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Articles and Analysies الصفحة العربية Last Updated: Feb 13, 2011 - 7:24:29 AM

ِAndrew Natsios’ unabated PR campaign in support for NCP against Darfur By Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman

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ِAndrew Natsios’ unabated PR campaign in support for NCP against Darfur


By Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman


The transcript of the speech entitled ‘The Future of Sudan’ presented at Georgetown University on October 19, 2010 by the former U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan in 2006-7 professor Andrew S. Natsios was full of bag of bag of lies at best and at worst, sadly, reflecting his complete ignorance about today’s Sudan in spite of his self-proclaimed expertise on this afflicted country. Mr. Natsios’ political and socio-cultural terrain of Darfur and Sudan in general remains at its infancy, at the level of his inception as a new US Envoy to Sudan. Furthermore, his hate and disdain for the people of Sudan in Darfur are conspicuous and easily perceived. Some observers see it as a sign of either contempt or out of racial prejudice. Others see it as part of the patronizing attitude of Natsios towards the Southern Sudanese whom he tries to show that he is their Saviour, and by doing so he would minimise the chances of unexpected assaults of JEM forces on the government of the National Congress Party (NCP), similar to Operation Long Arm (OLA) that of May the 10th 2008, which might derail the much awaited referendum expected on Sunday 9th 2011.

 “The Zaghawa – there’s 225,000 maybe 250,000 Zaghawa in Darfur.  It’s a tiny little African tribe”, said Andrew Natsios. He also stated that “JEM – Justice & Equality Movement – it’s a Darfur, Zaghawa dominated rebel movement.  It run by Khalil – I know Dr. Khalil Ibrahim.  He’s a medical doctor.  He was a member of the NCP; he said publically, his godfather is Hassan Al Turabi.   Now he has denied it since that he is close to him.  We are fairly certain – we are quite certain that JEM had conversations – that Khalil Ibrahim had conversations with Hassan Al Turabi and urged him to make an assault on Khartoum.  In response to this I can say that the Khalil-Turabi axis is an old melody that has become boring and silly at the same time. It is an archaic myth which got fixated incurably and remains in the minds of some delusional individuals who feel intense dislike for the Justice and Equality Movement. Mr. Andrew Natsios seems, unfortunately, to be of the ilk. With respect to Andrew Natsios remarks about the Zaghawa people being tiny little African tribe of 225000 in Darfur, one doubts the credibility of  his statistics as there has been no official tribal-based census in Sudan. However, it gives honourable credit to Zaghawa that a ‘tiny’ minority, as described by Natsios, enabled themselves to make such reputable stride to take a place on the world stage and a record in the history of mankind. Small is beautiful and size doesn’t matter; quality what matters! Furthermore, JEM has in its membership more than 80 tribal groups from Darfur along with members from Kordofan, Southern Sudan, Nuba Mountains, Eastern Sudan region and surprisingly to Natsios, members from the far northern region of Sudan. In other words, JEM attracted its membership from all over the marginalised parts of Sudan due to its unique National Agenda incorporated in its Manifesto. Thus, JEM succeeded to build capable fighting force composed of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Accordingly, JEM is now considered to be the largest and most militarily significant rebel group in Darfur. JEM, whilst fights the NCP government for the good causes of the marginalised people in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan, it also participates in negotiations which are essential to reaching a durable peace agreement.

Natsios does not see any near-term solution to Darfur, because the rebel movements -- now in the dozens -- have no single leader capable of negotiating with the Sudanese government. Not surprisingly, though regrettable, his views in this statement are carbon copy of the NCP regime! Sadly, Mr. Natsios remains a mouthpiece for the genocidal despotic establishment of Khartoum. He needs to recognise that his archenemy the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) managed to unite 19 rebel group which splintered from either SLA or other movements during the period February-August 2009. These fighters have been incorporated into the “New JEM) as labeled by General Scott Gration, current US envoy to Sudan, when he visited JEM. The rebel groups which joined JEM have given Military ranks and Political positions and they fully integrated. JEM has been relentlessly working to unify or coordinate positions and visions with the rest of the armed rebel movements. JEM works towards inclusivity, non-exclusion along with unification of armed struggle against the NCP regime.

Andrew Natsios asserted that civilian deaths have dramatically declined since then (the UN reports that about 1,500 people were killed in Darfur last year, of which 500 were Arabs allied with the Sudanese government), which would categorize the situation as a low-level insurgency. Andrew Natsios, after quoting Rudolph Adada, the joint African Union-United Nations special representative, writes his article entitled “Obama, Adrift on Sudan” said that death of some 700 innocent civilians over a 15-month period, while morally repugnant, is not genocide. It is a low-level insurgency. More civilians died in southern Sudan during the past six months than in Darfur over the past 15 months!

Andrew Natsios’ position with respect to the genocide endured by the people of Sudan in Darfur, seven years on, is akin to the cold-hearted views of the Holocaust denials who claim erroneously, but with intent, that the genocide of Jews during World War II did not occur at all, or that it did not happen in the manner or to the extent historically recognized. It is recognised worldwide that the region of Darfur has suffered massive campaign of ethnic cleansing which claimed the lives of more than 400, 000 civilians and uprooted an estimated 5 million more since February 2003. The primary perpetrators of the killings and expulsions are the National Congress Party (NCP) government army, the paramilitary Popular Defence Forces (PDF) and the government-backed militias. The main civilian victims are black "Africans" from main three tribal groups of Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa. The crisis in Darfur was described by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan as the worst humanitarian disaster on the planet. Former US president George W. Bush called what  was happening in Darfur as genocide whilst and the then United States Secretary of State Colin Powell declared it a "genocide" on 9 September 2004 in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Moreover, the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague indicted the incumbent president of the NCP regime Marshal Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir on 12 July 2010, after a lengthy appeal by the prosecution, the Court held that there was indeed sufficient evidence for charges of genocide to be brought and issued a second warrant containing three separate counts. “Al-Bashir thereby becomes the First international leader accused of the highest crimes against humanity. Moreno-Ocampo, the Prosecutor at the ICC declared he has found ‘reasonable grounds’ to accuse the Sudanese president on Ten different counts which include three counts of Genocide for killing members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, Five counts of crimes against humanity for murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape; and two counts of war crimes of attacks on civilian population in Darfur. Al-Bashir failed to defeat the rebels, so he went after the people” Accordingly, al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC as well as the first to be charged with genocide. The African Union (AU) and Arab League have called on the UNSC to instruct the ICC to suspend indictments against the Sudanese president; fearing the charges “would not only possibly destabilise the country, but would also endanger the lives of foreign aid workers there”. It is an "ongoing genocide” as stated by Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Mr. Natsios!

Professor Natsios seems he has not take the valuable advice offered to him by Bahar Arabi who questioned whether Natsios could become the saviour of Darfur when he was nominated as US envoy to Sudan in 2006. Mr. Arabi said, at the time, Mr. Natsios needs to do the following to make his mission a success:

1)      On his road map he must target first the moderates, level headed and the influential and articulate among the leaders of the movements.

2)      identify once again the articulated common objectives of the people of Darfur

3)      Avoid issues that bedevil solutions, and cause dissonance among Darfuris.

4)      More importantly he needs to gain  the understanding, cooperation, and support of the warring parties on the ground, specially the non signatories of DPA

5)      Mr. Natsios also need to know the political and socio-cultural terrain of Darfur and Sudan in general, and approach the problem and the leaders of the movements from this perspective.

6)      Mr Natsios to become the saviour and loved one of Darfur.

Professor Natsios had ignored the foregoing and chose to actively engage in his PR firm to serve the interests of the National Congress Party genocidal regime in Khartoum at the expense of the survivors of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. He continues unrepentantly to misinform and misguide the world by his rambling waffle about denigrating the Darfuri freedom fighters and their movements.

The people of Sudan in Darfur especially those dwelling in the makeshift camps for the displaced and refugees asking Natsios to Leave Them To Their Own Devices. Will Andrew Natsios, by the virtue of being an academic, get more objective and fair when it deems vital for him to delve into the crisis in Darfur? That is the SIXTY FOUR DOLLAR QUESTION ($64 Question) which would defy a prompt answer!


Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). He can be reached at [email protected]





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