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US says rebel alliance in Sudan could polarise Arab-Muslim sentiments in the country


March 12, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The United States has told an alliance of rebel groups fighting the Sudanese government on multiple fronts that they could risk provoking Arab and Muslim sentiments in the country.

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U.S. senior diplomat for Darfur Dane Smith (Reuters)

Dane Smith who serves as the assistant on Darfur at the office of the US special envoy to Sudan, said that he advised the rebels to abandon the goal of forcing regime change.

The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), formed last year, is an umbrella group for militias seeking to unseat the government in Khartoum. It includes the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) and a number of Darfur rebel groups namely Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) as well as Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur (SLM-AW) and Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM).

It launched its first attack last month in the border state of South Kordofan. Sudan regularly says that the newly independent state of South Sudan is backing the rebels with arms and men.

"We told the alliance [of rebel groups] that we would not support overthrowing the government by force," Smith said in answer to a question after his lunchtime speech to about 60 local activists and students at East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette newspaper, the US official said there is a chance that Arabs and Muslims in Sudan could feel they are being targeted by the rebel alliance which is comprised of mainly non-Arab groups.

The rebel alliance could "polarise the Arabs [who dominate the Sudanese government] against everyone else, so they can say, ’Arabs are under attack. Islam is under attack,’ " he said.

Instead, he said, the US government has told the alliance and particularly the Darfur rebels that they should "engage" the government in negotiations based on the Doha peace agreement signed in July last year by the government.

The Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) is the only rebel group that signed the accord which was rejected by other movements JEM, SLM-MM and SLM-AW.

Smith also urged Darfur activists to realise the change that happened in the restive region from the height of the conflicts eight years ago.

"Our discussions with advocates is an important and ongoing thing," he said. "We haven’t seen justice served in Darfur. But I think it’s important that people understand Darfur isn’t the same place it was in 2003 and 2004".

One of the big changes in Darfur since then, Smith said, was that in 2003 just 18 percent of Darfur was considered urban settlements, but today it is 50 percent urban. This was a result of long residency in the internally displaced people (IDP) camps by millions of Darfuris who fled the fighting.

The US envoy also downplayed United Nations assessments that as security improves in Darfur some of the camp residents will try to move back home,

"These places aren’t just going to empty out" he said.

Mostly African insurgents in Darfur took up arms against the Arab dominated government in 2003, accusing the government in Khartoum of neglecting the remote territory.

Khartoum mobilised troops and allied Arab tribes to quell the rebellion, unleashing a wave of violence that the United Nations and other observers estimate may have killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The International Criminal Court has indicted Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and this month issued a fresh arrest warrant for Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Muhammad Hussein for war crimes in the region.


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  • 13 March 2012 09:14, by Lorolokin

    Dane Smith,

    Your assessment of rebel polarizing the Arabs and Muslim is completely wrong why because those Khartoum is fighting are all muslim, Darfurian been thrown into the fire are Muslim, your assessment could have hold water if the regime is fighting non muslim like what they done to Southern Sudanese.

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    • 13 March 2012 09:19, by Michael Angelo

      Dane Smith is talking about comtrary thing if you don’t understand US politics.

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      • 13 March 2012 09:24, by Daniel Buolmawei

        Well, elaborate Michael, I also failed to understand what he meant. It is strange for me to digest his figurative message.

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    • 13 March 2012 13:45, by Anti Dinka’s

      Am sorry to say this
      your nothing but empty head
      those rebels are The Real Muslims 150%
      Not the Fake Arabs of yours

      The rebels will take the whole Sudan very soon
      mark my word
      you stay there in Washington DC. eating Big Mac
      the rebels didn’t ask for your help

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    • 13 March 2012 17:26, by morogot batal

      dane smith is pro arabs or is protecting the interrest of america in arabs world...the researce of dane smith doesnt have any stand...darfurians that was been thrown on fire and ethnic cleancing that was caried against them and they were muslim...no any christian in darfur...let smith tell the world that he want to defend the availability of the arabs in sudan by any means

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      • 13 March 2012 17:40, by morogot batal

        let MR. DANE SMITH know that the civil war in sudan is not agaianst arabs or muslim....only if he want to say that african are not human being and any one can loot,kill,rape them no question....
        - SPLA were togather with arabs and muslim...
        - darfur are muslim alone...
        - blue nile and nuba mt are mix muslim and christian...
        - south sudan,nuba mt,blue nile and the rest of unmention one...

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    • 14 March 2012 01:24, by zulu

      2 of 2 Photo(s)

      Iranian Drone.jpgIranian shot in South Kordofan.

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  • 13 March 2012 09:21, by Daniel Buolmawei

    I don’t understand what he’s talking about here. Didn’t he know that Darfuris are non-Arabs but 99% Muslim? Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile might be 88% Muslim. So what’s he talking about? If the Arabs try to make it as Arab versus Non-Arab in Sudan, then would be no more Arabs in Sudan. The war in Sudan now has nothing to do with religion, it justice versus injustice war. No Christian South anymore.

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    • 13 March 2012 13:09, by mohammed ali

      Daniel, though I hate this classification, but 50% of Darfurians identify themselves as Arab tribes. Darfur & BN are 100% muslims.The man is talking about resolving conflics peacfully, why should this makes you angry!America will pursue it’s own interest not the interest of SS.I think it is far better for you to direct your attention towards your formidable problems.Your people are living at...

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      • 13 March 2012 13:15, by mohammed ali

        ..the edge of life and you are wasting your time and efforts in preaching war & hatred.War & hatred are burning your country.War should stop, no winner in war!Wishing us bad things is not going to solve your problems or feed your starving people or educate them.Hatred will burn you first.

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        • 13 March 2012 17:03, by Logic

          The U.S is playing politics but what he said is true, those retarded fake uneducated Arabs will think its their religion and culture being attacked rather than people fighting for their dignity and equality on their own land, they’re a bit like the Zionists... INDOCTRINATED by religion.

          But we couldn’t care less, Arab domination is ending by any means necessary. Religion will not be politicized.

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  • 13 March 2012 09:57, by Konan

    SPLM/N and Darfur repels are fully sponsored, armed and financed by South Sudan and Uganda (both Christian) and perhaps USA & Israel (Christian & Jewish). They are fighting SAF at the Borders with South Sudan. Their ultimate objective is to wipe out Islam and Arabs from Sudan,the mission which SPLM/A failed to accomplish, and this could polarize Muslims and Arabs around the World too.

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    • 13 March 2012 10:09, by Chok Deng

      The issue of misleading people about Islam will not work this time,99% of SRF are muslims,what a hell are you saying?No one is supporting your rebels,don’t be misled by Bashir.

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      • 13 March 2012 12:57, by mohammed ali

        Deng, I think US & the whole world know very well who is supporting the so called SPLA\N! It is the same SPLA. No arms could fall from the sky in SK!

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        • 13 March 2012 18:19, by Tribe

          North biggest failure was its action to ignore & water-down SK&BN consultations. If accepted prior to the parting of the South, the North could have had a chance to appease and integrate the SPLA-N forces and its leaders into the governmet.however, due to its complacency and naivity to see the scope of the problem, it has now force the gin out of the bottle &it’s n’t returning anytime soon despite

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        • 14 March 2012 08:42, by Lual Ngor Lual

          No body in SPLA is supporting the rabels in the north. On the same note Nuba mountants and Sourthen blue nile are contested areas and you should not behave as if they belong to north. North rejected popular consultations by the people of those areas and instead waged a large scale war. Frustration of denied justice forced the people to resist any force employed by Kartourm. Where did you get SPLA?

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    • 13 March 2012 15:04, by SUPERMAN

      To: Konan

      Again I am telling u that u r z most idiot person on z globe, u understand nothing .Listen 2 me carefully if the entire planet gathered together 2 wipe out Islam from Sudan they will fail. Important fact, we love the death in z same way u love this life.

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      • 13 March 2012 15:30, by Konan


        Get the fuck out of here and shut up your fucking mouth right now, who are you to call me idiot, funny enough - we love the death in z same way u love this life - for the sake of what u goona die moron and aimless pathetic creature, don’t worry sooner or later will root t in hell with your dead leader John Garang.

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        • 13 March 2012 17:11, by SUPERMAN

          To: Konan the dirty dog

          Really u r proving 2 me every other time that u r second 2 none in stupidity. Why u r commenting on topics while u know nothing. Its better 4 u 2 keep silent and stop providing free examples THAT PROVE UR IGNORANCE

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  • 13 March 2012 10:03, by eye-of-an-eye

    Dear Smith,
    I did understood how you the matured minded person who knows Sudan propblem from your childhood days to say that, the rebel group are muslim may be very few are christian and animist, please there is no means to change Sudan if not by force, the same who claims to be arabs will inherite the power from Bashir and situation in Sudan will remain unchange. NCP change = better Sudan

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    • 13 March 2012 10:11, by Mach Achiek

      Dear readers,

      My Smith is utterly wrong. He should have first read the composition of the Sudanese nation. I don’t believe there will be ever a time whereby a significant number of people will come up and start shouting loud that "we are Arabs".

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  • 13 March 2012 10:09, by eye-of-an-eye

    Smith, I believe you have no grandchildren who are going to suffer in Sudan like us and our brothers in every corner of this country(Sudan), I believe ur living in that luxuriest life compare to our people in refugee camps, are you happy about this comparission, we need a urgent change in Sudan, you have remain fee year to kick your bucket, we are hoping for better Sudan by means of force.

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  • 13 March 2012 10:38, by Konan

    Chok Deng,

    In the past you denied any relationship with Israel to deceive Arabs and Muslims countries such as Egypt, Libya and Iraq to gain their support and later on Kiir visited Israel. The World is changing very fast you can not apply the same trick twice. If South Sudan is not supporting, sponsoring and financing the rebels, could u explain to me why u personally and other Southerners in t

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    • 13 March 2012 10:40, by Konan

      could u explain to me why u personally and other Southerners in the forum openly support them although Sudan is no more united country ????????

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      • 13 March 2012 11:02, by Chok Deng

        We just support ideology of regime change,because this regime is stealing our oil,and hosting South rebels.

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      • 13 March 2012 11:04, by Xeno

        Guys, tell this American old man called Smith that the composition of this rebel alliance is made up of nearly 90% muslims. Tell him too that there are no arabs in sudan, only those who fake it are there. So Where a hell did he get his assessment? he sounds like a bribed idiot.

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        • 13 March 2012 11:49, by abraham

          Thanks bro, the American idiot may be suffering from diseases associated with an old ages. But to tell you the truth, the old man is not alone, most Americans are stupid and know nothing about the world we live in.

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    • 14 March 2012 00:33, by zulu

      Kinan or Konan,

      What is to you whether we tricked you guys or not. We could any kind of arsenal within our reach as you guys also did tricking the Darfuris and Nubians that the war was religious. To the Arabs, you told them it was racial just to get arms. Second, would it matter whether we like the Israelis or not. We have no problems with them, neither do you. Why hate them if u r not ignorant

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  • 13 March 2012 11:26, by Martin Kat

    Guys I think it is a first time to defined who is the Dane Smith. Dane Smith is a man of self-interest he not does the common interest of America. He is a parasite person lives on weak person’s blood. He well known 99% of Sudanese rebels are muslim.

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  • 13 March 2012 11:32, by Konan

    Chok Deng,

    I’m fully convinced with your justification, but first change SPLM/A regime in South Sudan and then extend help to others.

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  • 13 March 2012 12:25, by Konan


    Neither Mr. Smith nor anyone will listen to you. His message was for Sudanese only. You are F O R E I G N E R S i.e. (NON SUDANESE). It is none of your business. Nobody cares for your opinions. Unfortunately, still you are not fully aware of this simple fact. Do you ????????

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  • 13 March 2012 12:28, by pabaak

    Smith don’t get this one, who will told the rebels to surrender to genocidal President and abandon the course of marginalizes?, who will bring Basheir to ICC other than SRF?

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  • 13 March 2012 13:16, by zulu

    Smith is only a Smith knows metals, metals, metals. HeT knows not much of Sudan anyways. There is no Arab in Sudan. The features of these guys is not different from those people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritreans, the coastal Kenyans and Coastal Tanzanians who have kept their identify despite being pushed into Pan Arabism. Those in the Sudan have their dialects other than Arabic.

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  • 14 March 2012 00:45, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

    Dane elder man! do we care about Islamic and Arab, that is ours main goal we are fighting for. Arab are invading against Africa;with their evil islamic Ideology. let them go to hell. Allied white allied with white to settle white element in Africa. who care what you said,will still over throw any devil Arab settlers in Africa.

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  • 14 March 2012 01:02, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

    Dane elder man!
    I think Dane smith is the farmer Slaves owner in America.
    He in heritage that from his Farther who bought slave from African Arab and white ship sailers. so that why he support Arab in african land. He is trying to continues his evil farther practice in the 40s-60s. support Arab we will get ride of the in sudan. liberation of Khartuom mean sudan is one country. Sout-North SPLA!

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  • 14 March 2012 02:39, by BM Bol

    So in his views, the Africans should just accept the status quo and resign themselves to being third class citizens. What a BS!! If this means below Sudan up then let it be. For centuries the self-proclaimed Arab-wannabe have ruining the country to the point that it became functionless. It’s time for Africans to themselves in their own soil and to hell with Arabs.

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  • 14 March 2012 11:06, by Ismail

    I don’t think Ambassador Smith comments are right, what going on in Sudan has nothing to do with Muslims and non-Muslims, or Arab, people in Darfur are 100% Muslims but that doesn’t safe them from been killed from those whom claiming to be the champion of Islam , the same thing is happening in the Nuba mountains. The reasons for the rebellion are marginalisation, discrimination and racism the e

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