Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 26 January 2017

Obama and Bashir: The wrong choice – the wrong side of history

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By Dr El-Tahir El-Faki

It is sometimes understandable that policy makers are forced to side with one preference or the other in regional political conflicts, and they makee choices they later regret. Some may try to avoid taking sides which usually don’t work.

And regardless of the grave humanitarian crisis, war crimes and genocide committed against ordinary Sudanese citizens, outgoing US President Obama decided to reward and ease sanctions on Bashir’s tyrannical regime in Sudan on Friday 13th January 2017 based on:
• Acknowledgement of Sudan’s efforts to reduce internal conflict
• Improvement humanitarian access to people requiring aid
• Curtailment of "terrorism”

The easing of sanctions will be delayed by 25 weeks in order to give further incentives to the Sudanese government to continue its reforms.

Despite step ups of lobbying including calls by civil right groups and activists demanding extra pressure on Bashir to end unjust practices and to stand accountable for the loss of lives in Darfur, Blue Nile and Kordofan, the Obama administration gave deaf ears and forged statements that all is well to remunerate.

Reflecting on the ongoing strength of the support for easing sanctions against Bashir adopted by the successive US envoys to Sudan, it is important to recall that they have opted to be at odd with views of the Sudanese people at home and abroad. Scott Gartion was the weakest link and the staunchest advocate for rewarding Bashir for concessions he never got.

The Obama administration has kept a blind eye on Bashir’s poor human rights bustles, including rapes and the use of cluster bombs in Kordofan and chemical weapons in Darfur recently reported by Amnesty International.

The sanctions against Bashir’s regime have proved positive since 1997 and they made perfect sense when properly applied against beneficiaries and individuals involved in crimes and atrocities against the people. The sanctions were supportive of international law, of genuine moral principles, a significant diplomatic perform to oppose brutality, violence and repression.

It is not hard to understand the faltering by delaying the implementation of an Executive Decree for six months. Obama is aware he is undermining the policies of his predecessors and tantalising his successor. And for him to ignore Bashir’s violent intricacies and aggressions is to literally compromise policy of containment against tyranny and violence. Mr Obama reluctantly signed the order but felt at ease to give a probation period for Bashir to test his resolve for change. By doing so Obama has chosen to ignore the American public opinion and the Democratic voters in particular who are far more critical of Bashir and oppose the kind of advance he gave.

Obama’s handling of Bashir seams appeasing and lacks empathy for ordinary Sudanese lives and rights. Values that sustain democracy and human rights have been compromised and allowed to exist side by side and grow with seeds of repression and genocide. The decree erodes the chains of the ICC claims around Bashir’s neck.

The enduring conflict between Bashir and his opponents is seen by his advisors to pose major challenges to the ability of the US to advance her interests in South Sudan and the African continent at large. The easing of the sanctions is likely to foment anti-American sentiment due to a perception of U.S favouritism for Bashir. National and the marginalised people in Sudan anger over US policy is apt to limit the strength and potency of U.S partnership and weakens legitimacy of moderate regime in a future Sudan. Meanwhile militant groups may exploit that anger to mobilize support for influence in areas of interest to U.S policies.

And Bashir rewarded Obama just a day later on 14/01/2017 by preventing opposition leaders from leaving the country to participate in a meeting of the Sudan Call forces in the French capital Paris. The meeting aimed at discussing the organizational structures of the alliance and at considering means of peaceful protests, civilian mobilization and disobedience in the country.

Bashir remains precisely the villain Obama campaigned during his elections to deal with if voted into power. It is very sad that he is leaving behind a legacy allying him with a policy that allows Bashir to continue in power and not to face the dock of the ICC in ‘The Hague’. And in all this mess President Obama stood on the wrong side of history leaving Bashir to carry on with the new business establishment.

We are not against lifting sanctions against our country, but we are without doubt against loosening the nooses off the rogues that are behind all the mess in Sudan.

The author is Dr. El-Tahir El-Faki, Chairman of the JEM Legislative Assembly
He can be reached at tahirelfak54@gmail.com



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  • 26 January 06:59, by Ssam

    I cant believe El-Faki has the audacity to talk, coming from a murderous, ethnically driven, Islamic terror organisations working as mercenaries killing S Sudanese.

    Let me try and educate El-Faki since he clearly hasnt got a clue. I dont which Sudanese you’re talking about. The ones belonging to your tribe, rebel group or asylum seekers outside. The majority living in Sudan are pleased with it.

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    • 26 January 07:03, by Ssam

      But since El-Faki hasnt been to Sudan in last 15 years, he wouldnt know what the sanctions are doing to the majority of ppl. Just because it fits your selfish objectives, doesnt mean ppl agree with it. I dont see Sudanese in Khartoum or Elfashir yelling ’JEM JEM’. Stay in your air-conditioned hotel man, save us your racist opinion.

      As for why America lifted Sanctions;

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    • 26 January 07:06, by Ssam

      1- The sanctions were there for your benefit. It didnt say will keep sanctions until JEM or Yasir Arman tell us to stop. America is a sovereign nation, ALL its decision is based on interest and not activist fake teary stories or suited rebel mercenaries earning a living off their countries destruction. America has more urgent matters to take Sudan off the list, but what would your racist mind know

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    • 26 January 07:08, by Ssam

      The entire sanctions idea is to control Sudan geopolitically, economically and strategically. To keep China, Russia and others away until a ’cooperative’ government comes into power. But time told them this Government can give them all it wants. the abuses or actions of SD gov are not different to many american allies, Saudi arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan.

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    • 26 January 07:12, by Ssam

      2- Like it or not, sudan is an important strategic ally to have, whether they play nice or not. They can help with many issues the region currently cant handle. Libya, S Sudan, Somalia, Alshabab, Alqaida, Buko Haram and even ISIS.

      3- Every country you can think of - EVEN Israel - asked America to lift Sanctions. What do all these countries dont know that you El-Faki are so delusional to criticis

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    • 26 January 07:16, by Ssam

      5- America & the world know exactly what you, JEM, SLM (with all its mercenary subdivisions) & SPLMN are. You were useful for the time & now you’re a pain. They know you have no popularity in sudan - all of you combined wouldnt equal 5% of the population. So what persecution, genocide are you talking about.

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    • 26 January 07:19, by Ssam

      6- America was the first country to report no genocide in Darfur, before they realised, wait a sec, we can use this to our advantage. You got to smell something fishy when the same person claiming WMD in Iraq now stated Genocide in Darfur - Powells. How can the arabs/gov be targeting darfuries when 1 million live IN Khartoum, you moron.

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    • 26 January 07:25, by Ssam

      7- PPL are sick of you & Prendergast who milked the Darfur issue till it became sour. You cant be repeating the same lines on every Tv station/program for 10 years & ppl not get sick of it. Now that they see whats happening in Libya, SSudan & Syria the world is saying. Darfur what? Please that was nothing! The actually see ppl die & graves - none in Darfur, lie discovered.

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    • 26 January 07:28, by Ssam

      Definition of genocide - one race trying to eliminate another - many examples; Germany/Jews, Rwanda/Tutsi, Dinka/Nuer, Whites/The rest of the World ! But when they see Sudanese Arabs & darfuries around the world, in government & sometimes fighting with each other - its hard to argue the case Mr. El-Faki. So for your own sanity, move on, live off the benefits you gained & die peacefully.

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    • 26 January 07:32, by Ssam

      Dr. El-Tahir El-Faki, Chairman of the JEM Legislative Assembly - Funny - your whole gang numbers in the 2000’s if even that of whats left.

      You should rename it to Chairman of SSudan Nuer elimination mercenary committee. You pay us, we get rid of it. CV includes, work in Libya & Darfur.

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  • 26 January 17:53, by Kalo Yusif Kuku

    The Struggle Continues and Victory is Certain! Ssam, you may think all Sudanese are in Support of you? and Bashir? you will find it difficult to belief your lying to your self one day. Pride will bring you down. Your standing so expressive in support of the racist government at the expense of the common citizen? People like you are the cause of all the chaos in our country.

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    • 26 January 18:04, by Kalo Yusif Kuku

      Keep standing with the government for the well being of your life and family because you do not know what we mean by humanity. The millions of people who have been maimed by Sudan government are worth activism. And because of that we will dedicate our entire life defending humanity. We are against discrimination of any sort. Never should a Sudanese be discriminated because O race, color or religio

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      • 26 January 18:13, by Kalo Yusif Kuku

        We are never racists but activists of humanity. Neither are we for African dominance of the government or Arab dominance. We are against either side dominating and brutalizing the other, just like the Sudan government has misled us. Give us time. Time to come, your conical ideas of praising arabization and Islamization will not work. Better think outside the box my brother.

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        • 29 January 10:08, by Ssam

          Thank U for proving my point Kalo of your blind brainwashed racist views. Nowhere in my comment did i praise the government, Arabisation or Islamisation. But you automatically assume so cause of your narrow views. The gov is made of the entire mix of cultures & races in Sudan, so to label it as racist is absurd. dislike the gov thats your right but to use race as an excuse to gain western support!

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        • 29 January 10:12, by Ssam

          and sympathy is cheap & opportunistic, which exactly what these armed movements are doing. If this was truly a race war, then why are rebels made up of a 1000-3000 (JEM, SLM-MM) SLM-AW probably dont exceed 500 & we know the SPLMN uses Nuba & SSudanese to fight its war. The millions of those proud races chose not to fight your selfish war destroying their country. You’re delusional & blind !

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        • 29 January 10:18, by Ssam

          Living in the West comfortably & spewing your hatred doesnt give your life meaning or a cause. It simply means you are happy to see the people you claim to represent (i dont know who elected you on their behalf), suffer endlessly. But the narrow-minded selfish mercenary leaders of these rebels wont dare ask the people of darfur, Nuba or B.Nile their opionon! Because the fight isnt about them.

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