Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, featured on Press TV News Analysis discussing the rising tension between North Sudan and South Sudan on April 19, 2012. Azikiwe reviewed the history of this African state and the role of imperialism., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
'Division of Sudan exacerbates tensions'
Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire
Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:14PM GMT
To watch this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe on Press TV News Analaysis from April 19, 2012 just click on the URL below:
A political analyst says the division of Sudan into two parts has further exacerbated the already tense situation in the troubled region . The comment comes as South Sudan captured the Heglig region last week, triggering border tensions with Sudan.
Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has vowed to retake the region. The UN Security Council has discussed imposing sanctions on the African neighbors if they did not stop the violent clashes.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the international electronic press service Pan-African News Wire, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: I’d like to have your view on this, what was the reason for this split (South Sudan’s split from Sudan) and do you agree with what our guest there in Washington is saying?
Azikiwe: Well, we have to go back to the era of British colonialism in Sudan during the 19th century. The British invaded the region during the period of colonialism in Sudan and maintained control all the way up until 1956 when the country became independent. The country was divided into various regions, in fact it did not in a sense have a national identity. Of course the initial civil war erupted in 1955, right on the eve of national independence of Sudan.
The war between the southern region of Sudan and the north largely based in Khartoum lasted from 1955 all the way up until 1972.
There was a peace agreement signed in 1972, however, again in 1983 there was the eruption of another internal conflict that brought about the formation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) that was headed by John Garang.
That lasted for 20 year and eventually the African Union as well as other international organizations were involved in mediating the civil war in Sudan. They came up with a peace agreement which mandated a referendum on the future of South Sudan.
John Garang, who mysteriously died in a helicopter crash just on the eve of the resolution of this conflict, was not a proponent of national independence or separation from the northern part of Sudan.
I believe his position was that he wanted autonomy for the southern part of Sudan. So the division of the country has really just exacerbated tensions between the two capitals and of course there are divisions that are taking place in the south as well in Jonglei and other areas, there are dissident factions that have emerged from the SPLA that have also been involved in conflicts.
Press TV: Well, as a result of the capture of Heglig, Mr. Azikiwe, the Sudanese parliament declared South Sudan an enemy. [Sudan’s President] Omar al-Bashir said that he’ll liberate South Sudan from its rulers. So is he announcing the beginning, actually of an all-out war in your opinion?
Azikiwe: Well the situation is very tense. The former South African President Thabo Mbeki who has been a mediator in the ongoing conflict between the two countries has appealed to the United Nations and to other international bodies to step in to try to prevent the resumption of an all-out military conflict in Sudan.
There was a lot of economic development taking place in Sudan particularly over the last decade. They were producing 500,000 barrels of oil per day.
One important factor in all of this is that the relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Sudan has strengthened over the last few years. In fact 80 percent of the oil concessions for the development of petroleum in Sudan have been held by firms and by state agencies from the People’s Republic of China.
So if we look at this very closely in a way it is a proxy war between the United States and China as well as Israel on the side of the United States. The Israelis have supported the South Sudanese along with the United States in regard to their military apparatus and their training.
Also in the region of Dafur many of the groups there were supported by the US as well as by the state of Israel. The state of Israel has carried out military operations inside of Sudan; two years ago they bombed a convoy of immigrant workers who were just transporting people from Sudan into Egypt.
They claimed that this convoy was smuggling arms from Iran to Egypt into Gaza. Last year also there was a bombing that was carried out by Israeli forces in Sudanese territories. So this is clearly an international conflict.
Press TV: Mr. Azikiwe speaking about the reasons behind the US’s intention, if it indeed has that intention to destabilize Sudan, one issue that was raised there by our guest in Washington, the cutting of Sudan’s oil supply, how is that going to benefit the United States?
Azikiwe: Well, they want to move the Chinese interest out of Sudan. China has made major moves in regard to establishing economic and political relationships with various countries throughout the African continent and this of course is a direct threat to the United States as well as other Western imperialist countries.
I’d also like to mention one of the factors in this whole scenario and that is the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Three years ago the ICC issued warrants for the arrest of President Omar Hassan al- Bashir as well as other leading figures in the Sudanese government.
This of course was done to put more political pressure on the Sudanese government to intensify the animosity that is leveled against that government by various forces throughout the international community.
Now despite the fact that Sudan is not even a signatory to the so called Rome Statute which established the ICC, nor is the United States, politically these indictments are used by the United States and by other Western imperialist countries to in fact attempt to isolate the government in Sudan.
So we have both the pseudo legal rationale that is being utilized to isolate the government in Sudan. We have the US concern over the rising role of the People’s Republic of China in Africa and also we have the desire on part of the United States, the Pentagon, the US Africa Command, the US intelligence agencies to enhance their direct control over the politics and the economics of the African continent.