Human Rights and Foreign Intervention in The Sudan
Is the crime against the Nuba peoples, Sudan’s ?
The New York Times, George Clooney, U.S. Baptist ministers, Martin Luther King III, Genocide Watch, Amnesty International, among others concerned with human rights are currently protesting the Government of Sudan’s military tactics on its new border with South Sudan, and particularly the bombing of Nuba civilians in the Nuba Mountains.1 Reports of bombings which are often oil drums packed with explosives pushed out of planes, may seem unimpressive to a North American public which has accepted the NATO bombings of Kosovo, Yugoslavia and more recently Libya (Five Hiroshimas worth of bombs were expended on Iraqi civilians under “Operation Desert Storm”). U.S. based Genocide Watch has placed an “Emergency Genocide Warning” for the Nuba, finding the people targets for execution and extinction, but places no warning for the people of Sudan as a national group.
The U.S. / NATO agenda to expand into Africa, possibly to re-colonize, continues with the Outtara takeover of Cote d’Ivoire, the replacement of Gaddafi in Libya, the independence of South Sudan, and there are others. Its pattern is de-stabilization leading to civil war, then military support to one side and the establishment of a government reliant on NATO countries for military assistance and corporate contracts. The unacceptable cost in African lives has varied.
Within this pattern a genocide warning for a tribal grouping risks contributing to calls for foreign military intervention: signatories of the Convention on Genocide are required to intervene if genocide is in progress. Military interventions require the failure of peaceful alternatives. And the judgement of whether a program is genocide or not is consistently made by experts deeply entrenched in the service of neo-colonial policies.
My own understanding is that the Nuba peoples within Sudan, of many tribes and languages, are under attack, and survival of this portion of the group is at risk. With humanitarian assistance barred from their region (the UN Security Council has recently requested that assistance be allowed entry), large numbers of refugees leaving, and a history of struggling for independence and reciprocal persecution, a genocide warning is appropriate, but as a warning against the abuse of any Sudanese victim group by Sudan’s government or due to the policies of foreign governments. The West’s human rights establishment has consistently vilified the Government of Sudan for mass deaths of its people. It is possible that the government is struggling for Sudan’s sovereignty, its protection of its people, against programs of mass death initiated by outside forces. A third alternative is that the government and non-Africans are colluding to de-populate regions for corporate resource exploitation.
Recent history2, Sudan was targeted for destabilization in 1991 when it sided with Iraq as Iraq was “bombed into the stone age” by U.S. and Coalition forces. Long term rifts within Sudan were exploited by foreign powers. A civil war in the South led by U.S. trained John Garang extended its cadre up into Darfur to train rebel groups, which opened another front against the central Government. One result was the tragedies of Darfur with the inevitable war crimes on both sides. Legions of the “Save Darfur” campaigns helped debilitate the government, while South Sudan with U.S. backing, won its independence through a democratic referendum. On July 9, 2011 it became the Republic of South Sudan, lacking an African name before the world to reflect its neo-colonial inception. The campaign for its freedom was ‘successful’ except to the millions of other Sudanese who lost their lives to civil war and starvation. Despite official peace settlements civil wars in Darfur and Eastern Sudan continue.
Siding with the rebels of South Sudan, the Nuba, remaining within Sudan proper, have maintained their own military forces, also favouring secession from Sudan, and the government is waging war against them with criminal damage to the Nuba civilians. The Nuba rebels are trained by generations of civil war. Many Nuba are now part of South Sudan’s armed forces. Dispersal of the Nuba has given the group some protection from genocide.
At the independence of South Sudan the United Nations military Mission to Sudan (MINUS) ceased, and re-opened for a year to protect instead, South Sudan with its own tribal divisions. While little was reported of UN military assistance in Sudan its forces were sporadically accused of atrocities. The shift enforced a social re-engineering of Sudan which sacrificed the Nuba of the Blue Nile region and Nuba Mountains to the Government of Sudan. While the United Nations did not find Sudan’s attempts to overcome Western destabilization “genocide” in Dafur, President Omar al-Bashir remains under indictment by the International Criminal Court, for genocide and war crimes.
What was accomplished by the bombing of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, was and is being accomplished in Sudan by disaster relief, media campaigns, and human rights organizations serving an aggressive political and military agenda. While NATO media carry news of African rebel movements, particularly when these serve a Western agenda, the media rarely reveal sources of weaponry and covert assistance. In 2012 Amnesty International has blamed China, former Soviet Union countries and Belarus for selling arms to the Government of Sudan, to cause “serious human rights violations.”3 In its report “Sudan: No end to Violence in Darfur,” Amnesty identifies the weaponry used by the Government of Sudan, while it basically draws a blank on who has supplied the rebels and anti-government forces. The arming of rebel groups by foreign countries could be considered an act of aggression by proxy.
Compass Direct which focuses on persecution of Christians, reports the Government’s targeting of Christian families and Christian churches among the Nuba. Yet tribal groups in the North are predominantly Muslim and include animists. African sources have protested the government’s actions more broadly as “ethnic cleansing.” In an article for The Guardian4, Dr. Mukesh Kapila, whose human rights credentials are exceptional, warns of genocide against the Nuba as a people. His article witnesses the Government’s bombing of Nuba civilians but omits mention of more than ten thousand Nuba armed fighters.
Dr. Kapila’s previous allegations of genocide in Darfur encouraged the ICC indictment for genocide of President al-Bashir. Before that, Dr. Kapila was part of the first British team to enter Rwanda at Paul Kagame’s victory by Tutsi forces over the Hutu and the displacement of Rwanda’s democratically elected government. Currently, the BBC notes him as “special representative of the Aegis Foundation,” a U.K. organization devoted to preventing genocide whose areas of operation are listed as a Holocaust Memorial in Nottingham England, a genocide memorial in Kigali, Rwanda, and the Sudan. The Foundation’s web site lists a single “donor”, the Pears Group, a pro-Israel non-profit trust which also funds “Crisis Action,” an organization directly encouraging interventions. These organizations are within a politically aligned camp then, carrying web links to the who’s who of the genocide industry. Admirable in their refusal to accept the suffering of groups under their concern, by omission the crimes committed by their own groups are protected from prosecution. The mechanism allows an inevitable progression of injustice and mass death.
The argument of whether specific instances of mass murders are “genocide” or not becomes secondary to the ongoing basic violation of all people’s humanity by any group that causes mass death.
The Nuba have for centuries provided refuge in the Nuba Mountains for others escaping slavery. They deserve honour and refuge. To save them and peoples across the world sacrificed by social engineers of a new world order, we might look deeper than the government of Omar al-Bashir who may be trying to spare his country renewed colonial controls.
A sincere effort to stop mass deaths in Africa which may in fact reveal a non-African program of genocide, would logically require an international guarantee of Sudan’s sovereignty, and a U.N. military mission responsible to the General Assembly, to protect the Nuba peoples, the peace of Darfur and peoples of Abyei. More deeply, all foreign corporation contracts within Sudan and South Sudan could be frozen until approved by the African Union, a mechanism that should be extended to contracts for resource rights in all African countries.
1 “Is there enough political will to stop Sudan atrocities?” Amanda Grzyb and Gerald Caplan, Aug. 24, 2011, Globe and Mail”; “A Dire Situation in Nuba,” El Fateh Osman (Oxfam), Feb. 29, 2012, The New York Times; “Genocide Emergency: Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile State,” Genocide Watch, March 8, 2012, <i>Genocide Watch</i>; “Lawmakers, film star Clooney arrested at anti-Sudan protest,” Kevin Fogarty, March 16, 2012, Thomson Reuters; “Clooney, ERLC’s Duke protest Sudan’s blockade of food, aid,” Tom Strode, March 19, 2012, Baptist Press; “In Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, Government Rocket Attacks Sow Fear, Witnesses Say,” Jeffrey Getttleman, The New York Times. Partial sources.
2 Also: ” Tactical Use of Genocide in Sudan and the Five Lakes Region,” J.B.Gerald, 2006, Global Research & nightslantern [access:< http://www.nightslantern.ca/tacticalsudan.htm >]; “Notes on Sudan,” J.B.Gerald. 2004-2007, nightslantern.ca..
3 “Sudan” End bombing and allow humanitarian access into conflict regions,” Feb. 16, 2012, Amnesty International.
4 “Is Sudan committing another genocide – against the Nuba people?” March 21, 2012, The Guardian.