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Sudan oil-war spiral could split world powers

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Laaska News Apr.19, 2012
Bashir says fighting the only way to resolve differences with South Sudan 

Over 2,300 Mujahideen pledge allegiance to President al-Bashir to defend Sudan 

A SPLA (South Sudan People’s Liberation Army) soldier sits next to a machine gun on a vehicle outside a SAF compound in Heglig, on April 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Adriane O’Hanesian) – RT

Sudan’s president has threatened to topple the government to his south to “liberate” the South Sudanese. As a bloody battle over a disputed oil field heads towards full-scale war, it threatens to provoke conflict between the US and Russia-China.
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Wednesday, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused authorities in the Southern capital, Juba, of trying to topple his government and vowed to retaliate.
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“This situation makes it imperative for Sudan to confront the challenge of the State of South Sudan to topple the government in Khartoum by working to liberate the Southern nationals,” al-Bashir said.
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South Sudan broke away from its northern neighbor last July after decades of on-off civil war. But the two never agreed on how to share the oil wealth found in the region between the countries, and the border was never fully demarcated.
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The fighting is taking place along the shared border around the oil town of Heglig, which South Sudanese troops captured last week.

The northern state’s parliament was quick to brand its southern neighbor an “enemy” and called for the swift recapture of the region.

The Heglig field is vital to Sudan’s economy as it accounted for half the 115,000 barrels per day output that remained in its control when South Sudan seceded in July and Khartoum lost 75 per cent of the country’s oil production.

In its turn, the landlocked South lost its 350,000 barrels per day output after failing to agree on how much it should pay to export via Sudan’s pipelines, a Red Sea port and other facilities.

Fighting over oil transit payments and disputed territory has already withered the combined crude output of both countries, which are highly dependent on oil. Any protracted fighting would severely damage their economies and may disrupt the surrounding region.

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Fueling an arms race
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The international community is calling to stop the bloodshed, but the two sides seem determined to resolve the issue by force.

Meanwhile, their “border war” threatens to provoke a conflict among the permanent members of UN Security Council. South Sudan is an ally of the US, while Khartoum has close ties with Russia and China.
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“If the conflict escalates, we are likely to see a stalemate at the UNSC with China and Russia opposing any proposals that may be politically costly to Sudan,” political author and columnist Reason Wafawarova told RT. “The US, with its allies France and the UK, is likely to push for proposals politically favorable to South Sudan, while opposing any proposals they may see as benefiting Sudan.”

Wafawarova says Sudan is seen as militarily superior to its southern neighbor. The US is unlikely to allow Juba’s capitulation, increasing its military support.
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Some reports allege that the West is already providing arms to South Sudan through its Middle Eastern partners. For instance, Sudan’s Al-Intibaha newspaper writes that Israel might be supplying weapons to Juba.

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South talking tough too

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Another indicator that Juba has some serious allies in the West is the tough stance of South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir.

When the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called him and asked to stop the attack on Heglig, he received a surprisingly defiant answer: “I am not a slave to fulfill your orders!”

Experts say the behavior of President Kiir may be explained by the fact that he was confident of the unshakable support of the United States. Previously the US helped the southerners in their fight against the “dictatorial regime in Khartoum.”

The reason, Wafawarova says, is that it is no secret the United States militarily supported South Sudan in its campaign for secession from the North.

The US reportedly provided $100 million-a-year in military assistance to the SPLA. The information about the nature of this assistance has been scarce, but in December 2009 WikiLeaks released a diplomatic cable that refers to a US “training program for the SPLA, including combat arms soldier training.”

On the other side are Russia and China, who have traditionally supported close ties with Khartoum, selling weapons to Sudan right up to the 2005 UN arms embargo on the Sudanese government because of the war in Darfur.

However, in 2008 a BBC news report claimed to have found evidence of China-Sudan trade in violation of the embargo.

Currently, China is Sudan’s largest trading partner, importing oil and exporting low-cost goods.

Wafawarova believes that the permanent USNC council members’ standoff in the region may lead to an arms race between the two Sudans. US will be “expanding the military strength of South Sudan, while China and Russia will keep arming Khartoum,” he said.

There are also persistent rumors that the US plans to set up a military base in South Sudan – the largest in Africa.
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“The US has failed to set up its AFRICOM base in Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya and other proposed countries in the past,” says Wafawarova. “It would not be surprising if the US is trying to capitalize on the vulnerability of South Sudan in its efforts to establish the AFRICOM base somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.”

However, Wafawarova stressed that any efforts to set up AFRICOM in South Sudan are likely to face stiff opposition from Russia and China, as well as from the African Union and most African countries at individual levels.

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Shifting the blame

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While all involved in the conflict are pursuing their own interests, there always has to be someone to blame. It seems that Russia and China might again become the punching bag of the West for this purpose.

One of the indicators that that this might be the case is Amnesty International’s shift of attitude towards the parties involved. In July 2011, the organization accused China, Russia, and the USA of fueling conflict in the region.

The organization condemned the countries “for providing weapons or military training to the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the official army of South Sudan.”

However, in February 2012, only China and Russia were accused of supplying arms to the volatile region, with no traces of US involvement whatsoever.

“China, Russia, and Belarus continue to supply weapons and munitions to Sudan despite compelling evidence that the arms will be used against civilians in Darfur,” the new Amnesty International statement reads.

Tuesday, Security Council members promised to discuss the crisis urgently, including the possibility of sanctions.
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“Calls from the UNSC for a ceasefire are hypocritical and of no strength for as long as China, the US and Russia are pursuing their own political and economic interests in Sudan,” believes Reason Wafawarova. “And the fact that Heglig is, in reality, a conflict over oil makes the prospect of an amicable solution bleak.”

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­Elena Ostroumova, RT

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RT.

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Over 2,300 Mujahideen pledge allegiance to President al-Bashir to defend Sudan

2012-04-19 21:15:15

KHARTOUM, April 19 (Xinhua) — More than 2,300 Mujahideen, or holy-war fighters, on Thursday swore an oath of loyalty to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and vowed to defend the country with their lives, the state-run SUNA news agency reported.

The move came during a meeting between al-Bashir and a crowd of Mujahideen in El Obeid, the capital of the North Kordofan state, only one day after he declared war on South Sudan, according to the report.

“2,300 Mujahideen from the North Kordofan state swore today their full readiness to sacrifice for Marshal Omar al-Bashir, President of the Republic and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and pledged to provide their lives for the honor of the homeland and defend the gains of the nation and purge the enemies from every inch of the soil of the homeland,” the report said.

Addressing the meeting, al-Bashir stressed that “Heglig will be a new Shikan for the invaders” — a reference to the bloody battle over 60 years ago between Sudanese fighters and British troops in the North Kordofan state.

“Any one extending his hand to Sudan will be cut off,” the president noted.

Also in El Obeid on Thursday, al-Bashir said fighting was the only means to resolve the differences between his country and South Sudan, reiterating his promise to end the rule of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the south.

In a speech to a rally of local residents in North Kordofan, which was lively aired by the state-run Sudan TV, al-Bashir said ” Heglig will not be the end, and we have determined to resolve our matters completely in the battle field, and to settle all the accounts between the two countries.”

Al-Bashir, dressed in a military uniform, used the word “insect ” more than once in his speech to describe the SPLM government in South Sudan.

Addressing a rally of members of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum on Wednesday, the Sudanese president announced ” from today our slogan is to liberate the citizens of South Sudan from the rule of the SPLM, and from today it will be eye for eye, tooth for tooth and strike for strike and the beginner (of the war) is more unjust.”

“We’ve made a mistake historically to enable the SPLM to rule the south, but we will correct this mistake, and we have a moral obligation for our people in South Sudan, that is to save them from the SPLM,” al-Bashir added.

The UN Security Council has on Tuesday reiterated its call for Sudan to stop air strikes and South Sudan to withdraw from Heglig.

The oil-rich Heglig region on the north side of the 1956 border between Sudan and South Sudan, has been captured by the South Sudanese army since last Tuesday.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit said last month that Heglig belonged to his country, but both Khartoum and the African Union denied the claim. The pan-African body, along with the UN, called for an unconditional withdrawal of the South Sudanese troops from Heglig.

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Bashir says fighting the only way to resolve differences with South Sudan 

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2012-04-19 18:10:10

KHARTOUM, April 19 (Xinhua) — Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir stressed on Thursday that fighting was the only mean to resolve the differences between his country and South Sudan, reiterating his goal to end the rule of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the south.

In a speech delivered in North Kordofan state and aired live by state-run Sudan TV, al-Bashir said Heglig, an oil rich town where the escalated tensions between the two sides recently took place, “will not be the end, and we have determined to resolve our matters completely in the battle field, and to settle all the accounts between the two countries.”

Al-Bashir, dressed in military uniform, used the word “insect” more than once in his speech to describe the SPLM government of South Sudan.

The Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday declared war on South Sudan, vowing to bring down the SPLM, which he said that the north had contributed to making it the ruler of the newly independent country, which separated from Sudan last year.

“We made a mistake historically to enable the SPLM to rule the south, but we will correct this mistake, and we have a moral obligation for our people in South Sudan, that is to save them from the SPLM,” al-Bashir added.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday renewed its call for Sudan to stop air strikes and for South Sudan to withdraw from Heglig, which lies on the north side of the 1956 border and was captured by the South Sudanese army.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit said last month that Heglig belonged to his country, but both Khartoum and the African Union denied the claim. The pan-African body, along with the UN, called for an unconditional withdrawal of the South Sudanese troops from Heglig.

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Sudan’s president declares war on South Sudan, vows to topple Juba gov’t 

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2012-04-19 00:49:32

KHARTOUM, April 17 (Xinhua) — Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir on Wednesday declared war on South Sudan, and vowed to bring down the government of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Juba, at a time of escalating military confrontations on the border between the two countries.

Addressing a rally of members of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum, the Sudanese president announced “from today our slogan is to liberate the citizens of South Sudan from the rule of the SPLM, and from today it will be eye for eye, tooth for tooth and strike for strike and the beginner (of the war) is more unjust”.
“We’ve made a mistake historically to enable the SPLM to rule the south, but we will correct this mistake, and we have a moral obligation for our people in South Sudan, that is to save them from the SPLM,” al-Bashir added.

Al-Bashir accused the government of South Sudan of failing to commit itself to the agreements and treaties the two countries had signed, saying “these people do not keep promises and not adhere to the documents, and they are traitors.”

He continued saying “Sudan should not be ruled separately in the north and the south, either they (SPLM) come and control Khartoum or we go and control Juba.” The remarks came as fresh clashes reportedly erupted near the town of Aweil, South Sudan, about 160 km west of the Heglig oil field near the border between the two countries, which have been seized by the South Sudanese army since April 10.

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday reiterated its call for Sudan to stop air strikes and South Sudan to withdraw from Heglig.

“Council members discussed ways to leverage the influence of the council to press the parties to take these steps, and included in that a discussion potentially of sanctions,” U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters following a council meeting.

The oil-rich Heglig region on the north side of the 1956 border between Sudan and South Sudan, has been captured by the South Sudanese army since Tuesday.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit said last month that Heglig belonged to his country, but both Khartoum and the African Union denied the claim.

The pan-African body, along with the United Nations, called for an unconditional withdrawal of the South Sudanese troops from Heglig.

The Sudanese parliament decided last Wednesday to announce a general mobilization and stop negotiations with South Sudan.

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(Xinhua).