Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 27 May 2009

Is the U.S. Selling Southern Sudanese Down the River?


By Roger P. Winter

May 26, 2009 — “Selling “ someone “downriver”, according to any U.S.-savvy thesaurus, has the clear connotation of “sell-out” and, with reference to the shameful U.S. history of slavery, of angry masters selling uncooperative slaves down the Mississippi River into harsher conditions further south. In the context of Sudan, of course, the great Nile River flows north through Khartoum. Selling the people of Southern Sudan “downriver” thus would clearly connote selling them out to the Khartoum-based National Congress Party cabal (formerly the National Islamic Front) that purports to ‘govern’ Sudan.

Is this the direction in which the U.S. is now headed?

That conclusion is not at this time clearly justified, but concerns are growing. It is clear that the new U.S. policy on Sudan, which has largely been kept under wraps, has significantly shifted away from the previous policy of confronting the NCP over the gross mistreatment of its opponents, particularly those of African lineage and culture. Beyond the hundreds of thousands of dead Darfuris are the all-but-forgotten two-and-a-half million dead Southern Sudanese and allied populations who are no longer among the living because of the policies of those currently in power in Khartoum. Since coming to power by coup in 1989, President Omer Bashir has presided over the deaths of some three million of his countrymen, qualifying his regime as runner-up to the Holocaust in body count, without paying any price whatsoever. He was rightly indicted by the International Criminal Court for Khartoum’s miscreant performance in Darfur, despite the whining of a morally-deficient African Union and Arab League. Suddenly though, it appears the U.S. Administration wants to make nice with him and his cabal.

There are good reasons to engage Khartoum. The previous Administration’s efforts to bring peace to Southern Sudan were energetic and successful; its efforts on Darfur were not. It seemed unable to ‘walk and chew gum’ at the same time. Its efforts to isolate Khartoum were a miserable failure. A new approach was clearly needed, one that genuinely helps to bring peace, justice and development to the people of Darfur and which also ensures the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which brought peace to South Sudan and its allied regions is fully implemented. There are and, given the track record of the National Congress Party, will surely be reasons to pressure and penalize Khartoum for its frequent unconscionable behavior. But if the Administration’s approach actually includes a full range of tough options for responding to Khartoum duplicity, it is a too well-kept secret. Publically, it has only “made nice” with Khartoum. That track record, especially when reinforced by words of ‘niceness’ by Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, should greatly concern anyone who yearns for a ‘New Sudan’ of peace, justice and development.

Bashir’s twentieth anniversary as President of Sudan will be this June 30th. Ever since he came to power, the leadership group in Khartoum has largely remained intact. That leadership element is very able and also very committed to their divisive vision for Sudan and the region. They have seen scores of American diplomats come and go and have outfoxed and outlasted them all. They are masters at creating a crisis and then, at American insistence, partially ‘resolving’ that crisis and thereby creating amongst those Americans an image of being “someone we can work with”. This, for example, is what Khartoum has done recently concerning the recent expulsion of humanitarian nongovernmental relief agencies from Darfur. That tactic in the past has usually been followed by a pattern of NCP promises made and then broken. It is an established NCP approach that routinely blunts, even shatters, every untutored U.S. diplomatic strategy.

The Administration is, I believe legitimately, intending to reach out to the Arab and Islamic worlds to seek seriously to improve relations. In fact, President Obama is expected to give a speech reaching out to those peoples while he visits Egypt next week. While legitimately engaging responsible leaders and communities, it is terribly important that he not simply lump the NCP with them. As long as an unfettered NCP remains in stolen power at Sudan’s Center, marginalized Sudanese-North, South, East and West-will be at risk, subject to NCP whim. Humanitarian assistance and protection of the NCP’s civilian victims, while critical, are not a solution per se to this kind of problem. Peaceful change in governance at the Center can be a solution and is the one already agreed to in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

A U.S. policy on Sudan that does not solidly seek to assure full implementation of the CPA would amount to selling Southern Sudanese and Darfuris for that matter, ‘downriver’. It would also be an unmerited happy birthday present to Omer Bashir.

The author is the Former Special Representative on Sudan

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  • 27 May 2009 08:20, by William Okuch

    Dr. John Garang was illusionary leader or he did esacped from getting into solution for other reasons.
    It took long time for US, IGAD and friendly countries to find a way to end the was because case for war was so complicated. After many findings that were the only way for peace, US had appointed John Danforth. Danforth had labored hardly till he forced SPLM and NCP to signed CAP.

    But US thought it was over because South has its own government. Surprisngly, US, IGAD and friendly countries found SPLM the real enemy to CPA. Many of you here may wrong me. But the situation in the South and extension of election date will proof what I’m writing.
    Because SPLM and NCP are willing to take Sudan back to war, US is back again to push both parties to implement all provsion of CPA. That why arrest of Basher to America is not a solution, but to force them to work for the Sudanese peace.
    US is not selling South as writer put it, but she is coming back for second redemption. I know those who eat night and day in Juba are not happy because they do not want to share power and money even with orpahns, widows and veteran.
    US must be welcome to Sudan and China must leave Sudan.

    • 27 May 2009 09:11, by mcthon

      Okuch, it seems like you are only crying for the money but not for the implemantation of the CPA. Would you please stop your negative blaming of Southerners (SPLA). Of course Southern officials are mismanaging our finances, but it is better to be us, Southerners to mismanage our own money than to used by Arab for their own benefits.

      • 27 May 2009 20:52, by William Okuch

        I’m very self-sufficent thank God. I give out from my pocket to starving people and street people whose money is looted by SPLM/GOSS.
        Look, to face enemy of South need first our unity. This unity will never come if we do not carefully end our inhuman acts. For me, it is important to liberate ourselves from most of the wrong doings so that we will be able to criticize others.
        Bad news for us as southerners is when we tend to reject correction. Such rejection will derail SPLM/GOSS from their letimacy. As we founded SPLM, more SPLM will emerge to replace SPLM if we are accepting wrong doings and advices.
        Let me advise you that each family has problem and its members debate hardly to get out of problem. But if its members run into street ignoring their problem, street will till them go back to solve your problem first.
        I’m SPLM patriotic supporter and I want this movement to redeem Sudanese. But in the way we run it, we are discouraging ourselves to think about alternative.

  • 27 May 2009 15:13, by Akol Liai Mager

    Without doubts, Obama’s Soft approach and appeasement policies with Middle East terrorists may hurt African Sudanese and Southern Sudanese in particular, but 100% those ploicies will hurt United States of America this time more than Sept. 11th.

    American must stop this guy before it’s too late. Mr Roger have genuine reasons to be worried about South Sudan, but for me Obama will lead this world into chaos with his mother touch on her baby’s head diplomacy and the whole world will suffer including South Sudan.

    SPLM too, shoud not let those who are trading with its name to get away with it.

  • 27 May 2009 21:30, by Thyinka

    Well said Liai. Not to be simplistic here but what can you expect to be someone who was brought up by a woman. Anyway, Obama seems to be like a son who grow up hating everything his father stood for(read former president Bush) and now needs to do thing in an opposite manner but he has to be selective in applying his blanket "soft diplomacy." We need the old carrot and stick diplomacy because it is the only one that works with the like of Khartoum Regime.

    • 28 May 2009 03:27, by Malakal

      Sudan is not a part of the United States of American, particualary Southern Sudan is NOT!

      Stop trying to put blame on other countries’ leadership for not solving Sudaneses’ problem. Obama is not a moron like Bush was, neither is he inconpetent diplomatically like bush was. Obama will only do what is humanly right by the rule of law because he knows the laws because he studies them and become a lawyer in Illionois, USA. If that does benefit Southern Sudanese, well, then great otherwise Sudanese are human, they are capable or must be capable of trying deal with their problems.

      The war between the South and North of Sudan has been around for atlease roughly 5 decades. What different does it makes to Southern Sudanese, if someone like Obama or Bush-type becomes president of the most powerful nation Earth?


      • 28 May 2009 18:53, by Citizen

        Dear William Okuch! (William not Known)

        I am a Southerner who is always interesting in reading all the comments from my beloved Southerners who Iam indebtly proud for there little knowledge that they have gain during the war time, and Iam sure they are going to hand over the responsibilities in near future INSHALLA, down the referendum whether be united Sudan or South by its own.

        Okuch ur comments are always astray to the point,and if not a Southerner who want to sell South for their little stomach that will definitely end when that money sell you for diabetes or lung cancer, y blaming SPLM yet you are being blinded by this big mistake.

        Your comments are always rotten Mister, because you game is all against southerners, you r today against Dinka, tommorrow against Nuer, Kiir, Machar, and SPLM. To warn you these are great Southern property boy if you are not informed the soul of South.

        If at all describing you then you would be an orphan who have learned a cupbearor’s job for long time who got scholarship to Lebonan for selling your own bros and sist.

        To finally rebuke you I will not asked you to stop writting but you need to change your attitudes to word South, otherwise, Southern tribes are always peaceful disregard a fake trumpet being blow by the internet addictors who want to bring us down.
        Long live Unity of the Southerners! Long leave SPlM! long Leave Salva.

        • 29 May 2009 05:41, by William Okuch

          Citizen, you know the meaning of my name very well. But what you do not know is William Okuch before on this website.
          The reason why you did not find such name before is this. I was hardly working to help our people to be united and nation. You know how much it take to unite people without going into detail. That was my contribution to help our SPLM.
          But what makes my name to appear online here is because of uncertain future of CPA result of what is taking place in South. Citizen, Southerners have waged war and speak with language of gun to bring us CPA. Today, we are not going to use language of gun because we have our government. But we are using our nonvoilent criticism against our brothers and sisters in power to change their ways of management.

          Any father or mother who love his/her child discipline him/her. Discipline might involve beating and that doesn’t mean mother or father hate a child. No, they love their child and they want him therefore to be well prepared.

          I love my country and my fellows. But it pain my heart when southerenrs are turned against each other. It demoralize me when I see my fellows southerners being degraded in the hand of their own government they have established by their own blood. It pain me when Southerners are continuing to depend on humanitarian aid despite of their rich land. It pain me when I heard that a man who returned as US citizen after being refugee for years in America was simply killed during last incident in Malakal. Don’t you think those who were refugees have contributive power to help upgrading our governmental system? But how can they go home if they could be victims any time. It pain me when I knew NCP has chance to use Southerners against other despite the affairs of our country is in SPLM/GOSS.

          To me my brother, it is very important to correct ourself first. When we rationlize the areas of our weakness that might give another chance to come back, we will repare it and maintain our unity. Then we we are united, no one can stop our march. That why I do not this time waste my writing on enemy. I know where is he. But maintainence of our family affairs first is our power.
          For Kiir and SPLM/GOSS, it is important to bring security to all Southerners. There is golden opportunity result of our cheifs and kings conference recently.
          Any chief or king must be given true authority. How?
          1-Salary for our tribal leaders is very mimportant.
          2-Local authority must be recruited from within village men and women. CPA had such legislation that, soliers and police must be from people to serve their community. Such way, villagers will give hand to SPLM/GOSS.
          3-Disarment of militants must be done through cheif or king. When those who have legal arms see their cheif or king has power and is truly involve in governmental duty, they will peacefully hand over their guns to the authority.
          4- Establishment of permenant chief/king congress and to hold term meeting.
          My friend if we can start doing some of these suggestions, I will continue my patriotic support to SPLM/GOSS and my criticism shall again be redirected to our traditional enemy.
          I need southerners to be proud of their country. But it make me ashame when we are degrading ourselves and not listening to criticism.

          • 29 May 2009 16:03, by Citizen

            Thank, a good comments, I like everybody in our country to comment like you did today "intending to correct but not intending to divide or bring down" I love ur reply today more then usual.

            Our people are being cut apart or tear down by you guys in diaspora but down in Juba, Wau, Malakal, and all around south are only busy accumulating wealth, cattles keepers busy with cattle, while few equatorian apart from part (cattle keepers within) are busy in business, it is only when a two cattlemen meet in their cattle raiding department which is obvious, this where all the media generate the hearing while take over by those who are lobbying for fund from NGOs and those who want to loot GOSs estimate the cost of their sitting for peace in Dollars even among the tribes which are peaceful.

            Dear fellow citizen always aim at bring change in our gov’t, our beloved tribes of the south and even among the southerners so as to learn from their mistakes but not in a way that your words shall be use tomorrow by those who are more interest in the falling of the south and sudan as whole. Now Khartoum is playing deal within us, yet Khartoum is also being put in deal by Arab nations, forcing them at a wrong cost to kill its own citizen.

            Good Luck buddy.

            • 29 May 2009 20:02, by William Okuch

              Citizen, do not worry that our writing will divide our people. No that is not true. It will enlighten them instead.
              What will divide Southerners are nepotism, tribalism, totalitarism, inequality and insane corruption etc which are now SPLM/GOSS programs rather than programs of CPA.

              Leaders have power to unite and divide depending on programs of that government.

              For example white leaders in South Africa were divisive rulers. As a result of that policy, all of us know how life was before Nelson Mandela. But Nelson Mandela emerged as unitary president. We all know where is South Africa now.
              Robert Magabe of Zambabowe emerged as divisive leader. Look at Zambabowe.
              Northern leaders are not only divisive, but immorally slave traders, oppressive governors.
              SPLM/GOSS emerged according to document (CPA) as unitary, but it is now evolving into divisive entities.

              Consider yourself if you are three sons of one bilogical parents. Assume your parents preferr other borther or sister than others. Will that family remain united. Now that family will fight among itself. It happened to one family i know very well. Borthers divided themselves and their children as well and they still not seeing each other till now. Who you think is accountable for such family division? Definitely, their father who favor other son than other.
              Leader of state with his wife or husband act as parents because every decision of country is make through state palace.A child cry to give message to parent that he needs something. Parent can not ignore his cry. Likewise, since country destiny is in one man or woman, leaders must never disdain people voices. Otherwise, they are bad and divisive leaders. So their leadership is the reason to make nation fall apart.

              Therefore my fellow citizen, we can not instruct ourselves to stop writing against our leaders. But morally we must criticze them and force them to listen to our voices and correct the areas for which they are criticize for.

              If those leaders as they called themselves turn to be wise enough, they could get use of criticism and will transform them to be legitimate leaders.

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