By Martin Garang Aher
If you were tuned to the world media in the recent weeks, Sudan came up top on international criticisms over attacks on South Sudan, not certainly verbally but apparently militarily. In this same week, bloodletting of the Arab Spring has neither certainly abated but increased in Syria and Yemen nor did the everlasting hostility stop the Palestinians Freedom Riders from boarding the Jewish settlers’ bus in demands of their freedom. Unlike Sudan and South Sudan, several chords bond residents of the Holy Land with hostility that runs deep that only the Divine can unravel
For Sudan and Bashir the bonds that hold Sudan can be held together through coercion even though their everlasting firmness cannot be guaranteed. The demands of the Sudanese in Darfur, Kordufan and the Blue Nile seem nothing but a teleological Sudanese syndrome that could only by redeemed through more brutality. And this meant holding on to people that the chord of unity does not support; by all means even if it means war with them.
Recent threats against South Sudan and possible cross border attack are indications that the chord binding South Sudan and Sudan is still held at heart by Khartoum besides the fact that the physical chord may be nonexistence or in the process of breaking. As usual, in the words of Abel Alier, all mess begins with dishonoring of agreements. CPA abrogation in the case of Abyei and trashing of Popular Consultations hope for the people of South Kordufan and the Blue Nile regions commenced Khartoum’s blasphemous killing spree. Memories of the past war chanting were in the air again.
And as usual, the Western World wasn’t moved. They always come in when somebody mentions ‘genocide possibility.’ And this usually gives Antonov pilots and tank drivers of a bloodthirsty regime an upper hand to sonorously chant Jihadists’ hymns as they march on to their famous killing fields in the South.
It always begins with scornful language as an antecedent followed by ruthlessness and cruelty. As evidently witnessed even by the United Nations, the language employed by President Al Bashir and his military commanders was full of militaristic sarcasm. They were the preceding pretexts followed by displacement of civilians in Kurmuk and aerial bombardment of refugees deep inside South Sudan territory. Sudan-backed rebel attacks on South Sudan heralded this planned disruption of life in South Sudan.
Khartoum, in such actions, was invitingly luring South Sudan into a confrontation and waylaying her for a military showdown. And as Susan Rice from United Nations warned ‘South Sudan not to take the bait and respond in kind,’ it was already evident Sudan has offered South Sudan the war bait. Sudanese military fighter jets’ bombing of refugee camps and South Sudan rebels armed to the teeth by Khartoum wrecking havoc on civilians in South Sudan were undoubtedly many types of bait too luscious to ignore. But as one would wonder, what is the underlying reason for this show of aggression by Sudan and what will she achieve in a military confrontation with South Sudan?
It is all bitterness and one chord that still lingers between the two-the oil pipeline.
Recent events in the Sudan are categorically and presumably the consequences of the failure of the New Sudan agenda and clear signs of the eventual implosion of the republic of the Sudan in the swirling heat of dissatisfaction under the imposition of one fragment of a country’s civilization identity on the rest. However evasive authorities in Khartoum are playing the game differently, the truth will always haunt them. The reality is that no matter how juggernaut Khartoum’s military power and prowess might be, suppressing the will of the neglected masses through violence and vanquish will never ever bring her peace. There is no way a government can be victorious over citizens that keep it in power. If at all there ought to be victory between the people and their government, it is always the people that emerge victorious, not the government. The government, as seen across many of the world’s nations, is a creation of the people.
Sudan is yet to come to terms with the reality that South Sudan is an independent country and a member of the United Nations, just like Sudan, operating on equal terms and privileges that a sovereign nation would do. The name South Sudan chose for herself during independence must not dupe Khartoum for a possible forceful reunification of the two countries in any time in the future, not even militarily. The chord that bound them together had been broken for eternity.
So, why threatened and attacked South Sudan?
This may not be a threat per se but a clear sign of the start of what Khartoum had always threatened the South With-disruption of oil supply and blockading the region for eventual suffering. Surreptitious support of the rebels against South Sudan is something already palpable and widely confirmed by studies. Small Arms Survey group had confirmed that a copy of AK-47, Type 56-1 used by the rebels against South Sudan is a Chinese cloned and supplied by Khartoum. The attack on Kuek that killed 13 South Sudanese was a clear whistle of war though not answered on equal terms by Juba. International media in the region witnessed it. Lambasting and vilification of South Sudanese by Bashir himself as ‘not conquerors of the country they live in now’ was also a well-intended provocation to lure the new nation into violent confrontation in order to achieve the ultimate objective. The disparagement seem to suggest, ‘if you think you were conquerors then come out now and try it with us.’
Pipeline is off! Will such announcement appease Khartoum? Yes, certainly. The truth is that all operations will come to a stand still in the South Sudan.
And with the unsubstantiated reports in the media that South Sudanese leaders, starting with the president, have amassed and stashed the sum of approximately 400 million dollars in foreign accounts, there is little concern that a threat of stoppage of cash and oil flow as a result of foreign aggression means anything. The kids and their many mothers are assured, at least financially whether there is going to be an economic blackout in the country or not.
South Sudan needs to be aware that bitterness in Sudan will never subside as long as there is an oil pipeline chord still tying Sudan and South Sudan together. And above all, the realization by many Sudanese socio-political vanquished groups that the fruits of struggle can be reaped whenever you hold a long and vicious war as epitomized in South Sudan has added a new interplay into the game.
We must willingly dissociate with the old republic of Sudan. Any relations may not straighten up as many expect but will remain skewed. The chord, in the form of a pipeline will continue to be an instrument of harassment to South Sudanese economy and this may lead to frivolity of consumerism in the near future. Before Khartoum shuts down this chord of neocolonialism, let an alternative route for the oil be found. Relations with Sudan will never be good and if we don’t believe it, we are living in fantasy.
Martin Garang Aher is a South Sudanese living in Western Australia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org