Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 29 March 2012

A deadly game between Juba and Khartoum


By Ahmed El-Zobier

March 28, 2012 — Sudanese politics is an endless rollercoaster. Following a week of optimism after the visit of the SPLM delegation to Khartoum, signs of a breakthrough in the negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan were evident. Al-Bashir agreed to visit Juba to finalize the agreement, and the war-mongering voices were livid but resigned to the fact that the curse of peace was imminent. However, the daydream was tragically ended after clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) were reported on Monday 26 March around the oil rich Heglig area in South Kordofan. As result, the meeting between Omer Hassan al-Bashir and Salva Kiir, scheduled for 3 April, has been cancelled or suspended by Khartoum.

The two Presidents were expected to sign the agreement at a summit in Juba before the end of the transition period on 8 April 2012. Instead, the government called for the mobilization of Jihadists. The war party seems joyful and victorious, the frog and scorpion syndrome[1] on the march, as SAF retaliated by bombing the oilfields in South Sudan’s Unity State. In view of the renewed hostility between the two states, hundreds of thousands of southern Sudanese in Sudan could face an uncertain and precarious future.

The details of who started what, when and why remain sketchy. Khartoum blames the SPLM and Juba blames SAF; given their track records the credibility of both sides is certainly questionable. But one thing is more certain – if there is one military trick that Khartoum has mastered very well it is the engineering of scenarios similar to the Gleiwitz incident[2] which started the Second World War. Such pretexts for wars were repeated in Abyie, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and possibly now with South Sudan. In this context the ploy was designed to generate reaction from SPLA. In Khartoum those against the deal took their chance and gambled by bombing some areas inside South Sudan, however they got lucky this time as SPLA reacted; a sigh of relief could be heard inside Khartoum corridors of power, now it is easy for them to abort Addis Ababa Framework Agreement, they had halfheartedly pretended to accept.

But why? The Sudanese Government officially welcomed Addis deal that was signed between Khartoum and Juba on 14 March 2012. The key issue that was agreed upon is to regularize the status of nationals residing in both countries, including what is known as the four freedoms; movement, residence, ownership and work. However, many leading NCP figures have voiced their opposition to the deal in Addis Abba, and some give a different interpretation to it.

Meanwhile, Al-Intibaha, an anti-southern-Sudanese newspaper edited by Al Tayeb Mustafa, the uncle of the president, in particular attacked the deal aggressively. He wrote an article titled “Over Our Dead Bodies”, stating that, "If it was only one freedom we would refuse it, as it constitutes a huge danger to our national security, let alone four freedoms!"

Those who commented on his article online made even more vicious and ugly attacks. One of them wrote: "We could never bear to see a southerner hanging around in the North. We must form cells in each district to crush them. I will form cells in my neighborhood until we do not see one of them. We are able to annihilate them and southerners should know that and all those traitors who supported them." Another added: “I am waiting with some of my friends in the neighborhood for the end of April’s deadline, to clean the country from these cursed southerners. If God willing we will continue our plan, it does not matter how much freedom the government of humiliation will give them."

Another columnist named Saad Ahmed Saad used religion to justify his opposition to the deal and wrote: "The presence of a non-Muslim in the State of Islam has certain and specific conditions. It is either as a dhimmi (the word means "one whose responsibility has been taken”) or as one given refuge. Those taking refuge are not residents but transient. And southerners are not dhimmi or refugees so they are not entitled to these freedoms." Ishaq Fadllala, another prominent writer in Al-Intibaha wrote ominous warning, "One incident in Khartoum is enough to deport all southern Sudanese, those with or without nationality."

This newspaper is a reminder of Kangura magazine which was behind the genocide in Rwanda, even the name bears a menacing similarity. Al-Intibaha means "alertness or watchfulness" and the word Kangura mean "wake others up", i.e. make them alert. Kungara was financed by military officers, some ruling party members and an intelligence agency in Rwanda. Similarly, Al-Intibaha is financed by some members of the ruling party and possibly the intelligence agency, as well as the army.

Furthermore, on 16 March 2012 during Friday sermons across Khartoum, leading Imams attacked the agreement and the four freedoms. Meanwhile, on 17 March, SAF spokesperson issued a statement claiming that there was preparation to attack SAF in South Kordofan by the SPLA-N, with the support of South Sudan. According to this statement, such an act will annul all the agreements that were signed between the two countries, added the statement.

These are the forces against the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement and so far they seem to have succeeded in sabotaging it, as they did with the other Framework Agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa on 28 June 2011 between the NCP and the SPLM-N. And the war party continues to celebrate and sing, "let their blood be spilled, let all blood be spilled," and more graveyards promised for the helpless nations. But most people hope that reason, wisdom and rationality to overcome the current insanity.

1) As the story goes, the frog agreed to take the scorpion to the other side of the river but in the middle of the river the frog felt a sharp sting in his back and he said, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”. The scorpion replied, "I could not help myself. It is my nature."

2) The Gleiwitz incident was staged against a German radio station by Nazis posing as Polish forces, on 31 August 1939.

The author is a Sudan tribune journalist. He can be reached at ahmed.elzobir@gmail.com

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  • 29 March 2012 05:38, by zulu

    This article merits commendations. Well thought and articulated objective and critical.

    repondre message

    • 29 March 2012 08:31, by Michael Angelo

      Yes, it’s a great article. Keep up good work journalist.

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  • 29 March 2012 16:17, by rock

    this is great article Ahmed, you pointed out all truth and I like it.
    first of all those politician and religious leaders in Khartoum, they don`t look beyond Khartoum and that is why they are against anything.therefore am sorry to say this,but let`s me say it what if we also do the same thing to nomad who their life is depend on south Sudan territory will it good or bad.

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  • 29 March 2012 22:01, by Born-to-Rule

    Ahmed El-Zobier,

    You wrote the truth --- I am very concern about your life. Hope you are in safe place or outside Khartoum, otherwise Islamic fanatics and Khartoum buffoons will hang you in a heart beat.

    Who said the NIF is dead --- Bashir is a coward and the world most wanted criminal. Northern Sudan goons are angry at the south for breaking away. They will do anything not honor any agreement.

    repondre message

  • 30 March 2012 00:15, by Daniel Buolmawei

    Ahmed El-Zobier

    Ahmed, that’s all I have been talking about. Once the delegation left Addis Ababa, there were outcries in Khartoum everwhere including Mosques. Khartoum’s head of delegation was attacked and cried before crowd in the Mosque. Sudan will be harshly dangerous place for minorities to live. Minorities want to think twice and envision what their future will look like. It is too late—

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    • 30 March 2012 00:23, by Daniel Buolmawei


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  • 30 March 2012 00:21, by Daniel Buolmawei

    To join opposition voices and get rid of these extremism and radicalism in Sudan, otherwise, you called anti-southern movement, but it will eventually become anti-anyone movement in Sudan. In the article you quoted, I see no tolerance at all, but A Sudan full of blood and empty of Minorities. A Sudan you would be lynched in the street because you are Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hundiuis, African,

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  • 30 March 2012 23:04, by Hitler

    Threats are easier said than done. These Arabs are tired of seeing day lights and perhaps they will be content with the darkness the rest of their lives. South Sudanese have withstand everything the world have ever known and will not be afraid going extr-miles. These so called Jalaba in Khartoum will have to decide sooner or later to return to Arabain or else beg to stay in Sudan: motherfuckers.

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  • 31 March 2012 06:29, by acuil deng

    I could not imagine the horrors and the nightmares our people have to endure with every day passes by, not knowing what the next day will bring to them. Their exodus to the South should be made save and secure, because we don’t need any genocide happening to our people in our backyard.

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