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The lives of Murle is more valuable than that of wildlife

By: Cde. Sirir Gabriel Yiei Rut

March 22, 2015 (SSNA) -- The Murle tribe who are popularly famous of bravery and unity among themselves in their sub-clans of greater Pibor administrative Area (GPAA) and who also suffered in the hands of Dinka Bor community are today going to keep suffering economically and psychologically in the same hands If they will continue to watch and give a gaze at those wolves.

According to Michael Makuei Lueth, who save as the mouthpiece in King Salva's palace said that the continuous construction of the Girkidi-Pibor road would have a detrimental effect on the ecosystem and wildlife in the park.

Lueth said the ministers’ decision was made following a recommendation from the minister of interior and wildlife conversation, Aleu Ayieny Aleu.

The council of ministers suspended the construction of the road after it was discovered the route passed through Bandingilo National Park, located on the eastern bank of the Nile River.

Who were the ministers, and how were they so blind that they felt short to envision the transformation Girkidi road will bring to people of GPAA?

The road which link central Equatoria and Greater Pibor Administration Areas shouldn’t be constructed until further notice from the government. Saying the users of the road will affect the wild animals inhabiting those areas in the long run.

Makuei wanted to tannish away the little cohesion and recent peace that the people of Golgothin the mighty Murle wan to enjoy.

By the orders that led to closure of Girkidi-Pibor road, the Murle community should not just send youths to protest for 1 hour, but the elders and the leaders of the community of all the Murle sections should confront the President to call off the decision made on tribal basis by Puppet Michael Makuei and the unknown council of ministers.

My fellow South Sudanese where in this world will you fine a human being compare to animals and money? It's happened only in south Sudan and it's done by the people who won't let other people prosper and experience changes.

Murle are human beings and there will be no single day a human life will be more valueless than that of an antelopes. The road should continue to be constructed so that all valuable goods and services reach the needy on time.

On contrary President Kiir Government wanted to dishonor the recent peace agreement signed between the cobra faction and the government in Addis Ababa. And this came to be crystal clear went Michael Makuei who has nothing to do with Road, bridges and transportation jump and grabs the orders into his own mouth by announcing his filthy utters that eventually led to the shutting down of that meaningful road.

Dinka Bor Particularly should refrain from their culture of envy, hatred, selfishness, wickedness, supremacy, jealousy and other bitter things they are well known for against other communities in South Sudan for all communities deserved to be treated equally.

Bor community also shouldn't be green eyes over the Murle who are prospering bit by bit on their daily basis, Murle tribe need more time to heal the wounds you have Causes because of your cruelty and domination. They need peace, love, development, unity and among others.

My people, Murle were drag to all types of hostility, sorrows, grief, starvation, death and isolation. They live a miserly life for five good years as if they were not part of this country and this was artificially designed in Bor by the cohorts who want to bewitch them went it's should be their time to enjoy. God Forbid.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit should not relax seeing wolves tannish his almost gone legacy, Makuei Lueth should be Fire and sack for peace to prevail in south Sudan and Kuol Manyang Juuk also should be relieve from his place for he is behind the suffering of Murle since 2008 up to today date and also his involvement to recruits Jie tribe to have differences with their brothers the Murle.

The two national ministers who hail from greater Bor want to repeat the 2010 incident of envy and drag the Murle back to this senseless war impose on south Sudanese after they have failed from all the necessary process to make the Murle attack the greater Lou Nuer Areas. 

Too bad to depend on others for manpower when you cannot defense   your own eyes from the bite of Tsetse Fly.

Whereas, it's up to Bor as community at large to let the sleeping dog lie or else the Mighty Bothotnya, Titi and Lango will deal with them in the short period of time if they won't give a pause to their jealousy.

I have spoken my words and may gods of the land hear my voice...

South Sudanese need peace now not tomorrow

Cde. Sirir Gabriel Yiei Rut is a writer and He is the Chairman of SPLM Youth League Chapter in Egypt he can be simply reach through This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Skype Cde. Sirir

Editorial: The Fallacies of Bashing Both Sides in South Sudan Conflict

By Stephen Par Kuol

March 23, 2015 (SSNA) -- The diplomacy of war and peace making on the prevailing crisis in South Sudan has ushered in a querulous language that tends to blame both sides of the armed conflict for everything on equal measure. It is a fallacious rhetoric that defies the logic of cause and effect. Evidently, it has it that nobody is at the receiving end of this crisis. It lyrically goes: Both sides are dishonouring Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COH), both sides are frustrating the mediators by not negotiating in good faith, both sides are responsible for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country, e.t.c. For lack of words, we have called it “both sides narrative.” It is a long thread of diplomatic literature loaded with prejudice and intentional ignorance. Subsequently, the records are misinformed beyond rebuttal. For even worse, Makuei Lueth’s SSTV has done some permanent damage on the psyche of its captive national audience who must be told exactly what Kiir’s fascist regime needs them to hear. Like in Joseph Geobel’s culture of anti-Semitic Propaganda, in Makuei Lueth’s culture of demagogic propaganda, a lie repeated so many times can be accepted to be the truth.  It is a fallacious communication in which, the three “f “words: facts, fictions, and fallacies are woven to mean the same thing (political lies). One blatant fallacy Juba is apparently getting away with for instance is the distortion that the opposition is demanding two armies for the same country. This must be exposed as a malicious misrepresentation of our position on security arrangement calling for “a gradual and systematic amalgamation” of the two armies to create a new national army with true national character before the end of the transitional period.

The opposition also presented the crisis as an opportunity to recruit from the under-represented communities and regions into the inherently Jieng and Naath dominated army. This is timely and critical, not only to end the cycle of political violence that tends to take ethnic lines, but also to establish a new professional national army that reflects all the faces of South Sudan as an ethnically diverse nation. In demographic term, this means proportional representation of all our 64 ethnic groups in the new national army. Our position also calls for demobilization of all irregular armed groups including our Civil Defence Force (White Army), Mathiang-Anyor, Dotku Beny or any other active community based armed group throughout the country. Another fallacious fiction is the narrative that the opposition demanded payment of war debts it has incurred since it took arms in December 2013. To the contrary, what we have demanded and are still demanding is the public disclosure of all the illegal debts Kiir’s Kleptocracy has been incurring in the name of the sovereign people of South Sudan (sovereign guarantees). That we see as our rights as citizens of South Sudan who will inherent those debts by virtue of being citizens under the international law of agency. We have also presented wealth sharing between states and the centre in a decentralized federal system. Speaking from ten years experience we believe that our proposal is beneficial to all our people in the states as the later has always been taking a lion share of the national budget (90%). This does not mean wealth sharing between the two warring parties as has been fallaciously presented in Juba’s media. This is another bizarre miss representation of the facts and issues presented in written public documents.

This fallacious propaganda cannot be allowed to go on without rebuttal. The facts must be filtered from fictions and fallacies to get into the crux of the issues at hand. In order to resolve this conflict, a new tone of communication must be created. The diplomatic community and the global media must scientifically put the accurate weight of responsibility on a balanced scale. It is imperative that each party is squarely held responsible for what it does or does not do in this blame game without rules. In another word, there is a critical need to put blame where it is due and credit where it is long overdue. Flatteries and diplomatic niceties do not resolve conflicts. A crisis of this magnitude in South Sudan needs aggressive and preventive diplomacy that must start with fundamental questions to address the root causes of the conflict as follows: what triggered the crisis in the first place, who did what then and who is doing what now!! 

Unlike in December 2013 when Juba managed to mislead the world with the devilish gimmickry they called coup attempt, time has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Kiir himself manufactured the ongoing crisis as a ploy to extend life span of his fascist regime. That exploded in his face when his own institutions including the court and the military intelligence dismissed the coup narrative he is still chasing like a wind. Events since then have proven that it is the same tyrant regime that cooked the crisis, which is now violating all the agreements it signed with opposition since January 2014. The UN and the international humanitarian community in South Sudan have also witnessed that it is Kiir’s regime that has been hampering humanitarian operations by harassing United Nation Mission and murdering aid workers in Greater Upper Nile. With Yowery Museveni behind him and appeasement from the region and beyond, Kiir has been overtly violating all the agreements including the COH. Militarily, the two fascist regimes of Kiir and Museveni’, their allied Sudanese terrorist groups and other foreign mercenaries have been on the offensive gaining more territories to dictate the term of negotiation on the table until today.

On the diplomatic front, Kiir’s regime has been using the dialogue as a public relations exercise. They were always in Addis-Ababa to buy time as they continued to toil for military solution. In what looked like monologue with deaf, they proposed that it is the opposition as the aggrieved party to make presentations and the government reacts to those presentations. This non-dialogical approach was designed to waste time and frustrates the whole process. We welcomed that in good faith and proceeded as agreed upon. From the political framework to rainbow document, the opposition made elaborate presentations on all the areas of needed reforms in Kiir’s dysfunctional system. On structural and institutional reforms, we made the case for the need to overhaul the current civil service and the public security sector, which is currently dominated by Kiir’s clan. At the constitutional level, we exposed the decay of the regime by pointing out that the two branches of Kiir’s government (judiciary and executive) have been made the dockets of Kiir’s home state.  To entrench and institutionalize their kleptocracy, they have also taken the docket of treasury (both Finance and Central Bank). For those who know the truth, this depicts Kiir’s clannish oligarchy as a criminal establishment that must be dismantled to form an inclusive national government. On governance and system of government, we made the case for amendment of the existing one-man’s constitution to implement full-fledged federal system. In response, Kiir’s delegation acknowledged that federalism is historical and political demand of the people of South Sudan but maintained without elaboration that the time to address it is not now. On demobilization of irregularforcesand formation of a new army, they have maintained that their political status as a legitimate government grants them the right to recruit from their ethnic states of Warap and Nothern Bar-Elghazal. In sum, the opposition forces and other stake holders made the case for institutional reforms, democratic transformation, peace, reconciliation and accountability for war crimes committed by both sides of the armed conflict. Kiir’s delegation dismissed all the grievances and made it a point that they will not allow any thing that tempers with the status quo. To them, meaningful power sharing with other parties for a democratic transition leading to free and fair election means regime change and ouster of Salva Kiir. That is very clear from their English, which is heavily loaded with legitimacy and the sovereignty of South Sudan. From what we have heard so far, Kiir and the company have arrogated the sovereignty of South Sudan to themselves as their sole possession. According to them, legitimacy and sovereignty give them all the rights including the right to amend the existing transitional constitution to indefinitely cling to that dictatorial power.

It goes without informing the people of South Sudan, the region, Africa and the world that the same rule of guns attitude that Kiir and his cronies used to obstruct the democratic process and commit mass homicide, has not been deterred. They took it to the peace table in Ethiopia, not only once, but several times during the course of the IGAD mediated peace talks. That attitude was well represented on the table by Kiir’s cheeky team of negotiators. We the opposition and the IGAD envoys have been through the thick and thin of that since January 2014. We had always been there to take the pain of Nhial Deng’s eloquent blusters, Makuei Lueth’s sarcastic outbursts and Kok Ruei’s thunderous tantrums! The truth must be told that Kiir’s delegation had never gone to Addis in genuine search for peace. Counting on military victory in the field, they had only two things to offer on the table: permanent ceasefire and re-integration of opposition forces into their tribal army (Mathiang Anyor) within three months. Anything else is deferred to what they called National Dialogue in Juba.  They also challenged the opposition to represent only those areas under their military control. The Mediation and all the stakeholders present heard that loud and clear as a negotiation of the victors versus the vanquished. The rest are contemptuous gestures against the opposition parties (whether armed or not), civil society organizations and the clergy. It is a militaristic attitude that tends to push all to protracted armed struggle. Otherwise, one can conclude with ease that Kiir and the company have lost the political debate. The only song they can sing with rhyming lyrics is the Legitimacy. What they are deliberately ignoring though is the cold truth that the clock is ticking toward the end of their bogus legitimacy. I think it is time for, Kiir and the sycophantic surrounding to understand that the etiological meaning of the Greek word “tyranny” means illegitimate rule!  In Dr. Richard Mula’s recent articulation at the talks in Addis-Ababa, “Kiir’s legitimacy has been eroded by his own despotic behaviour that has plunged the country into this mess”. Secretary Kerry of United States also put it correctly thatLegitimacy is not a presumed right of Kiir’s government”. True, it is the people who confer legitimacy and it is never a divine entitlement. It follows that the same people who conferred it can revoke it at any given time. The conventional practice teaches that it is not the election that sustains legitimacy but how the elected political leader in question governs the country.

In any case, this destructive war of shame must be ended and this needs courageous leadership from both sides. Dr. Luka Biong of Juba University has said it all in his recent article that  “the Chairman of the SPLM and the President of the Republic has a moral and national responsibility to provide leadership toward national consensus to resolve this crisis. Other parties and stakeholders including civil society and the clergy have the same responsibility to bring peace but the reality on the ground in South Sudan is that Salva Kiir wields the most omnipotent power to bring it by stroke of a pen. Kiir in his diatribe belamed Dr. Riek Machar for everything but, the world should have known by now that Dr. Riek Machar has lost it all since July 2013. To add the wound to the insult, members of his community were callously butchered in Juba. The survivors of that genocide are now subjected to protracted suffering in UN camps throughout the country. He had to escape for his own life in what turned out to be a fabricated coup. Putting the credit where it is due, he has courageously managed to turn all that humiliation and mass anger into a national resistance movement calling for institutional reforms, peace with justice, democracy, reconciliation and national healing. He does not have anything else to give. He is ready to do everything including swallowing his pride to work with Salva Kiir again to stop the bloodletting. He has been in Ethiopia now for the last one year to achieve just that.  Hence, the ball is on Salva Kiir’s court. The word though is that the time for presidential amnesties, re-integration, cosmetic deals and political accommodations is over. The prevailing crisis in South Sudan needs comprehensive political and security arrangement to get our people out of this slippery pool of blood.

The author is a former diplomat, political activist and former Minister of Education in Jonglei State. He can be reached by electronic mail at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Democratization and Sudan: An Obama policy of disingenuousness

By Eric Reeves

March 17, 2015 (SSNA) -- Recent comments in Khartoum by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Steven Feldstein warrant serious scrutiny in light of the elections in Sudan scheduled for a month from now. Most significantly, “[Feldstein] reiterated U.S. support for an inclusive and comprehensive National Dialogue to resolve Sudan’s conflicts” (State Department media note, 28 February 2015). This preposterous optimism about the nature and prospects of true national political dialogue in Sudan under the current regime is of a piece with Obama administration policies and statements over the past six years, and signals in advance of the elections that the “victory” that will be represented by President Omar al-Bashir’s “re-election” will be accepted, thereby providing the “legitimacy” that members of the regime see as the real goal of this electoral charade—boycotted by a growing number of important political constituencies and simply unable to be conducted in many parts of the country wracked by violence.

It would be a long chronicle indeed that managed to record even briefly the various moments of disingenuousness and outright mendacity on the part of the Obama administration in speaking about Sudan and articulating what passes for a “Sudan policy.” Whether it is the refusal to acknowledge realities in Darfur and the need for meaningful civilian protection; the duplicitous means by which Abyei was abandoned (notably, President al-Bashir recently declared officially that Abyei is part of Sudan); the expedient failure to acknowledge the implications of Khartoum’s military actions in South Kordofan in summer 2011; or the absurd claim by former special envoy Princeton Lyman that the current National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime (NCP) is capable of overseeing democratization in Sudan—at countless points the Obama administration has failed to take issues in Sudan seriously or speak of them honestly. The secession of South Sudan marked the end of engagement with the real issues in Sudan; and the continuing lust for counter-terrorism intelligence has ensured that Sudan policy has moved further out of the State Department and into the multifarious U.S. intelligence community.

Examples abound

Obama’s first special envoy, Air Force Major General Scott Gration, declared soon after taking the position that only “remnants of genocide” remained in Darfur. A literally incoherent statement as it stood at the time, Gration’s evident claim has been thoroughly belied by the continuing ethnically-targeted human destruction, suffering, and engineered deprivation that never ceased and have dramatically accelerated for the past three years, reaching a current crescendo that has put more than half the population of Darfur at risk—more than three and a half million people. What the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs calls the “GAM load” for Sudan as a whole is 2 million, i.e., 2 million people are at risk because of “Global Acute Malnutrition” (GAM).

It must also be noted that almost 3 million people are either internally displaced within Darfur or refugees in eastern Chad, the latter figure approaching 400,000. Approximately 2 million Darfuris have been newly displaced since special envoy Scott Gration made his now infamous remark about only there being “remnants of genocide” in Darfur (many hundreds of thousands more Sudanese civilians have been displaced in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States since 2011). The disastrously conceived UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is collapsing and significant elements have been already been withdrawn by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations—not always publicly. The Mission’s UN Security Council authorization, which expires this June, will not be renewed—certainly not in any meaningful form in the face of veto threats from Russia and China; for its part, Khartoum has in recent months adamantly insisted that UNAMID be withdrawn. Humanitarian organizations that have withstood all that the Khartoum regime has inflicted upon them are at the end of their tether. Certainly the end of UNAMID, and thus any international protection force, will compel withdrawal by those that have not already suspended operations or been expelled by the regime.

The targets of militia attacks by Khartoum’s redeployment of Janjaweed elements as the Rapid Response Forces (RSF) continue to remain overwhelmingly populations from the non-Arab/African tribal groups in Darfur, as do attacks on civilians—including rape—by the regular Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).

Following the March 2009 expulsion of thirteen international humanitarian relief organizations and the closing of three important Sudanese national relief organizations, total humanitarian capacity in Darfur was reduced by approximately 50 percent, according to one extremely well-placed UN official (confidential e-mail received March 20, 2009). Moreover, institutional memory, administrative organization, and camp leadership provided by these organizations were devastated. It was impossible to replace the capacity that existed prior to March 2009, and in fact the international relief presence has actually been further reduced by subsequent expulsions, denial of access in many areas of Darfur, and Khartoum’s relentless war of attrition against humanitarian organizations.

The Obama administration response at the time of the expulsions was a mixture of helplessness, expediency, and disingenuousness—what has become a familiar pattern. President Obama declared a week after the expulsions that such actions were “not acceptable” (March 10, 2009). But he and representatives of his administration subsequently took to a vague language of accommodation:

“We have to figure out a mechanism to get those [expelled international humanitarian organizations] back in place [in Darfur], to reverse that decision, or to find some mechanism whereby we avert an enormous humanitarian crisis, [Obama said].” (Reuters [Washington, DC] 30 March 2009)

Such a “mechanism” was of course nowhere in sight, weeks after Obama’s initial declaration—and it was left to special envoy Gration to declare a month into the crisis, “We have to come up with a solution [to the humanitarian crisis] on the ground in the next few weeks” (Agence France-Presse [Khartoum], 4 April 2009). But in the absence of a “solution” or a “mechanism,” (then) Senator John Kerry, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee and an Obama administration surrogate on Sudan, offered an obscenely disingenuous claim of triumph: “‘We have agreement [with Khartoum] that in the next weeks we will be back to 100 percent [humanitarian] capacity,’ said [Senator John] Kerry” (Reuters [el-Fasher], 17 April 2009). Kerry knew full well that Khartoum’s promise was utterly worthless, but by citing it he tuned down international pressure on the regime to respond to actions that dramatically increased the risk faced by millions of Darfuris. Tremendous human suffering and destruction followed from this disingenuousness, and the diffusing of pressure on Khartoum over humanitarian presence and access.

Gration’s successor as special envoy, Princeton Lyman, refused for months in summer 2011 to characterize the atrocity crimes in South Kordofan and the Nuba Mountains in remotely appropriate fashion. He denied the existence of mass graves in and around Kadugli following the large-scale and systematic targeting of Nuba civilians in June 2011, despite compelling satellite photographic evidence and reports from the ground by UN human rights officials. In a June 28, 2011 interview with the NewsHour (PBS) he scoffed at claims that what was occurring in the Nuba Mountains amounted to a reprise of the genocide of the 1990s:

“Nuba Mountain people are fighting back and I don’t think the North is capable of dislodging large numbers of people on an ethnic basis.... That’s the reality on the ground. Second, I’m not sure that’s the objective of the government....”

The current reality on the ground is that many hundreds of thousands of Nuba have been displaced over the past three and a half years—and more than 220,000 have fled from the Nuba and Blue Nile to South Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of other civilians live at acute risk of military assault from the air and on the ground. The agricultural economy of the region has been devastated. And as to Lyman’s declaring, “I’m not sure that’s the objective of the government [ethnic cleansing and destruction of the Nuba people],” President al-Bashir provided a forceful rebuke of such expedient skepticism just days later:

“[President and Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir] directed the armed forces to continue their military operations in South Kordofan until a cleansing of the region is over,” SUNA [Sudan News Agency] quoted Bashir as telling worshippers during Friday prayers.” (Reuters [Khartoum] 1 July 2011)

Lyman had downplayed the significance of Khartoum’s preparation for the military annexation of Abyei (May 20 – 22, 2011)—and following the event did little to suggest the U.S. was particularly concerned. This had an immediate impact on Khartoum’s thinking and was instrumental in unleashing the military campaign that began in South Kordofan two weeks later (5 June 2011).

One might have thought that Lyman learned something of the character of the regime during his tenure as special envoy; instead, he declared in a 3 December 2011 interview with the distinguished English-language Arab news outlet Asharq Al-Awsat:

[Asharq Al-Awsat] “The US administration has welcomed the Arab Spring which has overthrown a number of dictatorships in the Middle East and led to free and fair elections being held. Are you calling for the Arab Spring to encompass Sudan, as well?”

[Lyman] “This is not part of our agenda in Sudan. Frankly, we do not want to see the ouster of the [Sudanese] regime, nor regime change. We want to see the regime carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures.”

The sheer preposterousness of such a notion—that the Khartoum regime could “carry out reform via constitutional democratic measures”—is what provides the context for Feldstein’s visit to Khartoum and his comments on departing: “[Feldstein] reiterated U.S. support for an inclusive and comprehensive National Dialogue to resolve Sudan’s conflicts.” For Feldstein’s “National Dialogue” read Lyman’s “the regime carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures.”

Khartoum’s “National Dialogue”: A deadly political farce

Feldstein’s “reiteration” is not merely preposterous but sends to Khartoum a clear signal: the U.S. will welcome any effort, however specious, to present the April 2015 presidential election as somehow an advance in the democratic process. This is what lay behind the regime’s announcing a wholly factitious “National Dialogue,” which senior regime officials have themselves repeatedly described as a political ploy, designed to give credibility to the foregone conclusion of President Omar al-Bashir’s “victory” in the election. I offer in Appendix A many examples of such comments, which come from the now fully authenticated leaked minutes of the meeting on August 31, 2014 of the regime’s most senior security and military officials, as well as the minutes for a similar meeting on July 1, 2014, also substantially authenticated by native Arabic-speaking/writing Sudanese familiar with the practices of the regime. There have been other significant leaks as well, making clear that there is a serious internal breach in the regime’s security and giving added credibility to the authenticity of these particular sets of minutes.

And yet as widely as the proposed “National Dialogue” has been rejected by the most important political constituencies in Sudan, and despite the many actors who have vowed not to participate in what is transparently a rigged electoral process, the U.S.—with far too much international company—is content to pretend that the regime’s efforts are genuine, and that the “National Dialogue” is meant to include, in meaningful fashion, other political voices.

[I attach below (Appendix B) the lengthy comments of 31 August 2015 by senior regime political official Ibrahim Ghandour on the preparations the NCP had already made in fixing the April 2015—and this was half a year ago.]

The disingenuous suggestion by Feldstein that Khartoum’s version of a “National Dialogue” has any real meaning works precisely to disenfranchise those within Sudan who truly want such dialogue. (Feldstein is evidently the most senior official Khartoum would allow, following the set-up visit by Ghandour to Washington last month; current U.S. special envoy for Sudan Donald Booth cannot obtain a visa to Khartoum.) As well as expressing support for the regime’s “National Dialogue,” Feldstein invoked in obligatory and entirely meaningless fashion the idea of “human rights” in Sudan:

"Deputy Assistant Secretary Feldstein said the United States will continue to emphasize key democracy and human rights priorities in Sudan."

And yet there is absolutely nothing suggesting that past Obama administration “emphasis” on “human rights” or “democracy” has borne any fruit; but of course using the words provides at least a fig-leaf of cover for an administration that is looking for a cost-free way to manage the Sudan relationship.

Words without consequence

The substitution of words for meaningful changes in policies toward Khartoum has been evident since the beginning of the Obama administration. Indeed, this was the only task for which special envoy Gration was qualified. But the substitution continues. When U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, in an unusually forcefully worded statement (12 June 2014), “condemned in the strongest possible terms” the deliberate and intensifying bombing of schools, hospitals, and “ordinary people” (Agence France-Presse [UN/New York], 13 June 2014), Khartoum had a ready response: four days after Power’s tough talk, the regime bombed the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in South Kordofan:

During an aerial attack on a Sudanese village, Sudan’s air force bombed and partially destroyed a hospital run by the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the war-torn South Kordofan region on Monday, depriving civilians of critical medical care, the organization said today. As bombs struck the village of Farandalla [more commonly spelled Frandala] on 16 June, two hit the MSF hospital. (MSF Press Release, 17 June 2014)

There was no U.S. response of consequence to this outrageous war crime, one that makes a mockery of Deputy Assistant Secretary Feldstein’s sanctimonious words in Khartoum about “human rights.” Indeed, in the final State Department read-out from the visit, Feldstein disingenuously spoke of the Obama administration’s

"concern about targeted attacks against civilians in Darfur and the Two Areas [South Kordofan and Blue Nile], including aerial bombardments of civilian targets, and attacks on aid workers. He called upon the Government of Sudan to fully investigate and hold perpetrators of these acts accountable.”

Absurdity reaches new heights with such expression of “concern”: Feldstein and everyone else knows that there is only one air force in Sudan, and that orders for the attacks come from the most senior members of the regime’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). Are we really to believe that the “Government of Sudan” will “fully investigate and hold perpetrators of these acts accountable”? That the regime’s senior military officials will “investigate” their own actions and “hold themselves accountable”? The pretense that any of the aerial attacks on civilians and humanitarians throughout Sudan are not at the behest of the “Government of Sudan” is simply despicable.

Such pretense and the lack of any meaningful response to the attack on MSF in Frandala—on the part of the U.S. and other international actors—is the primary reason Khartoum felt free to bomb the hospital again, this time with a Russian-made Sukhoi-24 advanced air-to-ground military jet aircraft.

This attack occurred less than two months ago—and only a little more than a month prior to Feldstein’s talk of “human rights” and “democracy” in Sudan. MSF reported (22 January 2015):

A hospital operated by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was directly targeted in an aerial bombing in Sudan on January 20, forcing the suspension of medical activities, MSF announced today [22 January 2015]. The hospital, located in the Nuba Mountains village of Frandala in the South Kordofan region of Sudan, was bombed by the Sudanese Air Force (SAF). Repeated and targeted bombings in the region prevent the safe operation of medical activities, depriving the local population of lifesaving care...

“With more than 100 patients present, we were very lucky not to have more casualties because people simply had no time to seek protection. Everyone is shocked and frightened of further attacks.”

We should not be surprised by such attacks: for more than twenty years they have been a regular feature of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime’s conduct of war. Moreover, we have the benefit of the behind-closed-doors views expressed by Defense Minister (and former Interior Minister) Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, indicted by the International Criminal Court for massive “crimes against humanity” in Darfur. Minutes from the 1 July 2014 meeting of senior regime officials, including not only Hussein but President al-Bashir, are startlingly frank—about both “human rights” and “democracy”:

[Hussein]: “We won’t stop the war on Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Our National Dialogue initiative is just a maneuver to provide us with political cover for a continuation of the war against the rebellion.

We have instructed the Air Force to bomb any place, whether it is a school, hospital, or a nongovernmental humanitarian organization operating in rebel-controlled areas without permission from the government. Such presence is offensive and should be destroyed.”

Such views—of which the Obama administration is well aware—call into question the appropriateness of lifting any economic sanctions against this regime, which remains committed to war, committed to a wide range of atrocity crimes, and committed to using the notion of a “National Dialogue” not to promote democracy but to subvert it. And yet this is precisely what occurred on 17 February 2015. Sudan Tribune reported (17 February 2015) that the U.S. Treasury Department had lifted sanctions on “exports of personal communications hardware and software including smart phones and laptops.”

In justifying this action, current Sudan special envoy Donald Booth declared that, “These changes are consistent with our commitment to promote freedom of expression through access to communications tools." This is of course nonsense and Khartoum would never allow the import of anything that might “promote freedom of expression.” Importing up-to-date American computers on the other hand is certainly on the regime’s wish list, and with its total control of Internet access in Sudan, the regime hardly fears that it will be loosing the forces of free speech. During the popular uprising in September 2013, Internet access was shut down entirely at the height of the crisis, and the same will be true for any using “smart phones” in the event of a similar uprising.

Bizarrely, noting the seizure of fourteen Sudanese newspaper editions earlier in the week, Booth claimed that such repressive actions “offer a prime example of the need to enable people to have access to communication tools.” On the contrary, Khartoum will be no more tolerant of telecommunications and social media than it is of newspapers—and it has learned a great deal from the experience of its “Arab Spring” neighbors. As the minutes from the August 31, 2014 meeting of senior officials make abundantly clear, Khartoum’s intercept capabilities have grown prodigiously in recent years, giving them access even to highly secured foreign intelligence data. Controlling domestic Internet and mobile phone use will not be a problem, as many in Khartoum can attest—and as can I, having recently seen my computer in the U.S. hacked and my Sudan websites compromised for any who were on my frequently visited Facebook page (now de-activated) devoted to Sudan issues.

“Democracy” in Sudan: Expedient self-delusion

It is far past time that we ask some hard questions of the Obama administration, which has gotten a “pass” from most news media on its Sudan policy. What possible meaning can “human rights” or “democracy” have in the context of the regime’s severe political repression, its increasing crackdown on the news media, its total monopoly on broadcast programs, its exceedingly well-funded propaganda machine for both domestic and international consumption—and a willingness to deny legitimacy to all who would indeed wish to participate in a true national dialogue but are consistently rebuffed? Major coalitions have developed over the past several years: the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF), uniting the rebel forces of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile; the large National Consensus Forces, which while not supporting armed insurrection has made common cause with the SRF in its ambition to bring about regime change; and most recently the signatories to the Berlin Declaration, an even more expansive group of political actors. The response to this Declaration by the regime was entirely predictable and delivered by President al-Bashir. Sudan Tribune reports (14 March 2015):

The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has described the Berlin Declaration signed by the political and armed opposition groups as a “failure” considering it “as if it had not taken place.” During the last week of February, the "Sudan Call" forces, including the National Consensus Forces (NCF), the rebel umbrella Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF), National Umma Party (NUP) and civil society groups announced readiness to participate in a meeting with the Sudanese government to discuss requirements and procedures of the national dialogue.

This came just two weeks after Feldstein’s reiteration of “U.S. support for an inclusive and comprehensive National Dialogue to resolve Sudan’s conflicts.”

Do Feldstein and the Obama administration think that merely uttering the words “democracy” and “human rights” makes the slightest difference to the regime’s ruthless survivalists? Do they think that should there be renewed popular demonstrations of the sort we saw in September 2013 the regime would hesitate to issue renewed “shoot to kill” orders to security forces? Such orders, authoritatively confirmed by Amnesty International, resulted in the deaths of more than 400 people in Khartoum, Omdurman, and other cities throughout Sudan.

But the recent peremptory rejection by President al-Bashir of the Berlin Declaration, coming just two weeks after Feldstein’s trip to promote “democracy” in Sudan, forces a question that the Obama administration has so far refused to answer directly: is the U.S. willing to accept a “National Dialogue” defined by the machinations and duplicity of the regime? Or does it support a truly national dialogue, between multiple important political constituencies? I queried the State Department official designated in the 28 February 2015 State Department press release in Khartoum, but was offered only a belated response, noting that my queries had been forwarded to Deputy Assistant Secretary Feldstein and Special Envoy Booth. Given the history of my past queries of the State Department, I am not optimistic about a meaningful response.

But we will have an answer in less than a month: the grotesque spectacle of an “election” that guarantees five more years of power to the NCP, and in the words of several senior regime officials, “five more years of legitimacy,” will make a mockery of the phrase “National Dialogue.” It will be clear that Defense Minister Hussein’s view prevails within the regime: “Our National Dialogue initiative is just a maneuver to provide us with political cover for a continuation of the war....”

Will the Obama administration accept these realities and all they imply for millions of Sudanese? Will it accept, if with a dutiful grudgingness, the “re-election” of Omar al-Bashir as génocidaire-in-chief? Let us assume that the answer hinges on whether the Sudan file is now at the State Department or within the intelligence community; the election will clarify this question as well.

Appendix A: Examples of statements about the uses of the “National Dialogue” by senior officials of the Khartoum regime (from both the 1 July 2014 minutes and the 31 August 2014 minutes):

1 July 2014:

  • Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein:

“Our National Dialogue initiative is just a maneuver to provide us with political cover for a continuation of the war....”

  • General Engineer Imadal-Din Adawy, Chief of Joint Operations:

The National Dialogue will serve to provide us with political cover. We will continue with this effort because it will serve us in our war against the rebellion in the coming dry season.

  • President Omar al-Bashir:

[The National Dialogue] is also intended to provide political cover for the present Constitution and the Decisive Summer Campaign [against the SPLA-North].

We don’t negotiate outside the country, and if such negotiations occur, we have used them as a means to take us to the elections in April 2015.

We will not accept a halting of the war; the solution is military victory. That will be obtained in the Decisive Summer Campaign. You are now instructed to crush the armed movements in all three fronts (Nuba Mountains, Darfur, and Blue Nile).The war against the rebellion must continue.

I am glad from what I have heard that we agree on the following: —

[1] Preparation for the Decisive Summer Campaign is to continue.

[2] Elections to be held on time April 2015.

...

[8] There will be no holding of any constitutional conference or formation of a transitional government.

31 August 2014:

  • General Hashim Osman Al-Hussein, Director General of Police:

Let us go ahead and prepare a force to protect the elections. Secondly, if negotiations are necessary let them take place after the elections. Also, the internal national dialogue can continue after we hold the elections. We will continue recruiting and splitting the field commanders, and winning them to our side since we have all the information about the rebels.

  • General Mohammed Atta, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Services:

We said the National Dialogue must be held inside the country, elections must take place on schedule, the decisive summer campaign must continue. We should step-up the recruitment to increase the RSF.

************************

  • Ibrahim Ghandur, Deputy Chairman of the NCP

We want a slow dialogue in order to allow for maneuvering. If we see that we are benefiting from it we can accelerate it, but if it is not in our favor, it can go slowly and the elections can take place in time. Our aim is to go to the election enjoying legitimacy accorded by the National Dialogue process. [See fuller comments in Appendix B]

  • General Bakri Hassan Salih, First Vice President:

The negotiations, the National Dialogue, the Paris Declaration and all their statements are needed to take us to the elections.

Try to manage this crisis until we see the result of the National Dialogue, the elections, and wipe out the rebellion to end the war. We don’t want any foreign solutions again. Any agreement should be achieved inside Sudan.

*********************

Appendix B: Ibrahim Ghandour, Deputy Chairman of the NCP, discussing electoral machinations and payoffs, from the minutes of the August 2014 meeting of senior military and security officials in Khartoum:

“First our preparations for the elections are going according to plan. Our party conferences are being held all over the country and the convention will take place on time, except that, we are going to delay naming our candidate for the presidency until the last moments so as to take the political arena by surprise. We want our security agencies to inform us ahead of time about the opinion of all political parties, loyal or detractors concerning the elections so we influence things at an early stage.

“We have already arranged with the Public Congress Party (PCP), and we are paying them individual and party compensations for their loss, in addition to funds to be used to induce opposing PCP members. The total amount is three (3) billion to be paid in three installments. The first amount is to be paid at the beginning of the National Dialogue. The second amount is to be handed at the nomination for the elections. The third, and last, is to be paid during the election campaign. We made this agreement that way in order to guarantee the participation of all the PCP in the election process.

“We agreed to it because Turabi’s support for us has another dimension. It guarantees the consent and support of all the Islamic movements who are members of the International Islamic Movement, and in case there is any security threat, he can join us in the jihad against our common enemy. We will be able to bring all the Islamists together by that agreement on the basis of a program that holds mutual benefit to all. It is not necessary to come under one organization, the most important thing is the common objective against the secular forces or currents and the conspiracies targeting the Islamists all over the Arab land.

“Regarding Al-Marghani group, (DUP) half of the party is with us, but we still need to concentrate on Hasan Hilal, Ahmed Saad and Omer Al-Shariif (currently ministers). We stand behind them, give them information on how they are targeted within their party. Also half of Ghazi Salah al-Din’s party is ours.

“We want our security agencies to maintain and keep the opposition elements so there will be a criticizing voice among us. This will help us convince the international community that ours is a mature and genuine democracy. Our relation with the EU is good and all the attempts of the SRF to enjoy recognition by the EU has failed. They only meet parliaments and not the governments who hold the decisions. We want a slow dialogue in order to allow for maneuvering. If we see that we are benefiting from it we can accelerate it, but if it is not in our favor, it can go slowly and the elections can take place in time. Our aim is to go to the election enjoying legitimacy accorded by the National Dialogue process...”

“That same night I went with Mustafa to see Al- Ziber Ahmed the S/G of the Islamic Movement and found Dr. Kamal Obeid and Dr. El- Fateh Ezz el-Din. As soon as he saw us he asked us if we were coming regarding “Sadiq and the Rebels’ declaration” and he said that after consultations they rejected it part and parcel. They considered it a conspiracy directed against us. He told us that you must criminalize anyone who attended or participated in this [Paris] Declaration, the media must be directed to campaign against it and intimidate people from joining this declaration. This declaration was supervised by foreign circles that are endeavoring to destroy Islam and the Muslims and it is tainted by the SPLM vision.

“So we asked Mbeki and Mohammed [Ibn Chambas, former UNAMID chief—ER] to bring together the rebels for consultation about the National Dialogue and both are in agreement with us.

Eric Reeves is the Author of Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007-2012 www.CompromisingWithEvil.org.

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