Friday, April 28, 2017

US slams South Sudan on “man-made” famine

US slams South Sudan on “man-made” famine

Written by Reuters, Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Link to web article here.

The United States slammed South Sudan's President Salva Kiir for the African state's "man-made" famine and ongoing conflict, urging him to fulfil a month-old pledge of a unilateral truce by ordering troops back to barracks.

"We must see a sign that progress is possible," US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a Security Council briefing on South Sudan. "We must see that ceasefire implemented." 

South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after Kiir fired his deputy, starting a conflict that has spawned armed factions often following ethnic lines. 

UN South Sudan envoy David Shearer told the Security Council: "The political process in South Sudan is not dead, however it requires significant resuscitation."

The United Nations has warned of a possible genocide, millions have fled their homes, the oil producing economy is in a tailspin, crop harvests are devastated because of the worst drought in years and millions face famine.
US slams South Sudan

"The famine in South Sudan is man-made. It is the result of ongoing conflict in that country. It is the result of an apparent campaign against the civilian population. It is the result of killing humanitarian workers," Haley said. 

She also blasted deadlock among Security Council members on how to deal with civil war in the world's youngest state.

Haley said Kiir and his government were benefitting from the council's division. She urged council to impose further targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on South Sudan.

"You're allowing President Kiir to continue to do what he's doing," she said. "If you truly care for the people of South Sudan then we must tell the South Sudanese government we are not going to put up with this anymore."

The 15-member Security Council failed in December to get nine votes to adopt a US-drafted resolution to impose an arms embargo and further sanctions on South Sudan despite warnings of a possible genocide. Eight council members, including Russia and China, abstained in the vote.

Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Petr Ilichev told the council it was unfair to lay all blame on Kiir's troops for the violence and that Moscow opposed additional sanctions. 

"Sound peace in South Sudan will not be brought about by a Security Council arms embargo, but rather by targeted measures to disarm civilians, as well as demobilise and reintegrate combatants," he said. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ISS Today: Inside Sudan’s house of cards

Daily Maverick

ISS Today: Inside Sudan’s house of cards
Photo: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir seen during the “Family photograph” taken at the AU Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 June 2015. Photo: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

Sudan’s government is weakening in its capacity to govern; but the opposition remains even weaker. By Berouk Mesfin for ISS TODAY.

First published by ISS Today
Two years ago, in April 2015, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – who assumed power in 1989 – once again won the presidential election. This further entrenched his personal hold on the politics of Sudan.
He pledged in February last year that he would step down in 2020, but similar pledges were made in 2010 and 2014 – and he went back on his word.
Al-Bashir’s longevity in office can be attributed to his ability to rapidly adapt to new situations, and to win over opponents through financial and political rewards.
Is Sudan set to follow a long-term trajectory of continued instability – including ongoing warfare, a political stalemate, popular dissatisfaction and economic hardship – following the separation from South Sudan after a vicious 22-year civil war and the genocidal killings in Darfur? Or is there any hope for concrete change through a more representative form of government? As it stands, the situation in Sudan is making regional and external actors very nervous.
Al-Bashir, 73, is in poor health, and spends a lot of time in hospitals in the Gulf. Officials report that his condition is not life-threatening, but it has clearly cut into al-Bashir’s energy to govern as before. He delegates much to his second-in-line, whom he trusts the most, Prime Minister and First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Saleh. Saleh has long been an al-Bashir ally, and helped him to root out opponents.
This is a serious matter, as succession will be complicated by factional politics within the key pillars of the government, which are less united than before. 
Al-Bashir also faces other challenges, with a deepening crisis in the diminished economy and further drops in the value of the Sudanese pound. He further has to confront the paralysis of the government’s key pillars, including the ruling party, the National Congress Party (NCP). The NCP is in bad shape, as its high-ranking cadres have begun to question al-Bashir’s decisions in unprecedented ways.
Actual power is concentrated in the hands of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and the military. Al-Bashir has managed to keep an uneasy balance between the two institutions. The NISS has become the most potent instrument of the government, having its own parallel paramilitary formation. Moreover, the government is dominated by military officers who either hold key ministerial posts, or oversee decisive ministries and local government offices.
Al-Bashir makes sure that the officer corps is divided, and that certain personalities are systematically rotated out. This is done to prevent officers from building a support base, and to reduce the risk of a coup d’état. Nonetheless, there is nothing to stop middle-level and junior-level officers from considering staging a coup and establishing a new government of populist inspiration.
However, al-Bashir’s government is not about to collapse – mainly because opposition forces, which hold widely differing political views, remain weak.
The opposition is divided; and their best hope at present is for a more open political process. The NISS ensures things stay that way through arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance, making a speedily negotiated and consensual solution less likely.
In a new pragmatic world where the West is unable to solve everything, al-Bashir’s government is adept at covering up the cracks in its opaque power structure. And it’s proven to be resilient, successfully weathering internal power struggles and popular uprisings alike. A profitable alliance with the Gulf offers further support, as do friendlier realignments in the Horn of Africa – where other countries like Ethiopia and Eritrea are offsetting one another.
Al-Bashir wants freedom from the International Criminal Court’s indictments. The West has offered other incentives, including constructive engagement from the European Union (EU). Indeed, the EU struck a deal with Sudan mainly to reduce the unimpeded flow of migrants. United States sanctions were also eased earlier this year.
Al-Bashir’s government has become known for meting out half-hearted measures, and using violence while resisting reforms. Whether incentives could moderate this behaviour remains to be seen.
It is clear that substantive changes are needed, and urgently. Such changes should primarily transform the current, personalised structure of political power and the mechanisms through which it is exercised.
They should also address deep-rooted problems and long-harboured grievances that have resulted from discrimination and neglecting key development sectors. It is hard to do this within a government which developed, over 28 years, a complex and corrupt web of tribal and economic patronages; and managed along the way to alienate key constituencies. These groups resent its narrow geographical focus, absence of vision and repressive tendencies. 
The other urgent priority is to end the armed conflicts, which have been costly both in lives and essential revenues lost.
This could be a much-needed starting point to open up the political space to more constructive dialogue with the opposition, which ought to be integrated in Sudan’s society and restructured institutions. With such measures in place, prospects for true change could emerge on Sudan’s political horizon. DM
Berouk Mesfin is an ISS Consultant
Photo: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir seen during the “Family photograph” taken at the AU Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, 14 June 2015. Photo: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Link to web article here.

Sudan parliament approves controversial ‘Freedoms Bill’

Link to web article here.

Sudan parliament approves controversial ‘Freedoms Bill’

By Mohammed Amin
Sudan’s parliament on Tuesday approved a number of constitutional amendments ostensibly intended to guarantee public freedoms.
The so-called “Freedoms Bill”, however, ended up dropping several amendments proposed by the opposition that would have seen the power of the country’s security organs drastically reduced.
Along with security issues, the new legislation also establishes the bases for a new consensus government expected to be drawn up in coming days.
The legislation also defines Sudan’s “regular forces” as the national army, security and police apparatuses, suggesting the possible dissolution of the country’s many unofficial militias.
According to Badria Suleman, head of parliament’s legal committee, the legislation leaves considerable power in the hands of the National Intelligence and Security Services with a view to combatting terrorism, money laundering, human trafficking and illegal migration.
Suleman also pointed out that the new legislation would allow for the formation of “special courts” to ensure that members of the security agencies would be held to account.
The amendments, she added, would also allow children under the age of 18 to be married.
Much of the Sudanese opposition, however, has rejected the amendments, describing the new legislation as “oppressive”.
Khalid Omer, secretary-general of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, told Anadolu Agency that the ruling party had “exploited its parliamentary majority to pass the legislation without any genuine debate”.
He went on to say that his party planned to resist the new legislation, using all peaceful means available to it.

Sudan: 'No Voluntary Return in Insecure Darfur' - Displaced to U.S.

Link to web article here.
El Fasher — People in Zamzam camp for displaced people in North Darfur complained that the security and humanitarian situation in the camp is very bad. They told a United States envoy that militiamen occupy their home farms; voluntary return is out of the question.
A delegation from the office of the US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Paul Steven, arrived at Zamzam, south of El Fasher, to meet with Sheikhs, leaders and youth and women representatives. Zamzam is one of the largest camps in Darfur.
The coordinator of the camp told Radio Dabanga that the delegates asked them about the security and humanitarian situation, in addition to the possibility of voluntarily returning to their home areas. Steven said that security problems remain despite "the relative improvement" in the situation in North Darfur.
In a press statement he urged the Sudanese government to take control of the militias and protect its citizens, along with granting the AU-UN hybrid peacekeeping mission (Unamid) and aid agencies freedom of movement. Making progress on the human rights situation in Sudan is of upmost importance, he added.
The security situation in the vicinity of Zamzam is very bad, youth and women representatives said. Armed men and militia members attack people who go outside. Meanwhile residents have witnessed a reduction of the food ration cards and a deterioration of the health situation.
The envoy's office wanted to assess the situation on the ground in Darfur to present a full report on the situation in Sudan in July, the month set by the US Government to review the progress in the country and ease economic sanctions and a trade embargo that have been in place against Sudan since 1997.
Earlier this month the military attaché of the US embassy in Sudan visited North Darfur for a briefing by the State Governor. Sudanese media reported that Military Attaché Jörn Pung said he witnessed great developments in North Darfur. A week later the embassy said the US 'encourages close cooperation among the Government of Sudan, United Nations, and native administrations'.

Sudan: SPLM-N Requests Mbeki to Delay Peace Talks to Fix Friction

Link to web article here.
Addis Ababa — The delegation of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has asked the African mechanism mediating the talks with the Sudanese government to postpone negoations until next July, so the movement can deal with its internal friction.
Chairman Malik Agar and other representatives of the rebel movement made their request to Thabo Mbeki, head of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa yesterday. An American delegation and the special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan of the UN Secretary-General, Nicholas Fink Haysom, attended the meeting.
The SPLM-N delegates, including its National Leadership Council member Ezzat Kuko Angelo and secretary-general Yasir Arman, explained their call to postpone the next round of negotiations until July 2017 so as to achieve calm within its movement, and because the holy month of Ramadan approaches.
Mubarak Ardol, their spokesman, told Radio Dabanga that they agreed with Mbeki to postpone the meeting, and stressed their readiness to sit with the AUHIP and the members of the Sudan Call (Appeal) opposition alliance "at any time or place".
Two weeks ago the movement rejected a proposal by Mbeki to sit down for talks with the National Dialogue mechanism; according to the AUHIP Roadmap Agreement which the Sudanese government and SPLM-N signed last year, the two sides of the dialogue should be the Sudan Government and Sudan Appeal, and not the members of the National Dialogue.
Friction within the rebel movement surfaced in March when its deputy-chairman resigned from his position after accusing Arman, SPLM-N chief negotiator, of disregarding the issue of self-determination for the Nuba Mountains in the peace talks with Khartoum. The leaders of the rebel SPLM-N paid a visit to their forces in the Nuba Mountains to defuse the internal struggles.
Sanctions relief

In Addis Ababa, the delegation met with representatives of the US State Department for the first time since the Paris meeting last January. Ardol: "We discussed the US proposal [for gaining humanitarian access in conflict areas], the final objectives of the peace process, the specifics of war zones, and the US sanctions on Sudan."

'Immigration, terrorism and regional stability issues will only be addressed under a new Sudanese regime that does not displace its people - not lifting of sanctions.' - Mubarak Ardol
The SPLM-N requested the State Department to call on the US administration to extend the reviewing period before lifting the economic sanctions against Sudan with another six months. The review is currently planned in July. "Link it tightly to Sudan's humanitarian issues, stop of the war and human rights violations, freedoms and democratic transition, detainees' release and stop of the assault on Christians," Ardol stressed.
The SPLM-N delegation also met with Nicholas Fink Haysom of South Africa, UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, on the eve of his presentation to the UN Security Council on the situation in Sudan.
The rebel group asked Haysom to include humanitarian issues, the end of the wars, democratic transition of the government and violations of human rights in his concerns.


Bombing Jebel Marra 'Violates Ceasefire'
The holdout rebel group in Darfur's Jebel Marra has condemned the aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Air Force last… Read more »

New Report Details Massive Corruption and Theft of Oil, Gold, and Land in Sudan

Link to web article here.

Sudan’s al Bashir. Photo: Imgaes/File

Policymakers from the U.S. and around the world should initiate a strategy that addresses root causes of Sudan’s violent kleptocracy
Washington, D.C., April 25, 2017 (SSNA) — April 25, 2017 – The Enough Project’s new report published today, “Sudan’s Deep State: How Insiders Violently Privatized Sudan’s Wealth, and How to Respond,” details how a powerful inner circle within Khartoum has privately expropriated oil, gold, and land for massive self-enrichment and to maintain control through the use of starvation as a method of war, the indiscriminate bombardment of its own civilian populations, and an array of militias notorious for ethnic cleansing.
Dr. Suliman Baldo, Senior Advisor at the Enough Project, said: “Sudan’s deep state is a complex construction of grand corruption and brutal power. An inner circle in power has privatized the country’s natural wealth, its oil, gold, and land. To protect their ill-gotten gains and to ensure the survival of the regime, those who rule Sudan devote disproportionate resources to a bloated security and intelligence sector, and neglect essential social services. The resulting economic power of the security and intelligence apparatus creates catastrophic structural deformities in Sudan’s economy, inhibiting the private sector and entrepreneurs from adequately contributing to the nation’s prosperity and the basic welfare of the Sudanese people. An array of government militias is tasked with providing deep layers of protection for the regime, which in return grants these militias total impunity for the atrocity crimes they routinely commit against the population.”
Omer Ismail, Senior Advisor at the Enough Project, said: “Unlike many other corrupt or repressive governments, President al-Bashir’s regime is willing to engage in the most extreme tactics, including ethnic cleansing, the use of starvation as a method of war, and the indiscriminate bombardment of civilian populations. It is this combination of extreme violence, authoritarian rule, and massive self-enrichment that qualifies the current system as a violent kleptocracy where state capture and hijacked institutions are the purpose and the rule, rather than the exception.”
John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “Sudan’s violent kleptocracy must be confronted directly. Concerned policymakers from the United States and around the world should initiate a strategy of smarter financial pressures and increased accountability that addresses the root causes of Sudan’s violent kleptocracy. Only more effective pressure on President al-Bashir and his inner circle will succeed in advancing important national and global security goals, such as safeguarding the integrity of the global financial system, combating corruption, deterring future support for terrorism, and strengthening human rights.”
Link to full report:
  • “Sudan is a failed state for the millions of displaced people living in IDP camps in Darfur, for those living in conflict areas and cut off from humanitarian assistance in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and for those struggling in marginalized communities in eastern Sudan or in the sprawling informal settlements outside Khartoum. However, Sudan is an incredibly successful state for a small group of ruling elites that have amassed great fortunes by looting the country’s resources for personal gain. In that sense, Sudan is more of a hijacked state, working well for a small minority clique but failing by all other measures for the vast majority of the population.”
  • “The system of rule by al-Bashir’s regime in Sudan is best characterized as a violent kleptocracy, as its primary aims are self-enrichment and maintaining power indefinitely. To pursue these aims, the regime relies on a variety of tactics, including patronage and nepotism, the threat and use of political violence, and severe repression to co-opt or neutralize opponents and stifle dissent.”
  • “The regime’s initial tenacity in attacking, torturing, and killing members of the professional and working classes and purging the professional, technically competent civil service that could potentially ensure government function and check the regime’s power established the precedent of impunity that continues today.”
  • “Regime kleptocrats have thus far outwitted and outlasted all efforts to achieve peace in Sudan because they feel no pressure to act differently given the impunity that they have enjoyed for decades.”
The report states that to more effectively support peace, human rights, and good governance in Sudan, policymakers should construct a new policy approach that attempts to counter and ultimately dismantle Sudan’s violent kleptocracy.
A More Comprehensive and Inclusive Peace Process and Constitutional Convention: A credible constitutional convention and internationally-supported peace process can lead to lasting peace in Sudan.
  • International Peace Process: A comprehensive and inclusive peace process with strong U.S., regional, and international support can check these maneuverings and allow internally-driven reforms to take hold.
  • Constitutional Convention: A constitutional convention could provide a new path for Sudanese people to discuss the governance and power-sharing questions that they most seek to resolve among themselves.
  • Enhanced U.S. Diplomatic Engagement: Strong U.S. diplomatic engagement with Sudan is necessary to advance an international peace process. To support this process, as well as to achieve important national security objectives, the Trump administration should appoint a new special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.
Financial Pressure: To provide the necessary leverage for a revitalized peace process and constitutional convention, Sudan’s violent kleptocracy must be confronted directly. Accordingly, U.S. policymakers should use the enhanced diplomatic engagement measures outlined above to support a strategy of financial pressure and increased accountability that addresses the root causes of Sudan’s violent kleptocracy.
  • Stopping Illicit Financial Flows: Kleptocratic elites rely on illicit financial flows and international economic partners for personal enrichment and to ensure safe haven for their ill-gotten gains. U.S. policymakers, regulators, and law enforcement officials should work together, and in concert with foreign government officials, to stop illicit financial flows from Sudan. Kleptocratic elites rely on illicit financial flows and international economic partners for personal enrichment and to ensure safe haven for their ill-gotten gains.
    • Enhancing and enforcing anti-money laundering measures
    • Sharing information and supporting multilateral efforts
    • Asset recovery
  • Implementing Modernized Sanctions to Create Leverage to Support Accountability and Advance Human Rights: Policymakers from the United States, the European Union, and other concerned stakeholders should construct and implement a modernized sanctions framework to target the assets of the individuals and entities most responsible for mass atrocities, serious human rights violations, and grand corruption within Sudan.
    • Sectoral sanctions and sanctions on key regime institutions and entities, with a 25 percent threshold for ownership or control
    • Anti-Corruption sanctions designations
    • Mitigating the unintended negative effects of sanctions
    • Transparency for business conducted in Sudan
  • Addressing Conflict-Affected Gold: A sizeable part of Sudanese gold is conflict-affected, entailing a high risk for money laundering. To help address this concern, the U.S. Treasury Department should issue an advisory for Sudanese gold, given the industry’s extreme vulnerability to money laundering and smuggling.
  • Fighting Corruption Through Other Means: U.S. officials and leaders from the United Kingdom, European Union, and EU member states, along with other concerned countries and organizations, should prioritize combating corruption in Sudan. In Sudan, corruption is closely linked to armed conflict, massive human rights violations, underdevelopment, and poverty.
    • Criminal investigations and prosecutions
    • Supporting Sudanese civil society and media
  • Engaging Sudan’s Political and Financial Supporters: Policymakers should engage Sudan’s political allies and financial supporters to pressure the Sudanese government to work toward a lasting peace.
Link to full report:
For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717


Link to web article here.

A three-year civil war has forced millions from their homes and devastated crop harvests, just as the worst drought in years bites.

The African Development Bank will provide loans and grants worth $48 million to help strengthen the recession-hit economy, the minister said, without giving details.
The African Development Bank will provide loans and grants worth $48 million to help strengthen the recession-hit economy, the minister said, without giving details.

JUBA - South Sudan has secured $106 million from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, in part to pay for food imports as millions face starvation and to fund the construction of a road to trade partner Kenya, its finance minister said.
Parts of the war-ravaged country are suffering famine. A three-year civil war has forced millions from their homes, sent the oil-producing economy into a tail-spin and devastated crop harvests, just as the worst drought in years bites.
Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau told Reuters late on Monday that the government had signed a deal with the World Bank for a $50 million grant "to meet the food gaps in South Sudan".
Speaking by telephone from Washington where he had been attending meetings with lenders, the minister said those funds would be disbursed soon and finance food imports from Tanzania and Uganda.
Dau said a further $8 million agreed with the World Bank was earmarked for the construction of a road connecting the capital Juba to Kenya.
Separately, the African Development Bank will provide loans and grants worth $48 million to help strengthen the recession-hit economy, the minister said, without giving details.
South Sudan, the world's youngest country, descended into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir fired his deputy, unleashing a conflict that has spawned a patchwork of armed factions.
The fighting has hit oil production and food cultivation amid soaring inflation. The IMF says the economy shrunk by almost 20 percent in the two years through to 2015/16, and forecasts a 3.5 percent contraction this year.