Congressman Ed Royce: “The Sudanese have suffered enough”

Congressman Ed Royce

Congressman Ed Royce from the 40th district in California.

I am glad to see our very own Congressman Ed Royce convey his thoughts about the upcoming Referendum in Sudan.  Below are a few short excerpts.

Even a successful vote next week is just the beginning of a dangerous, tricky transition. Two sides: Africa and Arabia, differing cultures, races and religions –the north looks at southerners with contempt and worse. They’ll have six months to work out many contentious issues like security, borders, water, citizenship, etc. Plus, the north has failed to honor almost any commitment. Bashir has ruled for two decades because he’s ruthless, not a peacemaker. Relinquishing Sudanese territory isn’t a legacy he’s eager for.

The biggest challenge is oil. Most reserves are in the south, but must be transported north for refining and exporting. Some say this creates “mutual reliance.” Others, dare I say “realists,” see a recipe for more conflict. Most problematic is the oil-rich town of Abyei, straddling north and south. It was to hold a vote on where its loyalties lie, but that’s delayed. Bashir lets the south have the majority of the oil? Doubtful.

Less grasped, the vote creates a new state in the north. Bashir will play up its Muslim identity, implementing sharia and getting closer to Libya, Egypt and others. As the former sanctuary of Osama bin Laden, it’s not hard to see Khartoum becoming a live terrorist threat.

So we better look beyond next week’s photos of jubilant Sudanese voters. I’ll be absolutely thrilled to be wrong. Sudanese have suffered enough. But this ride could get rough. Best be ready.

– via Congressman Ed Royce’s Foreign Intrigue Blog

The Sudanese certainly have suffered enough.  Thank you Congressman Royce.  All of us here in Orange County are grateful for your steadfast support.

Anshul Mittal
Orange County for Darfur, a project of Living Ubuntu
http://ocfordarfur.org

Sudan: History of a Broken Land (from Al Jazeera)

Here is a great feature from Al Jazeera about Sudan’s history.

As the people of southern Sudan prepare to vote in a referendum that may see them secede from the North, Al Jazeera maps the turbulent history of a country on the verge of a momentous decision.

via Al Jazeera.

Nytimes: Vote in Sudan seems ‘likely’ to be peaceful

People returning from northern Sudan waited last week near Aweil, in southern Sudan, for food from the World Food Program.

People returning from northern Sudan waited last week near Aweil, in southern Sudan, for food from the World Food Program. (nytimes.com)

Jeffery Gettleman of the New York Times has covered Sudan quite extensively these past couple of years.  I hope he is correct in this assessment.

But what, really, are the chances that the independence referendum in southern Sudan on Jan. 9, the culmination of a peace process that ended decades of civil war between north and south, will set off another one?

It seems the chances are slim and getting slimmer.

True, Sudan is a vast, poor country with a long track record of conflict. Arms are easy to get here and militias roam just about every corner of the country. The referendum will indeed be delicate because the south will most likely vote (by about 99 percent) to secede, splitting the largest country in Africa in two and taking with it most of Sudan’s oil.

But as the clock counts down toward voting day, despite earlier prognostications of a delay, there are more and more signs that things will go smoothly.

via Secession Vote in Sudan May Be Peaceful – News Analysis – NYTimes.com.

Google and George Clooney team up to help Sudan

George Clooney has initiated a cutting-edge human rights project that combines satellite photographs, field reports and Google technology to help prevent the resumption of a deadly civil war in Sudan.

To launch Wednesday, the Satellite Sentinel Project analyzes satellite images and on-the-ground reporting to monitor the tense border between North and South Sudan.

“We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we’re watching, the world is watching,” said Clooney. “War criminals thrive in the dark. It’s a lot harder to commit mass atrocities in the glare of the media spotlight.”

via GlobalPost.com.

Sudan’s poor hit by rising prices

From Al Jazeera.

Sudan’s poor are increasingly finding essential items such as bread and sugar priced out of their reach due to inflation and the depreciation of their country’s currency.

Rising prices are another blow amid the political uncertainty ahead of a planned referendum on independence for Sudan’s south.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow reports from Khartoum.