Col. Joseph Balikuddembe (L), commander of UPDF troops hunting Kony in CAR, and US Navy SEALS commander Capt. Gregory tell journalists that Sudan is harboring, aiding, and arming Kony, in a press conference in Uganda, 04.29.2012. PHOTO BY TABU BUTAGIRA, Uganda Daily Monitor
KPFA Weekend News Host:
Earlier this week, U.S. Special Forces organized a press conference
, where a Ugandan military spokesman announced that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is harboring Joseph Kony, the East African warlord vilified in the viral video KONY 2012 and pictured alongside Hitler and Osama bin Laden in related graphics. KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.
There are 5000 African Union troops led by the Ugandan Army and U.S. Special Forces, now deployed in Uganda and the surrounding region with U.S. weapons, training, intelligence, and logistical support, to hunt down Joseph Kony. So, it would seem suicidal for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to harbor Kony or his LRA militia, but that is what a Ugandan armed forces spokesman told the press this week, according to CNN
and Uganda's Daily Monitor. The Daily Monitor also reported that the press conference was organized by U.S. Special Forces
now working with the Ugandan army.
Joseph Kony, Osama bin Laden, and Adolf Hitler as likened by Invisible Children, makers of KONY 2012.
The Sudanese Information Ministry adamantly denied the allegation, saying that neither Kony nor his Lord's Resistance Army are or will be tolerated within Sudan's borders.
Movie actor George Clooney applauded KONY 2012, the viral video that called for more U.S. Special Forces to hunt Kony, when it came out, but he also said that its makers took the phrase "Make him famous" from him, and that he had actually been talking about Omar al-Bashir.
In a video made for the ENOUGH Project, an organization that, like Invisible Children, lobbies for U.S. military interventions in Africa, Clooney and ENOUGH co-founder John Prendergast, characterized the conflict between North and South as the Arab Moslem North's ethnic cleansing of the Black African and/or Christian South. Clooney and Prendergast spoke from the Nuba Mountains, in one of the oil rich regions remaining in Sudan but claimed by South Sudan.
George Clooney: So this isn't a, a war of retaliation. This isn't a . . . this is simply trying to clear people out, ethnically, because of . . . the color of their skin?
Sudanese Man in Nuba: Yes, they want to destroy the Blacks here. They want to put the Arabs in.
John Prendergast: This is a protection, civilian protection, crisis. We talk all the time about, y'know, the responsibility to protect human life. Right here is a ground zero for that.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Is'mail Kamal, a Sudanese American journalist now in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, spent much of his life in Northern California, where he attended UC Davis. He contacted KPFA to say that this a political problem in need of a political, not military, solution, and that this repetition of the Arab versus African narrative is inflammatory and sick. All of Sudan is part of Africa, he said, and he himself identifies as Arab, Black, and African.
How long can Sudan and South Sudan survive with the oil pipeline from South Sudan to Sudan, and Port Sudan, shut down?
Roughly 3/4 of the oil in what was once a united Sudan now lies within South Sudan's borders but the pipeline, the oil refineries, and the Red Sea Port, Port Sudan, are in the North. In January, South Sudan stopped transporting oil north after Sudan seized $850 million worth of its oil, as payment of fees it said were owed for the South's use of the pipeline. Neither the distribution of oil revenues nor the borders in the oil rich border regions were settled at the time of Southern Sudan's independence in 2011 and they have not been settled since.
Both nations are now crippled by the loss of oil revenues, although Sudan says that it is pumping oil north once again from Heglig, the Sudanese region that South Sudan briefly seized but withdrew from at the behest of the UN Security Council and the African Union.
One of the central questions now is how long either nation can survive without the oil revenues they have come to depend on.