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Sudan - A nation divided: The United States, Britain and China
The seventh in our series of articles about Sudan’s pending referenda focuses on the United States, the United Kingdom and China and the remarkable double standards at work. But in the final analysis, do these superpowers really welcome an independent Southern Sudan?
Washington and Britain are not against the weakening and removal of the Beshir regime. They consider the Sudan a terrorism haven, notwithstanding Khartoum’s role in the handing over of the former internationally acclaimed assassin Carlos the Jackal to France; its proposal to arrest Osama bin Laden and send him to Saudi Arabia; and its collaboration with the CIA, especially under Nafi Ali Nafi.
Conversely, a big Islamized Sudan, in the volatile Horn of Africa region, is considered a threat to Western interests. Secession of South Sudan has therefore become an attractive option and is funded and supported by overt and covert means. The breakup of the Sudan, now conveniently being presented as a creation of greedy British amalgamation during the colonial era (and rightly so), is expected and desired by the Western bloc.
The campaign over the Darfur conflict, with its somewhat inflated figures on the number of persons affected coupled with a divisive misrepresentation as being one between African Arabs and Black Africans, indicates a concerted drive to demonize and isolate the Beshir regime. Not that the Beshir regime has not committed atrocities, but one cannot lose sight of the infamous double standard at work.
It must be noted that more than four million Congolese have been killed, and yet no Darfur-type concern has been raised by the same Western bloc. And whilst genocide by Meles Zenawi in Gambella against the Anuaks was ignored, Idris Deby and Obiang Nguema have become two untouchables. Is it because the latter two have more or less handed over their oil to Western companies?
Furthermore, Western policy towards the Sudan and the region has consistently failed to get the overall picture and the implications that affect and would impact on most of the countries in the region.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) drive against Beshir is as much a miscalculation as the joint military drive against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) sponsored and backed by the USA.
"It is no secret that American policy and action as concerns the Sudan have been influenced by the IGAD, by the UN representative for the Sudan" — Eritrean-born Haile Merkerios, a longtime pro-American.
This policy has not, however, been consistent with several factions advocating either aggressive hardline policy or preaching the carrot-and-stick approach. It should again be noted that the new US embassy in Khartoum would be the biggest in Africa and would be the center for the whole Horn of Africa region.
What is happening in South Sudan has and will have its impact on Darfur, and the Darfur reality is expected to lead to the “Darfurization of Chad,” for example. And will the secession bug spread all over Africa? In other words, by reckless support for the breakup of the Sudan, without considering the dynamics of the Horn of Africa region, the West may be unleashing a dangerous and divisive virus all over the region and Africa. But should Southern Sudanese be denied their inalienable right to decide on their destiny?
In the case of China, a question begging for an answer is: "Has China turned imperialist?"
Be that as it may, China is involved to a high extent in the Sudan, as well as neighboring countries including Ethiopia, trying to quench its thirst for oil and other mineral resources.
Beijing has backed Omar Beshir all the way, armed his forces, given him diplomatic support and even at one point been involved directly and militarily in South Sudan.
And as the situation stands, the Asian giant would prefer for the status quo to continue, but cunningly, China has also started courting the Government of South Sudan and bid for building the pipeline from Juba to Lamu to bypass the pipelines in the North.
However, an independent South Sudan may be more inclined to ally with the West than with China. And this makes the secession of South Sudan unattractive to China.