The International Embrace of Khartoum Deepens: With what consequences for Sudan? Introduction and overview (first of three parts)
Eric Reeves | March 31, 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Sf
The evidence of a growing international willingness to embrace the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum is everywhere evident. This year alone, to date, there have been numerous reports of regional and broader trans-national “cooperation agreements,” trade deals, investment commitments, military and economic assistance, and significant diplomatic reassurances in various forms, including from the UN Secretary General and the Chairwoman of the Commission of the African Union. Both the Sudan Tribune and Radio Dabanga, along with other Sudanese news sources, have reported these developments seriatim; but a comprehensive survey of headline dispatches gives a terrifying sense of how fully a regime guilty of serial, ongoing genocide has been brought into the international fold (for a remarkable compendium of headlines, primarily from the Sudan Tribune, see the end of this Introduction). My three-part analysis of current trends looks at the causes and consequences of this remarkable transformation of Sudan’s place in the world community.
In facilitating this transformation, the evident reasoning on the part of the UN, the AU, the UK (most prominently among EU countries), the International Monetary Fund, the Arab League, and others is that the regime’s behavior will be “moderated” if it is accepted as somehow legitimate—if it is viewed as somehow a government with significant concern for its own people. But there is absolutely no historical evidence from the past 27 years that supports such a claim or such optimism. On the contrary, much of the assistance that flows to Khartoum assists the regime either in a direct military sense—or helps the regime avert the costs of addressing gross deficiencies and inequities in the political and economic spheres, which are largely a function of excessive military/security spending. Such assistance funds a political-military-business cabal that that has over many years become a well-oiled machine, designed to arrogate to itself as much of Sudan’s national wealth as possible. Moreover, such assistance gives the regime a limited ability to escape the full domestic consequences of its gross mismanagement of the Sudanese economy.
Thus despite the apparently “benign” purpose of many of these agreements—commitments to economic cooperation, investment opportunities (which in fact work to further enrich regime cronies), and various forms of diplomatic support (typically expedient and self-serving)—it is important to see how very little they do to address the most urgent problems facing Sudan: first and foremost, the continuing extreme violence in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan—violence ultimately genocidal in character. The slaughter in Jebel Marra and East Jebel Marra continues relentlessly in Darfur, as well as in other parts of this western region. Fighting is rapidly escalating in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where brutally destructive conflict has raged four almost five years. Antonov “bombers,” retrofitted cargo planes with no militarily useful accuracy, continue to target civilians and civilian agriculture throughout the conflict regions (this has been true for some two decades: see “‘They Bombed Everything That Moved’: Aerial military assaults on civilians and humanitarians in Sudan, 1999 – 2013 | http://www.sudanbombing.org/).
The genocidal counter-insurgency in Darfur may well be grinding to a grim conclusion. To be sure, fighting will continue; violent expropriation of African farmlands by Arab militias will continue; the epidemic of rape and sexual violence will certainly continue undiminished; and those denied humanitarian access will continue to die, and in increasingly large numbers. Jebel Marra was, however, the last natural redoubt for the rebel forces (in particular, the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdel Wahid); and while this and other rebel groups will continue some operations, their threat to the regime from Darfur is largely over.
Thus not only is Darfur’s the longest genocide in more than a century (now extending over thirteen years); it is arguably the most successful, given the utter lack of accountability demanded by the international actors of consequence.
In turning its military sights increasingly on South Kordofan and Blue Nile, Khartoum has recently gained important diplomatic support from the UN and African Union, as well as other international actors. For his part, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon continues to expand his appalling legacy of betraying the people of Sudan, expediently demanding that the rebel groups in these two traditionally marginalized and brutalized regions agree to what is called the African Union “Roadmap Agreement,” fashioned by the diplomatically corrupt Thabo Mbeki, who is head of the AU “High Level Implementation Panel.” (The “Implementation” part of this grandiose title, let us recall, was “implementation” of Mbeki’s disastrous 2009 “roadmap” for peace in Darfur, which of course was never “implemented”).
Agreeing to the AU’s newest “Roadmap” spells disaster for the rebel groups insofar as it commits them to participate in the factitious political process described by the regime as a “National Dialogue.” In fact, leaked minutes of meetings in which senior officials [ http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Sa/ ] describe the “National Dialogue” reveal that they view it as a mere political ploy, meant only to buy breathing room in confronting growing domestic opposition and to prepare for further military operations.
In a belated and equivocal press release speaking about the ongoing carnage in Jebel Marra, Darfur, the U.S. State Department suggested that violence in South Kordofan was no longer to be seen on a major scale:
We welcome the recent absence of major offensive action in South Kordofan and urge all parties to show the same restraint in Darfur and also in Blue Nile state, where government and opposition forces each carried out attacks last month. (February 18, 2016—over a month after the major assault on Jebel Marra had begun)
But this characterization has been thoroughly belied by events that were underway even as the State Department was making its claim. A little over a month later, it is fully clear than the AU “Roadmap Agreement” was never going to halt the military offensive in South Kordofan and Blue Nile that had been well-planned by the regime and is now in high gear. Indeed, the offensive in South Kordofan was both predictable and inevitable, given the regime’s assumptions about what it must do to survive. The offensive is again defined by attacks primarily on civilians, civilians who in most cases are already suffering acutely as a result of Khartoum’s humanitarian embargo on rebel-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, hundreds of thousands of people are either trapped in these areas, or who have fled as refugees and are desperately in need of assistance (http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/refdaily?pass=52fc6fbd5&id=4fed45255 ).
Preposterously, the U.S. Statement Department statement claimed that the massive assault on Jebel Marra in Darfur was somehow caused by an attack by Sudan Liberation Army/Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLA/AW) on Khartoum’s forces. John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesman for the Bureau of Public Affairs of the US Department of State, asserted in the statement that “initial attacks by the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid El Nur opposition group on Sudanese armed forces prompted a response by Sudan’s military” [emphasis added]. This absurd explanation of the cause for Khartoum’s massive regular military and militia sweep into Jebel Marra is yet again appeasing mendacity on the part of the Obama administration. In fashioning a Sudan policy that simply refuses to recognize the most basic realities confronting the people of this ravaged country.
The UN Secretary General and the Chairwoman of the Commission of the African Union have also refused to recognize realities in Sudan and have actively supported Khartoum’s political vision (Khartoum and Mbeki signed the agreement drafted by Mbeki with Khartoum’s help):
• UN Secretary-General calls on opposition to sign AU Roadmap | March 29, 2016 NEW YORK (Radio Dabanga)
• UN chief urges Sudanese opposition to sign Roadmap Agreement | March 29, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has called on the Sudanese opposition to sign the Roadmap Agreement concocted by the African mediators… (Sudan Tribune)
• AU Commission Chair urges Sudanese opposition ‘to sign roadmap’ | March 25, 2016 | ADDIS ABABA (Radio Dabanga) | [Chairwoman of the Commission of the African Union, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,] commends the Government of Sudan for signing the Roadmap Agreement, as part of efforts aimed at addressing the numerous challenges facing Sudan. She notes that the other [opposition] parties to the Strategic Consultations did not sign the Roadmap Agreement, and calls on them to urgently sign the Agreement by 28 March, “in order to give impetus to a process that shall lead to the settlement of Sudan’s multiple conflicts.” She calls on the parties who have not yet signed the agreement “to desist from making any unhelpful public statements, so as to avoid jeopardizing what they have committed to achieving; namely lasting peace in Sudan.”
The UN and AU leadership, in giving legitimacy to Mbeki’s diplomatic malfeasance, makes peace much less likely and only stiffens the resolve of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N) to fight, knowing that they have no support from the outside world—not even from the U.S., which refuses to accept as legitimate the rebels’ demand that humanitarian access and a monitored cease-fire be the issues agreed upon first, before any commitment is made to a political process that to date has benefited only the regime in Khartoum.
The African Union has gone even further in welcoming the Khartoum regime into the AU fold, having invited President al-Bashir to attend the January 2016 African Union summit in Addis Ababa, despite an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court, charging him with multiple counts of genocide and crimes against humanity:
• Sudan’s Bashir to participate in the upcoming African Union summit |January 24, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – President Omer al-Bashir will lead the Sudanese delegation participating in the 26th African Union head of states and governments summit scheduled to take place January 30 – 31, 2016 in Addis. (Sudan Tribune)
This contempt for international justice has gained wide sway among many African leaders, often from the very countries most in need of justice and accountability. As the AU becomes increasingly like its corrupt predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, its concerns for justice continue to wither. There appears to be no consideration of Khartoum’s continuing barbarism in its conduct of war:
§ An unrelenting use of rape as a weapon of war, primarily in Darfur but in other conflict regions as well. Human Rights Watch recently published a report (March 23, 2016) “Sudan: Silencing Women Rights Defenders,” speaking of “Sexual Abuse, Intimidation by Security Forces”:
Sudanese security forces have used sexual violence, intimidation, and other forms of abuse to silence female human rights defenders across [Sudan], Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should investigate all alleged abuses, hold those responsible to account, and undertake legislative reforms to protect women’s rights.
The 61-page report, “‘Good Girls Don’t Protest’: Repression and Abuse of Women Human Rights Defenders, Activists, and Protesters in Sudan,” documents:
…efforts by Sudanese authorities to silence women who are involved in protests, rights campaigns, and other public action, and who provide social services and legal aid, as well as journalists. Women engaged in these efforts are targeted with a range of abuses, from rape and rape threats, to deliberate efforts to tar their reputations.
At the same time, a campaign of sexual violence in Darfur that has seen tens of thousands of girls and women raped continues unabated. Radio Dabanga reports on the extension of this campaign to the ongoing military offensive in Jebel Marra:
• ‘Mass rape in Guldo in Darfur’s Jebel Marra’ |March 30 | 2016 GULDO, Jebel Marra
According to multiple sources in Jebel Marra, government troops reportedly raped ‘a large number of women’ in Guldo on Monday evening. “Army and militia troops in about 30 vehicles arrived at Guldo on Monday afternoon,” a resident of Guldo told Radio Dabanga. “After sunset, they began roaming the town, broke into the houses, and raped many, many women in the presence of their families, at gunpoint,” he said.
In Argotogo village, 13 kilometres southwest of Khazan Tunjur in North Darfur’s Tawila locality, three paramilitaries gang-raped a woman on Tuesday afternoon. A relative of the victim told Radio Dabanga that the woman (25) and her mother were on their way from Argotogo village to the market of Khazan Tunjur, when three members of a government militia on camels and wearing military uniforms intercepted them. “They robbed them of their belongings, after which they took turns to rape the woman,” she said.
‘Weapon of war’
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its World Report 2016, patterns of rape across Darfur in 2014 and 2015 show that various Sudanese units have deliberately committed rape against large numbers of women in many attacks at various locations and times. “Sudan’s forces have frequently raped and terrorised civilians with impunity,” said Daniel Bekele, HRW Africa director. “The pattern, scale, and frequency of rape suggest that Sudan’s security forces have adopted this sickeningly cruel practice as a weapon of war.”
The African Union and others also appear willing to overlook other barbaric acts by the Khartoum regime:
§ Continuing indiscriminate bombardment of civilians, civilian agriculture, and humanitarian work; this extends to the deliberate bombing of hospitals in South Kordofan, including that of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (twice in Frandala, South Kordofan) and the Mother of Mercy Hospital near Kauda, South Kordofan.
§ The AU seems content to see Khartoum hold dozens of UN Security Council resolutions in contempt, most conspicuously Resolution 1591 (March 2005), which imposes an arms embargo on the Darfur region and prohibits all military flights over Darfur. This is consistent with the regime’s contempt for and abrogation of all agreements it signs with parties and movements in Sudan (including the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with South Sudan in 2005: all the Protocols of that agreement have been violated to a greater or lesser degree, most egregiously the Abyei Protocol).
§ Even when Khartoum’s actions move outside its borders, the AU turns a blind eye. Khartoum for more than a year and a half has been arming and supporting radical Islamists in Libya, further destabilizing an already chaotic country. Earlier this month (March 9, 2016) the UN Panel of Experts on Libya reported that the regime had repeatedly violated the UN arms embargo on Libya, transferring helicopter gunships, ammunition, and other materiel (documented pages 34 – 37). Unsurprisingly, the Panel notes many instances of Khartoum’s failure to cooperate with this important work.
In short, the African Union is simply willing to overlook a wide range of human rights outrages, violations of international law and UN Security Council resolutions, ethnically-targeted human destruction, and a military junta that has no intention of reforming or conducting a meaningful “National Dialogue.”
Other Features of the Landscape in Sudan
But embracing the Khartoum regime requires ignoring a host of other realities in Sudan as well, even as many features of this international embrace exacerbate the suffering experienced by ordinary Sudanese who feel none of the benefits of world’s acceptance of NIF/NCP tyranny.
These features of the current situation in Sudan will be analyzed in two subsequent briefs:
- A collapsing economy, with runaway inflation for food and other staple goods and an almost complete lack of foreign exchange currency;
- Acute water shortages throughout the country, the result of the regime’s failure to invest in adequate water-delivery infrastructure and repairs;
- Deepening repression, targeting not only newspapers and reporters, but civil society organizations;
- Ongoing kleptocracy, which sees Sudanese wealth increasingly diverted to the few and away from the vast number in need. (For an extended analysis of the Khartoum regime as a “kleptocracy,” see “Kleptocracy in Khartoum: Self-Enrichment by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party,” | December 1, 2015 | http://www.enoughproject.org/reports/enough-forum-kleptocracy-khartoum.)
Beyond this, even as Khartoum accepts various forms of international assistance, including from the UN and International Nongovernmental Humanitarian Organizations (INGOs), the regime maintains a policy of fierce animosity towards expatriate humanitarian workers, often expelling workers and organizations from areas in Sudan that have critical needs. This hostility is particularly true in Darfur and eastern Sudan; moreover, but huge areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile suffer from the imposition of a brutal humanitarian embargo in summer 2011. And when confronted with ghastly humanitarian realities if does not wish to address, Khartoum expresses hostility that extends even to the credibility critical of assessment efforts:
• Sudan says UNOCHA report about famine in Sudan is inaccurate |March 15, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese government Tuesday questioned the accuracy of a presentation by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNCHA) of a report about food insecurity in Sudan and wondered about its purpose.
[The regime of course has itself conducted no meaningful assessment of food insecurity during its entire time in power—ER]
• Sudan questions accuracy of reports on Darfur IDPs number | February 29, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s foreign minister has dismissed reports on the number of persons fleeing the recent clashes between the Sudanese army and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) in Darfur area of Jebel Marra.
• ‘UN displacement figures inaccurate’: Sudan Foreign Ministry | March 1, 2016 | GOLO / KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga) The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dismissed reports by the UN on the number of people who have been displaced by the fighting between the army and rebel forces in Darfur’s Jebel Marra since 15 January. An official stressed the operations have ended…
The very notion of international humanitarian assistance is viewed with cruel suspicion by the regime:
• EU concerned about Sudan’s closure of Tearfund | January 20, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
[Tearfund was expelled from Darfur and other areas critically in need in Sudan; the regime offered no vaguely credible explanation for the expulsion—ER]
• Sudan Committee urges review of foreign aid | February 10, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga) The Sudanese Foreign Aid Supreme Committee has called for a review of foreign aid to the country. The Minister of International Cooperation, El Fateh Ali Siddig, said in a press conference held by the Foreign Aid Technical Committee on Monday that the size of foreign aid provided to Sudan in all fields needs to be re-determined.
[This is a prelude to further reductions in the presence of INGOs in Sudan—ER]
This hostility to humanitarian assistance and assessment ensures that much critical information, especially about acute and severe malnutrition, never is published or promulgated. A glaring example is UNICEF’s refusal to publish the results of a 2014 study that found, inter alia, that in North Darfur 28 percent of children under five were acutely malnourished; that in Central Darfur, where fighting now rages, the chronic malnutrition rate among children under five was 45 percent; this report is the original source for our figure for the population of severely or moderately malnourished children: more than 2 million (see “Internal UNICEF Malnutrition Report on Sudan and Darfur: Why have these data been withheld?” | 5 September 2014 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1pL/).
Again we learn most about the gross shortcomings within the country from Radio Dabanga and Sudan Tribune, news sources largely dismissed by the international news reporting world, even as the quality, accuracy, and resourcefulness of both has grown tremendously in recent years. Radio Dabanga has offered a series of dispatches that in aggregate make clear the consequences, within Sudan, of gross economic mismanagement, serving only to enrich this increasingly militarized junta—a military dominance that seems not to trouble or even catch the attention of the international community:
• One medical assistant for 100,000 villagers in Abu Ajura, South Darfur | January 27, 2016| ABU AJURA (Radio Dabanga)
• Health services deteriorating in Port Sudan | January 27, 2016 | PORT SUDAN (Radio Dabanga)
• “Sudan runs short on medicines”: pharmacy director | January 22, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
• ‘Four million Sudanese at food crisis levels’: FEWS NET | March 13, 2016 | EN NAHUD / KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
• No breakfast for six million Sudanese basic school students | March 13, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
At the same time, repression within Sudan has never been greater, with the regime well understanding that any civil uprising could quickly lead to an overwhelming push for regime change, the one refrain holding together that badly divided civil society and military opposition to the regime. The use of live ammunition, fired with “shoot to kill” orders, during the September 2013 uprising in several major cities and towns in Sudan has clearly been much on the mind of the regime as it continues to expend inordinate amounts of the national budget on military and security services:
• Sudanese journalist released in Saudi Arabia, El Sudani [newspaper] gagged | March 16, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
[At the behest of Khartoum’s security services, Saudi Arabia’s increasingly fascistic “kingdom” had detained Walid al-Hussain, a distinguished journalist reporting on Sudan from the Riyadh, for many months—ER]
• Sudan security detains 17 women in Khartoum | February 4, 2016| KHARTOUM NORTH (Radio Dabanga)
• Detained journalist rushed to North Darfur hospital | February 28, 2016 | EL FASHER (Radio Dabanga)
• Second raid by security forces on training centre in Sudan’s capital | March 2, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
• Another Sudanese activist prevented from travel to Geneva | March 30, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
• Sudanese security confiscates print runs of two newspapers | March 27, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) seized copies of Al-Ayam and Al-Mustaqilla newspaper in the early hours of Sunday from the printing… (Sudan Tribune)
• El Ayam newspaper gagged in Sudan capital | March 28, 2016 KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)
[Reporters Without Borders ranked Sudan 174th out of 180 countries assessed | https://index.rsf.org/#!/ ]
And even as Khartoum suppresses news reporting and civil society activism domestically, the regime in speaking to the international community is prepared to offer assessments so preposterous that we must assume they are not for any but the most credulous or ideologically driven:
• ‘Jebel Marra fighting did not cause displacement’: North Darfur official | February 24, 2016 TAWILA, North Darfur (Radio Dabanga) According to the Deputy Governor of North Darfur, no displacement occurred as a result of militia attacks or military confrontations this year.
This is pure mendacity. The UN has regularly assessed the displaced Jebel Marra population since mid-January 2016 and reports:
• People continue to flee the Jebel Marra area in Darfur due to fighting between government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – Abdel Wahid (SPLA-AW). To date, a variety of estimates from aid organisations and authorities indicate that there could be about 133,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Jebel Marra in North, Central and South Darfur States. (UN OCHA | Sudan Humanitarian Bulletin, March 7, 2016)
Without evidence or credibility, Khartoum rejects out of hand the work of UN investigators that provides the feckless Secretary General with at least partial information about the very realities the regime denies:
• Sudan criticizes UN report on the situation in Darfur | January 27, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s foreign ministry Wednesday has criticized the latest report of the UN chief to the UN Security Council on the situation in Darfur saying it contained in Darfur saying it contained false information.
The International Embrace of Khartoum: Who is participating?
The Sudan Tribune in particular has provided excellent coverage of the ongoing acceptance of the Khartoum regime as a legitimate actor on the world stage. Europe and the United States figure prominently among the headlines:
• Poland, Sudan to engage in security and military cooperation | March 20, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The Polish minister of defence Antoni Macierewicz has expressed his country’s desire and readiness to coordinate with Sudan in security and military issues. Macierewicz, who met Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour in Warsaw on Saturday, pointed to Sudan’s regional importance, expressing his country’s readiness for security and military cooperation with the east African nation. (Sudan Tribune)
• Sudan, UK agree to enhance economic cooperation | March 21, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan and the United Kingdom (UK) have agreed to promote cultural, economic and investment cooperation besides exchange of visits by senior officials in both nations. (Sudan Tribune)
• Sudan, UK to discuss ways to promote bilateral ties | March 19, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – A political consultation committee between Sudan and the United Kingdom (UK) would meet Sunday in Khartoum to discuss ways for promoting bilateral relations… (Sudan Tribune)
• Sudan, UK to engage in strategic dialogue | March 16, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Vice-President Hasabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman Wednesday discussed with the British Ambassador to Khartoum Michael Aron bilateral ties between the two countries… (Sudan Tribune)
• Italian commercial delegation to arrive in Khartoum next week | February 3, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Italy’s embassy in Khartoum Wednesday announced that an Italian commercial delegation would arrive in the Sudanese capital next week to discuss ways for expanding the trade exchange between the two countries. (Sudan Tribune)
• Germany, Sudan sign €51m cooperation agreement | March 3, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Germany and Sudan Thursday signed a €51 million cooperation agreement for the implementation of development projects in the three states of eastern Sudan, and five states of Darfur. (Sudan Tribune)
• German delegations to visit Khartoum in January: Foreign Ministry | January 5, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Several official and legislative German delegations would arrive in Khartoum during this month, announced the Sudanese foreign ministry. Following a meeting Tuesday with the German ambassador to Khartoum Rolf Welberts, foreign ministry deputy under-secretary Daffa Allah al-Hag Ali Osman, said his country welcomes the expected visit of the German official. (Sudan Tribune)
• Sudan receives 100 million euros from EU to stem irregular migrants | February 17, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The European Commission Wednesday announced a 100 million euro package to support Sudan to address root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons. (Sudan Tribune)
[Most of this money will end up in the pockets of the National Intelligence and Security Services for their own nefarious purposes, not to stanch the flow of “irregular migrants,” which the domestic policies of the Khartoum regime have done much to increase in number—ER]
• Belgium, Sudan sign loan to improve water supply | February 24, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Belgium Wednesday signed a loan agreement of 551,000 euro with the Sudanese government to provide 1,200 water pumping stations to ten states.
[Construction contracts for these pumping stations will benefit regime cronies, and the very fact of needing so much construction for adequate water supplies in Sudan is a reflection of the callous domestic economic policies of the regime—ER]
• Sudanese foreign minister to meet EU officials in Brussels Monday | February 14, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – European Union (EU) envoy to Sudan, Tomas Ulicny, Sunday has discussed with Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour his visit to the EU headquarters in Brussels. (Sudan Tribune)
• Sudan, USAID discuss ways to promote joint cooperation | February 28, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Minister of International Cooperation Kamal Hassan Ali has discussed with the Assistant Administrator for the Africa Bureau at the US Agency for International Development (Sudan Tribune)
China and Russia, to be sure, have long viewed Sudan through the lens of military weapons sales and oil development, as well as other commercial opportunities:
• Sudan and Russia vow to boost economic cooperation | February 27, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese and Russian foreign ministers Friday pledged to work toward greater economic cooperation between the two countries. Ibrahim Ghandour and Sergey Lavrov met… (Sudan Tribune)
• Oil minister discuss with Chinese officials building Sudan’s first natural gas pipeline
February 24, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese oil minister Mohamed Zayed Awad Wednesday held discussions with Chinese officials to build the first gas pipeline in Sudan and ways to develop gas industry. (Sudan Tribune)
But Arab and African countries have also been particularly “forgiving” of the massive crimes, economic malfeasance, and corruption that have defined the 27 years since the NIF/NCP tyranny came to power by military coup.
• Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agree to enhance cooperation | February 20, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan leaders Saturday agreed to boost relations and reinforce trilateral cooperation in political, security and economic fields. (Sudan Tribune)
• UAE funds $260m water stations for Khartoum State | January 8, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will fund the construction of two water pumping stations at a cost of 260 million dollars in Khartoum state in support of the Sudanese (Sudan Tribune)
[Again, construction contracts will benefit regime cronies, and the very fact of needing so much construction for adequate water supplies in Sudan is a reflection of the callous domestic economic policies of the regime—ER]
• Sudan, Egypt FMs discuss Ethiopian dam | January 9, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ghandour Saturday held talks in Cairo, with his Egyptian counterpart Samih Shoukri on issues of common interest (Sudan Tribune)
• Egypt invites Bashir to attend investment African forum | January 17, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir has received an invitation from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fatah al-Sissi to attend the African Investment Forum (AIF) at at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Shiekh from 20 to 21 February 2016. (Sudan Tribune)
• Bashir receives message from Egyptian president over joint cooperation | March 20, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir Sunday has received a message from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi pertaining to joint cooperation and coordination… (Sudan Tribune)
• Bahraini Prime Minister invited to visit Sudan | January 23, 2016 (MANAMA) – Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour has handed over an official invitation for the Bahraini Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to visit Sudan. (Sudan Tribune)
• East African states set to inter-connect through energy | February 4, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – East African countries are due to be linked through a regional power interconnection in a bid to boost their economic development, Ethiopian… (Sudan Tribune)
• Sudan’s Bashir to participate in the upcoming African Union summit | January 24, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – President Omer al-Bashir will lead the Sudanese delegation participating in the 26th African Union head of states and governments summit scheduled to take place 30-31 of January 2016, at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. (Sudan Tribune)
• African Union summit to formally demand Washington to lift Sudan sanctions | January 23, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – A senior Sudanese diplomat has said the economic sanctions imposed by Washington on Sudan hampers the African Union’s (AU) ability to carry out its tasks. (Sudan Tribune)
[This claim by Khartoum is utter nonsense, particularly in light of the regime’s hostility to the UN/African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID)—a hostility that is sometimes murderous: see compilation of evidence at | http://wp.me/p45rOG-11S—ER]
• Arab League renews calls for lift of sanctions on Sudan | March 11, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The Arab League called for the removal of American economic sanctions on Sudan, and vowed to exert more efforts with the international funds and organizations to support the Sudanese economy and cancel its foreign debt. (Sudan Tribune)
[The African Union is content to overlook the massive violence orchestrated against Sudanese civilians by the Khartoum regime, as well as the regime’s gross mismanagement of the economy and exorbitant expenditures on the armed and security services, as well as various paramilitary forces. There could hardly be a country less deserving of debt relief than Sudan under the NIF/NCP—ER]
• UN agencies to implement Qatari funded projects in Darfur | February 16, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Darfur Regional Authority and the United Nations signed Tuesday an agreement to implement a number of development projects in Darfur five states funded by the State of Qatar. (Sudan Tribune)
In the case of Saudi Arabia, Khartoum’s economically compelled decision to cut ties with Iran has yielded extraordinary dividends:
• Sudan severs diplomatic ties with Iran | January 4, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan on Monday said it is severing diplomatic relations with Iran, one day after Saudi Arabia announced it was also cutting off ties with Tehran. (Sudan Tribune)
• Saudi Arabia gives Sudan $5 billion in military aid | February 22, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Saudi Arabia has granted five billion dollar military assistance to Sudan initially dedicated to the Lebanese army, multiple sources told Sudan Tribune on Monday. (Sudan Tribune)—which had excellent sources for this information—ER]
• Sudanese army participates in regional military maneuvers in Saudi Arabia | February 5, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese army on Friday, announced its participation in joint military manoeuvres to be held in Saudi Arabia, including Arab and Muslim countries participating… (Sudan Tribune)
• Sudanese army participates in Islamic military alliance meeting in Riyadh | March 27, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan has participated in the first meeting of the chiefs-of-staff of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) which kicked off Sunday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh (Sudan Tribune)
• Saudi aircraft flies Al Bashir to Islamic summit in Indonesia | March 7, 2016 | JAKARTA
Again, in subsequent analyses I will offer a more detailed account of these various decisions by members of the international community and their larger implications for the people of Sudan, whose suffering continues remorselessly.
What must be said now:
What must be said now is that the international community is again averting its eyes from suffering, tyranny, cruelty, and civilian destruction that over the past 27 years have had very few rivals. The international community is implicitly claiming to be persuaded by the professed ambitions of the U.S. Obama administration. These “ambitions”—little more than expedient and disingenuous ways of averting U.S. eyes—were best, or at least most revealingly, articulated by former administration special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman.
“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.” (Princeton Lyman’s response to a question by the respected Arabic news outlet Asharq Al-Awsat, concerning Sudan and the “Arab Spring,” December 3, 2011)
The assumption here—that the NIF/NCP regime is somehow capable of “carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures”—is so utterly preposterous that there can be only two explanations—for the U.S. and the rest of the world as well. One explanation is an ignorance of the regime so colossal as to defy order rules of magnitude by which we measure diplomatic stupidity or incomprehension. This seems highly unlikely. Rather, what we are seeing in the international rush to embrace the Khartoum regime is a political cynicism that will incinerate any claim by these actors to be working for the larger good of the Sudanese people.
(First of three parts | March 31, 2016)