Arab Spring for Sudan?
Khartoum has yet to see massive crowds of angry protestors in its streets like those seen earlier this year in various capitals in North Africa and the Middle East, but trouble may soon be rising on Sudan's political horizon.
Four rebel groups -- all opposed to Omar al-Bashir and his National Congress Party (formerly the National Islamic Front and prior to that, The Muslim Brotherhood) -- have now coalesced to form the Sudan Revolutionary Front, or SRF.
It's an alliance aimed at toppling the Bashir regime through "armed struggle" and "civil political action."
Three of the four rebel groups in SRF are from Darfur, the other is from the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. The strongest of the four groups is the Justice and Equality Movement, which was part of the Sudan Liberation Army movement in the North.
Bashir still faces charges by the International Criminal Court for committing alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur, and his government has faced additional pressure since the independence of South Sudan last July.
Northern Sudanese desire many of the same freedoms now enjoyed by a liberated South. The North/South border is still in dispute and negotiations scheduled for Addis Ababa last month were cancelled.
Antonov aircraft belonging to the Sudan Armed Forces reportedly dropped at least four bombs on South Sudan's Yida refugee camp Nov. 10. Yida is home to 22,000 refugees. No one was killed in that attack, but seven people perished in a similar SAF bombing incident one day earlier in the Upper Nile. The Satellite Sentinel Project reports the Bashir government is increasing its air attack capacity.
Why the bombings?
I talked with a representative of the South Sudan government in Washington, D.C., who told me that Bashir is trying to deflect attention away from political problems in his own country by bombing the world's newest one.
The question now? How long will South Sudan tolerate attacks against its sovereignty and when will Omar al-Bashir experience the same pressures felt by Arab despots elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East?