Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sudan: Jihad a tradition not stopped by peace

Date: Saturday 24 November 2007
Subj: Sudan: Jihad a tradition not stopped by peace agreements
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


This posting provides an update to the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis posting of Wednesday 3 October 2007 entitled: "Southern Sudan: On the path to war."

On Saturday 17 November 07 Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addressed a rally organised by Sudan's Popular Defence Forces (PDF) to celebrate their 18th anniversary. The PDF, which is known for its atrocities, was created in 1989 as a government paramilitary to fight alongside the Sudan Armed Forces in the jihad against the Southerners. It has subsequently been deployed against Darfur, as it is widely accepted that the PDF and the janjaweed are often one and the same. President al-Bashir's words have sent a shock wave through South Sudan and Darfur.

The Sudan Tribune reports (17 Nov): "Addressing a mass rally this morning at the Wad-Medani Stadium (capital of Al-Jazeera State), some 200 miles south of Khartoum, celebrating the 18th anniversary of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), President al-Bashir ordered to the PDF to open its camps and mobilize troops and get prepared for any eventuality. 'Now we order the PDF, the legitimate son of the people, to open their camps and gather the Mujahideen [holy warriors] not to wage war but it is obvious that we should be ready.'" (Link 1)

According to an Associated Press report, al-Bashir also accused Western powers of lying about their motives in backing a 26,000-strong UN and African Union forces due in Darfur in January. "'Those Americans, those British, and those Europeans are not keen about the people of Darfur, or the people of Southern Sudan or the Sudanese people,' he said. 'They are all liars and hypocrites who are only interested in the riches and resources of Sudan.'" Al-Bashir also singled out Scandinavian countries ". . . where some media had reproduced a caricature of Islam's Prophet Muhammad last year, and said Khartoum wouldn't allow them to contribute troops. 'Anyone who spoke blasphemously about the Prophet will not set a foot on Sudanese soil,' he said." (Link 2)

Al-Bashir's belligerent words drew an immediate response from Darfurian rebel leaders who said al-Bashir's directive was nothing other than a declaration of war. Agence France Presse reports (18 Nov): "A Darfur rebel faction said Sunday that a call by Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir to reopen auxiliary training camps was 'a declaration of war' and that it was putting its troops on high alert. 'The Sudan Liberation Movement-Unity decrees a state of maximum alert for its troops following the Sudanese president's declarations about opening Popular Defence Force training camps,' the SLM-Unity said in a statement. 'We take this decision as a declaration of all-out war in Sudan.'" (Link 3)

Southerners have also moved to a state of high alert. The Sudan Tribune reports (20 Nov): Pagan Amumu, ". . . the Secretary General of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), said that a state of mobilisation had begun in the south in reaction to the statements that were issued ordering the Popular Defence Forces to prepare and open camps.

"However, he stressed that war was not a favourable option for the SPLM but that it would defend itself if others began. He added that military capabilities had increased on both sides and that the SPLA's capabilities had developed a hundred times." (Link 4)

Amumu's boast (if it reflects truth) exposes the degree to which both sides have been violating the Comprehensive Peace Accord: as Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP, formerly the National Islamic Front) rightly notes, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement prohibits the increase of military capabilities. (Link 4)

(For a copy of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement's ceasefire arrangements, see link 5.)

MUJAHIDEEN MOBILISE

By Tuesday 20 November, Reuters news agency was reporting that young supporters of President al-Bashir were responding to his call. "The Youth Department Secretary of Bashir's dominant National Congress Party (NCP), Haj Majed Suwar, told state media that members had 'started assembling Mujahideen who (were) waiting eagerly to execute the president's order'.

"Suwar told the state-controlled Sudanese Media Centre the youth department was preparing to open training camps in response to the president's call. The news agency quoted Suwar as saying Jihad was a tradition that could not be stopped by signing peace agreements." (Link 6)

Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) Sudan president orders paramilitary forces mobilisation, rejects Abyei report
18 November 2007 http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article24793
SEE ALSO
Sudan president "threatens war" -- former rebels
By Andrew Heavens in Khartoum,18 Nov 2007
http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN830929.html

2) Sudan President Criticizes Western Interference, Says Ready For War (AP)
18 Nov 2007 http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/15550.html

3) Darfur rebel group calls Beshir move 'declaration of war' (AFP)
18 Nov 2007 http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/15552.html

4) South Sudan army in state of mobilisation: SPLM SG
20 November 2007 http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article24826

5) Comprehensive Peace Agreement
http://www.usip.org/library/pa/sudan/cpa01092005/cpa_toc.html

6) Sudanese respond to militia call-up -- state media
20 Nov 2007 http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN031531.html

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

BOSNIA: THE LOOMING STORM

Date: Wednesday 21 November 2007
Subj: Bosnia: The looming storm.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


Bosnia is supposed to be enacting constitutional reforms aimed at transitioning the state to European Union (EU) membership from the stabilisation brought by the Dayton Accords. The Dayton Accords, which ended the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict, upheld the territorial sovereignty of the independent state of Bosnia while dividing it into two largely-autonomous entities: the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic). Inherent in Bosnia's transition to the EU is the EU (and American) requirement that Bosnia strengthen its state institutions at the expense of its entities.

The constitutional reforms proposed for Bosnia are contentious however because Bosnian Islamists, such as Bosnia's Muslim President Haris Silajdzic, are not interested in seeing Republika Srpska's institutions scaled down -- they want Republika Srpska abolished. The Islamists want to extend Muslim rule across all of Bosnia. Meanwhile, because Bosnia is a Muslim-majority state and Bosnian Serbs -- traditionally and culturally Serbian Orthodox -- have no wish to be dominated by Muslims, the Bosnian Serbs want to retain the autonomy that safeguards their religious liberty, security and culture. As it is, the traditionally Catholic Croats of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation are so sick of being discriminated against by the increasingly radicalised Muslim majority (see link 1) that they want to leave the federation. Croat groups are petitioning for a separate Croat-majority entity where they can enjoy their constitutional rights.

(For more details on Bosnia's radicalisation, religious tensions, constitutional reforms and background history, see link 2.)

All this of course is very frustrating for Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak, the High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, who is supposed to be orchestrating Bosnia's transition. Lajcak recently complained to an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council meeting in Vienna, "No one wants to be a minority and they all want to have a state." (Link 3)

Through this complaint, Lajcak not only displays contempt for the genuine complaints and concerns of religious minorities, he also misrepresents the truth. For unlike Serbia's minority Albanians, Bosnia's Croats and Serbs have not been calling for an independent "state". They simply desire the autonomy that would enable them to safeguard their religious liberty, security and culture within the Muslim-majority state. If the "International Community" (US, EU, UN) orchestrate the re-subjugation of the Bosnian Serbs (and Croats), then Bosnia might end up transitioning, not forwards from stabilisation to EU membership, but backwards from paralysis to crisis to ethnic-religious conflict.

LAJCAK IMPOSES LAWS AND TRIGGERS WORST CRISIS SINCE WAR

On 19 October, High Representative Miroslav Lajcak exercised his supreme power and decreed changes to the law that rules how Bosnia's democratically elected federal Council of Ministers conducts its business.

Lajcak's imposed changes to Bosnia's law on the Council of Ministers will benefit Islamists by making it easier for them to have their proposals passed. Previously when lawmakers representing the Muslim majority put forward proposals that were unacceptable to Republika Srpska, Bosnian Serb lawmakers (when they knew they could not get a majority to defeat the proposal) would simply boycott the session to force a postponement of the vote. Lajcak's measures alter the way a quorum is calculated and reduce by half the number of members of parliament needed to pass a law. Laws may now be passed on the majority votes of the lawmakers present, rendering ethnic boycotts ineffective. (Link 4)

The President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, rejected Lajcak's measures, describing them as unacceptable. When Bosnian Serb lawmakers requested Lajcak to reconsider, he rebuffed them, saying that the matter was not open for discussion! Lajcak regards the resultant crisis as "artificial". According to Lajcak the Bosnian Serbs have "overreacted to these measures in order to create a political crisis". Once again Lajcak is showing contempt for the genuine and reasonable concerns of the religious minorities who regard this as a substantial crisis.

The Office for the High Representative has issued a statement confirming that Lajcak's measures will not be withdrawn, crisis or not. Terrorism analyst Anes Alic in Sarajevo quotes the OHR statement as saying: "If the tensions continue to escalate without particular reason, that will be the choice of the Bosnian Serb authorities and they would be therefore deemed responsible for such a situation and possible consequences." According to Alic, "The US Embassy in Sarajevo issued a similar statement." (Link 5)

The new laws are now in force on a temporary basis. If Bosnia's Council of Ministers fails to endorse the law changes on 1 December, Lajcak (an unelected, imposed foreigner) will enact them unilaterally. The Republika Srpska (RS) Assembly has warned that if Lajcak does not reconsider or amend his measures to make them acceptable to Bosnian Serbs, then the RS Assembly will bring the issue to the attention of the RS Constitutional Court and even to the UN. (Link 6)

BALKAN FORECAST


Balkan forecast for December: dark clouds with storms (possibly violent and highly destructive, especially in the south). Unless changes blow in, 1 December will see Lajcak, with backing from the US and EU, dictating laws in Bosnia that threaten Serb autonomy, liberty and security, opening the door for Islamists to gradually extend their rule and dominance over all Bosnia, including its 1.4 million Serbs. Then on 10 December Albanian separatists in the Serbian province of Kosovo, with backing from the US and most EU member states, will declare unilateral independence. With this, Muslims will have re-annexed Serbian territory, the southern province of Kosovo and Metohija (church lands), complete with some 100,000 remnant Serbs and centuries of priceless Serbian and Christian heritage.

Note: US-EU-NATO policy regarding Bosnia -- ethnic-religious unification according to the will of the Muslim majority -- is contrary to its policy regarding Serbia -- ethnic-religious partition according to the will of the Muslim minority.

Serbs (allies of the West through two world wars) are supposed to willingly submit to re-subjugation in Bosnia and accept partition of Serbia -- the excision of their historic and spiritual heartland -- in line with the demands of Albanian ethnic separatists and Islamists.

The only thing consistent about US-EU-NATO policy in the Balkans is that it consistently aligns with Muslim forces and advances the Islamist agenda at the expense of Christian peoples, in particular Orthodox Slavs. It is reminiscent of the way Britain aligned with the Ottoman Turks in the Balkans a century ago, propping up Muslim forces as a bulwark against Russian expansion into the region.

US-EU-NATO policy in the Balkans has nothing to do with justice or "democracy" or humanitarianism and everything to do with post Cold War geopolitics, without regard for "collateral damage" (local Christians) or long-term consequences (regional and global instability and insecurity).

Elizabeth Kendal
rl-research@crossnet.org.au

Links

1) BALKAN MUJAHEDEENS
Fundamentalist Islam Finds Fertile Ground in Bosnia
By Renate Flottau in Sarajevo, Bosnia. 9 November 2007
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,516214,00.html

2) Bosnia and Herzegovina: Religious tensions rising.
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 19 September 2006.
By WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.
http://www.worldevangelicals.org/news/view.htm?id=692
(this posting also contains a historical background under the heading: "CREATING CONTEXT: HISTORY'S WEDGES")
SEE ALSO
Bosnia: Fragile stability threatened by Islamisation.
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 12 October 2006.
WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

3) Lajcak: Everyone in Bosnia wants their own state
25 October 2007, Source: Tanjug
http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=10&dd=25&nav_id=44869

4) Decision Enacting the Law on Changes and Amendments to the Law on the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Friday, 19 October 2007
http://www.ohr.int/decisions/statemattersdec/default.asp?content_id=40687

5) Dangerous rumblings in Bosnia
By Anes Alic in Sarajevo for ISN Security Watch. 2 Nov 2007 http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=18310
SEE ALSO
RS Proposal: No Basis For Further Discussion
OHR Sarajevo | Friday, November 09, 2007
http://www.ohr.int/ohr-dept/presso/pressr/default.asp?content_id=40821

6) Bosnia Serbs Rebuffed over Imposed Laws
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. 30 Oct 2007
http://www.birn.eu.com/en/110/15/5442/