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Tag Archives: Sudan

Rohani urges West to stop using language of sanctions & Saudi Arabia denies Bashir Iran-bound plane permission

Rohani urges West to stop using language of sanctions with Iran

Press TV

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has called on Western governments to stop using the language of sanctions to address the Islamic Republic.

“I say candidly that if you want a proper response, speak to Iran not with the language of sanctions but with the language of respect,” Rohani said in his inauguration ceremony in the Iranian Majlis (parliament) on Sunday.

The new chief executive noted that the only way for interaction with Iran is “dialog on equal footing, mutual confidence-building, mutual respect and reduction of hostilities.”

Rohani stated that his policy would be based on “reducing tensions, mutual confidence-building and constructive interaction” with the world.

“I make it clear here that Iran has never been at war with the world,” he said, adding that the Islamic Republic will concentrate its efforts on “reining in warmongers.”

“The Islamic Republic seeks peace and stability in the region. Iran is the harbor of stability in this tumultuous region. We do not seek to change borders and governments,” noted Rohani.

The US has imposed several rounds of illegal sanctions on Iran, which Washington claims to be aimed at pressuring Tehran to abandon its nuclear energy program.

In its latest measure against Iran, the US House of Representatives last Wednesday approved a bill to impose tougher sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports and financial sector.

Tehran has categorically rejected West’s accusations, arguing that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a committed member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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Saudi Arabia denies Bashir Iran-bound plane permission: Sudan

Press TV

Saudi Arabia has blocked an Iran-bound plane carrying Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from its airspace, Khartoum says.

“The Saudi authorities refused to give the plane carrying President Bashir permission to cross their airspace,” AFP quoted Emad Sayed Ahmed, the presidential press secretary as saying.

Bashir was heading for Iranian capital, Tehran to attend the swearing-in of Iran’s new President Hassan Rohani on Sunday.

Ahmed explained that when the plane entered the airspace of the Saudi Arabia, the pilot informed authorities that it had approval and “that it was carrying President Bashir.”

However, “they said the plane didn’t have permission,” forcing the plane to turn back, he said, noting that President Bashir was traveling by a Saudi plane.

This is while Khartoum said it had announced that the Sudanese President “leaves for Tehran on an official two-day visit.”

Delegations from more than 50 countries have attended Rohani’s inauguration ceremony.

Among the participating foreign dignitaries are ten presidents, six vice-presidents, two prime ministers, eight parliament speakers as well as several prominent former officials.

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Regional countries must shut their airspace to Israeli regime: Iran

Regional countries must shut their airspace to Israeli regime: Iran

Press TV

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has urged regional countries not to allow their airspace to be used by the Israeli regime for carrying out crimes against other nations.

At his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Mehmanparast slammed International organizations and Western powers for their silence on Israel’s “aggressions against regional countries.”

On Wednesday, Sudanese Minister of Information Ahmed Belal Osman said that four Israeli military planes had attacked the Yarmouk Complex in Khartoum earlier in the day, killing at least two people.

Sudan called on the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel for violating the country’s sovereignty and bombing the factory.

“We strongly condemn the aggression against Sudan and believe that the UN and the Security Council must solemnly react to this issue,” Mehmanparast said.

“The regional countries must be vigilant and not allow their airspace [to be used] for such crimes.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also rejected media rumors that there was a link between Iran and the Sudanese arms factory attacked by the Israeli regime, saying that Tel Aviv usually fabricates such excuses to cover up the crimes it commits.

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Iran Naval Fleets Dock at Sudan Port

Al Manar

In line with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s strategy of expanding its naval presence in international waters, Iran Navy’s 22nd fleet of warships has called at a Sudanese northeastern port in the Red Sea.

The fleet which comprises Kharg helicopter carrier and Admiral Naqdi destroyer arrived at the Sudanese port on Monday.

The Navy’s 22nd fleet was dispatched to the coasts of Djibouti and Bab el-Mandeb Strait in late September to convey Iran’s message of peace to the regional countries and maintain the security of shipping corridors against maritime terrorism.

The Iranian commanders of the fleet are scheduled to meet with Sudanese Navy commanders during their stay in the North African country.

Iran’s Navy has been multiplying its naval presence in the international waters since last year, deploying vessels to the Indian Ocean and dispatching, in February 2011, two ships via the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea for the first time.

In addition, in line with the international efforts to combat piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard the vessels involved in maritime trade, especially the ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran.

Sudan accuses “Israel” of bombing military factory

Sudan Accuses “Israel” of Bombing Military Factory, Threatens Retaliation

Moqawama

Sudan on Wednesday accused “Israel” for a huge explosion and fire at an arms factory in Khartoum that killed two people.

“Four military planes attacked the Yarmouk plant. … We believe that Israel is behind it,” Sudan Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters, adding that the planes appeared to approach the site from the east.

In parallel, he explained that “four aircraft were involved in the attack, which occurred at about midnight Tuesday at the Yarmouk military manufacturing facility in south Khartoum.”

“Evidence pointing to “Israel” was found among remnants of the explosives,” he revealed.
Osman further confirmed that his country “reserves the right to react at a place and time we choose.”

Asked by “Israel’s” Channel Two News about Sudan’s accusations, “Israeli” War Minister Ehud Barak said: “There is nothing I can say about this subject.”

Similarly, US officials who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity, said, “We have no comment. We can’t help you on this.”

The powerful explosion at the Yarmouk Military Industrial Complex in southern Khartoum rocked Sudan’s capital before dawn Wednesday, sending detonating ammunition flying through the air and causing panic, Sudan’s official news agency and local media reports said.

Nearby buildings were damaged by the blast, their roofs blown off and their windows shattered, according to the reports.

Meanwhile, residents said an aircraft or missile flew over the factory shortly before it exploded and burst into flames, but a top official had dismissed their comments.

An Agence France Presse reporter several kilometers (miles) away saw two or three fires flaring across a wide area, with heavy smoke and intermittent flashes of white light bursting above the state-owned facility.

The children are still dying: Violence is not news

(Iraqi child-File photo)

by Ramzy Baroud, source

Somewhere in my home I have a set of photo albums I rarely go near. I fear the flood of cruel memories that might be evoked from looking at the countless photos I took during a trip to Iraq. Many of the pictures are of children who developed rare forms of cancer as a result of exposure to Depleted Uranium (DU), which was used in the US-led war against Iraq over two decades ago.

I remember visiting a hospital that was attached to Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. The odor that filled its corridors was not the stench of medicine, but rather the aroma of death. At a time of oppressive siege, the hospital lacked even basic anesthetic equipment and drugs. Children sat and stared at their visitors. Some wailed in inconceivable pain. Parents teetered between hope and the futility of hope, and at prayer times they duly prayed.

A young doctor gave a sweeping diagnosis: “No child that ever enters this place ever leaves alive.” Being the young reporter I was at the time, I diligently made a note of his words before asking more questions. I didn’t quite grasp the finality of death.

Several years later, Iraq’s desolation continues. On August 16, 90 people were killed and more were wounded in attacks across the country. Media sources reported on the bloodbath (nearly 200 Iraqis were killed this month alone), but without much context. Are we meant to believe that violence in Iraq has transcended any level of reason? That Iraqis get blown up simply because it is their fate to live in perpetual fear and misery?

But the dead, before they were killed, were people with names and faces. They were fascinating individuals in their own right, deserving of life, rights and dignity. Many are children, who knew nothing of Iraq’s political disputes, invited by US wars and occupation and fomented by those who feed on sectarianism.

We often forget this. Those who refuse to fall into the trap of political extremes still tend to process and accept violence in one way or another. We co-exist with tragedy, with the belief that bombs just go off randomly and that surviving victims cannot be helped. We somehow accept the idea that refugees cannot be repatriated and the hungry cannot be fed.

This strange wisdom is most apparent in Sudan. In the Upper Nile state, people are dying from sheer exhaustion before they reach refugee camps in Batil. Some walk for weeks between South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, seeking respite and any chance of survival. Those who endure the journey – compelled by fighting between the Sudanese army and rebels groups – might not survive the harshness of life awaiting them at Batil. The BBC News reported on August 17, citing a warning by Medecins Sans Frontieres, that “[p]eople are dying in large numbers in a refugee camp in South Sudan.”

I almost stumbled on the ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Batil (as described by MSF’s medical co-ordinator, Helen Patterson) while reviewing reports of the deteriorating situation in some Darfur refugee camps. Batil now hosts nearly 100,000 of the estimated 170,000 refugees who recently fled their homes. According to the medical charity, 28% of the children are malnourished, and the mortality rate is twice that of the accepted emergency threshold.

Darfur is, of course, a festering wound. Many of the internally displaced refugees often find themselves in a constant state of displacement, as was the case earlier this month. UN officials say that ‘all’ 25,000 people in a single refugee camp, Kassab, went on the run again after armed groups clashed with government forces. They settled in another ‘shelter’ nearby, the town of Kutum. According to the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the supposed new shelter ‘lacks water, food and sanitation’ (CNN, August 9).

Since then, the story has somewhat subsided. Not because the fleeing refugees are in a good standing, but because this is all the attention that 25,000 refugees can expect from a media awash with news of two-faced politicians and celebrity scandals. It might take a ‘peacemaking’ celebrity to place Batil or Kassab on the media map for another day or two, and surely nothing less than a sizable number of deaths to make the refugees a relevant news item once again.

That said, no attention-seeking VIP is likely to venture out to Mali anytime soon. While the humanitarian crisis in West Africa is reaching frightening levels, the media continues to address the conflict in Mali in terms of the logic of Western interests being threatened by rebels, coups and jihadists. Aside from the fact that few ask of Western complicity in the chaos, 435,000 refugees are flooding neighboring countries. This was the most recent estimate by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on August 16, but the fact is ignored by most media.

The World Food Program says that the food crisis is devastating – not only for distraught refugees, but also for millions within the country. Malian children are, of course, outnumbering all other victims. They are helplessly dragged around through endless deserts. When they die, they merely leave a mark as yet another statistic, estimated without much certainty, and, sadly, without value.

However, here may lay the moral to the story. Every Malian, Sudanese, Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian, Yemeni or Rohingya child matters immensely to those around him. His or her life – or death – might conveniently serve to fortify a political argument, make a good National Geographic reportage, or a Facebook photo with many ‘shares’ and ‘likes’. But for parents, families, friends and neighbors, their children are the center of their universe, however poor and seemingly wretched. Thus, when UNICEF or UNRWA complains about a shortage of funds, it actually means that thousands of innocent people will needlessly suffer, and that centers of many universes will dramatically implode, replacing hope with bottomless despair, and often rage.

It may be convenient to assign conventional political wisdom to explain complex political issues and violent conflicts. But protracted conflicts don’t make life any less precious, or children any less innocent. It is a tragedy when Iraqis seem to be on a constant parade of burying their loved ones, or when the Sudanese seem to be on a constant quest to save their lives. It’s a greater tragedy, however, when we get so used to the unfolding drama of human violence that we can accept as destined the reality of children crossing the Sahara in search of a sip of water.

“Israel” blamed for Port Sudan air strike

Al Jazeera

An air strike which killed two people near Port Sudan has been blamed on Israel.

The car was hit on Tuesday at a location about 15km south of the city, the capital of Red Sea State.

“This is absolutely an Israeli attack,” said Ali Karti, Sudan’s foreign minister. “We are absolutely sure of this.”

Karti said Israel destroyed the vehicle in order to scupper Sudan’s chances of being removed from a US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“There have been allegations from Israel that Sudan is supporting some Islamic groups. This is not true. When Israel makes these allegations, it is trying to justify what it did yesterday,” he said.

The identities of those killed have not yet been released, but Karti said one of the two people in the car was a Sudanese citizen who had no ties to the government.

The plane flew in from the direction of the Red Sea, destroyed the vehicle at about 10:00pm (19:00 GMT), and returned in the direction from which it came, Mohammed Tahir, the speaker of the Red Sea state parliament, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

Israeli reaction

Newspapers in Israel were quick to point to their country’s involvement.

“IDF (the Israeli military) carried out an attack in Sudan” read the front page story in Israel’s top-selling Yediot Aharonot.

“Planes which approached from the Red Sea assassinated wanted men in Africa,” the newspaper’s strapline read.

The attack was also carried on the front page of Israel HaYom, a freesheet considered close to Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, which billed it as “Liquidation in Sudan”.

Conflicting reports

The Sudanese Media Centre, a news agency reportedly linked to Sudan’s state security apparatus, said the army had responded with missiles but the plane had managed to evade them.

The centre “confirmed it was a foreign plane” but did not say where the plane came from, or where it went, and did not identify the two people killed.

A police official, meanwhile, suggested a missile had been fired from the sea.

A witness told the Reuters news agency that there was a heavy presence of security forces at the scene, between Port Sudan airport and the city, 660km northeast of Khartoum, the capital.

“They are preventing anyone from getting close. I can see one burnt-out car,” the witness said.

Another source at Port Sudan said three loud explosions had been heard.

“We went outside to see what was happening and witnesses told us they saw two helicopters which looked liked Apaches flying past,” the source said.

Previous ‘Israeli’ attack

In January 2009, a convoy of suspected arms smugglers was hit by unidentified aircraft, also in Red Sea State.
That attack was also reportedly carried out by Israel – allegedly to stop weapons bound for Gaza.

At least 40 people were reportedly killed in the incident, which was disclosed only two months after it occurred. State media said the death toll was 119…

Sudanese Student Dies of Wounds following Khartoum Clashes

Al Manar

31/01/2011 A Sudanese student died after he was beaten by police during anti-government protests in Khartoum on Sunday.

“Mohammed Abdulrahman, from Ahlia University, died last night in Omdurman hospital as a result of his … wounds after he was beaten by police,” an activist who took part in Sunday’s protest told AFP news agency on Monday.

Sunday’s demonstrations followed calls by the “30 January” Facebook group for Sudanese youth to take to the streets and stage peaceful anti-government rallies across Sudan.

This morning (Monday) both Ahlia University and the Islamic University of Omdurman have been closed by a government decision,” the activist added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Protesters on Sunday were confronted by a heavy police presence in different parts of Khartoum and in El-Obeid, around 600 kilometers (370 miles) west of the capital.

The ensuing clashes resulted in at least 64 arrests and left many wounded.

In Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city just across the Nile, around 1,000 demonstrators shouted slogans against President Omar al-Bashir and hurled rocks at riot police, who retaliated with tear gas and batons.

(AFP)

“Israel” finances military helicopter deal for South Sudan

MEMO

Israel is making “arrangements” to find and equip the new state’s embassies and persuade other countries to assist in this process.

Reports from Sudan claim that senior Israeli officials have been advising the secessionist Council of Ministers of the Government of the South [Sudan] on matters relating to the “final details” of the expected “independence” from Khartoum and military support. Arab diplomatic sources called a meeting held in Israel in mid-December “important” and “extraordinary”.

According to the Sudanese Centre for Press Services, the meeting put the final touches to the expected changes in international relations and attitudes following the recent referendum, which is expected to call for secession. Egypt is one country which is concerned about the conditions in the region after January 15.

It is claimed that the meeting agreed that Israel would finance a deal to provide attack helicopters for the new army in Southern Sudan, thus “completing” the arming of the South; previous support has included weapons, ammunition, rocket-propelled and anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft guns, tanks and general vehicles. The reports added that Israel is making “arrangements” to find and equip the new state’s embassies and persuade other countries to assist in this process.

Commentators have pointed out recently that Israel has played a major part in sustaining the armed rebellion in Southern Sudan since the 1950s as part of the Zionist state’s strategy to keep Arab states divided and diverted by internal disputes.

Israelis can tell the whole story of Sudan’s division – they wrote the script and trained the actors

by Fahmi Howeidi, source

Now that we have been unable to defend the unity of Sudan, it might benefit us to understand what has happened there. Perhaps that will alert us to the fact that secession of the south is not the end, but is one of a series of splits intended to dismantle the Arab world surrounding Egypt.

From very early on, Zionists realized that minorities in the Arab world represent a natural ally to their state of Israel and so they planned to build bridges with them. Zionist representatives communicated with the Kurds in Iraq, the people in southern Sudan, the Maronites in Lebanon, Kurds in Syria, and the Copts in Egypt; Zionism adopted the principle of divide and conquer, and saw that the most effective way to fragment the Arab world was to create secessionist movements within it. In doing so, it sought the redistribution of power in the region in such a manner to make a group of marginal countries lacking unity and sovereignty, all the easier for Israel, in cooperation with non-Arab countries to control them one after the other later. All the rebel movements triggered by ethnic and sectarian groups in the Arab world have drawn support and advocacy from Israel, which has adopted these separatist movements, as witnessed by the Kurds in Iraq and the rebel movement in southern Sudan.

This situation helps us to understand Israel’s strategy towards the Arab world, which is designed to encourage minorities to express themselves so that they may eventually seize self-determination and independence from the state. What helps in all of this is that the Arab world, contrary to what the Arabs claim, does not consist of one cultural and civilized unity – the mythical “Arab nation”   but it is a diverse mix of cultures, religions, ethnicities and multilingualism. Israel has been used to  portraying the region as a mosaic that includes in its midst a complex network of multi-linguistic, religious, nationalism forms between Arabs, Persians, Turks, Armenians, Israelis themselves, Kurds, Baha’is, Druze, Jews, Protestants, Alawites, Sabians, Shiites, Sunnis, Maronites, Circassians, Turkomans, Assyrians and so on.

According to Israel’s view, when a land or part of a land has minority groups within it but no collective history, the real history is the history of each minority. This has the purpose of achieving two main objectives:

First, it rejects the concept of Arab nationalism and the call for Arab unity; Arab nationalism in the Israeli perception is an idea shrouded in mystery, if not irrelevant. Arab unity is a myth because the Arabs pay lip service to one nation, but live within mutually incompatible states. It is true that most are united by language and religion, but that is also the case with people across the English- or Spanish-speaking worlds, but that does not make them one nation.

Second, this is used to justify the legitimacy of Israel’s presence in the region as just one more to add to the mix of nationalities, peoples and languages, for which the perception of unity is an illusion. The logical conclusion of this train of thought is that each group of people (whether calling themselves a nation or not) has its own state; thus does Israel gains its legitimacy as one of many nation-states in the Middle East.

The preceding thesis is taken from a text book: “Israel and the South Sudan Liberation Movement”, published in 2003 by the Dayan Centre for Research on the Middle East and Africa. The author is retired head of Mossad Moshe Faraji. I have referred to him on more than one occasion. He is worth looking at again as the crop sown by Israel and its allies since the 1950s is beginning to bear fruit.

Another senior Israeli, former Minister of Internal Security Avi Dichter, referred to Sudan in his 2008 lecture delivered to the Institute for Zionist National Security Studies. “There have been Israeli estimates since Sudan’s independence in the mid-fifties that this country, although far from us, should not be allowed to become a force added to the power of the Arab world because if its resources continue under stable conditions, it will make it a power to be reckoned with.” Hence, Israel’s attention has been directed towards Sudan, hoping to exploit the situation.

Sudan provides strategic depth to Egypt. This was evident post-1967 when Sudan and Libya provided training facilities for the Egyptian air force and army; Sudanese forces were sent to the Suez Canal zone during the war of attrition waged by Egypt between 1968 and 1970. For these two reasons, Dichter added, Israel had to work on weakening Sudan and prevent it from becoming a strong, unified state. This strategic perspective is necessary, he said, for Israeli’s national security. It is worth noting that Dichter’s lecture took place almost thirty years after the peace agreement signed between Egypt and Israel in 1979.

When asked about the future of southern Sudan, Dichter replied: “There are international forces led by the United States that are determined to intervene in Sudan so that the South will become independent, and the same for the Darfur region, like the independence of Kosovo. The situation in southern Sudan is not unlike that in Darfur and Kosovo, in that the two regions aspire to independence and acquire the right to self-determination after their citizens fought for that.”

Israeli support for the rebels in southern Sudan has gone through five stages notes Colonel Faraji:

Phase 1 started in the fifties. For nearly a decade, Israel focused on providing humanitarian aid (medicines, food and doctors) and was keen to provide services to refugees who were fleeing to Ethiopia. The first attempts to invest in the tribal differences in southern Sudan itself began in order to intensify the conflict and encourage the South to secede from the Arab north. Israeli intelligence officers stationed in Uganda opened channels of communication with the leaders of the southern tribes to study the demographic map of the area.

Phase 2 began in the sixties with Israel providing military training in special centres established in Ethiopia. At this stage, the Israeli government became convinced that keeping Khartoum busy with internal wars was sufficient to make sure that it would be unable to provide any support for Egypt’s struggle with the Zionist state.

Proselytizing organizations active in the south encouraged Israel to send members of its intelligence services under the cover of humanitarian aid; the prime goal was to train influential people to sustain the tension in the region. At this stage, Israel also expanded its support to the rebels by providing weapons through Ugandan territory; the first of such deals was in 1962, with mainly Russian armaments which had been captured by Israel when it took part in the aggressive Suez campaign in 1956. Fighters were trained in southern Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya before being pushed over the border to fight inside Sudan.

Phase 3 extended from the mid-sixties into the seventies, when the flow of arms to Southern Sudan was facilitated by an Israeli arms dealer called Gabi Shafine, who was working for Israeli intelligence. Shipments of Russian weapons won by Israel in 1967 were dropped by Israeli cargo planes. Israel also established a school for infantry officers to train the cadres necessary to lead the rebel factions. Israeli elements were involved in the fighting to lend their expertise to the South. At this stage groups were taken to Israel to receive military training. At the beginning of the seventies another channel for the delivery of Israeli support to South Sudan through Uganda was opened officially.

When it seemed that the rebel movement was about to collapse in 1969, Israel made a tremendous effort to urge the rebels to continue their fight, and used every method available to them to persuade southerners that they were engaged in a national struggle between Arab-Muslims in the north who were dominating a Black-African-Christian-Animist south.

Phase 4 from the late seventies through the eighties saw the African continent witness several major diversions (e.g. drought in Ethiopia) which did not stop Israel from supporting the rebels; indeed, support increased after Ethiopia became a regular conduit for the delivery of weapons to the South. John Garang emerged at this stage as a leader supported by Israel; he was received in Tel Aviv and given money and weapons. Israel was keen to train his men in various martial arts; ten pilots were trained to use light fighter aircraft.

Phase 5 started in late 1990 with expanding Israeli support; shipments reached the south through Kenya and Ethiopia. Israel provided the south with heavy anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft guns. At the beginning of 1993, the coordination between Israel and the SPLA (the southern army) included funding, training, armament, information and supervision by Israeli technicians of military operations.

It is clear that Israel has been eyeing southern Sudan for more than half a century.

A worthy observation is that the insurgency in the south began in 1955, one year before the Declaration of Independence of the state of Sudan. This illustrates that the oft-cited reason for southern secession – the implementation of Shari’a Law by the government of Al-Turabi in 1989 – is merely an excuse; this is a struggle that has gone on long before such proposals were even mooted.

While Israel was supporting the southern rebels with arms, Western countries were continuing their diplomatic efforts to arrange the division of Sudan through a referendum. The peace accord signed between the Khartoum government and the rebels was reached with British, American and Norwegian sponsorship. For more than fifty years, the people of Sudan have faced armed insurrection on one side and diplomatic pressure and dirty tricks on the other. If just a quarter of such an effort had been applied on the situation in Palestine, the problem would have been resolved decades ago. Self-determination appears to be acceptable, indeed highly desirable, if it will weaken a predominantly Arab state, but off the agenda when it involves the Palestinians obtaining their rights against the Zionist state of Israel.

They have planned for this division of Sudan and look set to get what they wanted. As for the Arabs, they have stood and watched as mere spectators. I hope that this is not a precursor for further disappointments to come.

Source: Al-Khaleej Times

Sudan Set to Split Despite Egyptian Moves

Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani

CAIRO, Dec 1, 2010 (IPS) – The U.S. has rejected an Egyptian proposal for a “confederation” between northern and southern Sudan, insisting that a Jan. 9 referendum – which will determine the fate of the south – go ahead as scheduled. According to Egyptian analysts, the move proves Washington’s determination to see Africa’s largest country split in two.

“The US is dead-set on seeing the emergence of an independent state of Southern Sudan to achieve political aims on the African continent,” Hani Raslan, expert in Sudanese affairs at the semi-official Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies told IPS.

A peace agreement was signed in 2005 between Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in the Kenyan city Naivasha. The agreement aimed at halting the longstanding civil war between north and south that had flared up intermittently since the 1950s.

Contentiously, the agreement – backed by the U.S. and the African Union – stipulated that a referendum eventually be held in the south on proposed independence from the Sudanese government in Khartoum. The agreement also called for a referendum in central Sudan’s oil-rich Abyei region to decide whether it would join the north or the south.

Both referendums are slated for Jan. 9 next year. As it now stands, the majority of southern Sudanese are widely expected to vote in favour of independence.

Hardly relishing the notion of a brand new country to its south – with whom it would presumably have to share coveted Nile water – Egypt has, since 2005, consistently worked towards maintaining Sudan’s political unity.

“Egypt has stepped up investment in southern Sudan, where it has launched several major infrastructure projects,” said Raslan. “It has also been dispatching frequent high-level diplomatic missions to the provisional southern government in Juba.”

On Nov. 3, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit noted that within the last five years Egypt had pumped more than 500 million Egyptian pounds (87 million dollars) into projects in southern Sudan – including hospitals, schools and power stations – “in hope of convincing the people of southern Sudan to choose unity over secession.”

The minister also stressed Egypt’s concern over the fact that, with the referendum right around the corner, serious issues – which could eventually lead to conflict – remained unresolved between the two sides. These, he said, included border demarcation, distribution of natural resources, especially petroleum, migration issues, and the fate of the Abyei region.

Aboul-Gheit went on to suggest that, rather than choosing outright independence, southern Sudan should opt for a “confederation” with the north. “This means they would be two independent countries, but would share a single currency and have a single foreign policy,” he explained.

In light of the several outstanding issues between north and south, secession, he warned, “could lead to violence.”

A study released Nov. 25 by international NGOs Frontier and Aegis warned of the possibility of renewed civil war if outstanding differences were not resolved. Besides bringing death and displacement beyond measure, the report noted, such a scenario would likely cost Sudan alone more than 100 billion dollars.

The cost of such a war to Egypt, the report suggested, “could average over 7 billion dollars per year.”

“Egypt made its confederation proposal in hope of preserving the close north- south relationship, through which secondary issues might be worked out amicably,” said Raslan. “But without such a close relationship, Egypt fears these issues could lead to war if the south becomes independent before they’re resolved.”

Despite Egypt’s concerns, the U.S. soon stated its rejection of the proposal. A week after Egypt first tabled the idea, U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley declared that the fate of southern Sudan would be left to its people to decide.

According to Raslan, Washington’s insistence on seeing an independent state of Southern Sudan “has less to do with the popular will of the southern Sudanese people than it does with U.S. geo-political ambitions.

“In the final days of the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. Defence Department established Africa Command, or AFRICOM, mandated with handling military operations in Africa. And a central component of this new regional command will be a massive military base, which the U.S. hopes to set up in southern Sudan.

“By establishing a strong military presence in the new country, the U.S. also hopes to contain the decidedly Islamic nature of northern Sudan,” he said.

The population of northern Sudan is predominantly Muslim, while that of Southern Sudan is mostly Christian and animist.

Helmy Shaarawi, director of the Cairo-based Arab-Africa Research Centre, agreed. He contrasted Washington’s enthusiasm for the Sudan referendum to its indifference to a similar referendum proposal for India’s disputed Kashmir region.

“In 1948, the UN Security Council issued resolution No. 47 calling for a referendum in Kashmir to determine whether the region would join India or Pakistan,” Shaarawi told IPS. “Yet despite the fact that most Kashmiri people want the referendum, and even though Kashmir continues to suffer political violence, U.S. and western officials remain entirely indifferent to the idea.”

The first tangible steps towards the independence of southern Sudan were taken in mid-November, when the provisional Juba government began registering voters.

“Secession at this point appears a fait accompli,” said Raslan. “As for the referendum itself – that’s merely a formality.”

The Real Genocide is Playing Out in Ethiopia–And the West is Funding It

by Fahed Al Bahadi

{Money for fighting piracy andd false tears for Somalia} by Fahed Al Bahadi

Busting the Darfur Myth

By TOM MOUNTAIN, counter punch

Asmara, Eritrea.

As one of the first to write about the problems in West Sudan/Darfur, in mid 2003, and living side by side here in Asmara for three years with representatives of the Darfur, and other Sudanese resistance, my investigation has found no evidence of genocide. Of course, genocide has and is being committed by Ethiopia against the Somalis in Ethiopia, but there has been no genocide in Darfur.

Let us start by comparing the two situations, the first being Darfur and the second the Ethiopian Ogaden.
The refugees of the Darfur conflict were and are the beneficiaries of one of the largest, and most effective relief works in history.

In contrast, relief aid to the Somalis living in the Ethiopian Ogaden, what little there was to begin with, has been effectively shut down now in almost all of the Ogaden for several years, despite one of the worst droughts in history.

Darfur has had an international police force in place for years, who work along side Sudanese security forces and most of the violence has ended.

In the Ogaden, Ethiopian death squads, funded by western “aid” have spent the better part of the past decade spreading murder and mayhem across the countryside. With almost everyone from the International Committee of the Red Cross to Doctors Without Borders being expelled, there has been miniscule coverage of this genocide in the western media let alone any exposure of the western role in funding the Ethiopian regime. Compare this to the saturation of the western media with the “Save Darfur” propaganda campaign and the tried and true golden rule of “show me the money” needs to be applied to explain what is really going on.

The Darfur genocide myth has been promoted by western “human rights” NGOs who have collected tens, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars under the rubric of “Enough” and “Preventing Genocide”. The claims of genocide are based on estimates of the number of deaths that were rapidly inflated as the dollars started rolling in. First it was 100,000, then 200,000, then 300,000 and finally, in a claim so ludicrous that even the British government media watchdog yanked it off the air, 400,000 people were supposed to have been victims of genocide in Darfur. None of the Darfur reps I have heard here in Asmara ever gave any credibility to the western figures. In fact, most everyone here in the Horn, at least those not on the western payroll, all agree the real number of those lost in the violence in west Sudan is in the tens of thousands, a tragic number but far surpassed by what has befallen those suffering in Somalia and the Ogaden where a real genocide has been taking place.

Today, the humanitarian situation in Somalia, where aid workers still operate, has been declared the worst in the world (and with what is happening to the Tamils in the concentration camps in Sri Lanka that is saying a lot). Next door in the Ethiopian Ogaden, conveniently there are almost no aid agencies, other than in a few towns, to witness what is as bad or more likely worse than in Somalia. Yet what do we hear from those who are collecting so much loot on behalf of suffering Africans about the real genocide going on in the Ogaden?

As I mentioned earlier, I first wrote about what I believed was happening in Sudan and Ethiopia back in mid 2003. Sudan is estimated to have suffered some two million deaths during its decades long civil war between the north and the south. After many years of hard work, peace has slowly, almost tortuously, been nurtured in Sudan, with the major ground work laid during negotiations held here in Asmara. In contrast to this what is the program of action demanded by the “Save Darfur” lot? A western-led military invasion and occupation a la Iraq and Afghanistan! With half a million or more dead in Iraq and Afghanistan thanks to western military “intervention” who in their right mind could think that sending western soldiers to Sudan will do anything other than destroy the peace so painfully built these past few years and cause even more suffering?

While peace has been slowing taking hold in Darfur, in the Ogaden peace is a long lost memory. War, famine and disease are spreading across the Ogaden and is becoming a situation that is increasingly the norm in growing areas of Ethiopia. While the western hucksters rake in beaucoup millions of dollars while peddling their “Save Darfur” bunkum , Sudanese have seen peace break out. In contrast, Ethiopians, suffering under a regime that is the largest recipient of western aid in Africa see only a future of growing ethnic and religious conflict and worse, active programs of genocide.

The problems developing in Ethiopia can invariably be traced back to the west, mainly the USA. The west, in particular the USA are hell bent on keeping Africa in a state of crisis, the better to exploit. And the “Save Darfur” lobby is all for bringing more violence to Africa under the guise of “humanitarian intervention”, while little of the tens of millions they collect ever reaches the Sudanese who it was intended for.

Busting the Darfur genocide myth is long overdue. If people in the west really want to help Africa they should stop donating to the Save Darfur fraudsters and start demanding accountability for the tens of billions of western aid that is paying for a real genocide in the Ethiopian Ogaden.

Tom Mountain lives in Somalia and can be reached at thomascmountain@yahoo.com

“Israel’s” Strikes on Sudan: Globalizing Politicide

{Violation of Sudanese lands by Zionist fighter planes-Pilot: “Arabs” airspace are my country} by Omar Abdallat

{Violation of Sudanese lands by Zionist fighter planes-Pilot: “Arabs” airspace are my countries} by Omar Abdallat

By SEAN McMAHON, counter punch

Three times since the start of 2009, including on 17 January and 11 February, Israel has attacked the sovereign state of Sudan. Reports vary, but it seems clear that Israel executed the bombings using American-supplied F-15 and F-16 fighter planes and unmanned drones and killed or injured at least 50 people. These attacks represent obvious violations of international law. Not as obvious, but more importantly, the attacks also represent a renewed globalizing of Israel’s policy of politicide. They are the most recent instances of Israel making global its policy of destroying the national existence of the Palestinians. As such they represent a very real and increasing threat to individual and international peace and security, particularly to the people of the post-colonial south, but also those of the imperial north.
Baruch Kimmerling defines politicide, with specific reference to Israel, as “a process that has, as its ultimate goal, the dissolution of the Palestinian people’s existence as a legitimate social, political and economic entity.” Furthermore, “[p]oliticide is a process that covers a wide range of social, political and military activities whose goal is to destroy the political and national existence of a whole community of people [the Palestinians] and thus deny it the possibility of self-determination.”

The bombings of the Sudan are not the first time Israel has extended this process far a field of Palestine. As a colonial movement Zionism has of necessity always pursued political activities in the service of politicide in, among other centers of imperial, reactionary power, London, Washington and Pretoria. Similarly, but more directly violent, in 1988 Israel bombed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Tunis, and in the same place that same year assassinated Abu Jihad. However, for the past 15 years Israel largely restricted politicide to Palestine, with some notable and devastating forays and debacles in Lebanon and Jordan. Israel realizes the process through the structural violence of its illegal military occupation of the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip and policies such as land and resource expropriation, house demolitions, settlement and wall construction, curfews and the destruction of educational and social institutions. Properly historicized Israel’s “massacre,” to use the term Finkelstein deploys, of the people of Gaza is the most recent and directly violent articulation of this long and persistent process of politicide in Palestine. If we are to believe media reports, Israel’s bombings in the Sudan targeted convoys intended to provide Palestinians with means to resist being massacred in Gaza. This, in turn, means that Israel again globalized its campaign of politicide against Palestinians. The 2009 bombings of the Sudan represent a renewal of Israel’s genocidal campaign against Palestinians on a more global scale.

After the attacks then-Israeli Prime Minister Olmert was explicit on this point: “We operate everywhere we can hit terrorist infrastructure – in nearby places, in places far away.” He also explained that people should “know that there is no place where Israel cannot operate. There is no such place.” These statements are acknowledgement in no uncertain terms that Israel has the capability and willingness to take its destruction of the Palestinian community anywhere in the world. Obviously, they must also be read to mean that Israel will determine unilaterally the “terrorist infrastructure” to be targeted. Anyone who follows Israeli policy knows well that this is very inclusive terminology. All manner of social services including health clinics and charitable organizations have been deemed by Israel to be “terrorist infrastructure,” and now Israel has declared the global applicability of its lexicon.

The renewal of globalized politicide (and, of course, its attendant vocabulary) coupled with increasing global interdependence exposes more people to potential Israeli violence. The most recent violence destroyed the lives of Sudanese, Ethiopians and Eritreans. This, of course, is important in its own right, but it also does not signify the end or extent of the matter. First, just as the Lebanese and Tunisians have been victimized by Israeli violence in the past because Israel was destroying Palestinians and Palestinian communities in their midst, contemporarily, the increased global movement of people and extension of institutional connections vastly expands the geographic scope of potential innocent victims. Politicide knows no territorial bounds, which means that Canadians, Germans and Australians, any societies hosting potential targets of Israeli violence, are again threatened. Second, given Israel’s inclusive reading and global applicability of the “terrorist infrastructure” lexicon, the very real possibility exists that other individuals and institutions, not Palestinian per se, will be exposed to Israel’s none too tender mercies. Looking at Israel’s targeting, either by state agencies or through proxies, of individuals such as Norman Finkelstein, Joel Kovel, Rachel Corrie and Tristan Anderson and institutions such as the al-Jazeera network and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), it is no great leap to assume that individuals and institutions, whoever and wherever they may be, refusing to subscribe to and support Israel’s ideas and practices, are again increasingly likely objects of Israeli politicide. For those who might scoff at and easily dismiss this suggestion it is instructive to recall here that the offices of both Alex Odeh, the regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination League (ADC) and Edward Said were fire-bombed in 1985, and that no one has ever been convicted of either crime.

Now, it should not be taken from the preceding, as Israel certainly wants it to be, that Palestinians and the realization of their inalienable rights are a liability for or a threat to other and/or host societies. Palestinians and the realization of their rights are not the “problem.” Palestinians and the realization of their rights are not a threat to individual or international peace and security. On the contrary, it is the denial of Palestinians and the realization of the rights that threatens individual and international peace and security. As the agent of this denial, this negation, Israel is the threat. This was, in fact, borne out by a 2003 European Commission poll which found Israel to be the single greatest threat to world peace. “In all Member States [of the European Union] (with the exception of Italy) the majority of citizens believe that Israel represents a threat to peace in the world.” As Tanya Reinhart notes citing the same poll: “Israel is considered a threat by 59 per cent of those polled. The United States, Iran and North Korea, come only second on this list, each considered a threat by 53 per cent of the EU population.” Despite the best efforts of the collaborationist media, Europeans recognize that neither Iran or North Korea pose the threat to international security that Israel does. Since the poll, and presumably re-enforcing its findings, Iran and North Korea, much less the Palestinians, have not conducted two bombings (Syria in 2007 and Sudan repeatedly in 2009) and one assassination (the killing of Imad Mugniyah in Damascus in 2008) against or in another sovereign state in the past two years. Such an impressive record of belligerence is Israel’s alone.

The surest way to realize international peace and security, and combat “terrorism” for that matter, is to demand the realization of Palestinian rights, notably the right to national self-determination in the form of a viable state. Alternatively, the surest way to ensure that more people, in farther flung regions of the world, get killed in Israel’s realization of politicide is to let its recent renewal of the global nature of this process go unchecked. Encouraging this renewal, as the U.S. and Canada among others, have regrettably and reprehensibly done, augurs more victims of Israeli violence, even possibly, in something that can only be characterized as betrayal of state responsibility, their own citizens and members of their societies.

Sean McMahon is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at The American University in Cairo. He can be reached at: smcmahon@aucegypt.edu

Footnotes can be found in original source.

Is the carrot back?!

{Marhaba (greeting) axis of evil-Ahlen (another greeting) big Satan) by Naser Al Jafari-Al Sijil newspaper-Jordan

{Marhaba (greeting) "axis of evil"-Ahlen (another greeting) "big satan") by Naser Al Ja'fari-Al Sijil newspaper-Jordan

So it seems at first glance but in the corner of my eye I still can see that stick ready to go at any moment.

On the carrot front: the US and EU want to invite Iran to a conference on Afghanistan  (they seem to be having some problems with delivering supplies to their troops so now they need Iran), the UK wants to talk to Hizba’Allah’s political wing (umm news flash for the UK you can’t differentiate between the political and military wing in Hizba’Allah they have the same leadership), Syria seems to be loved again by the EU especially France, Syria and Saudi Arabia are talking again after a few years of deadlock, and Syria might be talking to Egypt too. All looks good well it depends on how you look at it, each of these actions are either done for the direct interest of the US and EU or a way to break up the coalition between Iran, Hizba’Allah and Syria. I’m not really sure if they are for real or not but it is mentioned sometimes; though anyone who knows the situation in the Middle East thinks that is unlikely and laughs at the idea, saying those three along with Hamas won’t let a good coalition go over the interests of the ones who attacked them in the first place.

On the stick front, we have the arrest warrant of Al Bashir (the president of Sudan), the war in Gaza along with the ongoing embargo on it and the huge removal of Palestinians from Jerusalem that came in a short period of time, the continuance of the occupation in Iraq (the withdrawal is a sham with keeping 50,000 troops and bringing in private mercenaries from Uganda for example), adding more troops in Afghanistan, and let us not forget the attack on Iran because of its nuclear program.

The US and EU may have some Arab rulers and others by the neck and think we will be eating from the palm of their hands but we have two eyes open to the stick behind the carrot and when it will be revealed and how.

Sudan issue: International justice???

We all know there is a war in the Darfur region of Sudan. A while ago some of the warring factions and the Sudanese government had a meeting in Qatar and agreed on some things, so the issue was being dealt with but then this happened.

The international justice system has become politicized, to be one of the many long arms of what is called the international community basically the US administration and the ones who revolve around it. What I have heard till now about this accusation is that it came through the UN Security Council saying the Darfur issue is threatening world peace? Eh? How is it doing that? So the war in Sri Lanka is not? How about the ones in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine? So what Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair, Rice did in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan along with others are not war crimes?! The death of hundreds of thousands is nothing? These people are free and even some of them reemployed like Blair to bring “peace” have done nothing wrong and shouldn’t rot in jail? How about “Israel’s” Peres, Sharon, Netanyahu, Olmert, Livni, Barak, etc. are all exempted of genocide and war crimes in Palestine and Lebanon even if it is obvious with the ones with eyes? Yes sure this court said they don’t have the specialty to deal with the crimes in Gaza, yeah right we believe you *rolls eyes*. Peres was given a Nobel peace prize while Sharon was called the “man of peace”, simply disgusting.

Even if Al Bashir, the president of Sudan, has done something the utter hypocrisy of the international court and community across the years makes it very hard to even believe them. Is the international court going to help Sudan? How when it is indirectly asked for a coup when calling out to the Sudanese to catch their active president. That brings peace to Sudan? On the contrary it brings exactly the opposite.

The whole situation is ridiculous,  these “world rulers” can’t come up with something good, it is only the populations around the world who can make a difference.