Complicating the problem of separation, however, is southern Sudan’s oil riches. Eighty-five per cent of Sudan’s reserves are located in the south, mostly near the North-South border. Observers see control of the oil as a potential cause of renewed conflict. Two years ago, Khartoum’s army destroyed the market town of Abyei in the oil-rich Abyei region, causing 100,000 black African Dinkas to flee in terror. According to CPA protocols, the Abyei border area is to have its own referendum on whether to join the North or South. The attack was interpreted as lessening the chance of a pro-South vote.
But the biggest reason for North’s possible rejection of a secession vote on January 9 and renewed conflict is that acceptance will mean the end of the Islamist project for East Africa. By their courageous stand, the non-Muslim black African tribes of southern Sudan have blocked the expansion of Islam and Arabization into East and Central Africa. The Arab push down the banks of the Nile and displacement of black tribes, which has been in process for centuries, will hit a wall with the South’s secession and integration into an East African confederation that also sees, and has experienced, the Islamist threat.
The Obama administration has also taken steps to prepare for the South’s decision to separate. In Juba, Clinton said America has opened “a kind of consulate and sent a consul general there.” Obama’s special envoy to the Sudan, Scott Gration, has visited the country about 20 times since his inauguration, indicating Sudan’s priority.
But critics have voiced concern the incentives the president has been offering the northern government to abide by the CPA are inadequate to preserve the peace. Twenty-three members of Congress recently sent a letter to Obama asking him to outline what actions his administration is prepared to take if the Khartoum government, led by Omar el-Bashir who is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes in Darfur, reneges on the CPA. The Bashir government already stands accused of “dragging its feet” on preparations for the referendum in areas such as voter registration and drawing borders in order to have excuses for rejecting the results
“We have witnessed over the past decades that the Bashir government has impeded and reneged on agreements on many occasions,” the letter stated. “A one-sided, incentive-based approach is not only ineffective, but it wrongly rewards obstructionism.”
Given the northern regime’s past record of support for Islamic terrorism, jihad, genocide and harboring Osama bin Laden, if the expected war breaks out, Obama should quickly respond to the northern Islamists in the only language they understand: military force. But at a recent UN meeting on southern Sudan where Obama acknowledged the continuing violence in Darfur, he said that “no one can impose peace and progress on another nation.” Such a statement is in keeping with a leftist president who regards American military power as a force of evil rather than good, wants good relations with Muslim countries, and does not want to be seen as helping to break up an Islamic state.
But President Obama’s Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, proved his statement false, having imposed peace on another country and creating in the process a new state called Kosovo. Hopefully, for the sake of Sudan’s southern black Africans, America’s first black president has not ruled out the military means Clinton used to accomplish this, especially in regard to a country where black slaves are still bought and sold.
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