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South Sudan Mired in War Declares Independence As World’s Newest Country

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In August 2010 Tanya Domi spent a few weeks in Sudan advising the Government of Southern Sudan in preparation for its long-anticipated independence that was overwhelmingly approved by voters on January 9. This past weekend Southern Sudan celebrated its independence and America, a key partner in the effort, gave its blessing and pledged its continued support for the fledgling democracy that faces a difficult journey in the months and years ahead.

The Republic of South Sudan this past weekend became Africa’s 54th newest nation and the world’s 195th country, declaring its independence from the Republic of the Sudan, forged by more than 50 years of war, two million dead, and millions of refugees dispersed throughout the world.

The United States has played a key role in supporting Southern Sudan’s quest for freedom, with significant support by the Bush Administration who brokered a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 between the North Arabic speaking and Muslim region of the Republic of the Sudan, led by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and the Christian and animist African south, led by  President Salvaa Kiir, a former general in the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA).

Al-Bashir is an indicted war criminal who is wanted for war crimes committed in Darfur by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Consequently, Sudan has been isolated by most of the world community, although al-Bashir has visited China and the Islamic Republic of Iran in recent months.

South Sudanese citizens overwhelmingly voted for independence in a Janurary 9 referendum that was stipulated to by the CPA. Ironically, the Republic of the Sudan became the first nation to recognize South Sudan yesterday.

Other nations who joined in recognizing the world’s newest country include Britain, China and Russia, according to Voice of America. China has a major presence in Sudan as it is the majority consumer of Sudan’s crude oil commodities. A testament to its growing influence in the region, was an appeal issued by the U.S. to China, exhorting it to assist in pressuring al-Bashir to recall his Army out of the border states, which has caused a major humanitarian disaster resulting in more than 70,000 internally displaced persons who have fled violence.

President Barack Obama “welcomed the birth of a new nation” on Saturday and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered her congratulations. Clinton said in her remarks that the South Sudanese people had overcome many obstacles, with remaining issues to address:

The realization of this historic day is a testament to the tireless efforts of the people of South Sudan in their search for peace. We commend South Sudan’s  current leaders, including President Salva Kiir Mayardit, for helping guide Southern Sudan to this moment. And we recognize the determination and courage of the many southern Sudanese who never abandoned their hope that peace was possible and who stood in long lines on January 9 to cast their votes.

…The challenges are many, but the South Sudanese people have demonstrated their capacity to overcome great odds. The United States will remain a steadfast partner as South Sudan seeks to peacefully meet these challenges and build a free, democratic and inclusive society. The strong ties between our peoples go back many decades, and we are committed to continuing to build on the partnership we have already established in the years ahead.

War continues on South Sudan’s northern border in Abyei, a disputed region between South Sudan and the Republic of the Sudan, where a majority of Sudan’s oil deposits are located that provides hard currency to both governments.

The other area of dispute between the North and the South is the Nuba Mountains located in the  Southern Kordofan State, which borders South Sudan and is presently experiencing calculated violence instigated by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) according to the UN and other Sudan experts tracking the situation,  such as highly regarded expert human rights lawyer and journalist Bec Hamilton.

Advocates have documented troop movements by the SAF through satellite photo imagery resulting in countless murders of civilians who have been senselessly slaughtered in an ongoing campaign that has been actively prosecuted under the leadership of ICC indicted war criminal Ahmad Muhammad Harun . This military campaign by the North has been underway since at least late May, although the situation has been fraught with tension for many months, which began with Harun’s ominous reassignment from Darfur in March 2009.

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is believed to have evacuated its international staff in the Southern Kordofan State on June 12, due to an escalation of violence by the SAF, which also resulted in the displacement of more than 70,000 civilians.  The Sudan Army has been reinforcing its presence in the area documented by satellite photography by governments, NGOs and  activists, published here by Voice of America.

On June 27 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1990 that called for the deployment of 4,200 peacekeepers to address the escalating violence in the Abyei region, but not in South Kordofan.

Khartoum relies on the hard currency generated by oil sales and has disputed South Sudan’s territorial claims.  These unresolved issues have demanded the attention of U.S. Special Envoy Ambassador Princeton Lyman who was sent out to the region by Secretary Clinton in August 2010 to bolster referendum preparation a and replaced Special Envoy Scott Gration in March.

Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the UN and head of the U.S. delegation that traveled to Juba for its inaugural celebration, spoke about the challenges ahead.  She remarked:

Yet even on this day of jubilee, we remain mindful of the challenges that await us tomorrow. No true friend would offer false comfort. The path ahead will be steep and pitted. But the Republic of South Sudan is being born amid great hopes—the hope that you will guarantee the rights of all citizens, shelter the vulnerable, and bring prosperity to all corners of your land; the hope that you will be able to live in peace and justice with your neighbors, bind up the wounds of war, and work with the Government of Sudan to resolve swiftly and peacefully all outstanding issues in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

South Sudan has some of the worst human development indicators in the world, where it is estimated that 90 percent of its population lives on less than $1 a day.  It also has one of highest illiteracy rates in the world estimated at 78 percent of the population with only eight percent of women reported to be literate. Vastly underdeveloped, with little infrastructure and dependent on oil revenues shared by its difficult relationship with Khartoum, virtually all of its food is imported into the country.  Last year the U.S. spent nearly $700 million on food aid to the region alone.

 

Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.

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Bombshell WSJ Report: Trump Pressured DOJ Attorneys to Sue States in the Supreme Court to Overturn Election

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President Donald Trump pressured U.S. Department of Justice attorneys, possibly including former Attorney General Bill Barr, to file a lawsuit against four U.S. states in the U.S. Supreme Court, in one of his final attempts to overturn the election before leaving office.

The Wall Street Journal reports late Saturday night that effort “failed due to pushback from his own appointees in the Justice Department, who refused to file what they viewed as a legally baseless lawsuit in the Supreme Court.”

The Journal also confirms Friday night’s New York Times reporting that Trump attempted to remove his own acting Attorney General, Jeffrey Rosen, after Barr left the DOJ just two days before Christmas.

According to the Journal, “senior department officials threatened to resign en masse should Mr. Trump fire then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, according to several people familiar with the discussions.”

“Senior department officials, including Mr. Rosen, former Attorney General William Barr and former acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall refused to file the Supreme Court case, concluding that there was no basis to challenge the election outcome and that the federal government had no legal interest in whether Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden won the presidency,” the paper adds.

The paper does not specify the exact timeframe of when Trump tried to force DOJ to file the lawsuit, but based on its report it had to have been after December 11, when the Supreme Court dismissed what most election law attorneys considered a frivolous suit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with other Republican state attorneys general.

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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'DANGEROUS FOOLS'

GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Says “Everyone” Is to Blame for Capitol Riots

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While Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California has previously said that he thinks former President Donald Trump bears some responsibility for the January 6 coup attempt in which his supporters ransacked the Capitol to overturn the election that he and Republicans baselessly claimed was stolen, McCarthy added in a Thursday interview, “I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility [for the coup attempt.]”

McCarthy then said that anti-Trump Democrats, rude social media users, unprepared law enforcement authorities were all responsible too, even though Trump literally told his followers on the morning of January 6 to march to the Capitol and fight to stop legislators from approving the election victory of now-President Joe Biden. 

“I think this is what we have to get to the bottom of, and when you start talking about who has responsibilities,” McCarthy said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more questions, a lot more answers we have to have in the coming future.”

It’s especially telling that his Senate counterpart, now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has directly blamed Trump for the riots.

“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said Wednesday. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.” 

After months of making baseless claims that a national conspiracy of widespread voter fraud stole the election from him, a claim laughed out of courts 60 times over for lack of evidence by judges that Trump himself appointed, Trump held a “Stop the Steal” rally on the morning of January 6 in which he said, that he won the election “by a landslide” and encouraged his followers to “stop the steal” by going to the Capitol. If people don’t “fight like hell,” Trump said, “you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

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'ETHICS PROGRAM HAS BEEN RAZED TO THE GROUND'

Russia Explodes with Protests Against Putin Poisoning and Jailing His Biggest Opponent

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Russian citizens in 38 cities are protesting the country’s sham elections in which Russian President Vladimir Putin has felt so threatened by the opposition candidate, anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, that he has had him imprisoned and poisoned in an attempt to silence his voice and kill his movement.

The Russian presidential elections are a complete sham used to legitimate Putin’s power. In the last election, Putin “won” nearly 77 percent of the vote amid claims of ballot stuffing, the Kremlin choosing which candidates get to run, police arresting any anti-Putin protesters and pro-Putin candidates receiving far more financial backing than his opponents.

Navalny himself, a popular anti-corruption campaigner who is one of Putin’s most outspoken critics, according to The Week, has previously been barred from running due to a trumped-up and controversial fraud conviction allegedly masterminded by Putin. In August 2020, Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent called Novichok and survived his hospitalization. Navalny has said he got a Russian federal agent to reveal how he was poisoned, though the Kremlin has denied any involvement.

Three days ago, Navalny was jailed once more for allegedly violating his parole. He now inhabits Matrosskaya Tishina or Sailor’s Silence, a jail in Moscow’s north-east region that has housed high-ranking prisoners that authorities have wanted to cut off from the outside world since the Soviet era, according to Reuters. The jail is notoriously deadly.

Russian citizens across the nation have seemingly had enough and have begun protesting his imprisonment, as the videos below attest. Hundreds have been arrested as police fight to maintain control.

The U.S. Embassy in Russia has weighed in by saying, “We’re watching reports of protests in 38 Russian cities, arrests of 350+ peaceful protesters and journalists. The U.S. supports the right of all people to peaceful protest, freedom of expression. Steps being taken by Russian authorities are suppressing those rights.”

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