South Sudan holding referendum on secession 20 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 7 years ago

I don't need to quote an article- it's on most international websites but if you want to take a quick look I suggest these:

South Sudan set for referendum - Africa - Al Jazeera English South Sudan poised for historic independence vote | World | Reuters

Sudan's history has often been troubled and violent, with the trouble of balancing a central government with various ethnic groups and religions (doesn't that sound familiar?). In the past years this took the forum of a largely Arab-oriented government oppressing various groups that didn't conform to this standard- namely the Muslims in Darfur and the mostly Christian ethnic groups in South Sudan.

South Sudan has been involved in both of Sudan's civil wars and has always been a pressing matter. President Al-Bashir attempted to make an agreement with South Sudan that involved autonomy and political representation of South Sudan in the central government, but this fell through in 2007 after South Sudan's main party accused Al-Bashir of reneging on his promises.

There is clearly a demand from the people of the South to secede due to mistreatment from the government and ethnic strife. Al-Bashir utilizes this to his own advantage in whipping up support against the "secessionists" and more local tribal disputes.

Darfur was extended the same attempts, and like Al-Bashir's half-assed opening with South Sudan, it fell through. However unlike South Sudan, Darfur (which had borne the brunt of a ethnic cleansing campaign) was largely ignored beyond the usual activity of humanitarian NGOs and the UN. Why is South Sudan being given the chance to secede while Darfur is kept in?

Like many things it is not as simple to attribute things purely to good or evil, ethnic disputes, etc. There is an economic reason behind all this, being Sudan's considerable natural gas and oil industry. Until the latter half of the 1900s it largely laid untapped, and when Al-Bashir's government began to assert itself, it mainly dealt with Chinese and Russian companies.

South Sudan's territory holds a considerable share of this natural wealth, and presents an opening for countries and firms who have been shut out of Sudan's oil and gas industry. Indeed much of South Sudan's support has come through neighboring countries, but speculation that many of these originate from the United States by way of marking these for Kenya and moving them by land to South Sudan. With South Sudan as an independent entity, it can then deal with its share of resources.

The government in Khartoum on the other hand sees this as a threat to their economic position and future in Africa, notably in their attempts to gain stature in Africa and simultaneously with Arab neighbors and the Middle-East.

A map of the oil and gas blocks in Sudan, with the border of South Sudan highlighted:

SUDAN_Industry_overview_01May2008_1.gif

The main thing to see from this is as always the response the different players will have to the results. Naturally the anger Sudan will show in the event of a vote to secede, and in the other case (against secession) allegations of vote fraud and rigging, as well as highlighting again Al-Bashir's cruel, dictatorial nature.




Keyser_Soze

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#2 7 years ago

I'd like to think this will change things greatly. Unfortunately, with it being Sudan, a referendum will likely be rigged, giving Omar Al-Bashir greater credibility as ruler over all of Sudan, in having the popular support in the south, even if it is rigged. If it is successful, then it'll likely end up like the Ivory coast crisis is now. Sudan has been operating under UN sanctions for years now. Al-Bashir knows the drill. He knows that for the most part, he can get away with this. it's nothing new. If South Sudan successfully secedes, there will likely be a war between the 2 Sudans. The North will want the south in their territory.

Long story short, blame the British Empire for drawing borders so ignorantly.




Commissar MercZ

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#3 7 years ago

I remember reading from an article on the Guardian here that speculates the scenario for the various minorities in the remaining part of Sudan if the south decides to secede.

As southern Sudanese prepare to vote for independence tomorrow, the jubilation at the prospective breakup of Sudan that is so widespread in the south is not shared by everyone in the north.

Particularly concerned are people in the two "contested areas" – South Kordofan and Blue Nile – who fought alongside the southerners in the civil war but have been left in the north by Sudan's comprehensive peace agreement (CPA).

With predominantly African populations of Nuba and Ingessana, who practise Christianity and traditional religions in addition to Islam, the people of the two areas are now being referred to as janubeen jadeed – the new southerners. This reflects their potential future status as marginalised Africans on the southern periphery of an integrated Arab-Islamist state. Precisely the same situation that led to the southerners calling for independence.

To complicate matters, virtually all of north Sudan's current oil production is in South Kordofan. If Southerners vote to secede, Khartoum stands to lose the 80% of its oil supplies currently produced in the south, and is unlikely to countenance losing the rest.

Under the CPA, the two areas are supposed to have "popular consultation" on their future status, but this process – like the referendum for Abyei district – is completely off-track and people are extremely nervous about their future should the south vote to secede and President Omar al-Bashir carry out his threat to amend the constitution to consolidate north Sudan as an Arab-Islamic state with no concessions for racial or religious minorities.

Bashir recently declared: "If south Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution, and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity … sharia and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language."

This statement – coupled with his defiant stance on Islamic law after international condemnation of a YouTube video of a woman being flogged by laughing policemen – has caused massive unease among north Sudan's minorities. Bashir said those calling for an investigation into the ill-treatment misunderstood Islam, because "sharia law has always stipulated that one must whip, cut, or kill".

Kamal Kambal, of Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad, says: "This is the reason why the southerners want to break away, and of course it is also going to be a disaster for those of us who are going to be forced to live with people with this mindset." Pointing out that the Nuba had been fighting alongside the south "to prevent the imposition of sharia law and Arabic culture", Kambal adds: "For us, this statement is a declaration of war."

He says this is an especially sensitive issue for the Nuba because, during a state-sponsored jihad against the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in the Nuba mountains in the 1990s, the government issued a fatwa proclaiming Muslim rebels to be apostates who had renounced Islam, giving free rein to the pro-government Popular Defence Force militias, who were largely recruited from among Misseriya Arab pastoralists. He points out that the state elections stipulated by the CPA have been postponed in South Kordofan, where the current governor is Ahmed Mohamed Haroun, who has been indicted by the international criminal court for war crimes in Darfur.

He also points out that Bashir has threatened to expel the UN from north Sudan immediately after the referendum, and that now "his plans to rewrite the constitution are going to undermine all the provisions of the CPA in northern Sudan".

"Bashir clearly doesn't recognise the rights of anyone other than Arabs and Muslims," Kambal says. "He allowed cultural and religious freedom for minorities while he wanted to keep the southerners on board, but what rights will Christians and minority people like the Nuba have after the south breaks away?"

He believes that Britain and the CPA's other international guarantors are "currently only concerned about the south and the referendum, and have forgotten about the CPA's protocol on the two contested areas, which stipulates 'popular consultation' on the future status of South Kordofan and Blue Nile".

Ahmed Hussein Adam, spokesman for Darfur's Justice and Equality Movement, says: "This has revealed the true face of President Bashir and gives a clear indication of the type of state we're going to be left with after the separation of the south.

"Bashir is trying to impose one religion, one culture and one ethnicity over Sudan's diverse population. This will unfortunately lead to more violence as there is no way that everybody will accept this. It is a declaration of war against Darfur, the Nuba, the people of Blue Nile and the entire marginalised majority of Sudan."

The UN recently expressed concern about the "uncertain fate" of southerners living in northern Sudan and northern Sudanese in the south. It has made preparations for a worst-case scenario, with contingency plans which anticipate that almost 3 million people could be displaced if fighting breaks out due to disputes over the referendum.




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#4 7 years ago

I don't think this will end well for the Christians, at least those in oil-producing areas. Awfully curious to see who'll support the new country, if it does in fact form.




Commissar MercZ

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#5 7 years ago

There was a lot of unfortunate rhetoric coming out of this. Bashir played up a superiority of the "cultured" folk in the North who had Arab culture as opposed to those in Darfur and South Sudan who were "savages'. The people in the south played up the angle that Bashir "hated" black people (:rolleyes:) in their campaign here.

The US will most definitely line up behind South Sudan. This referendum is ultimately the brainchild of US policy.

The concern for South Sudan will come more internally. So far the tribal divisions have been subdued due to the presence of a common enemy (Khartoum). With that gone, the tribal divisions may re-emerge once more.

So far according to the poll observers (Including the Carter foundation), 20% of South Sudan has cast their ballots.

Abeyi, the region with a significant share of oil deposits, has to vote separately. There has already been violence there, some 30 people killed over the past week.




Red_Fist

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#6 7 years ago

Just feels like more trouble for USA, then get blamed for helping or not helping, or some damn thing.




Keyser_Soze

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#7 7 years ago
Red_Fist;5452057Just feels like more trouble for USA, then get blamed for helping or not helping, or some damn thing.

stop derail-baiting. we don't want to derail this thread.




Commissar MercZ

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#8 7 years ago

More violence from the contested border region:

South Sudan voters die in ambush - Africa - Al Jazeera English

At least 11 more people have been killed in violence over southern Sudan's historic referendum, officials have said.

Major General Gier Chuang Aluong, South Sudan's interior minister, said 10 people making their way to vote were killed in an ambush on Monday.

The announcement came as South Sudan held a third day of voting on Tuesday in a referendum on whether to split from the north.

Fighters from the Misseriya tribe are thought to be behind the latest attack, which took place in Kurdufan, on the northern side of the disputed region between the north and south.

“Misseriya as a tribe belong to a country, they belong to a state, and they belong to leadership. Somebody must be responsible to take the responsibility and be accountable for what has taken place,” Aluong said, insisting the north should accept blame for the attack.

Mohamed Wad Abuk, a senior member of the area's Arab Misseriya nomads, denied any involvement in the attack.

"This is a lie and the Misseriya has not attacked any convoy. The SPLM just want to exploit the situation in the area to create confusion," he said, referring to the south's dominant party the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

The latest attack came four days after clashes between Misseriya nomads and southern police and youths in the contested Abyei border region, a flashpoint of north-south tensions in the past.

Day three

Observers fear the latest unrest could spark more fighting amid an otherwise peaceful independence referendum in the south.

Abyei remains the most contentious sticking point between north and south following a two-decade civil war that left some 2 million people dead.

Abyei, which holds oil deposits, had been promised its own self-determination vote. But it still remains uncertain whether it will remain part of Sudan or join an independent south.

The seven days of balloting in southern Sudan are likely to produce an overwhelming vote for independence, and Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has said he will let the oil-rich south secede peacefully.

The scale of the turnout on the first two days of the week-long poll left many southerners confident that they were well on the way to reaching the 60 per cent threshold set by a 2005 peace deal between north and south for the referendum to be valid.

The preliminary results are expected to be announced by February 7, leaving a five-day period for appeals, before announcing the final and uncontested results on February 14.

South Sudan is among the world's poorest regions and the entire region has only 50km of paved roads.

However, most of Sudan's oil is in the south, while the pipelines to the sea run through the north, tying the two regions together economically.

Bashir was also reported to have told Jimmy Carter, the former US president, that the north would take on all of Sudan's nearly $38bn debt even if the South decided to secede.

Carter, who is in the country as an international observer, said that "in a way, southern Sudan is starting with a clean sheet on debt".

However, Emad Sayed Ahmed, the Sudanese presidency spokesperson, denied this in a statement carried by the state news agency.

Bashir simply told Carter that dividing the debt burden will not be of any help to the north or the South because both sides lack the resources to make the necessary payments, Ahmed said in the statement.

Bashir's office said that trying to split the debt between the north and a possible new southern nation is of "no use" because the would-be state would not be able to service the debt.

The statement said that Sudan's debt should be scrapped altogether, adding that is was the "responsibility of the north, south and the international community".

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies




Red_Fist

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#9 7 years ago
Keyser_Soze;5452078stop derail-baiting. we don't want to derail this thread.

The reason I posted that is we have these movie stars over there, and they are asking or criticizing Obama about something, dragging us into things that we should leave alone.




Keyser_Soze

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#10 7 years ago
Red_Fist;5452323The reason I posted that is we have these movie stars over there, and they are asking or criticizing Obama about something, dragging us into things that we should leave alone.

Politics is a PR job. it's going to happen. In reality, the president can't do much about it. What i would say, is that independence is being granted on the condition of a referendum confirming it to be what is wanted by the people of South Sudan. it's debatable whether they are ready to be a nation (they'll be one of the poorest nations out there, despite a lot of fossil fuels, and they are surrounded by unstable African countries), but maybe, just maybe, they'll be better off than they were under Omar Al-Bashir. Even if South Sudan becomes ruled by a tyrant, as is feasible, at least ethnic clashes will be minimised as a result of the south's secession.