Via NYT, h/t GWP:
Christian groups had been championing the southern Sudanese since the 19th century. And their efforts paid off in 2000 when George W. Bush was elected president of the United States. He elevated Sudan to near the top of his foreign policy agenda, and in 2005, the American government pushed the southern rebels and the central government — both war weary and locked in a military stalemate — to sign a comprehensive peace agreement that guaranteed the southerners the right to secede.Even Bashir himself was in attendance, along with leaders of other African nations.
On Saturday, one man held up a sign that said “Thank You George Bush.”
The American-backed treaty set the stage for a referendum this January in which southerners voted by 98.8 percent for independence.
At 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, the southerners officially proclaimed their freedom.
“Recalling the long and heroic struggle of our people,” began the legislative speaker, James Wani Igga.
A few minutes later, the flag of Sudan was lowered and the new South Sudan flag (actually quite similar, plus a star) was raised. The masses exploded in one loud roar.
“Mabrook Janoob Sudan!” they yelled. “Congratulations South Sudan!”
South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, wearing his signature black cowboy hat given to him by Mr. Bush, signed the interim Constitution. Then the speeches began.
There is another rare, feel-good aspect to this story as well. The contributions of a Hollywood celebrity in the name of George Clooney have been very welcome as well. Clooney, to his credit, has been calling attention to the crisis in Sudan for years.
For more on how bad Bashir is, click HERE.
Read the NYT piece HERE.