By Juliet Abango
South Sudan News
JUBA — 1 July, 2013 … The Washington-based think-tank The International Strategic Studies Association has devoted the latest issue of Global Information System (GIS) Special Analysis, a confidential newsletter used by the Western governments and select subscribers, to the latest Sudanese-Iranian designs for the entire west Africa.
“The governments of Iran and Sudan are preparing for a major strategic surge into western Africa, into both the Sahel and the shores of the Gulf of Guinea,” the report warns.
“The ultimate objective of this surge is to consolidate control and/or influence over this extensive region and its considerable oil, gas, uranium, and other minerals (rare metals and rare earth) reserves. At the same time, the surge would pre-empt and prevent both the US/West/NATO presence and the spread of anti-Shi’ite takfiri-jihadist entities.”
The GIS Special Analysis not only raises the alarm about Sudan’s threat to international security but reiterates anew the unique strategic significance of the Republic of South Sudan for the vital interests of the industrialized world, as analyzed in the studies of the Fashoda Institute.
The GIS study, echoing the opinion of the Fashoda Institute, points out that the real reason for President Bashir’s recent stopping of the oil exports of South Sudan has nothing to do with the official line of alleged support for the SPLM-N in its fight against Sudanese genocidal suppression.
In Spring 2013, Iran began to markedly expand its strategic facilities in Sudan in order to facilitate the surge westward across western Africa all the way to the coasts of the Atlantic. “In May 2013, the pace and scope of the construction of the Iranian naval, military and logistical bases in Port Sudan grew markedly. IRGC engineering units in civilian clothes and a vast army of Sudanese workers build both logistical piers to rapidly download and upload vessels, and military piers to support warships and submarines.
Further away from the port, the Iranians and the Sudanese are building several new clusters of fortified bunkers and other storage sites. Both the new piers and the fortified storage sites would be able to handle tanks and combat vehicles, missile systems, self-propelled artillery and other heavy weaponry. In mid-May 2013, the IRGC units started the construction of fencing, watchtowers, and fortifications, as well as the construction of fortified air-defense positions where SAM batteries would be deployed.”
“By now,” the GIS study explains, “the extent of the Iranian-Sudanese activities is difficult to conceal. Khartoum and Tehran increasingly worry that Israel, the US, or other Western powers, are closely monitoring progress and even might attempt to sabotage the new port facilities.
Iranian security experts warned that their new facilities were virtually adjacent to Port Sudan’s oil exporting installations.” This realization of the proximity of the Port Sudan oil port to the Iranian naval base is the real reason for Khartoum’s decision to stop the oil exports from South Sudan. “In mid-May 2013,” the GIS study continues, “South Sudan was to start exporting its oil through the oil loading facilities in Port Sudan.
Tehran worries that when oil customers of South Sudan – the staunch friend of the West and Israel – arrive with tankers they will be in excellent position to spy on, and even strike, the Iranian sprawling military facilities in Port Sudan.” Therefore, Bashir suddenly announced on June 8 the halting of the export of South Sudanese oil via Sudan’s pipeline. The fact that this stoppage is in violation of the agreements between Juba and Khartoum does not matter for Bashir’s higher priorities – protecting the Iranian build-up in Port Sudan – dominate Khartoum’s decision. Thus, on June 21, Bashir reiterated that until South Sudan implemented “all agreements by 100 percent, no barrel of oil will be piped to Port Sudan”.
The next major phase in the Sudanese preparations for the surge took place in the second half of June with the joining of the Central African Republic (CAR) as a crucial ally. The turning point came in the aftermath of the June 17 visit of CAR President Michel Djotodia to Khartoum where he and Bashir oversaw a series of secret multi-national discussions aimed to facilitate a dramatic break-out westward for Sudan, Iran, the CAR and their allies. Djotodia is not only the first Muslim leader of the predominantly Christian CAR, but he was converted to Islamism-Jihadism while serving as a councilor in Darfur.
“He is convinced in the Sudanese tenet that a strong jihadist kernel is indispensable to ensuring the loyalty and cohesion of any revolutionary movement irrespective of its openly declared ideology or policy,” the GIS study explains. “Djotodia is convinced he is beholden to Bashir’s Sudan for his own ascent to power and soon after assuming power in Bangui started sending quantities of CAR diamonds to his friends in the Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militias in Darfur to help fund their genocidal struggle.”
One of the major topics discussed between Bashir and Djotodia is the new role for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its leader Joseph Kony (who is in Sudan, receiving supplies and shelter in return for military cooperation in both the CAR and Uganda). “Sudan’s ultimate objective is to use LRA forces based in the CAR in order to destabilize the Republic of South Sudan, and then use its territory to have LRA forces reach and destabilize Uganda. Kony has already committed to pursuing Sudan’s strategy,” the GIS study reveals. “The CAR is thus becoming a hub of subversion in the heart of the Africa with geopolitical ramifications extending far beyond the borders and capabilities of the CAR itself.”
The most important outcome of Djotodia’s visit is the groundbreaking regional security agreement reached in a session co-chaired by the two presidents. Delegations of senior intelligence and security forces officials from Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Mali, and Mauritania took part in the meeting. They “discussed and agreed on close strategic cooperation to restore Arab-Muslim preeminence to the entire region of West Africa” and “committed to the consolidation of mutually loyal and supportive regimes, as well as to assisting other regional countries to establish Muslim-dominated governments and to have them join their alliance.
The senior officials discussed practical modalities for jointly breaking-away from stifling Western influence and demands for reforms. They agreed on cooperation in resolving security and economic crises and suppressing democratic opposition forces.”
The GIS study adds that “all countries present also committed to helping Egypt and Sudan in their ‘sacred struggle’ to sustain the Arab rights to and dominance over the Nile waters. Thus, the June 17, 2013, agreement constituted a major and strategically profound shift in the regional posture and assertiveness. If implemented, West Africa will not be the same,” states The International Strategic Studies Association.
The East-West surge – at which eastern edge South Sudan is – has become even more important for the vital interests of the industrialized world. This is a surge of radical Islam, Jihadism and organized crime that seeks to destroy the post-colonial state system and replace it with an amorphous radicalized area that will serve as springboard into Western Europe.
This surge originates in Sudan and has already reached the shores of the Atlantic in Mauritania.
It is imperative for African states to face, address and resolve this great challenge to west Africa. Because Nigeria, for long a bulwark of regional stability, is mired in rapidly escalating fratricidal violence – South Sudan in the east and Morocco in the west remain the only two viable pillars of stability and Western interests in the tumultuous region that west Africa has become.”
South Sudan, bordering both Sudan and the Central African Republic, is thus of unique crucial importance for the grand strategic interests of the industrialized world. Moreover, South Sudan is already paying heavy price for protecting the vital interests of the West. Sudan is blocking the oil exports crucial for the economic recovery of South Sudan and is sponsoring and encouraging subversion and insurrection at the heart of South Sudan to increase instability and harm nation building.
Already a victim of this Iranian-Sudanese surge, South Sudan – the country the GIS correctly calls “the staunch friend of the West and Israel” – will soldier on as the West’s bastion of stability as is expected of staunch allies.