* Closing pipeline would halt all South's exports
* Bashir urges youth to join "holy war", enemy not named
* Move comes months after two Sudans settled oil dispute
By Ulf Laessing and Khalid Abdelaziz
KHARTOUM, June 8 Sudan's president ordered a
stoppage of all South Sudan's oil exports from Sunday, accusing
his neighbour of backing rebels on his territory, and bringing
the foes back to the brink of confrontation after months of
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir urged youths to join the
army and prepare for "holy war". He did not name the enemy but
the head of Sudan's paramilitary forces said his men were ready
to confront Khartoum's long-time opponent South Sudan.
The order to shut pipelines carrying oil from landlocked
South Sudan through Sudan to a port on the Red Sea - the South's
only route to market - came just three months after the
countries ended a bitter dispute over crude.
"Tomorrow you ... will order the oil companies to close the
pipeline," Bashir told Oil Minister Awad al-Jaz, standing behind
him during a televised speech outside Khartoum.
Sudan and South Sudan - which split into two countries in
2011 after decades of war fuelled by oil and ethnicity - agreed
in March to restart the crude flow following a 16-month shutdown
triggered by an argument over transit fees and territory.
Crude had only just started to move through the pipelines in
May, with the first cargoes sold last week for shipment from
It can be very costly to close the pipelines, which can
become blocked if the waxy oil stops halfway. The Chinese,
Indian and Malaysian firms dominating the sector have been
facing rising operating costs due to the shutdown since January
2012, oil sources say.
South Sudan would also have to shut down its entire oil
production because it has no storage facilities.
"Sudan will not allow revenues from oil exports from South
Sudan to be used to buy arms for rebels and mercenaries," Bashir
said in the televised speech.
A confirmed oil stoppage would dash hopes of an economic
lifeline to both underdeveloped countries. The last shutdown
ravaged both their economies as oil was the main source of state
revenues and the dollars needed to pay for food imports.
South Sudan had started to pump 200,000 barrels per day in
April. Its output was around 300,000 bpd before the shutdown.
Waving his trademark stick, a dancing president urged youths
in an agitated televised speech to join the army and
paramilitary forces. "I want you all to go there," he told a
Abdallah al-Jabili, head of Sudan's popular defence forces,
a paramilitary unit open to volunteers, told SUNA his men were
ready to "confront any attempt by South Sudan to shake up the
Bashir, in power since 1989, has been facing small street
protests over high inflation and also dissent from inside his
ruling circles and the army. In November the government said it
had foiled a coup attempt.
Analysts say many officers are unhappy that the army has
been unable to stop the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), an
alliance of rebel groups, from launching a major attack on
central Sudan in April.
The insurgents, who say they want to end the dominance of
Khartoum elites, briefly seized a commercial hub in the central
North Kordofan state, moving the front closer to Khartoum -
which they attacked in a lightning thrust in 2008.
In another embarrassment for Khartoum, a week ago the SRF
attacked a convoy carrying Sudan's chief of staff just outside a
town in South Kordofan state that had been declared "liberated"
of rebels by the army.
Sudan's main opposition parties, although weak, have
promised mass protests across Sudan to topple Bashir within
three months, saying the rebellions and an economic crisis have
weakened the government.
South Sudan's information minister repeated his country's
longstanding denial that it backs or arms rebels bent on
"We haven't heard anything about that (the oil stoppage)
yet. We had agreed that the oil would flow," Barnaba Marial
Benjamin told Reuters.
He said any disputes between the neighbours should be
addressed through the African Union, which brokered the March
deal that allowed the oil to resume flowing.
Analysts say Juba is unlikely to be giving direct support to
the insurgents, but that some officials are sympathetic to their
cause as many of the insurgents sided with the south during
decades of civil war.
The rebels - from regions on Sudan's border with South Sudan
and the western Darfur region - say they ethnic groups have been
exploited and marginalised by an Arab elite in Khartoum.
Sudan's government dismisses the accusation. South Sudan
also accuses Khartoum of backing rebels on its territory.