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October 2013 - Posts

Why I care about the Abyei Referendum

By Esther Sprague

In August, Ashai Arop Bagat, a good friend and a native of Abyei, asked me to help raise awareness about and support for the Abyei Referendum scheduled by the African Union for October 2013. Ashai was near Abyei when the government of Sudan attacked and destroyed it in 2011. She was there when a mother walked for miles to carry her children to safety and then died on the side of the road - something Ashai will never forget.

The Abyei region of Sudan, which sits on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, was introduced to me by one of Abyei’s and Sudan’s greatest friends, Roger Winter, the U.S. State Department’s former Representative to Sudan. In 2008, the New York Times published a piece on Roger and Abyei. In re-reading the article, it is remarkable to see how the regime has repeatedly and successfully manipulated the international community, keeping it at arm’s length in order to achieve its objective of stealing the resources of the country.

In the New York Times’ article, Roger is quoted as saying to the people of Abyei, “Honestly, the people that have your interests at heart are you, really only you….it’s your place, it’s your life, it’s your future.” This weekend, the Abyei community is taking Roger’s words to heart by conducting its own referendum since the government of Sudan has failed to implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which guaranteed the permanent residents of Abyei the right to decide if Abyei will belong to Sudan or South Sudan.

So because of Ashai and Roger and so many other dear friends, I care about the Abyei referendum.

But I also care about the Abyei referendum because I care about justice and good governance – the keys to peace and prosperity in Sudan. For 24 years under the Bashir regime, the people of Sudan, in every region, have experienced the exact opposite – horrible injustice, the worst form of governance, unending violence and conflict and of course, extreme poverty. The decision by the Abyei community to carry out its own referendum represents just the most recent manifestation of Khartoum’s complete and utter failure as a state.

It also represents yet another failure by the international community with regard to Sudan. Warren Buffet’s son, Howard, just published a book, “40 Chances”, that is based, in part, on more effectively addressing critical human needs by listening to those most affected – to those most in need. It’s not a new concept – but it is one that is talked about much more often than it is practiced as is the case in Sudan.

For example, the people of Darfur don’t trust the Doha peace process. It hasn’t worked for ten years, but rather than listen to the people who have lost their entire lives, the Africa Union is referring them to the UN Security Council for reprimand. Parents in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile who live in constant fear of their children being killed by bombs dropped by the government of Sudan (for the purpose of killing them) are being chastised for creating “obstacles” because they don’t trust the involvement of the same government to vaccinate their children. Calls by youth in Khartoum for an investigation into the killing of hundreds of peaceful protesters has largely gone ignored. And now, the people of Abyei are being warned by the international community not to stand up for their internationally guaranteed right to their land, their homes and their future.

Why do the people of Sudan so often find themselves standing alone? And why does the international community choose to define respecting state sovereignty as following the lead of wanted criminals rather than upholding the will of the people?

Tomorrow, Sunday, October 27th, the Abyei Community will hold its referendum and I’m worried. Certain members of the Misseriya tribe, who do not represent all Misseriya, have threatened violence; and this week, the Satellite Sentinel Project issued a warning about the build-up of Sudan troops in the area. Given that the government received absolutely no consequences from the international community for wiping out Abyei in 2008 and 2011, it would not be surprising if a third attack is being planned. Just like the first two attacks (predicted by Roger), the international community knows what to expect and it has the ability to prevent violence and to protect Sudanese. The question is, does the international community have the will?

So the real point of this article is that today, Saturday, October 26th, as we sit on this side of history, while my friends from Abyei are hopeful and, for that matter, still alive, and the international community is scrambling to manage its liability, I want it to be crystal clear that if violence occurs in Abyei as a result of the referendum tomorrow, the Sudan government and the international community – specifically the AUHIP, the Africa Union and the UN Security Council – bear the responsibility for the loss of lives and property, not the people of Abyei.

Esther Sprague is the founder and director of Sudan Unlimited, a non-profit that seeks to support all Sudanese and Southern Sudanese in their efforts to secure and enjoy freedom, justice, equality, democracy, peace and prosperity.

Saudi Arabia’s Decision to turn down UNSC Seat

By Ibrahim A. Ibrahim

The writer never expected that Saudi Arabia will reject such a prestigious seat in the United Nations Security Council. It has been known since the Kingdom has lobbied and worked hard for the seat. It surprised many countries politicians if not the Saudis themselves.

The objection came for reasons that are very legit to the Kingdom. It has been obvious that Saudi Arabia is playing a major roll in the Syrian issue. Saudi Arabia is calling the regime of President Bashar El Assad out of office.

When the issue of using chemical weapon for killing civilians came to light the intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia Prince Bandar was pushing for military action against the regime in Syria. For a while the situation seemed to be working the Princes wish until the snug came from the British Parliament who opposed military interference and with that President Obama weighed the situation as the mood to another war from the Americans was not available. Obama opted not to involve militarily, luckily the Russian’s gave the cover by bringing the chemical weapons disarmament of Syria. Analysts thought it was a great tool for Obama to come out from the dilemma he was in.

In the mean time In Iran the new administration is smart enough to somehow talk the language the western countries want to hear. The cajoling of Tehran and Washington was not easy to Saudi Arabia as the Iranian influence is getting stronger towards the whole Middle East and specially the core issue of Arab States that is Palestine.

All the above added to count for the swift reaction taken by the Royal Family of Al Saud. Undoubtedly, with its limited influence Saudi Arabia would like to have the seat in the UNSC. But the message able to send was smarter and more influential than that of sitting with in the UNSC as nonpermanent member that have limited influence if there is.

The most important explanation provided by the Saudis for not accepting the seat is the magic word that many nations had to voice for “United Nations has to be reformed”.

True enough many nations specially when they are small and with limited wealth they have become the tool of political exchange or bartending. Countries as such Eritrea without any sin has become victim for the United States interest in the early Fiftieth and is now for the same matter to benefit their messenger in the region Ethiopia, is being placed into illegal sanction. Eritrea has demanded the reform of the United Nations to serve all countries with equality and in accordance with the mandate bestowed to the UNSC. In this case Saudi Arabia deserves the most respect for speaking out against the UNSC, for the same reason that Eritrea is calling for. United Nations must be reformed to represent all nation with equal footing.

The author is a former Bank of Eritrea Administrator currently resides in USA.

Sudanese recreate the spirit of the first revolution in Sudan

By Nada El-Sayed

October 25, 2013 - It seems as though Sudan’s peaceful protest movement, which took on a more subdued tone after the state security forces’ mass detentions and shoot-to-kill policies, has been lost in translation as well. External analysts seem to be waiting for an Arab Spring that would signal the end of the NCP regime. However, the incipient Sudanese revolution merits analysis on its own terms and is best compared to earlier successful Sudanese revolutions.

History might not repeat itself, but we often hear echoes from the past in current events. The current movement for change in Sudan is reminiscent of earlier revolutions – in 1964 and 1985 – but it is moving to the beat of the new generation that were raised to be fearful the Omar Al-Bashir, National Congress Party-led regime.

Their grandparents protested in 1964, as participants in symposiums as students, as part of the dissenting general public as protesters, as professionals, and as members of the military junta who defected and stood by the people as they revolted against the regime of General Ibrahim Abboud. Thirty-four deaths and 153 injuries later, in a wave of mass protests around the country reached the presidential palace. President Abboud resigned and handed over of power to a transitional body in October of 1964.

Their parents toppled the military regime of President Muhammad Numeiri who came to power in a military coup on May 25, 1969. Although political oppositional parties had tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the regime in 1970 (the Ummah party) and in 1971 (the Sudanese Communist Party), the people did not lose hope. They waited over ten years. Numeiri strengthened the state’s national security prowess by recruiting 45,000 security officers, arming them, giving them their own radio, television and communications network, and training them as spies for the regime. Still, protesters were able to make their voices heard. The 1983 imposition of Islamic Sharia and many other grievances including the nascent civil war in the south, sparked a new revolution. For two years, Sudanese planned, organized and took the streets in a series of strikes, protests. until the regime was toppled. The economic situation had also greatly deteriorated after the implementation of austerity measures recommended by the IMF. Strikes took place over two years in 1984 and 1985 and again brought together trade unions and professionals. In 1985, a massive strike followed by a march where over two million people took the streets, turned the tables. While the president Numeiri was on a visit to the United States, he was deposed.

These two homegrown and successful revolutions could guide and inspire the youth of Sudan who are on the frontlines of the current uprising. Bashir’s regime has had 24 years to install a strong National Security and Intelligence Services that respond to any form of dissent with a massive use of force. The response to the current protests has resulted in the deaths of 210 protesters and the detention of over 2,000 people. Moreover, the regime has infiltrated and weakened trade unions and placed restrictions on civil society making mass support through trade unions impossible. While the majority of the state’s budget has been spent on the military and the wars in Darfur, South Kordofan and until recently, South Sudan, the Sudanese people have been surviving on meager salaries. For years, Sudanese people living under the current government had to decide between taking to the streets or feeding their families. Now, after the latest round of austerity measures, economic conditions have become so dire that most Sudanese cannot even afford basic necessities. That frustration and anger pushed them to the streets in late September.

While this new revolution gains traction and experiments its way to a successful outcome, there are important lessons to be learned from the previous revolutions of Sudan. Times are difficult now with the brutal crackdowns by the police, military and NISS. However, there is hope. It took two years of pressure to overthrow the Numeiri regime. There is a need for more organization, among youth, professionals, political parties and independent political activists inside and outside Khartoum. Protests alone are not enough. A combination of protests, general and political strikes and government boycotts, and a counter-elite leadership, preferably from the military, that is willing to stand by and lead to a safe transition of power, may be necessary as we have learned from previous revolutions in Sudan. Magdi Elgizouli also explains “that the post-colonial political order that allowed relatively smooth transitions of authority in Khartoum has exhausted itself over the years.”

One such link to the past is has recently begun. On the 49th anniversary of the first Sudanese revolution in 1964, a number of Sudanese activists all over the world decided to go on a hunger strike for five days: October 22 until Friday, October 25. Their demands include the release of detainees, bringing those responsible for the killing of protesters to justice, freedom of expression, allowing journalists to resume their role and lifting bans on newspapers. Some of those on strike are families of detainees who are protesting the prolonged extrajudicial detention of their loved ones, others are joining in solidarity. Two Sudanese activists, Haytham and AlShafie, in Washington DC are currently on a hunger strike for twelve hours a day until Friday. They are carrying out their protest in front of the White House and are displaying images of massacred protesters from earlier this month. Many more are fasting and contributing their thoughts on the Strike4Sudan blog. As Sudan’s youth grapple and fine-tune a new revolution using 21st century social media, hope still remains based on the lessons of their parents and grandparents.

Nada elSayed is a Research Associate at the Enough Project in Washington D.C.

Consequences of the Kiir-Bashir summit

By Beny Gideon Mabor

October 25, 2013 - This policy brief underscores form and content of the head of states summit in Juba this October 2013 and the surrounding events. It focuses much more on Abyei referendum as the bottom-line agenda amongst outstanding issues in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. Three days ago, Sudan’s President Omer el Bashir arrived Juba on 22 October, 2013 for a meeting with his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir Mayardit. The meeting was welcomed by international persons and institutions as gesture of good will to improving bilateral relations between two countries.

This is reciprocal visit since South Sudan gained independence two years ago from Sudan. In a rare presidential meeting, Abyei referendum was supposedly to dominate discussion amongst other outstanding issues, as part of ongoing efforts to consolidate normalization of relations between the two countries. Indeed, the presidential summit was a golden opportunity on Abyei Area including agreement on definite timeline of Abyei Referendum this October 2013.

The Ngok Dinka people are only in dire need to hold their self-determination referendum within the framework of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement CPA 2005 and supplemented by African Union High Level Implementation Panel respectively. Despite the u-turn position of the Government of South Sudan to distance itself from unilateral action on Abyei referendum; I believe the SPLM party which negotiated the Abyei Protocol on behalf of the Ngok Dinka people has now divided itself over Abyei issue. The creation of dissenting opinion within the ruling party is a big credit to NCP-led government and the will continue building defense strategy to win the balance of power in negotiations as usual.

In a confirmation statement, the first Deputy Chairperson of SPLM party, member of the political bureau and leader of delegation to the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in July 2009 on Abyei file Dr. Riek Machar Teny has pointed out that the ruling party in South Sudan should stick to the initial proposal by the African Union (AU) for the people of Abyei to exercise their self-determination’s referendum this month”. The SPLM Deputy Chief asserted that Misseriya members who are residing in Abyei after the court ruling should be considered mere traders who no longer have the right to participate in the Dinka Ngok referendum.

On the same note, other important topics of the presidential summit discussed were to revitalize cooperation agreement, inter alia the boarder access, abolition of entry visas for the holders of diplomatic, special and official passports, security arrangements and economic related matters. The question is how these common benefit proposals work well when Abyei Area, the bridge between the North and the South is not fully stable considering unpredictable behavior of NCP-led Government in the course of implementing Abyei Area Administration.

On Abyei file, the both leaders failed to come out with tangible achievement rather repeating previous arrangements to establish Abyei Area Administration, Council and Police organs, and reaffirmed that 2% share of oil revenues, including arrears, will be paid to the Abyei Administration”. Apparently, there is nothing new in this resolution because it’s repeated in all resolutions of negotiations except 2% share of oil revenues is the only renewed product of Juba presidential summit.

It is mindboggling how this interim arrangements help expedite the final status of Abyei when it was there since 2005 and did not finalized the Abyei contentious issue. Strategically, the consultation made by civil society organizations on Abyei and led by Community Empowerment for Progress Organization CEPO correctly define Abyei from three different perspectives namely Sudan-South Sudan and competitive perspectives. The latter position is unfolding tie because it is thought by either country to be hidden interest. However, evidence shows that Khartoum Government always connects Abyei with security assurance while South Sudan connects Abyei with economic interest. Consequently, people become victims in such endless competitions. It must be proven either of two to vote in self-determination as an end result to break this tie.

According to the voices on street in South Sudan and around the world, South Sudan leadership is accused to have cheaply given in Abyei for flow of oil in the best economic interest and viability of the two states particularly shrinking economic situation in South Sudan where almost 98 % of its fiscal budget singlehandedly depends on oil. Nevertheless, the SPLM-led Government failed to diversify other non-oil revenues to improve it economic development. Regrettably, such decision by the SPLM-led Government raised cloud of doubt to the credibility of South Sudan in support of the Ngok Dinka People in their just cause for peaceful settlement. It also raises wider concern why there are no redlines on the side of South Sudan in Abyei negotiations, unlike Khartoum government that has a lot of redlines on their sides.

In a plain language and without Ngok Dinka to deicde their fate now, there are reasons to be believe that there will be no Abyei referendum in the foreseeable future because of the following reasons: First, NCP-led government is convinced that the Ngok Dinka have no majority support from South Sudan; Khartoum is convinced that South Sudan has failed in the diplomatic front to challenge the contrary before the international community; and further Khartoum is convinced that there is no military might in South Sudan even if the matter may resort to confrontation and war.

Khartoum Government will only allow Abyei Referendum to take place when the secure economic domination in South Sudan following advice from Norway and other eastern allies. This is seen when Norway was so supportive of the SPLM movement and Dr. John Garang in particular because he was believed to be a unionist. And this was confirmed in an interview with Norwegian Diplomat and expert on Sudan affairs who was extensively involved in pre-negotiation and CPA negotiations dated 3 November 2006.

Historically, Abyei problem has been dragging on since 1965 when hostilities first broke out between the Dinka Ngok and Missiriya with massacre of 72 Dinka Ngok in the Misseriya town of Babanusa. During the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement in 1972, the Abyei Area was granted self-determination referendum under Article 3 (iii) of Addis Agreement for the Dinka Ngok to voluntarily choose whether to remain in the North or to join the South. Yet Khartoum administration failed to implement the agreement. The second solution for Abyei was under Abyei Protocol in the Comprehensive Peace agreement 2005 where it was also granted self-determination to choose its political status subsequently with that of the South, but Khartoum government failed the referendum and South Sudan who was part of the Ngok Dinka did not vigorously confront the matter.

In conclusion, the Ngok Dinka people are so tired to wait for almost 40 years for self-determination referendum and have truly run out of patience. Since there is no final status of Abyei ever touched by the two leaders, it’s high time for Ngok Dinka to unilaterally decide their fate. In other words, failure of Abyei referendum this October 2013 under CPA 2005 will not bear any new agreement that may produce another protocol on ending Abyei contestable identity. The Ngok Dinka must go ahead with their unilateral decision as the case may be, to determine their national identity. Otherwise, the question of recognition of self-determination is an issue of international law and should not be politicized by political leadership of the two countries.

Beny Gideon Mabor is a Human Rights Activist and work for South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA). A national Human Rights civil society organization with vision geared towards building an enlightened human rights abiding South Sudan. Prior to joining SSHURSA, the author has worked for South Sudan Ministry of Justice, and a columnist. His research interests include governance, human rights and social accountability. This opinion does not represent SSHURSA position but of the author. He can be reached at benygmabor@gmail.com

Ends the History of Negligent: The Crises in Twic East County Warrant National Government interventions

By Gabrial Pager Ajang

The current flood and tribal conflict in Jonglei and Warrap states warrant state and central government interventions. The government of South Sudan should and must accord its citizens full protections. Numerous attacks of civil populations have occurred and continued to occur in Jonglei State and there have been no government responses. Arguably, more people die today in South Sudan than during the liberations Struggles. Have we learned anything from the previous tribal conflict? It must be made clear the government of South Sudan can collapse if the international and internal pressures continue to mount significantly pressure on the Kiir’s administration and especially if the tribal conflicts and merciless killing of innocent civilian continue. Warning! The government will survive if its discharges its cores functions, and maintain laws and orders.

Flood disaster is a measure concerns. Although other parts of South Sudan are affected by the overflowing Nile waters, the the scale and magnitude of this disaster is yet to be known. Besides flood disaster in Twic East County and the current rampant insecurity is exacerbated by lawlessness and state of anarchy. The flawed disarmament government policy has created loopholes and places thousands of people in precarious environment. The government of South Sudan has struggled to annex effective violence-reduction techniques since the time Referendum was conducted. Now still, there is no clear policy from the government of protecting its citizens. We frequently mourned, cried and grieved with thin shreds of hope that the central state and local governments will create policies, and means of bring criminals to justice, executing murderers to deter future criminals and most importantly reduction of violence by a few percentage points. Apparently the government had no remedial and viable policy to curve killing and death of its citizens. The ensuing collapse of the central government, allow residents reverted to local forms of conflict resolution; and escalate killings, child’s abduction and cattle raiding. This country that emerged from the wreckage of war is so rogue (failed) that she does not remember Torit and BorTown, two shining cities that make all citizens of South Sudan proud. So what renders the government of South Sudan delusional or has it been confused by array of issues its faces?

I must reiterate that it is the responsibility of the government of South Sudan to ensure security of its citizens and put in place remedies of natural disaster and this means it must annex Emergency Preparedness Policy to reduce and remedy man-made and natural disasters. The government must meet the perceived basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government. On the contrary, this government has lost its control of Jonglei state, and this may have worrying implication that the whole national government had lost its legitimacy in Jonglei. The people of Twic East and people of Jonglei state are sick of hearing their love ones kill or ruthlessly murder. The constant killing of the innocent civilians is caused by the government’s inability to ensure safety of its citizens. Common characteristics of a failing rogue nation are government ineffectiveness to practically control its citizen’s recklessness behaviors and inability of government to control widespread criminality insecurity and provide rule of laws.

It is incomprehensible, and unimaginable to learn that estimate of over 3000 murle youths armed to its teeth attack Twic East County, raided cattle, burn villages and massacre hundreds of people in Ajuong Payam and Pakeer. The death toll stands at 150 and it continues to rise. It is mind boggling, and deeply sad that this tragedy happen in country where the government claims an absolute sovereignty and good governance. If this killing was to occur in another country, some officials would have resigned from power and criminals would have been brought to justices but it happens in South Sudan, life will continue as usual. Our beloved government had lost the life meaning, life essence and life destiny. It is heart breaking.

The flood disaster and mass killing orchestrated by Murle have severely impeded and destabilized life in East County. There could be potential outbreak of waterborne diseases; unexamined number of cattle could die, huge population is displaced, elders and children are threatening by the disaster, hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the flood and death toll continuing to rise. The threat post by this crisis is immeasurable. This case study of flood disaster in Twic East County could potentially be applied to other counties situated in the Sudd region and affected by the flood. It is obvious that the state government’s emergency preparedness might be different from one county to other counties because the emergency preparedness largely depends on state and local resources that its set aside for the purpose of natural and manmade disasters. It is worth noting that the South Sudan government emerges from ruin of wars, therefore its institutions are still structural sustains damages and wounded of wars.

Kiir’s administration continues to champion his agendas, and to his credits, he spearheaded reforms, and reshuffles in his government. Now, President Kiir can run his government efficiently and effectively because he had removed obstacles. On the one hand, He continues to load citizens with series of speeches, and many projects after projects are proposed and it is not absolutely clear whether all the promised programs are implemented. Now the disaster hits, the public is confused and no senior official knows where the disaster assistance will come from come.

Kiir only knows one enemy, the Khartoum government. I applaud his effort and work of protecting territorial integrity of south Sudan. This external aggression has been pounded into his head since he joined the conflict of Sudan but Kiir needs know other important issues that warrant central government interventions, especially crises such as flood disaster, tribal conflicts, famine, outbreak waterborne and insect disasters.

This nascent country situated in region prone to both human and manmade disasters and must develop its emergency preparedness in order to effectively use its little resources to reduce the scale of disaster and safe the live of its citizens. The previous and current flood disaster in Twic East County demonstrated that the national government is ill unprepared which left its citizens vulnerable. The non-existing ability of the state and central government to predict, prevent tribal conflict, or mitigate the effects of flood is indeed worrisome. Flood warrants the people living in diaspora as always to raise funds and assist the threat demographic by the flood, old, disables and children. Given these realities, it is imperative to develop a comprehensive national government program to curve tribal conflict and disaster’s reductions. For how long will the government of South Sudan officials continue to appeal to None Government Organizations (NGOs)?

The government of south Sudan must define the strategic objectives. The strategic objectives that underpin our national critical and vulnerable areas and key asset for its protection effort Identifying and assuring the protection of those infrastructures and assets that we deem most critical to the livelihood of the people for instance, crops, cattle, and homes. The national government can ensure that the health, safety, economic and security of its citizens.

The local and state government must provide timely warning and assuring the protection of people homes and assets, curve imminent threat; and

Assuring the protection of other infrastructures and assets and pursuing specific initiatives and enabling a collaborative environment in which central state, and local governments and the private sector can better protect the infrastructures and assets they control. The intervention of the South Sudan Liberation Army in rescue and relief in all the affected area is critical at this point.

Determining the need for additional involvement of NGO or private-sector resources.

Identify a safety issue.

Follow up requests, medicines foods and financial assistance from National government, in the flood disaster in Twic East County, Honorable Deng Dau Malek would be the person responsible for curving ethnic conflict and initiating disaster relief legislation in the South Sudan’s legislative Assembly.

The Scope and the Scale of conflict of both current conflict and flood are of the epic disastrous proportions. Twic East Commissioner, Honorable, Dau Akoi has appealed to the diaspora, Twic members living in Canada, United States, Australia to assist in the flood disaster and constant insecurity. The East Commissioner debriefs Twic East executive officials of the United States in a teleconference about community initiative and constructions of dike to prevent flood. He told the members that it has been his priority to develop a comprehensive plan that seeks to prevent flood from the Nile. The Commissioner expresses his intend of durable solution to flooding’s. Since, he became Twic East Commissioner; he embarked on building and construction of dikes. He stated that he was assisted by the None Government Organization to build the current dike.

On the security fronts, the commissioner had no enough polices and soldiers. His main challenge has been constant vigorous violence unleashes on the civil population. Both Current flood and Twic East attack on Ajuong and Pakeer Payams caught the county unprepared. The level of the Nile water is rising and continues to rise, while people that have moved to higher ground are killed by Murle Youth. The Commissioner blamed flooding on the rising level of water from the River Nile and Hippopotamus that destroyed regular Dikes at night while grazing in both sides of the dikes. The repercussion of flood calamity has affected the whole county. The current situation of the Twic East County is horrendous and threatening the livelihood of its residents. According to the Twic East County Commissioner, Honorable Dau Akoi Jurkuch, more than 126,930 are in peril and their lives could be jeopardized. Six (6) villages of kongor Payams have completely been displaced. They have moved with their cows to areas that are perceived to be highland for example Werawier is crowded. The flood places over 9,600 persons at the hight risks in five Payam and it is approximated that estimated that over 1,600 households have been displaced, 4,800 people are currently vulnerable in Kongor, Nyuak, Ajuong, Lith and Pakeer Payams. According to the Commissioner, over 800 homes have been destroyed in Twic East County and these numbers continue to increase.

The demographic at the highest risks, are elders and the children. Just like any other counties in South Sudan South, Twic East County was rebuilt from the ruins and the remnants of the 21 years of War. Hence, any outbreak of new diseases besides, waterborne diseases could potentially exterminate the populations. The potential waterborne disasters could be cholera, bilharzia, mosquitoes carrying malarial parasites and many more. Waterborne diseases are usually caused by the microorganisms that are transmitted by contaminated waters. Infection will potentially increase in Twic East County because its citizens will start drinking contaminated waters, and use them in the process of preparation of foods, or the consumption of food thus infected. Various forms of waterborne diarrheal disease probably are the most prominent in this ongoing catastrophe

In general, contaminated food is the single most common way in which people could be infected. The germs in the faeces can cause the diseases by even slight contact and transfer. The only way massive outbreak could continue its transmission is when the government does not intervene and provide the displaced persons with clean drinking water and foods to curve the outbreaks of diseases.

If the government of South Sudan does not act now, people of Twic East County could be decimated by the flood. This county is just like any other county in South Sudan, the Twic East County owed enormous debt to the government of South Sudan. A debt that either current government or next government will never pay back. Yet this government is aware of the ongoing reported tribal conflict and catastrophe and never contributes a dime or soldier as part of a disaster relief.

The flood had claimed the lives of 600 people and Murle has killed over 150 people. This nerve racking crises can naturally warrant’s government interventions. Now, the life lines of the East County have been cut off. The roads that were main sources of supply to the county but they have been closed down by flood. There are no ways foods and medicines could be delivered to the County. The flood has eliminated land transportation and air, the Twic East County sits in an island created by overflowing Nile River. I am aware that the authorities in south Sudan are so used to death during the last civil war and this is why they perceived death of 600 people of flood in Jonglei State to be so normal warrant no comment from the official in Jonglei State and national governments.

However, the history of South Sudanese tribes indicated that they protect their people, honor and respect the death of their love ones. I urge our government to anchor the government on the traditional values and norms, where the death of one person would trigger government concerns. The government must do whatever it can to protect, prevent and mitigate issues and crises that its citizens face. I urge members of Twic East community in the United States who have been conducting series of meetings to continue in their fund raising efforts for disaster reliefs and I also appeal to the donors, friends, and our own members to contribute funds toward the victims of Murle Youth attack in Ajuong and Pakeer Payams and flood disaster efforts in Twic East Count, Jonglei State, and South Sudan.

The author teaches political and History at Career college, former Nebraska legislative assistance and passionate advocate of responsive government that observes rules of law, and guarantees citizens protection; as an important principle of democratic government. Besides, he is specialized in Public administrations and policy.

He can be reached at ajangassociates@gmail.com

On Alex de Waal’s view of the uprising in Sudan

By Eric Reeves

October 18, 2013 - Alex de Waal presumes to offer in the Sudan Tribune his view of how to "make sense of the protests in Khartoum". There is much that is useful in his account, but also much that is tendentious—especially in characterizing the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), with its large and growing number of deeply disgruntled mid-level officers. And there is also much that is fuzzy or wrong-headed, particularly in his account of the economic forces that have brought Sudan to the point of 50 percent inflation, an increasingly worthless currency, a lack of foreign exchange currency—which is creating severe problems for the economy, as well as more inflation—and continuing profligate military expenditures on weapons and a vast security apparatus. De Waal mentions the once crucial agricultural sector only briefly in passing ("the agricultural sector [will be hit hard] as diesel prices rise"); and yet the virtual collapse of the agricultural sector is one of the most destructive legacies of the Khartoum regime’s 24 years of economic mismanagement.

There is also much that is simply pusillanimous, including the sniping at the forms "social media" have so far taken, inside and outside Sudan, among Sudanese and non-Sudanese. He suggests there is one dominant model, but this isn’t the case, as is readily apparent if one actually takes the time to look at the emerging "social media" and think about all that this phrase encompasses. To be sure, there is at present, as de Waal asserts, a critical lack of organization and leadership, precisely because the regime has honed so well its skills at repression, using much that it has learned from other "Arab Spring" countries. But the organizing and leadership efforts continue and make progress daily.

But most disturbingly, de Waal is intellectually dishonest in speaking about the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime, as well as its murderously brutal security forces and the future of the Sudanese economy. He declares:

"Sudan’s political economy needs a structural transformation, and dismantling the ruling party and security institutions will not achieve that."

What de Waal doesn’t say is that the only way such a "structural transformation" can take place is to "dismantle" this deeply corrupt and grossly self-enriching regime, as well as its vast political patronage system, and end the unconstrained brutality of the "security institutions" that preserve the regime’s hold on power. True, such removal won’t in and of itself produce a transformation of the political economy—but removal is the necessary cause. What might be the sufficient cause for economic "transformation" is still unclear, and it will take some time for Sudanese to find their way. The challenges are many.

But nothing is helped by de Waal’s obvious confusion of necessary and sufficient causes of change in Sudan. This is finally a form of intellectual dishonesty—or extraordinary logical stupidity—and it thoroughly vitiates the largest claims—explicit and implicit—in his analysis.

Eric Reeves is a Professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, US. He has spent the past thirteen years working as a Sudan researcher and analyst.

What will happen in Abyei in October 2013?

By Luka Biong Deng

October 17, 2013 - The people of Abyei are now in October, the month that was promised by the AU to conduct a referendum to determine the final status of their area. With this promised referendum and the right decision taken by the government of South Sudan to allow all public civil servants from Abyei to go to participate in the referendum, most people of Abyei are now converging in Abyei to settle in their home areas, yet to determine the political future of their area.

It is almost ten years when Abyei Protocol was signed in 2004 and such agreement was received with jubilation by the people of Abyei. They felt that at last justice has been done as they would freely determine the final status of their area through a referendum. It is almost four years since the Hague International Court of Arbitration announced its ruling in 2009 that defined the area of Ngok Dinka. They felt again justice has been done by the international court and expected their referendum would now be conducted smoothly despite the fact that they have lost about 44 percent of their area as defined by Abyei Boundaries Commission.

It is nearly three years when the people of Abyei were expected to have their referendum to be conducted simultaneously with that of the South on 9th January 2011. Yet they are still waiting for such referendum because of intransigent of Sudan that caused instead enormous human suffering including the assassination of their Paramount Chief Kuol Deng. Equally, they were promised to receive as of 9th July 2011 two percent of oil produced from their area to assist in the return and rehabilitation of their area. Yet, they are unable to access these oil resources that are being usurped by Sudan.

Since the invasion of Abyei by Sudan in 2011 and the displacement of more than 150,000 persons, the international community has not been able to assist the return with exception of limited intervention by USA. Other countries are unwilling to provide assistance in Abyei under the pretext of not contributing to the pull factors of return. Ironically, even with the people who have voluntarily returned to Abyei, the international community is unable to assist because of uncertain future of the area; a condition created by Sudan with complacent by the international community. Humanitarian assistance is to assist rather than prescribing to the people of how to manage the causes of their vulnerability. While Sudan has deliberately decided not to sign a document for the formation of Abyei Joint Humanitarian Coordination Taskforce, the international community seems to be rewarding such action by not encouraging humanitarian intervention in the area without the consent of Sudan.

In October 2012, The AU urgently called on the international community to assist the safe and dignified return of all displaced persons to Abyei and requested the AU Commission to convene an international conference on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Abyei. It is more than one year and international community is not available to assist the safe and dignified return of the Ngok Dinka. The AU, paradoxically, decided in September 2013 to recite and without remorse the same decision it took more than one year ago without asking itself of what happened to its previous decisions.

Besides the apparent failure to assist the return of the Ngok Dinka, the stance of international community in resolving the final status of Abyei has been so inconsistent. Thousands of people went out in demonstration in Juba, Abyei and New York demanding the AU to endorse the Proposal on Abyei in its meeting in September. Also most African civil society organizations including those from Sudan and South Sudan as well as most international human rights organizations called on the AU to endorse the Proposal on Abyei.

What did they get from the meeting of AU? A poor and confused communiqué that is so inconsistent with its earlier decisions and so appalling and damaging to the credibility of the AU institutions. This communiqué underscores one fundamental fact that our African institutions are so dysfunctional and so weak to resolve African problems. It is worthless for one to analyze the inconsistency of the decisions contained in the communiqué. The slogans of African solutions for African problems, African renaissance and Pan-Africanism are becoming increasingly elusive and mere rhetoric.

Even the communiqué of the Sudan and South Sudan Consultative Forum was as well shallow as it mirrored the deficiency in the communiqué of the AU. The only glimpse of hope was the statement delivered by Ambassador Power, the US permanent representative to the UN, to the Forum that emphasized the right of people of Abyei to determine their political future. Some countries and particularly Russia seems to judge the situation in Abyei on a rather uninformed ground. Russia seems to lock itself in a wrong understanding that the issue of Abyei is a territorial dispute.

If the issue of Abyei is a territorial dispute, Russia is uneasy as that may set a precedent in imposing solutions for other border disputes between other countries including Russia. Despite the UN Resolution 2046 that endorsed the AU Roadmap of April 2012, it seems Russia has been effective in influencing the members of AU not to endorse the Proposal on Abyei and even seems to be threatening to use veto right in the UN Security Council. The issue of Abyei is not a territorial dispute as the territory of Abyei has been defined by the international court of arbitration and what is remaining is the conduct of Abyei referendum that was penned by the two countries, agreed upon by internationally community and clarified by the AU Panel. The last decision by the AU on Abyei seems to have been largely influenced by the Russian stance.

While the AU in its last communiqué has understandably asked South Sudan and Sudan as members state of AU not to take unilateral decision on the final status of Abyei, the Consultative Forum for no any good reason raised concern of the unilateral actions by Misseriyia community and Ngok Dinka community as if the area of Abyei is shared between Misseriyia and Ngok Dinka. It is so disappointing to see the deliberate intention of the international community not to recognize the glaring fact that there was final and binding international arbitration that clearly defined the area of Abyei as the area of the Ngok Dinka. Misseriyia nomads like other nomads such as Dinka Abiem, Dinka Twic, Dinka Ruweng, Dinka Panarou, Dinka Awan and Nuer have the same right in Abyei of seasonally accessing water and pastures for their cattle. Singling out Misseriyia as the only nomads in Abyei area is a reflection of ignorance of international community. Equally, not all Missseriyia nomads move through Abyei but only two sections.

The People of Abyei were expecting the AU to endorse the Proposal on Abyei and to set a clear timeline for the conduct of Abyei referendum. The last communiqué of AU on Abyei has not only delayed justice but it has contributed to the long history of disappointments and frustration experienced by the people of Abyei. As rightly stated by President Mbeki in his report to the AU in July 2013 that the people of Abyei are running out of patience in the face of delayed implementation of the final status of their area, the people of Abyei may be pushed by the inaction of international community to self-determine their political future.

There are only two options available to avert any unilateral decision by the people of Abyei. First, the AU during its visit to Abyei in October has the last opportunity to endorse the AU Proposal on Abyei; particularly after receiving official letter from President Salva that made it clear that they have reached a dead-end with Bashir over Abyei. Or the expected summit between the two presidents in Juba in October 2013 to agree to implement the decision of AU to establish, with clear timeline, the Abyei Referendum Commission as per the AU proposal on Abyei.

Such decisions will assist President Salva, who enjoys respect and trust of the people of Abyei, to prevail on them not to take any unilateral decision. One would expect by the end of October 2013 that either the AU to endorse the proposal on Abyei or the expected summit of the two Presidents to agree on establishing Abyei Referendum Commission or the people of Abyei may decide their political future. For the sake of peace and stability in the area and to consolidate the improved relations between the two countries, the unilateral decision of the people Abyei must be averted by immediate action by the AU and the political will of two Presidents to implement the AU decision to form Abyei Referendum Commission.

Luka Biong Deng is a senior member of South Sudan’s ruling party the SPLM and a former Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee. He can be contacted at lukabiong@kushworld.org and luka_kuol@hks.harvard.edu

Making sense of the protests in Khartoum

By Alex De Waal

October 17, 2013 - In the ten days following September 23, Sudanese cities witnessed the largest anti-government protests in many years. Many of the protesters aimed to bring down the government; others sought a reversal of its recent decision to reduce fuel subsidies. The police and security services responded with lethal force, and according to Amnesty International, killed more than 200 protesters. The ruling party played on the fear that, if the protesters should bring down the government, they would bring down the state as well. The protests have now since subsided.

This essay begins with the similarities between the September protests in Khartoum and other major Sudanese cities and popular uprisings against dictatorships in Sudanese modern history and in Arab countries in 2011—similarities that have led some to see this as heralding a “Sudanese spring” and the demise of President Omar al Bashir and the National Congress Party (NCP) government. I then turn to some important dissimilarities, including the weakness of the organizational structure of the protest movement, and the ways in which the armed opposition forces tend to negate the potential for non-violent civil uprisings. I briefly dwell on Sudan’s economic plight, before concluding with some observations on the importance of a historicized political-economic analysis of Sudan.

SUDAN’S HISTORY OF COLLECTIVE ACTION

The street protests that erupted on September 23 in Wad Madani and Khartoum have a superficial resemblance to the April 1985 popular uprising that brought down the dictatorship of President Jaafar Nimeiri, and also the Arab Spring protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Syria. The protesters shared immediate economic grievances, and opposition to authoritarian and kleptocratic rulers who had been in power for too long. In all these cases, government legitimacy was undermined by a clumsy and brutal crackdown, which in turn generated new focal points for outrage and protest.

It is often overlooked that there have been numerous protests in Khartoum and elsewhere in northern Sudan over the last two and a half years. When President Bashir returned to Khartoum from his visit to Juba on January 4, 2011—a visit in which he promised to respect the outcome of the imminent referendum on self-determination in southern Sudan—he was greeted by a protest over economic issues. The secession of South Sudan six months later, and with it 75% of Sudanese oil, required the government to undertake painful austerity measures. Shut off from access to the IMF and other international concessionary finance by U.S. financial sanctions, and encumbered by more than $40 bn in international debt, Sudan had to face this economic crunch alone. Although the “financial gap” of approximately $3 bn per year was well-known before the separation of the South, the government prevaricated on imposing the needed measures, so that each round of cuts was deeper and more unpopular than necessary.

The Sudanese have a powerful repertoire of collective action against authoritarian regimes. As Abdelwahab El-Affendi recounts, “before April there was October,” meaning that the April 1985 uprising was possible in part because the protesters remembered their successful uprising nineteen years earlier, and the army command similarly recalled the way in which capitulating to the protesters’ demands had made them heroes, not villains.

A SUDANESE SPRING?

The September protests chiefly took the form of loosely-coordinated rioting and demonstrations. Most of the protesters were drawn from the urban poor, but there was also an element of middle-class protest. Sudan’s doctors, one of the most powerful professional associations in the country, went on strike. Disaffected members of the ruling coalition reportedly instigated some riots, perhaps to stake a claim to a bigger payout in the next government reshuffle. Some demonstrations were supported by an emergent generation of activists using social media, modeling their tactics on the repertoire of measures used in Egypt in 2011. They tweeted pictures, some of them extremely gruesome, of those killed by the security services’ gunfire.

The killing of a young pharmacist, Salah al Sanhouri, served as a rallying point. The son of a prominent family, his funeral provided an exemplary moment for a classic repertoire of anti-governmental assembly. Ajil Suwar al Dahab, director of the morgue resigned rather than sign a death certificate specifying “natural causes.” The Assistant President, Nafie Ali Nafie—reported to be a friend of Salah’s father—was humiliated when he went to pay his respects, and caught on video when he was forced by angry taunts to leave the Sanhouri house. Police also reportedly opened fire on the funeral procession.

This was certainly an uprising, but it was not entirely non-violent. As the Sudanese Government’s ablest press officer, Khalid al Mubarak, pointed out, “42 gas stations, 9 pharmacies, 2 companies, 40 public vehicles, 8 police stations, 81 comprehensive security sites, 35 police vehicles, 5 banks and 23 government buildings were attacked.”

The subjective conditions for revolution appeared to be there. As pointed out by Asim al Hag, there is a crisis of confidence in the government, brought about by a combination of misleading public relations over the fuel subsidy cut, and the brutality of the repression. Still the protests did not achieve their goals. After their zenith on September 25-28, they began to fade. The government remains in power, the austerity measures will be implemented, and the impact will be painful.

OBJECTIVE CONDITIONS FOR A REVOLUTION?

The differences between the September protests and earlier Sudanese uprisings are as significant as the similarities.

First and most important, the protests lacked a deep organizational structure. The 1985 intifada was meticulously planned and the street demonstrations were scrupulously disciplined. It was coordinated by the National Alliance for National Salvation (NANS), a coalition of trade unionists and leaders of professional associations, who had no illusions about the challenge they faced—indeed they anticipated months of struggle rather than barely a week of massive demonstrations that closed down the capital. Their repertoire was creative and rigorously non-violent. For example, when the ruling Sudan Socialist Union announced a counter-demonstration, rather than trying to outbid or confront the pro-regime forces and risking violence, the NANS declared a “dead city day.” The pitiful SSU rally contrasted with a magnificent, unprecedented quiet over virtually the entire metropolis.

Expecting (correctly) that its steering committee members would be arrested, the NANS established, in each town, a shadow committee ready to take over the coordination role. Expecting that the security services would spy on them, the NANS counter-penetrated governmental institutions and set up a system for intercepting the police and national security radio communications. They even had a contingency plan for what to do when President Nimeiri returned from meeting President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office with a generous financial package in hand—one of the chief air traffic controllers was in on the plot. He changed the duty roster for the night of April 5/6 so that he was on duty, and shut down Sudanese airspace, forcing Nimeiri’s plane to land in Cairo. Meanwhile, the NANS had announced the biggest demonstration yet, two marches simultaneously to the Republican Palace and to army headquarters. The military commanders debated late into the night whether to crush the protesters by force, and decided—by a close margin, possibly clinched when they discovered that Nimeiri would not be landing at Khartoum airport that night—to side with the people.

Today’s demonstrators may possess cellphones and Twitter feeds but they do not have a fraction of that organizational capability.

The government has penetrated cyberspace and is using various tactics to monitor and divide the opposition. Intelligence agencies can turn social media against its practitioners, with false pages and announcements aimed to mislead and entrap activists, or to sow distrust among them by implying—truly or falsely—that some of their members have been turned and are security informers.

A second factor is that the Islamists are divided. Some, notably Ghazi Salah el Din, have moved into opposition and made public their critique of the direction of the government. Others remain in government, either protecting their positions or seeking internal reform. In Tunisia, Egypt and Syria in 2011, the Islamists were in opposition and supported the protesters, as indeed they were at the critical moment in Sudan in 1985, when they remained on the sidelines, hoping to reap the benefits of the uprising. Despite the way that their reputation has been compromised by the last quarter century of wielding power, the Sudanese Islamists remain the most formidable organized political force in the country, and the fact that they are not united against the government is a challenge for the opposition.

A third factor is the army. The immediate success of a protest movement is best secured when the army “sides with the people,” or when there are enough defectors for the regime to lose its nerve. When the army hesitates, as in Yemen, the transition is at best protracted. When it sides with the regime, as in Syria, there is either repression or civil war. On the other hand, a purportedly pro-people coup may not later turn out to be so democratic—as Egypt shows. (Erica Chenoweth has recently made this point.) The Sudanese protesters hope that the Sudan Armed Forces high command will refuse to follow the orders of the President or his close friend, Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Hussein.

Nothing can be ruled out in Sudanese politics, but there are reasons to believe it unlikely that the army will either split or abandon the President. For a start, the most recent military promotions have brought a cadre of Islamist-oriented officers to the most senior ranks. Additionally, the army is at war, with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and with the factions of the Sudan Liberation Army loyal to Minni Minawi and Abdel Wahid al Nur in Darfur, and with the Justice and Equality Movement in both. These groups are corralled under the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF). The SRF is not popular in Khartoum, seen as responsible for escalating a war, spurning peace agreements, supporting the secession of South Sudan, and inflicting grievous economic damage on the country by, among other things, participating in the South Sudanese attack on the country’s main remaining oil installation at Heglig in April 2012.

The SRF leadership claims that a peaceful intifada is one of its strategies. This is ironic, as the SPLM refused to endorse the outcome of the 1985 uprising, thereby helping condemn the transitional government to failure. But after the formation of the National Democratic Alliance in 1994, John Garang spoke of a “protected uprising”—an intifada in which opposition fighters would rush to Khartoum to bring the intifada to a successful conclusion—as one of his three strategies (the other two being continued war and peace negotiations with the regime). This was a dream.

CHALLENGES FOR THE CIVIC OPPOSITION

Today, there is virtually no political coordination between the SRF and the civic opposition in Khartoum, and the rhetoric of SRF leadership and the political language and goals of the SRF undermine the non-violent protesters. For example, the SRF has taken a strong stand against the army, demanding that it be dismantled. Yasir Arman, Secretary General of the SPLM-North, uses the framework of the “new south” to describe the resistance in the marginalized areas of northern Sudan, fuelling fears that he intends those areas to follow South Sudan into secession.

This provides the government with an opportunity it has used repeatedly and without hesitation invoking the specter of the armed opposition and promising that if the uprising were to succeed, Sudan might disintegrate or descend into sectarian conflict like Syria. Government leaders frightened urbanites by drawing parallels with the destructive riots that convulsed Khartoum following the death of the SPLM Chairman John Garang in July 2005. These may be cheap points, but they hit home.

A final problem for the opposition—both the SRF and elements of the urban protesters—is their tendency to learn lessons from abroad rather than analyzing conditions at home. A central plank of the opposition strategy is presenting its case to major western powers in the hope of obtaining an intervention of some kind. The time that Sudan’s “hotel guerrillas” spend away outside Sudan has long been a source of mockery inside the country, and one of the reasons for the respect commanded by Abdel Aziz al Hilu, leader of SPLM-N in Southern Kordofan, is that he remains in the field. But he is exceptional. El-Affendi observes that external orientation may have also contributed to paralysis of the civic opposition. He writes:

“One sarcastic Sudan-based non-governmental organization (NGO) worker has another explanation [for the lack of a third intifada]. Remarking on the fact that leading opposition figures have been busy courting international support against the regime, he quipped, ‘The revolution has not yet erupted in Khartoum because the opposition is too busy mobilizing in Washington DC!’”

There is an uncomfortable ring of truth to this observation. Much of the Twitter conversation was in English or French, and even that in Arabic often seemed aimed at an external audience. The focus of at least some of the activists was borrowing and applying a script derived from a particular narrative of the Arab Spring, or even the Enough Project, rather than exploring how best to innovate methods appropriate to the specific circumstances of Sudan. It is rare, for example, to see discussion of the main theorists of progressive change in Sudan such as Khatim Adlan, despite the acute relevance of their writings to the current situation.

In turn, the perception of external orientation has played into the government’s hands. Khalid Mubarak, media counselor at the Sudan embassy in London, taunts the opposition on his blog:

“The opposition is busy courting the West and keen to portray itself as a submissive alternative to President Bashir’s coalition government. That’s why its spokespersons cannot (repeat cannot) declare that they are against free market economy. Even the moderates among them have no alternative to the IMF recipe and dare not reject it openly.”

SUDAN’S ECONOMIC CRISIS

Following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, the decade-long economic boom that saw Sudan’s GDP expand from approximately $10bn to $60bn, came to an abrupt end. The government faced a revenue gap that the IMF estimated at just over $10bn over three and a half years, and a general agreement was reached between Sudan, South Sudan and major international partners that this gap would be filled by three equal contributions: Sudanese austerity measures, South Sudanese transitional financial assistance (TFA), and international assistance. No international concessions have been forthcoming other than some cash-in-hand from Arab countries after the South Sudanese capture of Heglig in April 2012. South Sudan’s TFA payments began only in August 2013 when oil exports resumed, after the prolonged total shutdown. As a result, Sudan faced its economic crisis alone.

As noted by Asim al Hag, the key issue in the removal of the subsidies was less the economic rationale than the way in which the government presented the cuts in a misleading manner, compounding the already-low level of popular confidence in the regime.

Petrol prices were SDG4.5 per gallon in 2010, rising to SDG12.5 in 2012 and SDG21 after the latest increases—slightly below the estimated market price of SDG24 if the subsidy were to be removed entirely. Diesel prices rose comparably. Cooking gas rose from SDG13 to SDG15, to SDG25 today, which represents still a subsidy of about 40%.

Reducing the subsidies saves the government about SDG7.2 bn (US$1.3bn) per year, almost 20 per cent of total expenditure, and enough to wipe out the expected government deficit for 2014. The impact will be inflationary, but less so than the alternative strategy of printing money. The urban poor will be hit hard, as will the agricultural sector as diesel prices rise. However, IMF data indicate that more than 50% of the fuel subsidy benefited the richest 20% of the population the poorest 20% received just 3% of the benefit, so the longer-term impacts will be progressive in terms of equality. The IMF estimates that the economic reforms will, in the medium term, lower inflation and increase growth, and that Sudan’s economic crisis is now approaching its worst point. But it does not deny that there will be a short term negative impact on urban and rural poverty including general welfare and malnutrition.

ANALYSIS

President Bashir has survived to fight another day. He will count on improvements in Sudan’s economic situation, the continued disarray and weak strategy of the opposition, and the genuine fear, at home and abroad that Sudan might slide into state failure. The Sudanese government’s basic message, that in bringing down the government the opposition risks bringing down the state as well, resonates in both Khartoum and Washington DC.

The irony here is that the government’s weakness is its principal strength. In eviscerating government institutions and changing the structure of Sudanese governance into a patronage marketplace, the NCP is posing a choice between authoritarian patrimonialism and warlordism.

The immediate challenge for the opposition is intellectual. Sudan’s political economy needs a structural transformation, and dismantling the ruling party and security institutions will not achieve that. Over the sixty years since self-rule in 1953, Sudan has tried different basic formulae for governance including centralizing modernization (of different ideological strands), liberal parliamentarism, and unity in diversity. The challenge is to find a combination of all three, which in turn means there must be an inclusive national dialogue. Lacking unity of analysis and purpose, the opposition is reduced to tactically responding to the blunders and crimes of the government, hoping that one day it will be lucky and that a fortuitous alignment of the stars will deliver it to power—or what remains of that power. This is simply not good enough. We miss Khatim Adlan.

Dr. Alex De Waal is the Executive Director, of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School, Medford, MA, USA. This article appeared first on the Social Science Research Council and WPF websites

Impossible breakthrough on Abyei

By Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol

October 13, 2013 - I refer to PBPSM to shorten President Bashir and President Salva Mechanism. The South Sudan and Sudan peace talks processes, coordinated by African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and chaired by the former president Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, put on place many structures and mechanisms. Beside the PBPSM, there are other structures including High Political Level (HPL) which was chaired by Pagan Amum representing South Sudan and Abdel Rahim Husien from the Sudanese government. There are established technical committees on different issues; the committee on economics affairs, the committee on citizenships and immigration, the committee on security matters, the committee on borders demarcation and the committee on Abyei. Each committee is either chaired by a senior member of the ruling party or a cabinet minister from the each state. The committees are authorized to conclude or defer issues of deadlocked to the next level (HPL & PBPSM).

Magically, the PBPSM delivered efficiently and managed to open up a window of opportunity after the troops from the two Armies dragged on their boots into a territory of each country in 2011. The PBPSM resolved different outstanding issues including military confrontations, establishment of demilitarized border zone, oil transportation, establishment of corridors for movement of people and goods, and grant four freedoms.
However, the PBPSM failed miserably to resolve the commencement of the referendum in Abyei, which should be considered a case of human execution understandable in political and social life. One could not expect human being to perform 100% all the time in socioeconomic and political aspects. Any percentage above 50 should be appreciated in social theory. Christianity and Islam teach us of ignorance of human beings. We need to leave a margin for trial an error such that we aren’t considered angels.

AUPSC should not insist on its position pushing the process again to the Agenda of the PBPSM. The possibility of this continuous demand resulting negatively on bilateral relations and the chance of the two nations losing the previous successes, will turn high.

The point I’m making here is that there were many attempts where the AUPSC insisted that the PBPSM must address the issue even with help from other Heads of States but failed. Maintaining negative and unnecessary position on Abyei’s referendum is dangerous to the future of the two countries and AUPSC experience on peacekeeping and peace building processes.

When the AUHIP released its proposal on final status of Abyei in September 2012, the AUPSC indorsed it with condition that the two countries must reach consensus on the proposal within six weeks, despite the fact that the Council was aware- beyond a reasonable doubt- that there will be no consensus between the two parties particularly, on the issue of Abyei. Records are there to justify this claim since the time of the post-referendum negotiations. It was this state of no-consensus that made Abyei’s referendum reaches AUHIP; otherwise it would have been concurrently carried out with the Southern Sudan Referendum.

The AUPSC missed the point in December 2012 when it referred the Abyei issue to the PBPSM which met several times on the same occasion without progress. Instead of endorsing the proposal as final and binding, and seek endorsement from UNSC to enforce its implementation, it again requested the PBPSM consensus.

President Salva declared it in many occasions that he reached a deadlocked with president Bashir on Abyei and urged the regional and international organizations to look for other possible alternatives unfortunately; the AUPSC continuously demanded the PBPSM meeting on Abyei to reach consensus. What consensus the AUPSC wants? Does the consensus mean abandoning Abyei and the Dinka Ngok community to Sudan? What is the understanding here? The two parties have differed on voter eligibility; South Sudan does not see the point of Arab nomads taking part in referendum meanwhile Sudan believes on the right of Messeriyia to vote in the referendum.

This issue of the nomads taking part in the referendum was resolved amicably by the agreements on Abyei and the proposal on the final status itself put it clearly that historically, nomads have no right of voting in similar referenda. But President Bashir insisted that Messeriyia must take part. What do people think that President Salva could tell Bashir to change his mind and abandon this unjustifiable position? For the formation of the administration President Bashir needs 50% which is totally contrary to all agreements on Abyei, despite the fact he (Bashir) and his government recognized the Nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms territory according to the 2009 Hague ruling, and still they are thirstily demanding participation of nomads in the administration.

President Bashir knows very well nomadic communities in Sudan are non-settlers to extent of making registration of their children into schools difficult, leave alone representing them in other territory administration. Why should the Ngok Dinka bear this consequence? It is too much. We have never heard of this situation before and should not be allowed to happen.

October 2013 wasn’t a choice of the Ngok Dinka. Rather, it was a choice of the AUHIP and should be honored by the AUPSC and by the parties to this conflict. The worse scenario AUPSC & UNSC does not consider in their calculations and plans is that the achievements obtained in the Cooperation Agreements reached by the two countries in September 2012, are positively or negatively affected by the referendum in Abyei. Two scenarios would likely happen. Either the Ngok Dinka community frustrates and continues with unilateral referendum, which will be difficult to control or the October 2013 passes without referendum and backtrack the process again to the circle of mistrust and violence.

It’s advisable to AUPSC instead of issuing resolutions warning parties against any unilateral decision on Abyei, and requesting the two presidents meet for the consensus on Abyei, seeks better Alternative and avenue for its own credibility and rescue the decision of one of its organs which proposed October 2013 as deadline for the referendum in Abyei.

The good news is that the United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) are already on ground, just need extension of the mandate to include execution of the referendum in Abyei. A lesson from East Timor in 1999 when the UN under Kofi Annan carried out the referendum successfully without influence of Indonesia could be drawn.

Dr. Dhieu Mathok is the author of Politics of Ethnic Discrimination in Sudan and lecturer in the Center for Peace and Development Studies, University of Juba, South Sudan, Juba. Can be reached at aromjok@yahoo.com

Sudan’s Bloody Crackdown on Civilian Protestors: Does the U.S. have anything to say?

By Eric Reeves

October 6, 2013 -The title the widely distributed Agence France-Presse wire dispatch became inescapable, however often it may have appeared elsewhere with a different heading. "Kerry avoids criticizing crackdown in talks with Sudanese foreign minister" (e.g., the important on-line Arab news source Al-Arabiya, September 30, 2013). And indeed the most important news within the AFP account was both conspicuous—and outrageous: "US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday met with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti in Washington but failed to repeat strong U.S. criticism of the deadly crackdown on protestors." So that there was no ambiguity, AFP further reported from Washington:

On Friday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki blasted which she called a "brutal crackdown" by Khartoum on the protestors, adding it was "heavy-handed and disproportionate." But in Kerry’s meeting with Karti at the State Department on Monday, the crackdown was "not a topic," Psaki said.

And yet this was the day after a long and bloody weekend in Khartoum, Omdurman, Wad Medani, Port Sudan, and elsewhere in Sudan. Public statements by professional groups on the ground (including medical staff and those working in mortuaries), as well as by a wide range of intensifying and expanding social media communications, make it clear that well over 200 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded or injured, some very seriously. Most of these occurred during the time following the U.S. State Department readout of Friday, September 27 (describing Khartoum’s crackdown as "brutal" and declaring that the use of force has been "excessive"). Even last week Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Sudan Centre for Justice and Peace Studies and others all offered authoritative accounts making clear just what instructions were given to security personnel: "shoot to kill."

More than 1,000 have been arrested—perhaps many more, but it is difficult to collate and tabulate the immense number of reports that I’ve seen, many from sources on the ground. Since Khartoum has entirely shuttered both newspapers and the broadcast media (which it has always controlled), it is difficult to get public accounts with any independence. In a telling move, on Wednesday September 26 Khartoum temporarily cut off Sudan’s access to the world’s Internet. The shutdown proved more newsworthy than the events that were being suppressed, so the outage lasted only a day. Next time it will be longer—much longer. There is, in short, a complete news black-out; foreign correspondents are experiencing strange outages of mobile phone service; travel restrictions have been tightened; and outrageous efforts are being made by the security services to obscure the evidence of what has happened and what is ongoing.

So what had changed between Friday, and Monday’s meeting between Khartoum’s Foreign Minister, Ali Karti—a man with a great deal of blood on his own hands—and the U.S. Secretary of State, nominal architect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy? Why had this not become for Kerry the ideal occasion on which to inform his counterpart that the U.S. was outraged over the "brutal," finally murderous tactics by which his regime had put down protests throughout Sudan (the vast majority of gunshot wounds have been to the head and chest).

Why not use this occasion to make clear that the U.S. would do all in its power to support non-violent freedom of expression in Sudan—and that this necessarily entails liberalizing Sudanese political culture? That culture has badly eroded during 24 years of tyranny by President Omar al-Bashir and his National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime; it has brooked no meaningful political opposition, and to ensure it monopoly on national wealth and power, the regime has conducted three genocidal counter-insurgency wars: in the oil regions now predominantly in South Sudan, in Darfur, and presently in Blue Nile and South Kordofan—and particularly the Nuba Mountains, which were the site of yet another campaign of human annihilation during the 1990s.

Only powerful reform can allow Sudan to emerge from present barbarism, and yet Kerry had nothing to say to Ali Karti on the matter.

Political organization as it currently exists in Sudan will not able to sustain this uprising without further popular support; even so, I hear daily from Sudanese sources making clear that more and more families are losing loved ones. Many believe that fear has finally been overcome by anger, and that the regime can delay but not de-rail political reformation. To be sure, there is much that is unorganized; this is to be expected, in part because as political power shifts, there are many contestants—some of which would do much to continue Sudan’s nightmare. The old sectarian parties have lost their undeserved status as "the loyal opposition"; and opportunists like Sadiq al-Mahdi, head of the Umma Party, are willing to put their own interests before those of the people of Sudan, including the many marginalized populations of this still vast country. Young people at the forefront of the uprising are at once at once a strength, armed with democratic zeal, and a weakness, lacking understanding of how difficult a task it will be to bring down the regime. And finally, if the rebel military coalition known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) takes a political rather than a supportive role in events, calculations become even more difficult.

So why was Kerry unwilling to offer even the most meager support for Sudan’s fledgling efforts at democratization during this critical moment in the country’s history? Why did he not at least reiterate the State Department outcry of Friday: Khartoum’s security actions were "brutal" and "heavy-handed"? It was already a disappointing understatement on Friday; on Monday, Kerry’s silence had become the voice an expedient Realpolitik.

With a real commitment to liberalize Sudan’s political culture, what threats might the U.S. pose, given the layers of sanctions that have been imposed on Khartoum over the years? Congress could clamp down on companies that trade on the New York Stock Exchange and do business with the regime and its many cronies. The U.S. could also tighten even further "monetary sanctions," the ability of the U.S. to make international banking extraordinarily difficult, depending on what measures are taken (not all have been taken against Khartoum).

And finally, make bluntly clear that the U.S. will energetically veto any IMF plan to offer debt relief to Khartoum, which in addition to its other severe economic woes, has run up external debt of more that US$42 billion. Much of this was given over to profligate military expenditures over the past two decades; much of it funded gross self-enrichment schemes. Yet, bizarrely, Khartoum has come to count on international debt relief, despite its behavior throughout Sudan, including ongoing genocide by attrition in Darfur. Germany, Italy, and Britain are cited as supporters of a "plan," the regime-controlled Sudan Media Services have claimed. If there is any truth to this, the U.S. should push hard on Berlin, Rome and London to disabuse Khartoum of this presumptuous vision of its economic future.

But none of this answers the question, "Why would Secretary of State Kerry remain silent over events in Sudan, given the extraordinary opportunity provided during a meeting with the regime’s foreign minister?"

There are a range of answers; none of them flattering to the Obama administration.

[Eric Reeves is a professor at Smith College and has published extensively on Sudan; his most recent book is Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012, available at no cost: www.CompromisingWithEvil.org ]

Sudan denies killing protesters

By Jehanne Henry

In the lead story in yesterday’s Sudan Tribune, President Omar al-Bashir denied that the government was involved in killing scores of mostly young people who participated in protests that raged across Sudan over the past week. Yet evidence collected by groups on the ground indicates otherwise.

Authorities have also refused to investigate the killings – underscoring the need for urgent international action.

The wave of protests started in in Wad Madani, in central Sudan, after al-Bashir announced price hikes that doubled the price of fuel on September 22. The demonstrations spread to other towns, with protesters burning petrol stations and police posts. Government forces cracked down violently, using tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition to disperse crowds, killing dozens. Witnesses said armed men in plain clothes, whom they believed were pro-government militia, joined in the killing.

Credible Sudanese groups have reported well over 100 killed since the protests began, though numbers are difficult to verify. A Sudanese doctor’s group announced that at least 210 were dead. Photographs appearing to show victims with gunshot wounds to the head or chest have circulated widely.

For most of Sudan this level of violence against protestors is unprecedented. Except in Darfur, where government forces routinely use live ammunition. (Police in Nyala killed seven protesters, including two children, earlier this month.)

As protesters were being felled in the streets (many in poor, marginalized areas) national security officials were rounding up and detaining hundreds of people including opposition party members, civil society activists, and protesters. The Minister of Interior put the number arrested at 700; Sudanese groups estimate even more are behind bars. The arrests are part of a clear strategy to stifle information that also included censoring newspapers, shutting TV stations, and blocking social media.

Among those detained are dozens of opposition party members including the elderly Sidiq Yousif, civil society activists such as Jaafar Khidr, who is disabled, and Amal Habani, a women’s rights activist who has spoken out against Sudan’s draconian public order regime. Many youth activists, like Mohayid Sidiq, Khalid Omer Osman, and Dahlia al Roubi, were arrested while at home. National security authorities have refused to tell family members where detainees are being held.

It is not yet clear if Sudan’s tactic of killing and repression have ended the protests.

But it is clear Sudan is again committing serious human rights violations, sure to fuel more anger. International actors – especially the African Union – should firmly condemn the violence and insist on a credible investigation into the killing.

The author is a senior researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Africa division

Abyei’s anticipated referendum

By Timothy C. May

October 2, 2013 - The gate into the town of Abyei, located on the contested border between Sudan and South Sudan, is raised. An Ethiopian peacekeeper sits in the shade of a bunker laced with razor wire. He’s devoid of rifle or helmet. The gate is up and the soldier is relaxed because things are quiet. To one side, someone has erected a sign that reads “Peace For All.” On the other side is a traffic directive, a caveat, a qualifier. It says: “Slow.”

Has peace finally arrived at the muddy gates of Abyei?

What happens next in Abyei, an oil-rich region of Sudan that boasts fertile savannah, cropland and acacia forest, remains one of the knottiest outstanding questions triggered by southern secession. World leaders, including powerful African heads of state, are gathered this week at the 68th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, where they will discuss, among many other issues of global importance, how to finalize sustainable peace in Abyei. The African Union Peace and Security Council already met and issued yet another Communique on the topic. Still, there has been no word on when the people of Abyei will be allowed to vote for their future.

As the global power elite posture, tweet, and issue resolutions from New York, 6,000 miles away in the rain-soaked grasslands and sorghum fields of Abyei, the Ngok Dinka believe they know the answer. Next month, they say they will hold the referendum on Abyei that was promised, and for which they have been waiting since 1972, when the first civil war between the Sudans ended. The Ngok Dinka, who fought for the south in both civil wars, are mobilizing to return and vow to hold their own plebiscite whether or not politicians from Juba or Khartoum agree to its legitimacy. Even if it is labeled as meaningless by the international community, the Ngok Dinka of Abyei seem determined to move forward. In the tinderbox atmosphere created by the May murder of the Ngok Dinka’s revered paramount chief Kuol Deng Kuol, it is quite certain that Misseriya, who also claim the land as theirs, will not be included in numbers of any significance in the vote. The Ngok Dinka will hold it unilaterally, they say, because the 2004 Abyei Protocol and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 that ended the second Sudanese civil war, promised them a referendum. They will hold it unilaterally because the vote promised in the 2009 Abyei Referendum Act, scheduled to occur concurrently with the referendum on independence in 2011, was again postponed, sacrificed for the greater good: secession of the whole of South Sudan.

Following a massive displacement in 2011, another year ticked by with no resolution. Abyei’s displaced residents remained in limbo, waiting and hoping for the chance to declare their allegiance while the international community focused on managing the Misseriya migration. In September 2012, the African Union weighed in, through its High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). The AUHIP proposed setting up joint north/south mechanisms for governance and security in Abyei and holding the long awaited referendum by October 2013 for permanent residents, identified clearly as members of the nine Ngok Dinka tribes along with other Sudanese residents. The south approved the plan but the north rejected it; the proposal’s prescribed joint administrative institutions – among them a referendum commission, a legislative council, and security force — were not established.

Twice in the past five years, more than 100,000 Ngok Dinka – caught unawares, outgunned and bombed — were forced to flee for their lives as Sudan Armed Forces invaded, looted and then burned their towns, villages, shops, schools and homes in 2008 and again in 2011. Then in May of this year, a new round of displacements was sparked by the killing of Paramount Chief Kuol, a respected leader and reputed advocate of peace and restraint, along with a peacekeeper from the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei, (UNISFA), the 4,000-strong force of Ethiopian peacekeepers responsible for demilitarizing the region. For Ngok Dinka, who claim the attack was orchestrated by the north, Chief Kuol’s murder has become a rallying cry. Fearing reprisals, the few Misseriya still doing business in Abyei Town packed up and headed north after the murder. For many Ngok Dinka, the assassination of their chief, while he was travelling to the northern portion of the Abyei region for the first time in years, sparked resurgent determination to resolve the Abyei question — on their own in October.

October begins this upcoming week.

“We need to have the referendum,” said Deng Chol, a Ngok Dinka shopkeeper in Abyei Town whose sparsely-stocked stall is located in what he hopes is a place of relative security, directly across from the guarded front entrance to the UNISFA compound. “Our community believes in the AU(HIP) proposal. Whatever the outcome, it is called for by the AU and the AU and U.N. will be watching the result.” He added: “If Sudan disagrees, they might attack. Last time they came with heavy artillery. It could happen again.”

Down the road at the Abyei gate, a young boy walks alone past the bunker, wearing overlarge shoes. He sits on a broken post near the “Peace For All” sign to catch his breath before moving on. He is walking slowly. Where is he going?

Timothy C. May is a Field Consultant of the Enough Project, a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. He is based in Juba, South Sudan.

On the brink in Sudan

By David L. Phillips and Ahmed Hussain Adam

A spiral of deadly violence engulfed Sudan last week. Nearly 200 peaceful protesters were killed in protests that started in Darfur and swept across the country, including Khartoum. Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, condemned the brutal crackdown by Sudan’s President El-Bashir. But when Australia, which currently chairs the UN Security Council, tried to spotlight developments in Sudan, Russia discouraged debate. Sudanese pro-democracy protesters are undaunted by Russia’s obstructionism. They are demanding that the African Union (AU) seek action from the UN Security Council.

As in Tunisia, nationwide protests in Sudan can be traced to a single event.Ismail Wadi, a well-known merchant, was gunned down by government-backed militia in Nyala, South Darfur on September 18. Protesters gathered at the government headquarters to submit a petition of protest to the Governor of South Darfur. But instead of receiving the petitioners, the Governor ordered security forces to open fire on the crowd. At least 5 people were killed and scores wounded. When the demonstrators attempted to evacuate the wounded to the hospital, police followed attacking with tear gas and using snipers to target leaders in the crowd.

El-Bashir addressed the media on September 22nd. Instead of regretting the loss of life, he insulted protesters calling them hoodlums and questioning their patriotism. El-Bashir also announced the suspension of food and fuel subsidies. His punitive arrogance lit a fire, sparkingnationwide protests. In town and cities in all of Sudan’s states, people gathered to condemn Bashir. Mass demonstrations started in Nyala, then moved to Wad Medani, the capital of the central Sudan, El-Fasher in North Darfur, Sinnar and Damazeen in the center of Sudan, and finally Khartoum. Historically marginalized groups - from Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and the Nuba Mountains - also came together demanding dignity and political rights. Demonstrators targeted symbols of the regime, such as National Congress Party (NCP) offices.

Security forces indiscriminately attacked civilian protesters across the country killing more than 100 people. Internet services were shut down. Bashir blamed the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) for fomenting violence. Ali Osman Taha, the Vice President, gave a shaky presentation threatening to crack down with an iron fist. Taha used rhetoric similar to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, labeling the protesters as terrorists, blaming outside forces for instigating unrest, and promising a military solution. Acting from fear and weakness, Sudan’s notorious National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) echoed Taha’s threats, activating their militias to attack protesters.

Cracks are starting to emerge in the NCP leadership. Some military commanders and police officers refused to attack peaceful demonstrators.Prominent regime figures and their families have left their homes and gone into hiding. A growing number have gone abroad.

While the current uprising was triggered by the suspension of subsidies, it is the product of accumulated grievances from 24 years of Bashir’s injustice, persecution, corruption and failed leadership. Bashir’s policies and practices led to civil war and pushed South Sudan to secede. Sudan’s economy is in free-fall. More than 90 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Inflation is close to 50 percent. Sudan is discredited on the world stage as one of the world’s most corrupt countries.

There was an outcry last week when Bashir planned to attend the UN General Assembly. He cancelled his visit under pressure from Member States and popular protests calling for his arrest by the New York Police Department, even if it meant contravening UN protocols. Sudanese are proud and dignified. Bashir has brought them shame and humiliation.

The Obama administration has expressed grave concern about escalating violence. Its words are welcome. But it can do more to organize international action. The United States should work with the AU to schedule debate on Sudan by the UN Security Council considering the spiral of violence in Sudan. The AU should also consider suspending Sudan’s membership, in accordance with its Constitutive Act (Article 4H), which obliges the regional body to act when a Member State commits gross vitiations of human rights.

Bashir is already indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide in Darfur. The ICC can help drive a wedge between the NCP and members of the armed forces seeking to distance themselves from the regime by disclosing Sudanese officials referred for investigation by the prosecutor.

The international community can help being Sudan to its tipping point. But the Sudanese people have ultimate responsibility for political change. The SRF and other Sudanese opposition should vigorously assist the popular uprising. Marginalized groups should intensify their dialogue about a plan for political transition and power-sharing after Bashir. Protesters are wary of false coup orchestrated by El-Bashir and his ruling clique to undermine the uprising. They want to expunge the NCP and its accomplices in the security services.

During the last century, the Sudanese people succeeded in toppling two military regimes - General Ibrahim Abboud in October 1964 and General Gafaar Mohamed Nimeiri in April 1985. A third uprising is underway, with the potential to bring down the genocidal regime of El-Bashir.

David L. Phillips is Director of the Program on Peace-building and Human Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Ahmed Hussain Adam is a Visiting Scholar. They co-chair Columbia’s Two Sudan’s Project.