John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Sudan: Not Looking Good

by John Campbell
April 25, 2012

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses supporters after receiving victory greetings at the Defence Ministry, in Khartoum April 20, 2012. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters) Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses supporters after receiving victory greetings at the Defence Ministry, in Khartoum April 20, 2012. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

Despite reports that fighting is ebbing between Sudan and South Sudan, the situation is troubling. Last week, Sudan (Khartoum) president al-Bashir escalated his rhetoric against South Sudan (Juba) in the aftermath of the latter’s forces occupying an oil-rich region, Heglig, inside Sudan’s borders. Al-Bashir has characterized the Juba government as an “insect,” and he appears to be repudiating the independence of South Sudan. The press reports him as saying, “Either we end up occupying Juba or you (South Sudan) end up occupying Khartoum but the boundaries of the old Sudan can longer fit us together, only one of us has to remain standing.” He said that his Sudan Armed Forces will teach South Sudan “a lesson in jihad and patriotism,” according to press reports.

On April 17, Thabo Mbeki’s African Union (AU) mediation team and UN Special Envoy to the two Sudans Haile Menkerios briefed the UN Security Council. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice is quoted in the press as saying that the two characterized Juba and Khartoum as locked “in a logic of war.” The UN Security Council is considering sanctions against both states with the goal of ending hostilities. On April 18, the U.S. Department of State spokesman said, “We continue to call for an immediate and unconditional cessation of violence by both parties, and that means we want to see the immediate withdrawal of South Sudanese forces of Heglig and we want to see an immediate end to all aerial bombardments of South Sudan by the Sudanese armed forces.” The spokesman said that U.S. special envoy Princeton Lyman has been meeting with both governments. And, most recently, the AU  issued demands that the two sides resume negotiations.

Al-Bashir’s reference to ‘jihad’ is particularly provocative given Khartoum’s history of trying to Islamicize Christian and animist South Sudan before the latter’s rebellion and independence. Al-Bashir’s comments will confirm for many South Sudanese their doubts as to his commitment to the Comprehensive Peace Accords that led to Juba’s independence last year. For now, Juba and Khartoum do, indeed, appear to be locked “in a logic of war.” It remains to be seen whether they will back down in the face of international opinion as expressed by the UN Security Council and the African Union.

Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by Gabriel David Lado

    It is the AU ,OAU who cove so much for this facist and recist , so call arb , ths men should be in jail in the Hauge togather with Charles of labrie.

  • Posted by Emmanuel John Alberto

    Using the war as a channel of setting-up disputes will never work-out for the both parties, and the reason for the both sides been locked in the logic of war is because they’re for a reason which is beyond the reason that has escalate that tension, if we see from Khartoum side and what its president is saying we’ll immediately know that Khartoum is still keeping and using that old fashioned mentality which in fact has dragged Sudan for that fifty years war of liberation with south Sudan, and with the current on ground facts that South Sudan has become a sovereign country the northern pals doesn’t want to live by it, simply they don’t want South Sudan to be exist, they want to erase it, not forgetting that Khartoum is the main and only supporters of all the ant-Juba Militias and rebels, all these reasons explains why President El-Bashir is saying that the boundaries of old Sudan can fit us and only one of their two can come to stand, and from the other side we can see that South Sudan they’re still fighting with Sudan with the dream of having new Sudan in place replacing the Islamic centralized regime in Khartoum they’re seems not yet fully adopted they’re selves to the fact that they’re an independent country now, they’re still mentally slave to their old Idea of New Sudan which has been taken from them by a ninety nine referendum vote for the secession of South Sudan, that’s why we can clearly see South Sudan as the main Architecture of the Anti-Khartoum military groups, so if the both side can reach an state for seeing each other as an independent state and deal with each other on that basis then it’s when the region can and will experience a peace of mind, and a results of that then can also be seen in the outcome results of the post referendum issues Negotiation, the other comment reason for the war not to be constructive for the both sides is the Economical current situation that they’re experiencing.

    Emmanuel John Alberto, Student of Economic & Social Studies Juba University can be reached at albertoe@un.org

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