Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Youtube working for me . . . (not anymore)

The Sudanese Thinker reports that Youtube has been blocked in Sudan. Just wanna let you know that I still have access to Youtube, through the Canar ISP. Maybe it has not yet been blocked.

Here is a screen shot.

Youtube has finaly been blocked on the canar ISP. What a shame . . .

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Arab League respond to ICC indictment

The Arab League has decided to stand by Sudan against the ICC decision. They have decided to show:

"solidarity with the Republic of Sudan in the face of any schemes aimed at undermining its sovereignty, unity and stability and not to accept the unbalanced position of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the request contained in a case submitted to the ICC (pre-trial Chamber)."

Now the indictment is getting more interesting indeed. How will the international community react. JEM has already deplored the AL position.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ocampo vs Bashir: the SPLM position

SPLM, the junior partner of the NCP in the so called Government of National Unity found themselves between a rock and a very hard place.

How can they respond to the ICC accusations? It was the same people in the governemnt whom they fought for 20 years in the South. Now that they share the same government, it makes it more complicated.

The VP has been put in charge of the committee to challeneg the ICC and ministers are already scrambling around the Middle East and Africa to look for support for Sudan.

Here the SPLM official position on the ICC indictments:

The SPLM leadership was taken aback by the speed of recent developments in the case of ICC indictments of some Sudanese leaders including President of the Republic. This has understandably created a serious situation that could threaten peace and stability in the Sudan.

Over the past week, the SPLM leadership has been engaged in series of meetings in both Juba and Khartoum, discussing the matter. After wide consultations inside the SPLM and with the National Congress Party leadership, taking into account the declaration by the Prosecutor General of the ICC, the SPLM leadership resolve the following as a way to address the crisis:

1. That Darfur conflict is a political issue arising out of long and continuous political, economic and cultural marginalization since independence of the Sudan in 1956. Resolving this situation requires a negotiated and peaceful settlement of the conflict between the parties. Therefore the Government of National Unity is required to develop, within a week's time, a roadmap for resolution of Darfur conflict, in consultation with all the political forces and civil society groups in the country, specifically the groups in Darfur, in order to build national consensus for a fair and speedy resolution of the conflict.
2. The SPLM is ready to avail its resources and effort, and in particular its external relations, regionally and internationally for the purpose of achieving an understanding between the Government of National Unity and the international community. We believe that the solution to the crisis is for the Government of National Unity to forge an understanding with the international community and to cooperate with ICC on the legal processes.
3. The SPLM leadership, led by the First Vice President, will expedite efforts for a fair and comprehensive peaceful settlement of the Darfur crisis, which is a corner stone and correct entry point to deal with other consequences of the crisis.
4. Full implementation of the CPA and other peace agreements, furthering democratic transformation, promoting mutual understanding between the parties that constitute the government of national unity as well as other political forces is key to resolve the present crisis.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Americans are behind the ICC!


Where are the Arab "friends"?

The Sudanese government must be feeling lonely indeed. The silence of the Arab governments over the indictment of Bashir is very noticeable.

The Arab leaders have decided to keep quiet. None has made any statements concerning the issue. The Arab league itself is yet to meet in an emergency meeting until Saturday and make an officila statement. If it were a Palestinian issue, an emergency meeting could have been convene within 72 hours!

And Sudan is said to be an Arab country. It must be real lonely up there for the president. I suggest he befriend Mugabe.

Where are the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Jordanians . . . The "loudest" silence of note is that of Mubarak.

Maybe each of the presidents are thinking that they maybe next on the list?

How about the Arab media? Except for the comments of the Saudi columnists critical of the regime before the indictment, there is non forth coming, unless ones am not familliar with. Arab News editorial could be the only commentary of note.

At least the Arab bloggers mentioned it: Black Iris of Jordan commented on "Who is your favourite war criminal?", the Mideast Youth on the Case for Sudan, not much has been mentioned. Even the Egyptian Sandmonkey didn't see it a topic worth discussing?

What about African Union? African Union are concerned about the losing the " gains that have been achieved so far" and creating a power vacuum in Sudan if the order is executed.

I thought it was gonna be a source of discussion for days on end. Maybe my expectations are beyond the reality.

Ocampo vs Bashir: the Chinese dilemma

The Chinese are worried about the ICC indictment of President Bashir, and rightly so . . .

The world had been blasting China over its relation with Khartoum because of the fighting and chaos in Darfur. China is seen as the stongest ally of Khartoum, supports it militarily and gets the bulk of the Sudanese oil. It is also complicated by the up coming olympic games in August.

Arguably, China wants to help Sudan, but also keep its friends in the West. It had waited afew days before making statements on the issue, a signed of the dilemma it finds itself in.

Even if the Chinese push for a Security Council vote to suspend the indictments, France and USA are sure to veto it. They also play tit for tat there. (China just vetoed a resolution against Zimbabwe!)

Whichever way it finally decides to act, Sudan risks losing its one friend and ally, and that will be the hardest thing to swallo in Khartoum

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ocampo vs Bashir: the fallout

SO Bashir has been indicted by the ICC. So what comes next now?

The ICC prosecutor has taken the boldest step ever. Charging a sitting head of state fo genocide can get him a round of applause,but that is leaving lots of people wary of the future.

So far the armageddon predicted has not happened, yet. No UN staff has been shot in the street and no car-jackings reported in Khartoum. Were the fears groundless?

Not at all. There are lots of people out there in the street who are stupid enough to start anything. It may not be the official response of the government, but some lunatics may take the lawlessness into their hands and rick havoc.

I personally think it was a wrong move on the part of the ICC. Now that he has made his point, I think UN Security Council should suspend the possible arrest warrant from being issued.

They now have a big leverage over Khartoum: you better cooperate now and end the chaos in Darfur or else . . .

Could that work? Possibly. Khartoum never really thought that the prosecutor could actually charge Bashir. Now they got the message loud and clear.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bashir charged with genocide

President Bashir has been charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity! Here are the charges:

  1. Genocide:
    Killing members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups
    Causing these groups serious bodily or mental harm
    Inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about these groups' physical destruction

  2. Crimes against humanity:
    Forcible transfer

  3. War crimes:
    Attacks on civilians in Darfur
    Pillaging towns and villages

Ocampo vs Bashir 2

What does the possible indictment mean? Here are some positive sides to it?

1) clear signal about impunity
2) strengthen international institutions to reign in impunity

3) provoke more moderate elements in Khartoum regime to at last oust General Bashir (a la 1985 coup of Suwar al Dahab)
4) give comfort to relatively powerless domestic legitimate civil society opposition in Sudan
5) stengthen bargaining position of SPLM and opposition parties vis a vis NCP
6) give some justice to the families and children beaten, killed and
displaced by the brutal counter-insurgency
7) give General Bashir a chance to clear his name in a court of law


Ocampo vs Bashir

Here is a website that logs the ICC proescution of Bashir. The articles and comments are interesting to read.

Social Science Research Council

The Ocampo Factor

The ICC chief prosecutor has entered into the long list of those people who were "black listed", if I may say so in Sudan. The history of the Sudan has seen losts of them, who were given all sorts of names before Ocampo. Here is a sample:

  • Casper Biro: He was appointed as a special UN Human Rights Commission Special Rapporteur for Sudan in 1993. He really pressed the government on the abysmal human rights records that Khartoum kept him out of the country
  • Baroness Cox: worked as a humanitarian worker and has raised the issues of the civil war int he south, including the worse humanitarian crisis during that time. She was of such high profile that kept the South conflict in the agenda of the world. Khartoum charged her for illegal entry and sentence her in absentia to 5 years in prison!
  • Jan Pronk: the last Head of the UN in Sudan who was kicked out in 2006 for posting in his weblog that the Sudanese Army was heavily defeated in a battle in Darfur.
  • Luis Moreno-Ocampo: is the latest to enter the Sudanese list.

Are there others I missed? WHat do you think?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The indictment of President Bashir is imminent!

The world is bracing itself for the possible indictment of President Bashir and VP Taha for war crimes and genocide in Darfur!

What a development. The ICC prosecutor is preparing his case, which may be as early as Monday.

I don't know whether I should be happy or sad. The atrocities in Darfur really deserve world attention, the failure of implementation of the CPA in South Sudan needs more attention. The issues of Eastern Sudan and other areas are all of equal concern.

But what will the indictment of Bashir mean for peace in Sudan? At worse the world is bracing itself for a backlash: renewed fighting in South Sudan; more suffering of Darfuris; expulsion of UNAMID and withdrwal of cooperation with th einternational community. Expuslsion of ambassadors of Western countries, etc

As the Sudanese UN ambassador said "all options are open . . . and sky is the limit".

I think the world is right to be concern. Do we seek justice for long term effect at the cost of short term suffering and more deaths?

The next few days will surely be the most stressing for the Sudanese government.

. . . unless if the Chinese pull another trick and delay the indictment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A half-truth statement

What is Sudan?

"An uncertain country haphazardly cobbled together first by the Ottomans in the 19th century and later by the British during the 20th. It has no cultural coherence or geopolitical logic, even though its populations have become used to living together". Gerard Prunier


Sadly, they have NEVER become used to living together! The 4o years of civil war since independence says all.

Pagan Amun in the dock

The SPLM and NCP are gearing up for another crisis. Maybe Abyei is making little headway, but recents comments by the Minister of Cabinet Affairs Pagan Amun, whois also the SPLM Secretary General, has landed him in the bad books of the GoNU.

Amun's statements that Sudan is a failed State has not been taken lightly by the NCP. Now it is the president who suspended him as Minister, lifted his immunity and ordered an investigation.

How will the SPLM respond? The truth is, SPLM is part of the government, although a junior partner ignored in most issues.

What the Presidential Advisor said is actually very true: "The problem of Pagan and the triangle of secularism within the SPM is that they feel disappointed and miserable because the NCP is able to overcome their shrewdness and cunningness and even come out stronger"

The partners are playing a game of cat and mouse and who will out-shrewed the other: from the issues of Abyei, pulling out of the government etc.

Now, we wait and see who delivers the KO punches. SPLM has not yet responded.