George Clooney, his father, Nick Clooney and several protesters have been arrested for protesting at the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. According to the Washington Post, his arrest wasn’t exactly unplanned. Clooney, according to the AP, said Friday that he hoped to draw more attention to the issue of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir blocking food and aid to areas of near the border of South Sudan. The Washington Post explained this morning: “By standing on the embassy’s private property, they’re likely to get cuffed, arrested and charged.”
The Washington Post’s Aaron Leiko and James Buck described the scene of the arrest which occurred around 11 a.m.:Read more. [Image: Selma Talha Jebril]
Clooney and the group of protesters stepped onto embassy grounds after giving short speeches, at which point they were instructed that they must leave or be arrested. On the third warning, officers told the group they were under arrest, and the protestors lined up to get handcuffed and were removed to a waiting van.
Last Saturday, the Republic of South Sudan declared its independence, creating the newest nation in the world — the 193rd nation to join the United Nations. The new country has been in the making since a referendum last January, when nearly 4 million southern Sudanese voted to secede from Sudan by a margin of more than 98 percent. The region has been involved in civil wars for at least the past 50 years, and the days-old nation is already battling several armed groups within its new borders. Many issues still remain unresolved — the oil-rich region continues to rely on pipelines that run through Sudan, and a revenue-sharing agreement has not been reached. The new nation, which is comprised of more than 200 ethnic groups, has a largely rural economy, and poverty, civil warfare, and political instability will be the biggest of many challenges for the new administration.
Above: A Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier stands in line during a rehearsal for the Independence Day ceremony in Juba, on July 5, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
See more incredible photos from South Sudan’s independence at In Focus
As South Sudan prepares to declare independence on July 9, the soon-to-be-state teeters on the brink of war. Northern Sudan’s government raised tensions last week by seizing a key town in the disputed Abyei region, which straddles what will become the border between the two Sudans. The United Nations estimates that clashes between northern and southern forces have already displaced more than 30,000 civilians. Khartoum has also announced plans to occupy the disputed Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan provinces within days. These tensions are not the only cause of South Sudan’s instability. Lacking basic infrastructure and a functional government, some aid workers are calling it a “pre-failed state”. Its fragility has allowed opportunist militia leaders to stoke deadly inter-ethnic violence.
Many observers fear mass violence against civilians if Sudan slides back into full-scale war. In February 2010, former Director of National Intelligence Denis Blair testified before the Senate, “mass killing or genocide is most likely to occur in Southern Sudan.” Atrocity watchdogs have also raised warning signals. Minority Rights Group International’s annual list of “peoples under threat” ranks southern Sudanese second only to Somalis, and Genocide Watch reports that “current massacres” are taking place already.
If Sudan’s atrocities escalate, will President Barack Obama intervene as he did in Libya? Or, will he avoid U.S. involvement as President Bill Clinton did in response to the Rwandan genocide? An analysis of when the U.S. intervenes, why, and to what end suggests that he will take the middle road between these two policies.
Read more at The Atlantic