Monday, January 31, 2011



The East African
By Stella Ndirangu (email the author)
Posted Monday, January 31 2011 at 00:00

Kenyans last week watched in dismay as African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping assured Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka of the AU’s support for Kenya’s bid to seek a deferral on the post-election violence cases being considered by the International Criminal Court.

Mr Musyoka was of the view that Kenya is a sovereign state and therefore should be allowed to deal with its own problems. Secondly, that Kenya was willing to deal with the post-election violence locally and it was reforming its institutions to deal with the accountability issue.The question that lingered in the minds of many was whether Mr Ping had really been listening to the reasons advanced by Mr Musyoka on why the Kenya government would desire the African Union to request a deferral from the UN Security Council on its behalf. For Mr Ping’s benefit, I will once again spell out the two reasons advanced by Kenya’s “shuttle envoy.”

The response by the AU chair was disturbing, first because an Article 16 deferral under the Rome Statute can only be sought where there is a threat to the peace and security of a country.

No such threat was invoked by Kenya’s vice president during the meeting. Secondly, because Mr Ping is only too aware of the lack of success attending the AU’s attempts to seek a deferral for the case against Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir before the ICC.

The events since the request was put before the UN Security Council in 2008 has put the AU in an embarrassing position as no response has been received from the Security Council.

In an effort to retaliate and mount pressure on the UN Security Council to respond to its requests, irrational decisions hitting at the ICC have characterised AU Summits in the recent past with the most irrational one so far being the resolution passed at the Summit held in July 2009, calling on African State Parties to the Rome Statute to weigh their obligations to the AU in comparison with those of the Rome Statute.

This resolution also urged member states not to co-operate in the arrest and surrender of President Bashir. The result of this resolution was that President Bashir was able to visit two countries that are ICC member states. However, subsequent similar visits have been impossible to execute.

President Bashir’s planned visits to Zambia, Senegal, Libya and a second visit to Kenya in 2010 failed to materialise despite his having confirmed attendance. This was a direct result of pressure mounted on the governments of these countries both nationally and internationally not to host a suspected war criminal.
All this contributed to the perception that the AU is transforming itself into a toothless bulldog.
Having observed all these developments, the question one would ask is: Why would the AU want to set itself up for another obvious failure?

Seeking a deferral on the Kenyan case at this point in time would be a doomed exercise from the onset. This is because Kenya’s peace and security have been bolstered by all the ICC initiatives conducted to date seeking to bring accountability for the post-election violence.

Majority support

It is an open secret that a majority of Kenyans support the ICC process and opinion polls conducted just after the ICC prosecutor announced the six suspects he preferred charges against indicated that 87 per cent of Kenyans had confidence that justice would be served through the ICC process.

In addition, the assertions by the government that it is working on setting up mechanisms to deal with the post-election violence are just that, mere assertions.

In any event, this is not the first time the government is discussing how the post-election violence perpetrators would be tried locally; this has been their talk for the past three years. There has been no political will to actually establish such a trial process.

Attempts to enact legislation in line with the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence on the establishment of a special tribunal to bring accountability for the violence have been sabotaged twice in parliament and once at Cabinet level.

Three years later, no meaningful prosecutions have been conducted and in most cases acquittals have been reached as a result of shoddy investigations by the police.

What guarantees can the government give that its new resolve to revamp domestic accountability institutions will actually be seen to fruition? None. It is a well-known fact that the Kenya government has perfected the art of doublespeak.In some instances, calculated cover-ups have been conducted by contaminating evidence so that convictions cannot be sustained.

The AU cannot guarantee on behalf of Kenya the promises made by the government to reform its institutions will come to pass.

In any event, this cannot be the basis for an Article 16 deferral, if the AU sets itself up to seek one, they are certainly setting themselves up for failure.

Kenya’s peace and security has been bolstered by the current initiatives seeking to ensure a holistic achievement of transitional justice and the ICC process is part of this process.

The AU should advise the Kenya government to challenge the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction under Article 19 of the Rome Statute on the grounds that it is genuinely willing and able to prosecute cases domestically.

It is notable that this will be an admissibility challenge under Article 19, which is distinct from a deferral under Article 16 and it is made to the court, not to the Security Council.

Stella Ndirangu is a legal officer at the Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists



Coalition partners Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki pulling apart

Coalition partners Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki pulling apart

The East African

By Nick Wachira and Charles Onyango-Obbo (email the author)
Posted Monday, January 31 2011 at 00:00

After failing to meet in Libya, partly because Muammar Gaddafi sent his army to invade his neighbour in 1980, the OAU, the Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor of the current African Union, decided to meet in Nairobi.
That marked the zenith of Kenya’s diplomatic standing in the world in a region beset by turmoil, two years after the death of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president and a leading political figure in post-Independence Africa.
In 1980, Kenya was ruled by president Daniel arap Moi, whose 24 years at the helm, which ended in 2002, turned out to be one of Africa’s most lamentable tyrannies.

Moi was replaced as president at the end of 2002 by an urbane golf-playing economist who had graduated from the London School of Economics, no less — Mwai Kibaki. Then a veteran opposition leader, Kibaki had previously been a vice president in Moi’s government and held various ministerial positions before he resigned.

Kibaki used to be described as the man who led Africa’s largest opposition coalition to power. Surrounded by a bunch of well-educated men and women, Kibaki was expected to revive Kenya’s fortunes, which had collapsed under Moi, and make it an influential African nation again.

Despite all the difficulties of the past eight years, Kenya’s economy has posted a secular upward trend, and the country is today one of the freest in Africa. In August 2010, it passed what is easily Africa’s most progressive Constitution in a referendum.

Sun refuses to shine

On the ground though, the sun doesn’t seem to be shining on Kenya yet. But the most shocking thing of all is that, unlike Moi, the record of Kibaki’s government on the big regional and international diplomatic stages has been a disaster.

On most counts, Kenya today doesn’t enjoy a jot of the geopolitical influence it had under the discredited Moi.

It is an outcome many are still struggling to explain, constituting as it does a profligate waste of diplomatic capital by a country with the economic standing of Kenya.

A recent example is the brewing conflict with Rwanda over which country’s turn it is to fill the post of Secretary General of the East African Community.

While Kenya has been a progressive actor in EAC affairs, in the argument with Rwanda — which is yet to be discussed officially by the Council of Ministers and the EAC presidents — analysts argue that it has not been behaving the way a big power (relative to its position in Africa and the region) ought to when dealing with a small country.

In such a case, it ought to rely more on soft power to win influence than brute force and arm-twisting to win an argument.

Nairobi is still an important diplomatic destination, in part because it is the regional capital of most humanitarian organisations that work in Southern Sudan and Somalia, and is the base of the only UN agency headquartered in Africa — the United Nations Environment Programme (and UN Habitat).

In terms of economic power, its strategic location and relatively well-developed infrastructure and skilled labour force have turned it into a regional business hub.

Firms such as the Coca Cola Company, Nestlé, Airtel and Microsoft run their sub-Saharan operations out of Nairobi. But still, it is unlikely that an AU summit would be brought to Nairobi today, as it was in 1981, to break a deadlock.

How Nairobi lost its grooveThe decline in Kenya’s status has taken place in full view of the world, over the Kibaki government’s attempt to win AU support for a deferral of the International Criminal Court’s looming case against five government officials and politicians, and one journalist.

The six were fingered by the ICC last year for their suspected role in the 2008 post-election violence in which nearly 1,400 people were killed, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The violence following a disputed general election, which the opposition and several players in the international community and observers said had been rigged for President Mwai Kibaki, and the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) led by Raila Odinga had been robbed of victory.

To end the violence, an accord was signed to form a coalition sharing power between Kibaki’s Party of Nation Unity (PNU) and the ODM. Kibaki remained president, and Raila became prime minister, with considerable powers.

This forced marriage was expected to face major difficulties, and PNU and ODM have often been at odds over the past three years.

However, on two issues where it was expected that the two sides would work together to show Africa a united face for the sake of Kenya and the continent, the petty rivalry between the parties has worked to undermine Kenya’s standing in the world.

The first issue is Nairobi’s strident hostility to the ICC, which the government — or at least a section of it — has vowed to withdraw from because it now doesn’t want the so-called Hague Six to be tried at the international court.

The second issue is the appointment of Prime Minister Raila Odinga as AU’s mediator in the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire, where President Laurent Gbagbo is clinging on to power after losing the election last month to Alassanne Ouattara.

The two sides have fallen out publicly over the shuttle diplomacy by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to win AU support for Nairobi’s position.

Raila’s ODM side of the coalition, however, opposes any moves to withdraw from the ICC, and has distanced itself from Kalonzo’s diplomacy, suggesting it is a partisan enterprise by the PNU side.

Kalonzo must look ridiculous, arriving in African capitals, with one part of the government criticising his effort.

‘Kenya a diplomatic joke’

There is no other African country where this split over such big issues could happen, and it has made Kenya a laughing stock. The same thing happened with Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

Raila and his ODM have criticised Mugabe, calling him a dictator and a disgrace to Africa. They have said warm things about his coalition partner, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangrai, who came to power in much the same power-sharing deal as Raila following a discredited election. The Kibaki side of the government has backed Mugabe.

The negotiations to end the violence in Kenya were led by an AU-appointed mediator, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

Annan was, and remains, an object of hatred for hardline elements in PNU, who viewed him as being pro-ODM, and as having been part of an international conspiracy to deligitimise Kibaki, and strip him of the power they believe he won freely.

Without doing much to mend fences with the AU over its treatment of Annan, the Kibaki faction of the government is going to the same AU to seek solidarity against the ICC.

To make matters worse, following the election fiasco in Ivory Coast in which the AU — and the rest of the international community — recognised Ouattara as the election victory, and Gbagbo refused to hand over power, Ivory Coast is teetering on the brink, with two rival governments in Abidjan.

The AU picked Raila as it mediator in the crisis. However, the Kibaki side of the government has not taken kindly to the decision, and called AU Commission head Jean Ping to Nairobi for a shellacking.

In a tit-for-tat, the PNU side of government has been running a campaign to discredit Raila’s mediation, and its MPs have held press conferences to reject his and the AU’s position.

That may play well to local politics, but again, it is a first in Africa. No African country has publicly attacked its own national, moreover a prime minister, when cast in an international diplomatic role.

It would be like Ghana denouncing Annan during his mediation in Kenya — something that would be unthinkable in Accra.

With headlines about politicians allied to Kibaki attacking Raila’s role as the AU mediator, the Kenya government is appearing before the same AU to rally support against the ICC! Such actions have led many influential people in African politics, as one Nairobi diplomat put it, to consider “Kenya a diplomatic joke.”

Diplomatic greenhorn

By internationalising its parochial factional fights, Kenya comes across as not ready to be a country, let alone being a grown up regional power.

This picture of Kenya as a diplomatic greenhorn and minion, contrasts sharply with its standing as East Africa’s economic hub and one of Africa’s leading economies.

It is a version of the “Japan” or “German problem” — economies that are the giants in their region, but geopolitical minions, because post-World War II settlements put limits on their ability to project power.

Except that, in Kenya’s case, this limitation is not imposed by outsiders. It is self-inflicted. Even more significant, it is a specific feature of the Kibaki years.

Contrast Kibaki’s record with Moi’s — who, because he was internationally despised, one would have expected to be less effective abroad.

The Somalia talks that led to the formation of the current Transitional Federal Government were started by Moi in Nairobi in October 2002. The Sudan peace talks, which resulted into the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Nairobi, and the referendum on Independence in South Sudan three weeks ago, were started by Moi in June 2002.

Unlikely as it seemed, Moi appointed Gen Lazarus Sumbeiywo as Special Envoy, and he proved one of the most accomplished African mediators in any conflict.

Though the Somalia and Sudan Peace processes were signed during Kibaki’s rule, his government has not played the role Moi played in conflict resolution, and has not initiated any diplomatic initiatives of its own.

The first such initiative is Raila’s mediation in Ivory Coast, which Kibaki doesn’t seem to support. During Moi’s time, Kenya was involved in several peacekeeping roles: In Namibia, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, to name a few. Kibaki has not sent out any peacekeeping mission.

In that regard, Kenya is the odd man out in the East African Community. Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete got involved in Kenya’s post-election violence peace negotiations.

A country with an economy that is barely 15 per cent of Kenya’s, Burundi, has peacekeeping forces in the Africa Union Mission in Somalia.

Uganda, meanwhile, is the lead contingent in Amisom. Rwanda has peacekeeping troops in Sudan’s Darfur region, and is a key player in the current lull in fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Rwandan example

Rwanda, in fact, offers a good example of how to leverage the power that comes from playing the geopolitical game.

Last year, there was a leaked report by a UN human-rights panel, which was ruthless in condemning Rwanda’s alleged role in what, the report said, “could amount to genocide in eastern DRC.”

Rwanda was so outraged, it threatened to withdraw from its Sudan peacekeeping role, and suggested it would end the intervention that had brought a cessation to the fighting in eastern DRC.

Not only was the publication of the report delayed by several weeks, when it was eventually published, it was criticised as having been watered down and therefore rendered worthless.

In 2001, Rwanda and Uganda faced possible sanctions by the UN Security Council for their invasion and alleged rape and plunder of the DRC.

The two called in their diplomatic capital as the Great Lakes policemen, and in Uganda’s case as the military bulwark against the southward expansion of Islamist-fuelled terrorism, and got the USA and UK to beat back the sanctions.

How they play on the world stage

Rwanda and Uganda thus build the capital they spend. Kenya wants to spend the diplomatic currency it doesn’t have in its wallet, particularly in as far as the AU goes.

For example, in a case that was not publicised, but was seen as scandalous at the AU, about two years ago Kenya quietly expelled the representative of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) following protests from Morocco.

Morocco, according to AU sources, threatened to cut diplomatic ties and remove its mission from Kenya. The irony is that Kenya did Morocco a favour although it was Rabat that unilaterally pulled out of the then-OAU in 1984 following the admission of the SADR and has never returned. So Kenya kicked out an AU member, to appease a non-member.

Kenya has been diplomatically hobbled because, unlike its neighbours, it has the weakest and most divided government.

It is part of an age-old disease of the Kenyan political class in the country, that they will put political point-scoring above everything else, including the prestige of their nation.

This has done Kenya little good. US President Barack Obama’s father was a Kenyan — from PM Raila’s Nyanza region.

To many of Raila’s rivals in government, therefore, Obama cannot be trusted because he is a Luo. And all of the contacts between the US and Kenya, especially if they involve Raila, are seen in tribal terms.

Which is the second problem with the current state of Kenyan politics. It is also one of the few countries where tribal politics does not stay at home, but is put on show on the world stage.

Observers also blame Kibaki’s laidback style, and suggest that the election dispute of 2007 has made him shy about getting involved in affairs outside Kenya. If that is the case, it explains only a small part of it.

Kibaki is a man who is loyal to his friends, and his close circle, whose views he values, are elderly men whose imagination is no longer fired by international ambitions.

Most of them are now tribal chiefs, uninterested in matters beyond the next hill. For as long as they remain influential in government, Kenya will continue to flounder and embarrass itself with diplomatic charades.

It has not helped that the same tribal cleavages have played a big role in politicising Kenya’s diplomatic service around the world.

It is common today for political operatives to be actively engaged in running Kenya’s foreign service to the exclusion of trained professionals.

At a wider level, the ascent of Kibaki to power was a victory for Kenya’s old business and farming class. The Kibaki government is swayed by land and farming interests from Kenya’s central and eastern farming regions.

These are largely rich, conservative men and women, who don’t want any noise that will disturb the market. In that sense, Kibaki’s reluctance to stick his nose into matters outside Kenya has served the business class, allowing them to spread into the East Africa Community and Comesa markets and Southern Sudan, and to make fortunes none would even have dreamt of 10 years ago.

The progressive general

There is, however, a growing crop in especially Kenya’s security services, who realise that Kenya needs to develop the posture and means to protect its vast regional economic interests.

Many of them are in the Maj-Gen Michael Gichangi-led National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS). They are, for example, thought to be the brains behind Kenya’s Jubaland Initiative in south Somalia, a campaign to create an extensive buffer zone between Kenya and Somalia using Somali troops trained in Kenya, and possibly hive it off into a Puntland-type independent state in the fullness of time.

They are also behind the successful regional intelligence sharing initiatives that have helped keep Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab’s Global Jihad brand of terror at bay in East Africa.

When a new government is elected in Kenya in 2012 under the new Constitution, it will have a technocratic Cabinet that is not drawn from parliament.

They will be largely drawn from the professional and business classes, which are very East African in outlook and actively engaged with the rest of Africa and the world, and coolly confident in that sphere.

Analysts expect that there will be a sharp turn toward a more activist foreign policy. Until then, Kenya will have to remain on the sidelines in African diplomacy, only stepping in to perform as the circus clown, as it is doing with Ivory Coast and the ICC.




It is almost inevitable that South Sudan will vote for independence and Africa will have another new state.
Provisional results will be out on February 1, 2011, while final results will be released on February 6.
The West and much of East Africa and the South Sudanese hope a split from the north is the ultimate solution to the Sudanese problems.

On the surface, that appears to be the solution, judging that both regions (North and South) have many differences. One is Arab and Muslim the other is African, Christian or Animist; One is fairly developed, the other, one of the poorest places on earth. The north has developed largely using resources from the South (Abyei oil) while the South has little to count from the its oil.

Some commentators have called the vote a divorce settlement even when there was no marriage at all.
The North and Bashir in particular, have been seen as the real cause of the Sudan and the South’s problems. What they forget is that Sudan is a victim of British colonial misjudgment whereby two different and distinct cultures were bundled together to suit the British interests.

Historical roots
History reminds us of how Northern Sudan has always wanted an Islamic state way back during colonial rule under Egypt and later the British. Egyptian efforts to conquer Sudan from the 1820s had won only an insecure hold over fertile lands along the Nile and towns such as Khartoum. Camel nomads resisted their authority.

The Muslims of the Northern Sudan found a leader in Muhammad Achmad, a religious figure known as the Mahdi, who proclaimed a jihad against the Egyptians and British that would return Islam to its original purity.

The Mahdi won control of the Sudan and an Islamist state under Khalifa Abdallahi was set up built on strict Islamic norms in the famous Mahdist revolt. The British ended this threat when General Kitchener crushed the Mahdist forces at Omdurman in 1896.

Though the Islamist state was killed, the spirit remained and it was not surprising that General Jaffery Nimery resurrected the idea in a coup in 1983, sparking off the war in the South.

That the South was largely Christian is not surprising since colonial rule worked in a way such that the Bible followed the governor or vice versa. It is possible that South Sudanese were used to suppress the Mahdist revolt since they were the main victims of slavery largely carried out by the northern Arabs.

The current scenario between Khartoum and Juba is simply a reflection of a failure of the British to accept reality. On independence in 1956, the British knew that the north and South could not live like one country but the situation suited their divide and rule policy.

A strong united Sudan was a threat to British interests in Egypt especially that the Mahdist revolt clearly showed where Sudan was likely to head - Islamist state.

Hence a split vote is a simple return to the original status. The South has never been part of the larger Sudan. These were two odd bedfellows. But separation will not solve the problems of the Sudan.

One thing the leaders in the South, the West and east Africa must realize is that much as they stand to benefit from a new South Sudan, the cooperation of the north is required and they must work hard for these benefits (See page 8).
On the face of it all, Bashir has sent out an olive branch though it is viewed with suspicion. In the run up to the poll he visited the South and hinted that Khartoum would be the first to recognize Juba if the South voted for independence.
This was followed by a pledge that Khartoum would shoulder the more that $38 billion foreign debt.
These gestures may be mere proclamations but they open a ventilator which the South, the West and east Africa could exploit to make Southern independence beneficial to the southerners, the region and the world at large.

The Abyei factor
A key question is oil in Abyei on the north /South border. Bashir has resigned to Southern secession but has made it clear that Abyei going to the south is unacceptable. And he has a point.

Oil is Sudan's key export (93% of Sudan's exports) since the north is largely a desert. Although Bashir is opposed to letting Abyei go, he has not ruled out sharing the resources. This is where both 'neighbours' have to agree.

Already there are divisions between the Abyei dominant tribe - the Misseriya and the Dinka dominating the South. But if Bashir and Salva Kiir worked out a realistic oil share agreement over a period of time, the tribal divisions could become insignificant.

None of the two protagonists can resolve this issue alone. They need to look at the major world conflicts and how they were resolved.

In the early 1990's at the end of the cold war both the west and Russia realized that there could be no united Germany unless both powers agreed to work together. The same applied to China and Britain when it came taking over Hong Kong. Britain allowed China assume control of Hong Kong under an agreement whereby the political and economic structures of Hong Kong would remain in place for 50 years after which China would completely take over.

This two in one state formation has maintained development in Hong Kong where capitalism reigns but under communist authority.

In the case of Sudan a similar economic arrangement could be worked out whereby trade and infrastructure development could jointly be carried out while both states remain independent of each other.

Of particular interest is the East African community which is likely to admit the newest member in South Sudan. It is imperative that a well worked out transition between the North and the South could be in the interest of the EAC and Sudan.
There are worries that a sudden split could simply result in both an unstable south and north.

The South has many tribal militia opposed to the dominant SPLA- Dinka administration. The north faces Muslim fundamentalists eager to exploit any opportunity to throw out Bashir. This is where both Khartoum and Juba must agree to work together. They need to ensure that whereas the South has seceded, it remains a stable and united south and the north remains a stable and united north.

Talking to Aljazeera Tv last week, opposition leader and Muslim fundamentalist Hassan al Tourabi warned of a popular uprising against Bashir.. It should be remembered that it is Tourabi who hosted Osama bin Laden for several years.
It should also be noted that for the South to develop they need a good neighbour whom they can trade with peacefully. Whereas oil is produced in Abyei in the south, it is exported through the north and as such it will take long before infrastructure is built to carry oil through the Kenyan port of Mombasa for export. Beside, transport cost could be higher.
It is therefore inevitable that trade guarantees be agreed between Khartoum and Juba to ensure that economic relations remain even when the vote results in a split. South Sudan is one of 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.

It would also be unfair for Khartoum to wake up and discover that once an oil exporting country will need to import the precious liquid. Worse still, the infrastructure Khartoum has built to support this sector runs the risk of being redundant. Much as oil maybe a dividing commodity, when well handled it could become a uniting factor.

Khartoum and particularly Juba must realize that western pressure for a total split from Sudan would create more problems than it would seek to solve. If relations remain tense, it is the southerners to suffer. Two million have died in the last civil war and another two million displaced. Among these there were no Americans, Ugandans, Kenyans or Chinese dying, it were the Sudanese. So good relations between the North and South are vital for the future development of the two countries.

Good neigbourliness
Secession without smooth trade relations with all neighbours would be meaningless to the region and the west. A poor south always at war won't consume anything from the industries and farms in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, the US or UK. Rather a prosperous South would attract investment much to the benefit of all.

This is why Juba, East Africa and the West must work with Bashir to ensure that peace and development continue.
Already there is the challenge of the road and rail transport - key components of any economy. It won't make sense to build a railway or road to Juba or Abyei when there is no stability in the South. Much as the EAC is preparing to roll out a red carpet for its sixth member, east Africa must realise that the benefits of a larger community and common market will only come if there is stability in the entire Sudan.

One South Sudan newspaper comment clearly sounded the warning: "A Referendum in itself is not the end but the beginning of a painful journey to establish a viable state. The challenges the people of southern Sudan will face ahead after the independence are indeed mammoth." The Juba Post

Adding to this cooperation will be the need to demilitalirise the entire Sudan. The North remains largely a military government under Gen. Bashir. The South is a rebel government under the SPLA. But the military has never been a good administrator at least on the African continent. As much of east Africa is largely militant, save for Kenya and Tanzania, Sudan will need to work towards disengaging the military from politics.

For South Sudan, the case is different since unlike Uganda and Rwanda where a there are no militias, in Sudan there are many tribal militia which could become a nuisance.

Bashir will also need assurances that Darfur will not go the way of Juba at least in the near future. Whereas literally another split could further weaken Khartoum, it does not necessarily mean Juba will become stronger since it could also face threats of counter splits. These could have devastating consequences for regional security.

However, Bashir could use the South Sudan lesson to address the disparities of Darfur and ensure it remains part of Sudan. The worst would be if it sought to recognize Juba as the master to win support.

Such is the Sudan question currently puzzling all governments. The country at the crossroads must be careful which way to go. One sudden wrong turn could lead to severe consequences whereas stagnation would not be a wise choice. What is important whether a new Sudan is created, whether Abyei goes south or North, what matters is that peace remains. That should be the ultimate goal.

Additional information has been sourced from the Internet




January 31, 2011 | From
From Tunis to Yemen, the whole balance of power in North Africa and the Middle East is changing. What does this portend for the future in this volatile region?

Herbert Armstrong said it (Plain Truth, March 1982):“The boiling caldron in the Middle East continues to boil over ….

“Right now we are in the recess between World War ii and World War iii—the nuclear war that would blast all humanity off this planet except for the supernatural intervention of God Almighty. And the final massing of the world’s armies at Armageddon will occur on a battlefield north of Jerusalem.

“We should be tremendously interested, therefore, in the Middle East.”

Our editor in chief said it: “Events in the Middle East have dominated global news headlines this past year [2006]. There is no doubt that events in this region threaten global peace and warrant our attention.”

But in the current context of 21st-century global events fulfilling latter-day Bible prophecies, Gerald Flurry contributed a vital addendum to the admonition to watch events in the crucial Middle East (Trumpet,November/December 2006):

But we must realize that there is an even greater trend we should be watching. In many ways, the Middle East is a sideshow compared to this ominous threat.

We must watch Europe now more than ever. Too many people, particularly the global news media, are allowing circumstances in the Middle East to distract them from what is stirring in Europe. Are you aware that Europe is beginning to react strongly to events unfolding in the Middle East? It is realizing that it must rise to meet Iran and its radical Islamist henchmen.

Current events in the Islamic crescent that arcs from Tunis to the southern tip of the Persian Gulf have the eyes of the media and foreign-policy exponents glued to their iPhones watching for the latest news on the wave of popular unrest sweeping across North Africa, into Egypt, Lebanon and as far south as Yemen.

Reuters reported Friday that ratings agency Standard & Poor’s observed that “Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and Morocco all share the same risk factors that contributed to the events in Tunisia: young populations, high unemployment, weak economies, rising food prices, and a lack of political and civil liberties” (January 27).

Add to this list Yemen’s situation, where 10,000 have demonstrated in support of the removal of the country’s long-serving president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and a picture emerges of a crescent of unrest spreading from North Africa to the Persian Gulf that is causing extreme concern in foreign-policy circles.

Then there are the continuing challenges in Sudan and the Horn of Africa, added to ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and instability in Pakistan.

This great arc of unrest must be viewed in the light of Iran’s continuing efforts to take advantage of these situations in its concentrated and unwavering effort to pressure the United States and its allies to pack up and leave the region ripe for Iranian takeover.

Viewed in this light, the whole current North African/Middle East turmoil presents a scenario deeply worrying to those nations economically dependent on the continuing, uninterrupted supply of North African and Middle Eastern oil and gas, especially the European Union.

With U.S. President Barack Obama publicizing the imminent drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s no wonder that secessionist movements in this region would suddenly seek to take advantage of an American administration weak on foreign policy and lacking demonstrable will to be up for the fight to protect the flow of oil through the Gulf.

In fact, Washington’s stance of indicating support for the protest movements across greater Arabia is only adding fuel to the protest fire.

The Sunday Telegraph, under the headline “Egypt protests: America’s secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising,” ran an item claiming that “The American government secretly backed leading figures behind the Egyptian uprising who have been planning ‘regime change’ for the past three years” (January 30).

Yet, in the current imbroglio, it might even appear that Washington finds itself on the same side as declared enemy Iran!

On Friday,—citing Iran Daily and the Tehran Times as examples—commented that “Media in the Arab world are generally reporting cautiously on the protests rocking Egypt following the shakeup in Tunisia, but those in Iran are giving the turmoil prominent, almost gleeful, coverage.

“Sunni Egypt, viewed as the leader of the Arab world, and Shiite Iran are longstanding rivals.

“Iranian outlets, especially those linked to the government and establishment, are using terms like ‘revolution’ and ‘uprising’ to describe the protests, painting the demonstrators as heroic and giving headline treatment to voices predicting the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak” (January 28).

Though Tehran and Washington might appear to be on the same page with both backing the Egyptian protest movement, you can be sure they have vastly different motives.

The U.S. has a history of backing the wrong horse in such situations then getting kicked in the teeth by any new regime. Thus America ought not expect any kudos from those who might gain office in North Africa and the Middle East in the wake of the current unrest, not the least any movement with the backing of Iran’s terrorist-sponsoring regime!

Obviously, this current situation presents an open invitation to any national power with a stronger political will to contend with it. A nation with the political will to engage any nation fomenting unrest that risks access to either its main—or as in the case of Europe—its planned alternative sources of energy. Enter Germany.

In this respect it is worth watching the upcoming Munich Security Conference slated to begin this week, on Friday, February 4, with top brass from leading nations gathering in Bavaria to consider the world’s main security threats and how to deal with them.

One can be sure that the North Africa/Mideast crisis will be top of the agenda.

Arab News carried a report from AP Brussels that EU President Herman Van Rompuy made a public statement Saturday that “appeared to be an effort to distance the bloc from Mubarak’s regime.” Van Rompuy “said on Saturday that the EU was ‘deeply troubled’ by the spiral of violence in Egypt. …

“The EU has traditionally had close relations with the Egyptian government as part of its partnerships with countries on the eastern and southern rims of the Mediterranean” (January 29).

Those relationships are about to change. They will change as the EU sees access to the only viable source of oil and gas next to its present main supplier, Russia, threatened. EU elites are very conscious of the strategic weakness presented by Europe’s over-dependence on Russia as the EU’s principal supplier of oil and gas. They will be currently feeling the need to formulate action to counter the threat to the world’s current main source of the black gold by political and social unrest in the Middle East.

Added to this, EU elites are very conscious that their chief Islamist antagonist, Iran, holds the current presidency of opec.

The one thing to which Iran’s political and religious leaders appear blind is the history of the EU’s leading nation, Germany. They are certainly blind to the prophesied outcome of their persistent provocation of the Eurobeast.

The increasing “push” by extremist Islam, under constant encouragement from Tehran, is destined to reap the whirlwind for the Iranian regime (Daniel 11:40).

Having first secured the submission of the strategically vital Balkan Peninsula to EU imperial dominance in the 1990s, elites in Brussels and Berlin were quick to deploy the German Navy in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Lebanon, and off the Horn of Africa.

This was the first step in developing those toeholds surrounding the crucial gateways of Suez, the Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf into a more robust presence.

The present crisis in North Africa and the Middle East presents the ideal opportunity for the EU, via its proxy nato and an increasingly high-profile German Bundeswehr under the leadership of reformist Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, to step up its presence in this region.

Expect some sort of firm direction to emerge from the most assertive nations at the timely Munich Security Conference—one being the host country, Germany—in relation to a strengthened nato (EU) presence in the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa in reaction to the present unrest spreading throughout the region.

In the immediate term, the current unrest in North Africa and the Mideast is going to accelerate efforts by EU elites to form an alliance with certain Middle Eastern states of a nature that will surprise most observers. It will change the whole equation of the balance of power in this highly strategic region.

That alliance is prophesied in Psalm 83. Our editor in chief has stated that “Iran, Iraq and Egypt will not be in that alliance” (The King of the South).

Which nations will be in that alliance? They are all listed in verses 6 to 8 of Psalm 83. This is an alliance of Middle Eastern nations formed against what the Psalm refers to as “God’s people.” Verse 8 shows these Mideast nations in alliance with a powerful people named Assur, the ancient Assyria of biblical history. The actual prophetic identity of these people in their modern configuration is revealed—along with those referred to as “thy people” in Psalm 83, verse 3—in our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

What is intriguing about this prophecy is that it relates to the not-too-distant future outcome of events catalyzed in North Africa and the Middle East over the past few weeks. It has deeply concerning relevance to the Anglo-Saxon and Jewish peoples of our day.

Our editor in chief has noted that “There has never been such an alliance to attack or totally destroy Israel in history. Concerning this Psalm, the Anchor Bible reads, ‘History transmits no record of the national crisis when the nations enumerated in this Psalm formed a league to wipe out Israel ….’Lange’s Commentary points out, ‘The 10 nations who are here enumerated as being combined against Israel, are never mentioned elsewhere as enemies allied at the same time and for the purpose of annihilating Israel.’ Other commentaries make the same point. This must be an end-time prophecy!” (ibid.).

To understand more about the current turmoil in North Africa and where it is leading, read our booklet The King of the South. It will give you the vital knowledge to fully comprehend events in this region, where they are leading and what type of world we will face following the outcome of the Psalm 83 alliance.

More importantly for you, it will lead you to understand why and just howthis will lead to the fulfillment of one of the keynote prophecies foreshadowing the very event Herbert Armstrong prophesied as “the final massing of the world’s armies at Armageddon … on a battlefield north of Jerusalem.”

That keynote prophecy is that which Jesus Christ portrayed as a great sign to His Church of the imminence of His return: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. … And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:20, 28).

Events from Tunis to Yemen these past few weeks have rapidly accelerated the fulfillment of that prophecy!