Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SUDAN: war spreads across 'new south' into Blue Nile

by Elizabeth Kendal

The Arab-supremacist, Islamist regime of President Omar el-Bashir has long systematically marginalised (politically and economically) all Sudan's non-Arabs and violently persecuted all those who dare resist Islamisation. Black African Muslims who oppose the racist regime are labeled apostate and targeted for elimination along with the infidels. Consequently, Khartoum has long been at war not only with the predominantly-Christian South, but with the entire non-Arab periphery. In fact anyone -- including Arabs -- who advocates religious liberty and ethnic diversity over Sharia and Arabisation is treated as an enemy. The most significant opposition has long been the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

Consequently, the secession of South Sudan was never going to bring peace to the Republic of Sudan, for while the South seceded, the problem -- the regime in Khartoum -- remained. As was inevitable, the secession of the South has only made Khartoum more determined to entrench its power and exert total control over coveted lands and resources.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) mandated that three regions -- Abyei (straddling the North-South border) along with South Kordofan and Blue Nile states (both in the north) -- be entitled to "popular consultations" through which the predominantly black African, largely-Christian, SPLM-allied tribes could determine their own futures. However, in total defiance of the CPA, the Government of Sudan (GoS) seized and ethnically cleansed Abyei in May 2011, before launching, on 5 June, an ethnic cleansing campaign in South Kordofan. As is their regular strategy, Khartoum is engineering famine in South Kordofan by means of aerial bombardments and denial of humanitarian aid, in order to use starvation as a weapon of mass destruction.
SEE
Sudan: Nuba genocide resumes, 24June 2011.
AND
Nuba Genocide: US House Committee hears testimony, 9 Aug 2011.

In June, as war raged in South Kordofan, President el-Bashir postponed Blue Nile's "popular consultations", prompting Blue Nile's elected governor, SPLM-North chairman Malik Aggar, to warn that war may indeed be imminent. For just as in neighbouring South Kordofan, the people of Blue Nile have no desire for Arab domination or Islamisation. In Blue Nile, just as in South Kordofan, the SPLA-North -- which has long defended the peoples of Blue Nile and South Kordofan from Khartoum's aggression -- is refusing to disarm, and Khartoum is labeling this refusal an act of rebellion justifying military intervention in the name of defending national unity.

[NOTE: This is exactly the same as the situation in Burma, where the Burman-supremacist Buddhist junta is demanding the disarmament of the long-persecuted ethnic-religious minorities, and citing their refusal as justification for war. (NOTE: in both cases -- Burma and Sudan -- the demand was preceded by fraudulent elections, rigged to deliver a majority in parliament and to give the impression of a popular mandate.)
see: http://rlprayerbulletin.blogspot.com/search/label/Burma ]

On 28 and 29 August, the GoS moved "significant military forces – comprised of Popular Defence Forces (PDF) [Arab militias] national security, and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) – with heavy equipment into Blue Nile state." (source: Reeves / African Centre of Justice and Peace Studies)

On 1 September 2011, GoS forces attacked the home of Governor Malik Aggar in Al-Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile State before launching a full-scale assault on SPLA positions. Heavy military equipment has been deployed inside civilian areas.

On 2 September, President Bashir declared a state of emergency in Blue Nile and, in what is being described as a "political and military coup", dismissed Governor Aggar, installing Major General Yahya Mohamed Khair as military ruler in his place.

Reports abound of massive GoS troop deployments, aerial bombardments and wide-scale displacement across the Blue Nile state. An estimated 50,000 people have been displaced, with some 16,000 having crossed the border into Ethiopia. Furthermore, as in South Kordofan, the GoS is refusing to allow humanitarian aid groups access to the region. As food supplies run out, starvation will set in and we will witness yet another GoS-engineered humanitarian crisis.

Not only is the GoS moving to secure valuable resources (oil in Sth Kordofan and water and hydroelectric power in Blue Nile), the GoS is doubtless acting preemptively to hamstring the SPLM-North.

Now that South Sudan has seceded, Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile have become the "new south". Today conflict is raging right across this "new south" as well as in Darfur in the west. Should Sudan's other marginalised and persecuted peoples decided to fight -- such as the Nubia in the far North and the Beja in the east -- Sudan may well disintegrate.

Khartoum takes aim at the GoSS


Further to this, Khartoum has accused the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) of supporting rebel movements in the north. SPLM-N secretary general Yasir Arman, however, categorically denies that the GoSS is supporting the SPLA-North. (NOTE: As long-time civil war allies, soldiers of the SPLA-North carry weapons that have come from the South.)

GoS moves against the SPLM-North


The GoS has banned the SPLM-North, seized its offices and is arresting its members, not only in Khartoum but in all states across the North.

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) reports
that perceived SPLM-North supporters are being arrested throughout Sudan. The ACJPS report provides a list of dozens known to have been arrested.

SPLM-N secretary general Yasir Arman has slammed the GoS for carrying out "arbitrary arrests" of SPLM-N members across the country and for the "closure of its offices and confiscation of vehicles and properties". He also scoffed at the GoS, saying its plan to crush the SPLM-N was little more than "wishful thinking" and an "impossible mission".

As Arman notes, the conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile started long before the separation of South Sudan. "The current conflict," says Arman, "is a creation of [President Bashir's] NCP [National Congress Party] in that they sowed the seed of the problem when they voluntarily destroyed the CPA; attempted to disarm the SPLA/N and rejected the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement. The SPLM/N and other resistance movements and democratic forces are determined to put an end the illusive NCP program of the second Islamic Republic (see RLPB 117 ), a Taliban Republic that is based on heavy human cost and loss, denial of diversity, ethnic cleansing, genocide and terrorism."