Bashir Visits Assad in Damascus
By Jerry Gordon, Lt. General Abakar M. Abdallah, and Deborah Martin (January 2019)
As reported by Sudanese social media, President Omar al-Bashir’s surprise trip to Damascus on Sunday, December 16th was facilitated by Russia. #Monte Carlo (a Sudanese Youth Social Media Group) blog site, reflecting the views of the National Congress Party / Muslim Brotherhood regime of ICC-indicted war criminal Bashir, reported:
Russian Air Force Tu-154M number CHD9012 moved from Moscow last Saturday evening at 11:58 pm and arrived at Latakia airport at 7:57 am on Sunday. In flew on to Khartoum at an unknown time and picked up Bashir for his unannounced visit to Damascus. The time of return from Damascus to Khartoum was at 7:17 pm according to the site of Flight Radar 24.
Russian Sputnik Arab World news service noted the purpose of Bashir’s visit – Sudan’s joining the confrontational alliance with Syria, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Qatar. It was also a reaction to the historic visit on November 25 – 27, 2018 of Chad President Idriss Deby Itno to Israel to reopen relations after a lapse of 43 years. It also reflected President Bashir’s promises to President Putin during his visit to Sochi, Russia on November 23, 2017 demanding his counterpart provide protection for his country from US aggression. The quid pro quo was that Sudan would be the gateway to Russia in Sub-Sahara Africa. President Bashir is trying to distance himself from the Trump Administration as the US State Department still lists Sudan as a state supporter of terrorism and maintains the Emergency Orders of 1997, as Amended. Sudan has also been cited by the US State Department on December 11, 2018 as one of 10 nations for its violation of religious freedoms—oppression of Christians in Sudan. Moreover, Under Secretary of State John Sullivan on November 7, 2018 announced in Washington a bi-lateral agreement with Sudan Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed that established six conditions for lifting the state sponsor of terrorism designation. Primary among these conditions was the Bashir regime had nine months to effectuate arrangements to compensate victims given its role in facilitating the 1998 Al Qaeda Bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen that a US Court of Appeals had ruled on in July 2017. The total of the court awards is $7.3 billion.
It was also about the money to shore up Sudan’s flagging economy and lack of access to IMF funds with which to alleviate the $6 billion in outstanding debt in large measure due to the US state supporter of terrorism designation. It was not lost that on December 11, 2018 Bashir signed 17 agreements with Belarus Ambassador Sergei Rachkov to Sudan worth $250 million. The transfer of funds occasioned by the agreements with Belarus may have been cover for Russia which could be in violation of US sanctions against the Putin regime in Moscow for its seizure of Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.
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Bashir’s surprise trip to meet Assad to discuss bi-lateral relations may have been the culmination of the Bashir regime objective contained in secret minutes of Sudan National Security Council in June 2017 to re-establish relations with Iran, cut off in 2015. This was in defiance of the Trump Administration’s policies toward Tehran. Bashir’s visit to Damascus signaled to Saudi Arabia and the UAE that it was withdrawing from military support of the coalition’s operations in Yemen. This despite his commitment on Tuesday December 18, 2018 to the Saudi military delegation headed by the Saudi Arabia Military Joint Chef of Staff on a visit to Sudan. President Bashir’s forces are currently under a tentative humanitarian cease fire between Iran-supported Houthi rebels and Yemeni state forces.
Note these comments in a Sputnik Arab World report by of the Sudan Ambassador to Damascus that reveals the objective of the budding confrontational alliance against Israel:
Sudan’s Ambassador to Syria, Khalid Ahmed Mohammed, said that Al-Bashir’s flight to Damascus by a Russian plane was “normal”.
“There is nothing to prevent cooperation with a friendly country like Russia in the use of its aircraft in President Bashir’s travel to Syria,” the Sudanese ambassador said in the State of the Country program on Sudanese channel 24.
He stressed that Bashir’s visit is a “pure Sudanese move” and not at the initiative of any other country. Sudan is a sovereign country with a policy of learning what to do.
“The Sudanese leadership is taking the decision it deems appropriate for its interests and the interests of the Arab world,” the diplomat said, stressing that the Sudanese President’s visit to Syria is purely Sudanese.
He pointed out that this visit is a “fatal blow to any media talk about the rapprochement of an Israel and Sudan,” saying that “Sudan is a state against Israel and has not changed its position.”
This brings us to the reason why Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno flew to Jerusalem on November 25, 2018 to confer with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to restore diplomatic relations between the Republic of Chad and the State of Israel that had been severed for 43 years.
Chad President Deby’s visit to Israel is a positive move especially in the areas of combating terrorism. The Chadian is currently facing four different rebel groups based in Libya. These insurgent groups are financed by the State of Qatar, trained and organized by President Bashir. The Chadian Counterterrorism Unit created in 2004 was trained by US Marines and Special Forces. This unit has proven to be one of the most effective forces in the African Sahel region. Without Chad’s Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI) Counterterrorism Unit even large African countries like Nigeria, which has a powerful army, would have not survived the onslaught of Boko Haram.
Establishing relations with Israel is beneficial to both African countries and the Jewish state. Africa needs Israel’s technological expertise in water conservation, medical assistance, digital network communications and extraction of mineral resources. Like many countries in the world, most African states have been misinformed by Arab countries fostering Palestinian political warfare against Israel that prevented these nations from having diplomatic relations with Israel. The fact is that Arab states accepted Palestinian propaganda against the Jewish state; while several have secret relations with Jerusalem.
This is the time for African countries to open and establish diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with Israel. While establishing diplomatic and economic trading relations with African countries is compelling, the Israeli government should be careful especially in dealing with rogue regimes such as the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Sudan. It has not only committed genocide against the people of Darfur, but supports terrorism and considers Israel as an enemy.
Despite Khartoum’s animosity towards the State of Israel, we have read reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has allegedly requested US and European countries to reach out to President Bashir of Sudan to deal with the problem of Darfurian refugees who have fled to Israel. We do not know about the credibility of these reports. However, we urge the government of Israel not to cooperate with the ICC-indicted Bashir regime that continues to commit genocide against the people of Darfur. More than 600,000 have been killed by Bashir’s military and Rapid Support Force/Janjaweed militia, 5 million have been displaced internally to unprotected UNAMID camps, while several hundred thousand have fled to UNHCR camps in adjacent Chad and the turmoil of the Central African Republic. Instead, Israel might consider ways to foster possible regime change in Khartoum.
However, there is something more sinister behind the renewal of relations between Bashir and Assad—jihad in Darfur.
Between 2004 and 2005, Syrian intelligence members participated with other Arab countries in planning the Jihad to destroy Darfur and eradicate its indigenous African population. It was during that period they also planned to overthrow the governments of both Chad and the Central African Republic. Syrian war planes were among the Arab countries that actively participated in the air war in Darfur. Syrian planes bombed villages and population settlements supporting the Bashir regime genocide. Syria and other Arab countries provided advisory, training, funding and arming of Janjaweed militias who continue killing Darfurian people and burning their villages. A Syrian war plane was shot down by the Darfur resistance forces and a Syrian pilot was captured. Unfortunately, the pilot died, and the Darfur resistance movements missed the chance of presenting the captured pilot to the international community. The capture of the pilot resulted in the Arab countries stopping air operations in Darfur. However, they continued supporting Sudan through financial, advisory, and especially in regional and international forums. They influenced the African Union and UN to support Bashir’s regime notwithstanding its war crimes indictments by the ICC in 2009 and 2010.
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With this renewal of relations with Assad in Syria Bashir has made his choice to align himself with Russia and the other members of the ‘confrontation alliance’. A quarter billion dollars in funds provided by Russia to Sudan via Belarus provides Putin with a gateway for exploitation of the Sahel region resources and completion of the jihad against indigenous African peoples in Darfur and the conflict zones in the Sudan. The several agreements signed with Belarus on December 11, 2018 in Khartoum may also contain a new source of weapons supplies to replace North Korea sources. This furtherance of the new order of geo-political relations was recognized in an announcement on December 13, 2018 by US National Security Adviser Ambassador John Bolton of a new Africa policy contesting Russian and Chinese geo-political intrusion in Africa.
This Russian collusion in the conduct of the Sudan Genocide was reflected in a letter dated December 19, 2018 to the US State Department Deputy Chief of Mission in Khartoum Ms. Ellen Thorburn by Abdul Wahid al-Nur Chairman of the Sudan Liberation Movement and Commander in Chief Sudan Liberation Army (SLM/A-W). al-Nur was addressing the myopic assessment of the security situation in North Darfur. He wrote:
What is most astonishing in the context of the Kremlin’s hostile action against the US and deliberate sabotage of your electoral process, national discourse and collusion with potentially treasonous conduct all the way to the White House, is the soft pedaling towards al Bashir’s overtures to Moscow.
In Russia’s equally adversarial position in the Middle East and growing role in Sub-Saharan Africa contrary to Washington’s strategic goals, how is it you defend a murderous dictator that has openly courted Vladimir Putin’s favor as a safeguard against you? Russian mercenaries fresh from Syria and Ukraine now have a foothold in both Darfur and the Central African Republic. Their mission agenda is entirely contrary to that of US Africa Command. Overnight Russia enabled al Bashir to meet with the Syrian butcher Bashar al Assad in Damascus, your ill- considered policy towards Sudan is self-evidently not serving you well. Your Realpolitik is not working. We are reminded, adapted to current circumstances, of the wisdom uttered by the evil, Bolshevik, mastermind Vladimir Lenin, that “the West will sell us the rope to hang them with.”
In our commitment to the people of Sudan, our hearts and minds are perfectly clear as to where our duty lies. We need no instruction from you, when you have so hideously lost your way and chosen barbarism over civilization. Come back to the light and abandon the darkness and be worthy of your great nation not in mere words but by your tangible, demonstrable deeds for the sake of humanity, not solely self-interest. Reminds us what American altruism truly means. Be the beacon of freedom you say you are.
Jerome B Gordon is a Senior Vice President of the New English Review and author of The West Speaks, NER Press 2012. Mr. Gordon is a former US Army intelligence officer who served during the Viet Nam era. He was the co-host and co-producer of weekly The Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired out of KKNT960 in Phoenix Arizona from 2013 to 2016. He is co-host and co-producer of the Middle East Round Table periodic series on 1330amWEBY, Northwest Florida Talk Radio, Pensacola, Florida.
Lt. Gen. Abdallah is Chairman of the Sudan Unity Movement. He is a native of North Darfur who joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in 1984 and became active in the Nuba Hills and Darfurians resistance movements. In 1989 he joined the Patriotic Salvation Movement in neighboring Chad based in Darfur. He served as an officer in the Chadian army for 23 years. He held senior intelligence and counterterrorism posts including as Coordinator of the Multi-National Joint Task Force of Nigeria, Chad and Niger. He was Coordinator of Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI) Anti-Terrorism Unit of Chad and Commander of PSI Anti-Terrorism Battalion of Chad 2004. He is a December 2002 graduate of the Intelligence Officers’ Advanced and Combating Terrorism Courses, US Army Intelligence Center and Schools, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He was a Counter Terrorism Fellow and a Graduate of the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, Washington, DC, 2005. He was an International Fellow and Graduate of the US Army War College, Class of 2008. He was Graduate of Nigeria Armed Forces Command and Staff College Course 22, of the year 2000.
Deborah Martin is a 35-year veteran linguistics specialist and consultant on Sudan culture and affairs.
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