Hussein Askary on the Background of the Conflicts in Sudan (in English)

Hussein Askary, head of the Arabic desk at Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) magazine, was interviewed by Portia Tarumbwa-Strid for the German web TV channel BüSoTV on January 5, 2011.

See the interview in English here

Question: With the coming referendum on January 9 in Sudan, where the South Sudanese will decide whether or not they are going to secede from the North, the threat of civil war in Sudan is looming large. The media is presenting the situation as though the secession of the South is the most natural thing in the world. Can you tell us about the actual background of these conflicts in Sudan?

Hussein Askary: Yes, sure. This referendum, which will take place on the 9th of January, was part of the comprehensive peace agreement between the government of Sudan in Khartoum and the southern Sudanese rebels. That peace agreement was signed in 2005. That's the official story why it is being held. And the government of Sudan, president al-Bashir, and the SPLM, the southern Sudanese government, have agreed to hold the referendum. The fact is that holding this referendum for the secession of the south, was included in the comprehensive peace agreement., which the government of Sudan accepted under huge pressure from the Bush administration. So, that was put in the peace agreement as a future element for further destabilization of Sudan. But if the secession of southern Sudan will take place, then it's very bad news for Sudan and for Africa and for the world, especially now with the circumstances we have in the world, of total collapse of the financial and economic system.

But the stage for this was set up after a very long civil war, which was supported and manipulated by the British Empire, with the support of elements in the United States, for many years, and certain countries in the European Union have supported this. But even before the civil war, ever since the British set their foot in Africa and Sudan, that's when the problems really started, which we are living the consequences of today.

When the British took over Sudan in the 1880s, and later consolidated their power in the 1900s, what they did is that they actually separated southern Sudan from the north. Now, you have theses types of descriptions that the southern Sudanese are either Christians or types of African tribes, and the northern Sudanese are Muslims, but the real fact is that the British separated northern Sudan and Khartoum specifically, and the area south of Khartoum, because it was rich agriultural land. They could use it for cotton production and other crops to be shipped over to other parts of the British Empire. Southern Sudan was of no interest for the British, because it was difficult to have agriculture there, and it would require enormous infrastructure investments, which the British, of course, are not interested in; and, in addition to that, they needed to raise the living standards and the power of the labor of the people of southern Sudan, which the British didn't give a damn about to do. So, they left southern Sudan extremely poor, in extremely primitive conditions, while in northern Sudan they had a relatively better situation, because they needed people to grow the crops and manage the system there for the British account.

So, the reality is that it was the British who separated southern Sudan from northern Sudan. It's a fact that the whole country is called Sudan historically.

But even when the British wanted to withdraw, just a few months before the British left Sudan in 1956, the civil war was already ignited, and you had a war between south and north. And then, the British left the place for its own fate, while manipulating the conflict from the outside this time.

That's really the story behind the whole situation. You have the Darfur situation, you have other problems in the east of Sudan - it all goes around the whole British policy in all of Africa, but especially in Sudan, the largest country in Africa. Any trouble in Sudan will affect all the neighbors: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Chad, Egypt, and so on and so forth. Because Sudan is a very, very important country, both for its large area, its multiplicity of ethnic and tribal groups, which all could be united under one flag. That's very, very special actually. And then you have the water of the Nile, which is very crucial for the survival of many nations in Africa.

So, by splitting southern Sudan, you will have the old, classical British policy of dividing and conquering, and this will be a total disaster, because if you split Sudan on ethnic and tribal basis, then you can not only divide every other country, or Sudan itself actually, to smaller tribes. Because in southern Sudan itself, you also have different tribes; you have the Dinka, the Nuer; you have all kinds of problem there emerging, but also in the rest of Sudan.

And then you can imagine what could happen in the rest of Africa, where you have all kinds of tribal and ethnic groups living together right now, under nation-states; but if that happens in Sudan, then you will have the whole place - like throwing a hand-granade in Africa. This is the classical British divide-and-conquer policy.

Then they believe that they could manipulate the smaller groups from the outside, in order to prevent the idea of national sovereignty taking hold in Africa, and also the question that you can achieve peace through economic development and massive investment in infrastructure, in agriculture and so on. A renewed civil war, ethnic divisions and so on, in all of Africa, will prevent all of that.

Question: According to the latest press release from the German Foreign Ministry, issued on January 4, the German government said that it wants to work towards the long-term stabilization of the political situation in Sudan, and as a newly elected member of the UN Security Council, Germany is, of course, trying to support the Darfur peace negotiations. What must happen in order to make peace possible?

Hussein Askary: Well, the general idea that these conflicts are generated because certain people inside Africa or inside these countries don't like each other, that they have personal problems with each other, that has to be removed.

But the real problem, in order to achieve peace, is - you have to remove the cause of the problem, which, as I said, is British geopolitics; the manipulation of Africa through the decades. That has to be removed. And the Obama administration's support for the British policy of supporting rebel groups, separatist groups, and so on and so forth, should be stopped. That's a precondition.

But the United Nations and Germany are not the ones who run the game in Africa. Who runs the game there is the British and their allies in the United States and in other parts of the world. The United Nations doesn't have much to say. What should be done is a change in U.S. Policy, especially, because it's very difficult to change the British policy, unless somebody steps in there with the power and authority of the United States, to say "we are going to turn over the tables."

You have to go back to the policies of Franklin Roosevelt, who was in Africa during World War II, and he saw the devastation, the real slavery which was created and run by the British and their other colonial allies in Africa. And he said: "After the war there will be no colonial systems anymore. These nations will become sovereign. They will become free. What we will do in Africa, instead of looting these countries for their raw materials, which is a very poor trade actually, we are going to develop these nations. We are going to put in infrastructure developments, water projects, agriculture, industry, and so on, so we raise the living standard of the people in Africa; and that way you can actually achieve a fair type of trade, and you can also achieve peace through that."

So, you have to return to the policies of Franklin Roosevelt, and get rid of the whole British colonial policy. And you have people in the United States like Susan Rice, who is an admirer of the British policy, and who, like Henry Kissinger, hates the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt. She should be removed as the representative of the United States and the United Nations. There are other more interesting people, with better knowledge and better moral standards, in the State Department in the United States, who should be brought in, in order to reimplement the Roosevelt kind of policy.

That's what has to be done. You have to approach the problem from the top. And with the ideas that Lyndon LaRouche and the LaRouche movement are fighting for, of establishing a new, just economic order, you can start from the top down, and then you can get major nations of the world - like the United States, Russia, China and India - to intervene in such situations with the idea of bringing economic development to such nations, as the precondition for achieving peace.

That's how you do things. You don't start from the ground up - what are the social, ethnic and other religious differences between those people - and try to settle them down, as has been going on with the Darfur situation. But you start from the top down. You change the U.S. policy. You get rid of the British colonial policies. And then you start a collaboration among nation-states, based mainly on the idea of economic development, and bringing a better living for the people of Africa and their future generations.

Question: Most people, when they think about Africa, think about corruption. In Germany, most people think that the source of all evil is neither under-development nor poverty, but rather the corrupt heads of state. Jean Ziegler (special envoy from the UN), however, thinks that every child who dies in Africa of hunger, is murdered, because we have all the technologies to stop this from happening. You were in Sudan, and you spoke to the people there. Do the people need "Good Governance," or does Sudan first need economic development, in order to build stable government structures?

Hussein Askary: Well, if "good governance" means what is going on in the United States and Europe, that you pour money, you print money, to save bankrupt speculators and bankers at the expense of the population, and you impose crazy, fascist austerity on people - sick people, poor people, unemployed - in order to save some money to bail out the bankers, if that's called "good governance," then obviously the world is not in a good situation.

No, that's not really the issue. It's not a question of good governance. The problem is that Africa has been trying to recover from the effects of the colonial policies imposed on them over centuries. No nation in Africa has been able to stand on its own feet and start building its own structures.

Of course, you need governments, you need stable governments and so on, but first you have to remove the problem. The problem with talking about corrupt leaders in Africa -. You know, the reality of the situation is that since the 1970s - as I mentioned, the overturning of the Roosevelt policy and going back to British policy - but you also have an even worse policy with the National Security Study Memorandum 200, drafted by Henry Kissinger, which said that economic development in Africa, and in other developing nations, is a great danger to us and our allies, because people in these countries will use the raw materials, which are existing in Africa, for their own development, and that will deprive us of these strategic raw materials. And therefore, the suggestion was that destabilization, depopulation is the official policy of the United States and Europe.

And that's what has been going on. You go in with raw material companies, with mercenary groups, and you destabilize nations. You kill one leader, you bring in another leader, you support the rebel groups, and you finance the rebel groups. The rebel groups will have to buy weapons from the British. And the mercenary groups will try to find the raw materials - the diamonds, gold, and so on - and sell it to the British, the Dutch and others, to buy the weapons.

So, you can get one leader after the other. And the leaders who stood up for the sovereignty of their nations, for the development of their nations and their independence, were actually killed. And there are many examples.

The policy has been to keep Africa underdeveloped, but also destabilized. And therefore, you have this phenomenon of rebel groups coming to power, military coups, because this is the way the game has been played. But the ones who are running the game, are running the game from the outside. It's not the Africans themselves. But they have been treated inhumanely, and then they are told that "in order to have a government, you have to come to power. In order to come to power, you have to get weapons, and you will have to have rebel groups. And we will help you. We will need some of your raw materials as a kickback; but that's how business is done."

And therefore, you have Africa living in this enormous maelstrom of military coups and so on. When you have a government in Africa which stands up and says "we are not going to play that game anymore" -. I mean, look at Sudan, for example. In Sudan, you had a civil war between rebel groups, the SPLM and the government in northern Sudan, for many, many years. But as soon as the southern rebels and the Government of Sudan under President al-Bashir, came to an agreement and signed a peace agreement in 2005, then all Hell broke loose. Suddenly, the Government of Sudan, which is trying to seek peace with the rebels, to stop a 30 year civil war, a bloody civil war, suddenly they are becoming villains. They are being accused of committing mass murder. And then you have new fronts opening up in Darfur, for example. Then you have a huge international media campaign and propaganda campaign, run by people like George Soros and other British assets, to paint the Sudanese government and the Sudanese leader as a mass-murderer, as a corrupt person. But the reality was that the President of Sudan, and the Government of Sudan, were trying to achieve peace and stop this bloody civil war, and try to build anew some of the raw materials that were discovered in Sudan, like oil for example, for the benefit of their own nation. And that's where the United States and Europe were working against the Government of Sudan, accusing them of this corruption.

So, you have the irony there; that Sudan actually, since the peace agreement was signed, has been more stable then ever - in spite of the problems in Darfur, of course, where you had the rebel groups with a semi-civil war in that region. But in the rest of Sudan, you had a stable situation. You have the first steps toward building infrastructure, a modern economy, schools and so forth. And it's in the middle of that situation, where the Sudanese government and the rebels were trying to stabilize things and come to a peace agreement, that you have this massive attack on the government of Sudan.

And it's the same thing, I guess, in every other African country. When they come together, and say "let's have peace, let's have development," then they get attacked. Like the President of Zimbabwe, Mugabe. He was trying to get his country out of the hands of the British colonialists, and tried to do something about it, but immediately at that point you get the massive operation against the country with economic sanctions; and then the misery, which is a result of the economic sanctions, is blamed on the government for creating that, but it's imposed from the outside.

Question: The last five to ten years have seen the Chinese play an increasingly important role in Africa. Many people in Europe criticize the Chinese, saying that even though China is building a lot of infrastructure in Africa, all they really want is to secure raw materials. How do you see China's intervention in Africa?

Hussein Askary: Well, this is a very ironical situation. As I mentioned just now, before the peace agreement you had American and European companies trying to explore for oil in Sudan, but as soon as the peace agreement was signed, sanctions were imposed and these oil companies were forced to leave Sudan. The government of Sudan was begging American and European companies to come and dig there for oil and other materials, but they refused, so the Sudanese government had no choice but to go to other nations, like Malaysia first actually, and later China, to get the help they need to take that oil and use it for their own benefit.

There is nothing wrong in that. Actually, this is the Roosevelt policy of fair trade. Of course you need raw materials. You have trade between nations; you give something and you take something. That's very natural. What else should people do?

What the Europeans have been doing, is they are looting Africa but giving nothing back. So the Africans are going to China or India and other Asian countries, and say: "Well, if you give us something, you get the raw materials. That's no problem. This is how trade is done." And actually, in the countries that the Chinese have been active in Africa, Africa never experienced such massive expansion of infrastructure.

When I was in Sudan, I saw firsthand the massive developments, especially around the Merowe Dam construction. But it's not simply a water dam; it's a complete infrastructure, agro-industrial development project, like the Tennessee Valley Authority in the United States, which was built under Franklin Roosevelt, where you build dams, you generate electricity, and you use both electricity and the water resources, and the roads, railways, bridges and the canals you build, to develop the whole area. You have millions of hectares of land. You have millions of people now in a totally different type of activity than they were in before.

We visited the area around the Merowe Dam. We saw the places where people used the same agricultural techniques since the Pharaohs of Egypt, with very low productivity. Their products were destroyed by floods or by droughts. Now, they live in modern villages. They have water year-round, and the weather conditions does not really affect their agricultural productivity. They produce many times more than they did before, because they use modern techniques. The farmers get education. The kids and the families get healthcare and education. You have airports in the area. You have modern hospitals, and so on and so forth.

This is a fantastic opportunity for Africa, actually. The pity is that the United States and Europe are not participating in that, because China alone can not do all that work.

And there is nothing wrong with getting raw materials from Africa, but you have to give something back. Stop looting Africa, and start building Africa, because that way you can actually get many, many times more benefit, for Africa, for the world, and for your trade partners, if you develop the region instead of looting it; as Roosevelt realized that when he visited Africa, and saw what the colonialists and the British were doing.

Question: Africa is dying, and has been largely written off. The BüSo party in Germany, and especially BüSo chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche, has been fighting for the construction of large-scale infrastructure, such as the Transaqua project, with the ultimate goal to eliminate hunger, wars and poverty within the coming generation. Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche even thinks that the moral survival of Europe depends upon this selfless development perspective. Do you also think that Europe's future lies in Africa?

Hussein Askary: Sure. But first of all, I want to say that the German government and leaders have a lot to learn from Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Because Helga Zepp-LaRouche's role, and her knowledge, through her work in Africa and elsewhere, is actually a source of the revival of the soul of the German nation and of Europe generally. Because the moral aspects which Helga Zepp-LaRouche has been fighting for -. This is what is also expressed by certain people in the United Nations, but Helga Zepp-LaRouche has been fighting for this for many, many years. And actually, her knowledge of the history of Europe and of Africa, her knowledge of the economic programs that are necessary, [means] that Germany is in dire need for the ideas of Helga Zepp-LaRouche and the BüSo.

Because that is what is really at stake. If Africa is dying, that's true, but if Africa dies, then actually it's the death for Europe and the United States, both morally but also even economically and otherwise.

So, there is a big deal of things that they need to learn from Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and also get the courage she has, in order to stand up for truth and fight for that.

Now, of course, Europe's future lies in Africa. This was actually even the slogan for our campaign here in Sweden in the last European elections. Our major poster was "Europe's Future Lies in Africa." It's not simply only a moral issue, which should be the leading guiding principle - the morality of our nations and of us as individuals - but even the economic crisis, that we now live in, can not be solved unless we implement the ideas that Helga Zepp-LaRouche has been fighting for. And that includes the development of Africa, the massive water projects.

And people in Africa are receptive to these ideas. As we experienced in Sudan, as you yourself, Portia, saw in Chad in the conference around Transaqua, as Jacques Cheminade, our friend in France, saw in Niger, people love these ideas. They want development. They don't buy the greenie ideologies which have been spread here. They want economic development. They want to become like Europe. They want to have a future for their kids. And this is very important for Europe.

Now, we have the collapse of the European and the American economy, and actually the worldwide economy, because of the same policy which has kept Africa poor, which has spread wars in Africa. It's the same policy which is killing Europe economically, and killing the United States economically and even morally. So, what you need is to revive the legacy of the Franklin Roosevelt policy, and follow Lyndon LaRouche's and Helga Zepp-LaRouche's policy for rebuilding the world economy with a new currency system, and massive investments in infrastructure development, especially in water, energy, transport, and so on.

And that way, you can actually rise to a higher moral level, but even to a higher economic standard. Because that is what we are worthy of; it's to develop ourselves, but also to develop our brothers and sisters in other nations. And this is how you can create peace, and you can create a fraternity among nations.

So, this is the solution which Helga Zepp-LaRouche has been fighting for for many, many years, and I think it's now the time to heed the words of Helga Zepp-LaRouche.