Archive for the ‘Sudan’ Category

Almost a year has passed since the 27 September 2012 agreements, which committed both Sudan and South Sudan to implement a Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) along their mutual border, following a map drawn up by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). Despite numerous declarations to the contrary, both countries retain troops within the SDBZ, and the Joint Border and Verification Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), which was designed to oversee the demilitarization of the border, remains effectively inoperative. From September 2012 to March 2013, no moves were taken to implement a SDBZ. However, on 8 March 2013, both countries agreed on an implementation matrix to put the 27 September agreements into effect. Initially, both countries removed some of their troops from the border region, with the Government of Sudan (GoS) claiming that it had withdrawn from the SDBZ on 26 March, and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) echoing their claim on 11 April.

News24 – ‎53 minutes ago‎
Sudanese protestors throw stones at a petrol station in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman during a demonstration after the government announced steep price rises for petroleum products. (AFP). Multimedia · User Galleries · News in Pictures Send us your (blog) – ‎2 hours ago‎
By Henry Austin, NBC News contributor. The wave of civil wars, revolutionary demonstrations, protests and riots dubbed the “Arab Spring” that spread across North Africa and into the Middle East in 2011 may well be heading south into Sudan, experts and 
The Guardian – ‎8 hours ago‎
Many said it wouldn’t happen in Sudan. That the Arab spring would not reach the country; that Sudan was a country on the periphery of the Arab world and hence unlikely to witness any serious political transformation. This view was entrenched by the fact that 
Al-Arabiya – ‎9 hours ago‎
Family members and friends gather for the funeral of Salah Mudathir, 28, killed the day before in clashes following protests in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, on September 28, 2013. (AFP). Tweet. Eman El-Shenawi and Paul Crompton, Al Arabiya. There’s an 
Sky News Australia – ‎10 hours ago‎
Sudan fuel hikes aim to avert ‘collapse’. Updated: 07:24, Wednesday October 2, 2013. Fuel price hikes that sparked deadly protests last week aimed to save Sudan from economic meltdown, President Omar al-Bashir says. In his first comments on the unrest, 
Al-Arabiya – ‎10 hours ago‎
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Monday met with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti but failed to repeat strong U.S. criticism of a deadly crackdown on protestors. Thousands have taken to the streets to protest a more than 60 percent jump in petrol and 
The Daily Star – ‎10 hours ago‎
KHARTOUM: The shouts of demonstrators carry the name of Salah Sanhouri through the Khartoum night, as they mourn a slain comrade who has become a symbol of a deadly government crackdown. “With our souls and our blood, we are ready to die for you – ‎10 hours ago‎
Omar al-Bashir says price hikes that led to deadly protests were necessary and blames outside forces for ongoing unrest. Last Modified: 01 Oct 2013 21:14. Email Article. Print Article. Share article. Send Feedback. The latest unrest is the worst urban unrest 
Al-Arabiya – ‎11 hours ago‎
A man looks at a burnt bank during protests over fuel subsidy cuts in Khartoum September 26, 2013. (Reuters). Tweet. AFP, Khartoum. The shouts of demonstrators carry the name of Salah Sanhouri through the Khartoum night, as they mourn a slain comrade 
Kansas City Star – ‎11 hours ago‎
KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan’s deadly street riots, provoked by a near-doubling of fuel prices, highlight a problem that has become critical across the Middle East — the subsidies that for decades have kept down the cost of basic needs for societies where 
Ahram Online – ‎15 hours ago‎
Fuel price hikes which sparked deadly protests last week aimed to save Sudan from economic meltdown, President Omar al-Bashir said Tuesday in his first comments on the unrest which has left discontent simmering. “The latest economic measures aim at 
Al-Arabiya – ‎15 hours ago‎
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir says the rise of fuel price is to save the economy. (File photo: AFP). Tweet. Al Arabiya. The rise of fuel prices in Sudan is aimed to save the country from an economic meltdown, President Omar al-Bashir said Tuesday in his – ‎15 hours ago‎
From an economic perspective, any other government would have taken the decision to abolish subsidy on fuel prices, just like the Sudanese government of President Omar Al Bashir’s announced on last week, given the critical state of the country’s economy.
Times of Oman – ‎16 hours ago‎
Sudan has pointed to “fake” victim photos and foreign interference in defence of a deadly crackdown on protesters, which drew fresh criticism from inside the ruling party as rallies continued. With reporters complaining of stepped-up censorship, numerous – ‎16 hours ago‎
Khartoum, Sudan: The worst week of violent unrest that central Sudan has seen in years has resulted in the arrests of 700 people, the government said on Monday, along with many deaths and an unprecedented crackdown on the news media. The trigger for 
Independent Online – ‎17 hours ago‎
Sudanese anti-government protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Khartoum on September 29, 2013. Thousands of Sudanese protesters took to the streets in night march in the capital Khartoum late Sunday. Related Stories. Hundreds held after 
Fox News – ‎18 hours ago‎
Khartoum (AFP) – Discontent simmered in Sudan on Tuesday as the public struggled to understand why their “brothers and daughters” had been shot dead during protests against fuel price increases. “We are very angry about what happened because those 
The Economist (blog) – ‎19 hours ago‎
A CRACKDOWN by the security forces of Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, since September 23rd against those protesting the lifting of fuel subsidies has left dozens of people dead in the capital, Khartoum, and around the country. The government had been 
The Daily Star – ‎20 hours ago‎
KHARTOUM, Oct 01, 2013 (AFP) – Female university students in Sudan protested for a second day running on Tuesday, their campus president said, on the ninth day of anti-government demonstrations that sparked a deadly crackdown last week. The protest 
Al-Arabiya – ‎Oct 1, 2013‎
He sold one third of Sudan, once the biggest Arab country by area, in order to establish South Sudan so that he could stay in power. Omar al-Bashir surrendered all of Sudan’s oil, becoming the first president with unmatched generosity. He gave away all of his 
Voice of America – ‎Oct 1, 2013‎
Nairobi — Over the past week, Sudan has seen its most serious protests in almost three decades. Demonstrations over rising prices after the government decided to lift fuel subsidies have mutated into riots, and dozens of people have died. The streets have 
Independent Online – ‎Oct 1, 2013‎
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York. Related Stories. Hundreds held after Sudan protests · Sudan protest pics fake: minister · Sudanese 
Al-Arabiya – ‎Oct 1, 2013‎
Media coverage of the demonstrations in Sudan has been scant here in Cairo as well as in the West. I know all my Egyptian colleagues are only paying strict attention to fast moving events in Egypt, and after that the drama playing out in Syria. In Sudan itself 
NDTV – ‎Sep 30, 2013‎
Khartoum, Sudan: Seven hundred people have been arrested during a week of the worst unrest in central Sudan in years, the government said on Monday, as protests continued against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. One week after the start of 
Al-Arabiya – ‎Sep 30, 2013‎
Cars burn in front of a building during protests over fuel subsidy cuts in Khartoum September 25, 2013. (Reuters). Tweet. AFP, Khartoum. Sudanese police fired tear gas Monday into a university campus where female students were protesting, the university 
Arab News – ‎Sep 30, 2013‎
PICTURE PRESSURE: Sudan’s Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud addressing journalists at a press conference in Khartoum. AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE. Published — Tuesday 1 October 2013. Last update 1 October 2013 4:01 am. | نسخة PDF · Send to 
New Zealand Herald – ‎Sep 30, 2013‎
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) Sudanese security forces fired volleys of tear gas to disperse a demonstration held inside a women’s university in the Sudanese capital Monday, witnesses said, the latest in a week-long wave of protests against the country’s 
Kansas City Star – ‎Sep 30, 2013‎
KHARTOUM, Sudan — When Sudan’s longtime president Omar al-Bashir introduced drastic austerity measures, he berated the public for being ungrateful over how his regime had improved their lives, boasting that before he came to power, Sudanese never 
The Daily Star – ‎Sep 30, 2013‎
KHARTOUM: Sudan pointed to “fake” victim photos and foreign interference Monday as it defended a deadly crackdown on protesters, which drew fresh criticism from inside the ruling party as rallies continued. With reporters complaining of stepped-up 
Khaleej Times – ‎Sep 30, 2013‎
The Sudanese community in the UAE are mourning the tragic and shocking death of a UAE-born doctor in Sudan. Dr Salah Mudathir Al Sanhouri, 34, was killed on Friday during peaceful protests against lifting subsides on fuel which raised anger among 
Khartoum, Sudan: Seven hundred people have been arrested during a week of the worst unrest in central Sudan in years, the government said on Monday, as protests continued against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. One week after the start of 
Al-Arabiya – ‎
Family members and friends gather for the funeral of Salah Mudathir, 28, killed the day before in clashes following protests in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, on September 28, 2013. (AFP). Tweet. Eman El-Shenawi and Paul Crompton, Al Arabiya. There’s an 
Al-Arabiya -‎
Cars burn in front of a building during protests over fuel subsidy cuts in Khartoum September 25, 2013. (Reuters). Tweet. AFP, Khartoum. Sudanese police fired tear gas Monday into a university campus where female students were protesting, the university 
New York Times – ‎‎
KHARTOUM, Sudan — The worst week of violent unrest that central Sudan has seen in years has resulted in the arrests of 700 people, the government said on Monday, along with many deaths and an unprecedented crackdown on the news media.
The Star Online – ‎
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry met his Sudanese counterpart for talks on Monday on the South Sudan peace process and conflict-hit areas like Darfur, but did not raise U.S. concerns over the government’s crackdown on 
Arab News – ‎‎
PICTURE PRESSURE: Sudan’s Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud addressing journalists at a press conference in Khartoum. AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE. Published — Tuesday 1 October 2013. Last update 1 October 2013 1:35 am. | نسخة PDF · Send to 
AFP – ‎7 hours ago‎
Washington — US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday met with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti but failed to repeat strong US criticism of a deadly crackdown on protestors. Thousands have taken to the streets to protest a more than 60 percent jump in 
Arab News – ‎7 hours ago‎
Ignoring the fact that in terms of land area, Sudan was the biggest of the Arab countries, he sold one-third of Sudan to enable the establishment of the Republic of South Sudan so as to stay in power in return. Giving up all of Sudan’s oil, Omar Bashir became 
New Zealand Herald – ‎7 hours ago‎
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) Sudanese security forces fired volleys of tear gas to disperse a demonstration held inside a women’s university in the Sudanese capital Monday, witnesses said, the latest in a week-long wave of protests against the country’s 
Kansas City Star – ‎8 hours ago‎
KHARTOUM, Sudan — When Sudan’s longtime president Omar al-Bashir introduced drastic austerity measures, he berated the public for being ungrateful over how his regime had improved their lives, boasting that before he came to power, Sudanese never 
The Daily Star – ‎8 hours ago‎
KHARTOUM: Sudan pointed to “fake” victim photos and foreign interference Monday as it defended a deadly crackdown on protesters, which drew fresh criticism from inside the ruling party as rallies continued. With reporters complaining of stepped-up 
News24 – ‎9 hours ago‎
Khartoum – In the face of a heavy media blackout imposed by the government over their protests, Sudanese taking to the streets demanding the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir are turning to their smartphones to get out word on their cause. The glowing 
Huffington Post – ‎11 hours ago‎
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 
Voice of America – ‎11 hours ago‎
NAIROBI — Over the past week, Sudan has seen its most serious protests in almost three decades. Demonstrations over rising prices after the government decided to lift fuel subsidies have mutated into riots, and dozens of people have died. The streets have 
Wall Street Journal – ‎12 hours ago‎
KAMPALA, Uganda—Sudan’s government said it would give cash handouts to nearly half a million families and lift wages for workers, in a bid to quell violent protests sparked by rising fuel and food prices and the removal of government fuel subsidies.
The Independent – ‎12 hours ago‎
About 1,000 people staged another protest in Khartoum on Sunday to demand President Omar al-Bashir resign, a witness has said. Last week, the government cut back fuel subsidies, which sparked the worst unrest in central Sudan in years. The official death – ‎13 hours ago‎
From an economic perspective, any other government would have taken the decision to abolish subsidy on fuel prices, just like the Sudanese government of President Omar Al Bashir’s announced on last week, given the critical state of the country’s economy. – ‎13 hours ago‎
Khartoum: Sudanese police fired tear gas Monday into a university campus where female students were protesting, the university head said on the eighth day of demonstrations sparked by rising fuel prices. Between 150 and 200 Ahfad University for Women – ‎14 hours ago‎
Demonstration of university students near Khartoum met with police violence on eighth day of anti-government protests. Last Modified: 30 Sep 2013 20:27. Email Article. Print Article. Share article. Send Feedback. Sunday’s demonstration began at the funeral 
AFP – ‎17 hours ago‎
Khartoum — About 1,000 people marched in the Sudanese capital calling for the government’s overthrow, after a ceremony late Sunday mourning those gunned down in days of fuel price protests, witnesses said. The rally began in Khartoum’s wealthy 
Al-Arabiya – ‎Sep 29, 2013‎
Since its independence of 1956 to date, Sudan has witnessed more than 11 successful and attempted transfers of power. (Al Arabiya). Tweet. Al Arabiya. The current protests in Sudan are reminiscent of the past half century, during which military-led takeovers 
Sudan Tribune – ‎26 minutes ago‎
September 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The leaders of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, and the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan al-Turabi have openly called upon their followers to join the protests which have been 
Tengrinews – ‎38 minutes ago‎
Sudan vowed Sunday to stand firm on fuel price hikes, despite days of deadly protests and criticism from war veterans, hardline Islamic leaders and from within the ruling party itself, AFP reports. Authorities say 33 people have died since petrol and diesel 
Pakistan Observer – ‎7 hours ago‎
Tuesday, October 01, 2013 – All last week, people in Sudan were marching in protest against the government’s decision to scrap fuel subsidies, but on Saturday, the violence escalated dramatically when the police reportedly killed dozens of protesters.
Al-Monitor – ‎10 hours ago‎
KHARTOUM, Sudan — On Sept. 28, at least 3,000 people joined a protest that took place after the burial of Salah al-Sanhouri, 28, who was shot dead in a raging anti-government protest the previous day. In a video circulated online, Sanhouri is seen standing – ‎10 hours ago‎
KHARTOUM – Thousands of Sudanese protesters have taken to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, chanting “freedom” and renewing calls for their longtime president to resign after at least 50 people were killed in a week of demonstrations prompted by 
World Tribune – ‎11 hours ago‎
The escalating fuel riots in Khartoum, and increasingly in other cities in Sudan, serve as a stark reminder of the inherent fragility and instability of the country. The riots were sparked by the spiraling prices of all fuel products following the abolition of subsidies 
Morning Star Online – ‎11 hours ago‎
Thousands of Sudanese protesters took to the streets of the capital Khartoum late on Sunday, chanting “freedom” and renewing calls for President Omar al-Bashir to resign. The demonstrations, which began after fuel subsidies were cut last week, have been 
VICE – ‎11 hours ago‎
The antiregime protests that have swept Sudan for the last week are at a crossroads, with the fervent optimism of the previous days giving way to somber reflection and shock since more 50 people are believed to have died. Sudanese activists have put the 
Enough Project (blog) – ‎11 hours ago‎
In the last week, thousands of Sudanese have taken to the streets to call for a fundamental change in the way their country is governed. Many organized themselves around the #SudanRevolts and #Abena (We Refuse) hashtags on Twitter, and have used 

Arab Spring in the Sudan?

Posted: September 27, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël in Africa, Press Release, Reports, Sudan

Uprising in the Sudan: What We Know Now
By Eric Reeves
I have in the past hour received two reports, from reliable sources, that ministers of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime have begun to leave Khartoum or have sent their families outside Sudan; specifically, it has been reported the Foreign Minister Ali Karti sent his family out of Sudan two days ago.  Such exits would confirm that senior officials have abandoned President Omar al-Bashir and that the regime will fall soon.]
The Khartoum regime has long heavily censored news coverage by Sudanese journalists.  Newspapers have been punishingly fined or put out of business, and there is a long history of harassing, even arresting journalists for reporting what they have seen.  Similarly, the regime has long imposed severe travel restrictions on international journalists, preventing travel to Darfur, to eastern Sudan, and more recently to Blue NileSouth Kordofan, and most of Abyei.  There is no nongovernmental access to broadcast media in Sudan, and a great deal of electronic information of various sorts is consistently blocked (my website is one example, but there are countless others).  The wholesale shutdown of Internet access on Wednesday (September 25) reveals the lengths to which the regime will go to prevent any sharing of news via social media.  In this case the tactic seems to have been hastily conceived, since the shutdown itself generated widespread news coverage.  The regime has at least temporarily allowed Internet connectivity to resume.  But this can be reversed at a moment’s notice, and the shutdown will surely be re-imposed if events continue on their current trajectory. Events following Friday evening prayers tomorrow (September 27, 2013) may be telling.
The consequence of such tight state control of news, news media, and journalists is that it is often the case that events of major significance are covered from very particular vantages.  Interviews are provided to some, but not others.  For example, the BBC contacted the director of the hospital in Omdurman, who confirmed at least 21 deaths; others did not, and this one reasons of many why initial casualty figures were sometimes low and contradictory. 
And because journalists for foreign news services have no presence in most regions of Sudan, the impression given by most current dispatches is that the protests are concentrated in Khartoum/Omdurman.  This is not so, and in fact demonstrations began in Wad Medani, Gezira State.  Major demonstrations have also been reported in North KhartoumPort SudanNyalael-Obeid, Gedarif, Kosti, and Damazin. The long dispatch from Radio Dabanga (below) offers the most comprehensive account of locations and activities.
The number of people killed by live-round bullets fired by security forces has been rising steadily.  But any census is bound to be constrained by access to information.  We have no way of confirming the estimate offered by Yasir Arman, the Secretary General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, earlier today:
From Nyala to Medani, and Khartoum up to the late evening of September 25, 2013, the estimated death toll of the peaceful demonstrators is more than 139, and hundreds of wounded. They were all shot by live bullets by the Security, the Police and the militia of the ruling National Congress Party of Sudan. [This figure has been updated through the day today: it now stands at “over 140,” according to AFP’s report on Arman’s current figure.] (all emphases in all reports have been added by the author; place names and proper nouns are generally in bold on first mention)
And indeed, late today Amnesty International reports that it has confirmed, along with the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (September 26),
that at least 50 demonstrators were killed on Tuesday and Wednesday after being shot in the chest or head. Local sources and activists have put the figure much higher, in excess of 100, and at the time of writing the two organizations were still receiving reports of shootings and excessive use of force. “Shooting to kill—including by aiming at protesters’ chests and heads—is a blatant violation of the right to life, and Sudan must immediately end this violent repression by its security forces,” said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International. 
Such a figure should have been expected, given the larger number of those already killed or wounded, as well as the slow and limited access to those who have died in hospitals and elsewhere, it is likely that Arman’s estimate is much closer to the truth than what has been reported in most quarters.  What we do know from a variety of sources is that the violence generated by the demonstrations was entirely expected.  On September 18 the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) ordered all reporting on the impending cuts in fuel “subsidies” to toe the regime’s line; there was to be no reporting of “bad news,” even if in fact the news would be very bad indeed—and felt immediately by the poorest Sudanese.  For not only is inflation already running in excess of 50 percent according to most economic analysis, but lifting the “subsidies” almost doubled the cost of fuel—including vital cooking oil—overnight.  Subsequently, on Wednesday September 25 NISS, summoned in Khartoum editors-in-chief of different newspapers demanding them to cooperate with the government during the current “economic crisis” or have their papers shut down. Journalist Mahjoub Mohamed Salih, editor-in-chief of El Ayam daily paper, told Radio Dabanga he refuses to cooperate with the NISS and announced during Wednesday’s meeting he would close down his media house and stop publishing fromThursday onwards. [Salih was the 2005 winner of the Golden Pen Freedom Award for press freedom—ER]
There are certainly many good reasons that the regime doesn’t want any independent reporting on the economy, for there is a great deal that has yet to make its way into the thinking of ordinary Sudanese or outside observers (for a highly informed discussion of the so-called fuel “subsidies, for example, see excerpt below of comments by Professor Hamid El Tijani of American University in Cairo).  What we know from various NISS actions is that the firestorm of protest was anticipated and inevitable. 
The economic implosion in Sudan, which has now resulted in an explosion of popular anger, has long been evident, but too little discussed in assessing the policies and decisions of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party.  The inflationary spurt of this week, coupled with the desperate flight to hard currency, may produce not simply greater inflation but a ruinous hyper-inflation.  Hyper-inflation will destroy an economy quickly, given the circumstances that have prevailed for well over a year, and indeed may reasonably be dated to the loss of crude oil sales, and following the independence of South Sudan.  Subsequently, Khartoum’s perversely shut-down negotiations over a reasonable transit fee income; the regime did so in January 2012 by asking an extortionate $36/barrel, the equivalent of sabotaging any possible agreement.
Beyond this, the loss of oil income—either through the sale of crude or transit fees—denied the Sudanese economy access to foreign exchange currency.  There is almost no hard currency with which to purchase food, other commodities, even the most critical equipment needed by functioning sectors of the economy.  The belief that gold could be exported in sufficient quantities to offset the loss of oil revenues was always misguided, for a variety of reasons, and has now been hurt badly be the slump in gold prices.  The agricultural sector has long been neglected and now requires major investments of precisely the sort the regime is in no position to fund.  And all the while the value of the Sudanese Pound against hard currencies continues its relentless and precipitous decline.
In short, the economy is in a shambles and has no possibility of near-term improvement.  Wildly premature discussions of debt relief for Khartoum seem myopic, given the spending habits of the regime, which annually devotes well over half the budget to the military and security services, and another large percentage to the government itself.  Sudan will have to continue to bear the debilitating costs of an external debt that now exceeds $42 billion—a level of debt that cannot be serviced, let alone repaid, even in part.
The consequences of economic implosion
Coupled with anger over the economic crisis and financial mismanagement is the growing political discontent among various constituencies that have heretofore at least acquiesced before the regime’s policies.  The old, enfeebled, not to say moribund traditional northern political parties are looking on with unease, and may attempt to sit out the current crisis; but this will earn them only additional contempt, especially among younger Sudanese who find themselves without jobs or prospects of employment, even if highly educated.  The system of cronyism that has supported the NIF/NCP politically for so many years cannot itself be sustained, let alone expanded.
The various reports (below) that we receive on the response of the Sudanese people to current realities should all have this as context: the extreme distress of the Sudanese economy and the regime’s iron-fisted control of the news whenever it feels such to be necessary. 
Some of the most striking reports from the past three days include:
[The director of] Omdurman hospital told the BBC’s Arabic Service that 21 people sent to his hospital had died, and that about 80 were injured. “All have gunshot wounds, some in the chest,” he said. Sudan has not seen a wave of anti-government unrest on the scale of that experienced in neighbouring Egypt. Protesters have been angered at a jump in fuel prices after the government’s decided to lift fuel subsidies Also on Wednesday, sources at Khartoum Bahari hospital told the BBC that the facility had received three bodies “shot by live bullets earlier today.”  (BBC News Africa, September 26, 2013)
It should be noted that the total of 24 deaths is just for Omdurman and Khartoum; it does not reflect reports of deaths elsewhere in Sudan.
Agence France-Presse reports from Khartoum (September 25, 2013):
Demonstrations spread on Wednesday to several districts of the capital, some of them near the centre, an AFP correspondent reported. “Freedom, freedom,” and “The people want the fall of the regime,” chanted the protesters, many of them students, borrowing the refrain of the Arab Spring protests which toppled several governments in 2011. Police fired tear gas at stone-throwing demonstrators. Shops were shut in Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman, with several roads cut by protesters who burnt tyres, sending black smoke billowing into the sky, and blocked access with tree trunks.
We glean some sense of the regime’s sense of the duration of protests from this additional reporting from AFP: “The education ministry said schools in the capital would remain shut until September 30.”
And AFP also gives us eyewitness accounts of what is happening:
Vehicles were burned in the car park of a luxury hotel just 500 metres (yards) from the international airport, and a petrol station in the area was also set alight. Police made around 20 arrests and sealed off a section of the main road to Khartoum airport. In Khartoum North, a witness said six cars were torched, as public transport across the capital ground to a halt.
On Tuesday, September 23 AFP reported:
On Tuesday, protesters ransacked and then torched offices of the ruling National Congress Party in Omdurman, witnesses said. An AFP correspondent said around 1,000 demonstrators spilled into Omdurman’s heavily populated Al-Thawra district and were confronted by anti-riot police. The Omdurman protests lasted until around dawn on Wednesday. The protests first broke out in Wad Madani, in Gezira state south of Khartoum, scene of the first death on Monday. They have also spread to Nyala, capital of South Darfur state. A Nyala resident told AFP by phone that thousands of students filled the streets of the city and blocked a main road. 
The torching of the NIF/NCP offices in Omdurman is a particularly striking symbol in the course of the uprising. 
Associated Press reports today (Khartoum, September 26, 2013):
Sudanese authorities on Thursday deployed troops around vital installations and gas stations in the country’s capital following days of rioting over gas price hikes that claimed at least 30 lives. The army also reinforced positions around military headquarters in Khartoum and along the city’s university road, which is close to the presidential palace….  Hospital officials and activists said at least 30 have been killed since in street violence, mostly in Khartoum. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media. Protesters torched 20 gas stations in Khartoum and elsewhere, and set fire to several police stations. Stores were looted in several parts of the city.
In perhaps the most geographically detailed and highly informed account of the events of recent days, Radio Dabanga reports (September 25) the following:
[I]n Omdurman, some troops of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) are reported to have joined the demonstrators. In Gezira state, an army Major who refused to suppress the demonstrations reportedly resigned. An unknown number of people have allegedly been killed and injured in demonstrations across Sudan, which have spread to the major cities of the country including greater Khartoum, AtbaraKassalaPort SudanEl ObeidEl FasherKosti, and Damazin. According to activists in Khartoum, more than 1,500 people were arrested in the capital.
It would be difficult to overstate the significance of SAF forces joining the demonstrators, or further resignations by mid-level officers (colonels and majors).  This evening, Inter Press Service (in Khartoum) indicated it has received reports that “elements of the Sudan Armed Forces are refusing to carry out orders from President Omar al-Bashir to control the situation on the streets.” If this happens rapidly and in substantial numbers, the regime may be toppled very quickly.
Witnesses reported of large demonstrations in various neighbourhoods of Khartoum, like HalfayaSamiraabDurushaab and El Fitihaab El Shagla, and Sahafa Sherig. Sources affirm that six protesters were shot dead by the police in three separate incidents. In Sahafa Sherig protesters reportedly burned a police station. Others occupied the large El Mina El Barri bus station and the Central Market in the south of the capital. Almost all of the main roads in Khartoum were blocked by burning tires.
In the neighbourhoods of Mayo and Kalakla, south Khartoum, demonstrators set fire to a police post, chanting slogans demanding the “overthrow of the Al Bashir regime and his National Congress Party.” In the Salama neighbourhood, also in southern Khartoum, witnesses reported that two demonstrators were shot dead by the police. In the large district of Umbadda, hundreds of protesters blocked the road between Dar es Salaam and the Libya market of Khartoum. In Dar es Salaam two petrol stations were torched.
One of the demonstrators told Radio Dabanga that in the large area around the Libya market citizens took to the streets in large numbers at around 9am shouting “Down with the regime.” Police forces fired tear gas, but the number of demonstrators was so large that the police had to flee. The protesters set assets on fire on the road to the Libya market and broke into the premises of the court nearby the market, during which two demonstrators were killed by police bullets. 
In the area of Haj Yusif in Khartoum North, witnesses told Radio Dabanga that four protesters were shot dead by “government forces,” which led the demonstrators to set fire on the municipality of Haj Yusif. It burned down completely. Protesters also surrounded the police station of Haj Yusif, where police used tear gas and bullets. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga of the demonstrations in Haj Yusif broke out at 8am in the morning. Demonstrators burned tires.
Giving a much fuller sense of the scope of the uprising, Radio Dabanga also reports:
In Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile, hundreds of citizens went out to the streets chanting slogans demanding to bring down the regime. One of the protesters informed Radio Dabanga that a group of citizens and students demonstrated on Wednesdaycondemning the huge rise in fuel and commodities’ prices. The police then fired tear gas, dispersed the demonstrators by force, and arrested more than 20 of them.
In the city of Port Sudan, hundreds of citizens and students went to the streets on Wednesday condemning the increase in prices and demanding the downfall of the regime in Khartoum. The demonstrations led to the shut-down of the city market, government buildings, shops, and restaurants. Public transport was cancelled. Witnesses in Port Sudan told Radio Dabanga that a number of demonstrators was arrested. Other sources from Port Sudan informed Radio Dabanga that pupils and students of basic and secondary schools, as well as university students, went out to demonstrate and were joined by dozens of citizens.
In El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan, demonstrations of secondary school and university students together with citizens reached the Soug El Kabir, chanting against price increases. Witnesses in El Obeid told Radio Dabanga on Wednesday that the police took to excessive violence to disperse the demonstrators.
In Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, demonstrations of students on Wednesday morning were quickly dispersed by police forces. The Deputy Governor and minister of Education of South Darfur state, Mahdi Bosh, closed the basic schools and secondary schools in the city until Sunday. [Gedarif and Sinnar have also been reported by Amnesty International as sites of demonstrations—ER]
The economic ripple effects of the demonstrations, the violent crackdown, and the pervasive sense of insecurity and uncertainty are going to be powerful. The first signs are already evident:
Shops and businesses in Sudanese capital Khartoum remained closed for the third consecutive day on Thursday amid concerns about renewed anti-austerity protests. “Trade activity has been almost paralyzed since the announcement of the latest package of economic measures and the ensuing protests,” Mohamed Abdel-Rahim, owner of a Khartoum cell-phone shop, told Anadolu Agency.  He said most local traders had suspended business until the security situation was resolved, calm was restored and the “confused” economic situation became clearer. “Through its unstable economic policies, the government has launched a war on the livelihoods of the people,” he said….  Khartoum’s four main fuel stations remained closedon Thursday.
Further details on the situation in the streets today (Thursday, September 26) come from reports by various Arabic-speaking journalists for The Niles, part of the Guardian Africa Network:
Now authorities have deployed more security forces in the streets of Khartoum. Rumour has it that they will put police vehicles in front of the gates of mosques across the capital on Friday. The expectation is that protests will flare up when worshipers exit Friday prayers. In addition, the capital is in the throes of a fuel crisis. A third of our petrol stations were shut down amid fears they may be burnt down or because they ran out of fuel. Authorities have blocked off gas stations by installing members of the military and police force. Some neighbourhoods are short of basics. In some areas citizens are pushing each other out of the way to get bread.  Three newspapers did not go to press on Wednesday because they refused to deliver a one-sided report on the demonstrations, as demanded by the security forces.
Again, events following tomorrow’s (Friday’s) evening prayers might be of an even greater magnitude and precipitate a greater and more violent response from the security forces, heightening the crisis.
On Wednesday, September 25, there was a massacre in Khartoum and neighbouring areas. Sources who have been to morgues and hospitals suggest that far more than 30 people have been killed. Maybe two or three times as many. People died in Omdurman as well as in Khartoum Bahri [Hospital].  Security has impeded the media from reporting on the death toll. Daily newspapers can only use police information in their reports, creating a one-sided version. Farouk Abu Issa, chairman of the opposition National Consensus Forces, said that security agents threatened opposition leaders this morning, Thursday, September 26, in front of the Ismail Al-Azhari’s house in Omdurman, forcing them to cancel their meeting.
[from Port Sudan]  The protests in Port Sudan began on Wednesday, September 25, with dozens of people protesting near the central market. Students from the Red Sea University and as well high school students joined the demonstration.  The police responded with tear gas, dispersing protestors up to 4:30 in the afternoon. The situation has led to a complete paralysis of the transport system in the city until Wednesday evening. Today the protests began at 11:00am. The police dispersed the demonstrators again by firing tear gas, the traffic was again paralysed and a number of students and activists were arrested. Demonstrators during yesterday’s and today’s protests were chanting slogans such as “No to high prices” and “the people want to overthrow the regime.”
Consequences going forward
It is of course impossible to chart the future course of the uprising in Sudan; but it is already a much more serious, much more deadly, and much more widespread expression of popular anger and resentment than the demonstrations of June/July 2012.  What we will almost certainly see is a continuation of heavy use of tear-gas by security forces, the use of “live” ammunition, and more widespread and brutal arrests.  The regime is desperate: it knows that the free fall in the economy can’t be halted by any means politically available, and thus believes that military force is the only way to respond to the uprising, given its causes.
This is bad news for much of greater Sudan as well.  An October Abyei referendum held under these circumstances—though entirely justified by all agreements previously reached and comporting with the referendum plan of the African Union—may well spark very serious violence between the Misseriya Arabs and the indigenous Dinka Ngok.  Such clashes could quickly lead to involvement of Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the South’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army.  The African Union Peace and Security Council seems unwilling to support the proposal it had previously endorsed, as presented by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), led by the expedient Thabo Mbeki.  This is an extremely dangerous situation (see excellent analysis by Tim Flatman today at Sudan Tribune).
If civil war or anything approaching it should break out in Sudan, the fate of future oil transport from the South to Port Sudan is deeply imperiled.  Cross-border trade and travel may come to a halt.  And again, the conflict could easily become international.
In Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan there is much to fear from a likely decision by Khartoum to expel all humanitarian organizations as well as peacekeeping operations: UNAMID from Darfur, and UNISFA from Abyei (the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei is served from Kadugli in South Kordofan, Sudan).  Precipitous withdrawal of either peacekeepers or humanitarians could have catastrophic consequences for many hundreds of thousands of acutely vulnerable civilians.  There will be enormous pressure on Juba to permit a cross-border humanitarian corridor to be created into the Nuba Mountains, whose people continue to face a campaign of genocidal annihilation.
There are many other threats that may emerge in the near-term: Khartoum, if it finds itself confronting more desertions, or resignations of the sort by the SAF major in Wad Medani, knows that the military tables could be quickly turned.  In such circumstances the regime will be grasping for any military ally or assistance.  For example, a grim deal with Chad’s Idriss Déby may be fashioned for the western part of Darfur; or Islamic extremists from the region may be invited to join in the regime’s newest jihad.  The possibilities are numerous.
For its part, the United States seems content to play a neutral role, issuing an overwhelmingly banal and meaningless statement (in Arabic) yesterday: “We call on all sides not to resort to force and to respect civil liberties and the right to peaceful assembly. In these difficult moments, it is necessary for all sides to show restraint and prudence.”  This banality and tonelessness sadly is of a piece with the Radio France Internationale interview given today by U.S. special envoy Donald Booth, who when asked about the NIF/NCP regime in Khartoum, could only say that following his recent three-day visit, “I don’t think I’m in a position to speak in an expert manner on the NCP.”  Well, we may almost certainly take him at his word, given the vacuousness of the responses offered during the interview.  It would appear that the Obama administration is still committed to a morally reprehensible policy of “moral equivalence” in speaking about issues and parties in Sudan.  This comports with continuation of a policy priority of gathering counter-terrorism intelligence from Khartoum’s security services—a policy priority that requires bargaining with a regime of génocidaires
At this defining moment in Sudan’s history, Americans have a right to expect of this administration more than banality and expediency.  Such expectations, however, seem doomed to be disappointed.
Radio Dabanga, September 18, 2013, interview with Professor Hamid El Tijani, on “fuel subsidies” in Sudan:
Professor Hamid El Tijani, an economy expert at the American University in Cairo, has described the government’s announced intention to lift subsidies on fuel as “a big lie.” He explained in an interview with Radio Dabanga that “What the government is currently doing is actually an imposition of new taxes on basic consumer commodities, rather than the lifting of subsidies—which are in fact not in place to lift.” He added that Sudan is witnessing an economic collapse, with an increase in expenses and a deficit in the revenues. This negative development has prompted the ruling National Congress Party to resort to “borrowing from the people,” in the name of lifting subsidies. He stressed that the government, by “lifting subsidies,” just intends to impose new taxes on citizens El Tijani explained that the Sudanese government spends about $6 billion and $300 million on the security sector with average of $10 million dollars per day, as well as spending approximately $ 4 million a day for the presidency and the sovereign sectors. He noted that the government has options other than the ongoing procedures, including a cut in spending on the security and sovereign sectors. This in turn requires a political will to stop the current wars in DarfurSouth Kordofan and the Blue Nile State. This would be an essential step in the restoration of confidence in the Sudanese economy. However, El Tijani stressed that any economical solution in the current situation through which Sudan is going may be of no avail. He rather believes that the solution lies in the radical change of the regime.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA  01063
       Skype: ReevesSudan

Eric Reeves’ new book-length study of greater Sudan (Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012) is available in eBook format, at no cost:

Social media:
Twitter: @SudanReeves

Sudanese president confirms US travel plan: Omar al-Bashir says he will travel to UN General Assembly in New York despite being wanted for genocide by ICC

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has surprised United States officials by announcing that he plans to attend this week’s UN General Assembly in New York. The US has led calls for Bashir to face international justice over bloodshed in the now decade-old conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region, and a senior State Department official said last week that Bashir would “not receive a warm welcome” if he travelled to New York. At a news conference on Sunday, Bashir did not say whether the US had granted him a visa yet, but did say he had made preparations to fly to New York via Morocco.

Enjoy this assortment of articles by Mading Ngor of Bloomberg as you make sense of the today’s summit between President Kiir and Al-Bashir in Khartoum. The repercussions of the resolution of the planned meeting will be far-reaching as much as they will be disconcerting on the two brooding nations.

South Sudan to Maintain Oil Production as Sudan  – Bloomberg


    Jul 31, 2013 – To contact the reporter on this story: Mading Ngor in Juba at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul 

    South Sudan Considers Borrowing as It Prepares ‘for  – Bloomberg


    Aug 6, 2013 – To contact the reporter on this story: Mading Ngor in Juba at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen 

    South Sudan Cuts Back Oil Output, Braces for Shutdown – Bloomberg


    Jul 25, 2013 – To contact the reporters on this story: Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai at; Mading Ngor in Juba at mngor@bloomberg.

    South Sudan to Form National Revenue Authority  – Bloomberg


    Jul 23, 2013 – To contact the reporter on this story: Mading Ngor in Juba at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul 

    Sudan Threatens to Shut South Sudan Oil Over Rebel Support

  5. › Energies › Crude Oil

    Jun 10, 2013 –  Written by Bloomberg By Michael Gunn and Mading Ngor – Jun 10, at pmrichardson@bloomberg.netThis email address is being protected 

    South Sudan Quadruples Revenue Collection Amid Austerity 

  6. Apr 30, 2013 – To contact the reporter on this story: Mading Ngor in Calgary via Nairobi at To contact the editor responsible for 

    Sudan Postpones South Sudan Oil-Pipeline Shutdown for Two 

  7. Jul 26, 2013 – To contact the reporters on this story: Michael Gunn in Cairo at; Mading Ngor in Juba at

    Kenya, South Sudan Presidents to Focus on Joint Highway Project 

  8. Already a user?  By Mading Ngor May 23, 2013  the reporter on this story: Jeran Wittenstein in San Francisco at

Sudanese rebels of SPLM-N offer cease-fire

Posted: February 18, 2013 by PaanLuel Wël in Featured Articles, Sudan

A leader of a Sudanese rebel movement says his group is ready to pause a bloody war with Sudan’s armed forces so that people affected by nearly two years of fighting can receive desperately needed humanitarian aid. “The SPLM-North is ready to sign a humanitarian cessation of hostilities,” Yasir Arman, secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, said in an interview on a visit to Washington last week. “We are ready to make a cessation of hostilities that will save the civilian population, create a conducive environment for a political settlement and put an effective demilitarized zone between the north and the south.” The war between the SPLM-North and Sudan’s armed forces in the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, located north of the border between Sudan and South Sudan, has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and created a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s government has prevented humanitarian aid from reaching those affected by the conflict for fear the aid will end up in the hands of the rebels.

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The Sudan Question:
A Failure of Nation-building and the Experience of Political Islam
Presentation at the Monterey Institute for International Studies by invitation of Global Majority
by Yasir Arman, Secretary General, Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N)
Secretary of External Affairs, Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF)
February 1, 2013
·   What is the Northern Question?  What is the Sudan Question?
·   Why Sudan is a Failed State
·   The Humanitarian Crisis:  Humanitarian Aid Before Politics, the Priority is to Save Lives Now
·   Political Islam Threatens African Unity
·   The New Dawn and the Way Forward
·   The Sudan Union:  A Union of Two Independent States
·   Conclusion
Let me express my gratitude and appreciation to the Sudanese community and activists in California, to the Monterey Institute for International Studies, Global Majority, and to Nicholas, Michael and Hamdan who made this gathering possible today to reflect on one of the most important African questions, the Sudan question, which is in essence a question that is facing and challenging most of the African countries – nation building and national formation.
In my presentation today, I will put more emphasis on the political Islam experience in Sudan, which resulted in genocide, war crimes and the secession of South Sudan; and given the increasing role of the political Islam movement in Africa today and its threat to the African unity and stability, the experience of Sudan needs to be taken seriously by Africans and Africa.  Let us start with the definition of the Sudan question from our perspective in the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement.
What is the Northern Question?  What is the Sudan Question?
•    Sudan is often perceived in terms of dichotomies of North-South, Muslim-Christian, Arabs-Africans; these are oversimplifications of the Sudanese question. After the independence of the Republic of South Sudan, the North could now be seen as an entity of its own.  It should be seen as the Sudan question.
•    The Northern question is a crisis emanating from the lack of an inclusive national project of nation-building and a correct national formation process based on the objective realities of Sudan and on the historical and contemporary diversities.
•    Building a society for all regardless of ethnic, religious and gender background; and based on democracy, social justice and a balanced relation between the centre and the peripheries, that is what we define as the New Sudan.
•    The present national project is based on limited parameters that marginalize and exclude the majority of the Sudanese people on cultural, religious, economic, political and gender bases.
•    Marginalization and dictatorships produce continuous wars and instability.
•    The mis-management, non-recognition of diversities, lack of democracy and social justice lead the people of South Sudan to choose an independent state.
•    A new political and geographical South has emerged in the North: it is obvious that Sudan will not remain without a new geographical South after the old traditional South has gone.
•    It is equally obvious that the old South was not just geography – it has a human dimension in the first place, it was the long struggle for recognition of diversity, democracy and social justice that continues in the new South of the Northern Sudan.
•    It is worth mentioning that the new South of the North politically includes women, Arab tribes and non-Arab tribes all over Sudan (Rizeigat, Messeriya and Rashaida in Eastern Sudan, and many others are part of the new South), again it includes the marginalized of the rural areas and the urban poor who are the majority.
•    The policies and decisions of the ruling National Congress Party created a full-scale war in the new geographical South of Northern Sudan, from Darfur to Blue Nile.  In addition, the relationship between Sudan and the newly-independent Republic of South Sudan is a sour one loaded with a lot of unfinished business.
•    You can only have two viable states and strategic relations between Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan when Khartoum is transformed and the two states share the same values.  Democratic states rarely fight against each other.  Having good relations between Juba and Khartoum under the rule of war criminals is like having good relations between France and Germany under the rule of Hitler.
•    As a result of intransigence of the National Congress leadership to maintain the old policies that led to the split of the South, as they were based on hegemony, limited parameters and a bankrupt ideology- that does not recognize the diversity of Sudan as stated in General Bashir’s speeches – like the famous Gaddaref speech and many others that followed the independence of the South.  General Bashir’s rhetoric laid the foundation in order for him to start the war in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
•    Based on the above policies the National Congress targeted the SPLM-N, which is viewed by them as a formidable immanent political and military threat.  As a consequence, they started the war in South Kordofan, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile that resulted in the displacement of more than 900,000 civilians including those who crossed the borders as refugees in the Republic of South Sudan and Ethiopia.
•    All this came at the time when the Darfur crisis has not been resolved and the partial solutions in Abuja and Doha did not address the root causes of the problem.  The same perpetrators are the ones in charge and the piecemeal solution was based on impunity.  This situation necessitated that the SPLM-N and the Sudanese liberation movements, emanating from Darfur, came together as the Sudan Revolutionary Front, forming a democratic coalition that is starting to attract and mobilize the Sudanese opposition forces all over Sudan for regime change.
•    Given the historical experience of past popular uprisings and armed struggles, the fundamental change in Sudan can only be achieved when Khartoum is transformed.  It is Khartoum’s policies that excluded and marginalized the majority of Sudanese people and it is Khartoum too that fought Southern Sudan, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, Eastern Sudan and Darfur.  The permanent solution can only be achieved by transforming the center where wrong policies emanate, not from the periphery.   The present Republic of Sudan after the independence of South Sudan has a history that goes back eight thousand years ago that was part of the Great Nile Valley Civilization and that carries a continuing historical diversity.  It consists of more than four hundred different tribes and more than sixty different languages.  To address the historical and contemporary diversity, Sudan needs a new social, political, economic and cultural dispensation that is based on citizenship, democracy and social justice and separation of religion from state.
•    Any fundamental change and a just and permanent peace would require a holistic approach that will be a departure from a piecemeal approach.  As of now, General Bashir signed around 43 peace agreements and dishonored all of them totally or partially and denied any opportunity to transform the center.
•    The interesting situation is that Bashir and some of his colleagues are wanted by the international justice and that practically means that the international community is for regime change.  But at the same time, the practice by the international community has been to denounce any call for regime change.
•    The other paradox is that while President Bashir has been indicted as a war criminal, the international community continues to recognize and deal with him and his regime; and at the same time, they shy away from dealing with the representatives of the victims as in the case of the Sudan Revolutionary Front.  It is high time for the international bodies to recognize and to deal with those who have been victimized and their legitimate representatives.
•    It is evidently clear that any approach to achieve a permanent peace will require a popular process that will involve the people – not compromises between job seekers and a settlement that would only address the interests of the elites.  Whether it is a constitutional process or peace agreement, it must include all political parties.
•    The SPLM-N suggests an interim or transitional period that would be tasked to hold a constitutional conference for all political forces and civil societies in Sudan to answer the historical question which remains unanswered since the independence of Sudan in 1956, “how Sudan is going to be ruled” before “who is going to rule Sudan.”
•    At the end of the day, the current junta in Khartoum has only two options – they either accept change or they are going to be changed.  In the case that they accept change, we in the SPLM-N, we proposed in our meetings last week in Washington and at the United Nations in New York, that the Addis Ababa and Doha forums, which are meant to resolve the issues of war in Sudan, can only achieve their objective by having one forum from Doha and the AUHIP that will settle comprehensively the problem of Sudan once and for all.  That is why we are calling for a joint single forum.  In case the regime in Khartoum continues to refuse the comprehensive peaceful settlement, the only options that would remain is for Sudanese to topple the regime and to establish a new democratic system based on the equal right of citizenship.
Why Sudan is a Failed State:
By all objective measures, Sudan today is totally a failed state that is using more than 70% of its national budget in a war against its own people and allocating less than 2% for health and education and is recognized internationally as one of the most corrupt states.  98% of its people live below the poverty line, the “mother of all failures.”   Sudan lost a quarter of its people and one third of its geography as a result  of failing to recognize its own diversity that led the people of South Sudan to choose an independent state; and the continuation of the same policies, threatens the present and future of Sudan.  Again, the Government of Sudan committed genocide and war crimes against its own citizens and high ranking officials are indicted including the President and the Minister of Defense.  These can only happen in a failed state.  In addition, the civil war took more than 38 years from the Independence of Sudan and the culture of impunity is the currency of today.  More than 4 million of Sudan’s citizens are either displaced or are refugees, immigrants or exiled.
The Humanitarian Crisis:  Humanitarian Aid Before Politics, The Priority is to Save Lives Now
On the eve of the independence of South Sudan, on June 5, 2011, General Bashir immediately started the war in the Nuba Mountains and later ignored all efforts by the AUHIP, Ethiopia and the international community.  He disowned the June 28, 2011 agreement which was meant to end the war in the Nuba Mountains and he expanded the war to Blue Nile at the time when he was continuing the war in Darfur.  Furthermore, he denied access for any humanitarian assistance to the two areas.  As of now, the two areas represent the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa.  Civilians are forced to flee the country as refugees and many more are internally displaced and denied humanitarian access for more than 18 months.  They are regularly bombarded by the Sudan air and infantry forces.  Today, more than 900,000 of the civilian population are internally displaced and are refugees.  And as you know, denying humanitarian access is a war crime in international humanitarian law. The aerial and ground bombardment is continuing day and night.
The SPLM-North has signed two agreements on February 18, 2012 and August 4, 2012 with the tripartite group, the African Union, Arab League and the United Nations.  Both agreements are frustrated by Khartoum, whose objective remains the same – to buy time and to continue denying humanitarian assistance as part of their war strategy.  The SPLM-North is calling on the AUHIP and the IGAD Chair, who are tasked with implementing the UNSC Resolution 2046 to develop a new approach that would not allow Khartoum to buy time and to do business as usual as is the case with the tripartite group.   The SPLM-North is ready for an immediate cessation of hostilities that will result in a conducive atmosphere to deliver humanitarian assistance and to reach a comprehensive solution for Sudan’s problems and it will add value and put an effective safe demilitarized zone between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan especially since the SPLM-North is controlling more than 40% of the international border between the two Sudans.
At the same time the situation is deteriorating in Darfur, which is witnessing a new wave of war crimes as the case in Hashaba and Kutom and Mara Mountain whereby war crimes are being sponsored by the Government of Khartoum, and the African peacekeeping force in the region are helpless as a result of their mandate and the manipulation of the Khartoum government.  They are peacekeepers in a region where there is no peace to keep, and the major stakeholders and the party to the conflict are not part of the process.  The Doha Agreement is being used by Khartoum as a cover to commit more war crimes and the humanitarian crisis is one of the characteristics of the failing state of Khartoum in addition to gross human rights violations all over Sudan.  The ruling party is divided from the top to the bottom, and the recent accusations and detention of some of the top National Congress party leaders is evidence of that.  The piecemeal solution is no longer an answer to the Sudan question.
Political Islam Threatens African Unity
Africa today is facing a serious threat to its unity from many political Islam based movements.   Some of them have already taken power in some important African countries such as Sudan, Egypt and Tunisia and other political Islam based movements are playing a central role in Somalia, Libya and Mali.  More political Islam based movements are active and spelling out clear political agenda in the big Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania.  Other political Islam based movements are working clandestinely in other countries as is the case in Ethiopia, South Africa and Malawi.
Why are political Islam based movements threatening African unity?  Political Islam is an ideology exploiting and using the Islam religion, which is a tolerant religion especially when it comes to the African context.  The political Islamic movements are intolerant and do not respect and accept cultural and religious diversity, women’s rights, and democratic systems of rule, although some of them were elected democratically as in the case of Egypt and Tunisia, but yet there are clear indications that they are moving towards totalitarianism and they are taking a similar direction as the Iranian revolution, which was achieved by all the Iranians but it was hijacked by a religious group who eventually established a dictatorial regime in the name of the revolution.  Indeed, there is a huge struggle in Egypt and Tunis between the different wider groups who had achieved the uprising and affected change, and yet, the Islamic movements succeeded because they were more organized and they were operating underground for many years.  They are almost hijacking the revolutions and taking them in a different direction.  We need to distinguish between the uprising and its objective to establish democracy and social justice in replacing the dictatorships and the political Islam movement, whose social and political agenda are no different from the previous government’s agenda that were overthrown by the uprisings.
The situation in Egypt remains of significant importance to Sudan, Africa and the Arab world given the importance of Egypt and that the Islamic movement in Egypt, “the Muslim Brotherhood”, is the second oldest political movement in Africa after the National African Congress, which is 100 years old, and the Egyptian Islamic movement, founded in 1928, is 85 years old.  There are clear signals that this movement will take Egypt towards an Iranian-style regime that will have a huge impact on Sudan and Africa as a whole.
Why is Sudan’s political Islam experience important to Africa?  Sudan with its huge diversity represents a small African continent, and the big question that faces Sudan since its independence is the same question facing Africa today and yesterday – how to build a modern democratic state in a diverse cultural and religious society.   The direct and short answer of the Islamic movement of Sudan has been to totally ignore the diversity of the Sudanese society.  Since they took power in a coup d’état in 1989, they imposed a vision of uniformity that seeks to Islamize and Arabize Sudanese regardless of whether they are non-Muslim and non-Arabs, and they divided the Muslims themselves who do not subscribe to their political ideology and again, they imposed social and political programs that marginalized the massive majority of the Sudanese people and dehumanized women and all those who do not subscribe to their vision.  To impose such a fascist vision, the National Congress regime has had to resort to violence and an iron-grip to crush all those who do not fall into their category, which are the majority of the Sudanese people.  Logically that vision ends up committing the biggest crimes in modern history of Sudan such as genocide and war crimes and disuniting the country and forcing the South Sudanese to secede.  The ruling Islamic movement of Sudan represented by the National Congress has a deep connection and involvement with most of the African political Islam based movements, and many of the cadres and leaders of these movements were indoctrinated by and graduated from the famous African Islamic University in Khartoum.  Moreover, there are strong relations between the Sudan government and the Iranian government that is involving Sudan in many situations beyond its borders and jeopardizing Sudan’s national interests and the relations between Sudan and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.  Iran is a partner in building the Sudanese military complex and the product of this military complex is being used against the Sudanese civilian populations in the first place and it is part of an African Islamic based movements’ strategy and it has made Sudan a battleground for regional conflicts in Africa and the Middle East.  Given the cultural and religious diversity of the African societies, the outcome of the political Islam experience in Sudan will be the same outcome in other African countries including Egypt.   It is important for the Sudan case to be taken seriously by the African intellectuals, governments, political and social movements, and civil societies in responding to the growing political Islam movement in Africa.  The price is going to be very expensive as is the case in Sudan and Mali.  This issue needs to be an upfront issue to be debated by all those who are concerned about Africa’s future as well as those who are concerned about the tolerant Islam’s future.  Indeed historically, Islam has contributed to the unity of the African societies in many parts of the continent.
The New Dawn and the Way Forward
On the 5th of January 2013 after a historical meeting of the SRF, the National Consensus Forces, representatives of civil society, and some women and youth organizations, we signed the New Dawn Charter which answers the basic question in order to unite the Sudanese opposition, including the transitional arrangement and a joint mechanism to bring all the Sudanese opposition onto one platform and to enable the Sudanese people to overthrow the present dictatorial regime in a peaceful uprising that will pave the way to end wars and to establish a democratic system and rule of law on the basis of equal citizenship.  Despite the reservations and observations from some of those who signed the New Dawn Charter, the Charter has received a wider support from the grassroots and the Sudanese activists.  It has shaken the regime and it has positioned the opposition in the political lead.  It has been expressed by all stakeholders of the New Dawn Charter that it will be necessary for all parties to work together to improve and develop the Charter further to meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people and to fully unite the opposition on one platform.  We will continue doing that and we will shortly arrive to our destination.
The Sudan Union:  A Union of Two Independent States
The secession of South Sudan is a grave human fault that can indeed be ratified in a different form of unity between two independent states.   South Sudan chose to be an independent country due to the lack of an inclusive national project of nation-building and a correct national formation process based on the objective realities of Sudan and on the historical and contemporary diversities.
Being committed to the unity of the African continent and the vision of the New Sudan, we believe and will continue to work for a union between the two Sudans that will respect the sovereignty of both countries.  The European Union is a good example of the possibility to strike a balance between the sovereignty of independent states and the union of the same states.
  • The vision of the New Sudan remains valid and in fact, it is the only game in town to build a viable state based on citizenship, recognition of diversity, democracy and social justice, and bringing a just peace and national reconciliation.  After the secession of the South, Sudan remains as diverse a country as before.  What brings Sudanese together is Sudanism regardless of their cultural, social, political, or gender background or geographical location.
  • Last year, we were able to achieve the unity of the political armed groups plus other political forces in the Sudan Revolutionary Front.  Furthermore, we are in the middle of a historical process of the New Dawn Charter that brought civil society, political parties, youth, women and trade unions together.  It is a serious process that needs to be continued by more development and improvement of the New Dawn Charter.  It is the only way to achieve democratic transformation, end wars, and build a new common future based on a national consensus.  We will not be able to change the past, but we can definitely agree on a common agenda for the future to build a united Sudan on a new basis and for us all to be shareholders of that future.
  • The political Islam based movement on the African continent is destabilizing the continent and it will definitely cause a huge damage on the respective African countries and societies and to Islam itself, as was the case of Sudan which paid an expensive bill out of its unity and future.  The impact and the damage of those movements will furthermore go beyond Africa’s borders.  It is important that the democratic forces and those African countries that represent a counterweight for the political Islam based movements to have the solidarity and support of all peace and democratic loving forces.  Sudan remains actively involved with many political Islam based movements in Africa and the Middle East. Transforming Sudan will add value to Africa and to world stability in gene.