Entries in Sudan (31)


Report: Sudan Supplying Arms to Syrian Rebels

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In a complicated arrangement, Syrian rebels have been getting arms supplies from the Republic of Sudan, the New York Times reports.

According to the paper, the Syrian opposition has been using weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles and small-arms cartridges that are made by Sudan and China.

The weapons are placed into rebel hands through a complex route, first being sold to Qatar, which opposes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and then shipped through Turkey before winding up with opposition groups.

It remains unclear how much of an impact the weapons from Sudan have had in helping the rebels to fight the much-better-equipped Syrian army and its allies, including Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon.

However, the action seems to underscore the frustration the Syrian opposition feels as it awaits military help from the U.S. and Europe, which has been slow in coming.

Furthermore, Sudan's arms shipments also likely won't please close allies Iran and China, which support al-Assad's regimes.

The Times explains the motivation might purely be financial, as the west African nation is in dire economic straits.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Israel Mum on Mystery Explosion in Sudan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli officials on Thursday would not confirm nor deny that the Israeli military carried out an attack Tuesday night on a weapons factory just south of the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

The African nation directly accused Israel of launching a night time air raid on the Yarmouk factory, with a senior minister telling reporters, “The people have seen it with their eyes -- four planes coming from the east, and we have no enemy other than Israel.”

Israel has long accused Sudan of being a base of support for Iran and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, calling it a conduit for arms heading to militant groups in the Gaza Strip via the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak refused to comment in an interview Wednesday night, but a top aide, Amos Gilad, repeated those accusations Thursday on Israel’s army radio.

“Sudan is a dangerous terrorist state.  To know exactly what happened, it will take some time to understand,” he said.

Sudanese officials have denied the allegations of arms smuggling.

The alleged attack happened overnight Tuesday and reportedly killed two people.  Sudanese officials initially said a fire started in a storage hall and that nothing pointed to an “external” cause.

Video of the early aftermath posted online looked like fireworks being set off, followed by raging fires and thick plumes of smoke.

Sudan’s state news agency said Thursday that the four Israeli planes used “hi-tech jamming devices” in the attack and a local Sudanese reporter told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that there was a telecommunications blackout for about an hour before the explosions at the factory.

Sudan’s Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said that contrary to Israeli belief, the plant didn’t make advanced or nuclear arms, only “traditional weapons.”  Sixty percent of it had been destroyed, he said.  Osman warned that Sudan would now respond “at a place and time we choose.”

Haaretz reported Thursday that “opposition sources” in the Sudan claimed the factory was actually owned and operated by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.  Alex Fishman, an Israeli military analyst, agreed.

“One thing is certain: That factory did not belong to the Sudanese military industries,” he said.  “It was a factory that belonged to the government in Tehran and which was run by Iranians.  If there were any casualties in the attack, it is reasonable to assume that some of them were Iranian.”

Iran analyst Yoel Guzansky at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, who used to work at Israel’s National Security Agency, also agreed, saying he believes the target was a Iranian facility within the Yarmouk complex known to Israeli intelligence.

Asked whether Israel carried out the strike, Guzansky responded, “I really don’t know.”

“It’s easy for Sudan to blame Israel, even if they know it’s other countries like Egypt or the U.S. It’s not as costly politically,” he said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast placed blame for the explosion squarely on Israel, calling it an attack that was a “clear violation of international rules and regulations” and said it “would escalate tensions in the region,” according to Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Israel is also believed to have carried out a strike against a Hamas weapons smuggler in Sudan in 2006 and was accused of a missile strike on Port Sudan in 2011 and another in eastern Sudan in 2009.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sudan and South Sudan Strike Deal on Oil Fees

SIMON MAINA/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration Saturday lauded an oil revenue deal between Sudan and South Sudan. The two former civil war foes came to an agreement Friday on fees for landlocked South Sudan to export its oil through Sudan's pipeline.  

The deadline set by the U.N. Security Council for the two neighboring countries to strike a deal passed on Thursday, The Los Angeles Times reports.  Both nations faced sanctions if they failed to find a resolution.

On Saturday as he celebrated his 51st birthday at Camp David, President Obama congratulated the two countries in a written statement for finding compromise on the issue and applauded the international community for encouraging efforts to reach a resolution.

"This agreement opens the door to a future of greater prosperity for the people of both countries," the president said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also welcomed the agreement while traveling through Kenya, saying that the deal "reflects leadership and a new spirit of compromise on both sides."

Secretary Clinton said the deal was particularly important to "establishing strong democratic institutions" in South Sudan, which gained its independence in July 2011.

"South Sudan's leaders led by President Salva Kirr have really risen to the occasion for which they deserve a great deal of credit," Clinton said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Resident Could Face Death Penalty in Sudan

Rudwan Dawod is shown at a Sudan Sunrise school in Sudan. Sudan Sunrise(NEW YORK) -- Rudwan Dawod, a permanent U.S. resident currently in a Sudanese jail facing charges including involvement in a terrorist organization, could now also face the death penalty there.

Dawod had been working in Sudan with the non-profit Sudan Sunrise to build schools and churches in his home country.  ABC's George Stephanopoulos spoke with Dawod's wife Nancy Williams Dawod, and asked her to respond to the accusation that her husband is involved in a terror group.

Watch the interview here:

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As mentioned in the interview, the Sudanese Embassy released a statement to ABC News. The embassy would not speak about Dawod’s case, but did comment on the protests in Sudan.

Here is the full statement from Seif Yasin, the Press and Information Counselor at the Embassy:

“Concerning the sporadic protests witnessed in the country, it is important to note first that Sudan affirms and protects the right of the citizens to demonstrate as they wish, provided that the rules and regulations in place are observed, as they are principally meant to ensure public order and safety.

It is during this delicate process of facilitating self-expression and maintaining public order on which some opportunists capitalize to inspire violence and chaos or smear Sudan’s image. Fair observers will note how easily things can get out of hand in such settings if the laws that regulate such an affair are not adhered to, be it in Sudan or the United States. The world has witnessed plenty of such disasters. Occupy wall Street protests are a case in point, where numerous arrests were made by the New York Police. While we cannot comment on any one specific case, if any arrests do occur in Sudan, the detained individuals will most certainly have a fair and just trial in court.

Moreover, these protests, though by no means comparable to the ones elsewhere in the world might very well reflect the genuine grievances of a few, relating to economy and job opportunities. And indeed the Government recognizes this and has been aggressively moving to tackle these same economic adversities that the entire world is today challenged with. But in this process, order must prevail, not chaos.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


At Holocaust Memorial, Obama Unveils New Sanctions on Syria, Iran

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama announced new steps Monday aimed at preventing authoritarian regimes from using mobile phone and Internet technologies to perpetrate mass atrocities against their people.

In a somber address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Washington, his first visit as president, Obama said he had signed an executive order authorizing new sanctions on Syrian and Iranian companies and individuals that use the tools to monitor, track and target dissidents.

“These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them,” Obama said. “And it's one more step that we can take toward the day that we know will come, the end of the Assad regime that has brutalized the Syrian people, and allow the Syrian people to chart their own destiny.”

Obama also said he was extending the mission of a group of U.S. military advisers in Uganda who have been helping that country combat the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony.

The president also announced that he has directed U.S. intelligence agencies to prepare the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate on the potential for mass killings in countries around the world and the potential impact of the events.

The Atrocities Prevention Board, a new advisory panel which Obama established in August, will convene for the first time Monday, Obama said, and would play an integral role in indentifying and addressing what the White House calls “atrocity threats.”

The administration said it would also begin offering “challenge” grants to encourage the private sector to develop new technologies to allow citizens at risk of being victims of genocide or mass killings better share information and communicate with the rest of the world.  

“We need to be doing everything we can to prevent and respond to these kinds of atrocities, because national sovereignty is never a license to slaughter your people,” Obama said.

The president’s visit to the Memorial was billed as an opportunity to formally mark Holocaust Remembrance Day -- officially last Thursday – and to highlight the administration’s record on preventing a similar atrocity from ever happening again.

After touring the museum’s exhibits – an experience Obama described as “searing” – he outlined U.S. diplomatic and military efforts in South Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya and Uganda to stem human rights abuses and violence against groups of people.

“I made it clear that preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.  That does not mean that we intervene militarily every time there's an injustice in the world.  We cannot and should not,” Obama said.

“It does mean we possess many tools, diplomatic and political and economic and financial and intelligence and law enforcement, and our moral suasion.  And using these tools over the past three years, I believe, I know that we have saved countless lives.”  

Obama was introduced by Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Weisel, who joined Obama on a 2009 visit to the Buchenwald concentration camp, which Obama’s great uncle helped liberate.

“One thing we do know is that it could have been prevented. The greatest tragedy in history could have been prevented, had the civilized world spoken up, taken measures,” Weisel said. “In this place we may ask, have we learned anything from it? If so, how is it that Assad is still in power?”

For his part, Obama said he would keep up the pressure on Assad and other authoritarian regimes until they cease violence on their people.

“Awareness without action changes nothing,” Obama said, adding that the world must not allow the “seeds of hate” to take hold again.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


George Clooney Lobbies President Obama on Sudan

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Actor and activist George Clooney visited the White House Thursday to lobby the president on the plight of the people in South Sudan.

“The good news is we feel like there is a commitment at a very high level,” Clooney told reporters at the White House after his meeting with President Obama.

Clooney said he pressed the president on the need to open a humanitarian corridor to allow aid to reach the south before the rainy season begins.

“These are not people who have been suffering a drought and suddenly need our help,” he said. “These are people who farm this land and have lived there -- they are the oldest society in the world -- they have survived a lot of things. Right now their villages have been burned, their crops have been burned. It is too late to grow any crop in order to survive the rainy season.”

Clooney said that the president plans to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao in the coming weeks and that efforts to stop the violence in Sudan will be one of the topics they discuss.

China has new economic incentives to get involved in the effort, Clooney explained. The violence is shutting down oil production, cutting off some of China’s supply.

Asked about the viral Kony 2012 video, which aims to bring attention to accused war criminal Joseph Kony, Clooney, who has been traveling and hasn’t yet seen the video, said “anytime you are making the names of people who are charged for war crimes famous, I think that’s good.”

Clooney brought his message to Capitol Hill this week, where he called for tougher economic sanctions and increased diplomatic pressure on the Sudanese government to stop committing “war crimes” against civilians.

Clooney was joined at the White House by John Prendergast, founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project, an organization that uses satellite imagery to monitor Southern Sudan. The group hopes to use the images as evidence of the atrocities in Sudan to raise the level of protection and bring those responsible to justice.

The actor, who has donated money to Obama’s campaign, also attended the State Dinner at the White House Wednesday night, where he sat next to first lady Michelle Obama.

Asked about Obama’s chances for re-election, Clooney said “I hope they’re very good. I’m a Democrat and a supporter of the president. I hope he has a successful election.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Clooney on Capitol Hill: 'Constant Drip of Fear' in Sudan

C-Span(WASHINGTON) -- Actor George Clooney argued before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that what happens in conflict-torn Sudan matters to Americans economically.

“South Sudan is shutting off its oil,” Clooney said. “Six weeks ago the South shut down their oil production. They just stopped. And overnight China lost 6 percent of its overall oil imports which means they have to go elsewhere and that raises the price of oil.”

Clooney called on the United States Senate to help toughen the sanctions on the Khartoum government, a government he says is committing “war crimes” against civilians, a bill similar to the House-passed “Sudan Peace Security and Accountability Act.”

Clooney asked the Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee to increase America's engagement in “real diplomacy” starting with China to help solve the cross-border issues together, for “good-solid economic reasons” for both countries. He called on the Obama administration to send a high-level envoy to China to work together on this.

“We can take this moment and engage with China I think for the first time,” Clooney said. “There are economic reasons to do this for both of us and it seems to me that we can use this opportunity, this window of opportunity before it gets too long, too late, by sending a high-level envoy.”

Clooney was just back from a trip to the violent border region between Sudan and South Sudan where he observed the aftermath of Omar al-Bashir’s bombs being dropped on villages and civilians in the Numa Mountains. Aided by a short video of his trip last week, Clooney told the story of villagers forced to dwell in caves out of “constant drip of fear” from the aerial attacks.

“We found children filled with shrapnel including a nine year old boy who had both of his hands blown off,” Clooney said of his trip. “It is a campaign of murder and fear and displacement and starvation.”

John Prendergast, founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project, which uses satellite images to monitor southern Sudan as an “anti-genocide paparazzi” also spoke alongside Clooney. Prendergast says the satellite images are used to “create evidence or future arrest warrants and prosecutions based n the crimes that are being committed now."

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH., wanted to know if, given the popularity of the video, Clooney is contemplating a “stop Kony-like” video for Sudan.

Clooney said he was surprised by the response to the video and noted the powerful role that social media can have in raising attention world-wide to all atrocities.

But Clooney noted that there is “donor fatigue,” and “misery fatigue,” and that big pushes around singular events are extremely important to keep momentum going.

Clooney will meet with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later this week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Condemns Oil Well Bombings in South Sudan

File photo. Hemera/Thinkstock(KHARTOUM, Sudan) -- The United States on Thursday condemned bomb attacks in South Sudan.

While Sudan officials denied any involvement in the bombing of two oil wells in the newly created state, South Sudan officials say Sudanese warplanes bombed an area in Unity State near the countries’ shared border, reports Voice of America. The attack is the latest in escalating tensions between the two states over the southern country’s oil-rich resources.

The U.S. State Department called for an end to the attacks.

“We now have aerial bombardment. We have a considerable escalation of tensions. And we wanted to give a message to both sides,” said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sudan Escalating Military Action Against South Sudan

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(KHARTOUM) -- New satellite images suggest that the Sudanese government is expanding its military presence in the southern region of Sudan near the border with South Sudan.

The watchdog group Satellite Sentinel Project in partnership with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, says that the images demonstrate that the Sudan Armed Forces are “rapidly working to enhance air strike and air assault capacity in two airbases recently captured from rebels in Sudan’s Blue Nile border area.”

These new images, released Friday, come after the Sudan Armed Forces bombed the town of Yida in South Sudan on Thursday in addition to another bombing near the South Sudan border earlier in the week.

Yida hosts more than 20,000 refugees who have fled from the ongoing conflict in the southern region of Sudan where rebel forces and the Sudan Armed forces have been fighting since June.

The White House condemned Thursday’s bombing in a statement, calling the bombing an “outrageous act” and saying “those responsible must be held accountable for their actions.”

“The United States demands the Government of Sudan halt aerial bombardments immediately,” the White House statement goes on to state. “We urge the Government of South Sudan to exercise restraint in responding to this provocation to prevent further escalation of hostilities.”

A spokesman for the Sudan Armed Forces denies that the Sudan has bombed anywhere in South Sudan.

“South Sudan is a state in the United Nations. We respect international law, and it’s impossible that we would do that,” the spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid is quoted as saying to Reuters.

South Sudan obtained independence from Sudan in July, after several years of peace talks and a referendum vote in which the people of South Sudan voted in favor of independence from the Sudanese government based in Khartoum.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


State Department Issues Travel Warning for South Sudan

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A few days after becoming a new nation, the Republic of South Sudan has been placed on the U.S. travel warning list.

The State Department issued a warning on Tuesday recommending that travellers avoid areas around the border of Sudan and South Sudan due to increased violence.  With military buildup on both sides of the border, clashes have occurred between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and forces loyal to the government of Sudan. Tensions remain between the two sides, the biggest contention being the presence of about 80 percent of oil reserves in South Sudan which are largely refined in the North.

"In addition to the fighting in the border region, there are at least seven different rebel militia forces that frequently engage in violent clashes with SPLA forces in various areas of South Sudan; these clashes can flare up with little warning," read the warning.

The U.S. and the international community officially recognized the new country that separated from Sudan and declared its independence on July 9. Despite having an embassy in the city of Juba, the U.S. said the new government is unable to provide security or prevent violent crime, therefore the U.S. has  placed restrictions on embassy personnel including riding in armored vehicles and a curfew from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

The department further warned travelers and humanitarian workers in South Sudan to exercise extreme caution when travelling in the area.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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