Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sudan: Israel, France, Chad providing support to Darfur rebel groups SLM-Nur & JEM?

Some Sudanese tribes are calling for a jihad against SLM-Nur because they believe that they are a front for Israel in Darfur.

Darfur is the most 'Islamic' province in Sudan: for SLM-Nur to contact Israel shows that they don’t care for Darfur.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has received considerably heavy military logistical support from Israel, Sudan's state media reported.

The shipment has been sent through France, which is in charge of training military personal inside neighboring Chad, the Sudanese Media Center, a news outlet with links to Sudan's security service said.

Sudan accuses Chad of providing military and logistical support for the rebel group's attacks on Southern Darfur.

Chad, however, blames Sudan for the creation of the Union of Resistance Forces, an umbrella group for the main Chadian rebel factions created in late January 2008.

Source: [two reports, copied here below]

Darfur in Israel
By Ismail Kamal Kushkush, IOL Correspondent, March 6, 2008.

Darfur in Israel

Photo: "This shows that the movement has no popular base," Shaarani told IOL.
KHARTOUM — The decision by the rebel Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM) faction of Abd al-Wahid Nur to open a liaison office in Israel has infuriated most Sudanese, including Darfurians.

"This will create more divisions in Darfur," Salah al-Fadul Rijal, the current sultan-general of the Fur tribes, told IslamOnline.net over the phone from Nyala, Darfur.

"Some tribes are now calling for a jihad against the SLM because they believe that they are a front for Israel in Darfur. Even some associated with the SLM are denouncing this act."

Nur, himself a member of the Fur ethnic group, has announced opening a liaison office in Tel Aviv to help Darfurians who have sought refuge in Israel.

He praised Israel for "for protecting Darfur youth from genocide" and insisted that his rebellion will change norms and break taboos in Sudan, especially about Israel.

"Our vision of Sudan as we see it would allow for the opening of an Israeli embassy in Khartoum as long as it is in line with the interests of the Sudanese people," Nur told Sudan Tribune from his Paris residence.

Sudan, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel over its occupation of Arab lands, described Nur's decision as evidence that the Darfur crisis has been manipulated by foreign hands.

Nur's SLM is one a few rebel groups that has refused to subscribe to the 2006 Abuja peace agreement. It has refused to date to participate in peace negotiations.

The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003 after rebel groups attacked government targets, accusing Khartoum of neglect and discrimination.

Thousands have died because of fighting, drought and desperate humanitarian conditions but there are no accurate account with figure ranging from the government's 9,000 to the UN's 200,000.


Several Darfurian and Sudanese political parties, civil society and student groups have condemned Nur’s decision.

Mahmud Shaarani, a human rights lawyer and head of the Sudanese Center for Comparative Human Rights Studies, one of the first groups to bring the Darfur conflict to attention, has described Nur’s move as "non-sensical."

"This shows that the movement [the SLM-Nur faction] has no popular base," he told IOL.

"Darfur is the most 'Islamic' province in Sudan: to contact Israel shows that they don’t care for Darfur."

Sayed El-Khatib, the director of the Center for Strategic Studies in Khartoum, was shock by the SLM move.

"Even if people are divided on other issues, this is one issue where people have utterly rejected Israel because of its occupation of Arab lands."

The Darfur Organizations Network, a local network of humanitarian NGOs, has condemned Nur's decision "especially when Israel is currently involved in crimes against the Palestinian people."

A week-long Israeli onslaught has claimed the lives of more than 129 people, including more than 40 children, toddlers and newborn babies, as well as 13 women.

More than 400 Palestinians have also been injured in the Israeli air and ground blitz.

Affecting Talks

Darfur in Israel

Photo: "The international community needs to bring people who really represent Darfur," El-Khatib told IOL.

Some predict that Nur’s decision may affect attempts by the international community to unite the negotiating platform of the nineteen Darfurian rebel groups on the one hand and peace talks with the Sudanese government on the other.

"This will delay the attempts to unite these groups and open the door for foreign intervention," says Shaarani, the human rights lawyer.

Abdalla Adam Khatir, a Darfurian writer, disagrees.

He believes that this was an act out of "despair" on behalf of Nur who has not carefully calculated the political ramifications of his decision.

Khatir rules out any impact on the Darfur negotiations.

"This is a side effect of the crisis. The international community is working together to put a road map for peace in Darfur."

El-Khatib, the director of the Center for Strategic Studies in Khartoum, believes that Nur’s action, on the contrary, will help speed up negotiations.

"People are going to see the real face of some the rebel leaders; that they have personal agendas. The international community needs to bring people who really represent Darfur."

* Isma’il Kamal Kushkush is a Sudanese-American freelance writer currently based in Khartoum, Sudan.
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Sudan: Israel arming Darfur rebels
From Press TV Iran February 02, 2009 via Global Research, February 04, 2009:
Israel has supplied a rebel group involved in the Darfur conflict in Sudan with a considerable amount of weaponry, a new report says.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has received considerably heavy military logistical support from Israel, Sudan's state media reported on Sunday.

The shipment has been sent through France, which is in charge of training military personal inside neighboring Chad, the Sudanese Media Center, a news outlet with links to Sudan's security service said.

France maintains a 1,650 soldier mission to Chad as part of the EUFOR mission to protect refugees who have fled the conflict in Darfur in neighboring Sudan.

The JEM which seized the city of Muhageriya about two weeks ago is considered Darfur's most powerful rebel group.

The group managed to capture the city form forces loyal to the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) faction of Minni Minawi, which is the only rebel group to have signed a peace deal with Khartoum.

Sudan accuses Chad of providing military and logistical support for the rebel group's attacks on Southern Darfur.

Chad, however, blames Sudan for the creation of the Union of Resistance Forces, an umbrella group for the main Chadian rebel factions created in late January 2008.

The two neighbors broke off diplomatic relations last year, with each accusing the other of supporting rebel assaults on their capitals.

Although relations were re-established in November, ties still remain tense between the two central African nations.

Photo: An Israeli soldier covers his ears as a mobile artillery unit fires a shell towards Gaza in mid-January. Israel receives at least $2 billion a year in US weapons. (Photo and caption from Press TV Iran report:
Sudan: Israel arming Darfur rebels
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From Sudan Tribune February 19, 2009:
Darfur SLM rebel leader confirms visit to Israel
February 18, 2009 (PARIS) — Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur, the founder of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement, said today he visited Israel recently in a move to boost social normalization between the Sudanese and Israeli peoples, pledging for strategic relations between the two countries.

Abdelwahid Mohamed Nur

Photo: Abdel-Wahid al-Nur

The rebel leader confirmed reports published by Israeli press this week about his visit to Tel Aviv. The daily Haaretz had said he paid the visit at his own initiative with some French Jewish, to attend a security conference there. The report also said he met with a senior Israeli security official.

However Al-Nur, who opened an office in Israel since February last year, said that his visit to Israel is like any visit he pays to any country in the world and he wondered why people are focusing on it.

The rebel leader added they reject the hatred that the Sudanese government is teaching to the Sudanese about the Jewish people. He also hailed the positive attitude of the Israeli authorities for providing refuge to the Darfuri who fled the war in Darfur.

"I went there to meet my fellows from Sudan and Darfur particularly. Since the opening of our office there last year, I was thinking about this trip to meet the members of the movement there."

Al Nur also said he held a public meeting attended by more than one thousand of the Sudanese refugees from different parts of the country. He urged them to keep their ties with their families and follow closely the political situation there despite the difficulties of contact.

Sudan, which considers Israel as an enemy state, has no diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv and remains hostile to the Jewish state on the grounds that it is occupying Arab lands. Sudan also is seen by the Israeli government as one of the main supporters of the Islamist Hamas movement after Iran.

The Sudanese government informed Khartoum papers lately that several Darfur rebel movements are armed and supplied by Israel through France. The rebels dismiss this.

Al-Nur said his relation with Israel is founded on the principles of the SLM, which appeals for pacific coexistence between people and the mutual respect of religions and traditions.

"We did not go there to ask for mercy or support but because we deeply feel we have nothing that is preventing us in the SLM from that. Particularly we call for strategic relations between the two peoples in harmony with the interests of the two peoples."

The rebel leader praised the authorities there for giving Sudanese the opportunity to study in the Israeli universities and work there, describing these steps as social normalizations between the two peoples. He also pledged to work for the political normalization between the two countries in the future.

"We got rid of hatred and liberated ourselves from such negative slogans about the existence of Israel, and we want to live in peace with all the people. This would not affect our support for the creation of a Palestinian state besides Israel," he added.

In March 2008 a spokesperson of the SLA military reaffirmed to Sudan Tribune their support for the opening of an office in Israel. Commander Abdel-Rahman Adam Nimer slammed what he described as a "campaign of stigmatization led by the Sudanese government in the name of Islam." He added they "are in no need for religious lessons and are very well aware of the Islamic precepts and have no complex in this regard."

This week the Associated Press distributed pictures of a joint wedding ceremony in Tel Aviv where three couples from Darfur married there. They are part of hundreds of Darfuri who have sought refuge in recent years in the Jewish state, arriving across the border illegally from Egypt.

According to the UNHCR figures, there are some 600 Darfuri in Israel whom local authorities have granted all asylum and work permits. (ST)
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From Sudan Tribune February 20, 2009:
France denies financial support to Al-Nur
February 19, 2009 (PARIS) — Responding to statements made Tuesday by Sudan’s representative to the UN, who criticized France for safeguarding Darfur rebel leader Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur, the spokesperson of the French Foreign Ministry voiced support for the Doha peace process and denied providing financial support to the rebel holdout.

Al-Nur, the chairman of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), has resided in France since 2007. He refuses to participate in the latest round of peace talks in Doha requesting that Khartoum should disarm militias, implement ceasefire before to take part in any peace process.

"We are continuing our efforts to ensure that all the major stakeholders, including the movement led by Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur, are involved in the search for peace," said Eric Chevallier, the French spokesperson.

"As regards the statements of the Ambassador of Sudan to the UN … we wish to clarify that Abdel Wahid Al Nur does not receive any financial support from France for his stay in our country," he said.

Sudan’s Ambassador to the UN, Abdel-Mahmood Abdel-Haleem, had criticized France for sheltering Al-Nur amid ongoing talks with the JEM rebel movement in Doha, Qatar. Al-Nur refuses to participate in the talks until Sudan observes a ceasefire signed in April 2004, takes steps to disarm militias and allows IDPs to return safely to their homeland.

"We note that the French government is still holding a rebel leader from joining the peace process…. He is well protected by the French. We hold them also responsible for any sabotage to the peace process in the Sudan," said Abdel-Haleem.

According to Abdel-Haleem, French president Nicolas Sarkozy promised Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir on two occasions to expel the SLA leader if he continues to refuse to go to the negotiation table.

"France is actively committed to peace in Darfur to put an end to violence against victims who are mainly civilians. We support the efforts of the Qatari government and the joint UN-AU mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassolé," explained Chevallier.

Al-Nur commands forces in the Jebel Marrah of central Darfur and has significant support among Darfur civilians and displaced persons. (ST)
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From www.rfi.fr February 23, 2009:
Two members of French aid organisation killed in south Darfur:
Two Sudanese members of a French aid group were killed at the weekend during an attack. Men on horses and camels attacked the people on a road between Kurunji and Khor Abeshe in south Darfur.

The two victims were health workers for the French humanitarian organisation Aide MĂ©dicale Internationale and were on their way back from a clinic.

“There was a truck carrying a lot of people and they were stopped by 24 armed men that came on camel and horseback, they were suspected to be militia men, but nobody could tell really what militia,” says Kamel Saiki, a spokesperson for the Unamid joint forces.

The French organisation, which is funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office and the Aid Delegation of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has 200 local staff members and is working to provide emergency support and access to healthcare for displaced people.

“Unfortunately, it is a typical case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they wandered into an ongoing act of banditry,” Saiki told RFI.

Highway robbery is a problem on the roads of Darfur and the UN says more than 200 vehicles were attacked last year.

Earlier in February, the government and rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement signed an agreement in Qatar, which intends to act as the basis of a peace talks.

“I don’t think there was a deliberate targeting of these people […] this illustrates the conditions we have in this part of Sudan,” Saiki added.
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From Sudan Online (SUNA) February 24, 2009:
President Al-Bashir reiterates Sudan's support to the Palestinian people
President of the Republic Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir affirmed that Sudan will stand by the people of Palestine as well as rejecting any attempt to sow divisions among the Palestinian people.

This came when the President received at the Guest House Monday Azam Al-Ahmad, the Envoy of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbass Abu Mazin. During the meeting, President Al-Bashir received a written message from the Palestinian President dealing with the general situations in the Arab world in the light of the relentless efforts to bring to an end the Arab differences and to unify the Arab ranks before holding the meeting of the Arab summit conference in Doha, the State of Qatar.

In this connection, President Al-Bashir stressed the necessity of bringing together the Palestinian factions and ending the differences as soon as possible.

The Palestinian Envoy, on his part, affirmed that the Palestinian people and President support the Sudan in the face of the attempts to intervene in its domestic affairs or targeting its unity and stability, especially from the International Criminal Court. He further lauded the efforts being exerted by President Al-Bashir with regard to unification of all the Sudanese people.
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From Reuters February 24, 2009 TRIPOLI - excerpt:
Gaddafi says Israel, not Bashir, behind Darfur war
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the current African Union president, on Tuesday accused "foreign forces" including Israel of being behind the Darfur conflict.

Judges from the International Criminal Court are due to announce on March 4 whether they will issue a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir over allegations that he masterminded genocide in Sudan's Darfur region. U.N. diplomats have told Reuters the warrant will be issued.

But Gaddafi, addressing a meeting on ways to expand cooperation between the United Nations and African Union, urged the Court to stop its proceedings against Bashir:

"Why do we have to hold President Bashir or the Sudanese government responsible when the Darfur problem was caused by outside parties, and Tel Aviv (Israel), for example, is behind the Darfur crisis?"

Gaddafi suggested, without presenting any evidence, that the Israeli military was among those stoking the conflict:

"It is not a secret. We have found evidence proving clearly that foreign forces are behind the Darfur problem and are fanning its fire," Gaddafi said, according to the Libyan state news agency Jana.

"We discovered that some of the main leaders of the Darfur rebels have opened offices in Tel Aviv and hold meetings with the military there to add fuel to the conflict fire." [...] (Writing by Lamine Ghanmi; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You don't think that all of that oil Sudan has plays any part in Israel's interest in the Sudan, do you?

And by supporting a civil war in Sudan, Israel gets the Zionist owned MSM to play up Darfur stories while ignoring Gaza.