When a government that claims to rule by “Sharia” steals its neighbour’s Oil! Who will cut its hand?!

By: Justin Ambago Ramba

February 11, 2012 (SSNA) — As of late there are an increasing number of people out there who for one reason or the other continue to spend much of their time speculating whether a post secession war is still possible between the nascent republic of South Sudan and its traditional enemies in Khartoum. Whether these types of concerns are really genuine and worth the space given to them in the media is not my primary aim here. However given all the historical backgrounds of the naturally unbalanced relationships that existed between the two parts over the centuries, everything between them is now bent to break down may be except for the geographical proximity that no human being has a power over, although it too is likely to remain a continuous source of unrest for both countries unless of course the “Arab Arrogance” and their “invasion mentalities” are finally brought under check.

On the other hand it can be rightly argued that what is left of today’s republic of Sudan is in fact a transitional map that is more likely to follow on the already started path of further fragmentation and disintegration yet into smaller countries since it has now become abundantly clear that there neither exists any religious nor ethnic tolerances between the centre and its peripheries and none are ever forth coming. The illusion of a unified Arab Islamic Sudan has also since long been exposed when the Khartoum government went on the offence committing genocide in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Ingasana Hills. As if not satisfied with its internal crisis the Arab Islamic North continues to harbour deeply seated hatred and an unjustified greed for the resources of its least developed southern neighbour despite openly claiming to have recognised the latter’s independence. Put all these together and you will not miss to see where Omer al Bashir is driving his northern riparian kinsmen.

If you are to put all the above aside, you can see that common sense dictates that both the Republic of South Sudan and its quarrelsome northern neighbour Republic of Sudan are both better off if they stay committed to good neighbourly relations, yet it is the terms on how this new relationship is being interpreted by Khartoum as it is failing to come to terms with the new facts on the ground.  It is time that Khartoum lives up to the realities of the moment and accommodates to the shift in the political and socio-economic privilege that it previously had over what used to be its southern backyard and this must come fast and quick regardless of how drastic that may be. This is also what the international community and the other regional organisations should be stressing on as an important transformation that Khartoum must appreciate if it is to have a good relationship with the new republic of South Sudan and ultimately the East African bloc and as far as southern Africa.

For the South Sudan, It is indeed the disturbing behaviours of some international and regional players who continue to see Khartoum as the superior partner destined to dictate the terms of engagements in the “South Sudan – Sudan” new dispensation that they find totally unacceptable and worth of resentment. History have for centuries recorded the unbalanced relationship between the Arabs and their black African next door neighbours in what used to be the biggest country on the African continent and the injustice committed by the new arrivals will continue to be an issue of concern.

But as if to keep our people worried for a long time to come, hopefully not forever is how strangely as it is, there are still a bunch of individuals and organisations out there who have been doped into the futile attempt to settle this long standing dispute at our expense, we those who have traditionally been at the receiving end of the injustice and deprivation. These heartless individuals and organisations alike have always stood with the party which is clearly the aggressor and the strongest given its historical proximity to government power and wealth which it one-sidedly used to plunge the region into what is now an endless list of conflicts. It was on this basis that many countries across the globe had traditionally identified themselves with Arab Islamic north and not the black African freedom fighters. However since then much has changed and today as I write South Sudan has achieved an irreversible independence from Khartoum and it is this new reality that this article tries to highlight. We are determined to strike more victories until we achieve every principle of human liberty at home and away.

As things stand now we are aware of the fact that the Arab League member states and many others like Russia, China and the so-called Islamic countries will for some time continue to side  with the Arab Islamic Northern Sudan, one is not naïve to overlook  how this sickness of self interest have influenced even the international and regional organisations like the African Union who find themselves time and time again stuck with the traditional approach to the problems in the Sudan. The inherent biasness in these organisations that have been the brain babies of the Egyptian diplomacy from the days of Jamal Abdel Nassir and petro dollars of the late self proclaimed Africa’s king of kings – colonel Mouamar Ghadafi will make it hard for them to part ways with their clear favouritism for the Arab north. Nevertheless the new realities in the African continent as represented by the emergence of the new state of south Sudan and the political changes in Egypt and Libya are bound to reshape politics across the entire continent of Africa. We are about to see a new dawn led by the previously disadvantaged, the marginalised , the poor and those traditionally disenfranchised.

Today with the two neighbouring countries of Sudan and South Sudan at the brink of a full scale war, no logical thinker can ever bet on any solution to be reached any soon to the list of problems that exist between them. Not much is expected neither in Addis Ababa, or anywhere else, and the non aggression treaty so far signed is just a way how Thabo Mbeki and his long redundant team can take home something to justify their salaries, for since when did Khartoum honour any agreement?  This bit is well understood by the Sudanese president Omer al Bashir who  for decades fought a losing war against the South and this time around his government is on the faulty side when he ill advisedly  resorted to stealing his southern neighbour’s crude Oil,  thus blowing off any chance for   rational negotiations on the transit fees. Nobody in this world negotiates with a thief except at the court of law. And since thieves are also known for sharp tongues, he who ever finds himself taking a thief to court must also consider having a good lawyer, for people with these types of characters are not easy to admit to any of their wrong doings even when caught red-handed as is the case now in the Sudanese Oil Crisis – triggered by state sponsored theft. To say the obvious, it has  since long came to the public’s notice that Khartoum was deeply involved in  an ongoing malicious acts,  carried out on routine basis with the help of the other non-Sudanese stakeholders. [Global Witness report on Sudan’s Oil industry]

Yet to be fair to the people of South Sudan who have suffered so much injustice in the hands of the successive north Sudan Arab governments, today the whole thing goes beyond the issues of Crude Oil or pipeline fees. Whatever is happening now only proves the argument that if the colonised and the colonizer are to ever become friends, even long after the former has achieved its independence, both must necessarily under-go a huge mentality reset. This one is urgently needed by Omer Bashir and those surrounding him or otherwise their old mind-set which undoubtedly led them to set the transit fees at $32 per barrel in the first place and later on persuaded them to openly steal the oil which belongs to their neighbour, will no doubt continue to prevent them from adopting to the new realities that are now operating on the ground as a consequence of South Sudan being a sovereign state and a full member at the United Nations.

President Bashir needs to re-think his government’s position from the fake propaganda that his party members including his bigoted uncle have for the last five years been spreading in the infamous “Al Intibah” tabloid, which went at length to promote hatred between the North and the South. “ Al Intabah” portrayed South Sudan as an economic burden on Khartoum, and it supported a political, and socio-economic amputation of what it sees as an unnecessary burden so as to allow for a purely Arab Islamic North to thrive and progress. Now the question is, “How did the “Al Intibah” Editor In-Chief, a demented engineer expect the South to Secede and yet leave its wealth behind”?

However for those in Khartoum who are now beating the drums of a return to war, they must understand that South Sudan that resisted their injustice for over five decades with only rudimentary weapons is now a sovereign country and a one that although far underdeveloped is not only rich in human and natural resources, but has also strong allies and friends. My personal advice to president Omer al Bashir is that, “Let the devil not manipulate you too much especially at this particular time in the world’s history. Still a country designated as an official sponsor of international terrorism, you do not stand a chance to win any war – not even over your own northern rebels let alone battling independent nations. Wake up – sober up, for you are about to chose the wrong path!”

Paradoxically  though is the fact that you claim to have established an Islamic Caliphate in your country when you militarily overthrew a democratically elected government in 1989, and now that your government has been caught red-handed in a case that amounts to a “clear theft” of huge amounts of crude Oil that doesn’t belong to you. Are you in any way going to apply the Hudud and cut off hands or will you revert to the well known tactics of asking the Ulamaa to issue  yet a fatwa to justify this broad-day act of theft ! We wait and see while we look for trustworthy partners for the Oil business.

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. Secretary United South Sudan Party (USSP). He can be reached at: [email protected] or [email protected] [email protected]

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