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[Dehai-WN] Theeastafrican.co.k: Is Bashir a threat to East Africa in 2012 as he faces political divisions in Khartoum?

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 21:05:33 +0100

Is Bashir a threat to East Africa in 2012 as he faces political divisions in

us.png By MACHEL AMOS, Special Correspondent ( <javascript:void(0);> email
the author)

Posted Monday, January 9 2012 at 12:36

Sudan and South Sudan are in for a serious political and security moment in
2012, an outlook that has seen increased interventions by global powers keen
to cushion the fragile countries - the latest being Japan which dispatched
hundreds of engineers to help rebuild South Sudan.

Sudan has been showing its military might against the South through a series
of aerial bombardments, jeopardising peace talks.

Sudanese politics have become more combustible and the regime in Khartoum
appears weaker than it has ever been in the face of political opposition
with the warrant for the arrest of President Omar el-Bashir by the
International Criminal Court starting to bite and Khartoum's diplomatic
relations with her neighboring countries deteriorating.

Oil revenues

South Sudan seceded with more than 75 per cent of Sudan's oil revenues.
Sudan's economy, characterised by debts, shrank considerably.

Khartoum was also challenged to disarm forces formerly allied to the South
Sudan army in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile State. The Popular
Consultations promised for the two areas in the 2005 peace agreement were
not implemented, and any attempt to disarm the Forces before a political
solution has been a potential source of violence.

When a rebellion erupted in Southern Kordofan after disputed elections and
eventually spread to Blue Nile state, Khartoum found a convenient excuse to
execute the hidden agenda against South Sudan.

It attacked South Sudan areas along the poorly defined borders with the
excuse that it waspursuing the rebels. It moved further to block the borders
with South Sudan, saying that arms were being smuggled across the borders.

The reality was that it was executing an economic war.

The relations worsened after it occupied the disputed Abyei region before
any agreement was made.

Disputed Abyei

Abyei was to vote on the same day with South Sudan on whether to remain in
the North, to which it was annexed in 1905, or join its African brothers in
the South. The Misseriya, a nomadic Arab tribe that grazes its cattle in
Abyei during the dry season, claimed it would take part in the plebiscite.
The vote could not be conducted due to disagreement over who was an eligible

So after Sudan forces occupied Abyei, they thought the dispute over the area
was over. Bashir said that if South Sudan did not dance to his tune, that is
to stop alleged support to rebels in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile state
and agree on oil shipment fees, he would force his way to Juba.

Sudan has been showing its military might against the South through a series
of aerial bombardments; at Yida refugee camp in Unity state, Gufa in Western
Bhar al-Ghazal and Kuek military base in North eastern Upper Nile. With the
incursion of its army into Kafia Kingi, Hafaranias and recently Jau, the
stakes have heightened and concerns are rising about the possible return to
an all-out war.

The military engagement with rebels in Blue Nile, Kordofan and with South
Sudan has ironically brought a sigh of relief to Darfur civilians, who have
been facing the wrath of Khartoum's military aggression at a genocidal scale
since 2003.

Sudan's armed forces occupied it in May, killing civilians and displacing
them in thousands to Warrap state in South Sudan.

Despite several agreements in Addis Ababa under the facilitation of the
African Union, Khartoum has defied calls to withdraw troops from the region.
However, a new front has been opened. Khartoum is bombing South Sudan border
areas aerially and occupying others with ground forces.

Darfur self-determination

Sudanese politics have become more combustible and the regime in Khartoum
appears weaker than it has ever been in the face of political opposition.

There are suppressed voices calling for self-determination in Darfur.
Popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states would have
provided a clearer picture of the will of the people had they not been

However, in Blue Nile, where elections were held earlier under the SPLM
former governor Malik Agar, preliminary views from the people pointed to the
fact that there was a need for better services and a special administration,
although it did not call for self-rule.

Diplomatic row

Sudan has a longstanding rift with Uganda, and recently, it had a furious
diplomatic row with Kenya after an independent court ruled that Bashir
should be arrested if he sets foot in Kenya. "Bashir became angry because he
thinks there is no law in Kenya as it is in his country," said Anthony
Kulang, a South Sudanese lawyer from Australia. The Kenyan government has
appealed the ruling.

War in Somalia

In Somalia, Kenya, alongside the AU troops, is facing off with militants who
are fighting for Islamic rule. Although Sudan is a state governed by Islamic
law, the involvement of Kenya in Somalia has little to do with its
relationship with Sudan.

Analysts say that at such times, Sudan wants to cultivate relationships with
those countries that have leverage to save it in line with the African Union
resolution against the ICC warrant of arrest. Since the AU is already in
Somalia, and Sudan wants to pose as its obedient member so that its gets the
protection it badly needs, the regime in Khartoum will only limit the
Islamic agenda to its borders and allies in the Middle East.

Through sponsoring the outlawed Lord's Resistance Army, Sudan fostered
insecurity in Uganda, South Sudan, Chad and Central African Republic, and
indeed the entire region.

However, the joint military offensive by Uganda, South Sudan and the DR
Congo, which flashed out the rebels from the Garamba forests in 2008,
weakened the LRA. The rebels have been scattered around the region.

However, the threat Sudan poses to stability of the Africa's new nation is
clear. "The war fought between North and South was a significant threat to
regional peace. Without peace between the two countries, the whole of
Africa will be threatened," said Dr. Wani Sule, an associate professor of
Development Studies at Juba University.

The Islamic regime in Khartoum has lasted for well over 20 years since
Bashir seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1989.

With the wide scale killing and neglect in Darfur, war in Blue Nile and
Southern Kordofan, growing opposition among the political forces in Khartoum
and the ICC arrest warrant, the regime in Khartoum is increasingly isolated.

There have been protests in the capital Khartoum against the poor living
conditions. Even within the ruling National Congress, the rift is widening.
Bashir dropped his former national security chief, Salah Gosh months ago and
even went ahead to strip him of powers within the party secretariat.

Gosh has been seen as a moderate who wants lasting peace in Darfur as
opposed to extremists such as Nafie Ali Nafie, the party's deputy.

Gosh, when he held the Darfur file, was seen to be building his influence in
the marginalised areas. To consolidate his grip on power, Bashir had no
alternative but to suppress internal change. The rift saw Gosh in the same
camp with Vice President and party deputy chairman Ali Osman Taha, who
signed the 2005 peace accord with the South.



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