George Clooney’s Satellite Project: Troops at Critical Sudan Border

Clooney-Sudan-sattelite-Muglad-2011-1-26 A followup to my posts on George Clooney and the Satellite Sentinel Project, which he co-founded and is being funded primarily by Not On Our Watch.

The project says that the Sudan army has dispatched troops along the north-south border, but the org says that they don’t appear prepared to be moving forward.

Clooney, humanitarian groups and other industry activists launched the project in advance of Southern Sudan’s vote on independence as a way to monitor the situation and, perhaps, provide a check to prevent violence.

Preliminary results showed the south voting for independence, but the worries are that the Sudanese government will try to seize territory or try to undermine the election altogether.

“These first images and analysis have deepened our understanding of the evolving situation following Southern Sudan’s historic vote on independence,” Clooney said in a statement. “Although the SAF in South Kordofan apparently remains a force largely in hiding, we showed they are field-deployed, and they are controlling major roads by running checkpoints. Though they are not showing signs of advancing, we confirmed that they’re equipped with helicopter transport, artillery, armored personnel carriers and trucks. Our first report represents the best recent information on the military situation in Sudan publicly available.”

The complete report is here.

The project is believed to be the first “sustained, public effort” to monitor potential hotspots and threats to security along a border. Clooney conceived of the project on a trip to South Sudan in October with John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project.

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James “Spider” Marks told the GlobalPost that with the satellite project, “Now the Sudan army know we are watching and if they sneeze, we’ll know it. The public knowledge of this security information may galvanize the United Nations. It may encourage negotiations. It may encourage the U.N. to lay out a firm stand with the Sudanese army where the U.N. establishes a presence that encourages the Sudanese army to back off.” 

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