Yes , more about South Sudan : and for once it makes sense

On April 12th Ms Priti Patel , British International Development Secretary dropped the rhetorical G-Bomb when she characterized the violence in South Sudan as “Genocidal”. It was not technically correct but it was politically and humanly appropriate . Since Rwanda, when you want to catch the world’s attention on matters of violence in Africa , you do have a problem . So hats off to her , she exagerated for a good cause . One sign she was right to say what she said is the fact that the confused and fractitious South Sudan opposition came together and five days later issued a common press release by all seven organizations . So let us have a closer look at the signatories who believed (rightly so) that is was time to close ranks and try to rally to the emergency :

  1. Big boys first , the SPLM/IO signature came from Peter Regbigo Tingo , the former SPLM/IO Governor of Wau (when SPLM/IO was still a supposed partner in peace instead of being divied by a fake allied membership of the government and a hunted fighting group) . “Tingo” , as everybody calls him , is a Ndogo , i.e. a member of that very small tribe of southern Bahr-el-Ghazal . He is a good and clever man but being a Ndogo he cannot have the ethnic weight to threaten still-detained Chairman Riak Machar Teny Dhurgon . Taban Deng Gai tried (and failed) but once was enough . In any case IO has the biggest fighting force on the opposition side
  2. Second came SPLM/FD (former detainees) . I can’t read the signature . It might have been Kosti Manibe . But in any case FD probably does not have 20 committed members and I am not sure they have even a single gun . They retain a bit of moral authority , which was seriously dented when Deng Alor broke ranks with them and joined the government.
  3. Lam Akol signed for the National Democratic Movement (NDM) . NDM is another twenty-something members movement . But Lam is quite clever and he can infiltrate himself into almost any moving thing . He has a limited following of Chollo (Shilluk) people , but not at more than battalion level . The Chollo King does not like him too much which can be understood because , as a King , he has a difficult time projecting his authority and Lam is not exactly the most obedient subject he could imagine .
  4. Is the signature of the South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) , led by former Western Equatoria Governor Henry Bakosoro . Apart from SPLM/IO , this is the only movement with a military capacity . Its capacity is limited to Western Equatoria and its fighters are either Zande of Kakwa . Bakosoro has taken refuge in the US and his military clout needs some reinforcement if it is to become significant
  5. Then there is the National Movement for Salvation (which insists to go by the initials NAS) and is led by General Thomas Cirillo . Cirillo is a Madi Brigadier who defected a few weeks ago and is now staying in Addis Ababa in the so far vain hope that the Ethiopians will provide him with the weapons he needs to equip his forces . Potentially Gen. Cirillo could raise a large fighting force in Central Equatoria but he is short of equipment and his men would also need training , given the fact that the rank-and-file SPLA was a kind of Dinka/Nuer preserve where Equatorians never held much space .
  6. Last (but not least) there is the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) led by Dr Hakim Dario Moi . Dr Hakim comes from the small Didinga tribe of Eastern Equatoria . His movement is multiethnic and largely diasporic . Dr Hakim is highly educated and seems surrounded by other highly educated people , the very type of people John Garang always tried to keep at arms’ length during his years at the helm of the SPLM . Which is one of the reasons why the high ranks of the SPLA are today still largely populated with poorly-educated cadres , many whom are functional illiterates . Dr Hakim seems to have been the moving force behind this united opposition appeal . And the next day he came out with a remarkable position paper on the idea of national dialogue . By far the best proposal/document published since the beginning of the civil war (get it by writing to ) . Will it have the capacity to get things moving forward , at least a little bit ? The last paper provides at least a good starting framework .

Why do I write a lot about South Sudan these days ?

The answer is simple : for the parts of the world this blog is about , this is the saddest , worst and sickest . It is also the one that receives practically no media attention . Sudan (North) is a close contender . As Sudan specialist Eric Reeves recently remarked , “for children , being killed by poison gas is very serious in Syria but not noticed in Darfur“. There is no use of poison gas in South Sudan . It is only killing the usual way (guns , knives and lack of food and medecines) . But for the media it is equally devoid of interest .

The fighting in Raja as a microcosm of the War in South Sudan or can we say “there is a genocide taking place there ?”

Raja is the capital of Lol State and this is not a joke . There is nothing to lol about in Raja and when the town was attacked on April 15th the fighting was brutal  . SPLM/IO occupied the town for about a day and a half and withdrew when SPLA counter attacked, supposedly led in combat by Governor Riziq Zakariah Hassan . In fact Governor Riziq Zakariah Hassan ran away and took refuge at SPLA Headquarters in Wau , leaving the fighting and troop reorganization to General Paul Malong Awan who immediately flew in from Juba . Governor Riziq Zakariah Hassan is an opportunist whose past ambiguous political positioning and peculiar ethnicity (half Fertit , half Baggara Arab from Darfur) have put him in a very delicate situation as he is now seen as a willing tool of local Dinka domination . During the war of independance the province of Bahr-el-Ghazal was the theatre of a savage war between mostly-Dinka SPLA insurgents and mostly-Fertit Khartoum National Army units . The present situation is still wrapped up in the memories of these years and in many ways the present conflict is Act 2 of the previous war . I was wrong when I wrote in my recent “Titanic” Blog that the attackers were SPLM/IO Nuer . SPLM/IO they were but they belonged , just like in Wau a couple of days earlier , to a whole variety of tribes (Fertit , Balanda , Jur) who are local . And their fight was so typical of the present state of ethnic war in South Sudan , with the “national” SPLA forces being in fact simply a Dinka militia while the opposition — which naive foreigners (even me !) still tend to ascribe to “Nuer” — was made up of local smaller tribal units . Even among the commanders there was not a single Nuer : Peter Marcello is a Balanda and the others were Fertit or even Ndogo . Similarly , after the street fighting was over many of the victims of the repression were civlians belonging to the “wrong” tribes . Which is why talking about “genocide” , as the horrified British Secretary of State did a few days ago , is difficult . Yes , people are killed because they belong to one ethnic group rather than to another . But this is multiple and pluri-headed : the Dinka kill members of other tribes (but are they ordered to do so by the government or do they do it spur-of-the-moment ?) while isolated Dinka (especially in public transport) are killed by insurgents because they are Dinka (of course in retaliation for the massacres committed by the DinkaS themselves) . But , does this all adds up to “a genocide” ? “A genocide” , such as that of the Jews in World War Two or that of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994 , implies a single killing agent and only one category of victims . Or does it ? The Germans (and their allies in Croatia , Hungary or Rumania) also killed Gypsies , mentally-handicaped people or homosexuals of any nationality and Russian POWs . In Rwanda 80,000 Hutus were killed ……………………….by other Hutus , for not being sufficiently ethnic radicals . So genocide or not genocide ? This is a typical case where a law , an accepted Treaty , ends up being more of an obstacle than a help . The 1948 UN Declaration on the repression of genocide was drafted as a (late) answer to the German-organized genocide after 1942 . It did not attempt to envision all possible situations and it lumped large killings based on a well-defined criteria together . This is not the case in South Sudan . But does it make any difference ? Not really . The basic scandal is as follows : The South Sudan “Government”, while pretending to be “national” , supports up to and including killings limited ethnic interests which is presents as representing the whole nation . Killing people on the basis of such a lie is intolerable

South Sudan as an abandoned Titanic (2)

It is possible to understand the degree of spite of the international community towards Africa by looking at the treatment given to South Sudan over the last six months . In this ocean of neglect one should commend Ms Priti Patel , British International Development Secretary , who was in Juba a couple of days ago and had the frankness to describe the situation as “absolutely abhorrent and inhumane” due to the “scorched earth policy” practised by the Government . In any other part of the world , the type of violence and the absurdity of the policies (if they can be called that) that are pursued would cause , if not an uproar , at least some noise . In South Sudan , nothing . The government is not paying the salaries of the teachers , of the civil servants or even of the soldiers . The only people who still have money are the employees of the Petroleum Company NilePet who can skin the beast directly and chop off enough to eat , drink and make merry . In a burst of gallows’ humor , the local blogger Den Kiir Akok wrote a piece called “How you can tell if a bridegroom works for NilePet” . And this because lavish weddings are still organized while ordinary people are litterally starving to death a mile or two away . Violence is becoming surrealistic . In Wau , the Acting Governor explained the flight of 8,000 civilians in three days by the fact that “unknown gunmen started attacking civilians” . The “unknown gunmen” were in fact Dinka soldiers and militiamen who started to kill Belanda , Jur , Fertit and Luo civilians to take revenge on them after their comrades had fallen into an ambush outside of town . Robert Ladu , Chairman of the Land Commission , declared : “This country is in a state of decay . …..If I have to extort money from somebody and I have a “security man” , I use him to threaten you . Even when men are competing to get women , the use these “security men” to threaten each other” . Inflation has reached 900% and a gun is more useful than a bank account . International silence . Vague remarks about a “peace process” . Which “peace process” ? Those innocent souls still talking about that ghost refer to the August 17th 2015 Peace Agreement . Even  Vice President James Wani Igga concedes that “it is hobbling on one leg only“. This is the understatement of the year concerning a dead body . The last country to have joined the UN has in fact died with its boots on at age two . But does somebody still care , apart from pathetically overworked NGOs?

I now confess to be working on a book temporarily called “Phenix rising : the painful rebirth of the State of Somaliland” . This is temporary , it could change . I have been working on it off and on for the past eight-nine months and I envision another six months more before finishing (but does one ever finish books ?) a reasonably prepared manuscript

South Sudan as an abandoned Titanic

The official figures on South Sudanese IDPs and refugees become obsoleteeven before you finish reading them . But if we try we have (had ?) 1,793,000 IDPs and 831,582 refugees . But if we take a few minutes and collect the figures country by country , we have (when I read it last) 286,578 refugees in Ethiopia , 832,000 in Uganda and 170,000 in the South Kordofan of (North) Sudan , which seems to add up to slightly less than 1.3 million . And in this we did not factor in the refugees in other North Sudanese provinces than South Kordofan (there should be over 200,000 in South Darfur and smaller numbers elsewhere) and we did not include either those who fled to the D.R. Congo (at least 40 to 50,000) . So should we say 1.5 million ? Meaning that a total of nearly a fourth of South Sudan’s population is somehow on the run . Looking at this , what is the reaction of the international community ? Mostly sitting tight and looking elsewhere . The last ones to do something  — anything — are the Japanese . Poor Japanese ! They had promised to fund the National Dialogue loudly promised by the Merry Band of Robbers in Juba that pretends to be a “Government”. This sounded like a relatively moderate and reasonable initiative and Tokyo promised to foot the bill . But there was still one hurdle to clear  : the  Juba artists had –reluctantly — promised to accept a new “peace force” on top of UNMISS. But there was one (Juba edicted) proviso : the Regional Peace Force (RPF) had to be …………regional . But since the regional States are quite wary of sending troops to South Sudan , the UN brokered a deal with …………………Bangladesh and Nepal ! On April 7th , Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth expressed the refusal of his “Government” to accept such exotic soldiers in the RPF . Tokyo did not like it and said (unofficially) that sorry , no RPF , no money for the National Dialogue . The Juba authorities immediately shot back that there would be no national dialogue “for lack of funds”. The same Juba autorities spend 50% of their national budget on weapons (weapons , not soldiers’ salaries : the SPLA troops have not received any money for the last four months ; instead they are allowed to loot whatever comes their way) but they could not come up with a minimum perdiem for a national dialogue . Instead of National Dialogue , President Salva Kiir just issued a radio appeal , asking “those who are in the bush” to “join hands with us and abandon violence“. This was the shortest negotiating session ever . But who is in the bush ? The problem is that it is just about anybody who is neither a Dinka nor a refugee . Fighting is now spluttering almost anywhere . At the beginning of the month it was in Eastern Equatoria , around Parajok , at the foot of the Imatong mountains , where the SPLA was killing Acholis . A week later it burst near Mapel , South East of Wau . Organized rebels (probably Nuer of SPLM/IO) attacked the SPLA . Battle losses were never given by either side but angry SPLA men went around several neighborhoods in Wau , shooting non-Dinka civilians , mostly Luo but including some others (Jur , Belanda or Fertit) . A few days later dozens more were killed when Murle warriors attacked a Bor Dinka cattle camp in Eastern Lakes Province . The Bor-Pibor road had been closed after several cars and buses were shot up . The Bor are now gathering forces to counter-attack the Murle . Where is this going ? Probably nowhere because nobody is ready to try doing anything and even if anybody were , the obvious solution is not offering itself visibly . Roughly speaking , the Dinka , draping themselves in their past “liberation” glory , are trying to take over the Southern Sudan because they combine the largest tribal population , the weapons and the official legitimacy of having had control of what passes for “government” in the eyes of the international community . What they do not have is the 70% of the population who are not Dinka . Some Dinka are aware of the fact that this “policy” is a dead-end road leading nowhere but tribal passion still keeps most of the big tribe if not united at least mostly roped together . There won’t be a genocide , either by or against the Dinka , because the place is way too much of a mess (and too big as well) to have a genocide . But thousands will die , not so much by bullets , but through starvation , sickness and exhaustion . The toxicity of the situation is limited since the poor refugees are mostly running for their lives and do not have the military capacity to upset anything in their countries of asylum (except perhaps locally the Nuer in western Ethiopia , around Gambella) . The “solutions” proferred by the international community would be laughable if they did not make you want to cry . The last advice was provided by Mr Festus Mogae when he went to see Riak Machar , still living under house arrest  in South Africa , and asked him “to renounce violence and join the National Dialogue” . This was shortly before the National Dialogue aborted “for lack of funds“. The fact that Juba was spending milions of dollars purchasing weapons was known to Mr Mogae but he went ahead anyway and asked Riak Machar to marry a corpse . Riak Machar has to be included in any solution but he cannot be relied upon to marshall a miracle . Now South Sudan has entered a variety of the concept of a Hobbesian war , which is “the war of all against the Dinka — but without any alliance or unity“. Many of the “rebels” behave more like thugs than like freedom fighters and the refugees are running away from them almost as much as they are running away from the SPLA . Thomas Cirillo is sitting in Addis Ababa , waiting for the goodwill of the Ethiopians ; Riak Machar is biting his nails in polite detention in South Africa ; the various tribal militias are on the loose and UNMISS , with its new gung-ho commander (see my last blog) , is waiting for New York to come up with something (!) . None of this is likely to lead to anything constructive , given the fact that the whole political elite (not the victims ; but those have no voice) refuses the notion of any international mandate over their benighted land .

The appointment of a new UN Force commander in South Sudan could signal a change of policy

The appointment of Rwanda’s Brigadier-General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on April 7th could mean an inflexion of the roles played by outsiders in the South Sudan conflict . The last C.-in-C. , Kenyan General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki , had been a complete disaster . Named in May last year he looked completely passively on the fighting of July 8th whihc blew apart the fragile peace agreement signed a year earlier . He did not raise a finger , event tentatively , to try to stop the fighting when former VP Riak Machar was nearly killed and later forced to flee the capital with his military entourage , vastly outnumbered by the goverment troops there (about ten to one ) . A few days later that same General kept looking on passively when drunken SPLA soldiers invaded the Terrain Hotel compound and started beating guests (mostly UN personnel) , stealing everything in sight and raping the women. UN secretary General Ban Ki Moon waited till November , expecting some explanation or excuses from Kenya but when none came he fired Johnson Mogoa in November 2016 . Uhuru Kenyatta’s answer was to say Kenya had been insulted (!) and to decide to withdraw his “peacekeeping contingent” from UNMISS . In any case , since the Kenyans (or any other UN personnel for that matter) never did anything related to “keeping the peace” , thier departure was not missed . But the new commander just appointed by the UN Secretary General is made of a different cloth . He was a key frontline commander during the Rwandan civil war (1990-1994) and one of the few RPF officers who dared stand up to Kagame . He personnally fought in the frontlines (something Kagame was never enthusiastic about) and quietly stood his ground when the Great Leader tried to order him around . He also disliked the police intervention of his troops in order to “discipline” the Hutu population in the hills and he tried to keep a good balance between security and repression . It is likely he will definitely be more active than Johnson Mogoa and perhaps more politically involved  . Of course , a lot depends on how supine the UN will be in its “peacekeeping” position . Legless men can’t run and Kamanzi cannot perform miracles . But he comes at an opportune moment because , over the last few weeks , the complete melting down of the security situation in South Sudan has made President Museveni think . Museveni has a long experience of melting governments : he  successfully fought one in Uganda between 1981 and 1986 and he failed while fighting another one in the Congo between 1998 and 2002 . If he has retained some of his own bushfighting and revolutionary experience , he must know that the Dinka tribal experience dressed in SPLA uniforms is runing low on political fuel at this point . On April 7th a desperate Salva Kiir both announced that the planned “national dialogue” which was supposed to start in March will after all never start because there was no money left to organize it ; and he then launched into a desperate call “for all armed elements to stop violence and join hands in bringing peace” . No more mention of Riak Machar and SPLM/IO , Salva Kiir’s was a voice calling in the wilderness , to all those terrible people who were ambushing traffic on the roads and killing whoever was coming by . Most of them were non-Nuer and non SPLM/IO . And they were making a mess and killing everybody ruthlessly . Civil war is not a tuxedo dinner .  In a way , it was a political dialogue of one so Salva got no contradiction . He got no support either . The previous day (April 6th) a meeting had taken place in Uganda between Rebecca Nyandeng (Mrs Garang) , Majok d’Agoot , General Oyai Deng Ajak and Kosti Manibe with President Museveni . M7 seemed to be somewhat shaken and in a soul-searching mood . It seemed as if he was beginning to feel that he might have taken the wrong road in supporting Salva Kiir up to and beyond any level of blind tribal repression . The thousands of refugees pouring into his own country , into Ethiopia and even into the former arch-enemy , Sudan , were proof enough that things were deeply wrong . The August 17th 2015 “peace agreement” , a mantra still sung mechanically by all the institutional actors , is dead . M7 is beginning to think of an alternative strategy . At least he’ll have a real UN commander to talk with .

Somaliland and the UAE tie the knot

Somaliland and the UAE tie the
On March 19th the Foreign Minister of Somaliland , Sa’ad Ali Shire and a certain Mohamed al-Huwaydi signed in Abu Dahabi the agreement finalizing the deal between the United Arab Emirates and the unrecognized republic of Somaliland . First question : why is Mr al-Huwaydi’s official title not given in the official UAE communiqué ? Could it be a case of (almost) plausible deniability where the UAE could later disclaim any dealing with the quasi state as if it were a real recognized state ? Of course in diplomatic and political terms this would be poppycock . But it probably could fly legally if the UAE signatory was some Said al-Huwaydi , a purely private citizen . So it could be that the marriage started on the wrong foot , with one of the partners already trying to be unfaithful to the other . Keep looking , we will try to track down Mr al-Zuwaydi’s full functionalities ! But apart from the mystery surrounding the UAE signatory there are a number of points defining more precisely the future relationship between Abu Dhabi and the unrecognized state . First the UAE military would be allowed to use the Berbera airport , whose origin goes back to the days of Siad Barre’s alliance with the Soviet Union in the 1970s . This old Russian runway has been overhauled , lengthened and modernized by the US during the first Gulf War and then redone again before the invasion of Iraq . It just needs a touch of dusting off to be fully operational again and used to bomb AQIP and the Houthi on the other side of the Red Sea . Then the UAE will be supposed to build (in fact restore) a road between Berbera and Tug Wajale , which means a better commercial connection with Ethiopia . Then there are a couple of commercial clauses with little application before the treaty moves to the nitty-gritty : UAE and Somaliland to work together on security. That is the heart of the matter , especially if we link this point 5 with point 6 which says : the deal will open the doors for contacts between Somaliland and the international community. In plain English this means : you poor forgotten folks isolated from the world community ? you will become our allies in the Yemen war and in exchange we will escort you for your first footsteps on the international dance floor , hold your hand and introduce you to “those who matter”. The real question behind this is : what are the Somalilanders going to be asked to do in exchange for this treatment of favor ? In fact nobody really knows at this point . The danger is for the fragile – but fighting-capable – state to be drawn into a major war which the GCC can’t win because it faces tougher and better combatants than the troops it can line up in Yemen . Over the past three years , the Americans have supplied an estimated $25 to $30 billion in military supplies to the Coalition . With very slim or non-existent results . There are still another estimated $25 billion in the US pipeline and nobody knows whether it will have more effect on the coalition’s fighting performance. So will Somaliland be allowed to reap diplomatic and financial benefits from the treaty or will it have to engage further and sent foot soldiers to bolster the GCC position ? Nobody questions the military capacity of the Somali soldiers …………at home ! But the last time the Somali were deployed as mercenaries abroad was when the Italians used them in their occupation forces in Ethiopia in 1936 . And they were deployed in what was culturally for them “enemy territory”. How would they perform in Yemen ? And would the Emirati keep their end of the bargain ? This is exactly what motivated Somaliland FM Sa’ad Ali Shire to declare two months ago that he would rather resign than agree to the treaty . Apparently he has changed his mind . His present position is a bet on a fluid situation which is mostly out of his control . The future will tell whether his bet is successful .

March 21st 2017

7. UAE to give emergency aid to the people affected by the drought in Somaliland


The deal behind Riak Machar’s house arrest

Last August , after Riak Machar had nearly been assassinated the previous month in Juba while trying to implement the South Sudanese “Peace Agreement” and had walked to the Congo , he had been exfiltrated from Goma by a Sudanese plane , together with his wife , son and a number of top-ranking SPLM/IO officers . This then led to a bizarre diplomatic choreography where Riak was at first sent (at his own request) to Addis Ababa . But there he was told he could not stay and had to go back to Khartoum . In Khartoum he was re-deported to Ethiopia with the message that he could not come back to Sudan . Stranded in Addis , he was finally picked up by the South Africans who sent him to Johannesburg where he still remains under house arrest to this day . What were the reasons behind this bizarre ballet and why do they still matter ?

The key reason was John Kerry’s insistence that the former South Sudan VP had to be “cleaned out” so that Salva Kiir’s picking up and promoting Taban Deng Gai as a new VP representing the opposition SPLM/IO within the Peace Process could be sold to international public opinion as legitimate . By doing this , President Obama hapless Secretary of State was trying to kill two birds with one stone : (a) promoting the lifting of sanctions against the Sudanese regime so as to accelerate its “normalization” , regardless of its atrocious real behavior (b) push forward a Canada Dry version of the South Sudanese “Peace Agreement” where the Nuer Quisling Taban Deng Gai would be promoted as a genuine “opposition” article and finalize the so far bloodily deficient “Peace Process”. To achieve these dubious policy “breaks” , Kerry had a clear request : both Khartoum – hopeful for a sanction-free US policy – and Addis Ababa – a large recipient of US aid and diplomatic friendship – were told to cooperate ; and they both did . But these were programmatic gesticulations , not real actions impacting real reality . So Khartoum kept behaving as usual , bombing civilians in the Nuba Mountains and using chemical weapons in Darfur ; and so did Juba , buying more weapons in the midst of an officially-proclaimed famine and massively killing civilians in the Equatorias . John Kerry fluttered away , swept by the Trump hurricane , Beshir kept being Beshir , trying to crush SPLM/N best as it could and Salva Kiir kept being Salva Kiir , proclaiming a “national dialogue” in which he refused the participation of the opposition . As a result , life just went on . Delirious Trump never gave a fraction of a thought to Sudan (does he know it exists ?) Beshir arrested more opponents and subcontracted some Janjaweed killers to Saudi Arabia so that they would go and kill Yemenites instead of killing migrants in the Libyan desert (see another posting of today) and the Crisis Management Committee (CMC , the body supposed to supervise the implementation of the ghost August 17th 2015 “Peace Agreement” stole its own budget . Yes . You read correctly . The CMC “Peace Committee” , true to its South Sudanese governmental syndrom , stole its own funds and pocketed them , sharing the loot between sixty different persons . The CMC is presided by Juba’s Vice-President James Wani Igga and comprises six ministers and many high level civil servants . The total amount stolen is a modest $14.75 million at the official exchange rate , much less if we calculate the stolen South Sudan Pounds at the rate resulting from the roaring inflation . Adut Salva Kiir , daughter of the President, was the top scorer who got 14 millions devalued pounds from the kitty . Mr David Kueth, was the loser in the hierarchical split , getting only $705 at the official rate, probably just enough to buy some cookies for his breakfast at the black market rate . But now General Thomas Cirillo , the only Equatorian military heavyweight in the SPLA , jut defected . His defection is in the way of totally remixing the cards of the rebellion and has started to question Riak Machar’s role as symbol of the South Sudan rebellion . So the Kerry deal does not look like it has produced the fruits the US Secretary of State expected .

Janjawid in Yemen

In a discreet memorandum signed in Riyad last week , the Sudanese Government has agreed to send to Yemen a number of Darfurian “Border Guards” , i.e. the violent raiders we have learned to call Janjawid since 2003 .

We were not able to learn about the numbers planned to be sent but it seems to be somewhere around 500 . The financial counterparts seem substantial . This new step in Beshir’s entanglement in the Yemen war has taken place after the Saudi complained about the fact that the troops sent by Khartoum have so far mostly limited their participation in the conflict to logistical and security duties . Saudi wants more offensive actors and it is likely they will get them , given the violent reputation of the “Border Guards” . These have been taken from the units which are at present used to hunt for migrants and stop them from reaching Libya and , from there , Europe . Will the E.U. financing for the detached gentlemen be continued or discontinued ?

March 19th 2017