News on Sudan


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

UN Human Rights Council Condemns Coercive Sanctions

The following very personal perspective comes to us from Khalid Mubarak

“He tied his hands then pushed him in the pond
“Beware, do not get wet, he said!”

The cynical anonymous Arab poet who wrote the lines translated above has lived and passed away centuries before the current international order, which was “born” after the Second World War and still draws and sets rules and laws that control relations between nations despite the fact that most UN member states agree that it is no longer adequate or fair.  Ban ki Moon has said it.  Even Barack Obama, the president of the country that is the main beneficiary of the outmoded and unsustainable World Order has admitted that it has to change.  When he retired, the subservient Kofi Annan wrote in his memoirs that the Security Council would become more and more irrelevant if it didn’t change.
Maulana Mohamed Bushra Dosa, Dr. Muaz Tingo and the Sudanese diplomats and human rights advocates, with their hands tied firmly by an unjust and unsustainable order, listened during the UNHRC’s 22nd session to verbal attacks about the September 2013 subsidies riots that were sparked by an IMF reform recipe.  The IMF is the financial extension of the flawed International Order that ties the hands and feet of developing countries, then watched the resulting disorder without comment.  The US Congress has stymed the reform of the IMF (accepted even by the US administration) forcing the BRICS groups of countries to start establishing an alternative, more equitable and fair Fund.
Change of the decaying International Order is slow and facing resistance; but cracks are already visible.  The suffering caused to the Sudanese by unfair unilateral US sanctions was condemned in Geneva, during the Human Rights session attended by valiant Sudanese delegations and Sudan’s allies.  The US was not openly named; but the reference was crystal clear:
“In  resolutions (A/HRC/27/L.2) the Council called upon all states to stop adopting, maintaining or implementing unilateral coercive measures not in accordance with international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter of the UN and norms and principles governing peaceful relations among states.  Condemns the continued unilateral application and enforcement by certain powers of such measures as tools of political or economic pressure against any country”. 
Under pressure from developing countries and from US businesses that saw the short-sighted policies resulting in the Sudan “looking east”, some sanctions were eased; but the main remain.  More pressure will result in more retreat until the wall of “banking blockade” is shattered for the benefit of both the Sudanese and US people.
Another relevant point that reared its head in Geneva is the West’s double standards in condemning the Sudan.  Our country is facing insurgency and armed warlords (who are encouraged by Western residence and closed eyes policies).  Exceptional security threats justify exceptional measures when the West is endangered; but no understanding is shown when the Sudan, facing existential security threats – takes some emergency action.  When the West’s security was endangered by the brutal terror of IS, a military response was justifiably agreed upon.  When Edward Snowden’s revelations were seen as security breaches by the West, agents openly entered the basement of the most liberal and democratically led newspaper, the Guardian last January and supervised the breaking to pieces of all the relevant hard drives.  The media in the most mature democracy in the planet accepted that as a security measure.
The Sudan is a country that has embarked on a process of democratisation, in which it made (since 2005) huge unacknowledged strides, with Western support. There are now tens of political parties including the Communist Party and many critical newspapers.  There are even civil society groups financed by Western embassies. The process is still under way and incomplete.  Even the International Crisis Group has admitted that the ICCs targeting of the Sudan has emboldened the rebels and made their seeing sense more difficult.
Encouraged by the seamy forces in the West that do not represent the West’s best democratic traditions, especially in the US, rebels are intent on keeping the country’s wounds open, bleeding the economy and squeezing its resources, refusing elections in order to argue that there is no constitutional legitimacy and hoping to thrive in the ensuing chaos.
Instead of confronting them and stopping those who incite and encourage them, the West criticises the government of the Sudan – while tying its hands with unfair unilateral coercive sanctions that no longer go unchallenged.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

South Sudan Crisis

On 9th July, South Sudan marked three years of independence, however for many it was a joyless occasion.  Months of fighting together with floods and crop failure has led to what the UN Security Council has called the worst food crisis in the world. 

 It said that there is a "catastrophic food insecurity" in the country and is urging donor nations who pledged some £364m in aid to make good on their promise. UNICEF has also stated that some four million people could be affected and that 50,000 children may die of hunger. 

More than a million people have been displaced by the conflict since the political dispute between South Sudan's president Salva Kirr and his deputy Riek Machar erupted into violence last December. Months of fighting have prevented farmers from planting or harvesting crops, causing food shortages nationwide. The onset of the rainy season has added to the problem, hindering displaced farmers from planting crops in time to harvest them in time.

The three states hit the worst are Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity State. According to John Kolff from the Dutch organization Cordaid, "The fighting mostly takes place in these three states and whole cities have been razed to the ground." Neighbouring states are also affected because of the refugees flooding across their borders.

In 2011, more than quarter of a million people died before the crisis was declared official.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sudan's Economic Crisis

On the 8th of June, a thousand people took to the streets of Khartoum to protest against rising unemployment, rising food costs and disruptions to water supplies. The protest which took place under the initiative of “I am unemployed” called for the government to take immediate measures to combat unemployment and state corruption. The protestors threatened to extend their protest if no measures are taken.

The protestors were also joined by residents from the neighborhoods of al-Salma, al-Azhari, Ad al-Hussein and Kababich to protest against the continuous interruption in water supplies. A 14 year old boy was killed as a result of suffocation after the Sudanese riot police fired tear gas to disperse protesters. Several people were arrested but released later after the intervention of the mayor of Jabal Awliya.

North Sudan is battling a crippling recession triggered by the loss of three-quarters of the state’s oil output when it split from South Sudan in 2011. Oil revenues constituted the majority of Sudan’s exports, national income and source of hard currency.  Since the secession of the oil-rich South Sudan, the Sudanese economy suffered an economic shock marked by high inflation, eroding currency value and growing deficits.

According to James Copnall, instead of resolving many of the outstanding issues from old Sudan, the secession only created a whole range of new issues including economic, social, political and military problems.  This has put unprecedented pressure on President Omar al-Bashir.

The Sudanese pound also reached low levels only seen at the secession of South Sudan in 2011, exceeding ten units to the dollar, according to currency traders. Sudan’s annual inflation rate rose to 41.2 percent in May, reflecting a 3.9 percent monthly rise thus underlining the soaring cost of food.

The 2013 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) placed Sudan’s unemployment rate at 20%. As a result, many of Sudan’s educated young are leaving Sudan in search of greener pastures abroad.

Last year, the Sudanese government’s decision to cut fuel subsidies along with other austerity measures prompted protests in which dozens were killed and hundreds injured. 


Sudanese authorities have arrested the head of the opposition Congress Party, three weeks after the arrest of another opposition leader sparked violent anti-government protests. Congress Party chief Ibrahim al-Sheikh was arrested on Sunday on charges of spreading "harmful lies", after he made a speech criticising the government's handling of the Darfur crisis and a surge of violence.

Sudanese authorities said that he was arrested over allegations the paramilitary Rapid Security Forces (RSF) had committed crimes in the troubled states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Al-Sheikh in the past was prosecuted for allegedly undermining constitutional order by spreading harmful lies, the same charge for which al-Mahdi is still being held.

The party's general secretary, Abdel Kayoum Awad, stated that al-Sheikh was charged with "undermining the constitutional regime, spreading lies and threatening peace." Sheikh could face the death penalty if found guilty.

Sudanese opposition parties which agreed to participate in the national dialogue process called for by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir earlier this year. The meeting was to be boycotted after the arrest of a senior opposition figure.

Former Prime Minister al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, who heads the opposition Umma Party, was arrested last month after he reportedly accused the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of rape and other civilian abuses in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

The arrests are likely to hurt national dialogue talks that were called by President Omar al-Bashir in order to ease tension among Sudan's political parties ahead of next year's parliamentary and presidential polls.

Opposition parties in Sudan have voiced concern about the government's mismanagement of Darfur, accusing it of killing civilians during a recent surge of violence in the region.

Military troops in West Kordofan and East Darfur states have been deployed to secure the dividing line between areas of Hamar and Ma’alia tribes following renewed fighting between the two ethnic groups. 

MPs of the two sides in the Sudanese national assembly developed a joint mechanism in preparation for the reconciliation conference which will be held on 12 in West Kordofan state capital of al-Fula.

Pro-government militias have publicly threatened to kill Omda Musa Moktar of Rwanda camp for the displaced in Tawila locality, North Darfur on Saturday if he does not leave the camp forever. Omda Moktar has been outspoken about the abuses and crimes of militiamen, and opposes efforts by the militias to ‘guard’ the market of Tawila. Omda Moktar confirmed that he would not leave Tawila. “I will stay here and continue to speak-out against injustice, even if I have to die here.”

Rising Tensions in South Sudan

South Sudan’s presidential spokesman says Sudan is undermining the legitimacy of President Salva Kiir’s government and bilateral relations between the two nations after representatives of rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar were allowed to hold a news conference in the neighbouring country last weekend. This was a breach of our sovereignty said the spokesman. He also criticised Kenya following President Uhuru Kenyatta meeting with Riek Machar in Nairobi.  South Sudan recently rejected claims that it has been planning to assassinate Machar.

The leader of South Sudanese opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), Lam Akol, has called to depoliticize the South Sudanese army and separate it from the ruling party, SPLM. Akol said many politicians in the government still have strong links with the army that was forged out of the Liberation army and this interference causes rifts amongst the institution. Lam Akol is an advocate of Federalism in South Sudan.

A South Sudanese army (SPLA) general who defected to the armed opposition group last week has now called for "total regime change", arguing it was the only way citizens would realise why the country fought decades of war. General Dau Aturjong emphasised that the government had achieved nothing in the past 8 years in power.

According to the United Stated special envoy to the country, five months of fighting in South Sudan has cut the country's economically vital oil production by nearly 50 percent.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Article on Apostasy written in response to the sentencing to death of Meriam Yehya in Sudan

By The Revd Nadim Nassar, Director of Awareness Foundation

Does God want us to believe in Him by force? What does it mean in Islam when God says in the Quran, “Allah converts whoever He wills”? There are many different places in the Quran where we find clearly that God is the one who is the source of faith and He decides who believes and even who doesn’t. St. Paul, in Christianity, is clear about this specific point when he says “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2.8-9

Most religions have looked into the issue of conversion and thought about what to do when people leave their faith to join other faiths. Christianity faced this dilemma some centuries ago, when people were sentenced to death for changing their denomination. The penalty of death for apostates was introduced in Christianity only after the Roman Empire became Christian and the spiritual and political powers were joined. Before that, the discussion in the early church was whether the apostates would receive forgiveness from the church or if the issue of forgiveness belonged to God alone. In the Middle Ages, apostates faced death because they were put in the same category as heretics, especially during the Spanish Inquisition.

Is this truly ‘Christianity’? As we look back on the Middle Ages, all Churches today should agree that such practices did not truly reflect the message and teachings of Jesus Christ; they are not compatible with the Good News of the New Testament. Based on our reading and understanding of the New Testament, we cannot justify such actions of Christians in the past.

Today, Islam is facing the same dilemma as the church faced over five centuries ago. What should we expect from Muslim religious leaders concerning this matter? Should we expect them to learn from the history of Christianity? Should we expect them to apply secular human rights to their Sharia (Islamic Law)? I doubt very much that any Muslim cleric would choose to adopt the Charter of Human Rights and include it in the Islamic understanding of civil society simply because the divine Sharia, as Islam believes, is above and beyond any secular laws or rules. What is the way forward for Islam?

Occasions like the one happening now in Sudan are critical, tragic and embarrassing to a lot of Muslim leaders. The sentencing to death of a young Sudanese woman, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, because she was found guilty of apostasy, raises a huge concern about how Islam understands freedom of religion.

Interfaith dialogue should bear fruit in raising the issue of apostasy with our Muslim brothers and sisters. They need our support and help in dealing with thorny matters, especially those which influence our relationships with each other and could eventually damage them. I do believe that we can, in love and respect, highlight our concerns and expect some serious responses from Muslim scholars who would be able to speak out and explain to us what they think.

If we look at the Quran, we can find many passages that correspond to St. Paul’s words to the Ephesians (mentioned above). The verses that may help us in discussing Apostasy as we study the Quran are:

Chapter 6: Verse 126

So, whomsoever Allah wishes to guide, He expands his bosom for the acceptance of Islam; and as to him whom He wishes to let go astray, He makes his bosom narrow and close, as though he were mounting up into the skies. Thus does Allah inflict punishment on those who do not believe.

Chapter 6: Verse 40

Those who have rejected Our Signs are deaf and dumb, in utter darkness. Whom Allah wills He allows to perish and whom He wills He places on the right path.

Chapter 6: Verse 118

Surely, thy Lord knows best those who go astray from His way; and He knows best those who are rightly guided.

Chapter 10: Verse 109

Say, ‘O ye men, now has the truth come to you from your Lord. So whosoever follows the guidance, follows it only for the good of his own soul, and whosoever errs, errs only against it. And I am not a keeper over you.’

Chapter 13: Verse 28

And those who disbelieve say, ‘Why is not a Sign sent down to him from his Lord?’ Say, ‘Allah lets go astray those whom He wills and guides to Himself those who turn to Him:

Chapter 14: Verse 5

And We have not sent any Messenger except with the language of his people in order that he might make things clear to them. Then Allah lets go astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills. And He is the Mighty, the Wise.

Chapter 14: Verse 28

Allah strengthens the believers with the word that is firmly established, both in the present life and in the Hereafter; and Allah lets the wrongdoers go astray. And Allah does what He wills.

Chapter 16: Verse 94

And if Allah had enforced His will, He would surely have made you all one people; but He lets go astray him who wishes it, and guides him who wishes it; and you shall surely be questioned concerning that which you have been doing.

Chapter 17: Verse 16

He who follows the right way follows it only for the good of his own soul: and he who goes astray, goes astray only to his own loss. And no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another. We never punish until We have sent a Messenger.

Chapter 35: Verse 9

Is he , then, to whom the evil of his deed is made to appear pleasing, so that he looks upon it as good, like him who believes and does good deeds? Surely, Allah adjudges astray whom He will and guides whom He will. So let not thy soul waste away in sighing for them. Surely Allah knows what they do.

Chapter 39 : Verse 42

Verily, We have revealed to thee the Book with truth for the good of mankind. So whoever follows guidance, follows it for the benefit of his own soul; and whoever goes astray, goes astray only to its detriment. And thou art not a guardian over them.

Chapter 74 : Verse 32

And none but angels have We made wardens of the Fire. And We have not fixed their number except as a trial for those who disbelieve, so that those who have been given the Book may attain to certainty, and those who believe may increase in faith, and those who have been given the Book as well as the believers may not doubt, and that those in whose hearts is disease and the disbelievers may say, ‘What does Allah mean by such an illustration?’ Thus does Allah adjudge astray whom He pleases and guide whom He pleases. And none knows the hosts of thy Lord but He. And this is nothing but a Reminder for man.

These verses of the Quran show us very strongly that the matter of faith in Islam is strictly in the hands of God, and God is the ultimate source of faith and the final decision-maker concerning any individual’s relationship with Him. How can we have any right to accuse anyone of believing or renouncing any faith without trespassing on God’s own work? This issue of apostasy is not only an issue for Islam. Every faith loses adherents. We cannot keep our faithful by force or by jeopardising their lives or making them social pariahs. People should come to faith, or remain in faith, only because they do desire so with all their hearts and minds. We need to give God the opportunity to be God without claiming that we know better than Him who should be ‘in’ and who should be ‘out’! God definitely does not need us to defend Him; He needs us to love Him and love each other in His name. We must open the door for discussion and further exploration of this very important matter that will emerge time after time in different cultures and societies around the world unless we join together and help each other to bring a peaceful resolution to critical issues like this.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

South Sudanese city of Bor destroyed

A week after the tragic death of over one hundred civilians crossing the Nile from Malakal, the South Sudanese city of Bor has been largely destroyed by fighting between those loyal to President Salva Kiir and supporters of former vice-president Riek Machar. Bor has been a flashpoint in the conflict, which began in December 2013. This is the fourth time in as many weeks that the city has changed hands, this time being reclaimed by government troops, apparently supported by the Ugandan army. After days of bombardment by tanks, artillery and gunships the government entered the town. Reports back have described the city of 25,000 people as a ‘scene of devastation’, it has been looted and largely destroyed. Aerial photos show that entire blocks have been leveled. The majority of Bor’s population have fled the city, leaving it near abandoned. The loss of Bor is the biggest defeat that Riek Machar has suffered since the start of the fighting; he now no longer holds any state capitals. Government reports claim that their soldiers have also reclaimed the oil-rich city of Malakal, another sight of severe fighting. Army spokesman Philip Aguer said “Malakal is finally in the hands of the SPLA… they (the rebels) were flushed out of the town”.

Reports from Sudan over the weekend seemed positive as negotiators on behalf of both parties announced that an agreement for a cease-fire was close. However, a Twitter account believed to be controlled by Machar ruled out a cease-fire unless political prisoners are released. These latest government victories could change the situation in Sudan. 

Monday, January 06, 2014

Mothers Appeal


  Recalling the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and for the representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions in conflict resolution and peace processes; Sudanese mothers are extremely concerned about the present situation of instability, human rights and armed conflict in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, Blue Nile and Kordofan; as well as the mounting tension between south Sudan and Sudan.
  As mothers, without any political, ethnic, religious, colour or any ideology of any kind we appeal to the all the Sudanese, the government, the armed movements the political parties both pro and opposing, the Universities and instates, personals, the tribal leaders and all the Sudanese groups youth, women, churches, mosques, unions, and the civil society organizations to sit down together in a conference to recognize the mistakes, that lead to the present situation, and to apology for them and open a new page full of forgiveness and trust.
  To involve as many mothers in this appeal we are going to collect signatures from mothers who agree with our appeal, specially those who are affected by war.
  Then we will call for international conference with the mentioned Sudanese groups plus the Inter. Community, the embassies and all the regional Unions and the friends personals and the organizations concerned.
  We call all to stop the war and create Comprehensive National Peace Solution, real democracy for all to enjoy equally.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Goodbye Guantanamo?

So is Obama delivering on his promise to close Guantanamo? Are we about to see an end to one of the most shameful episodes in modern American history? Seems about time. Anyhow the last Sudanese prisoner has been released. Khalid Mubarak is blogging again. Take a look.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Khalid Again

Khalid Mubarak is complaining about US sanctions. Perhaps he has a point. However awful the government of Sudan is, there should be some reward for their having allowed the South to secede. If not what hope is there persuading to behave better in future:

Khalid Al Mubarak
Unfair US Sanctions Renewed
Date: 09/11/2013
In the ancient Oriental tale, the lamb, drinking at the foot of the hill from a spring was shouted at by a lion which was at the top: You are muddying the water for me.   How dare you! The lamb replied: How could I?  The spring water runs downwards from your position.  A fox listening whispered: He is looking for a pretext. Run for your life.
What should the Sudan do in the face of the extension of illogical unfair US sanctions declared on 30 October 13 in a message to Congress by President Obama?  In it there is the hyperbolic statement that: Sudan’s policies “are hostile to US interests and continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”. Unusual and extraordinary threat? Disingenuous is an understatement in describing this allegation.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The African Union Confronts the Neo-Colonial ICC

Our friend Khalid Mubarak has been getting frustrated by the ICC. We thought you might like his latest offering:

Khalid Al Mubarak
The African Union Confronts the Neo-Colonial ICC
Date: 23/10/2013
The African Union’s 12 October 2013 Extraordinary Summit is a landmark in Africa’s anti colonial struggle.  The role of the Sudan is significant.  Just as it spearheaded the first wave of independence from direct colonial rule in 1956, it is in the forefront of the second (more difficult and complex) wave of struggle against neo-colonial diktat.
The ICC is the judicial equivalent of the international financial system that is heavily weighed against the interests of Africa and all developing countries.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Developments in the Nuba Mountains

On August 29th, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) agreed to ban the use of anti-personnel mines and to destroy their stockpile. Secretary-General Yasir Arman of the SPLM-N signed the agreement in Geneva with humanitarian group, Geneva Call.

A few days following this declaration, Arman announced a one-month “unilateral” cease fire to assist those affected by flooding across Sudan. The UN estimated that more than 70,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 300,000 people have been affected by the floods.

On 6th October, the SPLM-N demanded to talk to the Sudanese government over polio vaccinations for children under 5 years of age in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Since last September, Khartoum has declined to meet the SPLM-N rebels to discuss preparations related to this campaign particularly a cessation of hostilities needed before to reach 147,000 in South Kordofan and 7,000 children in Blue Nile. The Sudanese government said a deal can be reached through indirect talks brokered by the tripartite mechanism. 

In September, the Sudanese Minister of Interior Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamad at a recent event at the International Peace Institute in New York spoke of how he challenged the resilience of the Sudanese people by supervising government crackdowns on protesters and activists. President Bashir’s “right hand man”, Hamad is also responsible for handling negotiations on humanitarian access to civilians residing in DARFUR, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. 

Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail, the Bishop of Kadugli wrote to President Obama last month, urging the US government to intervene and save the lives of those still in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Darfur regions. In his letter, he said that the country is plagued by “government sponsored crimes against humanity.” The region has been repeatedly bombed for the last 3 months by the Sudanese Armed Forces.

According to Rev. Elnail’s letter, “For the decades my people have been living off the land and providing for themselves despite drought and conflict. Now they face bombings timed specifically so that they are prevented from planting their crops and tending to their fields. Adults go hungry so that their children can. But many continue to die from hunger and diseases. Thousands of children are living in caves in the mountains without education. People are living under siege and in constant fear.”

In early October 2013, General Abdulbagi Girfa announced plans to abandon armed rebellion. Just weeks earlier, the SPLM-N and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) threatened to intensify their attacks against the government if it continued its crackdown on peaceful protesters. The head of the Nuba Mountains Front decided to engage in dialogue with the government and have engaged in more than 7 meetings with high ranking government officials so far.

The aims of these meetings and negotiations are to ensure peace and stability and work towards ending conflict in the region.  General Girfa also agreed to a cease all hostilities between the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the government. To supervise the cease fire, a joint military committee was formed from representatives of the government and SPLM-N.

In a show of solidarity by the government, the Sudanese President will issue general pardons for defendants from the Nuba Mountains.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Saudis raise a Smile

Well there's grumpy and there's grumpy. But when Saudi Arabia gets grumpy she sure shows a hissy fit. Annoyed that President Bashir had allowed two Iranian boats to harbor at Port Sudan, they turned back the Presidential plane. At least there are one or two thing around that can still make us smile:

Arab News - 13 August, 2013

Sudanese Ambassador to Riyadh Abdulhafiz Ibrahim has said that the banning of President Bashir’s plane from entering Saudi airspace would not affect Saudi-Sudanese relations.

Last week, the aircraft carrying President Bashir was banned from entering Saudi airspace on the ground that the plane did not have the right permit, a statement by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) said.

The Sudanese envoy said his country has set up an inquiry committee to look into the details pertaining to the issue. President Bashir was reportedly using a plane rented from a Saudi company instead of his normal presidential aircraft and was heading to Tehran to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Iran’s new President Hassan Rowhani last week.

The statements given by the civil aviation authorities in both the countries are important, Al-Hayat daily quoted the Sudanese envoy as saying.

The inquiry committee will look into various aspects since the episode had exposed the presidential plane to risks because it did not have the required permission to cross Saudi airspace, particularly after the Saudi clarification on the matter, he said.

Last week, an official at GACA said the Sudanese government did not submit an official application for a diplomatic permit for the plane, and that the application should have been submitted 48 hours before the scheduled departure of diplomatic flights.

“This was the only reason why the plane was turned back,” he said, and refuted allegations that the move was linked to an international arrest warrant against President Bashir or to his country’s relations with Tehran.

The committee will uncover all facts and fix accountability for the diplomatic faux pas, the envoy was quoted as saying.

Analysts said Sudan’s decision to allow two Iranian warships to dock at Port Sudan last October had angered its Arab Gulf state neighbors. The arrival of the Iranian warships reportedly coincided with the bombing of Al-Yarmouk military factory in Khartoum, which led to speculation that Iranian weapons were stored or manufactured there.

In addition to the good and strong business and trade relations between Saudi Arabia and Sudan, both countries conducted a joint naval exercise last February.

The naval maneuvers were the first of its kind and were expected to serve as a platform for future joint efforts aimed at securing the Red Sea and strengthening relations between Sudan and Saudi Arabia, Commander of the navy base in Port Sudan, Admiral Magdi Sayed Omer, was quoted as saying.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


This message comes from Mothers for Peace


Sudanese Mothers for Peace  are extremely concerned about the present situation of instability, human rights and armed conflict in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, Blue Nile and Kordofan; as well as the mounting tension between south Sudan and Sudan. 

Because of this we were preparing for an International Conference to raise the voices of mothers to say “No” to war.
 In this conference we were intending to call all the Sudanese, the government, the opposition parties, the armed movements, to come together to try to solve the problem of Sudan by dialogue and negotiation without the interference of any outside power so as to establish lasting peace, Justice and HR in Sudan and the region Recognition of the mistakes in the past and the apology and forgiveness should be the start.
 The International Community, the African Union, the Arab League, the Arab Countries Concerned, the European Union and all the Embassies in Sudan plus the International NGOs, and the International Personals concerned in Peace for Sudan will be invited.
In the present situation we have research mothers in the camps, in Darfur, and Kordofan, Blue Nile and East Sudan targeting the simple mother who is the victim of the war and have collected up till now 8,000 signatures from mothers calling for peace and raising their voices against wars.
We are still preparing for this conference and giving the chance for more mothers to have their say.
According to the present situation of war braking out so severely at this moment, in South and North Kordofan and others places we postponed our conference to be next August 2013.

Now: on behalf of 8,000 mothers

We appeal to all parties to stop this nasty killing of each other right now and to sit down for peaceful political negotiation to secure peace justices HR and democracy to every citizen in Sudan.

Recalling the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and for the representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions in conflict resolution and peace processes, Sudanese mother for peace will remain Supportive to this process.

Mama Khadiga

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Nuba People

The NCF has been talking with representatives of the Nuba people (the Nuba Solidarity Group) who come from The Nuba Mountains of central Sudan as well as from North Sudan and Southern Egypt. All three population groups speak the same Nuba language and share a heritage.

They tell us, "We don't have a problem with the North (i.e. the Sudanese government) but we are treated as second class citizens in our own country.

"We (the Nuba from the Nuba Mountains) want self-determination in a three way referendum giving a choice of going with the North, or autonomy, or going with the South.

"The continued bombing in the Nuba Mountains creates a need to highlight the humanitarian issue of our refugees in the South.. There are 60,000 of our people in the Uyida Camp near the border including 11,000 children. They need attention: food, clean water, and healthcare."

The NCF will hold a working group meeting on the Nuba issue on Thursday 6th December. For more details contact .

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Real progress for Sudan and South Sudan?

The agreement negotiated between Sudan and South Sudan this week is positive news. As was highlighted in the NCF’s previous blog, the issue of oil is one that fuels disagreement between these two neighbours, often exacerbating religious and ethnic tensions. The agreement sets out how much South Sudan will have to pay to transport its crude oil through pipelines in Sudan (the figure is not entirely clear but some sources put it at $25.80 per barrel). Earlier in the year South Sudan had to shut off oil exports because of disagreement over what the transport rate should be. US Barak Obama has said, “This agreement opens the door to a future of greater prosperity for the people of both countries.”

At the same time the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) signed up to the Tripartite Memoranda of Understanding. The Tripartite Memoranda of Understanding includes the African Union, the League of Arab States and the UN. Its role is to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the war torn areas of Sudan, on the border with South Sudan, where aid has previously struggled to arrive. The SPLM-N is an offshoot of the SPLM, which fought for South Sudan’s independence. It’s a group which resists Sudanese control of the two provinces of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, on the border with South Sudan. The group’s military wing is referred to as the SPLA-N as opposed to the political wing which is the SPLM-N. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commended this development and said he hoped Sudan would quickly enable the delivery of aid to the people concerned.
The Secretary General is, however, disappointed that Sudan and South Sudan have not yet signed up to ‘The Roadmap’ which aims to ease tensions and start the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations. This is contained in Security Council resolution 2046, which was unanimously adopted on 2nd May 2012. Indeed, there are other problems afoot. The agreement on oil has led to a substantial loss in revenue for the South Sudanese government. In a meeting on Tuesday with the Ambassador of the Netherlands, the South Sudanese Vice President, Riek Machar, said that they will lose a total of $12 billion dollars to Khartoum because of the deal. He also added that the agreement has forced the South Sudan to become “the biggest donor on earth to a single country, Sudan.” The resumption of oil production also takes time and it will take up to a year for South Sudan to be back at full capacity.

There are still many issues to be resolved between the two countries, mainly border issues and specifically in the Abyei region. As well as this, violence continues in Darfur, which has created a desperate situation for thousands of people forced to flee their homes and move into areas of South Sudan. However, the recent agreement should be used as a stepping stone for stability. If South Sudan is able to return to large scale oil exportation this will bring much needed revenue to the country (specifically from China which buys a lot of South Sudan’s oil). South Sudan will then have ‘something to lose’. If it feels as though it has the potential to develop and grow its government will not want to risk undermining this (for example by further supporting the SPLM – N, the claim that Sudan constantly levels at it). This in turn will make the Tripartite Memoranda of Understanding more likely to succeed because Sudan cannot accuse South Sudan of meddling in it. Moreover, if South Sudan sticks to the agreement and keeps paying Sudan the agreed rate for the transportation of oil, it will show the Sudan that peaceful coexistence with their southern neighbour is far better for them than conflict. The two countries must now make sure that this progress leads to something better for their people and that petty squabbling does not make it fall apart and lead the countries back to war.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fighting in Sudan continues


Sudan blog:

            Preceding the recognition of South Sudan as being an independent country, president Omar al-Bashir of Sudan announced in the name of Sudan that “We will bless our brothers in the south over their country and we wish them success”. However, a warning was sent from the Sudanese people that foreshadowed the independence. The message was that neither one of the countries should interfere with one nor the others’ affairs and that both countries should stick to their borders, and especially, to keep them secure. Knowing the geopolitical bearings between the two nations and their enduring conflicts, the future between these two countries remains uncertain.

            In the province of South Kordofan in southern Sudan lies a burgeoning conflict between the SPLM (Sudan’s People Liberation Movement) and the federal state of Koradafan leaded by Ahmad Haroun who has already been indicted for crimes against humanity at the ICC for attacks that took place in Darfur. The reasons of the fighting in South Kordafan are several. According to Haroun, the conflict is religious. Arab-Muslim civilians from the Nuba region in South Kordofan have been given weapons to supposedly defend themselves against the growing threat coming from the South. Like Haroun, many of his followers perceive this war as religious, and fight in the name of God to protect their people. However, this is not the case and the growing conflict is a complex mix of greed, retaliation and fear of the bloodshed province. It is not an ethnic combat between black African Nubas against Arabs.

            The Nuba Mountains lie in the most southern tip of Sudan at the border between Sudan and South Sudan. This region is renowned for its abundant reserves of oil. The difficulty of the partition between Sudan and South Sudan lies within the division of the oil fields (98% of Sudan’s Government budget is paid from the direct revenue of its oil fields). Today, 75% of the whole Sudanese region’s oil belongs to South Sudan, and this is the primary factor in the fighting between the two nations. Sudan wants more oil. As the conflict keeps on growing, the rebels will find more reasons to continue fighting, such as the ethnic differences of the Nuba people.

            The South Kordafan province has always been neglected and underdeveloped by the Sudanese Government. This is one of the reasons why the area is so prone to war. The Nuba people are significantly affected by this conflict, Nuba homes are continually shelled and destroyed by both Sudanese and South Sudanese forces. Development projects have also been affected, and forced migrations are common. 28 000 people were forced to flee the town of Talodi due to constant airstrikes from North Sudan against the SPLM’s rebel forces in the region. Meanwhile the people are suffering and hunger starts to set in the region.

            Since partition, Sudan has been hostile to South Sudan, and both countries have allied with the other’s rebels. A recent report by the NGO, Small Arms Survey, suggested that the Sudanese Government still shares close bonds with the rebels from the South, and Sudan has been accused of using rebel armies from South Sudan and the province of Darfur such as the SPLM, SSLA and the JEM. These groups have been seen in Khartoum on a regular basis. Both countries have been exchanging arms, provoking skirmishes by rebels in the other’s territory. The corruption between these two countries does not favor a peaceful relationship for their future. The population of the two countries is suffering and the countries are tearing themselves to shreds. It is hard to imagine that they will ever stop fighting.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Both Sudans pledge to end violence

Sudan and South Sudan finally gave assurances that both nations were ready to curtail hostilities.  The neighbouring countries were coming under increasing pressure from the international community to put an end to the growing violent clashes that erupted last month.  On the second of May the United Nations threatened both countries with sanctions if they failed to end the escalation of violence and restarted negotiations. 

The worst violence since South Sudanese independence followed the South’s invasion of the disputed Heglig oil fields on the 18th of April, an act the UN described as “illegal”.  The South’s invasion was prompted by the North’s decision to demand a transport fee for the South Sudanese oil that is moved via pipeline through Sudan.  Violent clashes took place following the invasion along the border of Sudan's Kordofan state and South Sudan's Bahr el Ghazal state and left 22 soldiers dead.  Sudan then sent troops into the South and bombed border towns in retaliation.  Rather than backing down, both sides had seemed determined to ratchet up the tension, mobilizing militias and moving troops towards the conflict zone.

Tensions have existed since South Sudan gained independence from Sudan last year after two decades of civil war.  At the time of the separation the two states failed to agree on how to share the oilfields of the old unified country.  The border was never fully demarcated and both nations claim the oil rich Abyei region as their own.  Furthermore, Sudan feels that they should be compensated for the $7 billion of oil revenue they have lost since South Sudan seceded.    These issues have been the chief catalysts for the disagreements along with problems regarding the estimated 500,000 South Sudanese in Sudan and 80,000 Sudanese in the South, as well as accusations of each side supporting rebel groups in its rival’s territory.

Sudan and South Sudan’s willingness to cooperate with UN’s resolution is a step in the right direction; especially considering that many observers feared both countries were on the brink of war.  That said, it is vital that the international community takes an interest in the negotiations between the two rival states, possibly even meditating the discussions.  China, as the chief buyer of oil from both states, will be a key player in resolving disputes.  Previously, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin, stressed the need for both sides to "avoid actions that will escalate tension".

Key to settling the problems between both Sudans will of course rest on agreeing on the shared boarder and distribution of the oil wealth the two countries once shared.  One must hope that involvement of the international community can ensure a productive out come to any negotiations; it would certainly be a relief for the citizens of both nations, who have only known conflict with one another for a generation.