British Shift Focus from Darfur;
Attempt To Dismember Sudan, Revive War
by Lawrence K. Freeman
Sept. 25—Declarations by United Nations and African Union officials last month, that the war in Darfur is over, and that there is no ongoing genocide, reflect that those opposed to a united Sudan have realized that the Darfur genocide hoax is no longer a viable geopolitical tool. Instead, they have shifted their approach to directly attacking the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), reached in 2005 to stop civil war between northern and southern Sudan. The British Empire has always opposed a stable, sovereign Sudan, and in recent years has deployed for the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, in order to create a vacuum of leadership in which to foster multiple warring ethnic and religious entities, which would violently destroy Sudan as a nation. Were the dismembering of Sudan to occur, it would ensure the spread of war, chaos, and famine throughout the Greater Horn, affecting the entire swath of Africa from Egypt to the Great Lakes region.
Conclusive proof of this new reality is demonstrated by the fact that the vast multimillion-dollar brainwashing extravaganza created to exploit the horrible conditions in Darfur, has now shifted its line of attack to falsely claiming that it is the northern-based National Congress Party (NCP) which is responsible for undermining the full implementation of the CPA. Thus, we have the exact same anti-Khartoum cast of characters, who have spent the last six years screaming and lying about the war in Darfur—in reality an insurgency, launched in early 2003, with armed attacks against the government of Sudan, supported by external forces precisely to prevent the very existence of the CPA—now being deployed to ensure that the CPA fails.
If the fragile CPA were to unravel over the months ahead, there would be little resistance left to prevent the nation from returning to war, but this time a far more deadly war.
'Save Darfur' Chorus Objects to End of War
On Aug. 26, the commander of the UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID), Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, stated in a briefing in Khartoum, "As of today, I would not say there is a war going on in Darfur.... What you have is security issues more now. Banditry, ... people trying to resolve issues over water and land at the local level. But real war as such—I think we are over that." Agwai, who is now finishing his tour of duty, insists that "the real problem is political."
Estimates of conflict deaths in Darfur in 2008 and early 2009 averaged 130 per month, with Darfur expert Alex de Waal reporting only 40 killed in July, and 16 in June. In April of this year, when former Congo foreign minister, Rodolphe Adada, who was then the civilian head of the UN-AU peacekeeping forces, described the Darfur fighting as a "low-intensity conflict," U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice "upbraided" him, leading to his resignation at the end of July. It has been known for many months that the war in Darfur was winding down, but every effort to report the facts was met by hysteria from those who are sorry to see it end.
In response to Agwai, John Prendergast, the founder of ENOUGH (of the Center for American Progress), and spokesman for the profitable "Save Darfur" industry, said of the general's military assessment: "It undermines international urgency in resolving these problems if people are led to believe that the war in Darfur is over." Do Prendergast and company think the war should continue so they can have a phony hot-button issue with which to raise money? Prendergast, along with Susan Rice, who was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under President Clinton, led the effort to impose sanctions on Sudan, and manipulated Clinton into bombing the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant, claiming it was producing chemical weapons for use in terrorist assaults. The U.S. government later had to admit that, in fact, it was a pharmaceutical plant, just as the Sudan government had insisted.
Louis Moreno Ocampo, prosecutor for the British-inspired International Criminal Court that issued the fraudulent arrest warrant for President al-Bashir, also had to react to the reality that the war has ended, by first admitting that the people in Darfur are not being killed by bullets. He then put forward his own definition of genocide, claiming that it is more subtle to commit genocide by alleged government-directed "rape and starvation." This author, having been to the camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), can say there is no question that they live in unacceptable conditions, but they are not starving.
One nut-job from the coalition of Darfur "advocacy" groups, Chuck Thies, went so far as to compare the IDP camps in Darfur to the Nazi death camps, and demanded that they be liberated by military means, as at the end of World War II! The comparison is itself ludicrous. But, given the inhospitable living conditions in this region, disbanding the camps without viable alternatives for food and shelter would actually condemn the occupants to more suffering and real starvation.
Gration Undermined and Under Attack
Sudan special envoy, Gen. Scott Gration shook up Washington when he testified before Sen. John Kerry's Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 30. After declaring that there was no ongoing genocide in Darfur, he identified for the committee that it was entirely for political reasons that Sudan has been kept on the list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993, emphasizing that there was no evidence from the U.S. intelligence community to support such a claim. In order to economically build up the South, he also called for unwinding the sanctions, which were imposed by the U.S. in 1997. Susan Rice and others went ballistic when Gration went against "public opinion," and spoke the truth. Kerry supported Gration's views, as did former Amb. David Shinn. (See EIR, Aug. 7, 2009, "Special Envoy Proposes U.S. Policy Shift.")
Under enormous pressure from elements in the Obama Administration, Gration has since tried to back-pedal on his testimony—but the cat is out of the bag. But, Gration knows that sanctions against Sudan are wrong, and are hurting his chances of ensuring Sudanese national elections next April. Sanctions prevent the economic development of Southern Sudan, and make it almost impossible to establish a united Sudan. Almost five years after the signing of the CPA, in January 2005, Southern Sudan remains severely underdeveloped, according to numerous eyewitness reports provided to this author. Therefore, the continuation of sanctions by the Obama Administration undermines the very mission of Gration's deployment.
In early September, the U.S. Treasury overturned any intent to selectively free Sudan from destructive U.S. sanctions by announcing an amendment that would allow the export and re-export of agricultural products, medicines, and medical devices to Southern Sudan, Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, Abyei, and Darfur.
Sudanese Presidential advisor, Ghazi Salahuddin, on Sept. 13, criticized this targeted and limited lifting of sanctions as a "decision intended to divide the country," according to China's Xinhua news service. Ghazi went on to argue that, "It is impossible to exclude [from sanctions] certain areas while imposing sanctions on Northern Sudan since the North is the mainstay of life for those areas excluded." This duplicity by the U.S., in lifting sanctions in some Northern states, which are not under the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), will indeed make it more difficult for the CPA to succeed. It also reveals the deeper British intent to break up the country, by attempting to create more divisions in the North. This ploy is reminiscent of the British-enforced 1922 Passport and Ordinance Act, which created the original divisions between the North and South, requiring Northerners to have passports to travel to Southern states.
Sudan and CPA Navigating Stormy Waters
Gration knows that he has less than 18 months to overcome significant, unresolved issues before the CPA-stipulated January 2011 referendum on secession of the South. All sane people agree that the success of the CPA far outweighs the need to settle Darfur, where there are 26 different rebel groups to be negotiated with. Speaking in Washington on Sept. 15, Under Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said, that if the CPA is not fulfilled, it will be disastrous for all of Sudan, including Darfur, as well as the rest of Africa.
There are many issues to be resolved in the CPA framework, especially the South's refusal to accept the results of the 2008 population census. The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) is still rejecting the census figure of 8.2 million people (approximately 21% of Sudan's total of 39 million) living in the South, insisting—contrary to the official count—that Southerners really comprise 33% or 12 million. The census was conducted under the auspices of the United Nations and the GOSS, so there is no basis to reject these figures, except that they would mean a decline in official representation of the South, from 28%, which means less political power and less federal assistance.
The SPLM, which governs the ten states that constitute Southern Sudan, is facing severe challenges. While the killings in Darfur have declined significantly, tribal killings in the South have escalated to as high as 200 per month. This is chiefly the consequence of deteriorating economic conditions and the tribal conflicts stirred up under British rule, that continue today. The SPLM is factionalized, and has yet to organize itself effectively for national elections which, twice postponed, are scheduled for April 2010. For internal reasons, the SPLM may not want to participate in these elections, which the NCP would not want to conduct on its own, thus, potentially, throwing this benchmark of the CPA into doubt. At present, most people expect the January 2011 referendum on unity or secession to be immovable, but even the timing of that all-important event has been questioned.
There are conclusive reports that the Southern Sudan government is purchasing military equipment, including tanks from Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Estimates are that 40% or more of the billions of dollars of oil revenue received by the GOSS is going into military-related expenditures. This presents a highly combustible political climate in the South, which could derail the CPA, allowing the ugly dynamic of civil war to resurface, even though the majority of Sudanese would oppose a return to the fighting.
The United States Institute of Peace, in a special report released last month, outlined one scenario in which the South, after it votes to secede, "devolves into a downward spiral of violence even in the absence of aggression from the North...." Unfortunately, sections of the U.S. State Department are openly supporting the South and encouraging the formation of a separate Southern Sudan, even while many are already predicting it would be a failed state.
Because of all the existing difficulties, there have been no substantive discussions between the North and the South on how to operate after the referendum. This is troubling. But the absence of discussion of how to proceed if the South does vote to secede, is perilous.
Contrary to diplomatic spin, intense fighting inside the Obama Presidency to maintain the ongoing destructive U.S. sanctions policy—in opposition Gration's policy of full engagement in Sudan—is the reason for the continuing delays in the Sudan policy review announced by the Obama Administration months ago. There is fear in Sudan, and among thoughtful people in the U.S., that this administration could be pulled in a direction opposite to what appears to be the best intentions of Gration. The Save Darfur advocates—retreaded like used tires—are now taking aim at Gration directly, accusing his "conciliatory stance and reluctance to criticize" the Sudan Government for "emboldening" the NCP to sabotage the 2005 peace agreement.
The sane approach for the U.S. would be to promote a policy for one Sudan with all sanctions removed. This would allow Sudan to develop its vast untapped agricultural potential for immediate export of food to its troubled neighbors in the region. Such a policy is in the vital strategic interest of the United States.