Eric Reeves •
Given the tepid international response to events throughout Sudan in recent weeks, we must wonder if what we have seen for two and a half years in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile is the face of Sudan’s political future. Certainly the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime has shown no more restraint in violently putting down demonstrations than it has in trying to subdue the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N). Some will scoff at the suggestion, as they did when atrocity crimes were first reported from South Kordofan with chilling authority in June 2011. That same expedient skepticism is again on display in responding to current events throughout what is now Sudan. Silence about the deepening catastrophe in Darfur, where the last vestiges of security have disappeared, is of a piece with this response: there is no meaningful discussion of the millions of lives at acute risk if humanitarian operations collapse, which they may well do given the intolerable level of insecurity.
More than two years ago I began to publish regular accounts of the evidence that genocide was again beginning in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan—and would soon spread to Blue Nile. Publications were in prominent venues, including two framing pieces that appeared in The Washington Post (June 18, 2011 and February 10, 2012). To re-read them now, to contemplate the inaction, expediency, and disingenuousness of the international community that have followed—especially the U.S. and the UN—is simply soul-destroying. More than a million people have been displaced, hundreds of thousands brought to the brink of starvation while enduring a Khartoum-imposed humanitarian blockade, seen their livelihoods annihilated by relentless aerial attacks on agriculture—with no prospect of relief aid. Some 300,000 have fled to South Sudan and Ethiopia to refugee camps that offer poor conditions and are vulnerable in a wide variety of ways. Thousands have died.
Two years ago so much of this was visible, and yet it proved more convenient—politically and otherwise—not to press Khartoum to relent on its indiscriminate bombing of civilians and to end its humanitarian blockade of both the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. The chief tool early on was simply a denial of the evidence, evidence that soon became incontrovertible but produced no change in the views or policies of those. This was accompanied by exorbitantly foolish assessments of Khartoum’s intentions, precisely what we had seen prior to the military seizure of Abyei (May 21, 2011).
I have included below the titles, publication venue and date, links, and a brief excerpt from each of the dozen publications. There can be no response but shame to the many characterizations here that have been fully confirmed by evidence that continues to pour in from both Blue Nile and South Kordofan. I include in its entirety the first of the publications referred to here, “Genocide in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan,” Dissent Magazine June 22, 2011:
• “Genocide in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan”
Dissent Magazine (on-line), June 22, 2011
by Eric Reeves
The Kauda valley in the very center of the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, Sudan is a beautiful place, one of the most beautiful I’ve ever encountered. The hillsides are alive with tukuls (traditional thatched huts) and terraced landscapes that give the impression of always having been there—of belonging there. During my days there I took long walks into the remoter regions of the valley, taking many pictures and communicating awkwardly with folks I met. My camera seemed the perfect translation tool, as most of the people I photographed had never had the experience before, especially the children. And when they saw themselves—typically for the first time in their lives—in my flip-out monitor, the inevitable reaction (once recognition took place—not always an immediate process) was unconstrained laughter. I’m not sure I understood the laughter, or that there was much to understand beyond the fact that seeing themselves was hugely entertaining and out of the ordinary….
I also attended a much grimmer gathering, in the rocky hillside well above Kauda: a meeting of Nuba military and civil society leaders, led by the deputy governor of the region (the governor was in Nairobi), in a large tent set up for this occasion (http://www.sudanreeves.org/Sections-req-viewarticle-artid-129-allpages-1-theme-Printer.html). They were determined that I should hear their story, and they were deadly serious. Again and again I felt the force of decades of anger and disappointment pushing me back in my seat. I learned firsthand how bitter the people of the Nuba were, having been left out of consideration at the time of independence (1956), and in the Addis Ababa peace agreement (1972) that ended Sudan’s first civil war. They would not be left out of the next peace agreement, they insisted with a vehemence that was almost shocking, and clearly meant to be conveyed to those in whose hands their fate rested.
This was in January 2003—shortly after the cessation of hostilities agreement (October 2002), but well before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (January 2005) was signed by Khartoum and the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The Nuba knew that key decisions were going to be made about their future, and they wanted a voice. Most of all they wanted self-determination, even as they knew that the Nuba Mountains were not only in the North but nowhere contiguous with what will become the Republic of South Sudan on July 9. Their fear was that they would be left alone in a North Sudan dominated by Khartoum’s ideological Islam and Arabism (the ethnically diverse African people of the Nuba follow a number of religions, including Islam). Their worst fears have been realized.
Historical memory in this part of Sudan is defined by the terrible experiences of the 1990s, when Khartoum mounted a full-scale genocidal assault on the people of the Nuba, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands. This was jihad, and it was based on a fatwa issued in Khartoum in January 1992. With this justification, a total humanitarian blockade was imposed on the region, and many starving people were driven into “peace camps,” where receiving food was conditional upon conversion to Islam; those refusing were often tortured or mutilated. It is hardly surprising that Deputy Governor Ismael Khamis would tell me bluntly, “Khartoum doesn’t regard us as human beings.”
And judging by the nature of the genocide that is rapidly developing in South Kordofan, there can be little quarreling with Khamis’ assessment. Clear patterns have emerged from the many scores of reports that have come to me from the region over the past two weeks, Human Rights Watch has confirmed that Khartoum’s regular military and militia are undertaking a campaign of house-to-house roundups of Nuba in the capital city of Kadugli (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/06/10/un-au-urge-end-sudanese-abuses-s-kordofan). Many of these people are hauled away in cattle trucks or summarily executed; dead bodies reportedly litter the streets of Kadugli. The Nuba are also stopped at checkpoints grimly similar to those in Rwanda; those suspected of SPLM or “southern” political sympathies are arrested or shot. The real issue, however, is not political identity but Nuba ethnicity; one aid worker who recently escaped from South Kordofan reports militia forces patrolling further from Kadugli: “Those [Nuba] coming in are saying, ‘Whenever they see you are a black person, they kill you’” (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/06/16/v-print/115997/aid-workers-recount-ethnic-killings.html). Another Nuba aid worker reports that an Arab militia leader made clear that their orders were simple: “to just clear.”
Yet another Nuba resident of Kadugli (“Yusef”) told Agence France-Presse that he had been informed by a member of the notorious Popular Defense Forces (PDF) that they had been provided with plenty of weapons and ammunition, and a standing order: “‘He said that they had clear instructions: just sweep away the rubbish. If you see a Nuba, just clean it up. He told me he saw two trucks of people with their hands tied and blindfolded, driving out to where diggers were making holes for graves on the edge of town.” (http://www.sudaneseonline.com/english/news/3516-sudan-eyewitness-recalls-south-kordofan-horror.html). There have been repeated reports, so far unconfirmed, of mass graves in and around Kadugli. We should hardly be surprised that the charges of “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” are coming ever more insistently from the Nuba people, observers on the ground and in the region, and church groups with strong ties to the region (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/81808_128691_ENG_HTM.htm).
Just as shocking is Khartoum’s renewed blockade of humanitarian assistance to the people of the Nuba, hundreds of thousands of whom have already fled into the hills or mountainsides. The Kauda airstrip, critical for humanitarian transport, has been relentlessly bombed over the past ten days, and the UN now reports that it is no longer serviceable for fixed-wing aircraft. The airstrip has no military value, as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces have no aircraft. The concerted bombing, with high explosives producing enormous craters, is simply to deny the Nuba food, medicine, and shelter.
The same assault on humanitarian efforts is underway in Kadugli and other towns under Khartoum’s military control. The UN World Health Organization warehouse and offices in Kadugli have been completely looted, as have those of other UN humanitarian agencies (http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/UN-Warehouses-In-Southern-Sudan-Looted-123840994.html). The Kadugli airport has been commandeered by Khartoum’s military forces, and all humanitarian flights into South Kordofan have been halted. The World Food Program has announced that it has no way to feed some 400,000 beneficiaries in South Kordofan (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38745&Cr=Sudan&Cr1). As in Darfur, Khartoum intends to wage a genocide by attrition—defeating the Nuba by starving them.
What Khartoum seems not to have fully understood is how determined the Nuba SPLA are. These are not southerners, but true sons of the Nuba; they cannot “return to the South,” because they are from the north. And they are well armed and well led by Abdel Aziz el-Hilu, a former governor of the region and fearsome military commander. They believe they are defending their homeland and their way of life. They have no alternative: as Khamis said to me during our 2003 meeting, “we have no way out.” Given the geography of South Kordofan, there can be little quarreling with this assessment. These people will fight to the death.
Princeton Lyman, the U.S. special envoy, declared on June 16—eleven days after the killing began in Kadugli—that the United States “doesn’t have enough information on the ground to call the campaign ‘ethnic cleansing’” (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/06/16/v-print/115997/aid-workers-recount-ethnic-killings.html). This is an astonishing claim, given what the UN is saying in its confidential reports on the situation in Kadugli, what Human Rights Watch has reported, what is revealed by satellite photography, what escaping aid workers have told journalists, and what is revealed by photographs of the bombing of the airstrip at Kauda. Again, the airstrip has no military purpose: it is being attacked solely to deny humanitarian access to the Nuba people. And it is working: the World Council of Churches, an organization with close ties to the Nuba, reported on June 10 that as many as 300,000 people were besieged and cut off from humanitarian relief (http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?id=25398).
Yet again the Obama administration is showing a painful lack of clear-eyed assessment and moral courage in addressing the genocidal ambitions of the Khartoum regime. This is the President’s second “Rwanda moment,” the second moment in which to decide whether or not halting genocide really matters to this administration. The first “moment” came early in the form of a decision about how to respond to undiminished human suffering and destruction in Darfur, about which Obama now barely speaks, despite his forceful campaign rhetoric: “The government of Sudan has pursued a policy of genocide in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children have been killed in Darfur, and the killing continues to this very day” (April 2008). Obama’s response was to appoint a special envoy to Sudan, General Scott Gration, who failed badly and conspicuously with his policy of accommodating Khartoum’s génocidaires, men he thought would be impressed by his offer of “cookies, gold stars, and friendly faces.” But as I’ve repeatedly argued in this forum, conditions on the ground in Darfur are if anything worse than when Obama issued his uncompromising words.
This brings us to the present, to this very moment, in which a decision must be made: acquiesce and settle for stern warnings to Khartoum, or act forcefully to compel a change in Khartoum’s thinking. A militarily enforced No Fly Zone over South Kordofan—however desirable—is impracticable for a number of reasons: there is no easy or obvious solution to the problem of basing the necessary aircraft (including AWACS, tanker refueling aircraft, and patrolling combat aircraft); constant mid-flight refueling would present extraordinarily difficult and expensive challenges; and there appears to be no possibility of securing either UN backing or even moral support from the Europeans for such a complex undertaking—let alone domestic support from a war-weary America. There is a much less costly but equally effective alternative, one that could be undertaken unilaterally if necessary: attacking Khartoum’s military aircraft on the ground, if those aircraft have been implicated in bombing civilians and humanitarians. The U.S. should then demand as a condition for halting these serial attacks an end to hostilities in South Kordofan, and an opening of humanitarian access. For despite Ambassador Lyman’s disingenuous claim about our not having enough information to assess the nature of the atrocity crimes in South Kordofan, there can be no reasonable doubt about the reality of widespread, systematic, ethnically targeted destruction of the Nuba people.
When I think back to my time at Kauda, and the beauty of the people and the hillsides—now much of it in flames, and all of it under the most intense assault—there hardly seems to be a choice. But diffidence, over-commitment, and apparent failure to understand what is at stake have made for what appears to be a disastrous decision by Obama in confronting his second “Rwanda moment.”
• “In Sudan, Genocide Anew?”
We are, once again, on the verge of genocidal counterinsurgency in Sudan. History must not be allowed to repeat itself. The Washington Post, June 18, 2011
by Eric Reeves
By early 2004, it was clear that the ideologically Arabist and Islamist regime in Khartoum was waging a genocidal counterinsurgency war throughout the western region of Darfur. Yet months passed before a broad range of human rights, government and academic voices said as much, even as the consequences of silence and inaction were conspicuous. In February 2004 I argued on this page that a “credible peace forum must be rapidly created. Immediate plans for humanitarian intervention should begin. The alternative is to allow tens of thousands of civilians to die in the weeks and months ahead in what will be continuing genocidal destruction.”
This prediction was borne out in the months that followed, the most destructive phase of the Darfur genocide, in which African tribal groups were mercilessly targeted by soldiers and militias. Sadly, mortality from war-related causes continues to mount. But now we are debating how many hundreds, not tens, of thousands have perished from war-related causes in Darfur.”
Today, another episode of genocidal counterinsurgency is beginning in another part of Sudan. Absent a vigorous international response, there will almost certainly be a reprise of ethnically targeted human destruction in the middle of the country, specifically within the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan….
• “Passive in the face of Sudan’s atrocities,” The Washington Post, February 10, 2012
by Eric Reeves
Sudan is once again at war with itself — or, more accurately, the ruthless regime in Khartoum is again waging war on peoples at the marginalized peripheries as a means of crushing growing rebellion. The primary target in this widespread conflict is not the people of Darfur, although they continue to languish amid ghastly violence and deprivation. No, these latest targets are the African people of the border regions between northern Sudan and the new Republic of South Sudan: the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Last May, Khartoum’s military seized Abyei, a contested border region where Khartoum had refused to allow a promised referendum on self-determination in January 2011. The seizure displaced virtually the entire indigenous population of Dinka Ngok, more than 110,000 people, who fled to South Sudan, where they remain in poor conditions. Emboldened by the diffident international response to this assault, Khartoum moved in June against the rebels of South Kordofan and, more generally, the African Nuba people.
A bloodbath ensued in Kadugli, the state capital, and Nuba (who Khartoum claimed were “rebel sympathizers”) were relentlessly targeted in house-to-house searches and roadblocks reminiscent of Rwanda. Fighting has now moved to the central Nuba Mountains, where all humanitarian access has been denied by the regime in Khartoum, which continues merciless civilian bombings.
In September, the Sudanese government, still unchecked by international action, launched attacks on yet another region on the border, Blue Nile. Additional hundreds of thousands of civilians were displaced, many fleeing to neighboring Ethiopia or South Sudan. They’re in desperate condition, as are refugees from South Kordofan.
For more than seven months Khartoum has denied all international relief to both Blue Nile and South Kordofan, bringing more than half a million people to the brink of starvation. Famine-like conditions are expected by March; children are already dying from malnutrition. Food supplies are exhausted in both regions, with little hope on the horizon: Spring planting and fall harvesting of staple crops were disrupted by aerial attacks. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that the harvests will largely “fail…”
• “Genocide in Sudan: Is it Happening Again?”
The New Republic, June 20, 2011
by Eric Reeves
Two weeks after Khartoum’s tanks, artillery, and military aircraft began moving into South Kordofan, violence—especially against civilians—continues to explode. There are now scores of reliable reports that attacks against the indigenous Nuba people have accelerated, both on the ground and from the air. Humanitarian conditions are deteriorating rapidly, aid workers are fleeing the region, essential relief supplies have been looted in the regional capital of Kadugli, and the U.N. World Food Program has indicated that the violence could prevent it from reaching the 400,000 people it was serving before the recent onslaught. There are no verified estimates of the number displaced, but Abdel Aziz el-Hilu, former governor of South Kordofan, has put the number at almost half a million. Dozens have been reported killed, but in the absence of any effective UN or humanitarian monitoring this surely understates significantly. For its part, Khartoum has ominously promised to continue fighting. Troops and military vehicles are still pouring into Kadugli….
• “Sudan: The Horror Continues—And the World Sits By”
The New Republic, June 24, 2011
by Eric Reeves
The ethnically targeted human destruction in South Kordofan in Sudan, directed overwhelmingly at the African peoples of the Nuba Mountains, continues to spread and intensify. Many are warning of a “new Darfur,” a reprise of the destruction of the African tribal groups in western Sudan by Khartoum’s forces from 2003 to the present. The number of people displaced is likely in the hundreds of thousands and growing, and the U.N. reports that “the security situation continues to deteriorate.” Nearly all World Food Program workers have been evacuated. Many Nuba are now living in caves, without adequate food, water, or medical care.
But what we are seeing might not be most accurately described as another Darfur. Rather, the stage is being set for a reprise of the genocide of the 1990s in the Nuba Mountains, when hundreds of thousands died. Brutally assaulted on the ground and from the air, suffering under a relief aid embargo, forced into “peace camps” where many died, the Nuba faced a campaign of extinction. Today, the fear that this horror might be happening again is palpable. A correspondent for Time magazine in Juba recently interviewed an aid worker who said, “You can see it in all their eyes. They are scared. They see this as a fight for survival” (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2078615,00.html ). Hunted “like animals” by helicopter gunships (http://goo.gl/Iw7n2), bombed by military aircraft, and haunted by their terrible history, the Nuba are right to be fearful. As one aid worker has predicted, “if the ground offensive commences, ‘absolute carnage’ could ensue” (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2078615,00.html )….
• “Are U.S. and U.N. Officials Ignoring New Evidence of Atrocities in Sudan?”
The New Republic (on-line), July 23, 2011
by Eric Reeves
Sudan seems to bring out a perverse diffidence in both the Obama administration and the international community. This is especially clear in their response to a growing body of evidence that atrocities are being committed in South Kordofan, a border state in what is now Northern Sudan. Indeed, the more evidence that accumulates about the targeted destruction of the African Nuba people (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13767146), the less the White House and the U.N. seem inclined either to speak out forcefully or to announce a course of action.
U.S. special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman offered only a passing reference to the violence in South Kordofan during his Senate testimony on July 14 (http://goo.gl/Cj5qR), and, this week, Lyman said he could not confirm whether evidence has in fact revealed mass graves in the vicinity of Kadugli (http://goo.gl/2qexW), the capital of South Kordofan. The U.S., meanwhile, has preemptively taken a military response off the table (http://goo.gl/1wXcG), and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon continues to indulge in vague exhortations. And the head of U.N. humanitarian operations has said the world can’t be sure of what’s really happening in South Kordofan.
This, however, is simply not true: We do know what’s happening, by virtue of a now-leaked report from U.N. human rights investigators working in Kadugli in June (http://www.sudantribune.com/UNMIS-report-on-the-human-rights,39570 ). The report contains 19 pages of accounts of mass graves and brutal actions, from air assaults to summary executions, taken against the Nuba. There is also corroborating evidence from a variety of sources that backs up the report. How one can choose to dismiss this information defies comprehension.
The UN report contains numerous eyewitness accounts of mass graves, gathered independently by UN investigators in June. A few examples:
On 10 June, UNMIS [UN Mission in Sudan] Human Rights interviewed residents from Murta village, outside of Kadugli Town [the capital of South Kordofan], who stated that they saw fresh mass graves located in a valley southeast of the Murta bus station near the Kadugli police training centre.
[Two men interviewed by UNMIS] reported that, following their release from SAF [Sudan Armed Forces] custody, they saw fresh mass graves between the SAF 14th Division Headquarters and Kadugli Market. On 16 June, UN military observers, while on their way between the SAF 14th Division Headquarters and Kadugli Market in an attempt to verify the existence of these mass graves, were arrested, stripped of their clothes, and believed that they were about to be executed when a senior SAF officer intervened.
On 22 June, an UNMIS independent contractor reported witnessing SAF elements fill a mass grave in Al Gardut Locality in Tillo with dead bodies. She reported that SAF elements transported the bodies to the site, dumped them in the grave and using a bulldozer to cover the grave.
Bolstering these reports, the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) recently published dramatic photography taken July 4 that shows three parallel mass gravesites (http://goo.gl/vgq5E), each approximately 16 feet by 80 feet. It also captured images of heavy earth-moving equipment and many white bags piled up near the gravesites, all consistent with human proportions….
John Ashworth of the Sudan Ecumenical Forum and a close observer of Sudan for more than 25 years also reports that recent conversations with the Nuba have a frightening congruence:
The conflict in South Kordofan continues, even if it is not so much in the news these days. I have just this minute talked to three Nuba, including one very old friend, who found their way separately to Juba with firsthand news of Kauda, Kadugli and Dilling. All confirm that the targeting of Nuba and suspected SPLM sympathisers is continuing. These days it is Arab militia rather than government forces which are searching vehicles and removing people on the road between the Nuba Mountains and El Obeid. Security forces in El Obeid continue to search for “SPLM sympathisers” and anyone who has come from the conflict area, and Nuba report that they don’t even feel safe in Khartoum. There is still a feeling that educated people are being singled out. (e-mail received July 13, 2011)
Despite the evidence at hand, UN and U.S. officials continue to speak ambiguously or insufficiently about South Kordofan. Valerie Amos, the head of humanitarian operations for the U.N., claimed on July 15 that “[w]e do not know whether there is any truth to the grave allegations of extra-judicial killings, mass graves and other grave violations in South Kordofan”—despite her own organization’s new report on those very allegations. Then, there’s Hillary Clinton of the U.S., who, in early July, according to Agence France-Press, “expressed concern over a recent flare-up of violence in the [South Kordofan] region, which she said ‘cannot be allowed to return and jeopardise the larger peace’” (http://goo.gl/vVS8G). Clinton makes no mention of the evidence of atrocities, and her language suggests that the governing U.S. priority is not the immediate fate of the Nuba people….
Somehow, both current evidence and the echoes of mass atrocities in the not-too-distant past aren’t finding an audience in Washington, New York, or Europe. Or, worse, they are being ignored. Why can’t the world find its voice—or its conscience? We have seen this play before, and we know that it will end terribly.
• “Darfur … and now more genocide in Sudan?”
The Christian Science Monitor, August 4, 2011
by Eric Reeves
Yet again, Sudan shows all the signs of accelerating genocide, this time on its southern border. The question is whether the world will now respond more quickly—and effectively—than it has to the years-long atrocities in Darfur, in western Sudan. Over four years ago the International Criminal Court indicted a senior Khartoum official for crimes against humanity (2007); most recently it has indicted President Omar al-Bashir for genocide (2010). But to date Khartoum has continued to express only contempt for the ICC and human rights reporting generally.
Another test of the world’s resolve to halt ethnically targeted human destruction now presents itself in a border state known as South Kordofan (like Darfur, in Sudan). Al-Bashir has unleashed a campaign against many tens of thousands of Nuba people, a grouping of indigenous African tribes. The Nuba have long made common cause with the people and former rebel fighters of the newly created country of South Sudan. The catastrophe in South Kordofan is daily becoming more conspicuous, both in scale and in the ethnic animus defining Khartoum’s military and security operations in the region.
Beginning with events of June 5, strong evidence is growing of house-to-house searches for Nuba people and those sympathizing with the northern wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Also, compelling evidence points to roadblocks that have similarly targeted Nuba. Most Nuba found were arrested or summarily executed. This has occurred primarily in the Kadugli area, capital of South Kordofan. Most disturbingly, a great many eyewitness accounts of mass gravesites are being reported; a number of these accounts are collected in a leaked UN human rights report from late June….
Despite Mr. Lyman’s skepticism [about these reports], the urgency and scale of potential human destruction demand an immediate and robust international response—and not simply moralizing pronouncements, whether from UN officials or international actors of consequence, or in the predictable and formulaic prescriptions of human rights groups. At the very least Khartoum should be warned that if its military aircraft continue to be implicated in attacks on Nuba civilians or humanitarians, they will be destroyed on the ground by cruise missiles or other means. Impunity for such atrocity crimes cannot continue.
If the world refuses to see what is occurring in South Kordofan, and refuses to respond to evidence that the destruction of the Nuba people, as such, is a primary goal of present military and security actions by Sudan, then this moment will represent definitive failure of the “responsibility to protect.”
• “Creeping Coup in Sudan,” Dissent Magazine (on-line), August 2011
by Eric Reeves
• “A Looming Spectacle of UN Impotence”
Dissent Magazine (on-line), August 19, 2011
by Eric Reeves
This week the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) demanded a thorough UN investigation of events in South Kordofan, Sudan over the past two months. During this period the Khartoum regime has engaged in widespread ethnic targeting of Nuba civilians, using roadblocks and house-to-house searches to make arrests and engage in extrajudicial executions. Aerial attacks on civilians have been reported repeatedly since early June and continue to this day.
But despite the authority of an early July UN report detailing many of these egregious human rights violations—which once leaked compelled the calls for investigation—and the accounts of independent journalists reporting from bombing sites in the Nuba Mountains as well as hundreds of Nuba people who have fled their homes, it is highly unlikely that China and Russia will permit a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the investigation to move forward. Just last Friday the United States failed to get even a much weaker, nonbinding “presidential statement” from the UNSC, which condemned deliberate aerial attacks on civilians and humanitarians in South Kordofan. Both China and Russia made clear that they would not support any mention of bombing. The UNSC, in turn, is making clear its inability to respond to even the most authoritative reports of atrocity crimes.
This gives an air of absurdity to the UNHCHR’s call for an “independent, thorough, and objective inquiry with the aim of holding perpetrators to account.” Even if the UNSC gets around to condemning violence in South Kordofan (and any adopted language would hardly be more specific than this), it (specifically China and perhaps Russia) will never authorize an investigation without Khartoum’s permission, which the regime there will never grant. Khartoum has already prematurely expelled UN peacekeepers and officials from the region and is now excluding humanitarian relief organizations, journalists, and human rights investigators. The regime will not repeat the “mistakes” that allowed Darfur to become a genocide reported in real time.
The United States seems unprepared for this looming and apparently inevitable moment of political truth at the UNSC. There is no meaningful compromise position, as there appeared to be when Khartoum objected to the peacekeeping force authorized for Darfur in August 2006 (UNSC Resolution 1706). The UN/African Union Mission in Darfur that was eventually accepted by Khartoum—and authorized in August 2007, by UNSC Resolution 1769—has proved a disastrous failure in fulfilling its mission of civilian protection, but it at least has the appearance of responding to genocidal violence. There will be no equivalent in South Kordofan—no peacekeeping force, no major humanitarian response of the sort that began in Darfur during the summer of 2004, and no human rights investigation. The preposterous nature of the arrangement that confers UNSC veto-power on each of the five major powers that emerged victorious in the Second World War will be inescapably evident.
Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has tried to minimize the findings of the leaked UN report in various ways, but the contents of the original report (not just the redacted version released publicly this week) reveal the overwhelming cruelty and destructiveness of Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces and its Arab militia allies. (Pillay has also dismissed the reports of Nuba civilians and journalists, including the New York Times’ Jeffrey Gettleman, and photographic evidence from the Satellite Sentinel Project that reveals what can only be mass gravesites in and around Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan.) In the end, the leak, likely made by someone frustrated with UN inaction, forced Pillay to acknowledge some of what UN investigators had reported.
This wasn’t the first time Pillay had downplayed reports by UN investigators during this crisis: she and the UN Secretariat were responsible for revising a UN report finding that actions “tantamount to ethnic cleansing” occurred during Khartoum’s late May invasion of Abyei. In the final version of the report, that language had been transformed: “The Sudan Armed Forces attack and occupation of Abyei and the resultant displacement of over 30,000 Ngok Dinkas from Abyei could lead to ethnic cleansing…” Even at the time it was clear that far more than 30,000 Ngok Dinka had been displaced; the figure used by humanitarian organizations working south of Abyei is now 120,000, virtually the entire Ngok population of Abyei. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was [nonetheless] accommodating of Khartoum’s sensibilities, saying that it was “far too early to claim that ethnic cleansing is taking place….”
The real issue here is what the world will do when China vetoes or forestalls investigation of atrocity crimes in South Kordofan. Guided by its self-serving principle of “non-interference” in the internal affairs of other nations, China has no compunction about such action. And because there is no fig-leaf “compromise” possible here—there either is or is not an independent and unfettered human rights investigation in South Kordofan—this could bring a rare moment of real moral and political clarity in world affairs. What will democratic governments do in this moment? The question, sadly, forces a number of unhappy answers.
• “Blue Nile: The Next Crisis in Sudan’s War on Its Own People”
The New Republic, September 28, 2011
by Eric Reeves
In a matter of days, or hours, the northern Sudanese state of Blue Nile seems likely to be the scene of the most violent military confrontation in Sudan for almost a decade. The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) released a highly alarming report on September 23, based on substantial satellite photography, indicating that armed forces of Khartoum’s National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime are mobilizing in a massive formation of armor, troops, and military aircraft: “heavily camouflaged, mechanized units comprising at least a brigade—3,000 troops or more;” “these forces appear to be equipped with heavy armor and artillery, supported by helicopter gunships.”
The apparent target of this huge assault is the town of Kurmuk—on the border with Ethiopia—which is the primary stronghold of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement-North (SPLA/M-N) in Blue Nile. These are the northern military units and political cadres of the broader movement known during the civil war (1983-2005) simply as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement; their homes and base of support lie not within the newly formed South Sudan but in the northern parts of the country still ruled by Khartoum. Following South Sudan’s declaration of independence, the increasingly militant Khartoum regime has felt obliged to respond with force to what threatens to become a “new South,” a source of resistance to the regime’s 22-year stranglehold on national wealth and power. Focusing first on the nearby states of Abyei and South Kordofan, Khartoum has now turned its destructive attention to the rebel strongholds in Blue Nile. In the absence of increased international pressure on the regime, a bloody and protracted military confrontation appears imminent….
WHAT HAS PROMPTED such brutal actions by Khartoum? What is the thinking within the regime? Here it’s important to see, in the run-up to South Sudan’s secession, that the army has become increasingly assertive, and the civilian cabal that heads the NIF/NCP more yielding. President Omar Al Bashir accommodates the army out of necessity, since it is the one constituency he can’t afford to lose. But there are clear signs of discord within the cabal, as well as evidence of a creeping military coup. Julie Flint, an especially well-informed observer of Sudan, cites a source in Khartoum who makes clear that the “hour of the soldiers” has arrived. Her account is harrowing:
[A] well-informed source close to the National Congress Party reports that Sudan’s two most powerful generals went to [Sudanese President Omar Al] Bashir on May 5, five days after 11 soldiers were killed in an SPLA ambush in Abyei, on South Kordofan’s southwestern border, and demanded powers to act as they sought fit, without reference to the political leadership.
“‘They got it,’ the source says. ‘It is the hour of the soldiers—a vengeful, bitter attitude of defending one’s interests no matter what; a punitive and emotional approach that goes beyond calculation of self-interest. The army was the first to accept that Sudan would be partitioned. But they also felt it as a humiliation, primarily because they were withdrawing from territory in which they had not been defeated. They were ready to go along with the politicians as long as the politicians were delivering—but they had come to the conclusion they weren’t. Ambushes in Abyei … interminable talks in Doha keeping Darfur as an open wound … Lack of agreement on oil revenues …’ ‘It has gone beyond politics,’ says one of Bashir’s closest aides. ‘It is about dignity.’”
• “They Bombed Everything that Moved”
Aerial military attacks on civilians and humanitarians in Sudan, 1999 – 2011
(report and data update as of October 15, 2011)
Eric Reeves, 15 July – 15 October 2011
Since this report and data spreadsheet were originally released on May 6, 2011, the Sudan Armed Forces—at the direction of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum—have continued their aerial onslaught against civilians in various regions of North Sudan. This savagery has now spread from South Kordofan to another northern border state, Blue Nile. At the same time, civilian villages in Darfur, without any military presence, continue to be targeted. I have argued that in aggregate, these many hundreds of confirmed, deliberate aerial attacks on civilians and humanitarians—going back more than a decade—constitute crimes against humanity. So, too, does the widespread, systematic denial of humanitarian access on an ethnic basis, something the UN first reported in Darfur in 2003 (in South Sudan the Nuba Mountains this had begun over a decade earlier). And yet these tactics, which have defined the military strategy of the Khartoum regime for so long, show no signs of being curtailed. Nor is there any sign that these atrocity crimes will confront meaningful action by international actors, who know full well their deadly consequences—and hence the consequences of their own acquiescence.
In South Kordofan the bombing continues to be particularly intense in the Nuba Mountains, and for months has prevented planting and tending of crops; continued bombing now endangers even a meager harvest. Khartoum has prevented all international humanitarian access to a vast population that is now squarely facing starvation. Many people have made the dangerous trek to South Sudan, some 8,000 as of mid-September, and the UN High Commission for Refugees estimated at the time that there were some 500 new arrivals per day.
Civilians in Blue Nile—another region with a long history of marginalization, violence, and tyranny at the hands of the NIF/NCP regime—are consistently reported as enduring daily bombing attacks. Civilian casualties have been high and the number of civilians displaced by bombardment is enormous. Elected governor Malik Agar estimates that half of Blue Nile’s 1.2 million people are now on the move. This is harvest season and it appears increasingly unlikely that those forced from their lands by aerial military violence will be able to survive without international humanitarian aid—which Khartoum has again denied categorically.
Lacking food and humanitarian assistance, and facing increasing violence, civilians from Blue Nile have begun to pour into neighboring Ethiopia, with no end to the exodus in sight:
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says 27,500 people have fled the conflict in Blue Nile State to nearby Ethiopia since early September. The agency is due to open a second camp 200km from the border with a capacity of 3,000 people, as fighting and SAF aerial bombardments continue.”(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [IRIN] [Kurmuk], October 13, 2011)
In South Kordofan, the SPLA/M-North leader Abdel Aziz el-Hilu reports that as many as 500,000 Nuba have been displaced, and he has assembled locality data to support this claim. The actual figure for displaced persons can’t be known, but now—after more than four months of intense bombings—it is almost certainly more than 300,000, and the number of conflict-affected civilians much greater. Khartoum’s military assaults on Abyei (May 20), South Kordofan (June 5), and Blue Nile (September 1) may now have displaced 1 million civilians.
Origins and character of conflict in Blue Nile
Violence in Blue Nile was initiated by Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on September 1, 2011 in yet another well-prepared assault. Such an assault was predicted in a previous iteration of this update (July 15, 2011), as it was by the elected governor of Blue Nile, Malik Agar. Malik insisted to all who would listen that the longer conflict and ethnic targeting of civilians continued in South Kordofan, the more likely it was that Blue Nile would be drawn into the fighting. Unsurprisingly, Malik’s residence in Damazine was the first target of SAF shelling. Such shelling has now extended southward toward Kurmuk as Khartoum increasingly engages in “stand-off” military actions against the forces so effectively led by Malik (the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement-North; SPLA/M-N). Large-scale, long-range, and indiscriminate shelling has many of the same effects as aerial bombardment by Antonov aircraft, which are inherently incapable of achieving bombing accuracy sufficient to be militarily effective. It is now the greatest fear of many on the ground in Blue Nile….
For its part, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) knows full well the effects of Khartoum’s two military campaigns on food supplies, and particularly the effects of relentless bombing directed against civilians and land under cultivation:
The fighting has disrupted the major crop season in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan—two of Sudan’s main sorghum producing areas, according to the Rome-based agency [FAO]. In South Kordofan, people fled at the start of the planting season and were unable to sow seeds, while in Blue Nile, fighting erupted later in the season so seeds were planted but people were forced to abandon their crops. “The latest fighting coupled with erratic rainfall means next month’s harvest is expected to generally fail,” it stated.
All this is well known to Khartoum. Indeed, this is precisely the regime’s brutal strategy (Reuters [“near Kurmuk”], October 13, 2011):
[Khartoum’s] attacks aim to force civilians to flee their villages, severing local support for the guerilla fighters, rebels say, accusations the government denies. Rights groups and analysts say the use of ‘indiscriminate bombing’ by Soviet-made Antonovs would mirror tactics used by Khartoum in the restive regions of South Kordofan and Darfur.
Quantifying the effects of bombing attacks on civilians (current data are presented in the spreadsheet at www.sudanbombing.org):
Altogether there were 73 confirmed aerial attacks directed against civilians from July 15 through October 15, 2011; 61 of these were in South Kordofan (for a lengthy discussion of confirmation criteria and sources, see pp. 41 – 45 in original report). There were a great many casualties, but as has been the case for many years, the number of casualties for the vast majority of attacks must simply be reported as “unknown.”
It must be emphasized, however, that this figure for confirmed attacks vastly understates the number of actual attacks, as can be readily inferred from numerous, more global assessments, now coming from a wide range of authoritative reporting sources. The confidential UN human rights report from early July 2011 notes:
Since the eruption of the conflict, the SAF has carried out daily aerial bombardments into the Nuba Mountains and in several towns and villages populated by Nubans. The consequences of these bombardments on the Nuban people and in particular civilians, including women and children, are devastating. They have resulted in significant loss of life, destruction of properties, and massive displacement. (§39 “UNMIS Report on the Human Rights Situation During the Violence in Southern Kordofan”)
There have been scores of similarly generalizing accounts—from news organizations on the ground in both South Kordofan and Blue Nile, from human rights organizations, from UN agencies, from journalists on the ground, and of course from Sudanese themselves. Many of these latter accounts have been conveyed confidentially. A brief compendium of these reports suggests just how dramatically specific bombing attacks have been under-reported, at least in confirmable detail…
The future of greater Sudan looks even grimmer than it did three months ago, before the assault on Blue Nile. It remains the case that absent a robust international response, which is nowhere in evidence, the most likely course of events will be a continuation of the present pattern of civilian bombings in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. But the greatest threat is that international inaction will prompt the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the South to support their former brothers-in-arms in these two regions. There is already enormous pressure on Juba, capital of South Sudan, to aid the SPLA-N, both in the Nuba Mountains and in Blue Nile. Soldiers from both the Nuba and Blue Nile fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the SPLA in the South, as well as in their own lands, which saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the war; these two regions have already been excluded from the self-determination process that was laid out by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005), and have now been denied even the vaguely outlined “popular consultations” that should already have taken place. It becomes increasingly unlikely that Juba will simply watch as civilian destruction mounts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, while all humanitarian access is denied by an increasingly ruthless and militarized regime in Khartoum.
As Salva Kiir, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, declared on independence day, July 9, 2011:
I want to assure the people of Abyei, Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan that we have not forgotten you. When you cry, we cry. When you bleed, we bleed. I pledge to you today that we will find a just peace for all.
Bibliographic supplement (see also the extensive bibliography in original May 6, 2011 report, pp. 47 – 82
• “They Bombed Everything that Moved”
Aerial military attacks on civilians and humanitarians in Sudan, 1999 – 2011
(report and data update as of June 5, 2012)
Eric Reeves, 5 June 2012
I. Aerial attacks continue undiminished
Since the initial release of this report and data spreadsheet over a year ago (May 6, 2011), the Sudan Armed Forces have continued their aerial onslaught against civilians in Darfur and various border regions of northern Sudan at the direction of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum. These brutal atrocity crimes have now spread from South Kordofan and Blue Nile to aerial attacks against the independent Republic of South Sudan; there they extend from Upper Nile State in the east to Western Bahr el-Ghazal in the far west. In Unity State SAF attacks have included repeated bombing of the major town of Bentiu, the state capital, as well as numerous other towns, villages, and refugee camps. There have been significant civilian casualties, an inevitable consequence of using inaccurate Antonov “bombers” (crudely retrofitted Russian cargo planes) to carry out the vast majority of these attacks.
The most notorious and well reported of recent attacks on South Sudan was the November 10, 2011 bombing of Yida refugee camp (Unity State), home at the time to approximately 23,000 civilians who had fled the Nuba Mountains. One bomb landed just outside a rudimentary schooling area where shortly before the attack about 200 children had been present. Two days earlier, in Upper Nile, the remote area of Guffa (north of Bunj in the Mabaan region) was bombed; the only medical aid organization in the region evacuated its personnel from nearby Doro. The November 8 bombing of Guffa reportedly killed 7 people and wounded many others. John Ashworth, a long-time and deeply informed Sudan observer, with numerous contacts in the Sudanese church community, reported that one source in the area described the bombing of Guffa as “serious and deliberate,” and also reports that, “many Southern Sudanese have been wounded as a result of the bombing” (email received November 10, 2011).
The regime in Khartoum refuses to acknowledge responsibility for any of these attacks, and has gone so far as to issue denials through its permanent representative at the United Nations. Not only were the Yida and Guffa attacks confirmed by humanitarian workers and the UN, but journalists for both the BBC and Reuters were actually present at the time of the attack on Yida. Khartoum’s mindlessly automatic denials simply have no credibility.
In Darfur the ethnically non-Arab populations have endured for almost a decade a similarly relentless air campaign. Although the campaign waxes and wanes in intensity as military and other circumstances dictate, a number of recent attacks in all three Darfur states are recorded in this update—every one of them a violation of international law and the various iterations of UN Security Council Resolution 1591 (March 2005; see below).
In aggregate, Khartoum’s 1,797 confirmed, deliberate aerial attacks on its own civilians and international aid workers—recorded in detail by many sources over more than a decade—constitute crimes against humanity. The regime’s systematic, deliberate assaults on its own people are unrivaled, Syria and Libya notwithstanding. This is an historically unprecedented campaign of human destruction by means of military aircraft, comprising astonishingly cruel and indiscriminate acts of killing, maiming, and displacing Sudanese (and now South Sudanese) citizens. Equally astonishing, at least morally, is that these attacks occur without meaningful rebuke or threat from the international community.
No clear explanation of this failure to respond has been offered by those who support an “international responsibility to protect” such endangered civilians—nothing beyond the claim that political action at the United Nations Security Council is impracticable. But of course as these various proponents of “R2P” surely knew in September 2005 when the doctrine was unanimously approved by the UN General Assembly—and later by the Security Council itself—it offered no means of surmounting the political obstacles clearly represented by Permanent Members of the Security Council Russia and China. These obstacles are again conspicuously on display in their response to Syria’s bloodbath and to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
As this and previous reports on aerial attacks against civilians and humanitarians make clear, the consequences of unconstrained assaults on vulnerable populations—typically targeted on the basis of ethnicity—are immense. Those fleeing the bombing attacks in Blue Nile and South Kordofan are now arriving in Upper Nile and Unity State at a rate of 4,000 per day, according to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (BBC, June 2, 2012). Tens of thousands of others are on their way, often badly weakened, malnourished, exhausted, and traumatized. The BBC reports that “Fighting is vicious [in Blue Nile], with refugees describing how they were bombed from the air, with markets being a particular target.” Many are too weak or too young or too badly injured to make the arduous trek, and they will die. The refugee flow from the Nuba Mountains is not as great as from Blue Nile, but it is also rapidly increasing. The population of Yida refugee camp has grown to more than 40,000 and new arrivals are ceaseless, as increasingly desperate people flee aerial bombardment and starvation.
II. Continuing denial of access to international humanitarian organizations
Starvation looms for many hundreds of thousands of human beings because there is no international relief access to Blue Nile or South Kordofan. Khartoum has for almost a year denied all such access, fearing “another Darfur,” in the words of one senior NIF/NCP official. Beyond this denial of relief assistance, on June 1, 2012 Khartoum expelled a number of international relief organizations from eastern Sudan, one of the most food insecure and least visible regions in Sudan).
Why has the Obama administration proved so terribly ineffective in responding to such vast suffering, destruction, and cruelty? Sadly, there is much evidence that the man who spoke of Darfur as a “stain on our souls” is content to leave an even larger stain in place, one that grows with the dominance of the U.S. intelligence community and its lust for counter-terrorism intelligence from Khartoum. Here we must ask why Secretary of State John Kerry, in his September 30, 2013 meeting with Khartoum’s foreign minister, Ali, Karti, had not a word to say about the murderous crackdown on civilian demonstrations, which at that point had already left more than two hundred dead (many clearly on the basis of “shoot to kill” orders), and more than a thousand wounded or arrested. Why did this “topic” not come up, as the State Department spokeswoman insisted it “did not”? There are some unhappily grim answers:
• “What Really Animates the Obama Administration’s Sudan Policy?”
The lust for counter-terrorism intelligence all too easily trumps the “responsibility to protect” endangered civilians
Sudan Tribune, October 11, 2011
by Eric Reeves
What do we know about the role Khartoum’s putative provision of “counter-terrorism intelligence” plays in the Obama administration’s Sudan policy? A good deal, if we look at the historical record. And how, in turn, does this policy govern U.S. responses to the regime’s military assaults in Abyei, South Kordofan, Blue Nile—and of course in Darfur, which in November 2010 the Obama team announced would be “de-coupled” from bilateral discussions of Khartoum’s support for terrorism? The answers do not bear close moral scrutiny.
As the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum leads greater Sudan—now Sudan and South Sudan—ever closer to catastrophic civil war and international conflict; as the regime continues to deny humanitarian access to many hundreds of thousands of vulnerable civilians throughout North Sudan; as evidence mounts of genocidal destruction in the border state of South Kordofan; and as Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and its militia allies continue an all-out assault on another border state, Blue Nile, the Obama administration has been peculiarly soft-spoken in its condemnations. Indeed, it has downplayed the significance of Khartoum’s actions and engaged in moral equivocation, despite the regime’s overwhelming responsibility for the massive violence and destruction of civilian lives and livelihoods….
The Obama administration’s view of national interest in Sudan
Just as dismaying as Lyman’s [Senate] testimony, which was little more than diplomatic boilerplate, are the policies actually articulated by the administration and which are too often scandals to justice and diplomatic integrity. We need to ask what lies behind these policies, what undergirds them. In November 2010, for example, the administration declared it was “de-coupling” Darfur from discussions with the Khartoum regime on the issue that matters most to these génocidaires, namely their presence on the U.S. State Department list of terrorism-sponsoring nations. A “senior administration official” (according to a State Department transcript of a background briefing) declared that:
” … the U.S. was prepared to accelerate the removal of Sudan from the state sponsor of terrorism list if the Government of Sudan did two things. One is to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and two, to live up to all of the legal conditions required under law for Sudan to be taken off the state sponsors list. By doing this, we would also be de-coupling the state sponsor of terrorism from Darfur and from the Darfur issue….”
But incompetence, neglect, and expediency are still inadequate explanations for the feckless, disingenuous, finally callous pronouncements and policies of the Obama and Bush administrations over many years. Many feel strongly, as I do, that there are distinctly unpublicized parameters governing U.S. diplomatic initiatives and actions, and that U.S. commitment to the principle of a “responsibility to protect” endangered civilians has been massively trumped by competing views of national interest. Suspicion falls most strongly on the U.S. intelligence community, and specifically those with responsibility for counter-terrorism. A brief history of the aggressive U.S. pursuit of Khartoum’s “cooperation” in this effort is suggestive.
The human costs of the assaults on Blue Nile and South Kordofan, as well Abyei, are already staggering. Along with those suffering and displaced in Darfur, millions of Sudanese are at acute risk because of the actions of Khartoum in denying humanitarian access. This is the reality that must be confronted urgently and honestly; neither quality seems to have survived the U.S. preoccupation with counter-terrorism intelligence. Certainly they are not in evidence in Obama administration pronouncements…
This accounts for the painfully weak and perfunctory call for humanitarian access:
The Government of Sudan can and should immediately allow humanitarian organizations to undertake humanitarian assessments in affected areas and provide assistance commensurate with the needs of those populations.
Khartoum “can and should” stop its denial of humanitarian access; it “can and should” halt daily bombing of civilian targets in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur; it “can and should” negotiate a cease-fire for both Blue Nile and South Kordofan; it “can and should” withdraw from Abyei; it “can and should” resolve outstanding issues between the North and South.
But “can and should” are completely different words, and this regime only understands the first of these. This is true of all who are governed by either a ruthless survivalism or the most cynical version of Realpolitik. And in this, dismayingly, the Obama administration’s Sudan policies have too much in common with those guiding the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime.