It Shapes Up As Sudan’s People Against the Generals, the Saudis and the Emiratis

Will Ethiopia’s PM Abiy tame the Janjaweed?

Will Ethiopia’s PM Abiy tame the Janjaweed?

Melakou Tegegn, Kampala– The Janjaweed is a militia force set up by Bashir in the late 1990s to terrorize the population of Southern Sudan from supporting the SPLA. They committed untold crimes against the civilian population ostensibly for harbouring the forces of SPLA, a liberation movement at the time.

It was well known in Khartoum at the time that among other crimes that the Janjawit committed include kidnapping women and children from the villages of South Sudan, bring them to Khartoum and Omdurman and sell them at a price of $100 for the women and $50 for the children. Hassan El Bashir’s Janjaweed sold human beings as slaves in the 21st century and Bashir’s Sudan is a member of the UN, AU and the Arab League.

Sudan has special ties with Saudi Arabia and the Saudis always have a say even in the internal affairs of Sudan. At the beginning of the 1980s, a leader of a Muslim religious sect by the name Mahmud Taha opted for reforming Islam and political reforms than the military rule of Jafar El Nimiery.

He had a large following particularly among the youth. The Saudis were more worried about the rhetoric to reform Islam though they were also uncomfortable as regards Taha’s agitation for political reforms. In the eyes of the Saudis Taha was more dangerous than the Seitan himself that they pushed for his physical elimination.

Nimiery’s satanic public prosecutor, a certain Mushkeshfa, brought charges of sedition against Taha upon which Nimiery’s kangaroo court passed a death sentence. Taha was quickly hanged and a clamp down was ordered against his followers.

Where does Sudan stand in the new alignment of forces in the Middle East and Gulf? 
Sudan’s elite identifies itself more with the Arab World than Africa. It is largely believed that an ordinary person Sudan thinks that he/she is an Arab than black African. Sudan has a long standing relationship particularly with Saudi Arabia. Bashir kept his loyalty to the Saudis in his foreign policy.

He even contributed troops in the Saudis’ madness in Yemen. Somehow, the alliance equation in the Middle East and Gulf changed when the Saudis stopped seeing Iran eye to eye.

With the arrival of Trump in the White House, the Israelis who had been really worried by the non-belligerent policy of Barrack Obama as opposed to the heretofore US unquestioned commitment to supporting Israel, seemed to hit the iron when it is still hot when they, in unison with Trump, crafted a new alliance for forces in the Middle East and Gulf which in the main aimed at weakening or obliterating Iran.

The obedient Trump pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and declared his belligerence towards Iran. The Saudis on their part formed a new alliance with the United Emirates and Egypt and declared war on the Houtis in Yemen. This new alignment has reached a tacit understanding with Israel that Iran is a dangerous enemy for the region.

Now what has this regional context got to do with the crisis in Sudan?
In the wake of the 1974 people’s revolution in Ethiopia, the ‘Provisional’ Military Council stepped in to prevent the formation of a republic as demanded by the people and set up its own military dictatorship and the ‘provisional’ Military Council last for 17 years. Sudan’s third revolution (the earlier two being the ones in 1964 and 1985) began by its heroic people who sacrificed in the face of Beshir’s bullets.

When it is no longer possible to sustain Beshir’s regime, the Janjaweed disguised as a military council ‘removed’ Beshir from power and promised a transition towards a civilian government. That was exactly what the military council in Ethiopia did in 1974. However, very much like what it was in Ethiopia, the people did not believe the military and continued with their struggle for a republic.

That led to a bloody confrontation upon which the infamous ‘red terror’ was launched by the military that cost the lives of tens of thousands of young militants. What we witnessed last week in Khartoum is a similar scenario.

But, the development in Sudan was different in one way: the military declared its allegiance with the revolution with the people until the head of the junta visited Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, the trio who are bogged down in the war they fanned in Yemen.

But, why this about-turn by the military council? 
It was blatantly clear that this happened after the visit to the trio. Undoubtedly, cash and promise have been stashed in the junta’s pockets by the trio with clear instruction to crush the revolution which is considered as setting bad precedence in the region.

Curiously enough one personality among the junta played a crucial role in socking the streets of Khartoum with blood: the leader of what euphemistically renamed as the Rapid Support Forces, Mohammed Hamdan Dagolo. Dagolo has previously led the Janjaweed that committed untold crimes in first in South Sudan and later in Darfur and is the most loyal to the Saudis and Egypt.

This is one monster well known for his past atrocities that is now head of the Rapid Support Forces. Before the crack down on protesters, it was Dagalo who gave the warning that the clam down would start. Apparently, it was his troops that committed the massacre on the eve of Eid al Fetir. With that communication broke down with the representatives of the protesters and the military vowed to continue with the clamp down.

Now, Ethiopia’s premier, Abiy Ahmed, well reputed for his peace overtures towards Eritrea and as a peace-maker in the region, intervened to broker between the junta and protesters. But, is the junta serious when they welcome Abiy? Then why did they arrest one of the protest leaders after he had a talk with Abiy? We are forced to ask if the Janjaweed know what brokering peace involves. Or is this its own way of ‘confidence building measure’?

Undoubtedly, Sudan social, economic and political problems are beyond the junta’s capacity to handle. That indeed will compel them to disguise their lack of capability with the use of force and will still continue implementing the instructions by the trio.

Sisi used massive force to quell the Egyptian revolution but did not bring peace at all and Egypt’s economy is performing badly. Undoubtedly, the performance of Sudan’s junta will perhaps be much worse than Sisi’s. Indeed, Sudan’s future is gloomy unless a speedy shift toward democracy and freedom is made.

Will Abiy Ahmed ever convince the junta to move away from the diktats of the trio and commit themselves to freedom and democracy? The Sudanese revolution will nevertheless continue as the people have no option than fighting for democracy. “They have nothing to lose but their chains” as the famous saying goes.

The Militarization of Taiwan Proceeds According To Planned Destabilization

Delegation of US military and FBI officials arrives in Taiwan: Stratfor

Delegation of more than 100 people representing US law enforcement and US Indo-Pacific Command arrived in Taipei on Friday

US INDO-PACOM officers at Memorial Day ceremony in Hawaii, May 27, (photo from INDO-PACOM twitter acct.)

US INDO-PACOM officers at Memorial Day ceremony in Hawaii, May 27, (photo from INDO-PACOM twitter acct.)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In line with the Taiwan Travel Act (TTA) implemented in 2018, the U.S. has sent a large number of military and law enforcement officials to Taiwan to engage in bilateral talks focused on security in the Indo-Pacific.

The intelligence consulting platform and publishing agency, Stratfor, reported on June 7 that a delegation numbering over 100 representing the U.S. armed forces and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrived in Taipei for a five day visit.

The delegation is reportedly scheduled to attend a closed door seminar Monday and Tuesday next week, where they are likely to meet top Taiwanese law enforcement officials and officials representing Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.

News of the delegation’s dispatch and arrival in Taiwan comes only days after the sudden announcement that the U.S. was in the final stage of talks to provide Taiwan with US$2.6 billion worth of tanks and missiles, in order for the country to maintain its defensive capabilities against any potential attack from China.

The weapon’s sales to Taiwan are in line with the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary in April. The TRA states that the U.S. is obligated to provide for Taiwan’s defensive needs to resist coercion or threats from China.

The article from Stratfor notes that the arrival of the U.S. military and law enforcement officials will coincide with the presidential primary of the Democratic Progressive Party, which is holding public polls June 10-14. The timing of the delegation might serve to boost support for Taiwan’s incumbent, Tsai Ing-wen.

Hong Kong protest against controversial new law sees huge turnout–In Pictures

In Pictures: ‘No to China extradition’ – Hong Kong protest against controversial new law sees huge turnout

Hundreds of thousands have joined a mass protest against the Hong Kong government’s controversial extradition bill, in what organisers have said could be the biggest protester since 500,000 rallied against national security legislation in 2003.

extradition hong kong protest (11)

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Crowds swelled as protesters were asked to leave Victoria Park in Causeway Bay before the 3pm start time to ease to overcrowding.

extradition mass protest

Protesters march during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong on June 9, 2019. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP.

Police opened up all lanes on Hennessey Road a few hours later after initially refusing to do so.

The MTR also enacted crowd control measures, with protesters still leaving Victoria Park as late up to four hours after the start time.

extradition hong kong protest (11)

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Bringing Hong Kong Island to a half, demonstrators chanted “Scrap the evil law,” “Oppose China extradition” and “Carrie Lam resign” in reference to the Chief Executive.

extradition mass protest

Photo: inmediahk.net.

Lam declined to answer questions at a public appearance in Ocean Park on Sunday afternoon.

The protesters marched towards the legislature over an issue that has underscored divisions in society over trust in the legislature and the Chinese judicial system.

extradition hong kong protest (11)

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Hong Kong’s government first proposed legal amendments in February to allow the city to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, most notably China and Taiwan.

The plan would enable the chief executive and local courts to handle extradition requests without legislative oversight and could reach a final vote before the current legislative period ends in July. The government has said the law will allow it to close a legal “loophole.” But lawyers, journalistsforeign politicians and businesses have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to the mainland.

‘Nonsense’

HK Lau, a retired civil servant in his 60s, told HKFP he believed the passing of the extradition law would mean the end of the One Country Two Systems principle: “Communist China has never changed,” he said. “If anything has changed it is that they are richer and more powerful, and now it’s spreading.”

HK Lau

HK Lau. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Karen Chan, a university student, told HKFP she thinks the government has neglected public opinion on the extradition proposals and calls the bill “nonsense”

“I know it’s difficult to change the mind of the Hong Kong government, but I hope that the protest today can arouse some international concern about it through the power of mass media,” she said.

Karen Chan

Karen Chan. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Secondary school teacher Gary Chiu told HKFP that many of his friends did not attend the march either because they felt the government would not listen to their concerns or because they did not have any business interests to protect. This is his second time attending an anti-extradition protest.

Chiu added he wanted the bill to be scrapped and for Lam to resign: “Hong Kong is now becoming a battlefield between an authoritarian state and the free world. Remember, when one is enslaved, all are not free, so we urge the international society, the US government and the EU, to keep pressuring the Hong Kong government and the Chinese government,” he said.

Gary Chiu

Secondary school teacher Gary Chiu (left) and his family. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

An office secretary, who declined to reveal her identity for fear of reprisal from central authorities in the event the extradition bill passes, told HKFP she is not usually concerned with politics but came out on Sunday because of the extradition bill’s broad implications on all sectors of society.

extradition mass protest

Photo: inmediahk.net.

“We do care about justice in Hong Kong,” she said. “And we do have concerns about safety as well, many people were disappeared in China and we heard about it from the news.”

So bad even introverts are here extradition march

An office secretary, who declined to reveal her identity for fear of reprisal from central authorities in the event the extradition bill passes, shows her placard which reads ‘So bad even introverts are here.’ Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

The march was organised by the Civil Human Rights Front – a coalition of pro-democracy groups. They invited participants to wear white to represent “light” and “justice.”

extradition hong kong protest (11)

See also: ‘You are not alone’: Hongkongers abroad mobilise to oppose extradition law changes

extradition hong kong protest (11)

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The pro-democracy camp’s convenor, Claudia Mo, told RTHK on Sunday that Lam was pushing the extradition bill at the behest of Beijing: “The apparent grand plan, complete with the Greater Bay Area scheme, is to assimilate Hong Kong into the vast hinterland. The idea is to, ultimately, disappear Hong Kong, or at least to change it into one of the numerous Chinese cities… like a little boat, Hong Kong is sinking fast, but we’re not taking this lying down, we have to put up a fight.”

extradition mass protest

Photo: Anthony Rossi.

The pro-Beijing New People’s Party has said it still supports the government’s extradition but respects Hongkongers’ free speech. It called for “formal and long-term rendition agreements” with countries such as China.

extradition hong kong protest (11)

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Police are remaining on guard on Sunday after two petrol bomb attacks against their Wan Chai headquarters and Happy Valley station on Friday. A man has been charged in connection with the incident and three others have been released on bail. Police said there was no connection found to the protests.

Seven people were arrested at the anti-extradition protest on Sunday – one for assault near the flyover at Canal Street and six others for criminal destruction, including theft at a street stand, police said.

extradition hong kong protest (11)

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

In April, tens of thousands of Hongkongers took to the streets in protest of the proposal as democrats have sought to hinder the bill’s progress at the legislature. The government is fast-tracking the bill’s movement through the legislature, insisting that it arrive at the main chamber by Wednesday in the hope it will pass before the summer break next month.

Additional reporting: Tom Grundy.