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Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

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Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Merlin on Wed May 25 2011, 07:15

Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War
John Avlon,

After a weekend of slaughter and bloodshed, the Northern army now occupies Abyei—inflaming tensions that could lead to an escalated civil war. John Avlon reports on the real-time test for the international community.
Blood is flowing on the dirt roads of Abyei. Airstrikes and artillery fire have compounded the body count. The surviving population has been driven out, their town looted and burned.
Sudan now faces the real prospect of a reignited civil war, just seven weeks from the scheduled formal declaration of independence by the Republic of South Sudan from the Arab and Islamist government of the North in Khartoum. Over two million people were killed before the last extended outbreak of civil war ended in 2005.
This past weekend’s slaughter was not a proxy war between warring tribes, but an outright military conflict with conventional forces. The Northern army now occupies Abyei. And no one can say that they didn’t see it coming.
The remote, oil-rich region of Abyei has long been the sticking point in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement negotiations. The local native Ngok Dinka tribe clearly identifies with the people of the South. But the North sees losing its oil resources as an economic calamity—and so they have done what many observers long expected: wait for international attention to focus elsewhere and then occupy the region by force before the official independence scheduled for July 9, 2011.
The question is not whether the independence supported by 99 percent of the Southern population in the January referendum will go forward—it is a question of whether that event will be accompanied by ongoing military conflict, a civil war turning into an international war literally overnight.
“From the beginning, Abyei has been the focal point. If the violence continues the whole peace process is in vain,” emailed the actor and Sudan activist George Clooney, whose efforts have helped bring international attention to the war-torn African nation. “This is the moment that will decide the future of north and south Sudan. This is the time for everyone interested in lasting peace to get involved.”
Tensions are escalating further after the attacks. The government in Khartoum, led by indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir is flatly denying U.S. and U.N. requests that they abandon their territorial gains as part of negotiations. With arch condescension, Bashir simultaneously declared “our intention is create warm relations with southerners.”
There has been a steady stream of violence in Abyei since the eve of the January referendum, when I visited Abyei with Clooney, John Prendergast of the Enough Project, and photographer Lynsey Adario for a Newsweek cover story. The day we were there, more than 100 people were killed in a clash between the Ngok Dinka tribe and the nomadic Misseriya tribes who came down from the north. By early March, three villages had been burnt to the ground and 20,000 locals displaced. Troops and tanks had been moved into formation.
Evidence of this escalation was provided by Satellite Sentinel, an innovative real-time satellite imagery project envisioned by Clooney and executed through the Enough Project, DigitalGlobe, and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. A local relief worker I spoke to by phone communicated the feelings of those on the ground, who were looking forward with foreboding: “Everyone here expects more attacks."
And the attacks came. Under cloud cover, the spark that ignited this round of attacks appears to have been firing on a Northern military convoy by soldiers from the Southern SPLA. Northern jet fighters then bombed the area, trying to take out a bridge to the South so that reinforcements could not be sent. This was followed the next day by tank and artillery fire into the town and adjoining UN compound. Doctors without Borders have reported 42 wounded currently in their care, but experts expect the total fatalities to be higher when the area is fully accessed.
“The Khartoum regime was waiting for any kind of provocation from southern forces and they were waiting for sufficient cloud cover as to render the satellite monitoring temporarily impotent,” John Prendergast told me. “This past week they got both when a southern Sudanese soldier fired on a Sudan army convoy. The regime responded with overwhelming force, as it has in Darfur, with aerial and ground assaults that have left the peace process in tatters. South Sudan will become an independent state on July 9 no matter what, but the question is will it be born into a full-scale war with the north? Literally millions of lives hang in the balance.”
The United States, which helped negotiate the hard won peace agreement in 2005 under the Bush administration, is dispatching the newly appointed Special Envoy—Princeton Lyman—to Sudan later this week. Lyman has already expressed American demands that the North withdraw its forces. The U.S. does have carrots and sticks at its disposal that might capture Khartoum’s attention—among them, debt forgiveness, removing Sudan off the official list of state-sponsors of terrorism and naming a full ambassador. All these inducements were dependent on the peaceful referendum and official independence of the South in July.
When I asked Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry in January about the consequences of Northern aggression that aimed to disrupt the transition to Southern independence, he said simply, “If the north thinks they could do something and get away with it without dramatic serious implications, they are making the biggest mistake of a lifetime.”
Now we will need to see what follow-through occurs. The North calculated that international attention would fade and that would provide a cover for their actions. The eyes of the world are now focused on Libya, Syria and the Arab Spring (which the images of Southern Sudan’s referendum helped inspire via al Jazeera across other North African nations in January). But practitioners of violence still believe they can get away with murder if the cameras lights are focused elsewhere.
This is a real-time test of the international community’s commitment to stopping more slaughter before it starts. The question comes down to attention—will this long-planned act of aggression be greeted with the clear condemnation of civilized nations? Will the North be made to feel that there is no future in seizing Abyei, or will they remain convinced that violence can create gains in a vacuum.
You at home reading this have a role to play in the outcome. It is in some ways a test of a social networking aphorism offered by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in another context: “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.”
Well, does it? If the answer is no, email your congressman, email the White House, email the U.N. and the governments of North and South Sudan. Let them know that the people of Abyei are not forgotten and this aggression will not be rewarded with inaction. You can help change the equation just by showing that you give a damn about devastation half a world away.


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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Atalante on Wed May 25 2011, 12:01

Guys and weapons, those testosteronebags on legs, also called men, aren't the brightest creatures on this planet.

First they breed like rabbits, then when there's to many of them out there and not enough wealth to share they start killing each other.

Solution, birthcontrol and sterilise those " rabbits " !

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ! cheers

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by lucy on Wed May 25 2011, 12:57

Birth control is a wonderful invention when used properly.
George is suppose to go here in July, hope that is just another rumor!

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Katiedot on Wed May 25 2011, 15:32

Are you saying they're using George as birth control? Eeek!

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by lucy on Wed May 25 2011, 16:57

NO he'd never be good as birth control,just look at us we like him without the sugar coating. Worried about him going there in July and hoping it's not true.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Merlin on Wed May 25 2011, 17:54

It was in the article about John Prendergast that he was going to Sudan with George in July...don't think it would have been said if it wasn't true.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by lucy on Wed May 25 2011, 23:38

The article above says South Sudan becomes an independent state on July 9th, so that must be when they are going.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Katiedot on Thu May 26 2011, 12:53

More from Time

George Clooney's Satellite Project Captures Sudan Violence in Real Time

Posted by Mark Benjamin Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 11:08 am

Late last year I wrote a piece about an effort spearheaded by George Clooney to spin a bunch of commercial satellites over Sudan. The idea was to take detailed pictures of the border area between the North and South in case civil war broke out as the country split in two, as it is set to do in July. The idea was that the spotlight might help prevent war and atrocities. The last civil war in Sudan ended in 2005, but not until 2 million people died. Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, has been charged with war crimes.

Clooney's project combines Hollywood money to task the satellites, UN experts to comb through the imagery, and analysts at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative to compare the data to ground reports. The Satellite Sentinel Project is up and running -- and doing some astounding work. Sadly, the project has been forced to move from trying to prevent war in Sudan to documenting it as it seems to be unfolding. War is breaking out in the heavily contested town of Abyei, which straddles the border between the North and South. Already, 25,000 people have reportedly fled the violence unfolding there.

The project has a new, startling report out, complete with images of tanks and planes and artillery and burned villages. You can peruse and download it from: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The report documents a razed southern-aligned military base, and fires burning in the town of Dungop where northern-aligned forces have attacked. Clooney's group has also shown where the brutal northern militia, the Misseriya, have decamped and moved south. The images document tanks, tank tracks, artillery, and aircraft the North is using to pound targets in and around Abyei.

Human rights workers say this is the first time satellite technology has been used by private groups to deter and document war crimes and atrocities in real-time quite like this. Clooney told me late last year he wanted to become "the anti-genocide paparazzi."

"We want them to enjoy the level of celebrity attention that I usually get," he said about potential perpetrators of war crimes. "If you know your actions are going to be covered, you tend to behave much differently than when you operate in a vacuum."

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Snoopy on Sat May 28 2011, 02:30

Did the satellite slow them down, or just document their progress?

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Katiedot on Sat May 28 2011, 03:39

I'd say it's documenting what they're doing so there can be no pretending "Oh, we didn't know" or "We weren't sure what was happening so we couldn't take action".

We do know and we can be sure. If we fail to take action then so be it, but there'll be no hiding behind excuses.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by melbert on Sat May 28 2011, 17:37

I think that was really the sole purpose of the satellite project - to document what those sonofabitches are doing.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Katiedot on Thu Jun 16 2011, 07:04

From Global Post

Sudan: Border tensions rise before South's independence
Many fear Khartoum government plans to seize territory before the South's independence on July 9.

Tristan McConnell on June 14, 2011

JUBA, Sudan — Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, already wanted for genocide and war crimes in Darfur, faces fresh allegations of ethnic cleansing, murder and rape for his army’s ongoing attacks in border areas just weeks ahead of southern Sudan’s July 9 independence.

In its latest aggression, the South accused Khartoum of bombing a village in the oil-producing southern border state of Unity late last week, killing at least three people. A southern army spokesman said the attack could herald an attempt to seize territory.

“This area is deep inside South Sudan and is a move by Khartoum to control the area and create a de facto border to control our oil fields,” said Colonel Phillip Aguer.

Human rights groups, including Hollywood actor George Clooney's Satellite Sentinel Project, have accused Bashir of ethnic cleansing in the disputed border town of Abyei after Khartoum invaded the area with tanks, soldiers and militias on May 21.

Tensions have been rising in Abyei since January when a referendum on whether the territory would join the North or the South was cancelled after the two sides failed to agree on who was eligible to vote.

Last month the entire southern Ngok Dinka population fled Abyei leaving the town occupied by northern troops and allied Arab Misseriya nomads. The invasion and occupation has caused at least 106,000 people in the region to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.

“I received allegations of killings, rape and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment during and subsequent to the attack,” said United Nations human rights expert Mohamed Othman Chande last week after visiting Abyei.

Chande urged Khartoum to allow investigators to verify the claims, a request that has so far been denied by northern forces that have an iron grip on Abyei.

In Juba, South Sudan's capital-in-waiting, there is little doubt that Bashir is re-deploying the brutal tactics that have characterised the fighting in Darfur since 2003, tactics that led to his indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Asked whether war crimes had been committed in Abyei, South Sudan's information minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, replied: “What do you call it? When a government that is supposed to protect civilians instead bombs them, destroys their homes and creates a humanitarian disaster in a deliberate manner?"

Benjamin told GlobalPost that Abyei "poses a threat which can be a source of insecurity or even throw people back to war.”

Benjamin described as “a victory,” a U.N. Security Council statement this month demanding the withdrawal of northern forces. But Bashir has so far defied all calls to back off, including ones made by the U.S. and Great Britain, two key sponsors of the 2005 peace deal that ended 22 years of civil war.

Abyei is not the only place along the un-demarcated 1,300-mile border to see recent fighting.

In the northern state of South Kordofan a disputed local election ratcheted up tensions, which erupted in gun battles between northern soldiers and rebels who fought alongside the South during the civil war. Air raids and artillery assaults have also been reported.

The links to Darfur are impossible to ignore: The northern candidate, whose disputed victory in May’s election for governor sparked the violence, is Ahmad Harun, a former interior minister who is accused of unleashing the murderous ‘janjaweed’ militias and is also wanted — alongside his president — for war crimes.

On Thursday, the United Nations reported ongoing gunfire and looting in the town of Kadugli in Southern Kordofan. A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said that a Catholic church where civilians had been sheltering was attacked.

Aid workers have been evacuated and up to 40,000 residents have fled the town. Another 10,000 people are huddled around a U.N. military base in the hope of shelter and protection.

They may not get much. During last month’s invasion of Abyei, Zambian peacekeepers hid in their fortified compound behind razor wire while the killing, looting and burning went on. Only after two days did they venture out on patrol.

The U.N. has launched an investigation into the behavior of those peacekeepers. But this is not the first time U.N. peacekeppers have been accused of abandoning the local population in Abyei. People there remember how the "blue helmets" fled in helicopters the last time Khartoum invaded and razed the town in 2008.

Analysts say that the outbreaks of violence and Bashir’s aggressive posturing are part of a strategy to strengthen his hand in ongoing negotiations over the boundaries and conditions of the coming partition.

The hardest talks will be over the sharing of oil revenues. While most of Sudan’s 500,000 barrels a day is drilled in the south, the only way to transport the oil is in pipelines that go north. The two sides must work together if either is to profit. Negotiations are also underway on sharing of $37 billion of foreign debt, the issue of citizenship rights and the delineation of the border.

Benjamin, the information minister, insisted in an interview that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which fought the civil war and has ruled the South since the peace, would not rise to Khartoum’s provocations: “We will show restraint and will not close the door on dialogue.”

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Snoopy on Thu Jun 16 2011, 12:12

I often struggle to understand why the UN allows this to continue.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by lucy on Thu Jun 16 2011, 12:49

@ Snoopy, politics they say, and who can understand that now a days.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Guest on Thu Jun 16 2011, 13:43

The UN is a correlation of so many countries and has so many rules it’s very hard to find one voice. Right now it looks like both sides are accusing the other of the same issues. To have concrete evidence is very difficult. And this war has been going on for decades.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Guest on Fri Jun 17 2011, 16:30

From the Global Post
It's obvious to all that Bashir is up to the same dirty tricks that he played in Darfur — using militias, the army, the air force against ordinary subsistence farmers in order to claim control of their land. George Clooney's Satellite Sentinel Project is providing plenty of photographs that prooved beyond a shadow of a doubt the Khartoum government's buildup troops and tanks along the disputed Abyei area. And then the satellite photos showed the expected attacks on villages and settlements.

It has created a burgeoning refugee problem as thousands of families in the border area flee for their lives.

Yet no decisive response has come from the international community.

The activist group the Enough Project is urging the Obama administration to immediately begin preparations to provide air defense capabilities to the government of South Sudan when it becomes independent. Enough is also urging the Obama administration to ramp up an array of new financial sanctions aimed at the heart of the Bashir regime's military-industrial complex.

Link: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa-emerges/us-urged-provide-air-cover-south-sudan

I urge everyone to back The Enough Project in any way possible. Thank you!


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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by Katiedot on Thu Jun 23 2011, 12:14

From [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

At UN, Doha Process on Darfur Ends in Whimper, No Rebels, No Rice

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 22 -- The issue of Darfur, once burning hot, degenerated Wednesday into a closed door UN Security Council meeting with no output. Even the scheduled press availability by Qatar's foreign minister, in New York to present the so-called Darfur Peace Agreement, got canceled.

“Where is George Clooney?” a representative of Qatari state media asked Inner City Press. More to the point, where was US Ambassador Susan Rice?

Qatar has hosted the Doha process, urging rebels to come in order to show the emirate's diplomatic prowess. But the final product has not been signed by the Justice and Equality Movement, whose leader Khalil Ibrahim the UN has refused to evacuate like its own staff from Tripoli, nor the factions led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur and Minni Minnawi.

From the “Astroturf” rebel movement led by former UN staff member Al-Tijani Al-Sissi, even Ali Karbino has broken away and joined the still-fighting rebels.

So what was or would be solved by the Darfur Peace Agreement?



Bassole, Ban and Qatar minister on June 20, 2011, (c) MRLee

The Security Council met for hours on Wednesday with former joint UN-AU mediator Djibril Bassole, now Burkina Faso's foreign minister, and his Qatari counterpart.

Afterward top UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy told Inner City Press, no one has signed the agreement yet. The Council is going to issue a press statement to put pressure for them to sign.

No press statement was issued. The focus seemed to have shifted to South Sudan -- some surmised that Darfur had just been used as a bargaining chip, to indict Omar al Bashir as leverage to let South Sudan go. And after July 9? Watch this site.

On the other hand, there was also good news for Sudan:

From waPo

Palin cancels trip to Sudan

Amy Gardner, Published: June 22 2011

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has canceled a trip next month to war-ravaged Sudan, one of the most unstable nations in the world and the focus of passionate advocacy within the U.S. evangelical community.

Palin scrapped her visit to the North African country for scheduling reasons, several sources close to her said. She was planning to travel with Franklin Graham, the son of evangelical leader Billy Graham, as well as Fox News personality Greta Van Susteren, to the July 9 independence ceremony of South Sudan, the sources said. Van Susteren also canceled her trip. Graham said on Wednesday that he still plans to go.

 The former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee is not announcing stops on her “One Nation” tour, leading many media outlets to follow her bus wherever it goes.

Palin’s decision comes at a time when speculation is mounting about whether she will seek the Republican presidential nomination. Her weeks-long silence since the end of her One Nation bus tour along the East Coast has prompted a raft of questions about whether there will be a second or third leg, as advisers initially said there would be, through the Midwest and the South.

Palin weighed in on the debate via Twitter on Wednesday, tweeting “I did?” in response to several headlines reporting that she had canceled the tour.

Late Wednesday, she posted on her Facebook page that she had been called for jury duty and suggested that was one reason why the second leg of her bus tour hadn’t occurred.

A Palin spokesman, Tim Crawford, declined to comment on any of her travel plans, whether to Sudan or across the United States.

In the meantime, Palin is in Alaska enjoying what she has described on her reality TV show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” as her family’s favorite time of year. This is when the Palins typically travel north for an annual salmon fishing trip to Bristol Bay.

Palin advisers said during the bus tour that one purpose of it was to give her family a chance to experience the sacrifice that comes with life on the road — and to decide whether it is something they could deal with.

Palin first told a London newspaper of the Sudan trip early this month. Graham, who heads the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, said he spoke to Palin about traveling with her to Sudan several years ago, while she was still governor. The trip didn’t work out because of a special legislative session that kept Palin in Juneau, he said.

Graham said he spoke with Palin last week, when she told him that other obligations prevented her from making the trip. She told him that her commitment to visiting Sudan is as strong as ever but that the timing for this trip simply didn’t work.

“She tried very hard to make it work,” he said in an interview.

“She would be a very good person to help draw attention to the plight of the Christians in South Sudan,” said Graham, who has traveled to Haiti with Palin. “We’ve got George Clooney, we’ve got some Hollywood-type people. I’m very grateful for what Mr. Clooney has done. But we need everybody we can find.”

One U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of Palin’s potential political aspirations, said the former governor had gotten so far in the planning process as to secure permission from the government of South Sudan to attend the independence ceremony.

The official said one challenge of the trip was security. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is also tentatively scheduled to attend the ceremony, may not make the trip because of safety concerns.

Sudan has been the setting of one of the gravest humanitarian crises of the past generation. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the ruler of Sudan’s military government, has been indicted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court. Despite the planned secession of the southern third of the nation, clashes between northern and southern forces continue along the border.

“There is a genocide taking place,” said Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), an advocate for more U.S. involvement in Sudan. “The more people [who travel to Sudan] from the West, from the United States, the better. I’ve been urging different people to go. We have a museum on the Mall, the Holocaust Museum. It says, ‘Never again.’ What doesn’t the West understand about this? If this was taking place in the south of France, do you think we’d let it go on?”

Palin’s travel plans had attracted criticism from detractors who accused her of capitalizing on the issue. She is popular among evangelical Christians, many of whom have provided aid for Sudan, not only because of the breadth of the humanitarian crisis but also because of the persecution of Christians there.

“Churches were burned,” Graham said. “Pastors were nailed to trees. We have been able to identify 1,000 churches destroyed.”

Research editor Alice Crites and staff writers Joby Warrick and Philip Rucker contributed to this report.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

Post by lucy on Thu Jun 23 2011, 14:22

If that woman gets voted into the POUS I'am leaving my country!!!!!! Good news for Sudan with all their problems the don't need that twit.

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Re: Sudan: On The Verge Of A New Civil War

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