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President Festus G. Mogae Rekindles Peace Hopeful Dividends for South Sudan

By James Okuk, PhD

November 27, 2015 (SSNA) -- Friday 27th November 2015 had marked a very important step forward on the path of peace in the Republic of South Sudan despite lagging behind the schedules in the last wasted three months of pre-transition period. This good news had not happened out of a chance but determination by the Former Botswana President and prominent Veteran African personality, H.E. Festus Gontebanye Mogae. 

His biography and profile alone tells in advance the wonders of peace dividends that could be expected in South Sudan soon. Gontebanye was born on 21th August 1939 at Serowe in the Central District of Botswana where he grow up and pursued his first formal education. Later he went to study economics at the universities of Oxford and Sussex in the United Kingdom. 

After graduation in 1968 he started his public service career as an officer of planning in Botswana's Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, in which he became Permanent Secretary from 1975 to 1976.

From 1976 to 1980 he served in Washington D.C as Alternate and Executive Director of International Monetary Fund for Anglophone Africa. 

From 1980 to 1992 he became Governor of the Bank of Botswana, Permanent Secretary of the Office of Former Botswana President Quett Masire, Secretary to the Cabinet and Supervisor of Elections. 

He became the Minister of Finance and Development Planning before he was appointed Vice-President of Botswana from 1992 to 1998. 

Finally, Mr. Mogae became the President of Botswana on Democratic Party (BDP)’s ticket for two consecutive terms (from 1998 to 2008), after which he voluntarily retired to give his Vice President Lieutenant General Ian Khama a chance of alternative but continuous good leadership. 

During his tenure, President Mogae enabled Botswana to demonstrate how a country with precious natural resources and agricultural opportunities (especially cattle keeping) can promote sustainable prosperity, preventive health, education, good governance and stability in a continent where too often mineral wealth - like diamond and oil - has become a source of curse. 

President Mogae has received a number of honors such as Naledi Ya Botswana – Gaborone (2003); Grand Croix – Madagascar (2006) ; Officier de I'Order Nationale du – Mali (1977); Global Marketplace Award by the Corporate Council on Africa – Houston, USA (May 1999); Distinguished Achievement Award for AIDS Leadership in Southern Africa by the Medunsa Trust – Washington DC, USA (June 2000); the 2002 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference Weekend Chairman's Award – Washington D.C., USA (September 2002); the Honorary Fellow – University College Oxford (2003); and the Knight Commander of the Most Courteous Order of the Kingdom of Lesotho (2004). 

He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Légion d'honneur by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on 20th March 2008 for his exemplary leadership that contributed to the making of Botswana a good model country for Africa. 

He was chosen as the winner of the 2008 Mo Ibrahim Prize for African good leadership despite the criticism of Survival International based on the issue of his Republican Decree to evict the Bushmen from their ancestral land rights in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in 2002. This was seen as disrespect for minorities even while pleasing the majority. The Bushmen filed a legal case in 2006 where Botswana High Court declared the eviction 'unlawful and unconstitutional'. One of the judges regarded the Decree as starvation of Bushmen to death. 

Along with former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, Mr. Mogae co-chaired a sustainable development symposium, hosted by the UONGOZI Institute in collaboration with Club de Madrid. He served as the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on Climate Change before the IGAD appointed him to become the Chairman of Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for peace in South Sudan. 

Since the first time H.E. Mogae visited Juba and now after launching his office rights and duties officially, we could not stop admiring the sagacious courage and serving humility from this 76-years great African statesman. Despite the fact that the IGAD Head of States and Governments wanted him to wait longer for the start of the challenging peace mission, he defied all the honors and decided to land alone and quietly in Juba and Bor for warming up the beginning of implementation of the ARCISS process immediately as the people of South Sudan don’t deserve any further long wait in suffering. 

When the GRSS tried to give a lame duck excuse that there is no money for implementation of the ARCISS and air tickets for repatriation of the FDs and SPLM-IO peace delegates, President Mogae intervened immediately to pay the money via IGAD Secretariat. He does not tolerate mediocrity. He understands it very well that peace is a strategy worth sacrificing for, especially for a young African country like South Sudan. Malicious tactics have no place in his world. 

Because of this unique and extraordinary conviction, the JMEC’s Chairman won the confidence of the Trioka (United States, United Kingdom and Kingdom of Norway) who have now thrown their superpower weight of support behind him. The First impression about him is, indeed, becoming the right impression! The Trioka, in a press statement released timely on Thursday 26th November 2015, warned the SPLM political leaders to end the suffering inflicted on the population of South Sudan for the last past 23 months of the senseless war of leadership succession. According to their findings, “Each day, the fighting and abuses continue, an already grave humanitarian situation grows worse”, hence, they urge the warring parties to establish the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) immediately and recommit to the timeline of the ARCISS lest the peace process will unravel. 

On the other hand, the Troika commended H.E. Mogae for hosting the JMEC’s first meeting in Juba and moving ahead the boat of peace despite the stumbling blocks put on the way by the heartless war mongers who want to destroy the virgin country for their parochial selfish interests. The Troika countries have put it categorically that any faction of the SPLM that fails to participate fully in launching of the JMEC and work jointly with Chairman Festus G. Mogae, will be regarded as a promoter of further delays of ARCISS implementation for the wrong sake of continuation of war and suffering. The anti-peace elements will be made to pay bitterly for the consequence of their intransigence. It is only a matter of short time!

The Trioka countries have already asked President Salva Kiir Mayardit to reverse the EO#36/2015 of the 28 new states for South Sudan and are urging the SPLM-IO to not hold the ARCISS hostage as the JMEC’s Chairman will use his Veto Powers soon to defer it if Kiir doesn't act quickly in the set time. There is no more time to waste neither is there time for jokes on the value of peace. After all the on-going senseless war has no justification because the Report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS) had it that there was no coup attempt nor genocide that took place in Juba. The Hybrid Court shall give final verdicts for convicting the proven war criminals on individual bases.

Congratulations to H.E. Festus Gontebanye Mogae for his first day in office that demonstrated the beginning of Phase II of ARCISS Implementation. He is going to be our unforgettable hero because of his sacrifice to save South Sudan from abyss of war. 

All the peace-loving people should rally behind his leadership for peace. He will be the main engine for directing the implementation of the ARCISS. Thanks be to God!

President Mogae has told the warring leaders that enough is enough for empty talking. He want to see to it that the money that was spent on IGAD-Plus mediated peace deal does not go to waste for nothing tangible. He will remind the leaders of South Sudan, especially the SPLM warring factions, to apologize unconditionally to the people as required in the Preamble of the ARCISS. 

He will tell them to start preparation of the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity in accordance with the provisions of Chapter One. 

He will urge them to put into action Chapter Two so that Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements become operational as Uganda gets appreciated for withdrawning its allied forces from the territory of South Sudan except in Western Equatoria. The mercenaries from Sudan shall be warned not to meddle in fueling violence and looting in the territory of South Sudan any more, otherwise, they will risk getting disarmed as provided in ARCISS.

As long as the leaders of the warring parties and TGoNU show humility and good faith, the JMEC's Chairman will urge the donors to come to aid of South Sudan by helping it implement Chapter Three so that Humanitarian Assistance and Reconstruction could be made more possible. Along side with these, he will pressure South Sudanese leaders to start getting very serious and responsible on realizing Chapter Four on Resource, Economic and Financial Management Arrangements from the revenues that are already available in the country. 

In order not to give future war criminals more incentives, President Mogae will push for implementation of Chapter Five so that Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and Healing are served duly in time for both victims and perpetrators.

And because one of the major problems of South Sudan is the constitution that has given exaggerated absolute centralized powers to the President of the Republic, Chairman Mogae will encourage implementation of Chapter Six on Parameters of Permanent Constitution where the issue of federalism and taking towns to villages shall be properly deliberated and addressed on sufficient and well-advised consultative consensus. 

After all these reminders, President Mogae will officially practice his Veto Powers in accordance with Chapter Seven of ARCISS and warn the leaders of South Sudan not to temper with the agreed Supremacy of ARCISS and Procedures for Amendments as stipulated in Chapter Eight. 

H.E. Mogae will exhort the representatives of the signatory Parties (GRSS, SPLM-IO, FDs and Other Political Parties), Other Stakeholders, Adherents, Guarantors and Witnesses to honor their signatures and not conduct any unilateral dangerous subversive actions on the ARCISS, because this shall be risky for the survival of the sovereignty and dignity of the new country. From civilized soft landing, it might turn to a nasty crashing landing if the warring leaders don't take it seriously to honor their commitment for sustainable peace in the country. 

The Trioka, the frontline states and the entire African Union shall not allow South Sudan to become a second Syria. Thus, the SPLM warring leaders are hereby urged to respect this rare Great African Veteran because he is not going to give up on the blessings of peace in the coming three years and even beyond in South Sudan May he continues to have good health and long life of strength of wisdom and honest service of humanity in Africa.

The end is now around the corner for the political liars and war propagandists to be shamed and retired for good. It is high time for truth tellers and peace missionaries to unite and move the new country forward in a desirable environment of peace for prosperity. Viva South Sudan!

Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics reachable at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Opinion: Khartoum and Terrorism—what we knew before the horrors of the Paris attacks

By Eric Reeves

November 16, 2015 (SSNA) -- “Khartoum has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks that struck the French capital Paris on Friday, expressing its ‘full solidarity with France … to combat violence and fundamentalism.’” (Radio Dabanga, November 16, 2015)

Or so the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime would have us believe. But remarks recorded at another time suggest a far different attitude, specifically the minutes of a meeting held on August 31, 2014 at the National Defense College in Khartoum by senior regime military and security officials, including First Vice President General Bakri Saleh. The authenticity of the minutes has been fully determined and they have been accepted as authentic by all relevant parties, including the U.S. government. The only dissent comes from the Khartoum regime itself, although it has done nothing to disprove the authenticity of the minutes.

Of considerable importance are the comments of then-Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, as well as other senior members of the regime’s military, security, and political apparatus. They suggest a view of radical Islam that is nowhere reflected in the comments following the Paris attacks. Hussein’s comments are of particular significance in the context of the growing struggle to collect counter-terrorism intelligence. The Obama administration has already shaped U.S. Sudan policy around a toleration of Khartoum in the interests of gathering counter-terrorism intelligence from Khartoum—judged by many highly informed observers to be of only marginal value in the larger scheme of counter-terrorism. This is notably the decided view of Hussein himself.

But such “toleration” comes at a high price, as the U.S.—along with most of the international community—continue to allow ongoing genocide in Darfur, as well as ruthless campaigns of annihilation in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Almost nothing has been done to end Khartoum’s embargo on humanitarian relief to vast areas of the latter two regions; in Darfur, the regime continues its relentless war of attrition against humanitarian efforts: obstructing, harassing, intimidating operations and threatening relief workers with physical assault—this in an environment so insecure that a number of organizations have made the painful decision to withdraw, despite the desperate need of more than 2.7 million internally displaced persons and many more who are without food security or adequate clean water and primary health care. In eastern Chad, some 380,000 Darfuri refugees live without the prospect of assistance from the UN World Food Program in 2016.

Violence continues to remain genocidal in character, and a recent report from Human Rights Watch makes this fact all too clear:

Ahmed, a 35-year-old officer in the Border Guards, spent two weeks at a military base in Guba [North Darfur] in December 2014 before being sent to fight rebels around Fanga. Two senior RSF officials, the commanding officer, Alnour Guba, and Col. Badre ab-Creash were present on the Guba base.

Ahmed said that a few days prior to leaving for East Jebel Marra, Sudanese Vice President Hassabo Mohammed Abdel Rahman directly addressed several hundred army and RSF soldiers:

“Hassabo told us to clear the area east of Jebel Marra. To kill any male. He said we want to clear the area of insects… He said East Jebel Marra is the kingdom of the rebels. We don’t want anyone there to be alive.” (“‘Men With No Mercy”: Rapid Support Forces Attacks Against Civilians in Darfur, Sudan,” Human Rights Watch | September 9, 2015)

While the Obama administration is well aware of the August 31 minutes, and knows that they are authentic, they seem willing to continue the present policy of “toleration” in the interests of gathering more counter-terrorism intelligence. But the comments of Hussein and others should have given pause to such a policy, given the enormous number of human lives it puts at acute risk.

What do we know about what Khartoum provides the U.S. in the way of counter-terrorism intelligence? These excerpts from the August 31 minutes are disturbingly revealing (all commentary is in blue, in italics, followed by my initials; especially important passages are given a yellow background---ER] 

Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein:

“America is facing the crisis of the ISIS and the other Jihadist movements that are newly formed and can move freely outside the traditional surveillance networks. Currently, there are twenty thousand (20,000) Jihadists and fifteen (15) newly formed Jihadist Movements who are scattered all over, from Morocco to Egypt, Sinai, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, all the Gulf States, a wide presence in Africa and Europe and nobody owns a data-base on that as the one we have. We release only limited information to the Americans and this on the basis of their requests; the price of this information is the Sudanese armed rebel movements file. The coming days carry a lot of surprises.”

[The clear implication here is that Khartoum has a great deal of counter-terrorism intelligence the regime is not sharing, and that what sharing there has been remains contingent on U.S. help in combating the threat posed by the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a broad-based coalition of rebel groups seeking to end NIF/NCP tyranny—ER]

Other comments of significance bearing on radical Islam and Islamic terrorism by Hussein recorded in the August 31, 2014 minutes:

“We did a great job with the Ethiopians in terms of securing the borders. The Egyptians conceded a lot. They prevented the opposition from conducting any activities in Cairo, but this is not enough. They must deport all the movements and close their offices. Up to now we have not treated them equally. But I spoke to their Minister of Defense and they know what we can do in collaboration with Qatar and Libya because the Islamists movements took the initiative in Libya.”

[Khartoum has strongly supported the Libya Dawn radical Islamist movement in Libya, by the regime’s own admission; Qatar’s nefarious role in the region is highlighted repeatedly in the minutes—ER]

“In my personal view our relationship with Iran is strategic in the areas of defense and security... but allowing them to operate more than 200 cultural centers that are proselytizing Shi’ism creates many problems with the other radical Islamic Sunni groups, given the fact that we have many Islamic Sunni Salafi organizations belonging to different radical groups from all over the world. We need to strike a balance in our relationship with the Gulf States and Iran. I suggest that we maintain good relations with the Gulf States in principle, yet work strategically with Iran, in total secrecy and on a limited scale, through the Military Intelligence and security. Thus, diplomatic relationships remain the same.”

[What is really meant by “striking a balance” is that Khartoum will seek to maintain its strategic alliance with Tehran, but not at the expense of immediate financial assistance from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. This is in response to the economic crisis, indeed continuing collapse of the Sudanese economy, largely due to an acute lack of Forex—ER]

Comments by others in attendance at the August 31, 2014 meeting:

[1] Major General Mohammed Atta, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Services:

“With the appearance of ISIS, Europe and America must cooperate with us in combating terrorism. This is where we can bargain the Sudan Revolutionary Front case.”

[The Sudan Revolutionary Front is a coalition of rebel military forces in Sudan, active in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile; such purported “cooperation” is deeply disturbing—ER]

[2] General Yehya Mohammed Kheir, Minister of State for Defense:

“The Gulf States have only very weak information about the terrorist groups that are based in Libya, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, North Africa Arab Countries and Afghanistan, because there is a lot of tension in their relations with these radical groups. They want us to cooperate with them in the war against terrorism because the radical groups constitute a direct threat to them. Their relation with ISIS, Nusra Front, Muslim Brothers and Palestine Islamic Movement is even weaker. We will not sacrifice our relations with the Islamists and Iran for a relationship with the Saudis and the Gulf StatesWhat is possible is a relationship that serves our mutual economic interests in terms of investment and employment.”

[The clear suggestion here is that whereas the Gulf States have only “weak information” about terrorist groups, Khartoum’s is quite strong. But the regime is unwilling to share that intelligence if it threatens relations with radical Islamist groups and Iran—ER]

[3] Mustafa Osman Ismail, Political Secretary-NCP:

“The relationship with Iran is one of the best relationships in the history of the Sudan. Accordingly, the management of this relationship requires wisdom and knowledge of all its details. The assistance we received from Iran is immeasurable. The commonalities between us are many. People should not limit their concern to the aspect of converting to Shiism only. There are many infiltrators who are working to see us lose our relationship with Iran. We must note that Iran is a friend to all the Islamic movements world-wide. We need to conduct internal consultations first and then we put our Iranian partners in the picture about all the details.”

[In speaking of Iran, Ismail is clearly also speaking about Khartoum’s own “friendship” with “Islamic movements world-wide”—ER]

[4] General Siddiq Amer, Director General of Intelligence and Security:

“My comment concerns our relationship with Saudi Arabia and Emirates on one side and Iran on the other side. 

We are capable of misleading the Gulf States by taking open, declared steps and procedures towards improving diplomatic relations with them. They are backed by the Americans and Israel and have concerns regarding our relationship with Iran, which is beneficial to us because Iran is our biggest ally in the region, in terms of the cooperation in the areas of intelligence and military industrial production. We have relations with all the Islamic movements worldwide and we represent a door for Iran to all these Islamic groups.”

[There can be little doubt that the intelligence relationship between Khartoum and Tehran remains vigorous; of particular note is the claim that “We have relations with all the Islamic movements worldwide and we represent a door for Iran to all these Islamic groups"—ER]  

[5] General Abd al-Qadir Mohammed Zeen, National Service Coordinator:

“The Egyptians have no choice but to establish special relations with us, given the victory of the Islamists in the battle for Tripoli, despite Egyptian support to Gen. Haftar and the air strikes which failed to achieve their goals. These are useful cards in hand and we should use them properly.”

[Again, Khartoum has—by its own admission—actively aided the Libya Dawn radical Islamist movement in Libya—ER]

“The balance in our relationship with Iran on one side and the Gulf States on the other side is important, but my question is: Will Saudi Arabia change its position after it has classified the Muslim Brothers as terrorists? On the other hand, our relationship with Iran is linked to our relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood International Organization. Accordingly, we must consult with Iran and the rest of our Islamist groupbefore taking any step in this regard, especially since the relationship with the Saudi Kingdom is not guaranteed, despite their knowledge that we are in a position to threaten their rule.

[The belief by the regime that they are in a “position to threaten Saudi rule” is difficult to construe as anything other than a threat to support terrorism in the kingdom; there is no possibility of a direct military assault—ER]

[6] General Abdalla al-Jaili, PDF General Coordinator:

“We have been targeted for the last twenty-five years because of our relationship with Iran. Both revolutions are committed to Islam. There is no country, other than Iran, who has the courage to say no to the whole WestIran is an essential partner to the National Salvation Revolution” [i.e. the original name for the National Islamic Front movement; the commitment to a strategic relationship with Iran is a constant refrain in these minutes, and must be seen as the context for present Sudanese assistance to the Saudis in their military campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen—ER].

“We are the only country in the world that will not be affected by the conflicts taking place between Sunni Islamic groups and the Shi'ia. We have succeeded in maintaining good relations with all Islamic groups, through the cover of social organizations, and not through the state institutions. The secret of the strength of the National Salvation Revolution (NIF/NCP) government lies in the smooth management of the alliance with Shi’ia of Iran on one side and the alliance with the Sunni Islamic groups on the other side. Any negligence or failure to maintain this fragile relation between the Sunni and Shi’ia, will be disastrous.”

[Those who doubt the skill or expediency of Khartoum’s diplomatic negotiation of its ways through regional disputes would be well advised to read this passage again—ER]

[7] Major General Hashim Abdalla Mohammed, Chief of Joint General Staff:

“The war against the [Sudanese] rebels ends when they return to negotiations, dismantle all militias and surrender all Sudanese land. We have the right to hire anybody interested in fighting for money. The rebels should be the last people to talk about foreigners. Who is supporting them and where are they staying? Aren’t they living in foreign countries? We can bring all the Islamic movements to fight them. We only have to say that these rebels are agents of America. We can create conflict for them with the Islamic radicals, just so they realize their true size; but that is a card we have not used until now.”

[The vast confidence on the part of the Khartoum regime that it can use “Islamic radicals” in its fight against rebel groups is critically telling: only if the regime retained close relations with these “Islamic radicals” could it believe that they might be militarily deployed within Sudan—ER]

“We have a problem with Saudi Arabia because they found out about the weapons we sent by way of the Red Sea to [the Iranian-backed] Abd al-Malik Al-Houthi’s Shiia group in Yemen.”

[That Khartoum now supports the Saudi military campaign against the Houthi rebels is a sign of both expediency and desperate financial need—ER]

[8] General Imad al-Din Adawy, Chief of Joint Operations:

“The Libyan border is totally secured, specially after the victory of our allies, [the radical Islamist—ER] Libya Dawn Forces in Tripoli. We managed to deliver to them the weapons and military equipment donated by Qatar and Turkey and we formed a joint operations room with them under one of the colonels in order to coordinate and administer the military operations. Turkey and Qatar provided us with information in favor of the revolutionaries, this on top of the information collected by our own agents so they can control the whole country.”

[The fact that equipment and military intelligence provided to the radical Islamist Libya dawn involved not only Qatar but Turkey should have sent alarms bells ringing. That Khartoum’s involvement included a “joint operations room” with the Qataris and Turks is especially notable, since the larger ambition—surely known to all in the “room”—was to “control the whole country,” i.e., all of Libya—ER]

[9] Major General Mohammed Atta, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Services:

“[There involvement in the September 2013 uprising throughout Sudan] is why Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates are concerned—afraid that all their agents have been exposed and will be arrested by our security forces. On our side we did not disclose anything up until now; we want to use this file to blackmail them instead. They have taken many measures fearing that we may use or release terrorist groups to revenge from them. No need to fear or hurry, we shall use this file to the maximum.”

[The Saudis, Egyptians, and rulers of the Emirates are right to fear Khartoum’s ability to loose terrorist groups against enemies of the regime—ER]

Notable as well in the minutes, there are numerous self-characterizations by those in attendance of the Khartoum regime as “Islamist Rule,” the “Islamist Movement.”

On ties with Iran:

[1] Major General Mohammed Atta, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Services: 

“I say that our relationship with Iran is strategic and should be above all other interests. Anyone who wants to sabotage it doesn’t understand the art of keeping balances and lacks the necessary information.”

[2] Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein:

“I shall start with our relationship with Iran and say it is a strategic and everlasting relationship. We cannot compromise or lose it. All the advancement in our military industry is from Iran. They opened the doors of their stores of weapons for us, at a time the Arabs stood against us. The Iranian support came when we were fighting a rebellion that spread in all directions including the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Iranians provided us with experts and they trained our Military Intelligence and security cadres.”

“They also trained us in weapons production and transferred to us modern technology in the military production industry. There is one full battalion of the Republican Guards still with us here and other experts who are constructing interception and spying bases in order to protect us, plus an advanced Air Defense system. They built for us Kenana and Jebel Awliya Air Force bases. One month ago they transported to us BM missile launchers and their rockets using civil aviation planes. We stored them in Kenana and sold part of them to Qatar to support Libya fighters after they were subjected to attacks by the Egyptian and Emirates air forces. That helped them to achieve victory. I say the military relationship should be separated from the religious one.”

[This is an especially rich account of relations between Khartoum and Tehran; Iran and Sudan are two of the three countries that remain on the U.S. State Department’s list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism; the State Department annually notes that Hamas maintains offices openly in Khartoum. Khartoum has also served as a wholly willing conduit for Iranian weapons bound for Gaza for years—ER]

[3]  Mustafa Osman Ismail, Political Secretary-NCP:

“Our brothers in the Gulf States complained about the spread of Shi’ism and the expansion of the Iranian influence in Sudan, which are the reasons why their countries refuse to invest in Sudan. They said they request a balanced relationship compared to Iran. In my personal view our relationship with Iran is strategic in the areas of defense and security; but allowing them to operate more than 200 cultural centers that are proselytizing Shi’ism creates many problems with the other radical Islamic Sunni groups, given the fact that we have many Islamic Sunni Salafi organizations belonging to different radical groups from all over the world. We need to strike a balance in our relationship with the Gulf States and Iran. I suggest that we maintain good relations with the Gulf States in principle, yet work strategically with Iran, in total secrecy and on a limited scale, through the MI and security.”

“I have met with the president and presented to him a report on how we can improve our relations with the Gulf States without affecting our strategic alliance with Iran. We agreed to consult with the Iranian leadership before we take any action. So, the president assigned each person his role and we reached an agreement to halt the promotion of the Shi'ia cultural centers, without affecting the Cultural Chancellery and the Diplomatic Missions.

“We have security and political agreements with Iran and they might refuse the suggestion of fresh relationships with the Gulf States, especially that Saudi Arabia has concerns regarding the Iranian military presence in Sudan.”

[More evidence of a sophisticated expediency in dealing with mortal enemies Saudi Arabia and Iran—ER]

[4] General Salah al-Tayeb, DDR Commissioner:

“I concur with brother Mustafa, we should set our military and security relationships with Iran apart. Our brotherly and diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and Emirates should not be effected especially now when axis, polarization and alliance policies have surfaced in the region, and given the fact that three million Sudanese citizens are working in the Gulf States.”

[Khartoum is well aware of how much it depends economically on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States—ER]

[5] General Siddiq Amer, Director General of Intelligence and Security:

“I think we should improve the relation with the Saudis and benefit from them, but it must be clear that, they are not trustworthy. At the same time we maintain our strategic relationship with Iran.”

[Expediency in its most distilled form—ER]

[6] General Yehya Mohammed Kheir, Minister of State for Defense:

“Our relationship with Iran is strategic. We will inform them of our intention to close down their cultural centers for security reasons; because there is a threat to these centers from some Sunni radical groups who may target them and cause conflict. But again we must take a similar step towards the Wahabi group, to avoid any misinterpretation by the Iranians of these measures as targeting only the Shiite group.”

[7] Major General Hashim Abdalla Mohammed, Chief of Joint General Staff:

“In any case, our relation with Iran is a red line for without the support of Iran, the National Salvation Revolution would have been defeated.”

[This strong sense of indebtedness to and the continuing value of Iran is everywhere in evidence—ER]

[8] Major General Mohammed Atta, Director General of National Intelligence and Security Services:

“[T]here are regular meetings between us [and Iran] to overcome any misunderstanding. The most difficult problem was the incident of killing a Shiite in Western Sudan because he declared his new belief and engaged in a debate with a Sunni in the state of Western Darfur. As soon as the incident happened, I received a call from the Iranian Security Advisor and the Chief of Republican Guards. We agreed to separate between the two issues: The strategic military and security relationship on one side, and the cultural relationship on the other. After that they reported the agreement to their leadership.”

[8] Professor Ibrahim Ghandour, Deputy Chairman of the NCP:

“The relationship with Iran is one of the best relationships in the history of the Sudan. Accordingly, the management of this relationship requires wisdom and knowledge of all its details. The assistance we received from Iran is immeasurable. The commonalities between us are many… There are many infiltrators who are working to see us lose our relationship with Iran. We must note that Iran is a friend to all the Islamic movements worldwide.”

[And “friend” by way of Khartoum in many cases—ER]

[9] General Bakri Hassan Salih, First Vice President:

“Maintain and protect the relationship with Iran. Managing this relationship through the military and security agencies.

[One of his primary “recommendations” on this occasion; at present, Bakri seems best poised to assume the reins of power should al-Bashir no longer be able to rule, for whatever reason—ER]

Eric Reeves is a professor of English and Literature at Smith College and the Author of Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007-2012

President Salva Kiir sabotages the compromise peace agreement

By Elhag Paul

November 6, 2015 (SSNA) -- President Salva Kiir has decidedly chosen to disregards the IGAD-Plus compromise peace agreement.  However, the good thing is that the president’s obstructions are reparable if the structures envisaged by the agreement itself are put in place.

This agreement was made possible through threats of individual sanctions and threats of referral of President Kiir and Riek to International Criminal Court.  The game of sanctions right from the beginning was a kind of a joke.   In the middle of last year the Troika applied it to enforce the constantly failing Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 23rd January 2014.  It hardly yielded any fruits.  President Kiir and Riek continued to slag themselves while the civilians pay the price.

Instead of going after the real culprits who matter like the members of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), the Troika wasted time targeting and sanctioning medium size fish like General Marial Chinoung of the presidential guards and General Peter Gatdet of the armed opposition movement etc.  South Sudanese were not impressed and as expected, the sanctions did not make any impact neither on the behaviour of the belligerents nor on the conflict itself.  Frustrated with the ineffectiveness, the Troika imposed the compromise peace agreement. 

Riek seized the opportunity and signed it without complaints.  President Kiir arrogantly declined to sign it claiming it violated the sovereignty of South Sudan.  Within a week of his foolery, President Kiir was dragged screaming and kicking to the table to sign it.  Please see, ‘South Sudan President Salva Kiir signs the peace deal but with reservations’ and ‘South Sudan strives to build democracy’

When they were cornered, President Kiir and the JCE made their feelings and intention clear through placing reservations on the agreement.  The intent clearly was to destroy the agreement.  In their quest to achieve their aim, President Kiir began violating the agreement by attacking the armed opposition in Malakal and Unity state supported by Uganda air force using helicopter gunships.  Fearing collapse of the agreement, US tabled a sanction motion at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against General Paul Malong Awan, the chief of the army and General Johnson Olony, the leader of the Agwelek forces.

Juba reacted swiftly and it enlisted support of Khartoum to win support of Russia which it did.  It is not clear what Juba promised Russia, but it appears something substantial.  When the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sat, the Troika were caught unaware by Russia.  Russia vetoed the sanctions with endorsement from Venezuela and Angola.  President Kiir succeeded to neutralise the threats of sanctions waved at Juba by the Troika by opening up a new relationship with Russia as their protector.

The Russian veto basically became a manna to the regime in Juba.  It turned into the Achilles Heels of the whole Obama strategy to achieve peace in South Sudan.  All of a sudden the regime in Juba on realising it is protected; it upped the ante in the game of destroying the agreement.  Without delay it threw another spanner into the works.  This time, it went straight to the juggler of the Compromise Peace Agreement (CPA) by ordering creation of new 28 states to replace the current 10 which provides the central tenet of power sharing in the CPA.  Without any doubt, this is President Kiir tearing the agreement in pieces. 

This contempt for the CPA hopefully teaches IGAD-Plus a lesson.  They have been asking for this type of treatment for quite a long time.  All along they covered their eyes, plugged their ears and zipped their mouths as in the famous Japanese proverb: see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil in their dogged support of President Kiir.

In spite of the fact that the man committed ethnic cleansing of his “own people” (Nuer), he was received like a gentleman in Washington in 2014. Please see, ‘Protesters in US demand President Kiir’s resignation’  He even had a photo with the leader of the free (democratic) world.

Here is a nasty dictator abusing and misgoverning his country and yet he was received in the White House like a successful African leader.  What did the host think they were doing?  Did they not realise that they were boosting President Kiir’s ego and reinforcing his awful behaviour?  That treatment psychologically reinforced his abominable behaviour.

It must be noted President Kiir is abusing human rights and governance in the country worse than President Omer Al Bashir of Sudan.  Just a reminder to the Troika, President Kiir is a brilliant graduate student of Bashir’s school of abuse and oppression.

President Kiir true to his nature is repaying the Troika with what he knows best – contempt.  IGAD-Plus has not done itself any favour in the whole game of dealing with the government of South Sudan.  Right from the start, consistently and persistently they colluded with President Kiir against the wishes of South Sudanese people.  Please see, ‘President Kiir’s Machiavellian tricks: Machar be forewarned’

South Sudanese must realise that they have no true friend whether regionally or far afield in the international community.  They are on their own and they need to begin to chart their own future without the distractions of others.  This is a challenge that they can overcome.  As Ben Okri, the British writer of Nigerian origin asserts, “It is our challenge to change the world (South Sudan) by the force and wisdom of our curious situation and angle.”  Please see, ‘The spirit of Africa’s people will transform the continent.’

President Kiir no doubt is determined to derail the compromise peace agreement bit by bit and piece by piece by using all available means to him.  For instance, he with support of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda use the Ugandan media, especially Chimpreports to peddle lies and confuse the people in the whole of East Africa and beyond by portraying the armed opposition as war mongers and violators of the agreement.  At the same time the Ugandan media promote President Kiir falsely as the legitimate authority.  Just visit the Chimpreport website and read the articles they have published on South Sudan and it would be clear that President Museveni and President Kiir are twin brothers in the business of lies in advancement of oppression of South Sudanese.

As I write this piece, there is a serious development which raises serious questions about IGAD-Plus commitment to fair and just implementation of the already faltering agreement.  Uganda which has violated the agreement by not withdrawing from the country as stipulated in the CPA has appointed Ugandan military generals as leaders of the monitoring body of the cease fire.  Please see, ‘Uganda appoints team to monitor South Sudan’s cease fire.’

Where does Uganda draw this power from?  Why does IGAD-Plus allow its powers to appoint to be abused by one member?  Uganda from the beginning of the conflict has behaved as if it has a right to decide who should govern the country.  Its bias is undisguised.

Given Uganda’s direct involvement in the war, how can it be a monitor of the cease fire?  Will it be able to exercise impartiality?  Uganda will not and can not be a credible monitor.  It fought and fights the various South Sudanese opposition groups in support of the Juba regime.  Uganda’s military hardware like the helicopter gunships and tanks are used negatively in South Sudan to kill innocent civilians.  Africa Confidential in its report of 6th March 2015 under the heading ‘South Sudan: A test of everyone’s will’ confirms that “SPLM-IO has failed to overwhelm President Salva’s forces, partly due to support from Uganda.”

Therefore, the supervisors and the monitors of demilitarisation without emphasise should come from neutral countries such as Tanzania, South Africa, Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria etc.  Uganda simply will perpetuate insecurity as it is clearly biased in favour of the abusive and murderous regime in Juba.   President Kiir has already expressed that he wants to destroy the agreement.   Making Uganda (Juba’s staunchest ally) to monitor the cease fire is asking President Kiir to swiftly run riot with the whole agreement with the Ugandan monitors’ potentially concocting untruth in his favour.

If IGAD-Plus truly wants to salvage the collapsing CPA it must act quickly and tell Uganda to completely withdraw its forces from South Sudan including its dubious offer of monitoring services.  The South Sudanese people do not want Uganda’s services.  Simply put, it must get out of the country for peace to be realised.  Uganda is a big part of the problem and therefore, it can not play any positive role.

Distancing Uganda completely from the problem of South Sudan is only one of the things that IGAD-Plus needs to do if peace is ever to be achieved in South Sudan.  However, the most important missing element is the issue of IGAD-Plus impartiality.  Its open duplicity with Juba against the opposition should come to an end.  Unhelpful statements like the one made by the Secretary of the State John Kerry demanding Riek to go to Juba does not make things better.  His demands have actually baffled South Sudanese to the extent that people now think the US is not clued on.  US is underestimating the brutality and the determination of President Kiir and the JCE to remove Riek should he come to Juba without adequate security.  If Riek gets harmed that would be it.  We can kiss good bye to peace in South Sudan for a long time to come. 

If anything Secretary Kerry’s demands helps in doing Kiir’s job of demolishing the CPA. Which brings us to the last ignored  but crucial element of IGAD-Plus duplicity.  That is, the issue of “moral equivalence”.  The entire mediation was clouded with this concept to portray Riek, the victim in the same vain with President Kiir.  This is very unfair and unethical to say the least.  The crimes committed by President Kiir and the JCE from December 2013 to date on the back of the state of Republic of South Sudan can not be equated to the unfortunate crimes that took place in Malakal and Bentiu in April 2014 in terms of motive, intent and organisation.  It must be remembered one is the government with a wide remit to protect all the people of South Sudan and the other is a ram-shackled force acting in self defence after being targeted and aggressed ethnically by the state.

Even the recently released report of African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan acknowledges this fact.  When President Kiir ethnically cleansed Juba of Nuer in December 2013, everybody kept quiet.  The international media strangely enough covered the subject scantily and then it quickly went silent.  With such grave crime, South Sudanese expected the world to react instantly as with cases of similar nature in other parts of the world given the fact that the foreign embassies in the capital witnessed the mass atrocities. 

The United Nations, Troika and IGAD zipped their mouths pushing the Nuer into a corner.  Then in April 2014 the White army (a Nuer militia) deeply angered by President Kiir’s aggression against the Nuer and left with no choice, went into rampage in Malakal and Bentiu killing hundreds of people including fighters of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of Darfur in the Sudan brought in by President Kiir to support him in the war.

The UN, Troika and IGAD at the time leapt into this developing story loudly blaming the armed opposition without getting their facts right.  The Representative of the Secretary General of UN in Juba Mr Toby Lanzer was all over the place leading the blame.  The same Toby who was mute when President Kiir was cleansing his opponents in Juba all of a sudden became lively and found his voice.  As an observer, I do not agree or accept what the White Army did and I unreservedly condemn it.  However, what I am trying to highlight here is the unfairness of those pretending to be upholding the high moral ground.  This same Mr Lanzer failed to adequately speak out against Mr Michael Makuei, the minister of Information who in the same week mobilised Jieng militia in Bor.  This militia attacked the UN Protection Camp leading into heavy death of innocent civilians in the camp.  Why was it good for President Kiir’s crimes to be muted and those of his opponents loudly broadcasted with embellishment?

The comparison is totally biased in such a way as to minimise what took place in Juba.  This behaviour from the international community can be argued as acts imbued with racism because the people killed enmasse by President Kiir were black they muzzled the world media and pretended as if grave crimes were not committed in Juba in December2013.  The implication being the victims and the perpetrators all being black are ‘savages’ with no value.  Therefore, there is no need for any action.  Black people’s lives are not worth fussing over as their value is naught.  In other words the victims were valueless to the world.

Even the international legal system could not be activated.  The very United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has the duty and ability to make a referral to International Criminal Court (ICC) but this was not even considered.  Truly racism is well and alive in the global structures of peace maintenance.  Otherwise, how could the handling of South Sudan case be so shambolic without care for the people?  When President Slobodan Milosevic of former Yugoslavia killed less than hundred people in Bosnia, the world instantly reacted and bombs fell on him.  When President Kiir kills over twenty thousand people in less than three days nothing happens.  Not only that but eight months after he gets invited to the centre of world power and gets given opportunity to interact with high level dignitaries from other parts of the world.

The imposed compromise peace agreement in itself is an act of a racist thinking in that it is OK to impose a killer to lord it on South Sudanese but such imposition is not acceptable on other people of fair skin in other parts of the world.  For instance, both Washington and London assert that President Assad of Syria can not be part of a settlement because he kills his people.  President  Barack Obama of US during the 70th UN General Assembly said, ‘President Bashar al-Assad can not stay in office’ as he ‘responded to peaceful protests with repression and killing  and wouldn’t be able to satisfactorily bring peace to the nation.’  According to President Obama, ‘the situation in Syria (is) “an assault on all our humanity.”’  This is a rational position.

Mr David Cameron, the British Prime Minister equally takes the same position.  He says Assad, ‘is part of the problem, not part of the solution.”  Please see, ‘Bashar al-Assad’s pitch for anti-ISIS pact with West falls on closed ears’

Now if the actions of the Syrian president bar him from being part of the solution in Syria, why is President Kiir who has committed similar or even worse atrocities not only accepted but forcefully imposed on South Sudan?  What do you call this?  Racism! Double standards!  Or is it combination of both?  You be the judge.

IGAD-Plus because of its composition should be aware of racial issues which on daily basis disadvantages all black people.  Sadly this organisation buys in to this unfortunate approach.  Equally unfortunate are the South Sudanese because their supposed leaders in the opposition rather than articulating these serious issues for attainment of justice they engage in discrediting themselves, squabbles and petty fighting. 

In April 2014 after the incident of Bor, Malakal and Bentiu, Dr Riek Machar publicly announced that he had set up a committee to investigate the actions of his fighters.  After almost a year of raising the hopes of South Sudanese and the international community that at long last here is somebody doing something right, he dashed it by admitting that he had in fact not done anything on the subject.  Please see, ‘Riek Machar admits SPL-IO never investigated Bentiu massacres.’

How can such leadership be taken seriously?  How can Riek claim to be e reformer when he is stuck to the culture of lawlessness?  Is this not the continuation of the same culture of lawlessness of the SPLM/A brought to South Sudan?  Crimes are committed, and then investigations are promised which never get done.  Cases in point: killing of Equatorian police officer in Yambio, killing of a doctor in Yei, killing of a doctor in Juba, killing of an Indian business man in Bor, killing of Isaiah Abrahams and the list goes on.  What chance has South Sudan got with these supposed leaders and the SPLM/A? 

While these morons of SPLM in their different forms and shapes continue to let the people down, members of the international community sing that they care about the people.  The phrase, ‘we care about the people of South Sudan’ has lost its contextual meaning.  Those who sing it know that they do not mean it.  It is rhetoric deployed to minimise the pain and make people think something is being done.

Those who sing this song without being seen taking concrete actions are only pursuing their interest regardless of what happens.  This should not be a surprise for South Sudanese.  Ben Okri said, we Africans come to this thing “independence” with hands tied behind our back.  It is my opinion that our supposed leaders (‘liberators’) are the very people who become the new colonisers/tribal imperialists.  They have taken control gleefully replacing the Arabs.  Their brutality has surpassed that of the Arabs as exposed by the report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan. and

So our current struggle is a struggle for a true freedom we never had.  The current fighters are struggling to free the country from the new local colonialists/tribal imperialists.  Whether the current resistance fighters will be true democrats or another shade of oppressor remains to be seen.

The skulduggery of IGAD-Plus which comprises the issues of race and markets has an impact on this new struggle for true emancipation.  This should be seen from the perspective of globalisation.  The politics of markets does not sit comfortably with democracy.  Although some of the countries driving the mediation are beacons of democracy when it comes to their interest they tend to side more with benefits of market than democracy.  Always on balance democracy gets ignored in favour of despots.  Examples abound.  Just look at some of the worst dictators on planet earth are supported in their misrule by democracies.

But it does not need to be like that.  South Sudanese yearn for a democratic order.  The current regime in Juba is not worth supporting for market sake, because markets as of necessity require stability while SPLM/A only generate instability.  Therefore IGAD-Plus has more to benefit from change of the system in South Sudan.

It is clear that President Kiir is sabotaging the Compromise Peace Agreement.  He has been able to do this because of IGAD-Plus duplicity, Uganda’s unwavering military support to Juba and the preference of markets over democracy.

However, although President Kiir has severely undermined the agreement, it can still be stitched back together and put on track.  Of importance IGAD-Plus should reflect on its conduct and do the following:

1) Order Uganda out of South Sudan

2) Avoid the temptation of assigning any role to Uganda in the implementation process, which means it should not be part of the monitoring mechanism.

3) Cease its duplicity in support of the regime of terror in Juba.

4) Order President Kiir to immediately rescind his decree number ‘36 Establishment Order’ by making a public announcement over the media.

5) Strongly remind President Kiir of his obligation under the Compromise Peace Agreement so he does not start to play games with the Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission.  Any mischief should be tackled head on.

6) Request UNSC to refer President Kiir and the JCE to ICC for the atrocities of December 2013.

7) In line with the Compromise Peace Agreement, President Kiir and Dr Machar having been identified as suspects in the AUCISS Report , must not be allowed to take part in the Transitional Government of National Unity.  Their respective parties can choose other persons to represent them.  As President Obama of USA and Prime Minister Cameron of UK have categorically said “killers” can not be part of the solution.  Therefore, neither of the two qualifies for participation in government of national unity.

8) Ask the newly appointed Chairman of Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Mr Festus Mogae to exercise his powers to reign in on the abuses of Juba.  Mr Mogae should also arbitrate on the issue of the 28 states decreed by President Kiir as his say is final in all areas of disagreements according to the Compromise Peace Agreement.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

The author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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