Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Why Sudan and South Sudan are a US CIA favourite

Note from Sudan Watch Editor: Copied here below is an astonishing article. Since 2004 I have lost count of the number of times that the US promised to remove Sudan from the state sponsors of terror list and lift sanctions in exchange for action that included behaviour.  

The more intelligence that the US wanted to squeeze from Sudan in pursuit of Al Qaeda, Bin Laden et al, the more it dangled a carrot. The US never followed through. Who can blame Sudan for feeling stung. 

Also, the article explains how the US was behind splitting Sudan apart. It makes me feel sick to read what went on behind the scenes while millions of Sudanese were terrorised, displaced, maimed, starved, killed.

Hat tip to Justin Lynch for such candid reporting. Note the date of report. Yellow highlighting is mine.

Article from The Daily Beast
Written by JUSTIN LYNCH
Dated 09 January 2019 4:50AM ET
Why is Sudan’s Genocidal Regime a CIA Favorite?

Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

One of the most respected American diplomats to work in Africa, Princeton Lyman, was set to meet in September 2012 with members of a Sudanese plot to overthrow President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide in Darfur.

For hours Lyman waited in an opulent hotel overlooking the Nile River in Cairo for Salah Gosh, Sudan’s former director of national security and at one time a CIA collaborator, who was a participant in the plan.

As the State Department’s special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Lyman had tentatively exchanged messages with the plot’s members for months. Lyman described the group to me as military men who felt “they had been professionally betrayed” by Bashir’s leadership. The Sudanese men reached out to Lyman in early 2012 as discontent was growing inside the military. Accused of genocide, funding terrorism, and waging war against South Sudan, Khartoum was seen as a problem-child of a global order. No longer, said the army officials, who wanted to see if the Americans would recognize a military takeover in Sudan, even though under U.S. law such recognition was illegal.
“I was very conscious of the fact that you could not have the United States policy for the overthrow of even an indicted [leader],” Lyman told me. But he believed that the United States should engage with anyone seeking reform in Sudan, especially if the change could come with a minimum of chaos and carnage.

Weeks earlier, Lyman gave a speech including language for the plotters that laid out what a new relationship would look like. It was a diplomatic high-wire act that did not explicitly support the coup, but embraced change if it came.

“The government would show itself to be accountable, committed to democracy, to respect for human rights,” Lyman said Aug. 1, 2012, according to his prepared remarks. “I can imagine a Sudan Armed Forces no longer as one in violation of international norms but one taking its place as a highly regarded professional military.”

Lyman ended with a flourish. “If it comes to pass, the United States will respond.”

As diplomatic signals go, few are more blunt.

Back in Cairo a few weeks later on the September day at the hotel, Lyman waited to meet Gosh. And waited. Lyman told me that Gosh was pulled into the plot at the late stages to give it a political face and he did not hatch the plan himself. But Gosh never appeared for the meeting. Lyman returned home dejected, and did not communicate again with the group.

Bashir uncovered the plot. Gosh was detained. But the American involvement has never been revealed until now.

The United States offered no military, financial or any other form of support to the plan—only a promise that the American government would engage with the new leaders if the plot took place. Yet the fact Lyman met with participants in a plot already set in motion is a sign of the intimate American relationship that exists with top Sudanese military and political figures.

Lyman told The Daily Beast these details days before he passed away in August last year. He shared the story, he said, because he thought it showed the importance of meeting with anyone who pursued reform in Sudan and demonstrated the risks diplomats should take, and do take, in the name of peace. His account was confirmed and expanded on by Colin Thomas-Jensen, Lyman’s special adviser at the time, and others who are familiar with the events.

Today, new protests in Sudan are approaching a new boiling point, and Lyman’s story is history. But it suggests the still very relevant and largely untold story of the relationship between Sudan and the United States—ties largely based on the clout of the powerful intelligence services in both the Trump and Obama administrations.

This article is based in part on interviews and documents from 13 current and former American officials serving in the State Department, Pentagon, CIA, and other areas of the U.S. government.

The CIA declined to comment. The White House referred questions to the State Department. The State Department is under furlough, but in a January 8 joint press release with other countries said that it was “appalled by reports of deaths and serious injury to those exercising their legitimate right to protest,” adding that its future engagement will depend on the government’s “actions and decisions.”

The current mass protests, which began in December, have spread across Sudan and threaten to topple the three-decade rule of Bashir. Demonstrators have adopted the chorus of "the people demand the fall of the regime," a slogan from the 2011 Arab Spring protests. Security forces have killed at least 37 protesters, according to a December 24 release by Amnesty International. Citing the Sudanese interior minister, the Associated Press reported that 816 people have been arrested.

“These protests are as serious as can be,” said Alex De Waal, professor at Tufts University and author of seven books on Sudan. “Any next steps involve one of two things. Either it is for Bashir to step down gracefully and be assured his safety by a regional body, or it would be through a takeover from a coalition of military and army officials.”

Gosh, who is now head of Sudan’s intelligence service, is seen under the circumstances as a potential king-maker. His relationship with the CIA and other intelligence services is well known. He was chauffeured to Washington on a private jet in 2005 to discuss intelligence cooperation and the situation in Darfur which then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had acknowledged as a “genocide“ in September 2004.

Even after some details of the half-baked plot of 2012 were uncovered, Gosh managed to climb back into Bashir’s inner circle in 2018 with support from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

“The extent to which the U.S. is conveying any messages that are shaping thinking in Khartoum is likely entirely dependent on what the CIA is saying to Salah Gosh,” said a former U.S. official familiar with the situation.
Although Sudan has been listed as a state sponsor of terror since 1993 and the U.S. has accused al-Bashir more than once of genocide for his government’s actions in Darfur, cooperation between the two countries has been close on particular issues that Washington sees as a priority, particularly the fight against terrorist jihadis.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., Sudan—which had sheltered Osama bin Laden in the 1990s—cooperated closely in the hunt for al Qaeda operatives. Afraid they might be next on the list of countries targeted as an “axis of evil,” Sudanese forces conducted counter-terrorism missions to stop the flow of militants from West Africa to Iraq, where some tried to join the jihad against U.S. forces on the ground there.

Although his secretary of state had accused Bashir of genocide in Darfur, where his regime which anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 people, former President George W. Bush was secretly in contact with the Sudanese leader, according to a Bush White House official. That included a phone call in January 2005, when the intelligence community learned that Bashir was wavering over whether he should sign a deal to give South Sudan independence. Bush eventually convinced Bashir to sign the agreement.

The relationship gained an added dimension after the 2011 civil war in Libya created a constellation of militant groups. With its strategic location nestled on the southern border of Libya, Sudan’s counter-terrorism ties with America blossomed. Talks were held repeatedly to reform the political relationship with Sudan.

Although the United States promised to remove Sudan from the state sponsors of terror list and lift sanctions in exchange for actions that included good behavior, the Americans never followed through. The Sudanese felt suckered by the Americans, according to Lyman and current and former U.S. officials involved in the talks.

An inflection point in the American-Sudanese intelligence relationship came in 2015 when Sudan dramatically reduced its counterterrorism collaboration with the Americans.

Then-CIA director John Brennan was one of the biggest advocates for reform of the American-Sudanese relationship. Sudan “cut their C.T. cooperation, and then Brennan calls whoever and says ‘What the fuck, why aren’t these guys cooperating with me?’ I think they have a sense of how to create a little tension inside the U.S. government,” a former Obama administration official said. “There was a scream from across the river [at the CIA]: ‘We need this relationship, isn’t there anything we can do?’”

For the CIA and the Pentagon, clandestine access to Libya and information regarding al-Shabaab leaders who were educated in Khartoum was considered highly valuable.

Under then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice, the White House began a process to restore relations with Sudan. As one of the last acts of the Obama administration in January 2017, the United States began a five-track process to restore relations that depend on humanitarian access, stopping violence and counter-terrorism collaboration.  

That process has expanded under the Trump administration, and in late-October the United States entered a second re-engagement with Sudan.


That normalized relations with Sudan is a foreign policy goal with rare bipartisan support of both the Obama and Trump administrations is in no small part due to the former CIA officials serving in both the Obama and Trump White Houses who value the counter-terrorism and intelligence sharing benefits of closer diplomatic engagement, according to current and former officials involved in internal deliberations of both administrations.

State Department officials said that normalized relations with Sudan depend on the fulfillment of conditions laid out in its agreement, which include human rights and humanitarian access.

However, those inside the U.S. government opposed to the plan doubt the Sudanese are offering substantial intelligence cooperation. These American officials argue it sends a bad signal that a genocidal regime can be welcomed back into the international community. And they say normalized relations unfairly reward Khartoum as it still supports some terrorist actors or and continues to wage war against its own people.

A decision to fully restore relations may be on the horizon, nonetheless. The Trump administration agreed with Sudanese officials to end the second phase of the re-engagement plan in August 2019, although that timeline could shift based on Khartoum’s compliance, according to a current official and another former official familiar with the matter.

But Congress, which has the ability to block the action, has not yet been informed of the timeline, according to a Senate aide.

A fully restored relationship with Sudan would be a sign of how influential the CIA has become with the Arab state.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, having the intelligence community play the preponderant role in shaping and executing policy toward Sudan has actually been the exception rather than the rule in the post-9/11 period, and only became the case in the last two years of the Obama administration and now under President Trump,” said the former American official who discussed the CIA’s potential communications with Gosh.

For the Sudanese government, restored relations would be cause for celebration.

As midterm election results rolled in on the night of Nov. 6, Sudanese foreign minister Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed held court in the Fairmont Hotel in the Georgetown District of Washington D.C. He had just met with the State Department to discuss restoring relations. But Dirdeiry, as American officials call him, barely touched the glass of water in front of him as he jabbered at two reporters.

“The United States is definitely a very important state in the world, and we would like to have good relations with it,” Dirdeiry said. “The level of cooperation that Sudan is having with the United States in particular and also there in the region at large in countering terrorism is exemplary.”

Calls for US govt to asset freeze Sudan's Salah Gosh

PRESS RELEASE
From and by The Sentry.org
Dated Wednesday 14 August 2019 
U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Former Head of Sudan's Intelligence and Security Service
The Sentry Lauds Action, Urges U.S to Add Asset Freeze to Visa Ban, as State Department Cites Involvement of Salah Gosh in "Gross Human Rights Violations," Credible Information on Involvement in Torture

August 14, 2019 (Washington D.C.) -- Today, the United States designated Salah Abdalla Mohamed Mohamed Salih known as Salah Gosh, the former director general of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights. 

Specifically, the Department has credible information that Salah Gosh was involved in torture during his tenure as head of NISS.

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: "Finally, after years of sowing terror and chaos in war-torn parts of Sudan, Salah Gosh has finally experienced the first of what hopefully will be many consequences for his misdeeds.  The U.S. government should build on this action and impose an asset freeze on Gosh and any of his commercial collaborators found to be complicit in his human rights and financial crimes.  Such actions will provide a message to all the peace spoilers that business as usual in Sudan -- which has been responsible for war and mass corruption -- is no longer acceptable."

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Note from Sudan Watch Editor 
HERE is a copy of a Tweet by Justin Lynch@just1nlynch dated Thu 15 Aug 2019:
    • The sanctioning comes amid a few events, and its not known if they are related. 
    • 1- US had intelligence issues in Sudan at the beginning of the summer. 

    • 2-In the past month there was a discussion inside the FFC to push for Gosh to be the 6th civilian, a top official pushing the plan told me. Official said people in FFC disagreed with him but argued Gosh could be useful because he knows many "files." 

    • 3-A word of advice for everyone is to be cautious about how much Gosh actually helped with CT during his last stint as spy chief.

    • 4-During the past four months Gosh has been trying to convince people he was close with the Americans. On at least two occasions, people close to him put out disinformation about his relationship with the USA.

    • 5-Gosh once told me the only people he listened to in the US govt were Pompeo and Bolton. 

    • 6-Salah Gosh will still have influence in Sudan.
  • To visit the above tweet click here: https://twitter.com/just1nlynch/status/1161899847739420672
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Decision to ban Gosh from entering US, even though he was their man
HERE is a copy of a Tweet by James Copnall @JamesCopnall dated 14 Aug 2019:

On Salah Gosh: Suliman Baldo tells Newsday @bbcworldservice he thinks decision to ban him from entering US was for these reasons: send warning to TMC; show Sudanese people the US supports them;  show US still has ability to impose sanctions. #Sudan
To visit the above tweet click here: https://twitter.com/JamesCopnall/status/1161853732700786688

Note from Sudan Watch Editor:  
@khalidalbaih replied to James' tweet with an insightful comment saying:

"Even though he was their man. Very American of them." 

US sanctions Sudan spy chief Salah Gosh and family

HERE below is a link to a Press Statement following a copy of this tweet dated 14 August 2019 by U.S. Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo: Today I publicly designated Salah Gosh & his family members under Section 7031(c) for his involvement in gross violations of #HumanRights in #Sudan. Those designated are ineligible for entry into the U.S. We will continue to hold accountable those who violate human rights.
To visit the above tweet click here: https://twitter.com/SecPompeo/status/1161763848229183488
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Public Designation of Sudan’s Salah Gosh under Section 7031(c)

PRESS STATEMENT


AUGUST 14, 2019 - Excerpts:

"…due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights. Specifically, the Department has credible information that Salah Gosh was involved in torture during his tenure as head of NISS. […] 
I am also publicly designating his spouse, Awatif Ahmed Seed Ahmed Mohamed, as well as his daughter, Shima Salah Abdallah Mohamed. […] 
We make this announcement today in support of an effort by the Sudanese people to place the Bashir regime, with its long record of human rights violations and abuses by Gosh and other officials, in the past for good."

Monday, August 19, 2019

We're all Africans, we're all black - JEM wants Darfur as their own country - Hemeti its paramilitary leader

Note from Sudan Watch Editor:  In some news reports journalists are referring to Sudan as an Arab country.  In 2007 Reuters reported that Sudan’s President Bashir dismissed claims of ethnic cleansing in Darfur.  It quoted him as saying:

"Talk of Arabs killing blacks is a lie. The government of Sudan is a government of blacks, with all different ethnic backgrounds ... We're all Africans, we're all black." 

I still maintain the view that the aim of the Darfur rebel leaders is to topple the Sudanese government - they've admitted it themselves, noted here in the archive of Sudan Watch.  JEM has talked of making Darfur their own country. I wonder whether the financing behind the insurgents is that of black Africans, Arabs, Russians, Chinese, French or investors such as Friedhelm Eronat and Philippe Heilberg aiming to exploit Sudan's natural resources.

It wouldn't be far fetched to speculate that Hemeti could spend the next few years creating income for Sudan by hiring out Chadian and Sudanese soldiers,  His end reward could be to rule Darfur militarily. 

The purpose of many kidnappings of male youths in Darfur and elsewhere is, presumably, to use them as soldiers to fight in Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Libya, Yemen and other places.  To my mind it is slavery.  

Reportedly, Russians are involved in some of the training. What other gainful employment is there for many of Sudan’s increasing number of uneducated males? The alternative is to escape to another country.

Meanwhile the elderly, infirm, poor females and children are left to live on foreign aid, UN, NGOs etc. Now with climate change and desertification, too many people are living in the wrong places.  God help them.

Ethnically-targeted destruction in Darfur Sudan

HERE is a copy of a tweet by Eric Reeves @sudanreeves dated 6:31 am 17 Aug 2019 saying: "The rape of girls and women has been an integral part of the ethnically-targeted campaign of human destruction that has defined realities in #Darfur for 16 years (see https://wp.me/p45rOG-1QG). There are no signs the military will allow the transitional government to stop it".
To visit the above tweet click here: https://twitter.com/sudanreeves/status/1162718662853386241 

Note from Sudan Watch Editor: I realise that rape has been used as a weapon of war in every war but I wonder about it in places such as Darfur, whether it is used as a way of Arabizing Sudan.  I guess Sudan is an Afro-Arab country but I don't understand why Sudanese people are intent on killing each other.  Northern Ireland's conflicts were complicated but understandable, Sudan's conflicts seem more complicated and not understandable. Who is pitting Sudanese people against each other, I wonder.

Sudan's new TMC-appointed governor of North Darfur says Shangil Tobaya "situation contained"

Here is a copy of a 15 Aug 2019 tweet by Eric Reeves @sudanreeves with a great map (explanation here) showing violence in North Darfur, 1 January 2017 - March 2019: 

The new TMC-appointed governor of North #Darfur lies just as shamelessly as his political predecessor. There has been no meaningful effort to bring marauding Arab militia forces or #Hemeti’s Rapid Support Forces under control; their ethnically-targeted violence is unrelenting:”
To visit the above tweet click here: https://twitter.com/sudanreeves/status/1162040001460350977 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

More RSF than ever in Darfur Sudan - To live in any area controlled by the RSF is to live in constant fear

Article from 3Ayin.com
Dated Wednesday, 07 August 2019
Silence and fear: Life under the RSF in a Darfur town
Amna Daoud Morsal has worked in Nyala’s main market for decades. At 55, she has developed a well-established market stall in Sudan’s third largest city – a city whose name means the “place of chatting” in the local Daju language. But few have time to chat when the sun starts to set, despite a challenging economy [ https://3ayin.com/sudanese-pay-a-price-for-revolution-as-cost-of-living-soars/ ] where Amna struggles with less and less customers, she must pack her wares hurriedly and rush home. “Ten years ago, you could walk around Nyala till morning time and nobody would ask you anything, there was no danger, no one to steal your things –the situation was safe but now, when the sun is setting, you cannot set foot inside Nyala,” Amna Daoud told Ayin. 

Nyala, like most of the towns and villages in Darfur, have struggled with the presence of pro-government militias for decades, but the heaviest presence to date has been the Rapid Support Force. “To live in any area controlled by the RSF (Rapid Support Forces), Nyala included, is to live in a constant state of fear,” says Nyala resident Abu Al-Bashir Adam. Anything could happen while working in the market, Daoud says, “Even daytime is dangerous, they [RSF] start fights with people, steal money and mobile phones, and if you try to say this is wrong they can shoot you.”
More RSF than ever
Nyala residents have grown accustomed to the heavy presence of the RSF militia –but now even more have trickled in since the revolution started last December calling for civilian rule. Nyala residents believe the additional RSF forces came in an effort to consolidate power and ensure authority during this political transition period. 

The deputy head of the military council, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (aka “Himmedti”) leads the RSF which until recently took direct orders from former president Omar al-Bashir, terrorizing citizenry and rebels alike in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. 

“Himmedti and his gang [the RSF] have always had a presence in Nyala,” said Ahmed Abdallah* a recent university graduate living in Nyala. “But once the revolution started and people called for civilian rule –they started to be deployed in all public areas across the state.” As one of the main recruiting areas, Nyala hosts ten RSF training camps alone. But it’s not only Nyala. “It’s true that the RSF increased dramatically recently, with the idea to show power and control,” a UN worker based in West Darfur State’s capital city, El Geneina, told Ayin. “Now they drive around here at high speeds, if you don’t get out of their way, you’ll be beaten. As a woman, after 7 pm, there is no way I can walk the streets.”

The RSF have always had a heavy, deadly presence in Darfur to date. According to the 2017 UN Panel of Experts report [ https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/N1740048.pdf ] the RSF militia are the main perpetrators of abuses against civilians in Darfur including looting, rapes and torching of homes. An Amnesty International June report [ https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/06/sudan-fresh-evidence-of-government-sponsored-crimes-in-darfur-shows-drawdown-of-peacekeepers-premature-and-reckless/ ] says they have satellite imagery and testimonials that show the RSF and other government forces continue to commit war crimes and human rights violations in Darfur –including the partial or complete destruction of 45 villages, unlawful killings, and sexual violence. “In Darfur, as in Khartoum, we’ve witnessed the Rapid Support Forces’ despicable brutality against Sudanese civilians – the only difference being, in Darfur they have committed atrocities with impunity for years,” stated Amnesty Secretary General Kumi Naidoo. 

A convenient black hole
The RSF have enjoyed total impunity for years in Darfur partly due to the ousting [ https://africanarguments.org/2009/03/24/ingos-expelled-from-darfur-time-to-acknowledge-the-smoking-and-loaded-gun/ ] of international NGOs and local and foreign journalists 
[ https://nubareports.org/a-q-a-with-award-winning-photographer-adriane-ohanesian/ ] effectively banned [ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/05/captured-in-darfur-south-sudan ] from the region. Phil Cox, a photojournalist and filmmaker, is possibly one of the last foreigners to venture into Darfur in December 2016 when RSF forces kidnapped [ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/05/captured-in-darfur-south-sudan ], tortured and jailed Cox and his colleague Daoud Hari for 70 days. At the time, the Sudanese government issued a massive bounty for their capture, indicative of their deep determination to keep the world’s eyes away from Darfur and what future investigations might reveal, Cox told Ayin. “Darfur has gone from being the focus of global attention and international condemnation that mobilized activists, celebrities and world leaders alike, to a forgotten conflict smothered by an information black hole,” Cox said. “No media team or investigators have had independent access there for years –yet rumours of atrocities and ethnic cleansing have persisted.” 

Darfur Bar Association lawyer, Abdel-Basset Al-Hajj, says the RSF enjoy “official immunity” and no accountability for their actions. “The RSF have no legal justifications to carry out law enforcement, arrest, imprisonment –they enjoy being the police, prosecutor and judge all in one,” Al-Hajj told Ayin. While they enjoy these powers, Al-Hajj said, they carry out these duties with no recourse to the law or training. “They don’t know how to investigate a crime, they simply rely on torture and somehow think this is the rule of law.” 

In July 2017, the RSF raided [ https://nubareports.org/south-darfur-residents-fear-insecurity-with-militia-control-of-police-station/ ] Nyala’s second largest police station in the Al-Masan’i neighbourhood with four heavily armed Land Cruisers, threatening the police officer in charge of the station to leave within 48 hours, according to a police officer from the station preferring anonymity for his security. The RSF order to evacuate the station was made on the pretext that Himmedti purchased the land where the police station was based. A lawyer working for the local land registry who also requested anonymity for security reasons, said the land allegedly purchased by the RSF leader was government-owned property. Lt.-Gen. Mohamed Hamden Daglo did not present any documents regarding the purchase, the lawyer said, and suspect the RSF leader seized the land by force. 

Nyala-based Police Officer Ali Osman* remembers the raid well. “Of course it was not legal but nobody from the local government can talk to them, they may shoot you,” the officer said. Well-equipped and paid salaries five times that of a regular Nyala police officer, Officer Osman told Ayin he is powerless to stop them whenever they steal from the public. “I can’t do anything –those people are outside the law and can kill me.” 
They have made the security situation more precarious here,” lawyer and El-Geneina resident Ibrahim Shamou said, “crime, murder and theft have increased –[it’s] a state of terror and chaos.”

El Geneina, Daein
Since the revolution started, the RSF also increased their presence in other Darfur capitals cities such as El Geneina and Daein in West and East Darfur, respectfully -targeting and terrorising civilians with the same impunity. There are roughly 200 RSF armed four-wheel drive vehicles (commonly referred to as ‘technicals’) patrolling West Darfur State, lawyer and El-Geneina resident Ibrahim Shamou told Ayin. “They have made the security situation more precarious here,” Shamou said, “crime, murder and theft have increased –[it’s] a state of terror and chaos.” Even farmers outside the city are not safe from the RSF, the lawyer said. With no one to protect them while working in the fields, RSF have been looting farmers of livestock and money since June. 

RSF have arrested local government members in Daein during the state of emergency imposed by the former president back in February with no real recourse to the law, according to Daein resident Maala Awad al-Karim. RSF have also imprisoned a large number of citizens arbitrarily, al-Karim adds, some of which still remain there since February. Many people have ran away from Daein and have attempted to eke out a living in outside villages to avoid the RSF, according to Daein resident and lawyer Mohamed Abdallah. “These militias don’t follow any rule of law,” Abdallah added, “even the courts look at them like people who took the authority of the court without any permission.”

According to Officer Osman*, RSF are already recruiting from outside Sudan, particularly via Chad and receive Sudanese identity cards in Nyala … more on RSF’s regional dynamics: http://bit.ly/2KwT3nw
RSF as a regional force
While the RSF have increased their presence in the Darfur region, there are signs the militia could become more of a regional force. According to Officer Osman, RSF are already recruiting from outside Sudan, particularly via Chad and receive Sudanese identity cards in Nyala. Osman said he could identify them as foreigners from their features and the fact they do not speak Arabic. “We must remember RSF is a tribal militia and Himmedti has influence with his ethnic extensions in bordering countries like Chad where they are coming from,” Osman said. Well funded by exploiting Darfur gold reserves independently of the state and as a parallel budget, the RSF are well placed to become regional mercenaries in East and Central Africa, Nyala lawyer Al-Hajj told Ayin. The RSF can “carry out criminal acts internally and externally,” Al-Hajj said, “and will provide those with interests with all the necessary components to continue and control the reins of the state.”

Future of RSF, future of Sudan
The question still remains if the RSF will continue to control large swathes of the country and whether this influence will expand further both nationally and cross borders during the transitional period. The Transitional Military Council’s deputy leader Himmedti will, after all, likely be part of the ruling sovereign council during this stage. A constitutional declaration agreed upon by the Military Council and opposition on Sunday [4 AUG 2019] also ensures the sovereign council to be lead by a military general for the first 21 months of the transitional period. Nevertheless, the parties also agreed that sovereign council members would not be immune to prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to the recently penned constitutional declaration, the RSF are meant to be under the command of the Sudanese army and stipulated that citizen’s rights are to be free from arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment. There are signs of more accountability within the RSF ranks –military authorities allegedly detained [ https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/africa/Sudan-detains-nine-soldiers-after-el-obeid-killings/4552902-5220132-rs45nn/index.html ] and dismissed nine RSF soldiers last week, implicated in the killing of six protestors in El Obeid. But the fact that security forces killed 
[https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/protesters-killed-live-ammunition-sudan-omdurman-190801190332665.html ] four more protestors in Omdurman just a day prior to the prosecution of the RSF soldiers hardly imbibes confidence for reform within Sudan’s security sector and the RSF militia in particular.

While much-needed RSF reforms may not emerge from the political negotiation process-taking place in Khartoum, the people of Nyala may induce change themselves. Despite the daily intimidation by RSF forces, Nyala residents conducted three separate demonstrations [ https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/protests-unabated-across-sudan%20 ] last month to condemn the ongoing detention of Nyala citizens, the attack on protestors in El Obeid, in solidarity with rape survivors across the country and to call for the revival of independent trade unions. “We don’t know what will happen in Khartoum,” said one Nyala activist, “but we will continue to struggle here no matter the outcome.”
* Names changed to protect their security

The law = RSF
“The RSF have no legal justifications to carry out law enforcement, arrest, imprisonment –they enjoy being
the police, prosecutor and judge all in one,” Al-Hajj told Ayin

View original article here: https://3ayin.com/rsf-in-darfur/
- - -

Kidnapped, tortured and thrown in jail: my 70 days in Sudan
A photograph taken by Cox while being held hostage in Sudan on Christmas Day 2016. Photograph: Phil Cox/Native Voice Films
Phil Cox and Daoud Hari on the Chad-Sudan border in December 2016. Photograph: Native Voice Films

Read full story here: http://trib.al/inI80TQ

Euphoria grips Sudan as deal to civilian rule signed

Article from Dawn.com
Written by AFP.com
Dated Saturday 17 August 2019
Euphoria grips Sudan as historic transition deal to civilian rule signed
Photo: Sudan's Head of Transitional Military Council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and Sudan's opposition alliance coalition's leader Ahmad al-Rabiah, celebrate the signing of the power sharing deal, that paves the way for a transitional government, and eventual elections, following the overthrow of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir, in Khartoum, Sudan, on Saturday. — Reuters

Rapturous crowds filled the streets of Khartoum on Saturday as Sudan's generals and protest leaders signed a historic deal paving the way for civilian rule.

Thousands of cheering people gathered around the Friendship Hall next to the Nile, where the documents that will govern the country's 39-month transition were signed.

“This is the biggest celebration I have ever seen in my country. We have a new Sudan,” said Saba Mohammed, a veiled 37-year-old woman, waving a small plastic flag.

Minutes earlier, the deal had been signed by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, deputy chief of the military council, and Ahmed al-Rabie, representing the Alliance for Freedom and Change protest umbrella.

Heads of state, prime ministers and dignitaries from several countries — including Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Egypt's premier Mustafa Madbuli — attended the ceremony.
Photo: Sudanese men and women celebrate outside the Friendship Hall in the capital Khartoum where generals and protest leaders signed a historic transitional constitution meant to pave the way for civilian rule in Sudan, on Saturday. — AFP

The constitutional declaration formalises the creation of a transition administration that will be guided by an 11-member sovereign council, comprised of six civilians and five military figures.

After brandishing a signed green book containing the transition documents, protest leader Mohamed Naji al-Assam called on the military council to work “together to establish a sustainable democracy.”

The agreement brought an end to nearly eight months of upheaval that saw masses mobilise against president Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in April after 30 years in power.
Photo: Sudanese protesters from the city of Atbara arrive at the Bahari station in Khartoum on Saturday to celebrate transition to civilian rule. — AFP

Thousands of people had arrived on trains from Sudan's provinces to take part in the celebrations, which will include a huge gathering in Khartoum's main gardens.

“We hope Sudan can move forward now, we want to be proud of our country,” said Saida Khalifa as she got off the train after an all-night ride from Atbara, the town where the protests started in December last year.

“The guns must go silent now and we must pull the country out of this mess to gain peace and freedom,” she said.

New institutions
The celebrations looked set to last deep into the night as tens of thousands of people converged on the capital's main park, spilling out of honking cars and tuk tuks.

The composition of the civilian-majority transitional ruling council is to be announced on Sunday.

That follows the naming on Thursday of former senior UN official Abdalla Hamdok, a veteran economist, as transitional prime minister.

He is expected to focus on stabilising Sudan's economy, which has been in a tailspin since the oil-rich south seceded in 2011.

Economic woes triggered the initial protests in December.

At Khartoum's central market early Saturday, shoppers and stallholders interviewed by AFP all said they hoped a civilian government would help them put food on the table.

Residents old and young were eager to exercise their newfound freedom of expression.

“I'm 72 and for 30 years under Bashir, I had nothing to feel good about.
Now, thanks to God, I am starting to breathe,” said Ali Issa Abdel Momen, sitting in front of his modest selection of vegetables at the market.

But many Sudanese are already questioning the ability of the transitional institutions to rein in the military elite's powers during the three-year period leading to planned elections.

End of isolation?
The country of 40 million people will be ruled by the 11-member sovereign council and a government, which under the deal must be dominated by civilians.

However, the interior and defence ministers are to be chosen by military members of the council.

Observers have warned that the transitional government will have little leverage to counter any attempt by the military to roll back the uprising's achievements and seize back power.

When he walked out of the Friendship Hall after signing the declaration, the general seen as Sudan's new strongman, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, was met with a hostile crowd.

Members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces he commands shielded him back to his car as the crowd saw him off, chanting “blood for blood”.

They were referring to the alleged role played by his men in the bloody crackdown on a June 3 sit-in that doctors say left at least 127 dead and 11 missing.

Security forces deployed across Khartoum Saturday for the biggest international event in years in Sudan, which had become something of a pariah country under Bashir's rule.

One of the most immediate diplomatic consequences of the compromise reached this month could be Sudan's return to the African Union, which suspended the country's membership in June.

Bashir, who took power in a 1989 coup and is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide in the Darfur region, had been slated to appear in court Saturday on corruption charges.

But his trial has been postponed to an as yet undetermined date.