Sudan at a Crossroads

By Brad Phillips Last Friday, July 20th, PPF field workers confirmed that the refugee community of Jaac, South Sudan was bombed by SAF war planes over a period of several hours. There were two reported casualties, a man and a women, who were both struck by shrapnel inside their homes. The Republic of South Sudan announced the suspension of its negotiations with Khartoum within hours after the bombing.

This unprovoked aerial assault against innocent civilians can be added to the laundry list of war crimes and human rights abuses composing the rap sheet of Sudan Dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The NCP, of course, was quick to deny responsibility for the bombing. The reality is that last week’s aerial bombardment of the Jaac area in South Sudan was calculated to derail North-South negotiations to prevent the South’s compliance with the impending August 2nd UN Sanction's deadline imposed on the two Sudans by the African Union and the United Nations Security Council.

Bashir’s regime is on the verge of collapse and faces a growing national consensus for ‘regime change’ from every sector of Sudanese society. But Bashir is betting his own survival on the possible economy collapse of South Sudan.

In comparing the two Sudans, one should recognize that the impact of the loss of the oil revenue is more broadly felt in the North than in the South for one simple reason. 80% of the population in the North are dependent upon the market economy for their survival. Whereas, apart from members of the government in South Sudan, the majority of south Sudanese continue to rely on subsistence farming and not oil revenues.

Ironically, the U.S. Government seems to have formed a strange alliance with the Bashir regime. It has been the Obama State Department that has led the UNSC and the Africa Union in openly opposing the forces of “regime change,” and also opposing the operation of the SPLM-N and the Sudan Revolutionary Front in the Nuba, Blue Nile and Darfur regions. And it has offered little condemnation for the extrajudicial killings, torture and detention of an estimated 3,000 political dissidents in Khartoum.

Rather than being taken to task - for gross human rights abuses and war crimes against his own people, or for being forced to fulfill his CPA obligations to the people of Abyei, Nuba mountains and Blue Nile State – Bashir has succeeded in reframing himself as the victim of a South Sudan sponsored “proxy rebellion.”

As long as al-Bashir remains in power, the Sudanese people will continue to suffer from the brutal tactics of forced “arabization” and “islamization.” As Americans and as Christians, with a U.S. presidential election fast approaching, it is incumbent upon us to pray and also to let our President know that propping up the genocidal regime of  Omar al-Bashir is the wrong decision. It is a policy that runs counter to all his campaign rhetoric, places him on the wrong side of history and makes him an accomplice in the ongoing genocide of indigenous Africans in the Nuba mountains and Blue Nile regions of Sudan.

Let us pray for our leaders to openly support the victims of genocide in Sudan, and let us also pray for those brave individuals who are resisting their oppressors in Sudan whether in the streets of Khartoum or in the rocks and caves of the Nuba mountains.