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  • The Increasingly Ominous Fate of U.S. Sudan Policy Under President Trump

     

    Eric Reeves  |  February 3, 2017  |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-21b

    Among the myriad Executive Orders that President Trump has inherited from the Obama administration is one essentially lifting sanctions on the regime in Khartoum, Sudan.  During his last week in office Obama declared there had been sufficient "positive action over the past six months" by the very regime the former president had repeatedly accused of genocide-both before and after taking office.  Obama used his UN ambassador, Samantha Power, to make the case in detail: during her last press conference, Power declared, falsely, that a "sea change" in improved humanitarian access throughout Sudan justified the administration's decision. She cited one unrepresentative example, even as every humanitarian and human rights organization that has spoken about Power's claim denies its validity.  Human Rights Watch declared Obama's decision simply "inexplicable."

    Samantha Power, former UN Ambassador under the Obama administration

    So it falls to the conspicuously dysfunctional Trump administration to decide whether during the upcoming six-month "testing period" Khartoum deserves to see a finalizing of this lifting of sanctions.

    It can choose to ignore realities on the ground, as the Obama administration did in its assessment of the past six months; or it can take a hard look at what is widely reported from those on the ground and in the Sudanese diaspora. Humanitarian embargoes, imposed by Khartoum, continue to affect many hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the long-marginalized regions of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile.  The "sea change" Ambassador Power spoke of is certainly not visible in South Kordofan, where an experienced and highly informed humanitarian wrote to me, declaring:

    "there's been absolutely no change in humanitarian access.  Not a single grain of sorghum nor one tablet of medicine has entered Nuba Mountains from any of the usual humanitarian agencies." (email received from the Nuba Mountains, January 14, 2017)

  • The Sudan Insider, from NUBA REPORTS | January 31, 2017

    Authoritative news reporting from the Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile, and Darfur
    [see also video URL below]
    This is our Sudan Insider, a debrief from Nuba Reports that highlights important developments in Sudan and what they mean. Here's the latest. If you have questions or want more information,please to write us at info@nubareports.org  
    Thank You,The Nuba Reports Team
    Ceasefires declared from above in Sudan routinely fail to halt violence on the ground entirely.Civilians in central and western Darfur experienced this first-hand at the beginning of 2017, just days after President Bashir extended a ceasefire. In two separate incidents, a total of 16 people were reportedly killed and more than 75 wounded. While the government disputes it, eyewitnesses told Nuba Reports soldiers indiscriminately attacked residents of Nertiti town, in the restive Jebel Mara region of central Darfur, after a soldier was killed. To the south, government and rebel forces clashed in Blue Nile in December and again in January. See | https://nubareports.org/sudan-insider-more-violence-in-darfur-more-ceasefires-breachednocache1/ 

    One of the victims of the Nertiti Massacre, January 1, 2017

    President Bashir this fall predicted it would be easier for Sudan to work with than President-Elect Trump.But it was the Obama administration that sweetened U.S. dealings with Sudan in its final days, easing 20 years of economic sanctions on the country - first for 180 days, then permanently provided certain "positive actions" are sustained. The development prompted heated debate. It's the Trump administration's move now. Will they re-enact sanctions or permanently remove them? And with the government's tight grip on independent media and civil society, how can Sudan's commitments be tracked? See | https://nubareports.org/sudan-insider-us-sanctions-against-sudan-lifted-after-20-years/
    Civilians in Sudan's rebel-controlled Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile may experience their first dry season without bombings in six years of war, thanks to a ceasefire condition tied to U.S. sanctions relief.Yet an estimated 600,000 remain in need of humanitarian aid, and food security is a major concern this year. Efforts to secure aid delivery in the last days of Obama's presidency fell short, to the frustration of outgoing U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth. The government and rebels continue to clash on whether 20 percent of the aid will come cross-border, a sticking point in the last talks as well. See | https://nubareports.org/sudan-insider-all-talk-no-humanitarian-action/
    Blue Nile refugees living in South Sudan's Maban County remain at odds with the local host community, as both groups struggle to get by. Three days of deadly violence over Christmas prompted a large number of refugees to return to Blue Nile state, several sources said, despite limited or no access to farmland in a region where one-quarter of the population is displaced. With the promise of a six-month ceasefire, more Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile as well as the Nuba Mountains may play the odds and leave South Sudan for the conflict zones they fled. See | https://nubareports.org/sudan-insider-tensions-continue-in-maban-refugee-camp/
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    Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

     

    ereeves@smith.edu

    www.sudanreeves.org

    Twitter@SudanReeves

     

     

  • “Trump bans Sudanese from entering to U.S territory"--the act of an ignorant, vicious, and pathologically narcissistic man

     

     http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article61507

    [Here is a revealing glimpse into the kinds of indiscriminate, ignorant, ham-fisted policies that will follow from the incomprehensible election of an ignorant, vicious, and pathologically narcissistic man-surrounding himself with advisers who know how to echo him, and often know no more than this crudely uninformed but extremely powerful man.

    Trump does not distinguish between Sudanese desperately and justifiably seeking political asylum and, say, members of the Rapid Support Forces, whose war crimes should indeed bar their entry to any country except those willing to send such men to The Hague. By prioritizing Christians and other "minority religions" (Trump couldn't name three if his life depended on it), Trump reveals a despicable attitude toward the Muslim faith and fails to distinguish between radical political Islamists and faithful followers of one of the world's great religions.

    This is a policy appalling in all ways: in its ignorance, its failure to make any meaningful discriminations except on the basis of religion, and its cruelty in denying refuge to many who are desperate to escape the tyranny of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime---many of whom are known to me personally.

    Americans should be ashamed of what we have brought upon the world stage; this one certainly is-Eric Reeves]

    January 27, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - President Donald Trump Friday has signed an executive order banning from entering the U.S. for at least the next 90 days Sudanese nationals and citizens of other six countries. The measure is seen as first step towards establishing a broader ban, and comes in line with an electoral pledge "to keep America safe" by the Republican president.

    The executive order of 27 January bars all people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States. Also, the presidential decision orders to grant priority to Christian and other minority religions over Muslims. Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Pentagon, Trump said "We don't want them here," "We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people," he stressed.

    The band does not include diplomats and members of international organizations from the seven designed countries. A week before the end of his second term, President Obama signed an executive order easing economic embargo on Sudan.

    However, Obama maintained the east African country in the list of state sponsors of terrorism with Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Stria and Yemen. The new American administration didn't yet determine its policy towards Sudan. Washington has to review the economic sanctions within six months and to decide to re-establish it fully or to lift it definitely.

    -- 

    Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

     

    ereeves@smith.edu

    www.sudanreeves.org

    Twitter@SudanReeves

    About Eric Reeves: http://sudanreeves.org/about-eric-reeves

    Philanthropy: http://ericreeves-woodturner.com/woodturnings-available-for-purchase-dire

     

     

  • What the Cholera Epidemic in Sudan Tells Us About the Absurdity of Lifting U.S. Sanctions on Khartoum

     

    Eric Reeves  |  January 25, 2017  |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-20U

    Former Obama administration UN Ambassador Samantha Power's claim that there has been a "sea change" of improvement in humanitarian access in Sudan was not only false, but destructively so. As a justification for Obama's Executive Order lifting U.S sanctions on the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime, her failure to tell the truth was a moral disgrace and gives the regime reason to believe that even token moves to improve humanitarian access will be credited as sufficient, especially under the new Trump administration. Such an attitude on the part of the regime could easily translate into the loss of tens of thousands of Sudanese lives.

    Samantha Power, former Obama administration ambassador to the UN, claiming that there has been a "sea change" in improved humanitarian access in Sudan---a falsehood worthy of the new Trump administration

    One example looms large at present.

  • Civil lawsuit on behalf of Sudanese victims of Khartoum's atrocity crimes brought against BNP Paribas in U.S. Federal District Court (filed January 20, 2017)

     
    Eric Reeves | January 21, 2017 | http://wp.me/s45rOG-7742
    The civil suit brought yesterday on behalf of victims of atrocity crimes for which the NIF/NCP regime in Khartoum is responsible marks a moment of extraordinary revelation. French banking giant BNP Paribas is shown to be deeply complicit in these crimes, and we have a much clearer sense of why U.S. financial sanctions have proved ineffective in curtailing the atrocities of the regime. By virtue of criminal violations of U.S. financial law, to which BNP Paribas ("BNPP") pled guilty in mid-2015, many tens of billions of dollars of were effectively "laundered" and made available to Khartoum, which thus encountered none of the restrictions on the sale of petroleum that would otherwise have been prohibitive. The Complaint, filed by the law firm of McKool Smith, P.C.
(Los Angeles), is a devastating indictment that goes far beyond the Statement of Facts to which BNPP agreed in its settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice; the "facts" as we can see them now extend to many times the $9 billion in forfeitures and fines that PNBB paid in acknowledging its criminal guilt.
     
    This guilt extended to aiding Cuba and Iran, then on the U.S. State Department list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism," as was Sudan. But it was the people of Sudan who suffered the consequences of what was the massive and shameless criminality associated with BNPP's financial services to the Khartoum regime-72 percent of the overall total even in the inadequate Justice Department "Statement of Facts." Reprehensibly, the Obama administration directed none of the billions in forfeiture money to the Sudanese victims of atrocity crimes, or to humanitarian efforts seeking to provide relief to the people who continue to suffer from military activity very substantially financed by BNPP.

  • “The Final Betrayal of Sudan: Obama administration’s lifting of economic sanctions; UN Ambassador Samantha Power justifying the move, claiming a ‘sea change’ of improvement in humanitarian access”

     

    Eric Reeves, The Huffington Post, January 17, 2017 | http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-reeves/the-final-betrayal-of-sud_b_14167508.html   |   http://wp.me/p45rOG-20F

    The moral hypocrisy, the mendacity, and the sheer foolishness of the Obama administration's claim that there has been a "sea change" of improvement in Khartoum's facilitating of humanitarian access in Sudan is staggering. This isn't some shading of the truth; this isn't slightly disingenuous; it is a bald lie.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 12.35.29 PM

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, claims there has been a "sea change" of improved humanitarian access in Sudan

    A humanitarian with extensive experience on the ground in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan made this clear in a communication to me today, noting:

    "there's been absolutely no change in humanitarian access [in the Nuba Mountains-suffering under Khartoum's humanitarian embargo for over five and a half years].  Not a single grain of sorghum nor one tablet of medicine has entered Nuba from any of the usual humanitarian agencies." (email received January 17, 2017)

    The same is true for hundreds of thousands of people in Blue Nile, also under humanitarian embargo for over five years.

  • “Did Sudan use chemical weapons in Darfur last year?” from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,

     

    http://thebulletin.org/did-sudan-use-chemical-weapons-darfur-last-year10402

    by Jonathan Loeb (Jonathan Loeb is senior crisis adviser with Amnesty International. He has been researching conflict in Darfur and supporting conflict-resolution efforts for the past decade.

    [Note: many of the chemical weapons attacks in the nine-month assault on Jebel Marra occurred during the six-month "look-back period" that the Obama administration has used in speaking of "positive actions" by the Khartoum regime. A bipartisan group of U.S. Congressmen has directed a request to Secretary of State John Kerry, asking that he demand an inquiry by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Kerry, who had previously characterized the use of chemical weapons in Syria as a "moral obscenity," has done nothing---ER]

    After nearly 14 years of war, the most recent violence to ravage the western Sudanese region of Darfur came in the form of a large-scale military offensive last year in the area of Jebel Marra, a 5,000-square-kilometer volcanic massif that's home to about 1,500 villages. Ostensibly aimed at members of an armed opposition group, the nine-month operation mostly victimized civilians, and the government in Khartoum has been very successful in hiding these violations. Journalists, human rights investigators, humanitarian actors, and even international peacekeepers have been denied all meaningful access to the area.

  • “U.S. State Department Praises Khartoum’s ‘Promises’ of Improved Humanitarian Access,” Huffington Post

    Huffington Post, December 28, 2016  |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-20d

    By Eric Reeves

    The U.S. State Department yesterday issued a statement praising Khartoum's promise to improve humanitarian access in Sudan. But as the actual language of the statement makes clear, nothing has actually changed on the ground. The Obama administration State Department spokesman speaks of "the Government of Sudan's recent efforts to improve humanitarian access" (full text below). But what are these efforts, other than promises of the sort we have heard countless times before? The same National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime that last week "amended the Directives and Procedures for Humanitarian Action" can change them at the drop of a hat, as it has done on innumerable occasions. It is simply disingenuous to declare that that "these revised directives represent a significant step toward improving humanitarian access in Sudan": again, nothing has changed on the ground.

    bashir_finger_2_-b218c

    So just how trustworthy are President Omar al-Bashir and his brutal henchmen in the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime? In twenty-seven years of ruthless tyranny they have never abided by a single agreement with any Sudanese party or actor---not one, not ever.

  • December 19 in Context: Incentives and challenges facing those who would oust the Khartoum regime

     

    Eric Reeves  |  December 26, 2016  |  http://wp.me/s45rOG-7697

    Reporting on the campaign of civil disobedience that culminated with large-scale "stay at home protests" a week ago suggest that while there was very significant participation, the day was not a catalytic event. It remains unclear what comes next, and how the partial success of December 19 can be built upon.                      CzU6W6VW8AEQBtu

    What we know about December 19

    Photographs from deserted streets in Khartoum, Omdurman, Port Sudan, el-Fasher and elsewhere give clear signs that huge numbers of people stayed home, at least initially on this day. See albums at:

    http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Zx

    http://wp.me/p45rOG-1ZR

    IMG-20161219-WA0078

    Sent from Khartoum, December 19, 2016

    At the same time, the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime went to considerable lengths to obscure or prevent participation in the civil obedience campaign of December 19:

  • Sudan’s December 19 Civil Disobedience: Updated news | December 19 (2:30 GMT)

    #عصينا19ديسمبر  

    #Dec19Disobedience

    Eric Reeves | December 19, 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Zq

    This is a running blog account of what has been reliably reported from Sudan about the events and developments leading up to December 19, 2016 and beyond; Twitter reports (links) may be found at @SudanReeves. A compendium of the relevant dispatches over the past month from Sudan Tribune and Radio Dabanga is provided below, with links to particular topics.

    The opinion I'm currently hearing expressed most often is that today (December 19) is primarily a show of solidarity, with the main action consisting of a determination to stay home on a work day. Photos (below) suggest that this action has been remarkably successful.  This gives little chance to al-Bashir and the Khartoum regime to put in play "shoot to kill" orders of the sort issued in September 2013

    The question then, of course, is how Sudanese civil society decides to build on what is widely expected to be a dramatic adherence to the call to stay home. What comes next? Tomorrow's strategy seems a wise first step; but by itself, other than showing Sudanese that they stand in solidarity against the regime, it is not enough. More vigorous non-violent protests, strikes, and other refusals to comply with the regime's orders will be needed.