SUDAN WATCH: August 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

YouTube Joe Biden: Darfur - Obama’s choice of Biden as VP is Sudan’s NCP worst nightmare - We tilt at windmills as world war looms

My heart sank yesterday when I watched four video clips on YouTube, featuring US Senator Joe Biden answering questions (last year, I guess) about what the US should do concerning Darfur.

I had just finished reading a great article in The Sunday Times (Aug 24, 2008) by Simon Jenkins, entitled 'We tilt at windmills as world war looms' . He opened with the question "Is the world drifting towards a new global war?" I think so, and I agree with him that "there is no strategic justification for sitting American missiles in Poland". It is a MUST-READ.

Today, Monday August 25, 2008, the Sudan Tribune published the following report, 'Obama’s choice of Biden as VP is Sudan’s NCP worst nightmare' which seems to be a fair summary, in a nutshell, of what I saw Mr Biden saying on the four short MUST-SEE video clips (listed here below).
Obama’s choice of Biden as VP is Sudan’s NCP worst nightmare

August 24, 2008 (WASHINGTON) – The Sudanese ruling National Congress Party (NCP) are likely to be very concerned by Barack Obama’s pick of Senator Joe Biden as his running mate.

The Democratic presidential contender made the announcement of Biden as his Vice President over the weekend ending weeks of speculation.

The NCP considers the Democratic Party generally hostile to them let alone a figure who was strong proponent of military intervention in the war ravaged region of Darfur.

Biden is the chairman of the foreign relations committee at the US senate and presided over many hearings discussing the situation in Darfur.

In April 2007 the aspiring presidential VP said that “it’s time to put force on the table and use it”.

Biden said that senior US military NATO officials in Europe told him that 2,500 U.S. troops could “radically change the situation on the ground [in Darfur]”.

The Delaware senator was also a co-sponsor for a resolution asking for a no-fly zone over Darfur and Sudan Divestment Authorization Act.

“It is within our power to clip their wings. Yes, a no fly zone could make it more difficult for humanitarian groups to operate – so we should do everything possible to design it with their concerns in mind” Biden said last year.

“This is incredible what is happening and I promise you, we will all going to sit here 5-10 years from now and ask ourselves why didn’t we do the things we can do? “ he told the former US special envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios in a hearing last year.

In September 2004 the US, in a unilateral move, officially labeled the conflict in Darfur as genocide.

Khartoum denies genocide and blames the Western media for exaggerating the four-year-old Darfur conflict. European governments are reluctant to use the term. (ST)

Obama’s choice of Biden as VP is Sudan’s NCP worst nightmare

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joe Biden, D-Del., listens to testimony by Andrew Natsios, the special US envoy to Sudan, not pictured, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 11, 2007 (AP)
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Senate Hearing on Darfur

YouTube - Added: April 11, 2007 from JoeBidendotcom

Title: "Senate Hearing on Darfur - Senator Joe Biden asks why more has not been done to curb the genocide in Darfur. Biden outlines his strategy to end the violence and prevent another Hotel Rwanda"



URL - Views: 1,701 (as at Aug 26, 2008)
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Joe Biden Calls for Tougher Action on Darfur

YouTube - Added: April 13, 2007 from JoeBidendotcom

Title: "Joe Biden Calls for Tougher Action on Darfur - In an exchange with Andrew Natsios, President Bush's envoy to Sudan, US Senator Joe Biden argues that it is time to "stop the bleeding" in Darfur"



URL - Views: 3,586 (as at Aug 24, 2008)
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Joe Biden: Darfur

YouTube - Added: December 02, 2007 from iowacaucuses

Title: "Joe Biden: Darfur - Delaware US Senator and Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden met with The Des Moines Register's editorial board Tuesday, May 29. [2007] Biden answers a question about what the U.S. should do concerning Darfur"



URL - Views: 232 (as at Aug 24, 2008)
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Biden on Darfur at New Hampshire Debate (1 of 2)

YouTube - Added: June 03, 2007

Title: "Biden on Darfur at New Hampshire Debate (1 of 2) - Senator Biden makes an impassioned plea for United States intervention in Darfur. (1 of 2)"



URL - Views: 2,178 (as at Aug 24, 2008)

Hat tip: milkandcookies.com
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George Clooney and US Senator Barack Obama

George Clooney (L) & US Sen Barack Obama

Photo: Hollywood actor George Clooney (L) and US Senator Barack Obama at a press conference April 27 [2006] at the National Press Club in Washington to bring attention to the atrocities in Darfur and the rally. Click here for a video from CNN.

Source: Sudan Watch archive Saturday, April 29, 2006: Protestors at Sudanese Embassy, Washington - Massive rallying across the USA in protest of killings in Darfur'
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UPDATE Tuesday August 26, 2008:

Barack Obama on Darfur

YouTube - Added: November 26, 2007 from savedarfurcoalition

Title: "Barack Obama on Darfur - Barack Obama answers the Save Darfur Coalition's questions about his plan to end the genocide in Darfur"



URL - Views: 23,290 (as at Aug 26, 2008)
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UDATE Wednesday August 27, 2008:

Barack Obama's half-brother, George Hussein Onyango Obama

Rob Crilly (pictured below) is a freelance journalist writing about Africa for The Times, The Irish Times, The Daily Mail, The Scotsman and The Christian Science Monitor from his base in Nairobi. Also, he blogs at 'From The Frontline'. Going by some of the comments Rob has made online, he has a great sense of humour.

Here is a sample of Rob's fascinating reports and photos:
Rob Crilly

'Finding George'
(by Rob Crilly, August 22, 2008)

Nairobi’s slums are filled with hundreds of thousands of people living cheek-by-jowl in tiny shacks. Each of the muddy streets looks the same and within minutes the visiting mzungu is completely disoriented. So finding Barack Obama’s half-brother George was never going to be easy. Especially as he had made a point of telling no-one but his closest friends about his famous relative.

I’d already spent two months trying and failing to trace him. It was sickening to discover that an Italian team from Vanity Fair had simply bumped into him at the Obama family home close to Lake Victoria - a place I must have visited about 10 times.

But in the end it was pretty straightforward. The sprawling slums are just like villages. Ask enough people and eventually you find what you’re looking for. So within an hour or so we were sitting down to nyama choma and handfuls of ugali chatting about Kenya’s medal haul at the Olympics.

Barack Obama's half-brother, George Hussein Onyango Obama
Photo: Barack Obama's half-brother, George Hussein Onyango Obama (Rob Crilly/From The Frontline August 22, 2008)
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'Life is good in my Nairobi slum, says Barack Obama's younger brother'

Barack Obama's half-brother, George Hussein Onyango Obama

Photo: George Obama, half-brother of Barack, hopes to become a car mechanic (Rob Crilly/The Times)

Source: The Times, August 22, 2008, by Rob Crilly: 'Life is good in my Nairobi slum, says Barack Obama's younger brother'

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UPDATE SATURDAY 04 OCTOBER 2008:

See Sudan Watch October 04, 2008: YouTube videos of US Vice Presidential Debate 02 Oct 08: Biden vs Palin on Darfur, Nuclear Weapons & Bailout Bill

Labels:

Last week, south Sudan troops attacked Ugandan LRA terrorists on DR Congo border. UN peacekeepers deployed to east DRC after LRA attacks

At an African Union summit in Egypt last month, the top US diplomat for Africa warned that Ugandan LRA leader, Joseph Kony, was re-arming.

Source: Aug 24, 2008 Reuters report, copied here below:
Uganda rebels accuse south Sudan of attack

Sun Aug 24 2008 KAMPALA (Reuters South Africa)

A spokesman for Uganda's fugitive northern rebels accused south Sudanese troops of attacking guerrilla positions on Sunday on the Congo border, preventing a peace meeting.

Officials from the South Sudanese Liberation Army (SPLA) could not immediately be reached for comment, and there was no independent confirmation of the clash.

"Sometime last week there was a skirmish after SPLA attacked our positions," David Nyekorach-Matsanga, a spokesman for Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, said by telephone from the south Sudanese capital Juba.

"We thought that was a mistake. But today they repeated it when they attacked LRA at Nabanga."

He gave no other details, but said a planned meeting in the area between LRA representatives and their elusive leader Joseph Kony had been cancelled.

A two-decade civil war in northern Uganda forced 2 million people from their homes and also destabilised neighbouring parts of oil-producing south Sudan and mineral-rich eastern Congo.

Kony is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Two years of peace talks collapsed in April when he failed to appear on the border to sign a final peace deal.

At an African Union summit in Egypt last month, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa warned that the LRA leader was re-arming.

(Reporting by Frank Nyakairu; editing by Daniel Wallis and Tim Pearce)
Source: http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnWAL471739.html
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Map showing Sudan/DR Congo border

Map showing Darfur, Khartoum, Omdurman, Shendi, Abyei

Map courtesy Google news/Aug 2008 archive http://sudanwatch.blogspot.com
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Today, Monday, August 25, 2008, I cross posted this item at Sudan Watch sister sites:
Congo Watch: http://congowatch.blogspot.com
Uganda Watch: http://ugandawatch.blogspot.com
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UPDATE: Monday, August 25, 2008

DR Congo: UN peacekeepers deployed to east after LRA attacks

Aug 20, 2008 (UN News Centre Africa) report 'DR Congo: UN peacekeepers deployed to east after rebel attacks' - excerpt:
United Nations peacekeepers and soldiers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been jointly deployed in the eastern provinces of Ituri and Orientale to protect civilians after attacks by the rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

A spokesman for the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC), Michel Bonnardeaux, told a press briefing today that the Ugandan rebel group had attacked and robbed villages around Duru over the past week. He said the Ituri Patriotic Front had also launched sporadic attacks in the Irumu area, and remained a serious threat.

MONUC went on to report further unrest in eastern DRC, including continued regrouping and recruitment by the Mayi-Mayi in North Kivu.
More at Sudan Watch sister sites:

Congo Watch: http://congowatch.blogspot.com/2008/08/dr-congo-un-peacekeepers-deployed-to.html

Uganda Watch: http://ugandawatch.blogspot.com/2008/08/dr-congo-un-peacekeepers-deployed-to.html

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sudan's warning on peacekeepers is a "political message"- Darfur peacekeepers' chief: Sudan cooperating - Sudan helpful in Darfur mission, Adada says

Thu Aug 21, 2008 KHARTOUM, Sudan (Associated Press) -
Darfur peacekeepers' chief: Sudan cooperating

The head of international peacekeepers in Darfur on Thursday downplayed Omar al-Bashir's threat to expel the force if a genocide indictment against the Sudanese president is acted upon, saying Khartoum authorities have so far been helpful.

Rodolphe Adada, the peacekeepers chief, said Sudan has been working to speed up the deployment of the U.N.-African Union force, and that the government's attitude has been one of «working with us and helping us.

Adada's comments came a day after al-Bashir threatened in an interview with pan-Arab Al-Arabiya TV to go to war and ask Darfur peacekeepers to leave if the International Criminal Court formally seeks his arrest.

Prosecutors at the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands, charged al-Bashir last month with genocide and war crimes, saying militias unleashed by his government have killed some 300,000 ethnic Africans since 2003. More than 2.5 million have been displaced.

Adada says that al-Bashir, who visited the peacekeepers just days after the charges were announced, said he was supportive of the mission and promised to help.

Darfur peacekeepers have been operating at about a third of the size of authorized by the United Nations, and the mission lacks attack helicopter and other logistics.

Last week, Sudanese government allowed the mission to use the three Darfur airports around the clock, according to Noureddine Mezni, a mission spokesman. At least one airport is almost ready for a 24-hour operation.

The use of the airports would help speed up deployment of more peacekeepers. For now, equipment travels for almost 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) from Port Sudan in eastern Sudan, to the troubled Darfur. The route is fraught with security risks and had been blamed for delays in needed equipment.

Apart from upsetting the Darfur deployment, there are fears that a move to arrest al-Bashir could also threaten a fragile north-south peace deal and plunge the country into new civil war.

Underlining these fears, a top U.N. envoy to Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, told the U.N. Security Council in a briefing this week that Sudan has warned of the consequences of an indictment.

Qazi said Sudanese officials told him that if an arrest warrant for al-Bashir is issued, it could have serious consequences for the U.N. mission in Sudan.
Source: http://www.pr-inside.com/darfur-peacekeepers-chief-sudan-cooperating-r767651.htm
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[Fri 22?] Aug 2008 KHARTOUM, Sudan (smc) Sudan Vision Daily -
President warns to ask exit of UNAMID if ICC issues arrest warrant

President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir arrived back home yesterday from Istanbul after participating in Turkey-African summit.

The president held sideline press conference in Istanbul stating that he would go for war if that is necessary to protect sovereignty of the state.

Moreover, he said he would ask exit of UNAMID if ICC issued an arrest warrant against him. The president reiterates opposition of surrendering any Sudanese national for prosecution before the ICC. He said the Sudanese judiciary is competent and fair enough to maintain justice.

He noted that the ICC is complementary to local judiciary and not an alternative to it.
Source: (smc) Sudan Vision Daily [insert link]
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Thu Aug 21, 2008 (UN Observer.com/Elisa Burchett) -
Does President al-Bashir Really Mean War?

Following Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's trip to Turkey for a summit of African leaders, Al Arabiya was able to obtain an interview with the President.

The UN OBSERVER & International Report spoke with a representative of Al Arabiya at the United Nations today and according to the newspaper, President al-Bashir stated he would be "ready to go through war with ‘the power’ to protect the Sudanese citizen" if a warrant is issued by the ICC.

He is also reported to have said he will ask UN Peacekeepers to leave Darfur if the ICC seeks his arrest.
Source: http://www.unobserver.com/layout4.php?id=5066&blz=1

UNSG Ban with Bashir

Photo: UNSG Ban Ki-moon with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (UN photo by Eskinder Debebe)

Source: http://www.unobserver.com/layout4.php?id=5066&blz=1
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Sudanese warning on peacekeepers a "political message" - foreign minister says

Andrew Heavens

Photo: Freelance journalist Andrew Heavens (http://www.meskelsquare.com/)

Fri Aug 22, 2008 (Africanpath) commentary 'Sudan: The importance of an if (Update 2)' by Andrew Heavens. Excerpt:
Sudan's foreign minister has just done an interview explaining Bashir's threat to expel UNAMID.
 
Sudanese warning on peacekeepers a "political message" - foreign minister says
 
Al-Ahdath on 22 August - The minister of foreign affairs, Deng Alor, has refused to describe President Umar al-Bashir's threat to expel the hybrid [AU-UN] force as a declaration of war saying it was a political message to the international community. He further pointed out that procedures for declaring war were stipulated in the constitution.
 
Does this mean that UNAMID will now actually have to go if the arrest warrant is issued?
Source: http://www.africanpath.com/p_blogEntry.cfm?blogEntryID=5773
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The Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General and the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly. UN briefing Questions and Answers: Thursday, August 21, 2008

UN press briefing

Photos: Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General and UN Webcast TV Video (MaximsNews)

UN press briefing

Michele Montas

Photo: Michele Montas, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (MaximsNews)

Excerpt from UN briefing Q&A held Thursday, August 21, 2008:

Question:  Al Arabiya had an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Sudanese President yesterday, in which, it was reported today by AP and other agencies, he said that he would ask the United Nations peacekeepers to leave if an arrest was issued against him.  Now, we understand, things were said by other officials, and we asked General [Martin Luther] Agwai what he was going to do, and he said the Government denied it, but now it is coming from the top of the Government of Sudan, and it is very clear that he would ask the peacekeepers to leave if a warrant, which is expected, is issued.  I am sure that the Secretary-General is aware of this -- is he going to protest such statements, through the African Union maybe?  Are the plans being put to wind up the operations in Sudan, if a warrant is issued at the end of September, or in October?  What’s being done in the face of such statements by the Sudanese President?

Deputy Spokesperson:  First of all, you brought this to our attention many times now since yesterday, and we are aware of this interview.  As you know, we are still awaiting the word from the judges of the International Criminal Court, so, as of now, this is a hypothetical situation that you are talking about.  The Sudanese President’s remarks that you are referring to is referring to something that has not yet happened.  As far as what the UN Mission is doing, General Agwai, I think, was very clear about what the UNAMID mission is on the ground, and I think he is continuing to serve what is asked from him and the Mission, as long as the Security Council mandate continues.  And the Secretary-General’s remarks on this are very clear, as well.  I have nothing further on this.

Question: I mean, such strong statements threatening to wind down an operation that has been going on for three years now, trying to close UNAMID.  The Secretary-General has invested a year and a half in building this since the Riyadh Summit -- isn’t there any process for such threats by the highest of the high-ranking in Sudan?  This other thing, you must be putting contingency plans to take your people out if the Sudanese give the word?

Deputy Spokesperson: As you know, security measures are constantly being updated and upgraded around the world, depending on the situation.  This is not something we would be reporting to the public, but security measures is one of the top concerns that the Secretary-General has for his staff and the people carrying out the mandate on the ground.  Again, General Agwai, I think, was very clear about what he was doing in terms of carrying out the mission.  So I think…

Question: (talkover) but for these threats by the President of Sudan.

Deputy Spokesperson: You heard General Agwai, who just spoke to you last week, and he talked about… If I recall, in his remarks, he was talking to you about increased cooperation since 9 July, and I think he was hoping that that kind of cooperation would continue.  The UN, as I mentioned, has a mandate on the ground.  It has a peacekeeping mandate, it has a humanitarian mandate, and… (inaudible comment from the floor) I understand, but you are talking about a hypothetical situation that the ICC has not come out with yet. Okay?

Source: http://www.maximsnews.com/news20080821unossgenglishquestionsandanswers10808210601.htm
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Sudan leader al-Bashir interviewed by Reuters in Turkey August 20

Omar Hassan al-Bashir's interview with Reuters in Istanbul August 20, 2008

Photo: Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir answers a question during an interview with Reuters in Istanbul Wed August 20, 2008. Bashir, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, said the legal move strengthened his position and he is not worried about extradition. Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo last month asked the court to issue an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, saying his state apparatus had killed 35,000 people and indirectly at least another 100,000. Photo: Reuters/Osman Orsal, TURKEY. Caption: Wed Aug 20, 2008 (Reuters)

Full copy of the Reuters report is available at Sudan Tribune (Thursday 21 August 2008 'Sudan’s Bashir says strengthened by ICC arrest bid') http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article28357
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Sudan leader al-Bashir rejects ICC

Wed Aug 20, 2008 ISTANBUL dpa report - excerpt:
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir rejected Wednesday the possibility that the International Criminal Court (ICC) may charge him in connection with the conflict in Darfur, dpa reported. "Sudan is an independent country with its own strong justice system. Our judges can decide for themselves on penalties, even for a president," said al-Bashir. Al-Bashir was speaking on the edge of a Turkish-African summit in Istanbul. He said that Sharia law reigns in Sudan and he cannot accept any court that doesn't follow its rules.
Source: http://news.trendaz.com/?show=news&newsid=1274917&lang=EN
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Sudan leader al-Bashir says there are forces behind the case at the ICC who are seeking to drive him from power

Fri Aug 22, 2008 CAIRO (AP) - 'Sudan president says charges meant to topple him':
Sudan's president says the genocide charges against him are part of a campaign to topple his government and divide the country.

In an interview with the Arabic news channel Al-Arabiya, Omar al-Bashir says there are forces behind the case at the International Criminal Court who are seeking to drive him from power before elections planned for next year.

In the interview, broadcast Friday, al-Bashir did not specify who those powers were but said they fear the elections he has promised would give his government legitimacy.

A prosecutor at the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court filed genocide and war crimes charges against the Sudanese president in July, accusing him of orchestrating a campaign of killing and rape in Darfur.
Source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-08-22-sudan_N.htm
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Sudan would confront ICC decision, says Presidential Advisor Mustafa Osman Ismail

Mustafa Osman Ismail

Photo: Presidential Advisor, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail (smc)

Thu Aug 21, 2008 KHARTOUM, Sudan (smc) Sudan Vision Daily - 'Sudan Would Confront ICC Decision, Presidential Advisor':
Presidential Advisor, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail stated that Sudan would confront ICC decision through legal experts. He pointed out that the main aim is to withdraw resolution number 1593.

In a symposium yesterday in Ahram, presidential advisor explained that Sudan totally rejects dealing with ICC. He cast doubts on ICC court and stating that what follows up Oacmpo''s statements reveals contradiction as he sometimes said that he accused President Al Bashir as a person and other time he spoke of involvements of the government of Sudan in the Darfur issue.

Osman stated that the Security Council sent a legal international committee which came out with a conclusion that no genocide took place in Darfur.

The presidential advisor uttered that Sudan''s first step is to move on all arenas, the second step is freezing of resolution 1593. He added that the AU had gone ahead in this regard.

Ismail explained that although AU has the right to withdraw the resolution, Security Council is controlled by great powers.

He concluded that conspiracies against Sudan would continue and added that the government would contact all local, regional and international arenas for Ocampo's decision.
Source: http://english.smc.sd/enmain/entopic/?artID=14137
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On July 24, 2008 Sudan leader al-Bashir visited Darfur city of el Fasher

On July 24, 2008 Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited Darfur city of el Fasher, W Sudan

Photo: In a July 24, 2008 photo, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was on a two days trip to Darfur, releases a dove during the welcoming reception at the Darfur city of el Fasher, Sudan. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf) - Tue Aug 19, 2008 (AP)
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Sultan of the Masalit tribe, Saad Abdel-Rahman Bahr-Eddin

Sultan of the Masalit tribe, Saad Abdel-Rahman Bahr-Eddin

Photo: In a July 24, 2008 photo, the sultan of the Masalit tribe, Saad Abdel-Rahman Bahr-Eddin walks during the welcoming reception of the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was on a two day trip to Darfur, not seen, at the western Darfur city of el Geneina, Sudan. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf) - Tue Aug 19, 2008 (AP)
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Pledge of support in accomplishing peace in Darfur

A framed pledge of support in accomplishing peace in Darfur

Photo: In a July 24, 2008 photo, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was on a two days trip to Darfur, holds a framed pledge of support in accomplishing peace in Darfur handed to him by local tribes leaders during a welcoming reception at the Darfur city of el Fasher, Sudan. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf) - Tue Aug 19, 2008 (AP)
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UN-AU Joint Mediator Jibril Bassole HQ'd in El-Fasher, N Darfur

Sat Aug 23, 2008 (Sudan Vision Daily report by Najla Abdulatif) -
UN-AU Joint Mediator in Darfur Peace Arrives on Monday [Aug 24, 2008]

UN-AU joint mediator Jibril Bassole is due to arrive next Monday to start his mission after meetings with officials of the federal government of Sudan and the states of Darfur and consultations about resumption of negotiations between the government and armed movements, focusing on internal peace process, said Director of the Peace Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Al-Tayeb Ali Ahmed. The ambassador said that the mediator will officially start his work from his headquarters in El-Fasher, North Darfur.

He added that the mediator will review the initiative of the President of the Republic for peace in Darfur, which he declared during his recent visit to the region.

Director of the Peace Department pointed out that it's the first time a peace mediator starts his mission inside the country, explaining that the former Peace Envoys: Jan Eliasson and Salem Ahmed Salem used to assume their missions via intermittent visits to Sudan.. The joint mediator is expected to start his missions officially after his visits to Addis Ababa and New York where he held meetings to arrange for his work as mediator for peace process in Darfur.
Source: http://www.sudanvisiondaily.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=38039

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sudan's leader al-Bashir says ready to go to war

Full copy of Associated Press report 'Sudan's president says ready to go to war' - via Daily Star Egypt Wednesday August 20, 2008:
CAIRO: Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir has told a pan-Arab TV network he would go to war and ask Darfur peacekeepers to leave if the International Criminal Court formally indicts him and seeks his arrest.

Al-Bashir was interviewed by Al-Arabiya Wednesday during a visit to Turkey. [see next item here below] It was Al-Bashir's first trip abroad since the ICC prosecutor accused him of directing genocide in Darfur. The ICC will make a decision in weeks on whether to issue an arrest warrant.

Al-Bashir said he will resist pressure to hand over any Sudanese suspects to the court. He said, "We are ready to go through war with the great power to protect the Sudanese citizen."

Al-Bashir said his government would ask international peacekeepers to leave if a warrant is issued. –AP
Source: http://www.dailystaregypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=15872
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Turkey-Africa Co-operation Summit held Aug 18-21, 2008

A summit of African leaders began in Turkey on Monday August 18, 2008. The Turkey-Africa Co-operation Summit started with talks among officials from about 50 countries. The summit is part of Turkey's efforts to expand ties with Africa.

Turkey has increased its trade volume with African nations from about $5,4-billion (R42-billion) to $13-billion (R100-billion) in less than three years, and is targeting $30-billion (R231-billion) by the end of 2010. - Sapa-AP (Istanbul) Tuesday August 19, 2008

Source: http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=68&art_id=vn20080819054355791C907488

Turkey-Africa Co-operation Summit  18-21 August, 2008

Photo: Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, left, welcomes Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, as he arrives for a Turkey-Africa Cooperation meeting in Istanbul Turkey, Tuesday, August 19, 2008. Turkey's president urged Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir during talks Tuesday to act responsibly and to end the suffering in the devasted Darfur region. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta)
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Look at where Turkey is on this map

Turkey, Georgia, Russia map
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Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline "isn't necessarily safe"

Excerpt from BusinessWeek.com commentary by Steve LeVine, published Thursday August 14, 2008:
Targeting the Pipeline

Until now, the notion that the battle in Georgia had an oil component was an educated conclusion, in my case based on the 11 years I spent living in the region, including in Tbilisi during the 1990s. Now we have two independent reports, including one this morning by my former Wall Street Journal colleague Guy Chazan, confirming that Russia took advantage of its assault to tell the West that the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline isn’t necessarily safe.
Steve LeVine covers foreign affairs for BusinessWeek. He previously was correspondent for Central Asia and the Caucasus for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for 11 years. His first book, The Oil and the Glory , a history of the former Soviet Union through the lens of oil, was published in October 2007. Putin’s Labyrinth, his new book, profiles Russia through the lives and deaths of six Russians. It was released this week.

Source: http://www.businessweek.com/blogs/russia_oil_politics/archives/2008/08/targeting_the_p.html#comments
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The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (green) is one of several pipelines running from Baku.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC)

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (sometimes abbreviated as BTC pipeline) is a crude oil pipeline that covers 1,768 kilometres (1,099 mi) from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It connects Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan; Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia; and Ceyhan, a port on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, hence its name. It is the second longest oil pipeline in the world after the Druzhba pipeline. The first oil that was pumped from the Baku end of the pipeline on May 10, 2005 reached Ceyhan on May 28, 2006.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan_pipeline
[hat tip Steve LeVine, BusinessWeek.com]
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Warning by Sudan on Charges

Full copy of The New York Times report 'Warning by Sudan on Charges' by Daniel B. Schneider, Monday August 18, 2008:
The Sudanese government has warned of "serious consequences for U.N. staff and infrastructure" if the International Criminal Court charges President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with war crimes in Darfur, the head of the United Nations mission that monitors the peace accord in Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, told the Security Council on Monday. Mr. Qazi did not elaborate on the specific sources or timing of the warning, but said his mission would take "all necessary precautionary measures" and would strengthen its cooperation with Sudanese security forces.
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/19/world/africa/19briefs-un-sudan.html?ref=world
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Khartoum protesters cry 'death for Ocampo'

More than 1,000 protestors gathered outside the republican palace in Khartoum on Thursday [July 17, 2008] shouting death to the world court prosecutor who is seeking an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Beshir.

Khartoum protesters cry 'death for Ocampo'

Photo: A Sudanese from Darfur burns a poster of the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo during a demonstration outside the presidential palace in Khartoum on July 17, 2008. (AFP)

Source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27918 (Friday July 18, 2008)
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Khartoum protesters against ICC
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Protesters chanting 'Down, Down USA!' rally in support of Sudan leader al-Bashir

Protesters chanting 'Down, Down USA!' rally in support of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir

Photos : (Reuters July 14, 2008) Protesters chanting 'Down, Down USA!' rally in support of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum July 13, 2008 after reports that the International Criminal Court (ICC) may seek the arrest of Sudan's president for alleged war crimes. (Mohamed Nureldin/Reuters)

Khartoum protest over ICC

Khartoum protest over ICC

Protesters chanting 'Down, Down USA!' rally in support of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir

Khartoum protest over ICC
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"Our Judiciary is Independent ... We defy Ocampo the (traitor?)"

"Our Judiciary is Independent ... We defy Ocampo the (traitor?)"

Photo: Sudanese supporters of President Omar al-Bashir shout slogans as they carry posters with his photo during a demonstration outside the Presidential palace and United Nations headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday July 28, 2008, against the International Criminal Court's (ICC) indictment of Bashir for genocide. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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Demonstration outside the Presidential palace and UN HQ in Khartoum

Sudanese supporters of President Omar al-Bashir

Photo: Sudanese supporters of President Omar al-Bashir shout slogans as they carry his poster during a demonstration outside the Presidential palace and united nation headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday July 28, 2008 against the International Criminal Court's (ICC) indictment of Bashir for genocide. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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Disabled Sudanese veterans rally in support of Sudan leader al-Bashir

Supporters of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
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Sudan leader al-Bashirl visits Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, Sudan, Wednesday, July 23, 2008

al-Bashir_with_UNAMID.jpg

Sudanese President al-Bashir in Darfur, W Sudan July 2008

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir visits Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, Sudan, Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Photo: Supporters of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir wave during his arrival at Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, Sudan, Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Sudan's president said he would not be cowed by his indictment on genocide charges nor allow it to distract him from the search for peace in troubled Darfur. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir visits Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, Sudan, Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Photo: Supporters of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir raise anti-Ocampo banners during Bashir's visit to Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, Sudan, Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Sudan's president said Wednesday he would not be cowed by his indictment on genocide charges nor allow it to distract him from the search for peace in troubled Darfur. Addressing supporters in Darfur's capital of al-Fasher, a defiant Omar al-Bashir also sought to cast himself as a peacemaker and discount the significance of his July 14 [2008] indictment by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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Sudanese Muslim Suffis wave various Islamic flags

Sudanese Muslim Suffis wave various Islamic flags

Photo: The Sudanese Muslim Suffis wave various Islamic flags as they gather for a special prayer service, Dua'a (appealing to Allah) rituals, at a mosque in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, July 20, 2008, in support for Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir, who had genocide charges filed against him at the International Criminal Court. (AP Photos/Abd Raouf)
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Sudanese Muslim Suffis pray for Sudan leader al-Bashir

Sudanese Muslim Suffis pray for Sudan's president

Photo: The Sudanese Muslim Suffis gather during a special prayers Dua'a (appealing to Allah) rituals at a mosque in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, July 20,2008, in support to Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir, who had genocide charges filed against him at the International Criminal Court. (AP Photos/Abd Raouf)
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Sudanese anti-terrorist court convicted and sentenced to death eight members of a Darfur rebel group

Sudanese anti-terrorist court convicted and sentenced to death eight members of a Darfur rebel group

Photos (AP Aug 17, 2008) - Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir inspects an honor guard during a celebration marking the 54th army day at the city of Omdurman, near the capital Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday August 17, 2008. A Sudanese anti-terrorist court convicted and sentenced to death two senior members of a Darfur rebel group and six others for their role in an attack on the capital three months ago, court officials and a lawyer said Sunday. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

Sudanese anti-terrorist court convicted and sentenced to death eight members of a Darfur rebel group
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Sudanese rally of trade unionists

Sudanese rally of trade unionists

Photo: Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir waves as he arrives to attend a rally of trade unionists to support him in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, Aug.3, 2008. Sudan's president says he refuses to deal with the international court whose prosecutor has charged him with war crimes and genocide in Darfur. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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Sudan warns "consequences" over Bashir warrant: UN

Full copy of Reuters report by Daniel Bases 'Sudan warns "consequences" over Bashir warrant: UN' dated Monday August 18, 2008:
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Sudan has warned the United Nations of "serious consequences" for its staff and facilities if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir over Darfur, a U.N. envoy said on Monday.

Addressing the U.N. Security Council, Ashraf Qazi, head of the U.N. mission charged with monitoring a 2005 peace accord between Sudan's north and south, said the mission was preparing for any such actions.

"The government has conveyed to me that the issuance of an arrest warrant against President Bashir could have serious consequences for U.N. staff and infrastructure in Sudan," Qazi said, without specifying where the threat might come from.

"We are taking all necessary precautionary measures including strengthening our cooperation with Sudanese security institutions," Qazi said.

On July 14, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo charged Bashir with masterminding a campaign of genocide in Darfur, western Sudan, and asked the court for the warrant. The Hague-based court has yet to issue a decision.

Khartoum has acknowledged the distinction between the ICC and the mandate of the two peacekeeping missions in Sudan, Qazi said. However he noted the Bashir government had called the ICC prosecutor's action a political and not a legal move.

The missions in Sudan are UNMIS, a 10,000-strong U.N. force that aims to ensure the north and south comply with the 2005 peace deal that ended two decades of civil war, and UNAMID, a joint operation with the African Union in Darfur.

International experts and U.N. officials estimate at least 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes in Darfur since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in 2003 accusing the central government of neglect.

ABYEI LESSONS

While UNAMID is struggling to reach its planned level of 26,000 troops and police, UNMIS came under criticism after heavy fighting between Sudan's army and southern Sudanese forces in the disputed oil-rich town of Abyei in May.

U.S. envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson has accused the force of hiding in barracks during the fighting instead of protecting Sudanese civilians.

Qazi acknowledged mistakes but also defended the actions of UNMIS peacekeepers during the fighting, which resulted in an estimated 89 deaths, including 18 civilians.

"The fact of the matter is that there was a breakdown of local command and control. Instructions of high officials were simply ignored by local commanders," Qazi reported, apparently referring to the Sudanese.

He conceded that an internal UNMIS review had acknowledged failure to protect U.N. agency compounds in the town.

But he said the peacekeepers sheltered and escorted more than 100 civilians during the fighting in the town, which straddles the border between northern and semi-autonomous southern Sudan.

"When two regular armies fight each other with tanks, multi-barrel rocket launchers, artillery and heavy machine guns, then, irrespective of the specific number of peacekeepers assigned to Abyei, there is no way they can actively intervene to suppress the fighting," Qazi said.

"Moreover, UNMIS has no such mandate," he added.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN1845538320080818?sp=true
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Map showing Abyei, Darfur, Khartoum, Omdurman, Shendi

Map showing Darfur, Khartoum, Omdurman, Shendi, Abyei
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Sudan denies threatening UN staff over ICC arrest warrants

Here is full copy of Voice of America report by Peter Clottey - entitled 'Sudan Denies Threatening UN Staff Over ICC Arrest Warrants' - dated Tuesday August 19, 2008:
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir government is denying threatening United Nations staff and facilities in the country over a possible International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against him for war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region. This comes after a UN envoy to Sudan told the Security Council Monday that Bashir's government warned the UN of "serious consequences" for its staff and facilities if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant against Bashir over Darfur.

Ashraf Qazi said there is need for the UN to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of UN staff. But Sudan's government denies the charge, saying that it has been cooperating with various UN organizations operating in Sudan. Ambassador Ali Saddick is the spokesman for Sudan's foreign ministry. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the government is doing all it can to deal with the possibility of ICC arrest warrants.

"It an alleged threat and it is not true. The government of Sudan is a serious government and it is totally committed to its obligations, especially when it comes to agreement signed with other organizations and especially the United Nations and the African Union. I'm not aware of any threat that has been towards to the United Nations regarding their very existence in the Sudan if the ICC has and the judges have confirmed the indictment of the president," Saddick noted.

He said President Bashir's government is steadfast in its determination to cooperate with the United Nations.

"I would rather say that the government is totally committed to its obligations and we have never threatened the United Nations peacekeeping force here in Sudan, whether in Darfur or in the South," he said.

Saddick said it was routine for the United Nations to take precautionary measures to protect its staff and facilities.

"In fact they usually do that not only in Sudan, but everywhere just in case because it happens that when the ICC announced its indictment of the president of Sudan, some of the UN peacekeepers here have been relocated outside of the Sudan in case anything might happen. And this proves just a precautionary measure. And because nothing happened and things are going normal in Sudan and now those are taken away from Sudan, the peacekeepers have been flown back to Sudan," Saddick pointed out.

He said Sudan's government is making its case before the UN Security Council to have the indictment of President Bashir squashed.

"In fact, we are launching some sort of diplomacy with the United Nations and with major players in this game, and we are doing very well. We have got support form almost all organizations, and we are going to carry this support to the Security Council. We are doing very well in that regard," he said.
Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2008-08-19-voa1.cfm
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Security Council decides to extend mandate of African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur by 14 votes in favour, 1 abstention. FULL TEXT OF RESOLUTION 1828 (2008)

Source: United Nations Security Council
Date: 31 Jul 2008
SC/9412

Security Council

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EGUA-7H4KDA?OpenDocument
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EGUA-7H4KDA?OpenDocument

5947th Meeting (Night)

With less than two hours left before the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) expired, the Security Council extended its mandate for a further 12 months this evening following extended consultations.
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P.S. Here's saying a big warm hello to my blogmates and thanks for emails. I'm doing OK, thanks, looking forward to more regular updates. Thanks to Paul of BBC World Service for email and comment. Sorry I was unable to reply. However, I did manage to tune in to the BBC's World Service hour-long discussion programme 'World Have Your Say', talking about indicting President Bashir, and wondered if I had heard correctly, when the Sudanese official (I think) said that there are thirty-eight (38!) different armed groups fighting in Darfur? It was great to hear Julie Flint. Thanks again. If there's a transcript available, I'd be happy to publish it here. Hi scary :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Darfur rebels are no saints, says UN-AU military chief

Article from AFP, Wednesday, 12 August 2008:
Darfur rebels are no saints, says UN-AU military chief
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The military commander of the UN-African Union mission in Darfur on Tuesday urged the world community to put as much pressure on the fragmented insurgency in the war-torn Sudanese region as it does on the Khartoum government.

Martin Luther Agwai, force commander of the joint mission known as UNAMID, told reporters that while it is popular to "bash" the Sudanese government, the reluctance of Darfur rebels to negotiate was often forgotten.

"It takes two to tango," Agwai noted. "Sometimes we forget about them (the rebels). Every day, they say they are fighting for the poor people of Darfur and yet what have they done to show even interest to go to the conference table?

"I am not in any way saying that the (Khartoum) government is clean. But what I am saying is that also the other side cannot be said to be saints. So my appeal is that the pressure should be exerted on both sides."

He said there were now around 30 different rebel groups involved in the conflict, compared to four when the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed in 2006.

Agwai called on Darfur insurgents to unite and come to the negotiating table, which he said was the only way to achieve peace.
"They will have to end on a negotiation table because militarily it's clear no side can win the war in Darfur," he said. "But if you have 15, 20 parties wanting to go to conference table to talk, nothing will come out of it."

The United Nations estimates that 300,000 people have been killed and more than 2.2 million displaced since the conflict in Darfur, a region the size of France, began in February 2003. Sudan claims 10,000 have died.

Since UNAMID began its operations nearly eight months ago, only a third of the 26,000 authorized troops have been deployed.

Agwai said he hoped the force would reach 80 percent deployment by December and full deployment by next August.

UNAMID has said it needs 18 transport helicopters and six attack helicopters which are crucial to give the force the required mobility and firepower.

But no country has so far have provided them.

On July 8, seven UNAMID peacekeepers were killed and 22 injured after they were ambushed by up to 200 heavily-armed gunmen. Agwai said lives could have been saved if the mission had had helicopters.

"Unfortunately, we are sent to the boxing ring with our hands tied behind us," he said, referring more broadly to the lack of adequate equipment and logistical support. "But we will try kickboxing if we can't do hand boxing."

Agwai, a former chief of defense staff of the Nigerian army, was appointed UNAMID force commander in September 2007 after initially turning down the job.

"I was told I was going to command the largest ever UN peacekeeping force on earth," he said. "Little did I know that it's going to be on paper and not in reality."

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