Arab Sudan Feels the Pain of Oil Embargo

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However, when South Sudan became independent in a blaze of colorful celebration in 2011, it took 75 percent of the country’s oil with it. But the landlocked nation had no choice but to continue to ship its oil through its former tormenter’s territory to Sudan’s port on the Red Sea for sale to customers abroad. What caused South Sudan’s new president, Salva Kiir, to cut off the oil, however, is that his government believed Sudan’s transit fee was, at $36 per barrel, ridiculously high.

“Khartoum was asking $36 per drum, which is very unusual and not practicable,” said Anne Itto, Deputy Secretary of South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement party (SPLM). “If South Sudan ever accepts to pay such rent, it is like giving our oil away, as well.”

Another factor that contributed to South Sudan’s decision to embargo the north was that the Kiir government, based in its new capital of Juba, believed Khartoum was stealing oil from the pipeline for its own use. Khartoum’s economic war against the new state also involved reneging on a currency agreement when the two countries split. Sudan was supposed to wait six months to introduce a new currency but did so within a month, which left South Sudan with $700 million of the old currency, the Sudanese pound, which it could not convert.

Juba’s oil embargo on Sudan has also hit its own economy hard, depriving it of 98 percent of its income. But it is determined to stick to its guns and not be subjected to any more of Khartoum’s shoddy treatment. It appears South Sudan is planning to build its own oil pipeline to the Kenyan port of Lamu, avoiding the northern route altogether. Lamu is undergoing reconstruction for this purpose. The Japanese corporation Toyota has said it has developed a plan for the Kenyan pipeline, and a Japanese army engineering unit has arrived in South Sudan to build roads and for other humanitarian projects.

Since independence, South Sudan has built strong relationships with its black African neighbors Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. And it should continue to do so, since a speech ICC-wanted war criminal Omar al-Bashir made last April at a rally indicates he has learned nothing after losing half of his country and remains unrelenting in his hostility towards South Sudan. Bashir virtually declared war on South Sudan when he said: “Either we end up in Juba and take everything or you end up in Khartoum and take everything.”

Sudan also recently would not accept the African Union roadmap for peace with South Sudan at ongoing negotiations in Ethiopia. No major issues, such as border security, could be agreed upon. The border between the two countries continues to be a war zone where conflict could break out at any time. Sudan has also continued its bombing raids on South Sudan and has ethnically cleansed the Abyei border region of about 100,000 Dinka tribesmen who have only now cautiously begun to return home.

In the face of such statements, hostility and military aggression, it appears that, like with the Palestinians, one can “peace process” with the Sudanese all one wants, but peace will never arrive, since they don’t want it. So in the end, if the demonstrations in Sudan grow and spread, South Sudan should not end its embargo, even if an agreement can be reached, since its oil weapon could be the deciding factor in making Bashir vulnerable to a regime change, which would only benefit everyone in the region.

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  • Schlomotion

    Even with the obligatory plug for the host, this was an interesting and factual article.

    • JoJoJams

      schlomotion : we disagree on so much, but Darfur – and the atrocities commited against the South Sudanese, has been a pet peeve of mine for decades…. And I'm happy to see you understand and see what is going on over there. Thanks. JJJ

  • Indioviejo

    Clearly Muslim Sudan is a permanent aggressor to its neighbors. They are not only War criminals, and genocidal perpetrators, as the Turks have been, but also en-slavers. This particular activity goes back to the beginning of Islam, and culturally further back still for Sudan. Nevertheless, even people who stand up for Darfur and Southern Sudan, avoid at all cost offending Islam by calling them out for the continuation of slavery in the XXI Century. Why? Because slavery is in the Koran and they are afraid to say so. American Blacks come to mind.

  • Mel

    One point which the article failed to point out, and which is crucial to the situation, is the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is solidly behind Khartoum. And as the Muslim Brotherhood's political ambitions gain significant ground in so much of the Middle East, Khartoum is quite able to bank on the expectations that soon the winds of change will work in their favor economically. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, etc will almost certainly not want to see the brutal genocidal regime of Omar Bashir fall, and will do what it takes to keep it propped up. Meanwhile, the US administration, which so far has been spectacularly myopic and consistently pro- Muslim Brotherhood, is unlikely to be the cavalry that arrives over the hill in time to rescue the freedom loving Sudanese who are suffering on the wrong end of the Islamists' gun. The South Sudanese are wise to seek the help of the Japanese.

  • southwood

    Go South Sudan. Success to your nation and may the pipeline through Kenya be built speedily. Bless the Japs for helping South Sudan. May Bashir and his regime fall and never rise again !

  • Ghostwriter

    I hope the people of South Sudan become prosperous. And I also hope the Bashir regime falls one day. I'm also amazed and happy that Schlomotion didn't attack the Jews in his post. Maybe,he's finally beginning to learn something.

  • Reacher

    Sudan…Islamic/Muslim Janjaweed…oppressing and killing Black Christians in the South…
    Just doesn't seem possible…! (sarc)
    I thought George Clooney, friend of Obama, was on this.. No?