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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”.

Will US Clash With China in Africa?

china_africa_us
When will China and US face off in Africa?

By Peter Benjamin
South Sudan News

Juba — January 30 … Influential African think-tank The Fashoda Institute has published an analysis of foreign policy strategies of the United States and China in Africa. The think-tank points at the “evolution in the People’s Republic of China’s attitude toward, and commitment to, Africa.

The rôle of sub-Saharan Africa is evolving from just an economic resource for China into a Chinese strategic lever against the US-led West. The Chinese have long been investing heavily in Africa as the key long-term source for energy, ores, rare earths, and other raw materials for their industrial growth”.

The Fashoda Institute asserts that “recently, the PRC has been expanding its operations into sponsoring the creation of a secondary industrial base in Africa itself in order to better support their economic undertakings. Beijing is now also looking to Africa as a prime instrument for preventing, or at the least controlling, the flow of resources to the West. The PRC is worried because the PRC leadership perceives that the US is desperate to revive its sagging economy and disappearing industrial base while discussing an explicitly anti-Chinese pivot to East Asia”.

“The Chinese are also apprehensive that Europe is embarking on reindustrialization and thus might lessen its dependence on Chinese imports and the trans-Asian venues of transportation — the new Silk Road — and their strategic value”, notes the analysis. “It is in such a grand strategic context that Beijing is studying US-led Western activities in Africa and, not without reason, is becoming increasingly apprehensive about them. That is why Beijing is now determined to capitalize on the PRC’s preeminence in Africa in order to pressure, if not extort, the West. The margin for error under these conditions is extremely narrow”.

The Fashoda Institute warns that “America’s “humanitarian interventionism” in sub-Saharan Africa is markedly increasing tensions and exacerbating conflicts all around. The specter of current and future US- and French-led military interventions and the ensuing toppling of leaders and governments is sending both African leaders and aspirant strongmen to posture for better positions in case the US and France intervened in their states and regions. Desperate to increase their military capabilities, they make Faustian deals with any anti-Western power they can reach out to, be it China or Iran. Hence, there exists a growing possibility that US-Chinese tension will also spark a clash in explosive Africa”.

The analysis ends with a troubling prognosis: “Where the next eruption in Africa will lead is anybody’s guess.

In a recent Brookings Essay entitled “The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War”, Professor Margaret MacMillan warned of the growing and disquieting similarities between the world of Summer 1914 and the world of early 2014. “It is tempting — and sobering — to compare today’s relationship between China and the US with that between Germany and England a century ago,” Professor MacMillan writes. She also points to the prevailing belief — then as now — that a full-scale war between the major powers is unthinkable after such a prolonged period of peace.

“Now, as then, the march of globalization has lulled us into a false sense of safety,” Professor MacMillan writes. “The 100th anniversary of 1914 should make us reflect anew on our vulnerability to human error, sudden catastrophes, and sheer accident.”

Obama’s “Humanitarian Interventionism” in Africa is Exacerbating Conflicts

By Joe Odaby

Juba — January 25, 2014 … The respected African think-tank The Fashoda Institute has published an analysis of the root causes of the current turmoil in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. It blames US-led Western interventionism which is focused on “feel-good, instant-gratification” in the Western media while having access to African riches as its primary objective.

Fashoda analyses the pattern of the US demands made of the local governments and leaders, naming the constant three: “Cease hostilities immediately and at all cost. This effectively rewards those who provoked and unleashed the hostilities and those who use civilians as human shields; Immediately implement Western-style democratic reforms, human rights, and swift elections. This undermines local governments, rooted in local customs and practices, and prevents them from addressing the real crises; and Establish weak governments totally dependent on Western patronage and protection for survival –both  for security and economically — and  then extort them for access to local riches”.

Fashoda notes that “these interventions continue as if the recent West-orchestrated “regime changes” in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria (attempted), and even Mali worked or benefitted the public at large. Undaunted, the US and France continue to lead the West in self-destruct policies in sub-Saharan Africa because of blatant disregard of the facts and realities on the ground while pursuing feel-good, instant-gratification interventionism”.

“The coup in South Sudan would not have happened without the conviction of the Riek Machar camp that they had the support and endorsement of the US-led West”, asserts the analysis. “In Autumn 2013, the Obama White House all but encouraged Machar to rebel, warmly endorsed Machar’s rhetoric about reforms and human rights, arranged for supporting coverage in the Western liberal media, and harshly criticized Pres. Kiir’s actions and record. Private foundations, mostly very close to the Obama coterie, were urged to funnel funds to Machar. Thus, the Obama White House and the liberal foci of power in the West created the impression of support and endorsement should Machar seize power.”

“Obama’s continues to threaten President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his government with sanctions and cutting of aid in order to coerce Juba into giving Machar victory in a failed coup rejected by the vast majority of South Sudanese”, notes the think-tank.

“Significantly, the US position stands in stark contrast with both all African states and all other Western powers, all of which rejected the coup and have supported the restoration of state authority in Juba.“

The grassroots Nuer population from Bor to Bentiu refused to cooperate with the coup attempt. The main Nuer communities demonstrated by action that they preferred Kiir’s tribe-blind nation-building to Machar’s sectarian benefits. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) — including both Nuer troops and senior officers — remained loyal to the State and carried out successful operations against the rebel forces.

“The Obama Administration’s distinct — and failed — intervention on the side of a power-hungry Machar and its willingness to derail the tribe-blind nation building effort in South Sudan will not be forgotten or ignored not only by virtually all South Sudanese, nor by the bulk of sub-Saharan African leaders and peoples who dread the reawakening of the tribal-secessionist ghosts”, concludes the Fashoda Institute.

South Sudan: Khartoum To Invade Abyei As Referendum Favors Union With Juba

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba, South Sudan — November 14, 2013 (SSN) … The Ngok Dinka people of the Abyei, a disputed region between Sudan and South Sudan, held their own informal referendum as a desperate cry to the international community to save a people under threat of genocide.

The organizers of the referendum announced on October 31, 2013, that virtually all Ngok Dinka voted to join South Sudan. The Dinka tribe played a key role in South Sudan’s generation-long liberation war: one of the opening clashes in South Sudan’s liberation war was the 1965 massacre of 72 Dinka Ngok by Misseriya tribesmen in the Abyei town of Babanusa.

The semi-nomadic Arab Misseriya tribe boycotted the referendum and promised not to recognize it. The home grounds of the Misseriya tribe are in the deserts of central Sudan and the tribe traditionally move down to the Abyei area, as well as other areas along the Sudan-South Sudan border in quest for grazing for their cattle as well as black slaves for the urban markets in northern Sudan.

Khartoum has announced that it would not recognize the unilateral referendum.

As the Fashoda Institute think-tank points in its analysis, Sudan is determined to hold onto Abyei in order to secure the vast oil reserves underneath: “all the more so as the economic collapse of Sudan is evolving into major popular riots which threaten the very existence of the Khartoum Government”.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir invited President Bashir to Juba on October 22, 2013, for an emergency summit on the future of Abyei. Following the summit, senior Sudanese officials reiterated Khartoum’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Abyei crisis in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement CPA of 2005 as subsequently supplemented by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel.

However, “developments on the ground contradict Khartoum’s assertion of a commitment to a legal and peaceful resolution of the crisis over Abyei”, as the Fashoda’s report has pointed out this week. In early October 2013, the Sudanese Army and Air Force have intensified the build-up of forces in the south of Sudan: mainly Kordofan and Blue Nile States. The Army deployed heavy battalions and regiments equipped with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and artillery. Smaller units — mainly company-level — deployed all the way to the border with South Sudan.

The Air Force deployed to the El-Obeid area strike aircraft — Su-24s and A-5Qs — as well as Mi-24/Mi-35 & Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopters. All the forces and weapons detected are optimized for offensive operations.

Fashoda’s experts agree that “all evidence points to Khartoum’s intent to increase military pressure on Juba in order to force Juba to compromise over Abyei. But a lot of things can go wrong with Sudanese patrols aggressively probing and shooting along the border”.

“All of these activities can be considered harbingers for the possibility of Bashir’s Khartoum electing to provoke a major crisis over Abyei as a way of both avoiding tackling the Abyei crisis while mobilizing Sudan’s own restive population — particularly the Islamists — into supporting and joining a jihad against South Sudan rather than riot against the Bashir Government”, writes the Fashoda Institute.

“Several opposition leaders — including former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and Hassan al-Turabi — promised to endorse and support any armed undertakings aimed to not only secure Abyei but also “reunite Sudan” (that is, occupy South Sudan). This is a temptation the besieged Bashir cannot ignore. Hence the growing Sudanese bellicosity along the border. The distance between provocations and an unintended war is very small and perilously vague.”

South Sudan: China Challenges US In Africa

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — October 16, 2013 … The leading South Sudanese think-tank, The Fashoda Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies, has published a strategic analysis of Chinese grand diplomatic strategy in Africa.

The Fashoda Institute asserts that the key component of the Chinese long-term grand design has long been to “converge all the flow of oil, gas and minerals to a single export point on the shores of the Indian Ocean – that is, in the direction of China. This vision is getting closer to realization given the progress made toward beginning construction of the maritime complex in Lamu on the northern Kenyan shores of the Indian Ocean.

Although Nairobi keeps insisting that there will be international tenders for each and every phase of the Lamu project – the overall design follows Beijing’s proposal and Nairobi acknowledges that no international consortium has so far been able to remotely compete with the financial guarantees offered by official Beijing in support for proposals presented by Chinese entrants. This is because Beijing considers the Lamu mega-port and transportation complex to be the key to the PRC’s long term domination over Africa”.

The South Sudan think-tank reports that the “initial costs of the first phase of the Lamu project are estimated at $25.5bn. The name of this first phase – the Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia (LAPSSET) – points to the initial objectives. Significantly, the term used is “Southern Sudan” and not the state of South Sudan. When completed, the first phase of the Lamu complex will include a 32-berth port, three international airports, and a 1,500km railway line. As well, the Chinese plan oil pipelines from Juba in South Sudan, and from Addis Ababa via Moyale, Kenya, to converge into Kenya’s Eastern Province and end in a new huge oil refinery in Bargoni, near Lamu.

The entire construction and pipelines will be supported by a 1,730km road network. In the longer term, the trans-African pipelines the Chinese plan on building from both Nigeria in the west and southwestern Africa (most likely Angola) will also feed into the Lamu complex – thus giving the PRC effective control over the main hydro-carbon exports of Africa”.

“The strategic cooperation between Beijing and Khartoum constitute the key to the Chinese confidence that their Sudanese allies be able to contain their Somali Jihadist proxies so that the risk of terrorist attacks is minimal”, points out the Fashoda’s article.

“Beijing is cognizant that in the long term the Lamu project will constitute a devastating economic setback for their proxy Sudan. Sudan will lose most of the oil income currently derived from transit fees for transporting South Sudanese oil”, says the report. “Moreover, Khartoum considers its control over the oil export venues its primary leverage over Juba on any political issue – including Abyei, the border demarcation, and the popular uprisings throughout Sudan. Hence it will be very difficult for Khartoum to see the oil leverage being taken away – particularly by their Chinese allies. Beijing is already trying to mollify Khartoum. For example, using the term Southern Sudan – as the region that is now the Republic of South Sudan was known when under the yoke of Khartoum – is a way for Beijing to allude to Khartoum’s hope they will get Beijing’s support for the reunification of Sudan”.

Meanwhile, given the ongoing tension between South Sudan and Sudan, the Chinese anticipate that South Sudan will be eager to export its oil through Lamu, Kenya – thus avoiding the port and oil refineries of Port Sudan. In the meantime, China is making efforts to increase South Sudan’s dependence on export via the Sudanese pipeline to Port Sudan.

“Beijing’s objective is to convince Juba not to look for alternate venues of oil exports – such as via Cameroon – until the Lamu pipeline is completed”, opines the article on the Fashoda Institute’s web-site. “Toward this end, Beijing is eager to mediate between Juba and Khartoum and assist in reducing tensions and resolving misunderstandings. In practical terms, Beijing works hard in order to ensnare both Khartoum and Juba in a web of Chinese-brokered agreements that will outlive the opening of the Lamu complex and the ensuing demise of Port Sudan. “China stands ready to help improve the relationship between Sudan and South Sudan,” Luo Xiaoguang, the Chinese Ambassador to Khartoum announced on October 1st. “China appreciates the two parties’ adherence to the option of peace and urges them to find solutions to the outstanding issues between them through dialogue. … We reiterate China’s readiness to play a vital role in enhancing the relations between the two countries.”

“Simply put, Beijing is ready to do anything just to ensure the flow of oil eastwards rather than westwards”, summarizes Fashoda.

Analyzing the situation in Suda, The Fashoda Institute writes that “nevertheless, the PRC might lose control and influence over Sudan and President Omar al-Bashir (or his successor). Khartoum is already cracking as a result of unstoppable economic collapse and building social unrest. The iron fist used by the security forces has so far failed to quell the spreading unrest and grassroots violence. To survive in the next few years, Khartoum might feel compelled to adopt drastic measures – including going to a populist war against South Sudan. To build the case for such a war, Sudan is already setting the stage for a “war of attrition” in the border area that is below a major war but will nevertheless tax the fragile economy of South Sudan and arrest development and reforms. Khartoum is using the dispute over the referendum in Abyei, as well as the escalating popular revolts in Sudan’s own Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan regions, in order to build political and military pressure on South Sudan. Khartoum will then be able to capitalize on the “war of attrition” along the disputed borderline as an excuse for an escalation to a major war.”

Turning back to South Sudan, the Juba-based think-tank writes that “the growing hostility and uncertainty along South Sudan’s northern border only increases the incentive for Juba to seek alternatives to exporting its oil via Sudan. Juba is cognizant of both the economic lure of the Chinese projects and the political-strategic ramifications of a Chinese-dominated oil export. President Salva Kiir is cognizant of the growing regional complexities. The emerging trends guide his policy of looking in both directions – west and east – and not ensnaring South Sudan in anybody’s political and economic stifling embrace. Kiir’s Juba is convinced that the region’s states, and not outside powers, should be the dominant forces leading and driving the regional development. The expertise, technologies and investments of foreign friends and partners are sought after in the context of regionally-dominated undertakings. Juba has already embarked on seeking practical solution by convening a two-day investment conference scheduled for early December.

One of main issues on the agenda of the Government of South Sudan and the development partners is furthering the regional economic integration and growth of South Sudan. Juba’s quest for regional undertakings will be one of the main messages to be conveyed by the December conference.”

Analyzing the dynamics in Eastern Africa, the Fashoda’s analysis suggests that “Juba has already found a most interested party in President Djotodia’s Bangui. Bangui is cognizant that only major economic build-up and development projects will serve as the engine for the education and employment of the country’s populace – thus taking them away from the current fratricidal violence. As well, successful development projects will guarantee long-term income for the government. Hence, such undertakings, rather than humanitarian aid from Western states, are the key to the long-term development and well-being of the Central African Republic “.

“However, this policy is also a major obstacle to China’s grand designs”, notes the analytical article. “Back in mid-2013, Beijing had high hopes that Khartoum would deliver the Djotodia administration in Bangui so as to paralyze and stall the westward option of South Sudan. But this is not working as President Djotodia is reaching out to the West seeking partnerships for major development projects, including regional initiatives. Hence, Beijing started to increase pressure on Bangui – first via the UNSC. In the name of alleviating the humanitarian catastrophe in the CAR, the PRC actively supports the French-US initiative that urges the UN to impose solution in the CAR that might include regime change. Meanwhile, the official Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Beijing) also warned of the serious security and humanitarian situation on the ground in the CAR and stressed the need for urgent international intervention independent of the policies and positions of official Bangui. Beijing expressed interest in joining and contributing to such an initiative”.

Turning to US – China relations, the Fashoda Institute points out that “ultimately, the significance of the Chinese long-term grand design for Africa can be best comprehended in the context of historic transformation in the grand strategy and polity of the PRC. Beijing has been arguing since the fall of the Soviet Union that the decline of the United States was also inevitable and that China was destine to rise as the global Hegemon. Presently, Beijing is convinced that the time is ripe for delivering the coup-de-grace”.

On October 13, the official Xinhua News Agency published an official commentary stating that “it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.”

The commentary surveyed the abuse the entire world has suffered under US hegemony since the Second World War. The situation has only aggravated since the end of the Cold War, Xinhua argued. “Instead of honoring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas.” To further its own unbridled ambitions, the US stoked “regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies,” Xinhua explained. The Xinhua commentary warned that with US society and economy collapsing, Washington is now tempted to intensify the abuse of the rest of the world in order to save the US. “Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated. A new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing.” Xinhua concluded by suggesting that the PRC, being inherently a developing country, is the rising power best suited to lead this global transformation and de-Americanization.

“Beijing has long recognized that any confrontation with the US will inevitably lead to major economic crises, a series of conflicts world-wide and possibly a global war against the US”, says the Fashoda Institute in conclusion.

“To sustain this global conflict, the PRC would need huge quantities of hydro-carbons, rare metals, other natural resources and even agricultural products – and these can only be secured from a China-dominated Africa”.

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.”

New South Sudan Minister For Gender Equality Focuses on Street Children

gender_minister_south_sudanHon. Awut Deng Acuil 
Photo: Simon Matip Akol

By Juliet Abango

Juba — August 20, 2013 (SSN) … The newly appointed National Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare the Hon. Awut Deng Aciul has urged the staff of her ministry to embrace teamwork if they are to record any meaningful success.
“Teamwork is the only way we can be able to achieve what we want for this ministry and the people of South Sudan”, Hon Aciul said while being officially received at the ministry.

 

She said the work at the ministry is massive and called for commitment and dedication. One of the major tasks of the ministry, she said, is tackling the problem of street children in South Sudan. She said her ministry will have to work with all players and the ten state’s ministries of Social Development in order to team up efforts to address the issue.
Like many of her fellow ministers, Hon. Aciul was received at the ministry with ululations, dancing and singing. Headed by the South Sudan Undersecretary Esther Ikere Eluzai, the staff members thanked the President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit for appointing Hon Acuil as the Gender Minister.
After the meeting, Hon. Aciul visited the Physical Rehabilitation Centre (PRC), Rejaf School for the Blind and the Deaf along Nimule roads as well as the proposed ministry building along Yei road.

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”.

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.

“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.

The Fashoda political analysts report that “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”.

 

 

 

South Sudan: Women’s Groups Support New Government

 

kiir_womens_groups
President Kiir and the Toposa women’s group. On his right is
Gen. Mamur while on the left is
Governor Lojore. Photo: Thomas Keneth

By Joe Odaby

Juba — August 19, 2013 (SSN) … South Sudan President Kiir received in his office a delegation of women’s groups from Toposa Community of Kapoeta South, Kapoeta East and Kapoeta North in Eastern Equatoria State.

The groups, which were accompanied by the Easteren Equatoria State Governor Luis Lobong Lojore and the Minister of National Security Gen. Obutu Mamur Mete congratulated H.E Kiir for reshuffling his government according to the “will of South Sudan people”.
In a press statement, the head of the delegation Ms. Hellen Orasio called on the people of South Sudan to be united behind the President, discard tribal difference and work for peace and development.

Last week the newly appointed ministers and their deputies of South Sudan were sworn in before the President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Chief Justice Chan Reec Madut after the parliament passed their nominations.

The approval of the nominations of Telar Ring Deng as the Minister for Justice and Josephine Napwon Cosmos as the Deputy Minister for Youth, Culture and Sports was however left pending as the concerned parliamentary committee sought more time to clarify some issues about them.

Integrity and the degree of competence were some of the criteria used by the lawmakers to vet the nominated ministers.

“The new cabinet of South Sudan has just taken the oath of office before the President. We have had congratulations from the President who has also directed the South Sudan Minister for Cabinet Affairs to draw up an action plan and get to get the new cabinet to commence work immediately”, said Michael Makuei Lueth, the new minister for Information and Broadcasting.

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: Tens of Thousands of Refugees Return Home

southsudanrefugeechildren

By Joe Odaby

Juba, South Sudan — August 14, 2013 (SSN) … Aid agencies are now reporting that some sixty thousand (60,000) returnees displaced from Abyei region by the May 2011 Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) invasion have already returned home ahead of the much anticipated referendum exercise scheduled for October this year.

An Abyei return tracking report for June and July this year showed that about 16,000 people have been verified as having returned to Abyei since June 2012. While the verification process did not capture returns in and around Agok in the south of the Abyei area, food partners monthly registration records reportedly suggest that another between 5,000 and 8,000 people have returned and settled in Agok, an areas known to many as Annet.

“Overall, partners estimate that up to 60,000 of the over 100,000 people displaced from Abyei in May 2011 have returned” the United Nation’s weekly bulletin reported. According to the verification report, there are around 3,500 people living in Abyei town.

Aid organizations are said to be responding to the needs of those who have returned to their homes, including by providing communities with seeds, tools and non-food items to “strengthen their resilience”.

Although a number of schools in Abyei town have been rehabilitated, school enrollment, education partners say is much lower than anticipated.

Since 2003, over 2.3 million Darfuris have fled their homes, including nearly 300,000 as refugees in Chad. Thousands of children born in these camps have never known another home.

And the cycle of violence continues. In the first four months of 2013, over five times as many people had been displaced than in all of 2012. In one week alone in April 2013, some 50,000 Darfuris fled into southeastern Chad following fresh ethnic conflict. The refugees reported entire villages being burned and razed with many villagers killed.

In South Kordofan and Blue Nile, indiscriminate aerial bombardments are Sudan’s devastating signature tactic. Bombs destroy residential areas, schools and markets, health clinics and farm fields.

Civilians have no warning of these attacks and flee for protection to caves in nearby mountains or to the bush. Children go without school, and villages are emptied of their people. The air strikes, combined with scorched-earth attacks and deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid, have led to chronic hunger and conditions conducive to famine.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated the human rights violations by Sudan rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Sudan’s campaigns of armed conflict and deliberate denial of humanitarian aid combined with the prevention of South Sudanese oil exports continue to devastate entire communities and regions.

Three US administrations, have dedicated political capital, time, and resources to the region. But the Obama administration is neglecting South Sudan with the lack of a high-profile Special Envoy, to facilitate comprehensive peace, democratic transformation, and real accountability in Sudan.

But despite Sudan’s hostile positions and an apparent lack of effort by the US White House to provide real solutions to the oil export crisis that transcends criticism, aid organizations are continuing to save lives.

Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan says that they are continuing to respond to the needs of refugees in Upper Nile State.

About 220 new arrivals from South Kordofan were registered in Lelo and some 360 individuals in Kodok. The majority of the refugees registered in Kodok are reportedly children and women.

According to partners, the status of this group is yet to be determined but aid agencies have begun to respond to the most pressing needs for food, health care and household items.

Partners also vaccinated children and women in Lelo and Kodok, and provided additional medical and nutritional supplies and referrals of severe cases.

President of South Sudan To Visit India For First Time

south-sudan-president-salva-kiir400

By Juliet Abango

Juba, South Sudan — August 13, 2013 (SSN) … President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit is set to visit India late this month on an official invitation by his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee.

India’s special envoy to South Sudan Mr. P. S Raghavan met President Kiir this morning where he delivered the invitation and President Mukherjee’s message of strengthening bilateral relations between his country and the Republic of South Sudan.


South Sudan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation the Hon. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said President Kiir during the meeting with Mr. Raghavan, discussed in a very positive manner issues of bilateral Relations, economic development and capacity building programs.

He said the president on behalf of the people and Government of South Sudan expressed the regrets to Indian Government through the special envoy, for the UNMISS Indian soldiers killed in Jonglei state by the militia groups.


Meanwhile the Indian Special Envoy to South Sudan Mr. Raghavan described the relations between India and South Sudan as “traditional and of a very long standing”.

“He reiterated to President Kiir India’s determination to continue and intensify cooperation with South Sudan,” said Dr. Benjamin.