Monday, May 21, 2018

Somalia: Somaliland-Puntland Clash Leaves 4 Dead - Official
By Harun Maruf

Heavy fighting broke out early Tuesday in a disputed part of Somalia's Sool region, leaving at least four people dead, a security official told VOA.

The fighting between Somaliland and Puntland erupted outside the village of Tukaraq. It lies between the main towns of Las Anod in Somaliland – a breakaway Somali state and self-declared republic – and Garowe in Puntland.

The office of Puntland's president, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, issued a statement accusing Somaliland of launching an "unprovoked" attack on its territory.

Somaliland officials accused Puntland of attacking their positions, local media report.

Both sides reported casualties including deaths, but neither side provided any figures to confirm those provided by the security official.

The official, who is not being named because he is not authorized to speak with journalists, described "intense" fighting with heavy weaponry.

Both Puntland and Somaliland reportedly have well-armed forces, and troops have massed in the disputed area in recent weeks. Michael Keating, the United Nations' special representative for Somalia, visited Puntland and Somaliland over the weekend and urged de-escalation.

Somaliland forces captured Tukaraq village in January after a surprise attack. At the time, Somaliland military officials said their forces conducted an operation "within our own borders." Puntland leaders, meanwhile, said Somaliland was "occupying" parts of its own territories and vowed publicly to "retake" the land.

Territorial disputes in the region go back to the colonial era, when Britain colonized Somaliland and Italy colonized the rest of Somalia. The people in Sool region are represented in both the Somaliland and Puntland administrations.

Somaliland announced its secession from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but has not been recognized as an independent state.

Observers worry that continued fighting will aggravate humanitarian concerns in a region prone to recurrent droughts.
Review KDF Strategies to Reduce Deaths in Somalia, MP Tells Uhuru
May. 20, 2018, 12:00 pm
By MATHEWS NDANYI @ndanyi_mathews

 A file photo of Kenyans planting flags beside KDF helmets, at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, during a vigil to honour soldiers killed in Somalia. /PATRICK VIDIJA

Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut wants a review of the strategies KDF uses to fight terrorists as many of them have been killed in Somalia.

Chepkut said on Saturday that the government needs to employ modern security strategies and equipment  that will keep soldiers more secure.

"North Rift counties of Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Trans Nzoia have the highest numbers of widows, whose husbands were KDF soldiers and members of other security agencies," he said.

“Even America is fighting in Somalia without ground troops ... we need to device strategies that will minimise loss of lives."

He spoke at Wounifer in his constituency after attending the burial of Duncan Kimutai, one of the soldiers killed in Somalia two weeks ago.

Seven troops died when the vehicle they were travelling hit a landmine.

Five were from the North Rift counties and three were buried at the weekend.

Chepkut, however, thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto for helping the families of slain soldiers and finding jobs for some of them.

“There are many cases that the President has followed up," he said. "We are indebted to the many young soldiers sacrificing their lives for the country."

Kenya is among several countries that have contributed troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia. The others are Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Uganda began withdrawing its soldiers in December last year.

 Police contributing countries are Ghana, Kenya, NIgeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia.

 Following calls for Kenyans to leave the war-torn country, the President noted in March last year that KDF troops will remain there until peace and stability are restored.

 Uhuru noted that more needs to be done before a planned Amison drawdown and transition to Somali security forces next year.
Security Council Extends Support for African Union Force in Somalia
Ethiopian soldiers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on foot patrol in Halgan village, Hiran region, on 10 June 2016, a day after a battle with Al-Shabaab militants.AMISOM/Ilyas Ahmed

15 May 2018

The Security Council on Tuesday gave its backing to the African Union force in Somalia, AMISOM, extending its deployment until at least the end of July.

In the resolution, unanimously adopted, the Council also recalled its earlier decision to authorize the AU to reduce the Mission’s level of uniformed personnel to 20,626 by 30 October this year from 22,126 now;  but to include a minimum of 1,040 AMISOM police personnel, including five specialist Formed Police Units.

It also requested that the UN Secretary‑General continue to provide logistical support for AMISOM, its 70 civilian personnel; the 10,900-strong Somalia National Army jointly operating with AMISOM, and the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

The Council resolution adopted at the end of August last year, requested the AU and the UN to conduct a joint assessment of AMISOM’s operations - but this assessment has been delayed, leading to Tuesday’s decision to extend the deployment of AMISOM for just over two months, in order to assess the merits of a longer extension.

Briefing the Council, Michael Keating, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, said that AMISOM continues to play an indispensable role, “at great human cost”, in protecting population centres, main supply routes and Somalia’s overall political progress.

“Suffice to say that successful security transition will require not just deep reform of the Somalia security forces but also, as the AU Commission Chairperson and UN Secretary-General’s Envoys noted, transformation of AMISOM,” he said.

Such transformation would entail more flexible joint operations and combat mentoring; greater emphasis on policing; adequate enablers and force multipliers, together with stronger accountability.

More flexible operational support by the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) will also be needed, along with predictable financing.

“The AU-UN joint review is likely to underscore that the foremost requirement for success is the need for unity of purpose among Somali actors, as well as between the Somalis, the AU, the troop-contributing countries, and principal security partners,” he said.
KDF Troops Begin Gradual Withdrawal From War-torn Somalia After UN Vote
By Dominic Wabala
East African Standard
May 18th 2018 at 23:12 GMT

Last year, Kenya withdrew 200 troops from Amisom and another 200 are set to return by December task accomplished   Kenyan soldiers will leave in December 2020 after mentoring Somali security forces to take over control from Amisom  The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) are scheduled to withdraw from Somalia in two years according to timelines drawn by the United Nations Security Council.

The planned withdrawal comes seven years after KDF troops entered Somalia under the aegis of “Operation Linda Nchi” on October 14, 2011 in pursuit of Al Shabaab terrorists who had been entering Kenya at will to abduct and kill aid workers and tourists in North Eastern and Coast. 

According to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2372 (2017), Kenyan troops will leave Somalia in December 2020 after mentoring Somali security forces to take over control from Amisom.

If the schedule works as planned, all sixteen Forward Operating Base (FOB) occupied by KDF troops working under Amisom will be taken over by Somalia National Army (SNA) and Jubaland Security Force who are currently being mentored to take over security responsibility of their country.

The FOBs include Amisom Sector II headquarters Dhobley, Afmadhow, Tabda, Fafadun, Hoosingow, Kismayo New Airport, Kismayo Old Airport, Kolbio, Buale, Badhaadhe, Beles Qoqaani and Burgavo among others.  Last year, Kenya withdrew 200 troops from Amisom as part of its share in the 1,000-man strong force in the drawdown authorised by the UN Security Council.

Another 200 KDF troops are scheduled to withdrawn from Somalia by December. It is expected that the drawdown will be escalated ahead of the 2020 deadline leaving all security responsibilities to Somalia security agencies. The five Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) namely Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia are bound by the UN Security Council drawdown resolution. Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Zambia are contributing police officers to Amisom.

However, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission ambassador Francisco Caetano says the number will be compensated by 500 Amisom police who are coming in to assist in training of Somali police officers.

According to the UN Security Council Resolution 2372 (2017) which extended Amisom’s mandate until May 31, there is an expected reduction of the troops to 20,626 from 21,626 by October 30. 

The Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2372 (2017) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter in which there would be a reduction of uniformed personnel but an increase of police in Somalia. But as the drawdown of Amisom troops approaches, locals and TCC are apprehensive of the ability of SNA to hold on to territory liberated by African Union troops when they withdraw in 2020.

Lack of a unified command structure for the SNA and other security forces operating in Somalia is the greatest challenge to achieving a realistic transition to and handing over of security responsibility.

Loss of gains During a meeting of Heads of State and ministers of the main TCC including Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi and Uganda held in March in Uganda, the countries warned that the time frame for the drawdown was unrealistic and would likely lead to the loss of gains already achieved by Amisom.

Amisom recently received an extension of its mandate in Somalia from the UN Security Council. UN funds African Union’s operations in the war-ravaged country. KDF/Amisom troops have over the last one year been training and preparing Somalia security agents to take over the responsibility.

 All security operations are led by SNA with support from Amisom troops.  As part of the condition-based withdrawal, Amisom will soon handover the Mogadishu stadium to SNA troops as well as the Military Academy.

Amisom will then establish a FOB for SNA in Leego to secure the main supply route between Mogadishu and Baidoa.  The Mayor of Mogadishu and Governor of Benadir region Abdirahman Omar Osman is concerned that if Amisom troops leave before degrading Al Shabaab, the insurgents might return.

“Our worry is that the UN and other donors are talking about reducing troops. What we want is for our country to be secure and if the Amisom troops leave, the situation might be overturned,” the mayor says. 

Acting Amisom Force Commander Major General Tai Gituai says the transition period is being purely driven by the Somalia government.

“We want to let them have security responsibility with the support of AU. We are working out the modalities. Next week, we are having discussions on the condition-based transition plan. The transition will be applied based on a comprehensive approach that will drive the transition. We expect the forces to be well developed and ready to take over,” Maj Gen Gituai says.

The officers’ cadre is being trained by the British security officials. Somalia’s security agents are being trained by Turkey, Kenya, Uganda, Britain, EU and United Arab Emirates. 

newsdesk@standardmedia.co.ke   
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001280938/kdf-troops-begin-gradual-withdrawal-from-war-torn-somalia-after-un-vote
US Forces Accused of Complicity in Somalia Raid That Left Five Civilians Dead
Locals say unarmed men were banana farmers and were killed trying to flee during operation against al-Shabaab extremists

Jason Burke Africa correspondent
Thu 17 May 2018 09.21 EDT

 A Somali soldier near the wreckage of a car bomb in Mogadishu in April. There are several hundred US troops in Somalia helping the local military in its fight against al-Shabaab.

US special forces have been accused of complicity in the deaths of civilians after five unarmed men were killed during a raid by Somali troops last week that they “aided and assisted”.

The casualties were described as banana farmers by local inhabitants, and appear to have been shot while trying to flee the site of the operation, which officials say targeted commanders of the al-Shabaab extremist group.

Somali intelligence officials say three men detained in the raid on a village in the Lower Shabelle region were senior militants.

Mohamed Sheikh Mohamud, a farmer in the village of Ma’alinka, 37 miles south of Mogadishu, told the Guardian the operation started at about 1am last Thursday when “forces came down from a helicopter and started shooting the people in the farm”.

Mohamud said he knew the five men killed. Two were tractor drivers at a banana farm, and three were cattle farmers.

Anisa Abdullahi, a mortuary attendant who inspected the bodies when they were brought into the Medina hospital in Mogadishu the day after the raid, said four of the men died from fatal bullet wounds to the back and one was killed by a wound to the chest.

“After checking, we found all died because of gun shots. The type of the weapon is one type, as the wound holes have similar sizes,” Anisa Abdullahi told the Guardian.

There are no accounts of any sustained resistance to the special forces during the raid. Four Somali security officials and a senior officer with the Amisom regional force based in Mogadishu said they did not believe any weapons had been seized during the operation.

A second resident in the area said he just left the farm when he heard the first shot.

“It was past midnight and all was peaceful when the shooting began. Nobody fired at them as the people there were not armed. They shot the victims from close range and killed them,” said Hassan Muhidin, a farmer.

An account in the Daily Beast said that at least one villager fired a number of shots at the special forces in the belief that they were from a rival clan milita before being wounded and throwing his AK-47 away.

The US has ramped up military efforts against al-Shabaab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in sub-Saharan Africa, under the Trump administration.

The exact role of the US forces during the raid last week is unclear. There are several hundred US troops in Somalia whose primary role is to enhance the local military’s ability to fight al-Shabaab, which is affiliated to al-Qaida.

Ali Mohamed Moalin, a traditional elder close to where the alleged raid took place on Wednesday night, told the AFP news agency that “two military helicopters” were involved, as well as “some foreign special forces”.

A spokesman for Somalia’s internal security ministry, Abdiasis Ali Mohamed (better known as Abdiasis Hildhiban), confirmed the raid saying troops “including Somali government forces and their friends raided an enemy target … and killed al-Shabaab members.”

US troops routinely accompany their Somali charges on operations. One special forces soldier was killed during a raid on a village last year, the first US soldier to die in Somali since the 1993 Black Hawk Down debacle.

A spokesperson for the US defence department’s Africa Command said that “US forces, in an advise-and-assist capacity, partnered in a Somali-led operation to disrupt and degrade al-Shabaab’s terrorist network near Bulcida, Somalia, on 9 May.”

Earlier this year the Guardian revealed that dozens of civilians have been killed and wounded in Somalia as airstrikes assisted or executed by the US against Islamist militants have increased to unprecedented levels.

Many raids and airstrikes occur in remote locations and al-Shabaab have a long history of exaggerating civilian casualties. But US forces frequently struggle to identify targets in a complex and dynamic environment.

Hassan Abdi Jim’ale, an elder from Ma’alinka, claimed “the Americans” were responsible for Thursday’s shooting.

“They do not kill al-Shabaab. They only kill civilians.” he said.

A statement from Africom said the reports alleging civilian casualties were being taken seriously.

“As with any allegations of civilian casualties we receive, US Africa Command will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties. If the information supporting the allegation is determined to be credible, Africom will determine the next appropriate step,” the statement read.

“The Department of Defense is fully committed to countering the threat of global terrorism, and will continue to support capable partners in the region.”

A series of offensives has failed to dislodge al-Shabaab from its strongholds.

Intelligence documents, transcripts of interrogations with recent defectors and interviews with inhabitants of areas in the swath of central and southern Somalia controlled by al-Shabaab have shone a light on the severity of its harsh rule – but also revealed significant support in some areas.

The group has put to death dozens of “criminals”, inflicted brutal punishments on gay people, conducted forced marriages, and used civilian populations as human shields.

Earlier this month a woman was stoned to death after being convicted of bigamy and adultery.
Morocco Accuses Algeria of Supporting Iran in Western Sahara Struggle
Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita says Algeria provided 'operational support' to Iran but expressed desire for dialogue.

13 May 2018

Morocco's foreign minister has accused Algeria of being directly involved in Iran's support of the Polisario, an independence movement in the disputed Western Sahara territory.

Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita told French publication Jeune Afrique in an extensive interview that Algeria offered more than a meeting venue for members of the Polisario Front and Lebanese group Hezbollah, which Rabat accused Iran of using in its support of the independence movement.

"Algeria has given more than its blessing. It has given an opening, backing and operational support," Bourita said.

"In addition, some meetings between the Polisario and Hezbollah were held in a secret Algiers hideout, leased to a certain 'DB', an Algerian woman married to a Hezbollah cadre, who acts as a liaison officer for Hezbollah, notably with the Polisario," Bourita added.

Earlier in May, Morocco severed ties with Iran over its alleged support of the Polisario through Hezbollah and in coordination with Tehran's diplomatic mission to Algiers.

Algiers summoned the kingdom's ambassador at the time to protest Moroccan allegations that it played any role in Tehran's purported support for the rebel movement.

Bourita added in the interview, revealed a day ahead of its scheduled publication by Morocco's foreign ministry, that he believed Algeria resorted to diversionary tactics, such as its support for the Polisario, to shift attention away from the country's more pressing concerns.

"Let's not forget that the Algerian regime, confronted by a grave institutional, political, economic and social crisis could not survive but for the problems and tensions that it has itself generated or intends to create, in order to deflect Algerians' attention from their real concerns," the foreign minister said.

'Our most ardent wish'

Bourita, however, switched tone and insisted that a different path does exist for the two countries, pointing out that France and Germany were able to reconcile after two world wars.

"Dialogue is always possible. It is our most ardent wish … The example of Germany and France is here to remind us. Who could have imagined, at the end of World War II that these two countries would be the engine of Europe's construction."

Last year, Bourita lamented the state of affairs between the two countries, noting that it had been more than seven years since a bilateral visit took place.

A failed attempt in 1963 to retake parts of Tindouf and Bechar provinces (present-day Algeria), territories that Rabat had long considered to be part of Greater Morocco, cast a lasting shadow over the neighbour's ties.

Analysts believe that Algeria's subsequent support for secessionist rebels from Western Sahara - a former Spanish colony until 1975 - is the result of the bad start the two countries got off to since achieving independence from colonial France, Morocco in 1956, Algeria in 1962.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS
From Camels to Catfish, Algeria Boosts Fish Farming in the Sahara Desert
by Thin Lei Win | @thinink
Sunday, 20 May 2018 04:00 GMT

TOUGGOURT, Algeria, May 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In a corner of his sprawling farm, Milouda Mohammed proudly unveiled his latest venture - a pond full of catfish that could herald a new future for farmers like him on the Sahara desert.

He is hoping to earn extra income from selling fresh, farmed fish from the world's largest and hottest desert and use the water to irrigate his olive and date trees and vegetables.

"Five years from now, I'm expecting different kinds of products from this land," said Mohammed, 49, clad in thick, long-sleeved overalls, oblivious to the searing afternoon sun.

The 15-hectare farm, some 600 km (370 miles) by car from the capital Algiers, bustled with chickens, quails, ducks, camels, goats and sheep - a hive of activity in this stark landscape where, for miles, there is little else besides sand.

"I'm excited about this. Inshallah, it works," he added, using the Arabic phrase for "God willing" as he threw some home-made feed of leftover chicken and vegetables into the pond.

Farming fish in the desert might sound counterintuitive but Algeria hopes to tap the huge aquifers beneath the Sahara - that covers about 80 percent of the country - as it seeks new ways to feed its growing population and diversify its oil based economy.

Algeria's population is forecast by the United Nations to rise 25 percent to nearly 50 million people by 2030, increasing demand for food and jobs in the North African nation, one of many countries battling water scarcity and population growth.

For several years the government has been promoting agriculture in southern Algeria, offering cheap loans and concessions to farmers willing to take up the Sahara challenge - and with some success, according to government officials.

Taha Hammouche, director-general for fisheries at Algeria's agriculture ministry, said about 13,000 farmers have expressed interest in aquaculture projects, enthused after the Sahara yielded its first harvest of farmed desert shrimp two years ago.

The government is providing training on raising fish and using the waste water on plants instead of chemical fertilisers.

"Fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea have decreased so we cannot rely on that anymore to increase our production," Hammouche told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Hammouche said Algeria hopes aquaculture in the Sahara will help to nearly double the nation's annual fish production by 2022 from current levels of about 100,000 tonnes a year.

Currently Algeria's fish come mostly from along its 1,280 km (800 miles) of Mediterranean coastline which experts fear is in danger from pollution, climate change and overfishing.

Valerio Crespi from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said integrating agriculture and aquaculture could provide protein to rural and isolated desert communities globally but cautioned about over-use of underground water.

Studies have shown consuming fish is particularly beneficial for pregnant women and young children, said Crespi, who has been working with Algerian authorities since desert aquaculture was first mooted in the country a decade ago.

"Raising fish in deserts is going to be really critical, even for developed countries, because we've got to be more efficient with water," said Kevin Fitzsimmons, a University of Arizona professor.

Arizona farmers who raise fish improved their soil quality, saved money on fertilisers, and received premium price for their fish, added Fitzsimmons, who has advised desert aquaculture farms in the United States, Mexico, and the Middle East.

Data shows that drylands, including deserts and grasslands, take up about 41 percent of the world's land surface and are home to more than 2 billion people.

But U.N. studies say climate change means nearly half the world population will live in high water stress areas by 2030.

Fitzsimmons said action is needed now and he is looking to develop aquaculture in dry zones in Myanmar and India.

"Making their agriculture more efficient and their land more productive with more vegetables, more fruits, and more fish, is going to be critical to support the fast-growing populations (in dry areas)," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Raising fish can be more efficient than livestock because less space is needed and fish are edible quicker, he added.

Other advantages include better disease control because fish farms in deserts are not connected to water systems, said Dina Zilberg, an expert on fish disease at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, a pioneer in desert aquaculture.

Critics, however, say aquaculture - the fastest growing agricultural sector for the past 40 years - destroys the environment and put diseases and invasive species into the wild.

Zilberg said while some criticism is warranted, solutions now exist to prevent contamination and besides, she added, there is little alternative, with global fish stocks under strain.

"If we want to continue consuming it, we will have to grow it," she said. "The thing to do is not (stop) aquaculture but make the farms treat the water properly."

CULTURAL BARRIERS

Those wanting to try desert aquaculture can expect challenges, ranging from climate change - with average annual rainfall down more than 30 percent in recent decades and temperatures rising - to consumer perceptions.

In Israel's Negev desert, where costs of water, land and electricity are high, only ornamental fish farms are thriving as these fetch higher prices than fish for eating, Zilberg said.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Ouargla, southern Algeria, a commercial fish farm set up nearly a decade ago has had to reduce production due to a lack of consumer demand.

"People prefer fish from the sea ... but we expect this project to be profitable in the future," said the farm's supervisor, who did not want to give his name.

Sometimes supplies are an issue. The high-tech shrimp centre in Ouargla produced its first harvest in 2016 but is yet to reach its potential due to a lack of shrimp larvae locally.

Shrimps produced at the high-tech Shrimp Cultivation Research Center, a joint venture project between South Korea and Algeria, in Ouargla, southern Algeria, April 11, 2018. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Thin Lei Win
The centre, a joint venture between Korea and Algeria, is importing shrimp larvae from Florida, but that is costly and the quantity is limited, said Kashi Massaoud, the centre's director.

Still, the converts are forging ahead.

Farmer Kaboussa Mohammed, 52 - no relation to Milouda Mohammed - is optimistic for the tilapia and catfish being raised on his one-hectare farm, saying the nutrient-rich water from his pond has improved his dates.

"I used to use chemical stuff for the plants but this is very natural and they grow faster too," he said.

(Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)
Algeria's Islamist Opposition Urges National Consensus on Economic Reform
Algeria must build a national consensus to undertake deep economic reforms and end its dependency on volatile gas and oil revenues, the new leader of the main Islamist opposition party said.

19 May 2018 01:16AM

ALGIERS: Algeria must build a national consensus to undertake deep economic reforms and end its dependency on volatile gas and oil revenues, the new leader of the main Islamist opposition party said.

Abderazak Makri, elected last week as the new head of the Islamist MSP party, also told Reuters he will stand in the presidential election in April 2019 if the government does not bring the opposition into its plans for taking the oil-producer country forward.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the veteran leader in power since 1999, has not declared yet whether he will seek a fifth term though the ruling FLN party and the biggest labour union have asked him to run again.

Should the 81-year-old, who is wheelchair-bound following a stroke in 2013, run again this would provide short-term stability in the OPEC oil producer giving the military-backed power brokers time to sort out a smooth transition.

But Makri said the oil producer had no time to lose to agree on economic reforms as Algeria's model of a state dominated economic dependent on oil and gas revenues no longer worked.

"A government needs full support from political parties, unions and organizations to implement difficult reforms. This is why we need a consensus," Makri said in an interview.

"If we do not reach a political consensus, all options will be then open. We may participate. We may boycott," he said.

Islamist parties now play no big role in Algeria where the FLN has dominated since independence from France. The MSP won only 6 percent in the 2017 election and it boycotted the presidential elections in 2014.

Makri said rising domestic gas consumption eating into gas exports showed that the Algeria need to diversify its economy even if oil prices were continuing to pick up.

Oil and gas revenues have halved since 2014, straining a welfare state used to discourage dissent.

Algeria has responded to the economic crisis by reducing imports, a public service hire freeze and postponing some projects to cope with the crash of oil prices.

But the government has maintained subsidies of key products such as milk and powerful elites have resisted opening up the country too much to foreigners.

"The government needs to show very clearly to political parties that it will accept political change," Makri said.

Many ordinary Algerians prefer stability after the civil war in the 90s when the elite overturned an election which Islamists were poised to win triggering a conflict with them in which about 200,000 people were killed.

Makri was undeterred by the apparent modest support for Islamist parties, pointing to Tunisia where Islamist and secular forces rule together.

"Tunisia is a good sample. When elections are free and fair the winners are always Islamists," he said. "In Morocco, the Islamists have won, in Tunisia they have won, and they would have won in Algeria if there had been no fraud."

(Editing by Ulf Laessing and Richard Balmforth)

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/algeria-s-islamist-opposition-urges-national-consensus-on-economic-reform-10248844
Migrant Crisis Emerges in Sahara Desert on Algeria-Niger Border, IOM Says
In the desert heat, one day without water is enough to cause death from dehydration.

by Alastair Jamieson
Reuters
May.16.2018 / 9:06 AM ET
Image: Algeria-Niger border

Dozens of migrants have died in the searing heat of the Sahara Desert and thousands more are stuck there amid a wave of expulsions by Algeria.

The United Nations migration agency, IOM, says it is providing shelter for 3,500 migrants in neighboring Niger, a landlocked nation that has become a crossroads on the trail toward Europe and a hotspot for human traffickers.

Algeria last year launched a crackdown on illegal immigration across its southern border, and has stepped up patrols along the largely unmarked desert frontier.

It has also begun deporting thousands of sub-Saharan Africans who are living in Algeria without consent — typically from countries such as Mali, Cameroon and Nigeria.

The result is a southward stream of migrants across the sparsely populated region in temperatures of up to 120 degrees.

On a single day last month, 1,500 arrived at the remote border village of Assamakka, according to Giuseppe Loprete, IOM chief of mission in Niger.

Migrants dropped there by Algerian authorities face a 250-mile journey to the nearest town, Agadez. Many give up seeking transport and walk.

“Most of them have no money or identity documents, food or water,” Loprete said. “They are traumatized. In some cases they have been unable to get transport and have walked or they have been abandoned by human traffickers and don’t know where they are."

At least 7,000 are expected to pass through in the year to June, according to IOM estimates, often carrying children or a few belongings.

In the desert heat, one day without water is enough to cause death from dehydration.

“The territory makes it difficult to verify numbers but most groups we find have reported deaths along the way,” Loprete said. “Recently we found a group that started out as 50 but only six remained alive. The total number of deaths must be in the dozens in this current crisis and definitely in the thousands since 2015.”

Niger's border with Libya is formally closed and heavily militarized, and so the Algeria border has become a major destination.

No official figure is available for the number of undocumented migrants in Algeria, but some unofficial estimates put the total as high as 100,000.

Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel last year said migrants are “a threat to national security” and vowed to step up deportations.

Despite the uptick in deportations and the risk of death on route, there are still some migrants heading north in search of a better life.

It means the IOM camps in Niger are dealing with flows of people in many directions.

“We can only explain the dangers and give them advice,” IOM's Loprete said. “Some are determined to go into Algeria but a lot of them get robbed by the traffickers and end up back here with no money. Some just give up and go home; we can arrange that with consular help."

Human Rights Watch has reported that Algerian officials are rounding up migrants from streets or construction sites and holding them in crowded deportation centers before expelling them over the border into Niger.
Tunisia’s First Woman Party Leader Dies
Maya Jribi cofounded secular liberal political party

19:54 May 19, 2018
Gulf News
Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief

Manama: Maya Jribi, a Tunisian politician who was one of the first women to lead a political party in the Arab world, died Saturday afternoon.

Born in 1960 to a Tunisian father and an Algerian mother, Maya engaged in political activism within the students’ union when she was a biology student at a university in Sfax, Tunisia’s second largest city, 260 kilometres south of the capital Tunis.

She joined the Tunisian League of Human Rights and penned several articles in Al Rai weekly newspaper.

Maya was a member of a study group looking into the status of women and her social activism promoted her to join an anti-cancer society and to form an association for studies about women and development.

In 1983, she contributed, alongside Ahmad Nejib Chebbi, to establishing the Progressive Socialist Rally, a secular liberal political party. When she became member of its politburo in 1986, she was one of the rare women to hold an advanced position within the party.

The party gained legal recognition in 1988 and was renamed the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) in 2001.

In 2006, she was elected as the head of the PDP, succeeding Chebbi and becoming the first woman in Tunisia to lead a national political party.

On October 23, 2011, she was elected to the parliament representing a district in Ben Arous, in the southern suburbs of Tunis.

While she achieved a comfortable majority, her party fared poorly, prompting anger and dismay.

“We will look carefully into the reasons for this failure and will analyse them,” Maya then told Gulf News. “We do appreciate however the massive participation of the people in the elections and which exceeded all expectations.”

Affected by disease, Maya announced her retirement during the party convention in 2017.

Social media in Tunisia were filled with expression of condolences and sympathies for her family.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Egypt: Costs of Economic Growth
Niveen Wahish
Wednesday 16 May 2018

The government has been caught between the need to streamline spending and to keep people happy during Ramadan

This was a good week for Egyptian economic policy-makers, as the country received the first upgrade to its credit rating in seven years when Standard & Poor’s (S&P), the international credit-ratings agency, upgraded its rating for the Egyptian economy from B- to B.

“The upgrade reflects strengthening GDP growth and rising external foreign-exchange reserves, alongside the implementation of reforms,” S&P said, referring to the government’s economic reform program supported by a three-year $12 billion Extended Fund Facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“We also anticipate that ongoing economic and fiscal reforms will underpin rising business confidence and sustain capital inflows,” the agency added. It gave Egypt a “stable” outlook taking into consideration risks from “still-high fiscal deficits and a high stock of relatively short-dated government debt issued at high-interest rates.”

Egypt’s budget deficit has come in at an average of 12 per cent during the last five years, and the government aims at trimming it to 8.5 per cent during the current fiscal year. Public debt has increased to more than 100 per cent of GDP and exceeds LE3 trillion.

On Monday, Moody’s, another international credit-ratings agency, included Egypt among seven emerging markets having the largest risks to global rising debt costs due to its high proportion of short or average maturity debt.

However, while the long-awaited S&P upgrade was good news, many people in Cairo were more concerned with the price of the city’s metro tickets, which this week increased by between 50 to 250 per cent to reach LE3, LE5 or LE7 depending on distance.

According to the government, the actual cost of the ticket is around LE16. Dozens of commuters protested against the rise in prices in some metro stations amid clashes with police that ended with the arrest of some protesters.

While the government has said before that it intended to increase the Cairo metro fares, the timing of the move took many by surprise as it had not previously embarked on price hikes before the holy month of Ramadan, which tends to increase household expenses, especially on food. Ramadan is expected to start today.

Since the government embarked on its economic reform programme in November 2016, many people have been squeezed by the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, pushing up the prices of goods and services and reflected in an inflation rate that reached more than 30 per cent last summer.

However, inflation has been cooling since the beginning of 2018. Annual headline inflation fell to 13.1 per cent year-on-year in April from 13.3 per cent in March, the official statistics agency CAPMAS said earlier this week. Monthly inflation increased by 1.5 per cent in April compared to one per cent in March.

Nevertheless, the cooling inflation has not consoled many, especially as the expenditure of many families tends to rise during Ramadan because of the cost of delicacies eaten in the holy month such as the nuts and dried fruit known as yameesh.

A kilogram of almonds now costs around LE350, more than a quarter of the official minimum wage.

Although Ramadan is a month of worship and fasting where ideally consumption should be less, most people spend more during Ramadan on food items.

Some statistics say that household expenses increase by at least 40 per cent during the holy month, as families tend to eat large meals when they break their dawn-to-dusk fast.

The government has tried to help by organising its annual “Ahlan Ramadan” exhibitions across the country offering food products at competitive prices. It is also selling discounted food staples in affiliated retailers as well as in Armed Forces outlets.

A Supply Ministry spokesman told Reuters that it had prepared for the month by making LE3.5 billion worth of subsidised products available in different outlets including sugar, oil, rice and pasta.

The Holding Company for Food Industries will also send vehicles stuffed with food to residents of low-income neighbourhoods who may not have easy access to retail outlets. Big supermarkets serving different income brackets are also offering discounts.

Sociologist Madiha Al-Safti said the increased consumption during the holy month was a “bad habit” imported into Egypt from the Gulf. “It was not the case two decades ago,” she said.

However, Mahasen Abdallah, a working mother of two, said she found the food discounts attractive, as they meant she could buy in bulk to save time and money throughout the rest of the month.

Yet, despite the discounts, some people still find the prices expensive. Fatma, a mother of two who works as a home cleaner, said she could only afford the basics.

Her ration card, which covers both her and her husband, was very useful in securing some of these, she said, as the card allows purchases of LE50 per person. She also has a card allowing her to buy subsidised bread.

She gets points for any bread she does not buy, which she exchanges for other commodities at government outlets.

Fatma said she hoped the government would put extra credit on the ration cards this year as it had last year, though the minister of supply said recently that this would not take place.

Fatma also receives a charity Ramadan food box distributed by charitable organisations and individuals and varying in size.

One of the larger boxes is distributed by Dar Al-Orman, an NGO, and this, weighing 20kg, contains basic food items such as rice, pasta, fava beans, lentils and sugar that can feed a family of five for 20 days.

“We do not waste donors’ money on yameesh, and we only provide the essentials,” Mahmoud Fouad, deputy head of Dar Al-Orman, told Al-Ahram Weekly. He said the organisation bought in bulk months before Ramadan started in order to secure competitive prices for the items.

Other charities of smaller size cannot always do the same, however. Aida Ali, who runs a small charity that collects money to help residents of villages in Upper Egypt, said that thus far she had only been able to distribute 60 Ramadan boxes.

“Three years ago we used to distribute 150 to 200 bags before Ramadan that included three times the items we put in the boxes now,” she said.

“There has been a decline in the value of donations, together with an increase in the prices of the items included in the boxes,” she added.

The larger charities were luckier, Ali said, as they could run advertisements on television appealing for donations.

She said that inflation had reduced the spending power of many middle-class families over the last two years, and this had meant that many donors only covered the needs of people in Cairo rather than sending donations to Upper Egypt.

However, Fouad said that his association had been seeing a 25 to 30 per cent increase in donations. A good part of this had come in the form of small donations from ordinary people.

“It just goes to show that Egyptian people have real sympathy for those less fortunate than themselves,” he said.

Additional reporting by Sherine Abdel-Razek

*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 May 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline:Costs of economic growth

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/299653.aspx
Egypt's FM Shoukry Travelling to Algeria for Tripartite Meeting of North African States on Libya 
Ahram Online
Sunday 20 May 2018

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will head on Monday to the Algerian capital of Algiers to participate in a meeting of the tripartite initiative of Arab states neighboring Libya, which includes Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in statement

"The meeting comes in the framework of regular meetings of the tripartite initiative held continuously between the three states to discuss the latest developments in Libya and how to support the Libyan brothers on the political and security levels to achieve a national consensus and political solution to the crisis in the country," the statement said.

Abu Zeid added that the meeting comes amid intensified international efforts to break the stalemate in the country, and to complete the Libyan political roadmap through holding parliamentary and presidential elections.

"Egypt's participation in the meeting comes in the framework of Cairo's special interest in supporting a political resolution to the Libyan crisis as well as efforts to counter terrorism and unite the Libyan military institution," the statement added.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/299879.aspx
Sudan, Chad Agree to Establish Second Border Free-trade Area
May 19, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The government of West Darfur State said Sudan and Chad have agreed to establish a free-trade zone inside the Chadian territory in parallel to the free zone in El-Geniena.

The Minister of Urban Planning in West Darfur, Faisal Hassan Haroun said an agreement was reached during the recent border conference to establish a free-trade zone in Chad.

He pointed out that the move would enhance border trade between the two countries, describing the security situation and the flow of trade between the two countries as excellent.

Haroun added the implementation of border trade agreements is underway, saying they are keen to develop the border villages between Sudan and Chad.

Last month, the Sudanese-Chadian border development conference was held in West Darfur State capital, El-Geniena.

The two-day conference discussed a number of papers covering the economy, security, trade, social, cultural, media and sports cooperation between the two sides.

In January 2010, Sudan and Chad signed a normalization agreement ending a long history of mutual hostility in which both sides provided support to each other’s insurgents.

The joint border force has been deployed along the joint border in 2010 in line with a deal to stop support to rebel groups and cross-border attacks.

Last year, the two countries announced their intention to expand the deployment of the joint force to include counter-terrorism and disarmament.

(ST)
Sudan, Russia Discuss Promotion of Military Cooperation
President Putin shakes hands with President al-Bashir at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on 23 Nov 2017 (Photo Kremlin)

May 18, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan and Russia have discussed ways to promote military cooperation between the two countries.

On Thursday, the deputy head of a presidential committee tasked with the relations with BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Awad Ahmed al-Jaz met with the Russian Ambassador to Khartoum, Vladimir Zheltov.

In press statements following the meeting, the Russian envoy said the meeting discussed issues of common concern within the framework of bilateral cooperation as well as within the BRICS.

He pointed out that his country attaches great importance to promoting its relations with the friendly countries to achieve common interests and goals.

Zheltov added the meeting also discussed ways to promote the political dialogue and cooperation in the economic, trade, investment and industrial fields, pointing to the need to exert more efforts to reach the highest levels of relations.

During his visit to Russia in November 2017, President Omer al-Bashir proposed to President Vladimir Putin to build a military base on the Red Sea coast and to re-equip the Sudanese army with the Russian weapons including SU-30 fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles.

Politically, Russia is seen as a major ally of the government of al-Bashir that faces isolation from the West. However, economic cooperation between the two countries has remained very low, with a trade balance that does not exceed $400 million.

In December 2015, Sudan and Russia signed 14 cooperation agreements in different domains, including oil, minerals and banks.

The agreements also include a concession contract between Sudan and the Russian Rus Geology to prospect for oil in Sudan’s Bloc E57 and another accord for the geological mapping of the Jebel Moya area, North Kordofan State.

(ST)
Sudan’s al-Bashir Travels to Turkey for Islamic Summit
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President Omer al-Bashir, exchange cooperation agreement between the two countries in Khartoum on 24 Dec 2017 (SUNA Photo)

May 18, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Friday travelled to Istanbul to participate in the extraordinary summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on Jerusalem.

Turkey decided to call the OIC to an extraordinary meeting on 18 May to discuss the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and the killing of dozens of Palestinian protestors.

Al-Bashir was seen off at Khartoum Airport by the First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Salih and a number of ministers.

Founded in 1969, the OIC comprises 57 member states representing over 1.6 billion Muslim. Its purpose is to "safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony".

Al-Bashir is under two International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants since 2008 for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur.

Turkey is not a state party to the tribunal of war crimes but has the obligation as a member of the United Nations to cooperate with the court.

(ST)
More Than 200 Child Soldiers in South Sudan Released: UN
May 19, 2018 (JUBA) - Armed groups in South Sudan have released more than 200 children who have been serving as fighters, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said, amid estimates that there are some 19,000 child soldiers in the war-torn nation.

The release of the 210 child soldiers, a UN spokesperson said, brings the total number of underage fighters freed so far this year to 806.

Farhan Haq said additional releases are expected in the coming months that could result in more than 1,000 children being freed.

Most of those released, he said, were from the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) while eight are from the National Salvation Front.

The children and their families would be provided with three months’ worth of food, vocational training and education, Haq told reporters.

The release of child soldiers, he added, was the third this year alone.

According to UNICEF, more than 2,600 children have been released from armed groups since South Sudan’s civil war began in mid-December 2013.

South Sudan’s civil war, now in its fifth year, started when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with those allied to his former deputy, Riek Machar. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced as a result of the civil war.

(ST)
South Sudan Former Ministerial Adviser Joins Paul Malong
Lewis Anei Madut-Kuendit (L) and Paul Malong pose for picture on 19 May 2018 (ST photo)

May 19, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudanese ministerial advisor and a secretary general of the Dinka Council of Elders has resigned from his position and joined armed opposition under the leadership of former army chief of staff, Paul Malong Awan.

In a statement released Saturday, Lewis Anei Madut-Kuendit who was also the former leader of the Republican Party of South Sudan (RPSS) said he decided to join the armed opposition because the grip of misrule continued to deepen upon the nation.

He further opted for armed struggle to correct a belief by many people that the country is mismanaged by the Dinka from Bahr El Ghazal region, adding that "in my view, it is a clique of selfish and unpatriotic individuals from all tribes and regions".

" Because of all these, I here submit to declare having Joined my fellow citizens and leaders in the South Sudan United Front/Army, to throw in my lot as the only viable way to bring a change of this situation in our country," declared Kuendit in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

Kuendit who was the former governor of Warrap state has also participated and played a formidable role in the establishment and running of the Dinka Council of Elders, a tribal group that has seen as an advisory body to president Salva Kiir.

He was the secretary general of the Dinka council of elders until his resignation.

In a separate resignation letter from the Republican Party of South Sudan chairmanship on 19 May, Kuendit said he "underwent acute personal safety problem three days ago in Juba". Adding that this security problem forced him to move outside the country.

However, he didn’t give further details about the nature of this problem. But it is admitted that figures suspected of having links to the armed opposition groups are targeted by the security organs.

In his resignation letter to President Salva Kiir; seen by Sudan Tribune, the former National Ministerial Advisor on Culture, Youth said the ongoing war and economic crisis in the country made it "conscientiously difficult" for him to continue in a government office.

"With this resignation, let me acknowledge my having served under your leadership as Governor of Warrap State and the assignment I have just vacated," he said.

Several officials in the government have left the country fearing for their safety as they were harassed by the security apparatus. Many are now in Kenya, Sudan or Uganda.

But in his declaration to join the South Sudan United Front/ Army of, the former national adviser called for unity of opposition under the leadership of Paul Malong.

"As I join the armed opposition, I wish to call upon all our youths and all our South Sudanese people in the various opposition movements to unite under South Sudan United Front so as to be able to quickly stop the suffering of our people and bring the kind of national unity we want," said Kuendit.

(ST)
Lessons for South Sudan and IGAD-Led Peace Forum
James Okuk, PhD

“The polis exists to assure the good life” – Aristotle. “For however strong a ruler may be, he will always have need of the goodwill of the inhabitants if he wishes to remain in power” – Machiavelli. “It is not by the concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected” – Thomas Jefferson. “There is no time to waste. We must either unite now or perish” – Julius Nyerere.

I - WHAT SHOULD BE AT STAKE FOR SOUTH SUDAN IN THE HLRF?

All the above quoted political wisdom should serve as reminders for finalizing the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) without further delays. The conscience of stakeholders of the de facto Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU)—whose term of office ended in April 2018—and the loosed opposition groups should get awakened so as to reach an urgent conclusion of a peaceful settlement that must end the filthy civil war in South Sudan.

Also, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) should rethink its institutional bottleneck to become a trustworthy peace mediator with the commendable achievement of the desired goal. The hierarchical decision-making organs of the IGAD (i.e., Assembly of Heads of State and Government that determines the policies and guidelines; Council of Ministers that approves the work programs and budget of the Secretariat; and Committee of Ambassadors that influence the Heads of State and Government, the Ministers and officials of the Secretariat, etc…) have often undermined the work of HLRF mediation experts, especially on issues of good governance and credibility of leadership of the awaited post-war South Sudan.

At the end of the game, all the stakeholders (nationals and foreigners alike) should get tough lessons from the evolution of the political history of South Sudan so as to avoid dangerous blunders of unending crises. They must know that absence of good life, deflated people’s will, concentrated power and decayed national unity usually put BIG QUESTION MARKS on the essence of existence of a modern democratic state in the globalized era of universal human rights.

It was regrettably a wishful naivety to have thought that the tainted history of abortive governments and oppositions of Sudan would absolve ‘independent’ South Sudan from inheriting the DNA of bad governance, dooming insecurity, confused economy and recurrent humanitarian catastrophe. The deceptive economic boom from oil revenues in the SPLM/A-controlled government in Juba (not clear for any confidence whether it is free-market capitalism, protected regulatory socialism or ‘mixed’ economy) has been infected by Dutch Disease with the behaviour of milking public coffers unaccountably.

As the reality of SPLM/A’s government and opposition has now gotten known by hard way of trial-and-error, it is high time the search for lasting peace is informed by roots and links of the evolved political past of South Sudan. Such acknowledgement is necessary, precisely when the territorial geography of the new country on the globe has not shifted to the Atlantic or the Indian Oceans, or even to the Red and the Mediterranean Seas.

The historical facts and actors about South Sudan must be gleaned and screened honestly from illusionary propagandist fictions. SWOT Analyses must be applied rigorously to identify internal and external Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the existing dysfunctional institutions and those leading them with defective attitudes. Also, SMART Principles must be invoked to ensure adherence to Specificity, Measurability, Achievability, Realisticity and Timeliness of IGAD-mediated negotiations without fear or favour of anti-peace or anti-transformation proponents. Empirical descriptive evidence and logical premises must be used rigorously to arrive at sound prescriptive conclusions on resolving the daunting problems of leadership, security reforms, humanitarian assistance, sustainable economy, transitional justice and democratization of power in South Sudan.

What do you call the rivalling political leaders who act without a vision for a mission and behave strangely as if there will not be a future to cherish for themselves or their heirs?

With its commendable emancipatory past, should the SPLM/A be allowed to continue disgracing the present and discrediting the future of South Sudan for posterity?

Is there a pride in the nauseating political disgusts about the renowned SPLM/A freedom fighters who sacrificed dearly to see South Sudan liberated from the injustices of old Sudan, but find themselves escaping the country for exile to live in the diaspora as stateless individuals?

What honour is left there in the citizens who overwhelmingly voted for the independence of South Sudan but to get displaced internally to camps that are expensively guarded by foreign forces or seek refuge abroad in environmentally tough habitats of neighbouring countries?

What do you call a government in a contemporary world whose 3rd secretary diplomat in headquarters of the ministry of foreign affairs receives only a delayed monthly salary of 10 dollars?

What do you call a government in the era of universal human rights whose primary teachers are provisionally paid by foreign humanitarian donors (40 dollars a month) to keep them in schools for the sake of basic education rights of poor children, while the ministry of finance drags to pay in time the salaries of those teachers (equivalent to 5 dollars per a month)?

What do you call a naturally resource-rich country in the era of Millennium Sustainable Goals when 90% of its population lives beyond the threshold of poverty line due to man-made crises?

As the war situation stands, it will not be sustainable to temporarily bandage a government or opposition on fear mongering of ‘if we don’t this we will collapse and perish’. Such demise is the determined destiny of any irresponsible government or opposition that blocks the needed drastic change of bad status quo to new normal. No amount of propaganda or intransigence can triumph because when the political pendulum has swung to the extremes of frustrating fragile peddling, nothing but a final collapse would get queued in the sequence of events.

The cross of the very authoritarian cult that the exiled and rebellious SPLM/A leaders had established in South Sudan when they were on the grip of power, is what is haunting them mercilessly to the core now. The SPLM/A was supposed to be archived in libraries after the independence of South Sudan in 2011 because there was no Sudan to be liberated any longer in the new state. Only memorial celebrations of that formidable liberation movement in Africa would have remained upheld yearly every 16th May.

However, the real anguish about embattled South Sudan is the possibility of its breaking up into tiny fragilities that would make it difficult for rescuing the savable from political ruins. The fragmented status quo usually leads to undesirable uncertainties (e.g., reckless adoption of unsustainable political governance mechanisms, crooked security approaches, anarchical political economies and unending humanitarian catastrophes) with disturbing threats to the dignity of international peace and security. That is why South Sudan shouldn’t be allowed to sink deeper into the abyss because the repercussions of ‘failed African solution’ shall not smell good for the region after what was witnessed in Somalia.

The nauseating war situation of South Sudan is akin to John T. Rourke’s diagnosis in his Books “International Politics on the World Stage” (1st – 8th editions), Daron Acemoglu’s & James Robinson’s depictions in their Book “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty” and Peter H. Schuck’s accounts in his Book “Why Government Fails So Often”. According to these critical writers, governments that mess up themselves with senseless conflicts and extractive corruption become predominantly characterized by:

1) Dynamics of arrogant and self-serving power ambitions greedy actors with no real sense of responsibility for state/nation building;
2) Little institutional engineering hampered by unsustainable bureaucratic deforms;
3) Poor performance due to incompetence lack prudence on political economy;
4) Recurrent abhorring violence exacerbated by rotten social fabrics;
5) Riveting dramatic events with politically-motivated complex tragedies; and
6) Dramatic collapse though sometimes hopeful ending that leaves everyone dumfounded by the turns and twists of new emerging realities.

The unending senseless wars drain the desired assurances in governments, oppositions, political parties, civil societies, interest groups and the entire people of a country. In such situation the international standards and humanitarian law become the first casualties (e.g., violence pursued and promoted not as last resort for a just cause; war declared and managed without legitimate authority; war conducted disproportionally for senseless aggression rather than self-defense; war fought without discrimination of non-combatants, and war continued without intention to restore the disturbed security and peace in the shortest time possible).

General Omar Bradley, the former Joint Chief of Staff of U.S.A Army, would not hesitate (as he did at the testimony to the Senate Committee in 1951 about extending Korean War into Red China) to call what is happening in South Sudan as “the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy”. The Dutch Father of International Law and the author of ‘On the Law of War and Peace (1625)’, Hugo Grotius, would also get irritated if the HLRF ends without compelling the negotiating parties to sing an equitable peace deal.

As nothing stands strategically designed for pursuing the undignified path of ‘real politics by other means’ but political survival through war, the sustainability of running South Sudan for longer in war would get squeezed into the parochial irrational arena of unsophisticated luck or believe in superstitions. The history is full of refreshing hints of the fate of governments and opposition groups that had defied the sense of preservation of human dignity.

II - GLIMPSES FROM TURKO-EGYPTIAN & ANGLO-EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENTS (1821 – 1956)

The governments that founded and ruled Sudan (including Southern Sudan) in the past were modelled after the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which ended the Thirty Years of religious wars of monarchies in Europe. That Treaty upheld the sanctity of equality of sovereign European states based on respect for a conciliatory secular approach to politics among the superpowers who operate according to unified understanding for colonizing the less powerful nations that were regarded as not yet rational, scientific, moral and theistic for full humanity.

The history of Turkish-based Ottoman Empire (founded in the 15th Century and collapsed in 20th Century when its territories were divided up in 1922 for trusteeship by strategic victors behind the League of Nations), is an important epistemological archive worth revisiting nowadays. That Empire was the founder of Sudan (land of the blacks) by default in 1821 via its commander, the Albanian-born Muhammad Ali Pasha (1769 – 1849). The objectives was to extract valuable resources and capture black slaves to be used for consolidation and expansion the colonial regime to new territories.

Muhammad Ali’s grandson, ‘the magnificent’ Khedive Ismail Ibrahim Pasha (1830 – 1895) tried to improve the tainted image of his government among ‘the virgin tribes’ of Southern Sudan. He appointed European adventurers to govern this slaves hunting zone (e.g., Samuel White Baker, Charles George Gordon and Eduard Schnitzler) to help him with reforms and “abolition of slavery” in accordance with Anglo-Egyptian Slave Trade Convention (1877) and the Congo Act (1885):

1) Freedom of navigation and trade for all nations in the region forming the basins of the Congo and Niger without allowing a total hegemony of Britain or Portugal;
2) Recognition of African boundaries as international borders demarcated by the dominant colonial powers who have endorsed the partition understanding via the Congo Act;
3) Future appropriation of territory on the African coast had to be conducted by the dominant colonial powers via notification in advance to the signatories of any territorial acquisition; and
4) Joint measures for the suppression of slavery and slave trade within the colonial territories.

Also the history of British Empire (founded in 16th Century and expanded extensively between 17th and 20th Centuries to be known as the vast territory where the sun doesn’t go setting, though it diminished from the 1950s and disappeared in 1997 after handing over Hong Kong to its rightful Chinese owners), is connected with the making of South Sudan though Lord Cromer (1841 – 1917) discredited it perceptively as a useless large tract that was difficult and costly to administer for any meaningful colonial interest. The Anglo-Egyptian colonial governments used the divide-and-rule tactics to subdue the local people of the Sudan but disadvantaging Southern Sudan through special policies of ‘Military Patrols’ to enforce colonial law and order, Closed District Ordinance (1921), Passports and Permits Ordinance (1922), Trade Permit Order (1928), Rejaf Languages Conference (1928)—six local vernaculars (Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Bari and Latuko and Zande) were recommended as medium for Southern education without prejudice to English or other European languages, ‘Building of Self-contained Tribal Units’ based on customary system, and banning mingling or intermarriages between Southerners and Northerners.

The post-World War I (1914 – 1918) and politics of the League of Nations; the invasion of Eritrea by Italy in 1935 with attempts to conquer parts of Sudan adjacent to Ethiopia; the World War II (1939 – 1945) and politics of the United Nations; the move by penultimate King Farouk I of Egypt to declare himself the Monarch of both Egypt and Sudan; and the pressure of Northern General Graduate Congress (formed in 1936) on the Anglo-Egyptian colonial Government to revoke its Southern Sudan policy and involve Sudanese in government, led to formation of Northern Sudan Advisory Council and enactment of Local Councils Ordinances in 1943 though with ‘safeguards’ by the British to uniqueness of the South. But the post-World War II (1939 – 1945) and politics of the United Nations shifted the paradigm where the British resorted to policy of empowering Southern Sudan educationally and economically to enable them to stand strongly and competitively on their own as Negroid African, either as attached to the North, annexed to East Africa, or distributed between North and East Africa.

The U.K’s Labour Minister, Ernest Bevin, and the Egyptian Prime Minister Ismail Sedky Pasha signed a Protocol in 1946 on self-government and referendum for the Sudanese to decide on their annexation to Egypt or staying independent after nullification of Condominium Agreement (1899) and the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty (1936) prior to the exit of colonial officials from Sudan. The Condominium Civil Secretary, James W. Robertson, wanted the South to remain attached to the North and the Middle East rather than East Africa. He and the Machiavellian Northern Sudanese Judge, Mohamed Saleh Shingeiti, organized the Sudan Administration Conference in Khartoum (1946) with a special focus on ‘Sudanization’ of public service. The Conference recommended for the conduct of Juba Conference in 1947 to bring Southern participants (civil servants, local chiefs, religious leaders and British officials) on board by persuading them to get closer to the central government in Khartoum in returns for equal treatment in job remuneration, promotion, privileges, transfers and education.

Unfortunately, the London-Cairo-Khartoum geopolitics undermined the original mood and promised of the Juba Conference. London preferred appeasing Khartoum to strike a blow on Cairo and its push for unity of the Nile Valley. The 13-Man Committee that drafted the Self-government Statute (chaired by Justice Stanley Baker in 1951 and with MP Buth Diu as the only member from the South but who boycotted with disappointment when his call for federalism was rejected) was affected by the diplomatic wrangling and confusing legalistic interpretations of the Agreement between The Egyptian Government and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island Concerning Self-government and Self-determination for the Sudan (1953.

With approval by the British authorities, the Northern politicians (patronized by Pro-Egypt Khatimya Islamists under Ali al-Mirghni and Pro-Britain Ansars Islamists under Abdel Rahman al-Mahdi) spat on the face of Southerners by denying them representation in the negotiations of Anglo-Egyptian exit from Sudan. They despised the South as apolitical to be consulted because it didn’t have a single political party and would not deserve to sit equally with their masters to discuss government affairs. The Egyptian Information Minister Saleh Salim, serving under the Junta of Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, frequented his visits to Southern Sudan to promote unity of the Nile Valley.

It didn’t take longer before the workers in Nzara and Yambio went on riots, Torit armed forces went on mutiny, and wider unrest ensuing in Southern Sudan by1955. Khartoum blamed “the Southern Problem” on British policies of isolating the South from North with widened gap of mistrust, underdevelopment and backwardness of Southerners, disrespect of Northern traders and elites towards Southerners, false assumptions that Egyptians and British will intervene in favour of the South, miscommunication and maladministration by government officials, and rumour mongering by the opposition against Ismail al-Azhari’s interim government.

In a nutshell, the respective governments of the Great Ottoman Empire and the Greatest British Empire, including their extension into Sudan via assistance of de facto governments in Egypt, had to collapse mainly for these reasons: 1) conducting themselves above the fundamental universal human rights, and 2) pursuing globalization without moral conscience or human face. Regrettably, their political DNA is still haunting South Sudan nowadays (e.g., family dynasties with use of religions for political appearance of support and solidarity, proliferation of militias for government security against opposition, capitalist free market economy, anti-federalism, spree of corruption, maladministration, insensitivity to plight of local population, recycling of arrogant politicians in government, and intransigence on military might and other repressive demeanors against the colonized people).

III - HINTS FROM GOVERNMENTS OF INDEPENDENT SUDAN (1956 – 2011)

The Stanley Baker’s Statute of Self-government was passed into Transitional Constitution of the Sudan (1956) without incorporating the demand of Southerners for self-rule (Southern politicians were only persuaded that their demand would be given due consideration by Constituent Assembly during the permanent constitution-making process). Independent Sudan didn’t change the bad politics of the colonial past, particularly against Southern Sudan and other marginalized peripheries that remained intact as God created them at the time of Adam and Eve (i.e., no added value of human and infrastructural development).

The British policies adopted after the Rajaf Conference (1928) and Juba Conference (1947) regarding ‘due recognition’ of uniqueness of Southern Sudan in its multi-cultural, multi-customs, multi-religious and multi-linguistic diversity, were trashed under new “Sudanization” policies adopted by the veterans of Northern Sudanese General Graduate Congress inline with the ‘Baqt’ (652 – 1323 A.D) of the Treaty that victimized the natives of Southern Sudan:

1) Allow safe and free movement and settlement of Arabs and Muslims into Nubians territory, and vice versa for a limited movement of Nubians to and through Egypt for trade only without resettlement;
2) Cease raids and wars between Egypt and Nubia so that the Peace of God and Islamic Message of Prophet Mohamed could prevail without obstruction;
3) Build a Mosque in Dongolla and protect it for the Muslims and the in respect to Rulers in Egypt;
4) Pay a tribute of 300 slaves annually to Egypt (reduced later to 360 slaves per 3 years);
5) Return to Egypt the escaped black slaves and fugitive Arabs who opposed the Islamic dynasty.

The political character of the Jellaba and the intelligentsia who inherited government institutions of post-colonial Sudan didn’t become different from that of Jihadists of the Mahdiyya (1885 – 1898) who unleashed havoc in Southern Sudan to extract resources for the upkeep of nepotistic, corrupt, brutal, famine-stricken and slaves trading regime of Khalifa Abdullahai Al-Taishi (e.g., the notorious Jihadist Zaki al-Tamal beheaded the Shilluk King Yor Akoch of Fashoda after capturing him in a fierce battle of Nigiir, and Karmallah al-Kerkasawi tried to Islamize by force the tribes of the Lado Enclave but was ferociously resisted by King Gbudwe Bazingbi of Azande who was eliminated by British later).

The elites in Khartoum continued to deny the demand of Southerners for federalism and sabotaged the implementation of feasibility studies on big developmental agro-industrial schemes and mechanized farming in Southern Sudan (e.g., Nzara Cotton Plantation and Cloth Industry, Melut and Mongalla Sugar Sugar Plantation/Processing, Aweil Rice Plantation/Processing, Wau Fruits Plantation/Canning, Tonj Kenaf Plantation/Processing, Kapoeta Cement Factory, Upper Talanga Tea Plantation/Processing, and Malakal and Bor Fish Freezing and Drying Industries, etc).

The young politicians of Southern Sudan didn’t compromise like their old fathers and uncles. They won elections overwhelmingly in 46 Southern constituencies in 1957 on the following campaign trail for change of status quo: emancipation of the marginalized with adoption of secular federalism, repatriation of Southern schools and students from Northern Sudan, recognition of both English and Arabic as official languages, establishment of independent economic development program for Southern Sudan, formation of independent organized armed forces for Southern Sudan, and repatriation of the Sudan back from the Arab World to Africa. By then the cold war between Russia and its allies versus the U.S and its allies was staring to get hot in Africa.

The learnt youth of Southern Sudan didn’t betray the cause even when their leader, Ezbon Mundiri, was arrested and imprisoned for seven years for a crime against unity of the Arabized Islamic Sudan purported to have been committed by leading aggressively the Southern campaign on the above-mentioned cards. Fr. Saturnino Lohure Hilangi took the challenge of the leadership of the federalists as he protested in the Constitutional Constituent Assembly (1958) and underscored the following statement succinctly as Southern Parliamentarians walked out to boycott the undesirable sittings:

“The South has no ill-intentions whatsoever towards the North; the South simply claims to run its local affairs in a united Sudan. The South has no intention to separating from the North, for had that been the case nothing on earth would have prevented its demand for separation. The South claims to federate with the North, a right that the South undoubtedly possesses as a consequence of the principle of free self-determination which reason and democracy grant to free people. The South will at any moment separate from the North if and when the North so decides, directly or indirectly, through the political, social and economic subjection of the South.”

The betrayal of aspiration of Southerners led to collapse of Ismail al-Azhari’s and Abdallah Bey Khalil’s governments (1956 – 1958) as their shifting coalitions got characterized by rivalling, strikes, violence, mutinies, imprisonments, dismissals, nepotism, divisions, conspiracies, vote of no confidence, change of electoral laws, budget crises, suppression of contrary opinions, and insensitivity to people’s predicaments caused by the raging civil war.

General Ibrahim Abboud’s Government (1958 – 1964) made things worse by banning discussions on self-rule (federalism); restricting recruitment of Southerners into armed forces except those who converted to Islam and embraced Arab culture; adopting Missionary Society Act (1962); expelling hundreds of foreign Christian missionaries from Sudan in 1964; and deploying Muslim missionaries and Arabic teachers to the South. The Junta used repressive military power (e.g., indiscriminate detentions, torture, the assassination of Southern intellectuals, burning of villages and massacre of the civilians) to subdue the Southern resistance.

The exiled Southerners sought refuge in the sympathetic eastern and central African neighbouring countries, organized themselves into associations and liberation political groups: The Sudanese Christian Association in East Africa (SCAEA) and the Sudan African Closed District National Union (SACDNU) formed in 1962 and transformed to Sudan African Union (SANU) in 1963 with formation of Anyanya (snake poison) as an armed wing in 1964.

It didn’t take long before the Junta of General Abboud collapse finally as it failed to end the oppressive war in the South. The educationist Sirr al-Khatim al-Khalifa took the charge of the post-uprising interim government with the participation of Southern Front (SF), most of whose leaders were young university graduates and local chiefs. Queen Elizabeth of the U.K visited Sudan (February 8, 1965) where Interim Supreme Councillor, H.E. Mr. Luigi Adwok received her in Khartoum when he was the Rotational Head of State for Sudan for that month, an honour detested by Northerners as it raised the political self-esteem of Southerners.

The traditional Northern political leaders (i.e., Khatimya, Ansars, Unionists, Communists & Islamists) got divided on how to handle “the Southern Problem” even when the Round Table Conference and 12-Man Committee were launched in 1965 to bring all the political forces and different shades of opinions together to deliberate on how to end the civil war and normalize the country again, especially in the Southern part of the country. But the Conference failed its objectives of healing the old wounds of slave trade and slavery—tributes to St. Josephine Margaret Bakhita (1869 – 1947) of Roman Catholic Church who got rescued from humiliation of slavery and to Effendi Ali Gifoon—known as Lwaldit Mayker of Fashoda village, the slave who became an outstanding fighter of Turko-Egyptian army in Mexico during South American wars (1862 – 1867) and also in the war against Mahdiyya (1898 – 1900) where he accompanied General Herbert H. Kitchener in his conquering expeditions. Its resolutions were thrown into politicization dustbin for the sake of partial elections and maintenance of shifting conspiratorial governments of Imam Sadiq al-Mahdi’s and Mohamed Ahmed Maghoub (1965 – 1969).

Additional number of movements and declarations propped up for liberation of Southern Sudan from the Sudan: Azania Liberation Front was formed by Joseph Oduho in 1965, Nile Provisional Government by Gordon Mourtat in 1969, Anyidi Provisional Government by Emedio Tafeng after crashing the Nile Provisional Government in 1969, the SUE Republic and Sudan African Union Conservatives declared by Michael Towil in 1969, and South Sudan Liberation Movement in 1971 by Joseph Lagu. The shifting governments in Khartoum kept harassing, massacring, arresting and assassinating Southerners (e.g., assassination of Fr. Saturnino in 1967 while mobilizing Anyanya forces at Uganda Border & William Deng Nhial in 1968 while campaigning for partial elections in Bahr el Ghazal); committing massacres; massacring of intellectuals in Wau where Southern First Veterinary Doctor from University of Khartoum Justin Papiti Akol Ajawin was shot dead with others in a wedding occasion and also in Juba and Malakal). Khartoum forces burnt many villages and closed down schools for a scorch-earth policy of punishing Southern civilians for supporting the Anyanya guerrilla.

Prime Minister Sadiq tried to improve Sudan’s relations with Uganda, Congo, Kenya and Ethiopia to help his government to crush the rebellion in the South. But the forced submission to the will of Khartoum under pretext of restoration of law and order in Southern Sudan pushed Israelis to support the South against the Arabized Islamists of the Sudan who wanted Israel wiped out from the geography of the Middle East (indicated by Israel-Egypt War in 1967 and solidarity by Khartoum). The British volunteer guerrilla trainer known as Uncle Fashoda and Israeli retired Army General Kawagia John trained the Anyanya freedom fighters rigorously as he confirmed in 2013:

“The building of the military force in the South provided the basis and military framework which resulted in both command and operational experience. The above changed the situation of years whereby the North could harass the population in the South. The Anyanya soldiers demonstrated a high level of discipline, a willingness to learn all relevant subjects and above all to demonstrate stubbornness in sticking to their mission.”

It was just a matter of time before the government in Khartoum collapsed to the guts of the second military coup (1969 – 1985) led by Jaafar Mohamed Nimeiri in collaboration with the Sudan Communist Party. The Junta banned multi-party politics and adopted a one-party presidential-parliamentary system under the umbrella of Sudan Socialist Union (SSU)—politicians, teachers, farmers, technicians, professionals, intellectuals, armed forces, youth and women. From the onset, Nimeiri acknowledged “the Southern Problem” and diagnosed it as being caused by local backwardness and western imperialism, similar to the findings of the Committee of Inquiry on Southern Unrest in 1955. He prescribed the solution to be the treatment of Southern Sudan as a unique region with its own diversity of culture and mode of rule within the bigger united, stable and prosperous Sudan.

Nimeiri issued a general amnesty for Southern opposition politicians and Anyanya fighters, promising them higher education opportunity and top public jobs (e.g., appointing first Southern law graduate of University of Khartoum, communist Joseph Garang, as Minister of Southern affairs though he hanged him to death later with Hashim al-Atta and other Communists for a foiled coup in 1971 but replaced with another Southern lawyer from University of Khartoum, Abel Alier Kwai). Moscow, Beijing, Libya and other communist countries isolated Nimeiri’s regime and motivated the traditional Islamic Northern political forces to harden their opposition to topple his government. Nimeiri had no choice but to look west for support from the U.S and the capitalist allies, including churches and Zionic lobbyists. He recommitted himself to resolving “the Southern problem” in accordance with the resolutions of Round Table Conference (1965). The World Council of Churches and the All African Council of Churches agreed to meditate the peace negotiations between Nimeiri’s regime and Anyanya leaders.

Though by then the Anyanya and South Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) were better organized under the young graduate of Sudan Military College, Joseph Lagu, he was faced with tremendous pressure for peace. Ugandan government became unsafe and unstable under President Idi Amin who arrested Mr Rolf Steiner (the volunteer German Anyanya trainer) and handed him over to Khartoum where he was imprisoned for life. Zaire government of Mobutu Sese Seko got closer to Khartoum through Arab countries that funded his deficit budget and offered him other benefits. Ethiopian government of Emperor Haile Selassie improved its relations with Sudan and couldn’t tolerate Anyanya rebellion within or across the borders. Humanitarian donors (e.g., Norway, Denmark, Sweden, UNHCR and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan), Southern refugees and intellectuals pressed hard on the rebel opposition to minimize the divisive wrangling and agree to a peaceful settlement.

The 1972 Addis Ababa Peace Accord between SSLM and Nimeiri’s government brought back the lost sanity. The Relief and Resettlement Commission was established with the mandate of 1) establishment of adequate reception centres containing facilities for shelter, food supplies and medication; 2) arrangement of transportation of refugees to permanent resettlement places of origin; and 3) provision of materials and equipment for executing this work. Christian missionaries and humanitarian NGOs were encouraged to assist the people of Southern Sudan with service delivery and community development projects (UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, UNDP, FAO, German Caritas, Norwegian Church Aid, Lutheran World Service, Catholic Relief, ACROSS, etc…), including continuous assistance for student refugees until appropriate arrangements were made for their repatriation and resettlement.

The peace agreement provided for special security arrangement for Southern Command (12,000 troops with 6,000 Southern Sudanese distributed equally to its 3 regions and integrated into the Sudan Defense Forces within 5 years as managed by Joint Military Commission & Joint Cease-fire Commission). It also granted autonomy to Juba with jurisdiction over Southern Provinces (Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile), and where other culturally and geographically associated areas to Southern Complex (e.g., Abyei) would decide via referendum whether to join the South or remain where they have been transferred in Northern Sudan.

The High Executive Council (HEC) was constituted together with the People’s Regional Assembly (PRA) to govern the South in a parliamentary system where the citizens would elect their representatives democratically via secret ballot. The PRA had to legislate for Southern Sudan in accordance with the Sudan’s constitution and the provisions of the peace agreement as incorporated into the Organic Law of the Regional Government, including Public Service and Economic Institutions (e.g., revenues from taxation, profits or loyalties accruing to the Central Government from exports in Southern region, and grants-in-aid or donations). English was affirmed as the principle language for the Southern Region without prejudice to the use of any language or languages that would serve a practical necessity for the efficient discharge of executive and administrative functions of the Regional government.

The Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie visited Juba to participate in the anniversary celebration of Addis Ababa Agreement (March 3, 1973). He donated the Multipurpose Training Center (MTC) in Juba for promoting developmental skills. The Tanzanian President Julius K. Nyerere also visited Juba (October 1974) and advised Southerners to be patient with implementation of the peace accord. He donated ox-ploughs and agricultural hand tools with large quantities of maize seeds. The Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi visited Wau to participate in the Peace Agreement Anniversary (March 3, 1975) where he tried tipped Juba to conspire in overthrowing Nimeiri’s regime.

The Addis Ababa peace dividend blessed South Sudan with the opening of University of Juba in 1975 alongside Yambio Institute of Agriculture, Institute of Veterinary Science and Institute of Rural Development. Egypt, U.K and U.S offered some scholarships for competitive Southern Sudanese students to pursue tertiary education and come back home to contribute in building the country. The U.S.A Government constructed communications station (television, radio, telex and telephone) in Juba. The USAID paved a 500-mile road from the border of Kenya via Nadapal to Juba. Yugoslavia built the regional Government Complex in Juba with only 5 million USD (Big Parliament, 11 Ministries and 28 Residences). The Government of Netherlands through its business company built the Nile Bridge in Juba (the only bridge build on the Nile in the territory of South Sudan since the beginning of God’s creation). The contingent of British Royal Army Engineers built Tonj Bridge and repaired other bridges and roads in Bahr el Ghazal. The Federal Republic of Germany Built the Bussere Bridge and repaired a 600-mile road from Juba to Wau. The Government of Kuwait established a coordination office in Juba headed by Ambassador Abdalla AI-Seraie to monitor Kuwaiti projects (e.g., AI-Sabah Children Hospital, Friendship Primary and Junior Schools, Nyakuron Cultural Center, Juba Broadcasting Station, Hai Kuwait Residential Area and Kuwait Mosque). Chinese Medial Team provide medical services in Juba Hospital and other parts of Southern Sudan.

Juba stood firm in honour of Addis Abba Peace Agreement when northern opposition (Umma Party) armed elements attacked Khartoum in 1976 and President Nimeiri went hiding for few days. However, the Field Marshal Nimeiri’s political behaviors became unpredictable when he declared ‘National Reconciliation’ in 1977 and 1978 with leaders of traditional northern political parties that were opposed to peace in the South, especially Sadiq al-Mahdi and other Muslim Brothers. Nimeiri decided to dishonour the peace accord by encroaching unilaterally and illegitimately on the land rights of Southern Sudan. He linked up with Egyptian Government to dig 360 kilometer Jonglei Canal (1974 – 1984) despite the outrage by the people of Southern Sudan who felt the threat on the environmentally rich Sudd Region (blockage of 350,000 m2 of grassy wetland and lagoons of 30 rivers converging naturally with plenty of variety of fish that die of old age). Also Khartoum tried to redrew the South-North boundaries with intention to annex oil and agricultural rich areas (Bentiu, Hofrat el Nehas, Kafia Kingi and Northern Upper Nile region) to the North, and to issue unilaterally oil exploration licenses (e.g., to American Chevron in 1974 and to French Total and Royal Dutch Shell in 1980), including construction of refineries in the North to process the pipe-lined Southern crude oil or ship it to international markets via Port Sudan with no returns to the South.

Nimeiri’s violations of peace agreement was exacerbated by the divisions and lack of unity of Southern the leaders under the conspiratorial groupings of Joseph Lagu and Abel Alier who were used by Khartoum by short-changing them in power as the Jellaba wished. His disruption of armed forces integration process in the South and declaration of the peace agreement as not Bible or Quoran provoked the discontented Anyanaya veterans to rebel (Kerubino Kwanin Bol in Bor on May 16, 1983 joined by William Nyuon Bany in Ayod on June 6, 1983, Dr. John Garang de Mabior from Panyigor, among others) and go to border of Ethiopia to form the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) with the Manifesto that called for liberation of the old Sudan from bourgeoisie and marginalization so as to realize a new Sudan of camaraderie, nationalism, secularism, socialism, equality, freedom, justice, prosperity and respect of human dignity; signified by self-rule and equitable development regardless of gender, race, family, ethnicity, tribe, region or religion.

“In 1956 our country gained formal independence but entered into the era of neo-colonialism. Since then a small parasitic clique that had mutated from a pre-independence system of exploitation and took over the formal instruments of oppressions in the form of the state for their own interests and against the interest of the majority of the Sudanese people. This clique has utilized the multi-racial and multi-religious character of Sudanese society to perpetuate their rule and to keep our people undeveloped and backward.” – Dr. Garang in 1983.

The renewed struggle went beyond “the Southern Problem” with civil war paralyzing the economy and causing humanitarian catastrophe, which become unbearable for civilians and armed forces to tolerate. The professional and trade unions became restive as they demanded for an increase of salaries to cope with hyperinflation while government dragged its feet. The judges went on strike as Nimeiri imposed Islamic Penal Code (Sharia) to cuts of hands petty criminals and hang to death the black market dollar traders together with the accused of apostasy (e.g., capital punishment against Mahmoud Mohamed Taha).

Nimeiri failed to survive in politics by nooks and crooks and without peace in the country. The wrath of people’s power and second popular uprising in Sudan caught up with his intransigence as he was on medical treatment visit to Washington-DC in April 1985. The American generosity and CIA-led foreign policy under President Ronald W. Raegan’s Administration had to stand with the people against the abnormal betrayal by Nimeiri. His diehards and arrogant apologists had to go hiding in shame, internally and abroad, as the plane carrying Nimeiri was landed in Military Airport in Egypt for the arranged exile of a fallen dictator. The Regional Government of Southern Sudan Government, which rescued Nimeiri in 1976 when Khartoum was put on fire by Libya-backed Northern opposition armed elements and mercenaries, was already destroyed by Nimeiri-induced ‘Kokora’ (divisive politics and tribalism instead of equality) with politicians scattered in disarray to Malakal, Juba and Wau in 1980s after the unconstitutional dissolution of Juba-based regional government.

The National Alliance for National Salvation (NANS) of the banned political parties, professionals and trade unions, and students convinced the Chief of General Staff of the Sudan Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Abdel Rahman Suwar Al Dhab, to become the Head of the Interim Revolutionary Command Council and with Dr. El-Jizouli Dafallah as the Transitional Prime Minister. The SPLM/A signed the Koka Dam Declaration (March 26, 1986) with the NANS to end the war and adopt a just secular system of governance. However, it didn’t take long before partial elections brought back Sadiq al-Mahdi to assume the Premiership again without peace but more atrocities of war and creation of chaotic militias to terrorize Southern Sudan in attempt to defeat the SPLM/A militarily. Famine and humanitarian crises intensified in Sudan. The UN Secretary-General, Javier Perez, and the UNICEF Executive Director, James P. Grant, initiated the Operation Life-Line Sudan (April 1989) for the quick response. Though many fake internal and external peace initiatives were attempted the war continued relentlessly.

Sadiq al-Mahdi’s government had to collapse again in June 1989 when the third Junta’s coup overthrow him in collaboration with National Islamic Front where Dr Hassan El-Turabi was the ideologue. Islam was officially sanctioned as government’s policy. Holy war was declared against the SPLM/A. Radical international Islamists, including Osama bin Laden, got involved in the pursuit of the Holy War and enforcement of “Islamic Civilization Project”. Mengistu Haile Mariam of the Derg Regime in Ethiopia was deposed and SPLA/M got split into Naser and Torit factions. The Frankfurt (1992) declaration on self-determination for Southern Sudan, the Abuja I and Entebbe (1992), Abuja II (1993) and other peace initiatives were attempted but failed due to the intransigence of the warring parties.

The IGAD’s Declaration of Principles (1994) for achieving peace in Sudan was adopted: dialoguing for a just political solution, affirmation of the right for self-determination, making unity in diversity attractive with secular democracy, guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and human rights, realizing appropriate and fair sharing of wealth, and ceasefire and interim arrangements. The National Congress Government exploited the divisions within the SPLA/M and initiated some short-lived internal peace deals (Khartoum Peace Agreement in 1997 and Fashoda Peace Agreement in 1998) to pave the way for the protection of oil areas in Southern Sudan. The Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Canadian, French and Swedish oil companies got involved in the oil business in Sudan despite human rights concerns on the scorched-earth policy against the local population in oil fields. Khartoum shipped the first oil consignment to the international markets in 1999, emboldening its arms sale capabilities for military victory against the SPLM/A and enforcement of its Islamic policies and Arabization of Southern Sudan.

The Zionic Lobbyists, the Churches, humanitarians NGOs, and human rights activists persuaded the U.S. Congress and President Bush to intervene robustly in order to end the war and achieve peace in Sudan, using “Carrot and Stick Policy”. Osama Bin Laden’s terroristic attack on the biggest Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon (9/11/ 2001) made George W. Bush Jnr’s Administration press for peace in Sudan. The SPLM/A factions got reunited under the leadership of Dr John Garang. The IGAD and its partners and friends (Troika, Italy, China, Netherlands, EU, AU and UN) were able to make a breakthrough with the mediation of the Machakos Protocol (July 2002), which endorsed the previous IGADD’s Principles. This paved the way for agreements on Security Arrangements (September 2003), Wealth Sharing (January 2004), Power Sharing (May 2004), Resolution of the Conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile (May 2004) and Resolution of the Abyei Conflict (May 2004) mediated by the IGAD Special Envoy and Kenyan Army General, Mr. Lazarus Sumbeiywo.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) made the Sudan Government in Khartoum to grant a special autonomy for the Government of Southern Sudan (2005 – 2011) in Juba and in control of the 1o states in the South based on a separate secular Interim regional Constitution (2005). The SPLM became the ruling party in the South while its military wing, the SPLA, remained as standing army alongside with other organized forces. The oil wealth was shared between South and North. The developmental multi-donor trust fund was established and coordinated in Juba to assist in post-war reconstruction and normalization Southern Sudan.

Despite the hitches between Juba and Khartoum, the 2010 general elections confirmed the incumbent SPLM/A and NCP leaders to continue in the same power positions and make unity of the Sudan attractive. But the people of Southern Sudan overwhelmingly voted for separation in the January 2011 Referendum. The independence was declared with national euphoria and international admiration. In this regard, the Government of Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir (1989 – 2011) could only be considered as partially collapsed after South Sudan broke away officially from Sudan in July 2011. President al-Bashir has been a bit lucky because the IGAD and the African Union were ready to cheer him up in solidarity as his government continue to facing tremendous political and economic difficulties, some of whose mitigations were designed in the expense of oil revenues accruing from independent South Sudan (e.g. paying Transition Financial Arrangements of 3.028 billion USD and hiring Sudan-based oil pipelines costing unfair 24.5 USD per a barrel). That unfair deal was negotiated by the leaders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) under the mediation of African Union High-Level Implementation Panel who favoured Sudan to get compensated by South Sudan for its losses. Part of the cause of 2013 spike of the crisis in South Sudan could be traced to that deal and the oil flow shut-down in 2012 by Juba to the dismay of the world.

Abel Alier’s Book “Too Many Agreements Dishonored: Southern Sudan” and Dr. Lam Akol’s Book “SPLM/SPLA: Inside an African Revolution” had captured succinctly the machinations and hegemonies of governments of the Jellaba of Sudan but also the problems of Southern leaders (e.g., unity, federalism, armed forces, Jonglei canal, oil fields, land tenure, tribalism, the price of dishonoring peace agreements, regimes collapses, prospects for political settlements and multi-party politics). Both of these experienced politicians were convinced that the Machiavellian politics on economic and social progress in Southern Sudan was a farce without peace, security, stability, tranquillity, good policies, stable government, professional workforce, financial resources, pluralism and inclusivity.

IV. LESSONS FROM SURVIVAL & COLLAPSE OF SUDANESE GOVERNMENTS

In recapitulation, the subsequent collapse governments of independent Sudan, which kept short-changing themselves in Khartoum between military and civilian politicians had the same colonial ‘master-slave’ mercantilist mentality of extractive hegemony and alienating marginalization of Southern Sudan and the adjacent backward areas. Their political misconduct was met with fierce resistance by the liberation fighters who could not tolerate the disruption of the originality of cultural and religious settings and traditions of native African tribes; their kinship value system of totems and taboos; their believe in God as the source of all life and to whom all human persons should be responsibly accountable; their reverence of inter/intra generational powers of diviners, herbalists, warriors, elders and living-dead; and their preference for Christianity than Islam.

The hinted refreshing historical knowledge about the critical junctions of survival or collapse of governments and oppositions in independent Sudan could be summarized in these points: imprudence of government and opposition leaders, politically motivated raging senseless long civil wars, discontent of citizens with corrupt political economy, popular uprisings due to sharp economic shocks on purchasing power of ordinary population, aggressive foreign sanctions provoked by humanitarian despair, and international lobbying for restoration of democratic civic duty in an environment of peace. Tough Lessons should be learnt here for shaping a way forward for a better South Sudan because history doesn’t forgive faltering leadership.

The exposed historical blunders should sent alerting signals and disqualify any consolation of political fallacy of the blind content that the earth will go around the sun normally with the morning and night passing daily for the status quo to remain triumphant against all odds of the pressing change. It should also shift the paradigm and present alternative keys that must unlock the potentials of finding reliable innovative solutions for a government and opposition of peace and happiness in South Sudan, based on liberal democratic culture of checks and balances with periodic trustworthy fair elections that are upheld legitimacy by both winners and losers. The glimpses from history should move the good people convincingly to withdraw their confidence from any bad political leader in South Sudan who cannot think outside the box to implement the vows of peace, justice, liberty and prosperity incrementally with spirit of stewardship and dynamic synergy of the stakeholder’s performance on the following mandate:

1) Commit to full and timely implementation of the revitalized ARCSS with oversight by reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) and its Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM);
2) Consolidate the restored security and peace in collaboration with IGAD and Partners;
3) Promote Human Rights and Fundament Liberties for Preservation of Dignity;
4) Fast-track and Provide Protection for Humanitarian Relief, Repatriation, Resettlement and Rehabilitation of IDPs and Refugees;
5) Recover the Economy and Manage it Effectively with Prudence, Transparency and Accountability for the Welfare of the People;
6) Rebuild the Destroyed Infrastructure and Construct new Public Facilities;
7) Provide Services for Human Development and Stable Livelihoods;
8) Expedite Public Service Reforms and Transformation for Civil and Armed Sectors;
9) Facilitate Transitional Justice, Reconciliation and Healing;
10) Devolve Powers and Allocate Development Resources to States and Counties;
11) Initiate and Finalize Permanent Constitution-making Process;
12) Facilitate the Conduct of National Population Census and Household Survey;
13) Facilitate Credible Conduct of Elections Before the end of Transitional Period; and
14) Perform the normal Functions of Government, Horizontally and Vertically.

Dr. James Okuk is professor of political science in University of Juba and peace-building consultant reachable at okukjimy@hotmail.com.