think-tank. “This means the imperative for reassessment of all basic services and infrastructure, particularly security, education, energy, communications, and transportation. To be effective in the vast rural areas, all of these long-term planning and reforms must be undertaken with close attention being paid to sub-state and supra-state, or regional, identities and aspirations.”

“Ultimately, the tangible success of proposed long-term reforms and development programs depends first and foremost on the legitimization, trust, and cooperation between state authorities and the populace; both individuals and groupings”, points the Fashoda Institute.

“To succeed, states and regional bodies must be both tribe-blind in caring for all the people as equally as humanly possible, and also tribe-sensitive and -conscious in order to care and cater for heritage sensitivities and proclivities. This delicate balancing will enable the grassroots to celebrate and preserve their distinctions and self-identities while eradicating the ability of aspirant leaders to exploit real, manufactured and imaginary tribal and sectarian tensions and self-identities as the levers to rebel against the modern state and the government”.

The analysis concludes with the summary: “These challenges must be addressed at an all-African level, given the artificiality of African borders and the importance of cross-border population connections. Unfortunately the African Union has so far failed to rise to the challenge. It brings the conclusion that African states must establish small regional groupings to address these burning issues before it is too late. This is the essence of the most urgent reforms”.

South Sudan: Congo-Nile Canal Will Save Egypt, Avert War, Make Juba Hub of Africa

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — November 27, 2013 (SSN)The leading South Sudanese think-tank, The Fashoda Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies, has published a strategic analysis of why and how the Egyptian Government is reviving a three-decade-old old idea — one going back to the Anwar as-Sadat Administration — to resolve the country’s acute water crisis.

Egypt is reconsidering the idea of a canal diverting waters from the Congo River into the White Nile near Juba, South Sudan, and thus markedly increasing the quantities of water which would eventually reach Lake Nasser behind the Aswan Dam. According to the Egyptian calculations, the quantities of water required to revolutionize the state of the Nile water reaching Egypt would be a minuscule amount of the Congo’s flow.

Ultimately, the country which would be most affected by the Congo-Nile Canal project — if it could ever be implemented — would be the Republic of South Sudan.

Fashoda Institute states that Egypt’s Nile water crisis has been markedly aggravated, politically, in recent years as Ethiopia continues building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, which many Egyptians have claimed would reduce the flow of Blue Nile waters to Egypt: “The Ethiopian Government has said that all studies point to the reality that the impact on water flow would be minimal. The former Egyptian Government of Mohammed Morsi, however, used the charge against Ethiopia as a political distraction from the turmoil in the months leading to Morsi’s removal”.

Think-tank asserts that from Egypt’s standpoint, Ethiopia’s concurrent Nile policy goes beyond potentially affecting the quantities of Nile water available for Egypt. In 2010, Ethiopia launched the Nile Basin States Initiative and challenged Egypt’s long-held posture as the dominant authority over the use and distribution of the Nile waters. Presently, the Nile Basin Upstream States have a decisive say over the use of water in their territories. This is a national trauma for Egypt; both the Government and the people.

Initially, Cairo started preparing for a major confrontation and even war with Ethiopia over the GERD project. Both the Hosni Mubarak and Morsi administrations pursued the crisis and war options very seriously despite the domestic upheavals since 2010. Still, Cairo could not alter the profound change in the correlation of forces along the Nile. The outcome of the initial phase of the Egyptian-Ethiopian crisis demonstrated to all, in the words of French-Tunisian geographer Habib Ayeb, that “Egypt no longer owns the Nile”.

“The Congo-Nile Canal designs are being undusted as perhaps the only viable solution to Egypt’s impending plight”, writes the Fashoda Institute. “By conservative calculations, the Canal could provide Egypt with 95-billion cubic meters of water annually, almost doubling the current share of 55.5-billion cubic meters. While such a diversion of water would be dramatic for Egypt, it would represent a minuscule quantity for the Congo River because about 1,000-billion cubic meters of Congo waters pour into the Atlantic Ocean every year.”

Most intriguing is the study, conducted by Professor Gamal al-Kalyouby of the American University of Cairo, completed in September 2013. Although Professor Kalyouby insists that his study is a pure academic endeavor, senior Egyptian defense officials suggest otherwise. Indeed, the Government’s Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority conducted the comprehensive geological, geographic, and hydrological studies which provided the data used by Professor Kalyouby in his study. Formally, however, senior officials, including Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Muhammad Abdel Matlab, distance Cairo from the project on the basis of a myriad of legal and financial reasons. But numerous experts concur that these excuses are quite irrelevant if not factually wrong.

According to Professor Kalyouby’s study, the best solution for delivering water from the Congo River to the Nile River is a 600km canal which would feed into the White Nile to the south of Juba, South Sudan. The water would then converge into the Nile Basin to northern Sudan and then to Lake Nasser, behind the Aswan High Dam. The Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority’s data focuses on the 600km route because there is an altitude differential of only 200 meters between the Congo and the White Nile. The technical challenge of lifting the huge quantities of water could be implemented via four consecutive water-pumping stations. Moreover, the downstream flow of the added White Nile water could be harnessed to generate 300-trillion watts of electricity per hour: the equivalent of the entire lighting needs of Africa.

The Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority’s data also points out that the road and rail infrastructure which would have to be built to facilitate and support the Congo-Nile Canal would effectively fill the gap which currently exists between the transportation infrastructure of northern Africa and that of southern Africa. Consequently, there would emerge a unified road and railway network connecting the entire Africa from Alexandria to Cape Town.

The Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority estimates that the 600km long Congo-Nile Canal could be completed within 24 months, at a price of 8-billion Egyptian Pounds: roughly $1.16-billion. This estimate includes the digging of the canal, building the four pumping stations, and all transportation and support infrastructure for the project. If correct, this cost estimate is minuscule compared, for example, to the Chinese price-tag of $25.5-billion for the Lamu mega-port complex in Kenya.

Little wonder that Cairo is quietly testing the water in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Egyptian businessman Ibrahim al-Fayoumi is known to be tacitly pursuing initial steps under the cover of his extensive infrastructure and mining projects in the DRC. Fayoumi is one of the most prominent investors in the country and also has the reputation of being extremely close to the defense and intelligence establishment in Cairo. Congolese senior officials confirmed Fayoumi’s assertion that official Kinshasa was most interested in the Congo-Nile Canal idea, given the anticipated flow of cash, as well as in return for international recognition and legitimization.

The Congolese officials added that both President Joseph Kabila and Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo “support in principle the [Congo-Nile Canal] initiative”.

While Egypt and the DRC would be the prime beneficiaries of the Congo-Nile Canal project, South Sudan would be the country most affected because of the dramatic increase in the quantities of water carried by the White Nile. South Sudan has the unique Sudd wetlands eco-system which a dramatic increase in the flow of the White Nile would destroy. Therefore, South Sudan would need, at the very least, to complete and expand the Jonglei Canal in order to avoid major damage to the Sudd wetlands. The digging of the 360km long Jonglei Canal started in 1981 but was brought to a halt in 1984 by the escalating liberation war. By that time, 240km of the canal’s total of 360km had already been excavated. Presently, the thick vegetation and land erosion reclaimed much of the completed canal work. As well, South Sudan would require the construction of extensive power and transportation infrastructure in order to sustain the building of the Jonglei Canal.

Significantly, time is uniquely suitable from a security point of view.

In early October 2013, David Yau Yau, the main rebel leader in Jonglei State, responded positively to President Salva Kiir Mayardit’srecent initiative to invigorate and press for national reconciliation. For the first time, Yau Yau expressed interest in talks with official Juba and did not rule out cessation of hostilities. Yau Yau’s revolt was the primary source of the debilitating violence in Jonglei State which made any major projects impossible.

“Juba is active in the various Nile Basin organizations and groups”, points out the Juba-based think-tank. “In May 2010, Addis Ababa initiated the formation of the Nile River Basin Commission of the, then, five states of the Nile sources. The states signed the New Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement reorganizing water-management and construction projects. The treaty formed a commission to approve or reject all large-scale hydraulic projects, dams, canals, and anything else which would have an impact on the course, volume, or quality of the Nile’s waters. South Sudan was admitted as the member on July 5, 2012. On June 19, 2013, South Sudan took over the rotating leadership for 2013-14. The NILE-COM agenda for the year includes providing strategic guidance for improved efficiency and effectiveness, as well as formulate long-term work plans and complete a number of strategy and policy documents”.

South Sudan also assumed membership in the traditional Nile Basin Initiative which is comprised of all the nations along the Nile River from the Equator to the shores of the Mediterranean. On August 16, 2013, South Sudan’s Council of Ministers unanimously passed a resolution endorsing Juba’s bid to join the Nile Basin Initiative. This was the first act of the new Cabinet appointed by Pres. Salva Kiir on July 31, 2013. The Cabinet discussed and approved the framework document regarding the Nile Basin Initiative. The mere focusing on the Nile Basin Initiative in the first meeting of the new Government is a manifestation of the great importance of Nile Basin policy for Kiir’s Juba.

“Ultimately, geography plays the winning hand for Juba”, concludes the Fashoda Institute.

South Sudan could become Africa’s continental hub, a juncture of the emerging trans-African west-east route between Cameroon on the Gulf of Guinea and Kenya on the Indian Ocean which is expected to emerge in the wake of the new energy and minerals export routes, and between the possible trans-African north-south route between Egypt on the Mediterranean and South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope which would emerge should the Congo-Nile Canal become a reality.

Thus, as the current leader of the NILE-COM, President Kiir’s Juba has a unique opportunity to play an historic role in moving Africa’s water, energy, and transportation basin to the future era.

South Sudan Organizes Investment Conference in December

By Joe Odaby

Juba — October 4, 2013 …The Government of South Sudan in collaboration with development partners is organizing a two-day investment conference scheduled for December 4-5 this year.

The conference seeks to promote South Sudan as a viable investment and business destination in the region by bring together senior government officials, key agencies and industry leaders to aid essential development and investment initiatives, The Deputy Minister for Finance Mary Jervas Yak said on Thursday while briefing the press in Juba.
To be officially opened by the President of the Republic, HE Salva Kiir Mayardit, the conference is expected to address regional and international potential investors, local investors, representatives of multinational corporations, Bankers, representatives of non governmental organization, donor organizations government officials among others.
This investment conference in South Sudan will provide a platform for investors to explore business or investment opportunities particularly on the five high impact sectors namely Agriculture, Infrastructure, Tourism and Hospitality, Petroleum and Mining” Hon. Yak said.
There is already a steering committee composed of government officials, private sector and development partners chaired by the Ministry of Finance, Commerce, Investment and Economic Planning as well as a committee of the same membership chaired by the South Sudan Investment Authority to spearhead the preparations.
The abundant natural resources, current business opportunities, the conducive investment climate in the country, Business climate transformation, stories of successful investments and South Sudan’s participation in the regional economic integration and growth will be the main messages to convey in the December conference.
Concurrent with the conference, the finance deputy minister said, there will an exhibition to showcase successful investment projects in the country. Both local and international investors  take part in the exhibition. There will also be vibrant social and cultural programs to help promote South Sudanese rich culture, said Hon. Yak.
This conference is part of a larger RSS and development partners initiative stemming from the April 16, 2013 Washington DC South Sudan investment Forum.

 

 

 

Sudan Prepares Major Military Offensive To Divert From Internal Unrest

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — September 30, 2013 … The leading South Sudan think-tank, The Fashoda Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies, has published a strategic analysis of the recent military buildup in the neighboring Sudan.

Northern Sudan (capital: Khartoum), from which the South has seceded in 2011 after a long civil war, is led by the Islamist government of President Omar al-Bashar who was indicted in 2010 by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The Fashoda institute points out that “the escalating fuel riots in Khartoum, and increasingly other cities in Sudan, serve as a stark reminder of the inherent fragility and instability of the country”.

The riots were sparked by the spiraling prices of all fuel products following the abolition of subsidies and the growing shortages of all fuel products. The recurring shortages of fuel result in shortages of food and other products and goods brought into Khartoum from both the Red Sea ports and the countryside. Within a few days, the riots became the worst since the 1989 riots that led to the military coup that brought to power Omar al-Bashir. “What began early this week in Sudan as a protest against the removal of fuel subsidies has developed into a full-blown uprising that is threatening President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s 24-year rule,” Arab political observers warned on September 27.

As the Khartoum riots escalated and turned political, the Sudanese military was sent to the streets to crackdown the riots by force. By 27 September, the Sudanese government acknowledged that over 50 demonstrators were killed by the security forces, over 250 were wounded, and over 600 were arrested. Numerous opposition sources put the casualties tally in Khartoum alone at over 150 fatalities, over 750 wounded, and over 2,000 arrested and/or disappeared. The military’s violent crackdown in Khartoum sparked even bigger and more violent riots over the weekend throughout Sudan. The protesters are now openly demanding the overthrow of Bashir’s regime while calling Bashir himself “a killer”. Moreover, both the Sudanese government and Arab diplomats report a growing use of automatic weapons by the rioters starting the evening of September 27. On the morning of the September 28, four security personnel were shot and killed in Khartoum by unidentified gunmen in the ranks of the rioters.

The Fashoda Institute writes that “the oil crisis is unfolding and escalating at a time when Khartoum is spending huge sums of hard currency on advanced weapons – mainly weapon systems optimized for long-range strikes and major wars rather than handling insurgencies such as the never-ending insurgency in Darfur”.

The Juba-based think-tank unveils that “in recent months, Khartoum has embarked on an unprecedented military build-up – mainly of air power. The key weapon systems are being purchased from Belarus. Most important is the acquisition of 12 refurbished Su-24Ms (4-6 of them already supplied) and 18 refurbished Su-30MKs (originally leased by India from Russia but returned to Belarus for the legal reason that the Russian Air Force cannot operate them).

Sudan was also negotiating the acquisition of another batch of second hand Su-25s to augment the existing fleet of 11 Su-25s (out of 14 originally purchased from Belarus). Belarus has a large arsenal of high quality combat aircraft that was put on sale for hard currency. A total of 35-36 Su-24Ms were withdrawn from service in February 2012, and the remaining 22-23 Su-24Ms are available for purchase. As well, 17 Su-27P and 4 Su-27UBM1fighters were withdrawn from service in December 2012 and also put for sale. The Belarus Air Force also has around 20 Su-25s stored in Lida. Khartoum expressed interest in virtually every major combat aircraft available and the main lingering issue is the availability of hard currency”. 

The Fashoda Institute points at the scope of the Sudanese military buildup: “Sudan is also looking for additional MiG-29s which Belarus cannot offer. Sudan acquired numerous MiG-29s in the last decade. In late 2008, 23 of the MiG-29s were in active service. However, only 11 of these MiG-29s were operational in the first half of 2013. One MiG-29 was claimed by the South Sudanese air defense on April 4, 2012. Apparently, the aircraft crash-landed in a Sudanese airbase and was written off. The other 11 MiG-29s were grounded due to maintenance difficulties. Sudan is interested in a large number of MiG-29s and the main candidate source is Ukraine that has around 100 MiG-29s of various models stored in reserve”.

“The most important undertaking by the Sudanese Air Force in recent months is the large scale recruitment of mercenaries – aircrews, technical experts and ground crews – from all over the former Soviet Union”, discovers the Fashoda Institute. “Their main mission is to activate, up-grade and better utilize the existing arsenal of the Sudanese Air Force (that had suffered both combat and technical damage in recent years). The first visible result is the growing number of MiG-29s that are taking off for test and evaluation flights. The efforts of the ex-Soviet mercenaries have already returned 4-6 additional MiG-29s to flying status.

The revamped Sudanese Air Force has unprecedented long range reach covering northern Ethiopia and all of nemesis South Sudan. Indeed, the Sudanese government is also committing huge resources to the up-grading and expansion of all key military airbases in the southern parts of the country – including the extension of paved runways and the construction of new buildings, bunkers and other facilities.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese government is making strenuous efforts with Russia to expedite and increase the deal for assault helicopters and helicopter gunships. On order are 12+6 Mi-8T and 12+6 Mi-24D/V/P. Although Khartoum is ready to pay cash for everything – the Kremlin is not rushing the deal for political-strategic reasons. Again, the Sudanese acquisition of weapon systems is accompanied by the widespread recruitment of mercenaries – aircrews, technical experts and ground crews – to get Sudan’s existing arsenal of 20 Mi-8/Mi-17 assault and 24 Mi-24 combat helicopters into better operational status, and have highly qualified aircrews in the cockpits”.

The Fashoda Institute points out that “although the main emphasis of Khartoum is air power, the expansion and modernization of the military is not neglected either. The current priority of Khartoum is launching a concentrated effort to fully operationalize and activate the large quantities of heavy weapons (tanks and artillery) purchased from Ukraine in 2009-2010 and delivered over the next couple of years. The main weapon systems are T-72 MBTs, BM-21 MRLs, 152mm 1S3 SPGs, 122mm 2S1 SPGs, and 122mm D-30 guns. As well, the Sudanese army has embarked on the refurbishment and modernization of key military bases and garrisons in southern Sudan – including the installation of modern communications systems.

The Sudanese military build-up effort got a major boost on 9 September during the visit of Libyan defense minister Abdel-Rahman Al-Thani to Khartoum. Sudan’s defense minister Abdel Rahim Hussein signed an agreement with his Libyan counterpart on large scale weapons, spares and ammunition transfers mainly from Qadhafi’s stockpiles in southern Libya. In return, Sudan promised to restrain Libyan Jihadists that had sought and received shelter in Sudan and prevent them from returning to Libya. (The Sudan-Libya agreement is identical to the agreement signed with Egypt in 2001.) The supplies from Libya will also enable the Sudanese military to activate and return to operational use a sizeable force of older models of Soviet-origin weapons”.

“Taken together, these efforts point out to active preparations for a major land war rather than mere escalation of the fighting against irregular forces in Darfur or elsewhere in Sudan”, highlights the report of the Fashoda Institute.

“Khartoum needs a major diversion of the popular anguish and frustration”, says the Institute’s analysis. “Addressing external threats is a proven diversion from internal crises. The calls for the reunification of Sudan under the banner of Islam have been a popular rallying cry for the widespread Islamist and Mahdist constituencies – and thus a sure method for getting their supporters out of the swelling ranks of rioters. Moreover, it is also expedient for the Bashir administration to blame the oil crisis and shortage of funds on the lingering impact of the transfer of so many oilfields to South Sudan after the mid-2011 break-up of Sudan.           

Ultimately, Khartoum is driven by the grim realities of the region, and Bashir’s determination to get involved in crises with assertive offensive strategy. Irrespective of reassuring political rhetoric – Sudan and South Sudan are heading toward a major face-off that might easily escalate into violence. Abyei remains a volatile region with tension growing as a result of Sudan’s atrocious suppression of grassroots revolts in surrounding South Kordofan. The Abyei crisis will also keep lingering since the referendum is nowhere to be seen. Khartoum considers the Abyei oil reserves a shortcut to addressing the economic catastrophe and therefore won’t accept the secession the local population yearns for. The road to war from such irreconcilable quandary is very short. Abyei is not the only crisis point for the South Sudan-Sudan border demarcation as proposed by the AU is equally problematic and destabilizing, and thus might provoke crisis and war at any moment.

Furthermore, even though Cairo is currently focused on domestic issues in the aftermath of the military takeover – the crisis with Ethiopia over the Nile waters lingers on and is far from resolution. Dominance over the Nile waters is a sacred cause for both Egypt and Sudan – and thus no government in Cairo or Khartoum will ever allow itself to be portrayed as having compromised with the Nile Basin states. With no viable solution in sight, and with the work on the Ethiopian dams continuing apace – the crisis might still escalate into a major war. South Sudan will be dragged into such a war by regional geography”.  

“Thus, all of these are both ticking crises in their own right, as well as good causes for diversion and tension building for the besieged Bashir administration”, warns the Fashoda Institute. “Hence, Khartoum’s saber rattling and war preparations might prove self-fulfilling”.

The report on the think-tanks Website ends with assessment of the Juba’s options: “Little wonder that South Sudan is considering its own military build-up – as declared on September 22 by the new Defense Minister Kuol Manyang. Juba is determined to build a strong national army even if such undertaking might take nearly half of the national budget allocation. Manyang explained that Juba wants “the army to be at full military readiness to ensure victories in any military engagements.” Juba’s “strategic vision” calls for the building of “a strong and professional force” in regional terms. Manyang stressed that Juba’s ultimate objective is to deter the eruption of wars and crises, but that “the army, anywhere in the world, can only avoid wars when it is capable of winning them.”

South Sudan Breaks Oil Embargo Imposed By Muslim North

By Joe Odaby

Juba — September 5, 2013 (SSN). The visit by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir to Sudan’s capitol Khartoum on September 3-4, 2013, might prove a turning point in both bilateral and regional terms. In the climax of the Summit, Presidents Kiir and Omar al-Bashir signed oil export agreement guaranteeing the South Sudanese oil exports will continue “without any impediments” across “flexible but secure borders” between the two countries.

The agreement removes the immediate threat of economic strangulation and uncertainty by repeated Sudanese threats to close down the oil exports of South Sudan via the pipeline to Port Sudan.

Kiir and Bashir also agreed to “remove all obstacles” in bilateral relations and fully implement all existing cooperation agreements. In this context, the two presidents tilted toward the Juba interpretation of these mutual agreements – namely, the separation between economic issues and each of the various security issues from border delineation to the fate of Abye (where the referendum scheduled for October is unlikely to be implemented on time). Khartoum remained reticent, though.

“We are now taking new steps,” Bashir told Kiir. “We respect all the agreements … and are committed to implementing them as one package.” Kiir was more optimistic about the impact of the Summit. Khartoum and Juba must “close the old chapters and open a new page,” he said. “These two countries cannot always remain on a war footing. If they do that, they cannot offer services to their citizens.” Kiir considered the Khartoum Summit to be the springboard for a new era in bilateral relations. “I do not want these agreements to be on the books [only]; we will work to implement them fully and we are here for that,” Kiir noted.

This breakthrough did not happen in a vacuum. In early August, soon after the establishment of the new government, President Kiir instructed the government to come up with a breakout in the deadlocked relationship between South Sudan and Sudan. Within days, Foreign Minister Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin announced the formulation of new Sudan policy in effort to address the immediate economic challenges and defuse mounting threats along their mutual border and elsewhere.

After rocky start and several delays in the planned Kiir-Bashir Summit, Juba succeeded to convince Khartoum of its sincerity and the Summit took place. Indeed, President Kiir arrived in Khartoum a mere 72 hours ahead of the expiration of the deadline set by Khartoum to halt the flow of South Sudanese oil via the pipeline to Port Sudan.

Beyond the dramatic oil export agreement, the Summit contributes to the overall building of trust and reducing tension between the two neighboring countries.

Ultimately, however, the greatest achievement of President Kiir in the Khartoum Summit is buying time and securing funds for consolidating the true independence of South Sudan from strategic and economic points of view. The arrested development of the first two years – the direct result of the country’s stifling by blocking of oil exports – can now end and the true potential of South Sudan be realized.

Juba will soon have the resources to properly address the growing geo-strategic and geo-economic importance of South Sudan in both economic and regional strategic spheres. Juba can free land locked South Sudan from dependence on one venue of export, as well as develop a system of regional alliances and joint infrastructure construction programs (particularly westward as favored by the EU and Russia).

Juba can also accomplish a long-overdue defense build-up to address the lingering domestic crises (particularly Jonglei), the growing regional instability (such as still unresolved Nile waters crisis), and the unprecedented build-up by the Sudanese Armed Forces (especially the Air Force).

With Juba’s new political vitality and acumen clearly demonstrated in the conduct during the Khartoum Summit – Western political leaders and senior experts are eagerly awaiting the follow-up moves at the geo-strategic and geo-economic levels.

South Korea Donates $5 Million To South Sudan To Fight Child Mortality

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — August 15, 2013 (SSN) – The Korean Foundation for International Health Care (KFIHC) has earmarked five million ($5 million USD), United States Dollars an equivalent of SSP20,000,000 for the fight against Tuberculosis (TB) and infant mortality rate in South Sudan.
The Under Secretary in the South Sudan Ministry of Health Dr. Makor Koryom, revealed this yesterday while signing a memorandum of understanding with the South Korean organization.

Dr. Koryom said the three-year project aims at reducing “the already high infant mortality rates” as well as curbing the spread of Tuberculosis in the country.
The funding project, he said will help the South Sudan government to improve the health sector, while on the order hand he said it will open a door of cooperation between the government of the people of South Korea and the Republic of South Sudan.

 

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Dr. Makor and Mr. Sire change copies of the signed MOU
[Photo: William Jufur]

Meanwhile Mr. David Sire, the Secretary General of KFIHC lauded the government, particularly the National Ministry of Health for its readiness to partner with his organization in improving the health sector in South Sudan.
He assured of his country’s commitment in working with the government of South Sudan to bring what he described as “positive changes” in the health care system in the young country.
Furthermore, he promised his organization’s commitment to continue funding more projects in the coming years.

South Sudan President Kiir Ends Government Paralysis, Fires Corrupt Cabinet

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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.