Friday, December 21, 2007

PAPUA (Indonesia): Genocide by Demographics.

Date: Friday 21 December 2007
Subj: Papua (Indonesia): Genocide by Demographics.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


If present demographic trends continue, West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) will be majority Indonesian (mostly Javanese) Muslim by 2011, and the indigenous Melanesian predominantly Protestant Christian Papuans will be a dwindling 15 percent minority by 2030. This was recently forecast in a conference at the University of Sydney (NSW, Australia) by Political Scientist Dr Jim Elmslie of the West Papua Project, which is based at the University of Sydney Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS).

Dr Elmslie also notes however that this forecast may prove unduly optimistic as it does not take into account the escalating HIV-AIDS infection rate amongst the Papuans or their declining population growth rate. In other words, the annihilation of the Papuans may be even more imminent than the demographic trends suggest. (Note: The Indonesian military introduced AIDS into the Papuan population by bringing in AIDS-infected Javanese prostitutes which they establish in Papuan villages and frequently use as currency.)

The issue of the decline in the Papuan population growth rate warrants further investigation and will possibly be the subject of a WEA RLC News & Analysis posting early in 2008. Several sources attest that Indonesia is targeting UN-funded family planning programs at the Papuan population, particularly in sensitive areas such as around the Freeport mine and in other areas slated for clearing and development.

According to Dr Elmslie, highland Papuans who allegedly have gonorrhoea are being treated in UN-funded family planning clinics -- but not for gonorrhoea. They are being injected instead with long-term contraceptive drugs. As Dr Elmslie notes, this goes some way to explaining why the 1.67 percent population growth rate for Melanesian Papuans in West Papua is so much lower in than over the 2.6 percent population growth rate for Melanesian Papuans over the border in Papua New Guinea (PNG). (Meanwhile, the growth rate for the non-Papuan population in West Papua is 10.5 percent.)

In the highlands of Papua, where maternal and family health services and pharmacies are virtually non-existent, it is tragic that the UN would focus its efforts on controlling and limiting rather than serving and treasuring humanity. And of course, it is not difficult to imagine how such a program could be exploited.

Meanwhile, the issue of the genocide of the predominantly Christian Papuans must become an issue of urgency for the Church. The governments of the USA, Britain and Australia, as well as other nations and bodies such as the UN, have geo-political and economic interests that pull them towards a preference for the status quo, regardless of consequences. By their action and inaction they are complicit and find the truth and immorality surrounding the betrayal and genocide of a Christian people a most inconvenient truth indeed. The Church must act by making Papua a prayer priority and such an advocacy priority that the Papuans (like the South Sudanese and Iraq's Assyrians) become a domestic political issue that cannot be ignored. Indonesia must respect Papua's Special Autonomy status, and aggressive colonisation, militarisation and Islamisation must end.

As Dr Elmslie notes in his paper, the Genocide Convention of 1951 defines genocide as that which is "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group" (Article II), and those interested in maintaining the status quo will focus on the word "intent" in order to argue that if intent cannot be proved then genocide cannot be claimed.

The issue of intent however has no bearing on the reality or outcome. As Dr Elmslie argues, semantics about whether or not there is "intent" should not stop the international community from recognising that an immense tragedy is unfolding in Papua, gross human rights abuses are occurring and the Papuans are being annihilated.

The most decisive statement to date on the subject of genocide in West Papua has come from the Allard K Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic Yale Law School, which in 2005 published a paper entitled "Indonesian Human Rights Abuses in West Papua: Application of the Law of Genocide to the History of Indonesian Control." (Link 1)

Quoting from page 72: "Although no single act or set of acts can be said to have constituted genocide, per se, and although the required intent cannot be as readily inferred as it was in the cases of the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide, there can be little doubt that the Indonesian government has engaged in a systematic pattern of acts that has resulted in harm to -- and indeed the destruction of -- a substantial part of the indigenous population of West Papua.

"The inevitability of this result was readily obvious, and the government has taken no active measures to contravene. According to current understanding of the Genocide Convention, including its interpretation in the jurisprudence of the ad hoc international criminal tribunals, such a pattern of actions and inactions -- of acts and omissions --supports the conclusion that the Indonesian government has acted with the necessary intent to find that it has perpetrated genocide against the people of West Papua."

PAPUA: GENOCIDE BY DEMOGRAPHICS


The West Papua Project, based at the University of Sydney (NSW, Australia) Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), "seeks to promote peaceful dialogue between the people of West Papua and Indonesia, and to promote conflict resolution as a viable alternative to the current and escalating conflict." (Link 2)

On 9-10 August, Indonesian Solidarity in association with the West Papua Project (CPACS) organised a conference entitled "West Papua 2007: Paths to Justice and Prosperity". The papers presented at that conference are available on the West Papua Project website (link 2) under the heading "West Papua Conference".

All those who are concerned about the future of the predominantly Protestant Christian West Papuans would be interested in these papers.

The following is an excerpt from Dr Jim Elmslie's paper, "West Papua: Genocide, Demographic Change, the Issue of 'Intent', and the Australia-Indonesia Security Treaty". (Link 3: direct link)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EXCERPT: DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION IN WEST PAPUA
By Dr Jim Elmslie

Over the last 43 years in West Papua there have been many killings; disappearances; land expropriations and repressive Indonesian government policies that have severely affected the demographics of the province. . .

In 1971 there were 887,000 'Irian born' (Papuan) people in West Papua and 36,000 'non-Irian born' (Asian Indonesians), out of a total population of 923,000. This meant that, even after eight years of Indonesian control, Papuans comprised 96% of the population in 1971.

Thereafter the distinction between Irian born and non-Irian became less relevant as, obviously, children of non-Irian born migrants were Irian born. I have derived the figure for the Papuan population in the 1990 census by dividing the population into those who speak Bahasa Indonesia as a 'mother tongue' and those who do not. This is because the census does not record the racial profile of the province. On this basis there were 1,215,897 Papuans and 414,210 non-Papuans in 1990 out of a total population of 1,630,107. Papuans comprised 74.6% of the total and non-Papuans 25.4%.

The growth in the Papuan population from 887,000 to 1,215,897 during the period from 1971 to 1990 represents an annual growth rate of 1.67%. Assuming that this growth rate continued to 2005, the latest figures released by the Indonesian Statistics Office, the Papua population would be 1,558,795 out of a total population of 2,646,48914 and the non-Papuan population 1,087,694. This means that Papuans comprised 59% of the population and non-Papuans 41% in 2005.

This analysis shows that the Papuan population has diminished as a proportion of the population from 96% to 59%, and the non-Papuan increased from 4% to 41%. This represents a growth in the Papuan population from 887,000 to 1,558,795 for the period 1971 to 2005, or 75.7%. By contrast the non-Papuan sector of the population has increased from 36,000 to 1,087,694, a growth of 3021% or more than 30 times. This represents an annual growth rate in the non-Papuan population of 10.5% from 1971 to 2005.

Using the two growth rates for the Papuan and non-Papuan populations, 1.67% and 10.5% respectively, we can predict future population growth and relative percentages of the two groups. By 2011 out of a total population of 3.7 million, Papuans would be a minority of 47.5% at 1.7 million and non-Papuans a majority at 1.98 million, or 53.5%. This non-Papuan majority will increase to 70.8% by 2020 out of a population of 6.7 million. By 2030 Papuans will comprise just 15.2% of a total population of 15.6 million, while non-Papuans will number 13.2 million, or 84.8%. This may be an unduly optimistic forecast for the Papuan population as the current HIVAIDS epidemic is firmly established in that population group and could have an African-style impact, cutting numbers and growth rates even further.

Besides the relative decline of the Papuans as a percentage of the population they have also enjoyed a much lower growth rate than a very similar Melanesian Papuan population across the border in Papua New Guinea. Here the population has been growing at 2.6% per annum since independence in 1975. PNG acts almost as a control population when examining Papuan growth rates as the indigenous people on both sides of the border are closely related and settled in societies that had, until very recently, been self-contained for thousands of years. If the Papuans under Indonesian control had enjoyed the same growth rate as those in independent Papua New Guinea, 2.6%, their population would be 2,122,921, or 564,126 more than it was in 2005. This demographic discrepancy can be attributed to Indonesian rule.

Thus from a position of comprising 96% of the total population in 1971, Papuans will be a small and dwindling minority within a generation or two. This will have great consequences for Papua New Guinea as Indonesian military/business groups engage ever more deeply in that country, particularly in the logging and retail industries. With the increasing militarisation of West Papua, particularly in the border regions, PNG's own security may come under threat.

------------------------------------------------

Dr Elmslie fears the situation in West Papua, where Asian Muslims are completely dominating the military, education and business realms and where two distinct peoples are increasingly on a collision course, is heading toward a "large scale, copybook genocide in the near future. With 'intent'."

This has been the fear of Papuans and religious liberty observers for some time. The Indonesian military (TNI), through barbaric killings and other acts of terror, is constantly attempting to provoke the Papuans into a response or a rebellion that would then provide the TNI with a pretext for wide-scale massacres in the name of curtailing the separatist threat and defending Indonesian security and sovereignty.

Papuan church leaders, who are the primary source of leadership for the Papuans, are doing a phenomenal job of keeping the traumatised Papuans restrained, committed to non-violence, and focused on God in hope. They will undoubtedly inherit a peace prize from the Lord when they meet him. Meanwhile the TNI is busy not only provoking but manipulating and exploiting naive Papuan patriots by arming them and sending them to kill -- as was the case in the August 2002 Freeport mine incident (see link 4).

In such an explosive environment, "peace" (as in the absence of wide-scale slaughter) can not be taken for granted. An outrageous but very convenient (for some) holocaust is only a spark away.

Elizabeth Kendal
rl-research@crossnet.org.au

Links

1) Indonesian Human Rights Abuses in West Papua: Application of the Law of Genocide to the History of Indonesian Control.
A paper prepared for the Indonesia Human Rights Network
By the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic Yale Law School

2) West Papua Project

3) West Papua: Genocide, Demographic Change, the Issue of 'Intent', and the Australia-Indonesia Security Treaty. By Dr. Jim Elmslie.

4) Papua: Indonesia, the TNI and the USA.
By Elizabeth Kendal WEA RLC, 2 March 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Belarus: Christian youth leader beaten.

Date: Monday 17 December 2007
Subj: Belarus: Christian youth leader beaten.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


BELARUS: CHRISTIAN YOUTH LEADER BEATEN

Malady Front (Youth Front (Belarussian)), is a Belarussian youth movement with Christian roots which advocates for freedom, democracy and Christian values in Belarus. It has had its application for registration denied six times, most recently in June this year despite meeting all the requirements. Their lack of registration gives the authorities grounds to repress and persecute the group, to ban their meetings and criminalise their activities. (Link 1)

In May 2006, Zmitser Dashkevich, the group's leader and an evangelical Christian, returned from a visit to the USA only to be arrested on charges of "hooliganism" for allegedly writing political graffiti, a charged that could not be proved. On 1 November 2006 Dashkevich was sentenced to 18 months in prison for "organising and participating in an activity of an unregistered non-governmental organisation". (Link 2: Amnesty International UK and Christian Solidarity Worldwide USA)

Dashkevich is not the first Malady Front leader to be punished by the Lukashenka regime. His predecessor, Paval Seviarynets who led the group from 1999-2004 and is also a professing Christian was sentenced in 2005 to two years' hard labour for organising a protest against the official (and clearly fraudulent) results of the referendum and parliamentary elections in October 2004.

In September 2007 Zmitser Fedaruk courageously took on the leadership of the Malady Front. Like his predecessors, Zmitser Fedaruk is a committed Christian. Though only 19-years-old he has first-hand experience of repression, including religious persecution and incarceration. He spent five days in a KGB prison earlier this year for meeting with other Malady Front members in a private apartment. He is a member of a Minsk-based Pentecostal church whose pastor has been imprisoned and its premises confiscated.

Fedaruk recently told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) that his faith in God gives him both his conviction -- that freedom to do good is man's God-given right -- and the courage to fight for it. He also told RFE/RL that he seeks to serve "as a spiritual and moral guide to the group, whose members regularly risk intimidation, beatings, and arrest".

RFE/RL interviewed Zmitser Fedaruk on 6 December while he was in Washington on a visit sponsored by the US Helsinki Commission. The interview entitled "Belarus: 19-Year-Old Activist Fights For God and Country" was published on 7 December. Fedaruk returned to Belarus on 9 December and on 12 December he participated in a peaceful demonstration in support of Belarussian independence ahead of the visit of Russia's President Putin.

(Rumours have been rife that Belarus-Russia unification may be on the agenda once again. Lukashenka once sought this as a means of advancing his power; however, the rise and rise of the cult and power of Putin have laid waste to that fantasy. Now the rumours are that Putin may be seeking it to advance his own power, as a new state would require a new constitution. Stratfor Strategic Forecasting Inc.'s analysis of 13 December, "Geopolitical Diary: Reality Dawns in Belarus", discounts this believing that Putin is a dictator with such widespread support that he will not be limited by constitutional constraints. Stratfor believes Putin is more likely to want Belarus for geo-strategic purposes so he can move his Red Army right up to the borders of NATO-land, transforming Belarus from "buffer" to "launching pad".)

Not only did Belarussian police predictably break up the 12 December protest and beat the protestors, but they targeted Zmitser Fedaruk for special punishment. The security police isolated Fedaruk, beat him to the ground and stamped on him. His head hit the concrete hard, rendering him unconscious. Demonstrators phoned for an ambulance and Fedaruk was rushed to hospital where he was assessed to have a brain concussion of medium severity, as well as bruising. (Link 3)

RFE/RL immediately republished the 7 December interview with an Editor's note. (Link 4)

On 13 December Fedaruk spoke by telephone from his hospital bed to RFE/RL's Belarus Service. "I think my beating was linked to my trip to America. There were many indications of that. I was deliberately pushed behind the OMON [special police] cordon and there, separated from the demonstrators, knocked down and beaten. And then they threw me back, saying something like, 'Take your man back, he made a nice trip to America.'" (Link 5)

Zmitser Fedaruk has a compelling passion for liberty and justice and the glory of God. But even more than that, he has the very thing President Lukashenka fears even more than conviction: the courage to act on it.

"I believe in God. And I fear only God," Fedaruk told RFE/RL. "When I joined Malady Front I couldn't understand how people could stand up and be strong, and not be afraid. Later, when I received this faith I understood that only God and faith can help you be brave. In fact, the young people who come to Malady Front are also like this -- they are the new generation who can get to this new land."

There can be little doubt that Lukashenka will be very keen to crush that courage before it can grow or spread. However, if Fedaruk is right and this courage is from the Spirit of God, then Lukashenka has no idea what he is up against.

Elizabeth Kendal


Links

1) Malady Front Activist Make Another Attempt to Legalize Their Organization
6 June 2006 http://www.democraticbelarus.eu/node/1612

2) http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=249
http://www.democraticbelarus.eu/node/1795
http://www.cswusa.com/Reports%20Pages/Reports-Belarus.htm

3) Riot policemen brutally assaulted participants of rally "For Independent Belarus!"
http://www.charter97.org/en/news/2007/12/13/2372/
ALSO
Mother set to complaint to law-enforcers about beating of Zmitser Fedaruk
http://naviny.by/rubrics/inter/2007/12/13/ic_news_259_282235/

4) Belarus: 19-Year-Old Activist Fights For God And Country. By Heather Maher
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/12/d97651df-76f1-46ce-ab3a-6db0512d331c.html

5) Belarusian Activist Says Beating Linked To U.S. Trip. 14 Dec 2007
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/12/d5f35140-476c-4f47-9e07-419bd0d701b0.html

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CHINA: REPRESSION ESCALATES IN LEAD-UP TO OLYMPICS

WEA Religious Liberty Prayer bulletin | No. 458 | Wed 12 Dec 2007

--------------------------------------------------
CHINA: REPRESSION ESCALATES IN LEAD-UP TO OLYMPICS
--------------------------------------------------
By Elizabeth Kendal

The Olympic Games will open in Beijing at 8.08pm, on 8-8-08 and China is getting ready. In a recent article, 'Faster, higher, censored', Graeme Philipson (The Age, Melbourne) states: 'China will use the 2008 Olympic Games to market itself to the world. All countries do this, but the Chinese example will look more like Berlin 1936 than Sydney 2000.' Philipson's point is that the image will not be real -- it will be a facade or an illusion -- with China using the Olympics to 'airbrush out the full extent of its oppression . . . just like Hitler and the Nazis 70 years ago'. He ominously warns: 'Visitors to China next year will see the new stadiums and the expressways and skyscrapers and apartment complexes. They will probably even be able to access their hometown newspapers on the web. They will probably not stop to think that the 1936 Olympics were followed by the most vicious repression the world has ever seen.'

Human rights advocates and Christian ministries report repression is intensifying in the lead-up to the Games. The government wants to ensure 'subversive' elements or 'reactionary' forces do not spoil the show. Shi Weihan (37) runs a Christian bookshop near the Olympic village. According to Compass Direct, though Shi worships in an unregistered house-church, his bookshop has only ever sold books for which he has had government permission. Recently Shi, his wife Zhang, and several employees were arrested. Whilst most have since been released, Shi and a female employee, Tian Hongxia (whose father was seriously beaten during the arrest), remain in custody. Shi Weihan is diabetic and there are concerns for his well-being. As China Aid Association (CAA) notes, this is not an isolated case.

CAA also reports that on 7 December a major police operation raided and detained all 270 house-church pastors meeting for prayer and Bible study in Linyi City in the northern coastal province of Shandong. They were handcuffed in pairs like criminals and taken off for questioning. As of 10 December, 150 pastors were still in custody.

In July 2001 Radio Australia reported China's Vice Prime Minister Li Lanqing as saying at an anti-cult exhibition that winning the 2008 Olympic bid proved the international community appreciated the social stability and economic progress in China and the healthy lives of the Chinese people. He concluded that this justified China's fight against 'cults'.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD -

* will protect and keep Shi Weihan and Tian Hongxia in body, mind and spirit so they will grow in grace and knowledge of him; may he, the God of justice, sweep away Chinese injustice.

* will sustain and encourage all China's detained pastors and freedom advocates (including numerous writers and lawyers); by the working of his Spirit may he grant his faithful imprisoned disciples the honour of being used as channels of his blessing and saving grace into dark places.

* will fill China's pastors and influential Christians with great, divine, spiritual wisdom, insight and grace, so they may lead not by human inclination but according to his will and purpose. (Matthew 16:23)

* who is sovereign over all 'kings', will use the Beijing Olympics for his purpose. 'Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.' (Proverbs 19:21 ESV)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Turkish nationalism threatens Christians.

Date: Wednesday 5 December 2007
Subj: Turkish nationalism threatens Christians.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


This posting aims to give some degree of understanding the phenomenon of Turkish nationalism, its relationship to the persecution of Christians and the immense difficulties facing those hoping to secure justice and security for Christians through the Malatya murder trial. Turkey has only around 100,000 Christians left, making up less than one percent of the population.

HISTORY: TURKEY IS BORN

After World War One, all the Turks retained of the once expansive Ottoman Empire was Anatolia and Istanbul (Constantinople). Through the Treaty of Sevres (1920) the Allies sought to protect Christian minorities by placing most of Anatolia under Christian control: the Greeks occupied the west and the Allies (British, French and Italian) occupied the south, while the Armenian remnant declared an independent republic in the east. Moreover, the Turks were also supposed to grant autonomy to Kurdistan.

Under the leadership of military commander Kemal Mustapha Ataturk, Turkish nationalist forces in Anatolia, rejecting the conditions of the Treaty of Sevres, mounted a War of Independence. They fought and defeated the Greeks in the west and drove the Allied forces out of the south. They also drove the Armenian remnant out of their Armenian Republic in the east. Ataturk thus forced the Allies to return to the negotiating table. With the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the modern state of Turkey was founded to be the successor state to the Ottoman Empire. The borders were set and the security of remnant minorities was to be guaranteed. Ataturk became Turkey's first president.

Thus Turkish nationalism rose from the ashes of the decimated Ottoman Empire and became established through the subsequent War of Independence. Turkish nationalism was born through Turkish struggles against Christian nations, both indigenous minorities and great foreign powers.

After becoming president, Aaturk committed himself to reforming, secularising and modernising Turkey. He imposed a program of secularisation that repressed Islam by force, liberating and enlightening multitudes (especially women and intellectuals) but confounding others, in particular observant Muslims. But whilst Ataturk felled the tree of Islam, cutting off its expression, he did not deal with the life-force within its roots, something he could have done had he facilitated an open and honest examination of Ottoman history and the Islamic ideology that drove it. Islamic expression was repressed, but Islamic ideology was spared. Consequently, as repression gradually lessened from the 1950s onwards, Islam slowly grew again, increasing in strength through subsequent generations.

HISTORY: THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

People interpret history differently. The abusive master and the downtrodden slave view life on the plantation from quite different perspectives, just as high caste Brahmins and "untouchable" Dalits have conflicting views of life in Hindu India. In each case, the former boasts from their elevated position of a wonderful existence with prosperity and opportunity. The latter, at whose expense this prosperity and elevation was gained, has a rather different view. Furthermore, the former may expect the latter to appreciate the way they have been tolerated or let live, while the latter simply longs for liberty and equality. It is the same with Muslims and dhimmis, that is Jews and Christians subjugated under Islamic domination and rule.

Just because people see history differently does not mean that objective truth does not exist -- it does. Wilberforce revealed the shameful truth of slavery to the consciences of the British and the truth set multitudes free.

Muslims tend to interpret history though the prism of their Islamic ideology of Muslim superiority and the perfection of Sharia (Allah's perfect law). According to Islam, jihad for the advance of Islam and the implementation of Sharia results in perfect peace, harmony and security. Muslims therefore speak of Islamic Empire as something glorious and benevolent, while they either repress or do not see that the defeated, subjugated peoples had a rather different view. These peoples' lands had been invaded, conquered, occupied and colonised. The conquered peoples were stripped of their rights, disarmed, subjugated, exploited, heavily taxed of money and sons, persecuted and repressed. These were Christian peoples -- Greeks, Serbs, Armenians, Bulgarians, to name a few -- proud, ancient Christian cultures and nations that centuries of Islamic domination reduced to traumatised serfs or slaves.

As post-Reformation Europe rose through liberty and industry, the Ottoman Empire declined through endemic corruption and poor governance. As the Empire weakened, the long-subjugated Christian nations rose up, fought and liberated their people, lands and culture from the Ottoman Muslim yoke.

However, when Turkish Muslims look at the same events they conclude that all history proves is that acquiescing to Western demands is fatal and that Christians are an existential threat to the security and territorial integrity of the Turkish nation.

Salim Cohce is a professor of history and sociology at the state-run Inonu University in Malatya. He believes that missionaries working in Turkey are focusing on "destabilisation, manipulation and propaganda" and concludes, "If they are not controlled, this can be dangerous for Turkey." (Link 1)

As long as the truth of history is subservient to myth and "insulting Turkishness" remains a crime, then Turkey's Christians will have trouble as they will have to continue to bear the burden of Islamised history. Peace and reconciliation are the end products of a process that commences with truth and progresses through confession, repentance and forgiveness. There can be no peace and reconciliation without truth.

TURKISH NATIONALISM SOARS

The US-led invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam's regime put Iraq "in play", not only for pan-Islamists and Shi'ites, but also for pan-Turkists who would like to see an autonomous Turkman entity in Northern Iraq. At least 2.5 million ethnic Turkmen live in Iraq in a corridor that runs from the Turkish border south through Mosul and Kirkuk. It is a strip of land that also includes the bulk of Iraq's northern oilfields and the country's main oil pipelines. Consequentially, pan-Islamism and pan-Turkism have escalated dramatically since the drums of war started beating in mid-2002.

Pan-Turkist aspirations for northern Iraq have more to do with Turkish nationalism than irredentism or imperialism. When the Ottoman Turks and the British signed an armistice on 31 October 1918, the Ottoman Turks still occupied the vilayet (province) of Mosul. At the time, Mesopotamia (Iraq) was part of the Ottoman Empire and was divided into three vilayets: Basra (Arab Shi'ite), Baghdad (Arab Sunni) and Mosul (ethnically and religiously mixed). The British had captured Basra and Baghdad, but they had their sights sets on oil-rich Kirkuk. Within 48 hours of the armistice, Mesopotamian commander in chief William Marshall gave the order to take Mosul, and so the British forces pushed on and drove the Ottoman forces out of Mosul in violation of the ceasefire. Days later the war ended and in the words of Edwin Black, "The shooting stopped. The shouting would now begin." (Link 2)

Turkish nationalism is further provoked by the aspirations of US-backed Iraqi Kurds. For one thing, the territorial claims of Iraqi Kurds and Iraqi Turkmen overlap, most notably their common claim to oil-rich Kirkuk. Further to that, the prospect of autonomy for Iraqi Kurds is motivating Turkey's Kurds to step up their fight for autonomy or an independent Kurdistan, both of which would involve the partition of Turkey. Kurds, who make up more than 20 percent of the population of Turkey, are concentrated in south-east Anatolia. Terrorism from the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK: a Kurdish separatist terror group) has dramatically escalated recently causing Turkish nationalism to soar. It adds to Turkish angst that the PKK are proving to be "better capable of defence than hitherto believed". (Gregory Copley, International Strategic Studies Association, Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy 10, 2007)

The problem being, that one integral element of Turkish nationalism is a deep suspicion and fear of Christians and ethnic minorities that borders on paranoia. Turkish nationalism deems Christians to be an existential threat. As Turkish nationalism rises, so too does persecution of Christians.

MALATYA MURDER TRIAL

This environment of escalating Turkish nationalist and Islamic zeal is not the ideal environment for a trial that is supposed to deliver justice for three martyred Christians -- Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske -- who were tortured and murdered by Muslim Turkish nationalists in Zirve Publishing House in Malatya, Southern Turkey on 18 April 2007.

Compass Direct reports that after six months of investigations, criminal prosecutors charged Emre Gunaydin, Abuzer Yildirim, Hamit Ceker, Cuma Ozdemir and Salih Guler of founding an armed group and murdering Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske in a deliberate and organised manner. (Link 3)

According to Compass Direct, when the Turkish press reported the 23 November trial date, they did so in articles that sensationalised some of the scandalous allegations that the professed killers made during their interrogations, include that the Christians were linked with the PKK and were forcing local girls into prostitution. Compass reports: "Sabah newspaper's headline quoted Emre Gunaydin, the alleged ringleader of the five killers, as saying, 'We committed murder out of fear they would harm our families.'" (Link 3)

Isa Karatas, a spokesperson for the Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey told Compass, "These people want to portray Turkey's Protestants as enemies of the nation. [And] because honour is such an important concept in our culture, they are trying to accuse us of having weak morals, so that they can find a justification for their murders." (Link 3)

The trial commenced on 23 November, but as Compass Direct reports: "At the request of the murderers' defence team of lawyers, who declared they had not had sufficient time to examine the prosecution files and prepare the accused suspects to testify, the court adjourned the hearing until 14 January 2008." (Link 4)

Lawyers working on behalf of the victim's families have expressed outrage at the direction the investigations have taken. Of the 31 files the prosecutors assembled for the case, 15 give only limited information on the five murderers and their crime, while 16 files give detailed information on the three Christian "missionaries" and their "missionary activity".

Compass reports: "According to one lawyer quoted by Milliyet newspaper on November 20, this 'irrelevant' information looked like an indirect effort by the chief prosecutor 'to reduce the charges by making the victims' attempts to spread their religion look like 'provocation'." (Link 4)

Independent Turkish media network Bianet commented on the "biased reporting" noting: "There has been a dangerous shift of focus in news reports on the trial." (Link 5)

Bianet notes that the media, instead of focusing on the horrendous crime of torture and murder, focused on the Christians with the implication that their "missionary activities" provided some justification for their murder. Then, in the days before the trial opened, the media shifted its attention to the plaintiffs' attorneys, alleging that "among the lawyers there are some who have defended militants of the PKK terrorist organisation before".

Bianet reports that the Turkish media has published "the names of all the lawyers joining the hearing, together with the names of those whom they had defended before. There is thus a dangerous shift of focus from the presumed perpetrators of a crime to conspiracy theories linking Christian missionaries and PKK activities."

Orhan Kemal Cengiz, the legal representative of the Alliance of Turkish Protestant Churches, is a lawyer for the plaintiffs. He wrote a powerful column "What is going on in the Malatya massacre case?" which was published in the Turkish Daily News on 22 November. (Link 6)

Cengiz laments the sloppy work of the prosecutors who have focused more on the activities of the victims than of the murderers.

Most seriously, Cengiz complains: "The prosecutor retrieved all documents from the computers of the victims and put them in the case file as 'evidence'. Furthermore, these files, which are public now, may lead to new murders because they include many details on other Protestants who reside in different parts of Turkey. The addresses, emails, telephones of many other Turkish Protestants are in the files, which have already been in the hands of the murderers. The prosecutor failed to make a thorough investigation and he has also put many other lives in danger."

Cengiz also complains that the murderers were not properly investigated. Their membership of the ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party (MPH) is noted in the files but not investigated. The confessed murderers gave conflicting testimonies, but these were not challenged or investigated. According to Cengiz, the files lack any details that could implicate others as instigators or motivators of the crime.

Cengiz notes that while the files cast suspicion over the "missionaries", they glorify the murderers by publishing letters they wrote to their families where they explain that they were acting in defence of their homeland.

Cengiz warns: "If state officials keep talking everyday that Turkey is in imminent danger, that there are internal enemies of this country, that missionaries are the agents of foreign states who try to break up Turkey and so on, such horrible crimes are inevitable. If 'internal enemies' such as missionaries are shown on countless Web pages as legitimate targets, and no legal action is taken against this mania, we will continue to see new murders, attacks and slaughters."


Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) Murders shine spotlight on evangelical activity in Turkey
By Yigal Schleifer, 25 April 2007
http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav042507.shtml

2) Book: Banking on Baghdad
Inside Iraq's 7,000-Year History of War, Profit, and Conflict.
By Edwin Black
Wiley 2004

3) Malatya Murder Trial Set to Open in Turkey
Local press sensationalizes killers' justifications for deaths by torture.
Compass Direct, 5 Nov 2007
http://www.compassdirect.org

4) Lawyers Slam Investigation of Malatya Murders in Turkey
Widows of slain Christians speak out at opening day of trial.
Compass Direct, 27 Nov 2007
http://www.compassdirect.org

5) Malatya Murder Case Postponed
There has been a dangerous shift of focus in news reports on the trial.
By Erol Onderoglu and Nilufer Zengin.
Bıa news centre, 26 Nov 2007
http://www.bianet.org/english/kategori/english/103126/malatya-murder-case-postponed
SEE ALSO
Judiciary under international spotlight in the murder of Christians in Malatya
The New Anatolian / Ankara, 26 November 2007
http://www.thenewanatolian.com/tna-29736.html
AND
Turks in Christian murder trial. BBC 23 Nov 2007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7108607.stm
AND
Five on trial in Turkey for missionary murders
By Nicholas Birch in Istanbul. 24 Nov 2007
http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article3191522.ece

6) What is going on in the Malatya massacre case?
By Orhan Kemal Cengiz, 22 November 2007
http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=89265

FURTHER ANALYSIS
Forum 18. TURKEY: What causes intolerance and violence? 29 Nov 2007
By Guzide Ceyhan. http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1053

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sudan: Jihad a tradition not stopped by peace

Date: Saturday 24 November 2007
Subj: Sudan: Jihad a tradition not stopped by peace agreements
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


This posting provides an update to the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis posting of Wednesday 3 October 2007 entitled: "Southern Sudan: On the path to war."

On Saturday 17 November 07 Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addressed a rally organised by Sudan's Popular Defence Forces (PDF) to celebrate their 18th anniversary. The PDF, which is known for its atrocities, was created in 1989 as a government paramilitary to fight alongside the Sudan Armed Forces in the jihad against the Southerners. It has subsequently been deployed against Darfur, as it is widely accepted that the PDF and the janjaweed are often one and the same. President al-Bashir's words have sent a shock wave through South Sudan and Darfur.

The Sudan Tribune reports (17 Nov): "Addressing a mass rally this morning at the Wad-Medani Stadium (capital of Al-Jazeera State), some 200 miles south of Khartoum, celebrating the 18th anniversary of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), President al-Bashir ordered to the PDF to open its camps and mobilize troops and get prepared for any eventuality. 'Now we order the PDF, the legitimate son of the people, to open their camps and gather the Mujahideen [holy warriors] not to wage war but it is obvious that we should be ready.'" (Link 1)

According to an Associated Press report, al-Bashir also accused Western powers of lying about their motives in backing a 26,000-strong UN and African Union forces due in Darfur in January. "'Those Americans, those British, and those Europeans are not keen about the people of Darfur, or the people of Southern Sudan or the Sudanese people,' he said. 'They are all liars and hypocrites who are only interested in the riches and resources of Sudan.'" Al-Bashir also singled out Scandinavian countries ". . . where some media had reproduced a caricature of Islam's Prophet Muhammad last year, and said Khartoum wouldn't allow them to contribute troops. 'Anyone who spoke blasphemously about the Prophet will not set a foot on Sudanese soil,' he said." (Link 2)

Al-Bashir's belligerent words drew an immediate response from Darfurian rebel leaders who said al-Bashir's directive was nothing other than a declaration of war. Agence France Presse reports (18 Nov): "A Darfur rebel faction said Sunday that a call by Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir to reopen auxiliary training camps was 'a declaration of war' and that it was putting its troops on high alert. 'The Sudan Liberation Movement-Unity decrees a state of maximum alert for its troops following the Sudanese president's declarations about opening Popular Defence Force training camps,' the SLM-Unity said in a statement. 'We take this decision as a declaration of all-out war in Sudan.'" (Link 3)

Southerners have also moved to a state of high alert. The Sudan Tribune reports (20 Nov): Pagan Amumu, ". . . the Secretary General of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), said that a state of mobilisation had begun in the south in reaction to the statements that were issued ordering the Popular Defence Forces to prepare and open camps.

"However, he stressed that war was not a favourable option for the SPLM but that it would defend itself if others began. He added that military capabilities had increased on both sides and that the SPLA's capabilities had developed a hundred times." (Link 4)

Amumu's boast (if it reflects truth) exposes the degree to which both sides have been violating the Comprehensive Peace Accord: as Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP, formerly the National Islamic Front) rightly notes, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement prohibits the increase of military capabilities. (Link 4)

(For a copy of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement's ceasefire arrangements, see link 5.)

MUJAHIDEEN MOBILISE

By Tuesday 20 November, Reuters news agency was reporting that young supporters of President al-Bashir were responding to his call. "The Youth Department Secretary of Bashir's dominant National Congress Party (NCP), Haj Majed Suwar, told state media that members had 'started assembling Mujahideen who (were) waiting eagerly to execute the president's order'.

"Suwar told the state-controlled Sudanese Media Centre the youth department was preparing to open training camps in response to the president's call. The news agency quoted Suwar as saying Jihad was a tradition that could not be stopped by signing peace agreements." (Link 6)

Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) Sudan president orders paramilitary forces mobilisation, rejects Abyei report
18 November 2007 http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article24793
SEE ALSO
Sudan president "threatens war" -- former rebels
By Andrew Heavens in Khartoum,18 Nov 2007
http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN830929.html

2) Sudan President Criticizes Western Interference, Says Ready For War (AP)
18 Nov 2007 http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/15550.html

3) Darfur rebel group calls Beshir move 'declaration of war' (AFP)
18 Nov 2007 http://www.sudan.net/news/posted/15552.html

4) South Sudan army in state of mobilisation: SPLM SG
20 November 2007 http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article24826

5) Comprehensive Peace Agreement
http://www.usip.org/library/pa/sudan/cpa01092005/cpa_toc.html

6) Sudanese respond to militia call-up -- state media
20 Nov 2007 http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN031531.html

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

BOSNIA: THE LOOMING STORM

Date: Wednesday 21 November 2007
Subj: Bosnia: The looming storm.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


Bosnia is supposed to be enacting constitutional reforms aimed at transitioning the state to European Union (EU) membership from the stabilisation brought by the Dayton Accords. The Dayton Accords, which ended the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict, upheld the territorial sovereignty of the independent state of Bosnia while dividing it into two largely-autonomous entities: the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic). Inherent in Bosnia's transition to the EU is the EU (and American) requirement that Bosnia strengthen its state institutions at the expense of its entities.

The constitutional reforms proposed for Bosnia are contentious however because Bosnian Islamists, such as Bosnia's Muslim President Haris Silajdzic, are not interested in seeing Republika Srpska's institutions scaled down -- they want Republika Srpska abolished. The Islamists want to extend Muslim rule across all of Bosnia. Meanwhile, because Bosnia is a Muslim-majority state and Bosnian Serbs -- traditionally and culturally Serbian Orthodox -- have no wish to be dominated by Muslims, the Bosnian Serbs want to retain the autonomy that safeguards their religious liberty, security and culture. As it is, the traditionally Catholic Croats of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation are so sick of being discriminated against by the increasingly radicalised Muslim majority (see link 1) that they want to leave the federation. Croat groups are petitioning for a separate Croat-majority entity where they can enjoy their constitutional rights.

(For more details on Bosnia's radicalisation, religious tensions, constitutional reforms and background history, see link 2.)

All this of course is very frustrating for Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak, the High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, who is supposed to be orchestrating Bosnia's transition. Lajcak recently complained to an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council meeting in Vienna, "No one wants to be a minority and they all want to have a state." (Link 3)

Through this complaint, Lajcak not only displays contempt for the genuine complaints and concerns of religious minorities, he also misrepresents the truth. For unlike Serbia's minority Albanians, Bosnia's Croats and Serbs have not been calling for an independent "state". They simply desire the autonomy that would enable them to safeguard their religious liberty, security and culture within the Muslim-majority state. If the "International Community" (US, EU, UN) orchestrate the re-subjugation of the Bosnian Serbs (and Croats), then Bosnia might end up transitioning, not forwards from stabilisation to EU membership, but backwards from paralysis to crisis to ethnic-religious conflict.

LAJCAK IMPOSES LAWS AND TRIGGERS WORST CRISIS SINCE WAR

On 19 October, High Representative Miroslav Lajcak exercised his supreme power and decreed changes to the law that rules how Bosnia's democratically elected federal Council of Ministers conducts its business.

Lajcak's imposed changes to Bosnia's law on the Council of Ministers will benefit Islamists by making it easier for them to have their proposals passed. Previously when lawmakers representing the Muslim majority put forward proposals that were unacceptable to Republika Srpska, Bosnian Serb lawmakers (when they knew they could not get a majority to defeat the proposal) would simply boycott the session to force a postponement of the vote. Lajcak's measures alter the way a quorum is calculated and reduce by half the number of members of parliament needed to pass a law. Laws may now be passed on the majority votes of the lawmakers present, rendering ethnic boycotts ineffective. (Link 4)

The President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, rejected Lajcak's measures, describing them as unacceptable. When Bosnian Serb lawmakers requested Lajcak to reconsider, he rebuffed them, saying that the matter was not open for discussion! Lajcak regards the resultant crisis as "artificial". According to Lajcak the Bosnian Serbs have "overreacted to these measures in order to create a political crisis". Once again Lajcak is showing contempt for the genuine and reasonable concerns of the religious minorities who regard this as a substantial crisis.

The Office for the High Representative has issued a statement confirming that Lajcak's measures will not be withdrawn, crisis or not. Terrorism analyst Anes Alic in Sarajevo quotes the OHR statement as saying: "If the tensions continue to escalate without particular reason, that will be the choice of the Bosnian Serb authorities and they would be therefore deemed responsible for such a situation and possible consequences." According to Alic, "The US Embassy in Sarajevo issued a similar statement." (Link 5)

The new laws are now in force on a temporary basis. If Bosnia's Council of Ministers fails to endorse the law changes on 1 December, Lajcak (an unelected, imposed foreigner) will enact them unilaterally. The Republika Srpska (RS) Assembly has warned that if Lajcak does not reconsider or amend his measures to make them acceptable to Bosnian Serbs, then the RS Assembly will bring the issue to the attention of the RS Constitutional Court and even to the UN. (Link 6)

BALKAN FORECAST


Balkan forecast for December: dark clouds with storms (possibly violent and highly destructive, especially in the south). Unless changes blow in, 1 December will see Lajcak, with backing from the US and EU, dictating laws in Bosnia that threaten Serb autonomy, liberty and security, opening the door for Islamists to gradually extend their rule and dominance over all Bosnia, including its 1.4 million Serbs. Then on 10 December Albanian separatists in the Serbian province of Kosovo, with backing from the US and most EU member states, will declare unilateral independence. With this, Muslims will have re-annexed Serbian territory, the southern province of Kosovo and Metohija (church lands), complete with some 100,000 remnant Serbs and centuries of priceless Serbian and Christian heritage.

Note: US-EU-NATO policy regarding Bosnia -- ethnic-religious unification according to the will of the Muslim majority -- is contrary to its policy regarding Serbia -- ethnic-religious partition according to the will of the Muslim minority.

Serbs (allies of the West through two world wars) are supposed to willingly submit to re-subjugation in Bosnia and accept partition of Serbia -- the excision of their historic and spiritual heartland -- in line with the demands of Albanian ethnic separatists and Islamists.

The only thing consistent about US-EU-NATO policy in the Balkans is that it consistently aligns with Muslim forces and advances the Islamist agenda at the expense of Christian peoples, in particular Orthodox Slavs. It is reminiscent of the way Britain aligned with the Ottoman Turks in the Balkans a century ago, propping up Muslim forces as a bulwark against Russian expansion into the region.

US-EU-NATO policy in the Balkans has nothing to do with justice or "democracy" or humanitarianism and everything to do with post Cold War geopolitics, without regard for "collateral damage" (local Christians) or long-term consequences (regional and global instability and insecurity).

Elizabeth Kendal
rl-research@crossnet.org.au

Links

1) BALKAN MUJAHEDEENS
Fundamentalist Islam Finds Fertile Ground in Bosnia
By Renate Flottau in Sarajevo, Bosnia. 9 November 2007
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,516214,00.html

2) Bosnia and Herzegovina: Religious tensions rising.
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 19 September 2006.
By WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.
http://www.worldevangelicals.org/news/view.htm?id=692
(this posting also contains a historical background under the heading: "CREATING CONTEXT: HISTORY'S WEDGES")
SEE ALSO
Bosnia: Fragile stability threatened by Islamisation.
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 12 October 2006.
WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

3) Lajcak: Everyone in Bosnia wants their own state
25 October 2007, Source: Tanjug
http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=10&dd=25&nav_id=44869

4) Decision Enacting the Law on Changes and Amendments to the Law on the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Friday, 19 October 2007
http://www.ohr.int/decisions/statemattersdec/default.asp?content_id=40687

5) Dangerous rumblings in Bosnia
By Anes Alic in Sarajevo for ISN Security Watch. 2 Nov 2007 http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=18310
SEE ALSO
RS Proposal: No Basis For Further Discussion
OHR Sarajevo | Friday, November 09, 2007
http://www.ohr.int/ohr-dept/presso/pressr/default.asp?content_id=40821

6) Bosnia Serbs Rebuffed over Imposed Laws
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. 30 Oct 2007
http://www.birn.eu.com/en/110/15/5442/

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Battle for Pakistan.

Date: Tuesday 30 October 2007
Subj: The Battle for Pakistan.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


THE BATTLE FOR PAKISTAN

On May 2007, WEA RLC released a News & Analysis posting entitled "Pakistan in Crisis: Situation Critical" (link 1), which examined Pakistan's escalating sectarianism (Sunni vs Shi'ite) and Islamisation (both of which fuel Islamic zeal and intolerance) and lawlessness (which facilitates criminal activity and intensifying religious persecution). The situation is most severe in the Taliban and al-Qaeda-administered and influenced tribal agencies and districts of North Western Frontier Province (NWFP). (Link 2)

WEA RLC's May posting also contained a section entitled "The Islamisation and Talibanisation of Islamabad" which focused on the stand-off at the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in the heart of the capital, Islamabad.

As was widely reported in mainstream news, rising tensions at the Lal Masjid mosque culminated on 3 July 07 in street battles between security forces and militants. On 4 July Pakistani security forces laid siege to the mosque, demanding an unconditional surrender and the release of hostages and human shields. The mosque's senior cleric, Maulana Abdul Aziz was arrested as he tried to sneak out of the mosque dressed in a burqa and high-heels. (The government's televising of this image enraged Islamists!)

Aziz' brother, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, subsequently took over as mosque chief and the siege continued until 10 July when last-ditch negotiations failed and security forces stormed the mosque. Death toll estimates vary widely, from the official government estimate of around 100 dead to the Islamist claim that more than 2,000 were "martyred". Abdul Rashid Ghazi was killed in the military operation.

As soon as the government forces laid siege to the Lal Masjid, jihadists in north-western tribal regions cranked up their terrorist actions against the Pakistani Army. On 16 July 07 the Taliban and al-Qaeda alliance in Waziristan terminated their "peace deal" with the government. The subsequent violence and terror has claimed hundreds of lives including those of at least 200 soldiers.

Army morale is low as this a very unpopular fight with many believing the army is fighting its own people at America's behest. Not only are the huge losses demoralising, but many soldiers find it difficult to feel motivated about killing fellow Pakistanis and Muslims. Several weeks ago 300 soldiers surrendered to a band of some 30 tribal mujahideen in South Waziristan without firing a single shot. Whilst a few have been released, virtually all of them remain captive.

Since the highly-organised bombing of Benazir Bhutto's motorcade on18 October the government has declared its intent to unleash all-out war on the militants.

A battle for Pakistan -- a nuclear armed state -- has commenced and the outcome is far from certain. Religious liberty and the security for Christians hangs in the balance and the prospects, especially in the short and medium term, are bleak.

WHAT WILL THE PAKISTAN ARMY BE UP AGAINST?
- the Taliban and al-Qaeda mujahideen of The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan.


Whilst the US bombing and invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 toppled the Taliban, most of al-Qaeda's core leadership survived and relocated to Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

In 2003 the Pakistani Army was given the responsibility of eliminating al-Qaeda and Taliban elements from the border regions of Pakistan. Over the years however a soaring death toll has included the loss of at least 1,000 soldiers as well as the execution-style murders of around 150 anti-Taliban tribal leaders. All this has taken its toll on Army morale and weakened public resolve. (Unofficial estimates are that Pakistan has lost more soldiers in the FATA than the US has in Iraq, i.e. over 3,000).

In a short-sighted attempt to extricate himself from a sticky position, President Musharraf brokered a series of "peace deals" with the Taliban-al-Qaeda-tribal alliance. In February 2005, South Waziristan was ceded to the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance and on 5 September 2006, North Waziristan was ceded. While Musharraf's capitulation brought him some (temporary) peace, it also established the two Waziristans as the most secure Taliban and al-Qaeda-run terrorist sanctuary and administrative and training base in the world.

Tarique Niazi elaborated on the "peace deal" in Terrorism Monitor (5 Oct 2006): "The deal offers amnesty to Taliban militants and 'foreigners' (a reference to Afghan-Arabs who are members of al-Qaeda) in North Waziristan for a pledge that they would desist from mounting cross-border attacks into Afghanistan; assaulting Pakistani security forces, public servants, state property, tribal leaders and journalists; and carrying heavy weapons (DAWN, 6 September 2006). They will, however, be allowed to travel across the border into Afghanistan on a 'business trip' or a 'family visit' and carry 'light' weapons such as AK-47s.

"It binds the government to cease ground and air assaults against the Taliban and resolve all future disputes according to the Rivaaj (tribal customs). It further obligates the government to redeploy its troops from North Waziristan to their designated camps and forts, and dismantle all 12 checkpoints that were set up to hunt al-Qaeda and Taliban militants (DAWN, 6 September 2006)."

Niazi also reported that subsequent to signing the deal, the government set free 132 Taliban fighters who had been jailed for terrorist violence (Daily Times, 8 September 2006), returned their seized weapons (including 24 AK-47s), restored their impounded property and reinstated their forfeited privileges, including government allowances. Additionally, the government approved a cash compensation of 230 million rupees ($3.8 million) for the material losses suffered by tribesmen (DAWN, 9 September 2006). (Link 3)

Policy and military analysts Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Bill Roggio gave a bleak assessment to the Weekly Standard (2 Oct 2006): "Together, these events [ceding territory and releasing prisoners] may constitute the most significant development in the global war on terror in the past year." (Link 4)

Their article in the Weekly Standard describes the Waziristan Accord as the "unconditional surrender of Waziristan". Concerning the signing ceremony they write: "Taliban fighters searched government negotiators and military officers for weapons before allowing them to enter the meeting, which took place in a soccer stadium in the North Waziristan capital of Miranshah. According to three separate intelligence sources, heavily armed Taliban were posted as guards around the ceremony, and al-Qaeda's black flag hung over the scoreboard.

"Immediately after the Pakistani delegation left, al-Qaeda's flag was run up the flagpole of abandoned military checkpoints, and the Taliban began looting leftover small arms. The Taliban also held a 'parade' in the streets of Miranshah. Clearly, they view their 'truce' with Pakistan as a victory. It is trumpeted as such on jihadist websites."

Whilst President Musharraf and US President Bush portrayed the Waziristan Accord as a victory, it was in reality nothing less than the ceding of territory to a hostile enemy entity. As soon as the territory was ceded, al-Qaeda declared "The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan" and established a governing Shura council. The Waziristan Accord provided the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance an autonomous mini-state within a state, a safe-haven, a sanctuary from where they could consolidate, strategise, recruit, train, deploy, enforce their writ and expand their sphere of influence.

Eric Sayers, in a report for the Washington based Center for Security Policy, quotes Bill Roggio: "The destruction of al-Qaeda's safe haven in Afghanistan during Taliban rule has essentially been negated by the rise of Talibanistan in western Pakistan." (Link 5)

Sayers adds (writing in February 2007, link 5): "According to NATO statistics, since the signing of the Waziristan Accord in September 2006, attacks into Afghanistan along the border with Waziristan have increased by almost 300 percent. Consequentially, US military deaths in the region were almost double during this period, in comparison to what they were during the same period the previous year. Further emphasising the strategic importance of the sanctuaries, recent reports have indicated the al-Qaeda fighters wounded in Afghanistan are being treated for their wounds in Bajaur hospitals." [Bajaur, the suspected home of al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, has also been ceded to the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance. The Bajaur Accord was signed on 17 March 2007. (Link 6)]

Bill Roggio of Long War Journal subsequently reported (23 October 2007): "Within months the North Waziristan Accord was followed by agreements in Bajaur, Swat, and Mohmand agencies. News from the tribal agencies of Kurram, Orakzai, and Khyber has gone dark. These tribal agencies are very likely under Taliban control. Open source reporting indicates all or portions of the settled districts . . . of Dera Ismail Khan, Laki Marwat, Tank, Khyber, Bannu, Hangu, Kohat, Charsadda, Dir, Mardan, and even the provincial seat of Peshawar are under Taliban influence to some degree or another." (Link 7 -- which includes a map showing degrees of Taliban control in NWFP.)

From its sanctuary in The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance has been able to progress from a position of besieged weakness to one of organised strength. Not only are they now having a profound impact on international terrorism and the jihads in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are also now able to launch a genuinely threatening insurgency in Pakistan.

"COME TO JIHAD, to the people of Pakistan."
- Osama bin Laden beckons.


In late September 2007, Osama bin Laden released an audio message entitled "Come to Jihad, to the people of Pakistan". (Link 8)

Replete with Qur'anic quotations, it informs the people of Pakistan that it is their moral and Islamic duty to respond to the "Lal Masjid massacre" by joining with the Muslims following "true Islam" and waging jihad against the kuffaar (unbeliever) government of Pakistan, the Army and their supporters.

In his message bin Laden likens Musharraf's invasion of and "massacre" at the Lal Masjid to the destruction of and slaughter at the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India, by Hindutva forces in 1992. He says the events at the Lal Masjid demonstrate that Musharraf is aligned with infidels against the Muslims. Therefore, he says, rebellion against Musharraf is obligatory. Bin Laden beckons those who have been "led astray" and are now supporting Musharraf or democracy or peace, particularly the Pakistani Army, which he says is supposed to be protecting the Muslims against the kuffaar (unbelievers), not allowing themselves to be tools and weapons in the hands of the kuffaar against the Muslims.

In his speech bin Laden condemns Muslims who spill the blood of fellow Muslims, warning that there is never any excuse: "Compulsion is not legally valid as the soul forced to kill is not better than the soul of the one killed." He appeals directly to soldiers, recommending they resign from their positions in the Pakistani Army, disassociate themselves from Musharraf and enter "true Islam", because, he says, "the government and army have become enemies of the Ummah [community of Muslims]. . . all of them have pledged to the cross worshippers to fight true Islam and its people. . . and permitted American cross worshipper forces to use the air, soil and water of Pakistan, the country of Islam, to kill the people of Islam in Afghanistan and then in Waziristan."

He concludes with an ominous promise: "We in the al-Qaeda organisation call on Allah to witness that we will retaliate for the blood of Maulana abd al-Rasheed Ghanzi. . ." and other slain Muslims, "champions of Islam in Waziristan".

THE BATTLE FOR PAKISTAN
- The prize: the Intelligence Services (ISI), the Army, the state, the nuclear arsenal.
- The outcome: that will depend primarily on Army and government resolve.

Mark Sappenfield writes for the Christian Science Monitor (22 October 2007): "Bowing to international pressure, President Pervez Musharraf has restarted an offensive in the remote tribal areas that are rapidly becoming a hub of global terrorism. Yet early indications are that, no matter who is in charge, the Pakistani Army is ill-suited -- and perhaps incapable -- of doing the job." (Link 9)

As noted by M K Dar (Former Joint Director of Intelligence Bureau, India (Link 10)) for more than two decades now powerful elements within the Pakistani Army and intelligence services have supported Sunni fundamentalist organisations and employed Islamic militants as proxies in their conflicts against India in Kashmir and against Soviet and now Western-backed forces in Afghanistan.

It must also be noted also that foreign forces with their own agendas have encouraged and assisted this for the purpose of fighting proxy wars, including the Saudis (to subdue the Shiites) and the US (to fight the Soviets). Consequently, over the past more than two decades, the well trained and supplied ISI, the rank and file military, the Mullahs and the militants have become very close knit.

Because the conflict in the north-western tribal regions is unpopular and a high casualty rate is guaranteed, many experts do not expect the government's renewed offensive in the north-west to continue long term. Sappenfield writes: "If it does, the Army 'will get divided vertically', with officers remaining loyal to headquarters and the rank and file becoming increasingly alienated, says Ayesha Siddiqa, author 'Military Inc.', a book about the Pakistani Army. 'Cracks are appearing,' she adds."

While officers might see this as an opportunity to further entrench military control over Pakistan, an alternative scenario could be that if officers feel that military domination of Pakistan is under threat because genuine democracy is in sight, they might desert Musharraf for the Taliban for pragmatic as much as ideological reasons. There are many unknowns.

Syed Saleem Shahzad writes for Asia Times Online that a Pakistani security official, who spoke to Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity, said the goal of the government's counterinsurgency is "to pacify the Waziristans once and for all". (Link 11)

Shahzad writes: "Lining up against the Pakistani Army will be the Shura (council) of Mujahideen comprising senior al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders, local clerics and leaders of the fighting clans Wazir and Mehsud (known as the Pakistani Taliban)." He quotes the Pakistani security official as saying, "If the planned battle is successful and Waziristan is pacified, the global Islamic resistance would be back where it was in 2003, when it had fighters but no centralised command or bases to carry out organised operations."

Shahzad reports: "The safety of Taliban and al-Qaeda assets in Waziristan is a matter of life and death and, therefore, the militants have devised a forward strategy to target the Pakistani cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, hoping to break the will of the Pakistani armed forces. The Pakistani military, meanwhile, is trying to break the will of the militants with ongoing bombing raids.

"Underscoring the seriousness with which the military is planning for the coming battle, it is reported that Shi'ite soldiers from northern Pakistan are being sent to the Waziristans. In the past, the Pakistani Army has been plagued by desertions of Pashtun and Sunni troops who refuse to fight fellow Pashtuns or Sunnis." [Shi'ites will supposedly have fewer problems killing Sunnis. The sectarian element could however, just introduce another layer to the conflict.]

This issue of a morally conflicted and fracturing army is without a doubt one of the greatest threats as increasingly more and more soldiers are questioning the Islamic credentials of their mission. After a major army offensive in South Waziristan in 2004 in which some 500 officers and soldiers refused to fight, "500 leading religious scholars signed a fatwa, a religious judgment, ruling that militants killed in the action are 'martyrs'. The same fatwa forbade the public to pray for the dead government soldiers." Earlier this year the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistani Army attempted to solicit a fatwa to its own advantage from the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) but was unable to do so. (Link 12) How many soldiers will heed bin Laden's call?

In July, Ayesha Siddiqa (author of 'Military Inc.') wrote an article entitled "Life after Lal Masjid" where she ominously likened the siege and storming of the Lal Masjid to the "Indian army's June 1984 attack against the Golden Temple and the dissident Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. In both situations," she says, "the rebels were created by the establishment to be later killed at the government's hands. . . It is hoped, however, that the Lal Masjid operation does not result in the assassination of a leader and the killing of hundreds of innocent people like it occurred in India in October-November 1984." (Link 13)

On 18 October, Benazir Bhutto narrowly escaped assassination and more than 130 people were killed and hundreds were wounded when her motorcade was targeted by terrorists. This is doubtless only the beginning of the terror. Al-Qaeda will seek to eliminate all bulwarks against Sharia and Taliban control of Islamabad. We can expect to see terrorist incidents and assassinations proliferate in Pakistan. Christians ("cross worshippers" as bin Laden calls them) are destined to be targeted, as the militants view them not only as expendable kuffaar and stains to be removed, but as the targets most likely to attract Western attention, breast beating and pressure for more "peace deals".

Al-Qaeda's goal is nothing less than control of a nuclear-armed Islamic state, complete with intelligence services and an Islamist Army, for the purpose of administering and waging international Islamic jihad. A long and bloody battle for Pakistan has begun.

Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) Pakistan in Crisis: Situation Critical
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 22 May 2007
By WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

2) Pakistan: War and unprecedented persecution in NWFP
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 29 Oct 2007

3) Pakistan's Peace Deal with Taliban Militants
By Tarique Niazi for Terrorism Monitor, Volume 4, Issue 19 (5 October 2006)
http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370153

4) Pakistan Surrenders. The Taliban control the border with Afghanistan.
by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Bill Roggio. 2 Oct 2006. http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/738ijawx.asp

5) The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan and the Bajaur Tribal Region:
The Strategic Threat of Terrorist Sanctuaries. By Eric Sayers, Feb 2007
http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/modules/newsmanager/center%20publication%20pdfs/waziristan.pdf

6) Pakistan signs the Bajaur Accord
By Bill Roggio (Military analyst) 17 March 2007
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/03/pakistan_signs_the_b.php

7) Crunch Time in Pakistan, By Bill Roggio, 23 October 2007
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/10/crunch_time_in_pakis.php
(Includes a map showing areas of Taliban-al-Qaeda rule and areas under threat.)

8) Come To Jihad, To The People Of Pakistan
26 Sept 2007. Translated From Urdu By Ahmed Al-Marid | Jihad Unspun
http://www.jihadunspun.com/intheatre_internal.php?article=109033&list=/home.php

9) Pakistan's Army: Unprepared to tackle terrorism? 22 October 2007
By Mark Sappenfield , Staff writer, The Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1022/p04s01-wosc.html

10) Militants' sway in tribal areas. 23 Oct 2007
M K Dar (Former Joint Director of Intelligence Bureau)
http://www.centralchronicle.com/20071023/2310301.htm

11) Pakistan plans all-out war on militants
By Syed Saleem Shahzad 19 Oct 2007
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IJ19Df01.html

12) Troop Defections Threaten Pakistan's Operations in Tribal Regions
By Tarique Niazi, for Terrorism Focus, Volume 4, Issue 4 (6 March 2007)
http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370270

13) Pakistan after Lal Masjid
Ayesha Siddiqa, 17 July 2007
http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/jul/17guest.htm

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pakistan: War and unprecedented persecution in NWFP.

Date: Monday 29 October 2007
Subj: Pakistan: War and unprecedented persecution in NWFP.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


Persecution of Christians has long been intense right across Pakistan's highly Islamised and Talibanised North West Frontier Province (NWFP). However Islamic zeal, tension, intolerance and belligerence has escalated dramatically over recent years as the Pakistan Army has been engaged in an unpopular war against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan.

PEACE, LIBERTY AND PERSECUTION

Heavy troop losses and plummeting troop morale has led President Musharraf to strike "peace deals" with Taliban and al-Qaeda affiliates in several regions of NWFP. South Waziristan was ceded to Taliban and al-Qaeda control in February 2005 and North Waziristan was ceded in September 2006. Since then the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance has had sanctuary in the "Islamic Emirate of Waziristan" -- an autonomous mini-state and terrorist sanctuary from where they have been able to freely consolidate, strategise, recruit, deploy, enforce their writ and expand their zone of influence.

This year the government signed similar "peace deals" (surrenders) in the NWFP tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mahmoud, as well as Swat district. As would be expected, in all areas under Taliban and al-Qaeda control a policy of zero tolerance towards everything "non-Islamic" is being violently imposed.

The "peace deals" have provided peace for the government, liberty for the Taliban and al-Qaeda and unprecedented persecution for Christians and all other non-Islamists.

(A detailed examination and assessment of the political and security situation in Pakistan -- a News & Analysis posting entitled "The Battle for Pakistan" -- will be released tomorrow.)

CONFLICT RESUMES

On 10 July government troops stormed the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad. In response, the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance in Waziristan terminated its "peace agreement" with the government and resumed terrorist actions against the Pakistan Army. Further to this, the Taliban and al-Qaeda appear to be waging an insurgency that is aimed at expanding Taliban and al-Qaeda control throughout NWFP on their way to Islamabad.

The chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Asma Jahangir, told DAWN (7 Oct 2007): "The NWFP presents a disturbing picture of religious militancy that is increasingly manifesting itself in vigilante actions against the population and creating widespread fear. The government has chosen to look the other way when the militants have blown up girls' schools and video shops, threatened teachers, students, doctors, nurses, NGO workers and barbers." (Link 1)

SWAT DISTRICT

Swat district fell under Taliban control when the government struck a "peace deal" with the militants in May 2007. As noted by Hameedullah Khan in DAWN (21 September 2007), "Violence intensified in the Swat valley after the signing of the agreement."

Basically, the "peace deal" enabled the terror to be re-directed. Militants who had been consumed with battling the Pakistan Army were freed-up to wage a violent campaign of forced Islamisation across the district: destroying evidence of Swat Valley's ancient Buddhist heritage and eliminating all practice they deem non-Islamic. Swat Valley is home to around 1,000 Christians, a tiny and vulnerable minority amongst 1.5 million Muslims.

Asma Jahangir (HRCP) told DAWN that in Swat Valley the education department has asked girls to comply with Taliban demands and wear burqas to school after threats from militants. Jahangir adds that the only Christian missionary school in the area had shut down after receiving threats. Jahangir also reports that security forces have been abandoning their posts after coming under consistent militant attack, leaving people at the mercy of the militants.

A Compass Direct (CD) news release entitled "PAKISTAN: Taliban militants force burqa on Christian women's school", details the persecution on the above mentioned Catholic-run Public High School and exposes the shocking intensity of the persecution being directed at the Christian community as the Taliban works to subjugate or even eradicate Christianity from their turf. (Link 2)

"PEACE" ENDS

The "peace deal" signed in Swat in May was scrapped on Friday 21 September when the "caliph" of the parallel religious government in NWFP, Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked cleric Maulana Fazlullah, announced he was terminating his agreement with the government. Fazlullah's army of some 4,500 militants immediately resumed violence and terrorism (including suicide bombings) against the Pakistan Army.

On Wednesday 24 October, the interim caretaker government of the NWFP deployed more than 2,000 paramilitary troops, police and helicopter gunships into Swat Valley "to provide security to the people" and "negotiate" with the militants. (Link 3)

On 25 October a powerful bomb blast destroyed an army vehicle travelling through Mingora, Swat's main town, killing around 30 people including 17 soldiers. The militants are not negotiating.

Fazlullah's madrassa-stronghold came under heavy attack on Friday 26 October. Fazlullah retaliated by kidnapping six security personnel (3 soldiers and 3 police) and seven civilians whom he accused of being government spies. While some remain missing, others were publicly executed and their decapitated heads were reportedly put on display in a local bazaar. (Link 4)

According to government-issued Pashtu-language leaflets reportedly dropped from a government helicopter on Saturday 27 October, the government intends to "eliminate extremism and terrorism from the Swat valley". However, in a shameful betrayal of the people, the government attempted to appease the militants with the words: "You must remember that establishing Islamic courts, implementation of Shariah (Islamic law) and bringing peace is the first priority of the government." (Links 4&5)

ISLAMISATION, TERROR AND WAR MAKE FOR A TENUOUS FUTURE

In those areas of NWFP where the government has ceded control to the Taliban (South and North Waziristan, as well as Bajaur and Mahmoud agencies and Swat district) Christians are not only facing unprecedented persecution and forced Islamisation, they are now on the frontline of a battle for Pakistan -- a life and death battle with high-stakes, being waged between the government and the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance. This will push persecution amidst insecurity to unprecedented levels. Thousands are reportedly fleeing the area.

The battle for Pakistan commenced with the government conquest of the Lal Masjid on 10 July 2007. The al-Qaeda insurgency, which is administered from the Waziristans and aimed at Islamabad, is casting a very dark shadow over NWFP and sending ill winds sweeping across all Pakistan. Religious liberty and the security of Pakistan's Christians hangs in the balance. Short and medium-term prospects are bleak. Please pray for the Christians of Pakistan.

Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) Militants targeting civilians
http://www.dawn.com/2007/10/08/top3.htm

2) Compass Direct News, 27 Sept 2007
PAKISTAN: Taliban militants force burqa on Christian women's school
- Extremists violently enforce Islamization in unruly northern district.
http://www.compassdirect.org/content/index.php?id=27 (search: Pakistan)

3) Swat cleric 'ends' peace deal
By Hameedullah Khan, 21 Sept 2007
http://www.dawn.com/2007/09/22/top9.htm
AND
Editorial: Recapturing Swat from Fazlullah
Daily Times, Pakistan, Friday 26 October 2007
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C10%5C26%5Cstory_26-10-2007_pg3_1

4) 11 men kidnapped were executed in Pak, militants claim
SWAT (Pakistan) (AP) 27 Oct 2007
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/003200710271522.htm

5) Leaflets urge Malakand people to help govt
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007\10\29\story_29-10-2007_pg7_5

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Southern Sudan: On the path to war.

Date: Wednesday 3 October 2007
Subj: Southern Sudan: On the path to war.
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal


On 31 December 2004, Sudan's ruling National Congress Party ((NCP) formerly the National Islamic Front (NIF)) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), bringing to an end 21 years of civil war and Islamic jihad.

FORMULATING THE CPA

The process of formulating the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had been fraught with difficulties as the secular, inclusive, equitable, democratic "New Sudan" vision of Dr John Garang's SPLM and the ruling NCP's vision of an Arab Islamist Sudan with racial and religious apartheid were totally incompatible.

Dr Garang's vision of a New Sudan with "unity on a new basis" attracted followers from amongst the marginalised non-Arab, non-Muslim and non-Islamist majority all over the nation, causing the south-based SPLM to blossom into a truly national movement.

Of course such a vision was (and still is) anathema to Sudan's ruling Arabist Islamist regime which was (and still is) driven not only by Islamist ideology and ideas of racial and religious supremacy, but by the knowledge that it could never survive in an open and free environment. The NIF has never had a mandate from the people to rule or implement divisive Sharia: its power was obtained and is held by force.

Further to these difficulties of SPLM-NCP incompatibility, the SPLM was itself divided between those who supported Garang's New Sudan vision with its national agenda and those southerners who supported self-determination.

The CPA, with its six-year interim "one nation, two systems" confederation period, was a pragmatic attempt to secure peace in the short term whilst providing steps towards a long term solution.

The CPA appeased both SPLM camps by providing for elections in 2009 and a referendum on self-determination for the south in 2011. Meanwhile the central government of national unity had the interim six-year period (2005-2011) to "make unity attractive" and thus prevent the dismemberment and/or disintegration of Sudan.

Garang knew that separatism was a recipe for war. He hoped that full implementation of the CPA and elections that routed the NCP, along with positive momentum across the nation and improved living conditions in the south, could convince the southerners that Sudan was a state worth staying in – that is, they might choose unity with nation-building over separatism and a return to war.

Today, the New Sudan faction, which is south-based but geographically, ethnically and religiously diverse, advocates a national solution and sees the CPA as a roadmap to national reform via elections. The southern self-determination faction, which is tribalist and south-focused, sees the CPA as a roadmap to the 2011 referendum where they will "exercise their right of self-determination".

The self-determination faction fails to address the fact the north will never let such oil-rich territory go and will return to war, with the NCP flying the flag of jihad, to retain it. Furthermore, for the NCP there are not only economic considerations but also their Islamic ideology which cannot let the south succeed.

FLOUTING THE CPA


It is nearly three years since the CPA was signed. The central government is not implementing its provisions and is not making "unity attractive" because it is still advancing its Arabist Islamist vision for Sudan which is not attractive for any non-Arab, non-Muslim or non-Islamist.

The southern oil fields are still over-run with northern Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and their associate militias though the deadline for their withdrawal passed on 9 July 2007. (Link 1)

Even before the deadline passed there was a serious military confrontation in Malakal. (See WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin 408, "Southern Sudan: Serious clash threatens peace", 13 December 2006: Link 2)

Because the CPA's security protocols are not being implemented, northern troops are still facing off against southern troops that are now supposed to be in charge of the south's security. Tensions are escalating.

Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times describes the situation in the southern town of Abyei: "The two sides were supposed to have been integrated by now into a single army -- marching, living and fighting together for one Sudan. Instead, the soldiers eyeball one another across the narrow divide, with thousands more massing to lay claim to the contested oil fields nearby, seemingly bracing for another long separatist war.

" 'We're on a path back toward war,' said David Mozersky, the Horn of Africa project director for International Crisis Group (ICG), which researches conflicts around the world. 'We're seeing a military build-up on both sides,' he said, '(and) the partnership between the two sides has broken down.' " (Link 3)

Furthermore, the NCP has been consistently obstructing work towards border demarcation, a national census and electoral law, thus jeopardising the 2009 elections. As the International Crisis Group notes, "While free and fair elections may worry the NCP, it would welcome quick and dirty ones." (Link 4)

NCP THREATENED BY 2009 ELECTIONS

The NCP has no intention of implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), because that would be political suicide. Therefore it is in the NCP's interests to keep the nation destabilised and the SPLM as divided and conflicted as possible.

Since Dr John Garang's death in a helicopter crash on 9 July 2005, the SPLM has, in the words of International Crisis Group (ICG, July 2007) "had trouble maintaining focus on national issues. . ." (Link 4)

Under the leadership of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar the SPLM has been retreating from the New Sudan vision and national agenda of Dr John Garang. Instead of cultivating its partnerships with all the Sudanese pro-democracy groups, repressed and marginalised peoples and SPLM associates across the nation -- groups that seek the ousting of the NCP and reform at the centre to create a liberal democratic secular New Sudan -- the SPLM is pursuing secession and partnership with the Arab Islamist NCP in Khartoum, believing this will actually enable them to secure it.

Does anyone else have a sense of déjà vu?

During his two decades as SPLM/A (Army) leader, Dr John Garang (a Dinka) opposed making southern self-determination the political aim of the rebellion. Garang saw Sudan as a diverse nation, with numerous peoples, cultures, histories, traditions and beliefs. He saw the forced imposition of Arabism and Islamism, and Islamist Arab hegemony, as conducive to endless conflict. Political and religious repression and persecution only generate resistance and separatism which in turn spurn further political repression, racial and religious persecution and Islamic jihad. Dr Garang believed that peace could only come through secularism and democracy that guaranteed inclusion, equality and liberty for all Sudanese, and a commitment to nation-building.

In 1991, the SPLM/A split when Commander Riek Machar (a Nuer, and now the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan) led a breakaway faction into a fight for independence. The Arab Islamist NIF regime in Khartoum was never going to be threatened by Machar's mostly Nuer SPLA-United faction, not like it was (and still is) threatened by the New Sudan vision which has the potential to unify national opposition. So the NIF, doubtless delighted by the SPLM split, partnered with and armed Riek Machar's faction in support of his personal, tribal, political and military conflict against Garang's New Sudan faction. In other words, while the SPLA-United was fighting for independence, Khartoum was using the faction as a proxy militia in its own war against Garang's SPLM. (Realistically, when the enemy supports your strategy you really should reassess your mission!)

In light of this, the present scenario is starting to look very familiar. The SPLM has expressed its frustration over the lack of CPA implementation. Meanwhile the Arab Islamist NCP knows that it cannot win a free and fair election. Furthermore, like all dictatorships everywhere, the NCP leadership has no intention of relinquishing the privileges and spoils of power, and like all committed ideological Islamists everywhere they have no intention of secularising, for that would be akin to apostasy.

Commenting on the NCP's signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan Abdullah al-Turabi says: "The SPLM had the African and the international community support, and the government was isolated and weak. I think that once you sign a contract you have to abide by it but I think they (NCP) did not read it, and when they read it they found the agreement was too much for them. . . These people now realise they have signed the wrong thing . . " (Link 5).

NCP AIMS TO DIVIDE THE SPLM

International Crisis Group (ICG) reports that the biggest blow to the CPA has been the NCP decision to "actively undermine core CPA elements and try to divide the SPLM" (Link 4, page 3).

According to ICG's July report, at high-level talks in late April 2007 "the NCP offered to implement some key CPA areas if the SPLM would commit to an electoral partnership.

"The NCP strategy is twofold: partnering with the SPLM would strengthen its chances to survive democratic elections and, perhaps more importantly, eliminate the possibility of an SPLM-led alliance of marginalised political groups, including from the South, Darfur, the East, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, which could challenge its supremacy." (Link 4, page 4)

When the ICG report was being written in July, the SPLM was "resisting an electoral arrangement". ICG notes: "A serious internal contradiction in its view of the CPA affects the SPLM's ability and willingness to consider a real [electoral] partnership. For its northern members and supporters of Garang's New Sudan vision, the central purpose of the peace deal is to dismantle the NCP government and reform the centre. This requires a program focusing primarily on national reforms and is inconsistent with a partnership with the ruling party. Instead, the natural choice would seem to be an alliance with the other marginalised regions and opposition parties.

"For its predominantly southern majority, however, the primary purpose is to deliver the self-determination referendum. This opens a possibility for a political deal with the NCP, including even an electoral partnership, since many SPLM members believe the best way to protect the referendum is to allow the NCP to keep control of the North, while their party focuses on the South." (Link 4, page 4)

However, as ICG notes, "SPLM leaders seem inclined to the second line."

On 10 September, the Sudan Tribune reported: "In his speech at the opening of the second session of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly Salva Kiir [President of the Government of Southern Sudan] expressed his deep concern and worry about the status of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) implementation. 'I am alarmed, worried and deeply concerned about the status of CPA implementation. I'm worried Mr. Speaker that it is likely that Sudan will [revert] again to war if we do not act now with our partner NCP." (Link 6)

Kiir enumerated the CPA violations by the National Congress Party. (The full text of his speech is in the linked article.)

In his address Kiir clearly articulates his determination to pursue self-determination, adding, "It is regrettable that there are some voices in the Sudan who are agitating and would like to [tamper] with this constitutional right."

While talking about his visit to China Kiir says: "At least China is now aware that most of the oil produced in Sudan is from Southern Sudan and that people of Southern Sudan will exercise their right of self-determination in a referendum to be conducted by 2011."

If the SPLM forms an electoral partnership with the Arab Islamist NCP with the view that this will safeguard the 2011 referendum and enable the southerners secure independence then they are mistaken. If the NCP retains power in the north in the 2009 elections then multiple Darfur-type rebellions are likely to erupt across the north as repressed, persecuted and politically marginalised peoples seek liberation. This will scuttle CPA implementation and the 2011 referendum. The electoral partnership will have enabled the NCP to retain power over a destabilised state where the CPA will not be implemented and the referendum for self-determination will not be guaranteed. The SPLM will be left critically conflicted, divided, without its northern allies and weakened. The hope of a New Sudan will fade. The Old Sudan -- an Arabist, Islamist military dictatorship -- will remain with the power, the oil, the biggest guns and no interest in human rights, liberty or change.

Does anyone else sense an NCP conspiracy?

Forced Arabisation and Islamisation, and Islamist Arab hegemony, are a recipe for endless conflict, and so too is separatism. The only hope for peace in Sudan is full CPA implementation leading to free and fair elections contested by a strong, united opposition with a vision for a secular, equitable, inclusive, liberal democratic New Sudan. The Arab Islamist dictatorship must be confronted sooner or later. As long as it survives, there will be no peace.

Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) Sudan misses withdrawal deadline
By Amber Henshaw, 9 July 2007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6284894.stm

2) Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 408 | Wed 13 Dec 2006
Southern Sudan: Serious clash threatens peace
http://ea.org.au/default.aspx?id=c4bfacc8-9055-4cfb-8d5f-75df7a95c3c0

3) Cracks in the Peace in Oil-Rich Sudan as Old Tensions Fester
By Jeffrey Gettleman, 22 September 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/22/world/africa/22sudan.html?pagewanted=all

4) A Strategy for Comprehensive Peace in Sudan
Africa Report N°130. 26 July 2007
http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4961&l=1

5) Interview with Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan Abdullah al-Turabi.
By Ahmed Elzobier. 10 September 2007 (KHARTOUM)
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article23687

6) Salva Kiir says "Sudan will likely reverse again to war"
11 September 2007
http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article23697