Sudan: UN Says Make Peace Or Starve

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February 1, 2015:   The civil war has cost South Sudan a lot of money in lost oil revenue and the country stands to to lose a lot more. The first year of the civil war cost South Sudan an estimated $1 billion in revenue, and many local and foreign analysts believe that the real losses are closer to $2 billion. If the conflict continues for another five years, it is estimated that South Sudan could lose $22 billion in revenue.  There are some problems with that number. Oil prices have fallen significantly since that estimate was made.  That figure also anticipated revenues from new fields and increased production.  But that is another lesson.  The war has damaged current production facilities but it has also prevented new drilling and building more production facilities. South Sudan still manages to produce around 160,000 barrels of oil a day.

The UN, the AU (African Union) and other regional organizations are threatening to cut aid to South Sudan if the warring parties do not make peace. The fighting has been going on since December 2013 and it has wrecked the already fragile economy and made it increasingly difficult to even deliver foreign aid to the people who need it most. Aid donors are making it clear that they consider the unwillingness of South Sudanese to make peace as a good reason to send aid money and supplies elsewhere. There is always more demand than supply for such aid. Whether this will motivate the government and rebels to make a deal is still unclear. These civil wars tend to start because of unreasonable demands and continue for the same reason.

January 30, 2015: Fighting since January 1 in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains region (South Kordofan state) has caused another wave of refugees. At least 3,000 civilians have fled fighting between the Sudanese Army and rebels belonging to the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N). UN refugee administrators in South Sudan report that over 500 refugees a week are now passing through the border town of Yida, on their way to camps in South Sudan.

January 28, 2015:  The U.S. government condemned Sudan’s January 20 air attack on an aid group clinic located in the town of Frandala (South Kordofan state).  The formal American condemnation confirmed early rebel claims that the attack occurred.  The foreign aid group operating the facility (a group with a reputation for credible combat reports) also reported the attack. Sudanese Air Force aircraft dropped bombs in Frandala, at least one of which hit the clinic.

January 27, 2015: The Sudan government officially opened its new Chinese built presidential palace in Khartoum.  Construction began in 2010. The government declared the new building an example of Sudan-China cooperation. China is a major buyer of Sudanese and South Sudanese oil. Chinese weapons also stock Sudan’s arsenals.

January 26, 2015:  The Darfur rebel group Sudan Liberation Movement Abdel-Wahid (SLM-AW) accused Sudan of launching new attacks in Darfur. Pro-Sudan militias have launched attacks in the Jebel Marra area. The SLM-AW claimed government security forces and allied militias struck civilian homes in the Galdo area (Central Darfur state). The government force had at least 100 vehicles.

The rebel Sudan People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) admitted that fire by its soldiers had hit a UN helicopter and forced it to land. The UN helicopter was flying east of Kadugli, capital of Sudan’s South Kordofan state. The SPLM-N regretted the mistake but said that the Sudanese Air Force continually launched air attacks in the area. The UN helicopter was supporting the World Food Program (WFP).

January 23, 2015: Peace in Darfur? In August 2009 a senior UNAMID commander claimed the Darfur War was over. He was wrong. The UN has just issued a report which says over 3,000 villages were destroyed in attacks in Darfur in 2014. Sudanese government forces or militias allied with the Sudan government conducted most of the attackds. UN administrators also accused the Sudan government of “routine and systematic” violations of the arms embago imposed by the UN Security Council.

January 22, 2015: South Sudan’s warring factions have signed another peace agreement. Well, this time diplomats are referring to it as a reconciliation agreement. The head of the government and two rebel leaders signed. The three men who signed the deal were the senior leaders of the SPLM (Sudan People Liberation Movement that won independence) and seem to think if they can reconstitute the SPLM as a unified political party, they can begin to bridge tribal divisions. Many people are skeptical. So far every ceasefire agreement has failed to hold. Tanzania mediated this new agreement.

January 20, 2015:  South Sudan said that its military forces continue to fight rebels in an isolated area of Lakes state (Maper village). Rebels said the rebel factioni in Lakes state is not part of the the main rebel coalition.  The Lakes state rebels could well be cattle raiders. This is one of the problems confronting diplomats who are trying to resolve conflicts like the South Sudan civil war. The cattle raiders are well-armed thieves, but immediately distinguishing cattle raids from rebel attacks can be difficult even when the UN has observers in the vicinity.  The South Sudan government also reported another battle erupted in Unity state. The government blamed rebels for starting this in an area between Panakuach and Panthou.

Eighteen of Sudan’s 21 opposition political parties announced that they will suspend their participation in national dialogue talks.  The 18 withdrawing parties accused Sudan’s president of reneging on promises to conduct a fair and free national election.

January 19, 2015: Unknown gunmen murered two businessmen in the South Sudan town of Nimule (South Sudan-Uganda border). One of the victims was shot eight times, indicating an execution. Nimule is a major transport and trading town in the region.

Sudan claimed a major victory over SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan state. The government claimed its soldiers had retaken two positions in the Al Aneziah area (northeast of the capital, Kadugli). The government said its forces intend to attack the rebel town of Kauda. Sudan also claimed that it had defeated the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minnawi (SLA-MM) in a battle at Finga (Jebal Marra region).  Interestingly enough, the SLA-MM announced that government forces had killed one of its commanders in a battle at Shargo (North Darfur state).

January 15, 2015: South Sudanese rebels are accusing the government of lying. The government accused the rebels of killing five civilians in the Maban area (Unity state). The rebels said the accusation is false. The rebels do claim they now control Maban. They also acknowledge that they fought with and defeated a local militia loyal to the government called the Mabanese Defense Forces.

January 14, 2015: The Sudan government said that it is conducting a major security operation in the Jebel Marra area. The government said that rebels hold positions near Finga (North Darfur state).

Chinese diplomats told South Sudan that China is committed to helping end the South Sudan civil war. South Sudanese representatives met with Chinese foreign ministry officials in Khartoum, the capital of neighboring Sudan.

January 13, 2015: South Sudan rebels demanded that Uganda withdraw it military forces from South Sudan. Uganda has promised both the South Sudan government and the rebels that it will do so, eventually. The rebels initially called Uganda an ally of the government, and they were right. In Summer 2014, however, Uganda managed to convince the rebels that it had sent soldiers into South Sudan to protect Ugandan citizens. Uganda also sought to politically appease angry rebel leaders. However, it is 2015 and the troops are still there. Rebel commanders in the field now accuse Uganda of reneging on its promises.  The Ugandan government has said that Ugandan troops would withdraw when a ceasefire is signed.  Two have been signed, the January 2014 Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) and the November 2014 ceasefire agreement. Neither has been implemented. Following a rebel complaint earlier this month, the South Sudan government said the rebels had no right to demand Uganda withdraw. Well, now the demands are official.

 

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