Moving HelpNuba.net to USASSCA.org

Because the work of Help Nuba is now largely a part of of USASSCA.org I am closing down the HelpNuba specific websites and have moved the contents to USASSCA’s webpage. http://www.USASSCA.org or http://www.SudanSouthSudan.org

-David

Asylum Seekers in Israel

Originally posted on We Are For Israel:

The situation of African Asylum seekers in Israel is of great concern and is generating awful press coverage for Israel. Well over 50,000 African refugees currently seek asylum in Israel, the vast majority from Eritrea with a substantial number from Sudan. Over the past few weeks they have marched in protest about their treatment and lack of recognition as asylum seekers. The African asylum seekers are among nearly half a million residents of Israel who do not have legal status in the country, a number which includes large numbers of Chinese, Filipino, and Thai agricultural and construction workers. The vast majority of these residents without status are resident in Israel because of the possibility of financial gain.

While there have been many concerns expressed over the years about foreign workers in general and their impact on Israeli society and Israel’s economy, concerns about African residents without status have become acute…

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The Grave Situation in South Sudan – Updated

This is the most up to date information, we have as of Jan. 6, 2014 at 8:15 am Central Time.

  1. (Jan. 6) Pres. Omar Bashir of Sudan is meeting with Pres. Salva Kiir of South Sudan in Juba today to discuss the crisis.
  2. (Jan. 5) The Government of South Sudan is fighting to retake Bor from the rebels.
  3. (Jan. 5) A General in the South Sudan Army, Abraham Jongroor Deng, was killed in an ambush.
  4. (Jan 5.) Peace negotiations are scheduled to begin today with the sole agenda item of ending hostilities. The rebels are refusing to come to the table until the leaders arrested on December 16 are freed and allowed to come to the talks.
  5. (Jan. 5) Report of fighting ongoing in Unity State.
  6. (Jan. 4-5) Reports of gunfire or even “heavy fighting” occurring at points during the evening and night in or near military barracks in the capitol, Juba, and in Yei, a town on the Ugandan border. No reliable information is available as to the nature or extent of the gunfire or fighting. There is an unconfirmed report that soldiers in Yei may have defected to the rebel side (@ougasam).
  7. (Jan. 3) The US has evacuated most embassy personnel from Juba.
  8. (Jan 3) Reports are that the South Sudan Army was ambushed on the way to Bor suffering significant casualties. Riek Machar stated that the rebels will reach Juba soon.
  9. The South Sudan Army will again attempt to retake Bor and confront the White Army there instead of Juba.
  10. If the White Army wins in Bor, Juba may be attacked soon afterwards. The distance is not far.
  11. If the White Army fails in Bor it will be because thousands have been killed.
  12. If Juba is attacked, many more thousands will be killed.
  13. Uganda will become involved much more substantially if the threat against Juba increases. Right now Uganda is largely on the sideline. Museveni will not allow Juba to fall without engaging in the fight and using the full weight of his military including air power.
  14. This conflict seems to have begun with a power struggle within the leadership of the SPLM.
  15. Whether or not there was a coup in process at the start of this conflict (Riek Machar denies it), there is now an insurrection involving several military leaders and demands for the ouster of the President under threat of violence at the hands of the military. By definition there is currently a coup attempt in process, though the scope of this event makes that term irrelevant. This is on the scale of a civil war involving thousands, if not tens of thousands, of soldiers on both sides. East African leaders will not accept a coup in South Sudan.
  16. Riek Machar has said that he only wants to run in the next elections. However, at this point, he is leading a rebel group seeking to take over the country.
  17. Several leading figures of the SPLM are currently being held under arrest including former party leader Pagan Amum.
  18. No oil will flow from South Sudan until the conflict ends and foreign workers can return to work.
  19. Unmanned wells will deteriorate rapidly and require significant reconstruction before long, resulting in a major delay, perhaps months long, for the renewal of the oil flow and costing the nation billions of dollars in revenue resulting in a certain economic crisis following even an immediate end to this crisis and a worsening one the longer it continues.
  20. The only possibility of democracy returning to South Sudan in the near future: i.e. months, not weeks, would be for the sides to agree to a cease fire soon. The longer this conflict goes on and the more people die, the worse the animosity will be afterwards and the more difficulty it will be to work together in a democratic nation.
  21. Ethnic based killings and other human rights violations have occurred.
  22. The refugee situation in South Sudan is extreme with tens of thousands of people displaced and existing refugee camps in areas of conflict.
  23. Peace talks in Ethiopia have just begun. Failure of the peace talks will have catastrophic consequences.
You may be interested in reading Dr. Eric Reeve’s extensive analyses exploring the issues: Riek Machar’s possible end game and asking whether or not South Sudan has passed the tipping point.

Important words by Dr. John Garang about Peace

Dr. John Garang de Mabior

Dr. John Garang de Mabior

This is from a speech given by Dr. John Garang on the occasion of the signing of the Nairobi Declaration, June 5, 2004. Dr. John’s words need no commentary. They are obviously applicable to the events ongoing today in both Sudan and South Sudan:

There are many – here and elsewhere – who think that peace is about job allocation, is about apportionment of positions of authority, is about lining pockets through misuse or abuse of public assets, or is about lording it over others. Those who thus think must be reading from a different script than mine.

We have more supreme goals and loftier ideals and alternatives. My script reads that peace is what people think and believe peace should hold for them. Peace to my mind and in the depth of my soul is a promise of better living to the young, the middle aged and the aged, to each individual, to the unemployed and the destitute, to the sick and the unlettered, all over Sudan. It is also a promise to the men and women of Southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile, Abyei, Eastern Sudan and other marginalized areas of Sudan who suffered in dignified silence the loss of their dear ones in the war of liberation or who felt and still do feel a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, a promise that we shall never betray the cause for which those martyrs have made the ultimate sacrifice. And theirs is a cause for better and more honorable living.

It is also a promise to martyrs and to those who lost their dear ones on the other side,

promise that just and honorable peace

shall heal all the wounds

that we have inflicted

on ourselves on both sides.

South Sudan- A House Divided Against Itself

We are shocked and concerned by the violence among factions of the SPLA and tribal leaders that has taken hold in South Sudan. The beneficiary of this violence, this mistrust and resentment, is the Khartoum Regime which has spent decades fostering division. Together, the marginalized peoples of Sudan and South Sudan can overcome. Divided against one another, all are weakened. Unity brings hope, prosperity, and a bright future.

Today, USASSCA and Help Nuba which were established in Des Moines, Iowa in 2012 to combat genocide and promote this very strength through unity encourage the following:

  • An immediate cessation of violence by factions of the SPLA and tribal representatives;
  • Governmental leaders truly open their ears to listen to the concerns of those who are suffering;
  • All South Sudanese look into the eyes of others and see fellow human beings who are also living with the hope in their heart for a better future for themselves and their families
  • Recognition that Unity is the best path to justice, equality, liberty and peace; and that
  • The government must, working with all minorities in the state, strive to promote freedom, dignity, and a sense of well-being for all of its citizens.

We in America know very well the value of “E Pluribus Unum,” “Out of Many, One.” That is what it means to forge a new nation made up of smaller ones. That is the conflict faced in Sudan and South Sudan. The enemy is disunity.

It is time to unite!

Giving Thanks and Seeking Blessings

This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for what we have in our lives and seek to bring blessings into the lives of those who lack them.

As I write this article, Sudanese Armed Forces are amid an offensive against the Sudan Revolutionary Front that has largely been a failure. We are thankful that those who defend themselves against genocide have thus far been able to withstand the offensive. For many thousands of innocent civilians, however, there is no way to withstand the indiscriminate bombing of villages. From November 21-25 alone, nearly 25,000 civilians have become displaced from the intentional bombing of civilian targets. More than 460,000 people have been displaced over the course of this year.

The Khartoum Regime continues its regular campaign of displacement and ethnic cleansing and genocide through bombing huts and fields.

A video was released on November 18 of such a bombing along with a plea from Yassir Arman for help. Here is the plea. The video (graphic and difficult to watch) follows:

This video is what happened yesterday, the 17th of November, in Buram, Nuba Mountains. To all those who continue to appease the Khartoum regime and ignore the solid facts on the ground, the Khartoum regime is targeting civilian populations in Sudan, committing war crimes, and killing the very children who need to be vaccinated. And for the families of these children, the air and ground bombardment of Khartoum is a more visible threat than polio. This is a fact that many in Africa and in international community circles are deliberately ignoring because admitting it would require them to provide civilian protection as per international humanitarian law, and for them, it is better to keep a blind eye when the government of Sudan has denied access of humanitarian assistance for civilian populations for two years and is terrorizing and killing the civilian populations at the same time. We hope this video will make them, for once, tell the truth. The silence of some circles in the international community is providing the environment for General Bashir to continue killing and targeting the civilian populations in the rural and urban areas of Sudan without being questioned by anyone, even by some of those who indicted him. Bashir is being given a blank check by some circles within the international community to kill the people of Sudan, but the Sudanese people will continue to resist him and defend their right to peace, democracy, the respect of human rights, and the right for equal citizenship. We call upon all who value human life and human dignity to wage a campaign for unhindered access for humanitarian assistance in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Darfur as well as a humanitarian cessation of hostilities that addresses the civilian humanitarian needs, as required by humanitarian international law, without conditioning them on a political agenda. Civilian populations should not be punished for political purposes or gain. The right for humanitarian aid and protection is guaranteed by international humanitarian law.
Yasir Arman
Secretary General, SPLM-N
Secretary for External Affairs, SRF
November 18, 2013

Update on the Uprising

As has been the case on no few occasions over the years, when one wants to know what is going on in Sudan, one simply needs to go to Eric Reeves’ website. Reeves offered a comprehensive analysis of the events ongoing in Sudan in an article published on Saturday. Here, I would like to offer a brief summary for those without the time to access Reeves’ more extensive one.

Sudan’s economy is in shambles. The NCP government has been forced to eliminate subsidies on fuel. The protests currently ongoing are directly in response to that action, but indirectly are the result of an unsustainable situation. Subsidies were based upon sales of the oil now belonging to South Sudan. Sudan simply does not have the income to maintain them any longer.

Neither can the NCP regime continue indefinitely to fund the police state necessary to maintain order with a population becoming increasingly hostile. Subsidies help to keep the population content. The police apparatus keeps the lid on rebellion. With failure of subsidies AND a weakening ability to fund the police apparatus, the regime cannot endure. The pending economic collapse will accelerate if subsidies are reinstated. The government simply cannot afford to fund it any longer.

Eric Reeve’s summed up the situation well:

There is no exit for the regime, not after years of gross mismanagement of the economy, endemic graft, massive self-enrichment, misguided spending priorities, and a vast and expensive system of political patronage.  The value of the Sudanese pound will fall even faster; the cost of imports will grow at a devastating rate; inflation will accelerate, though not with the precipitous nature of the nearly 100 percent increase in the price of fuel and cooking oil that has been experienced over the past six days. Reinstating subsidies would also ensure that the IMF abandons the regime.

There is no way to predict which way al-Bashir will jump; but if he remains committed to “confrontation,” we may be sure that it will be bloody and may well be long, given the nature of the response already in evidence.

We can expect the situation in Sudan to continue to deteriorate so long as the Bashir regime remains in power.

The Only Thing Necessary

Edmond Burke said:

The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

The problem we face today is that good men are more than willing to speak and far less than willing to do. They look at Syria and say, “Look at the dead children in white sheets! Stop!” and they look at Sudan, if they look at Sudan at all, and sounding like Dr. Seuss’ Once-ler say, “Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!” but they do nothing and let the Once-ler go on making thneeds – ruining the world, or in the case of Sudan, go on killing innocents. Today there is rebellion in the streets of Sudan and rebellion in Syria. The best we can do is to suggest to immoral murderous dictators that we would rather they not kill?

One could make the argument that in Syria we see only bad options. There is the regime of Assad on the one hand, an ally of our enemy Iran, who has used chemical weapons against his own people, and on the other hand, rebels led by Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, not exactly our friends.

In Sudan, perhaps believing that the Sudan Revolutionary Front SRF is not capable of rising to power at this point, we see only the regime of Omar Bashir or another terrible option. This perception of Sudan would be grossly in error. The SRF can lead and how can we allow a regime we already know to be genocidal to remain in power if we have any option to end their reign?

But we spend our time searching for good options, for allies, as a dowser searches for water, blindly hoping, pretending that we will simply come upon them. In so wandering aimlessly, we let evil triumph again and again.

In what scenario in Syria now will evil not triumph; if we allow the choice to be between Assad and Al Qaeda? In what scenario in Sudan will evil not triumph; if we allow the choice to be between Bashir and a failed state? Our obligation is not only to try to choose the better of evils, but to try to create non-evil options if we can. We must DO something or evil will certainly flourish.

There is no concern that America will not speak out about perceived evils around the world. We have quite a set of pipes! The question is whether or not we will act to stop the evils. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has a simple motto which more than aptly applies:

What you DO matters!

Dissolution and Rebuilding

Those of us who have been involved with Sudan related issues for a decade or longer feel some anxiety about the decision by President Salva Kiir of South Sudan to dissolve the government and restructure it, removing numerous key leaders. However, we also know well, it was obvious in fact, that the government as it had been constituted was incapable of functioning as South Sudan needed it to function. Whether this was because there was infighting among leaders or because people had been appointed to positions based upon what they did during the long war rather than based upon their ability to direct the ministries to which they had been appointed, we do not know. We do know that the people of South Sudan have seen corruption proliferate and conflict spread while the needs of the average citizen in many parts of the country have gone largely unmet.

We also know that while things could improve quickly under the right circumstances, it is all too easy for them to deteriorate as well. At this moment, there is a significantly increased military presence in the streets of Juba and there are heightened fears of conflict between the Dinka and the Nuer, the two largest tribes, with the former Vice President Machar a Nuer. There are also many voices praising Kiir’s decision, hoping for new faces in the government with reduced corruption. Machar himself is calling for calm while criticizing the Kiir’s decisions.

For the health of South Sudan moving forward, a true multiparty political system that encourages healthy policy debate is absolutely essential. The fact is that right now, the SPLM is so dominant that free debate is difficult to achieve and tends to occur within the party itself where dissenters are criticized or even ostracized, something not helpful to the advancement of the nation on the whole. In other countries, Kiir, Machar, and Pagan Amum might well lead two or three different political parties, offering criticism of one another while promoting different solutions to the problems faced by the nation. Perhaps, this is the direction in which the nation is headed, something that would be beneficial in the long run.

Our fervent hope is that the rebuilt government will be more effective at creating prosperity and renewing hope for the people of South Sudan. Only time will tell if our hope will come to pass.

South Sudan working with Japan on New Oil Pipeline

According to an article in the Sudan Tribune, Japan and specifically the Toyota Corporation will work with South Sudan to construct and oil pipeline through Kenya. If the project comes to fruition, it would radically alter the dynamic in play now. Sudan faces sanctions and numerous other limits to its income. Transit fees collected from South Sudan for oil shipped through its pipeline to Port Sudan constitute a major source of income that among other things allows the government to pay its security forces and purchase weaponry.

The simple fact is that the more that oil flows through Port Sudan, the more blood will flow in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur.

Fighting, as Sudan does, is expensive and the oil revenue is essential to maintaining the fight. Of course, building the new pipeline will take years, not weeks or months, and the suffering in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Darfur will continue.

Meanwhile, the more that Sudan works with Iran with Iran providing the Khartoum Regime both income and weaponry, the more that other nations will be willing to work with the rebel groups and to support South Sudan in its disputes with the north. With every attempt to subdue the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces that fails and results in both the death of soldiers fighting only for a paycheck and in the capture of additional military assets to be used by the SRF against the state, the situation worsens for Sudan. With every child who dies of starvation in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, the more well motivated and committed rebel troops there will be fighting against the Khartoum Regime. The strategic situation for Sudan is not a good one now and if the oil pipeline is actually developed through Kenya, it may prove to be the coup de grace against the Khartoum Regime.

All of this is yet far off, however. There is much work to do now to save innocents lives threatened by the hands of the genocidaires in Sudan.

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