The Politics of Betrayal

By Brad Phillips

The first half of 2012 showed many promising signs for the future of the two Sudans. The most important development was the growth of an intifada (popular uprising) in the north seriously threatening the brutal regime of Sudan dictator Omar al Bashir.

The Sudan Revolutionary Front, led by two governors of northern states, had united nearly all marginalized groups in Sudan (including Sudan's largest Christian community) under the banner of regime change. While the SRF was winning on the battlefield, Bashir's economy was facing total collapse. President Salva Kiir in South Sudan ordered all oil wells to cease production in January, because Bashir had been caught stealing tens of $billions from the pipeline.

The disappearance of this oil money caused the Sudanese currency to take a nosedive. Inflation drove prices of essential goods sky high and people took to the streets to protest. It seemed like Bashir, after more than 20 years of death, destruction and looting the country, was finally headed for the dustbin of history.

But tragically, in the ninth hour, Bashir was thrown a lifeline.

Faced with enormous international pressure from the US, including a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, South Sudan caved and agreed to get the oil flowing to the North again.

With this action, the US has not only betrayed South Sudan in favor of a monster who has killed 3 million of his own people, it has declared its action a great diplomatic victory for Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Obama!

But it gets worse.

At the time this new deal was being forced on South Sudan, President Salva Kiir was also forced to apologize to President Obama for lying to him about the South's support of the Sudan Revolutionary Front. The US blamed the South's support for the "rebels" for increasing the tension between the two countries. The reality is quite different and shows just how out of touch with reality the US State Department has become with the situation in Sudan.

The SPLM-N consists of elected officials, opposition party members, and military leaders who played a key role in helping South Sudan win its independence. These men are the only fighting force standing between the marginalized groups in Sudan and genocide at the hand of Omar Bashir. By characterizing these opposition leaders as "rebels" the US is allowing Bashir to frame the whole struggle.

The current US Special Envoy to Sudan, Ambassador Princeton Lyman, continues to consistently oppose regime change in Sudan. He has refused to support any organized attempt within Sudan to replace the jihadist Bashir with a more secular and democratic government.

What every marginalized group in Sudan understands, which the US Government misses, is that lasting peace has no chance while Bashir is in power. Regime change is not the solution to Sudan's problems, but it is the first step in the right direction. Anything less is a waste of time and money and a display of incredible naïveté by US policy makers.

For the last 15 years, PPF has been working in this area of the world, serving the persecuted church. We have been dealing with the carnage wrought by the killer in Khartoum. We have largely stayed out of the political melee and focused on the purely human side to the tragedy.

And yet, when we consider how much damage bad policies have caused, and how many real lives have been lost, we cannot remain silent.

Please visit and sign our petition to President Obama to intervene on behalf of the suffering and persecuted in Sudan.  And let us all pray for peace and for God to change the hearts of our rulers.