Sudan: Arguing With God


January 20, 2009: The Darfur rebels are apparently getting organized for another round of attacks. The Sudanese, despite their extensive ethnic cleansing program (which forced millions of non-Arab Sudanese to flee to refugee camps), have seen the rebels grow stronger. That's because the foreign aid for the refugees, which the Sudanese cannot stop completely, provides a base for the Darfur rebels. Thus the government is locked in an endless cycle of violence in Darfur (which is most of western Sudan). The apparent success of the government in using Arab tribes (who are more loyal to the government) to drive non-Arab tribes off their land (and allowing the Arab tribes to move in), has backfired. The international outrage was believed neutralized by most Arab nations refusing to criticize a fellow Arab state for such behavior. But that was not the case. The boldness and inhumanity of the Sudanese actions in Darfur have angered some Arabs as well, and now the president of Sudan is accused of being a war criminal by an international court. Sudan is determined to struggle on, as the government is run by Islamic conservatives who believe God is on their side, and God wants Arab Sudanese to steal the land of non-Arab Sudanese. Who would argue with God?

January 18, 2009: What is the "Framework Agreement" that will emerge as a new Darfur peace process? No one knows for sure, which may be part of the diplomacy. The U.S. recently brought members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group to America. The JEM said it wanted "genuine peace negotiations." However, the exact "details will emerge" (later). The U.S. has been involved with several Arab governments who want to help end the war in Darfur.

January 15, 2009: A firefight broke out between two Darfur rebel groups. Members of the JEM fought with forces from the Sudan Liberation Army-Minawi Faction. The firefight took place near the town of Muhajiriya. The rebels claimed that Sudan national government soldiers and a janjaweed militia were also involved in the attack (fighting as allies of the SLA-Minawi force).

January 14, 2009: Sudan and several of its allies are trying to stop the International Criminal Court from actually issuing a warrant for the arrest of President Omar al-Bashir. The latest pitch is that issuing a warrant would "impede the Darfur peace process." This follows a statement from the national government's senior security officer that "outlaws" might target foreign visitors in Sudan if Bashir were indicted for war crimes. If it sounds like a bullying threat, well, it is.

Aid agencies reported a serious armed clash in Southern Kordofan. Members of the Hawazma tribe attacked Nuba villages and at least one SPLA military camp in Khor el Delib. 19 people died in the attacks

January 11, 2009: Nine members of the Shilluk tribe died in a fight with Dinka tribesmen in Upper Nile State. A preliminary investigation indicated that the Dinka attacked the Shilluk after an argument broke out between tribal dancers. Ironically, the tribes were participating in a "peace rally." A retaliatory attack by the Shilluk could drastically escalate the situation.

January 8, 2009: Economic analysts in Sudan are worried that the drop in oil prices will force both the national and southern governments to "reduce official spending." This could lead to social unrest.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) accused the government of launching air attacks in North Darfur state. The government was accused of using both Antonov transports (rigged as bombers) and helicopters in the air attacks.

January 6, 2009: Several international aid groups want the UN to increase the number of troops deployed as part of the UNMIS force (UN Mission in Sudan, ie, southern peacekeeping operation). Northern and southern conflicts are increasing, with Abyei being the focal point.

The GOSS recently estimated that 80,000 south Sudanese fighters died in the long civil war with the north. The GOSS is putting together a database on the fighters.




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