Sudan Threatens To Cut Off The World's Supply Of Coca-Cola

Sudan is not happy about Bush’s new economic sanctions. In fact, their ambassador held a weird news conference that Dana Milbank of the Washington Post described as bearing “no relation to reality,” in which the ambassador threatened to personally cut off the supply of gum arabic, an important ingredient in soft drinks. John Ukec Lueth Ukec, Sudan’s Ambassador, said:

“The United States is the only country saying that what is happening in Darfur is a genocide,” Ukec shouted, gesticulating wildly and perspiring from his bald crown. “I think this is a pretext.”

“I want you to know that the gum arabic which runs all the soft drinks all over the world, including the United States, mainly 80 percent is imported from my country,” the ambassador said after raising a bottle of Coca-Cola.

A reporter asked if Sudan was threatening to “stop the export of gum arabic and bring down the Western world.”

“I can stop that gum arabic and all of us will have lost this,” [Ukec] warned anew, beckoning to the Coke bottle. “But I don’t want to go that way.”

We suspect Mr. Ukec overestimates his negotiating position rather severely. —MEGHANN MARCO

Denying Genocide in Darfur — and Americans Their Coca-Cola [Washington Post]


Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    Ironically this comes at the same time we start hearing that drinking soda will alter your DNA and presumably turn you into a newt. Interesting timing…

  2. this might be the best thing possible to happen to us.

  3. acambras says:

    This could actually be the thing that gets me to give up Diet Coke.

  4. MostNutsEver says:

    Drink water if you hate genocide.

  5. rmz says:

    I thought that I was reading The Onion throughout that entire quote.

    Shades of this?

  6. mikyrok says:

    Great.. Now those nuts who protest Fidelity outside my building will start telling people that if they drink soda they are funding genocide.

  7. Dustbunny says:

    All your gum arabic are belong to us!

  8. Youthier says:

    This is the first time I’ve heard anyone say that the US is paying too much attention to Darfur.

  9. Xabora says:

    Drink Bawls, much better than Coke. :D

  10. Hoss says:

    Doesnt he realize that coke bottle was dropped by the gods — they will be really really angry if he holds back on his arabic gum, or whatever he got

  11. adamondi says:

    Ingredients of Coca-Cola, taken from the bottle I am drinking right at this moment:

    Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine.

    I don’t see any gum arabic in there at all. Maybe they have different recipes in different parts of the world?

  12. bluwapadoo says:

    Coke is just getting ridiculous with its product placing! I wonder how much it outbid Pepsi for this.

  13. etinterrapax says:

    So…we’ll just go back to whatever we did for Coke before our imported Sudanese gum arabic? It is depressing and amusing to see how assorted media have led us to be seen by other nations. Bring down Coke and tomorrow…the world!

  14. categorically says:

    Even “OpenCola” has gum arabic.

    What are we to do?

  15. tracilyns says:

    i’m guessing that gum arabic is part of the “natural flavors?”

  16. B says:

    @cageyjames: Drink beer.

  17. tracilyns says:

    that’s what i was thinking too. stop soda production and america might not be the fattest nation in the world. but then again…i’m a soda addict. ::shakes fist at sudan for threatening to take away my diet mountain dew::

  18. mantari says:

    OMG! Gum arabic! Why didn’t we see this coming!!?!!

  19. quagmire0 says:

    Wow, if we could only get them to ban the substance that McDonald’s food is made out of…

  20. tvh2k says:

    Stupid man, banning gum arabic will force Coca-cola/PepsiCo to re-engineer their soft drinks to exclude it. Then you will have no major export product and your economy will go to hell. Stupid, stupid man.

  21. superlayne says:

    @tvh2k: I didn’t catch that. You must be smurt.

    I’m all for water. I need to stop drinking so much soda, anyway…

    Then again, we’ll have all sorts of trailer trash hording Pepsi after this…

  22. tvh2k says:

    @superlayne: I’m sorry, I thought my comment was quite sensible and coherent. Were you being sarcastic?

  23. timmus says:

    Well, between having access to soft drinks and doing something about the situation in Darfur, I can guess which choice the average American will value.

  24. Kos says:

    @Dustbunny: Damn you Dustbunny, you beat me to it.

  25. timmus says:

    @adamondi: I looked at my Splenda Diet Coke… no gum arabic there, either. This is sounding like Russia coming out and threatening to cut off the world’s supply of vacuum tubes.

  26. Sylar Darko says:

    How does he keep his teeth so white with all that cola? We should cut exports of whatever it is to them. and replace their viagra with valium. I can picture Bush in my head so clearly about the gum arabic: “OH NO HE DIDN’T!!.. Let’s ask China if they have something to substitute it!”

    But seriously, what are we going to do about Darfur? It’s not like it’s likely the UN will put their pants on and intervine. Looks like this guy is using the fact that the US are already having major problems in Iraq to do what the heck they want without being threatened of invasion. Who would? Why is the UN so gentle and polite over the situation anyways? What gives? What if it *really* is all about the Gum Arabic? What a sad world lol.

    This guy is using the most retarded tactic but the only one that can buy him very much time: denial. Iraq is nothing compared to Soudan when it comes to noticing how bad the world is turning while everyone is simply watching, standing idly still.

  27. Tallanvor says:

    I’m guessing gum arabic may be an ingredient in the fountain versions of most sodas. –The bottled/canned versions most likely use different chemicals to increase their shelf life. So the most damage they could probably do would be to the fast food industry.

    Of course, if I had to choose between genocide or going without soda, I’d probably choose to go without soda. So let the Sudanese ambassador make those threats as much as he wants!

  28. sandwich_pants says:

    Xantham gum could easily replace Gum Arabic, amongst other industrial food thickeners.
    Also, since when is the US the only nation harping on the Sudan Genocide. Seems we’re the only major UN nation that acknowledges it, but takes very little action due to our foreign policy being otherwise preoccupied for…some…reason…

  29. hypnotik_jello says:

    AFAIK, sodium benzoate is derived from benzoic acid, which is in turn derived from gum arabic.

  30. hypnotik_jello says:


    Oops, that would be gum benzoin that produces benzoic acid, my bad. mmmm gummy…

  31. Trai_Dep says:

    The United States is the only country saying that what is happening in Darfur is a genocide,” Ukec shouted.

    …Except for the 10,000 nine-year-old girls gang-raped on the desert sands by janjaweed thugs. I’m pretty sure they don’t call it a “date”.

    Stay classy, Darfur!

  32. dohtem says:

    Wow I just read that entire article. It would be funny except that thousands are really dying over there. The poor bastard is deluded.

  33. itmustbeken says:

    Hmmm…lemme see about this…
    The crazy man willstop selling us his arab gum because we call genocide by its rightful name.
    Ok, yeah, I’m good with that.

  34. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    Little did I know that my distaste for Coke was nothing less than a personal sacrifice to fight genocide halfway across the world. I am so proud of myself.

  35. calbear81 says:


    Wait, what economy are you talking about? Every time another official from yet another corrupt and inept African government speaks, it reinforces the world’s perception of why they’re in the position they are in.

  36. Falconfire says:

    Ha I dont even DRINK soda. Oh and BTW John, if whats going on in your country isnt genocide, then I’ll sell you a 650 dollar bill for $600.

  37. Crazytree says:
  38. kweee says:

    That’s fine with me, Sudan. I think it’s about time we switch to gum american anyway.

  39. Bay State Darren says:

    I feel really, really bad at laughing at a genocide-related matter, but this ambassador is hilarious! I haven’t found a politician so funny since Good ol’ Tubey (R-Alaska).

  40. zolielo says:

    @sandwich_pants: I too was thinking xanthan gumor or beta-glucan. I would be surprised if the major soda firms did not already have a static model of potential substitutes – one ingredient for one other ingredient, with all else being equal.

  41. hoo_foot says:

    The soda companies aren’t stupid. They had to have expected that unrest in Sudan would eventually lead to a disrupted supply of gum arabic, and thus, they likely have a back up plan for this scenario.

  42. Jaysyn was banned for: says:

    War for Gum Arabic just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  43. Black Bellamy says:

    How about Operation Gum Warabic?

  44. Crazytree says:

    @hoo_foot: wish we could say the same about oil-dependent industries!

  45. The Bigger Unit says:

    I guess it’s time to march the troops in and start another war.

  46. esquilax says:

    @timmus: are you crazy?? vacuum tubes are awesome!

    (just to keep it real, a lot of UHF broadcast stations actually use tubes in their transmitters.)

  47. DearEditor says:


    Whoa, there; vacuum tubes are the backbone of rock!

  48. othium says:

    The guy in the photo looks exactly like my boss. (Except mine drinks Diet Coke.) Even talks the same.


  49. faust1200 says:

    I haven’t heard of a plot this evil since Professor Chaos on South Park (aka Butters) tried to flood the world by leaving the garden hose running.

  50. shoegazer says:

    He and Baghdad Bob could do a double act and travel the world denying the Holocaust and global warming.

    John Ukec Lueth Ukec – so good, they named him twice!

  51. anatak says:

    Yes, this is what al Qaida has been looking for to bring us to our knees.

  52. says:

    A reporter asked if Sudan was threatening to “stop the export of gum arabic and bring down the Western world.”

    Two thumbs up to the reporter who managed to ask this without breaking out into hysterical laughter :-)

  53. The Walking Eye says:

    @tracilyns: Soda doesn’t make you fat! (I am a diet drinker, however) It’s the general lack of exercise.

  54. AcidReign says:

    @timmus: I have to have my 12ax7’s, and 6l6gc’s. My two guitar amps run on ’em. You can’t beat tube amps!

    …..Fortunately, besides in Russia, tubes seem to be made Serbia, Slovakia, and even China, these days. Although, I sure wouldn’t want melamine in my tubes! Russia can’t cut us volume junkies off by itself!

  55. str8lazy says:

    The soda companies can all adopt a new slogan, “A drop of genocide in each drink!”

    Seriously though, many of you already know that the soda companies already have a substitute for all of the ingredients that they use anyway. So it doesn’t matter if they export or not anyway. Personally I am against the purchase of any goods from a country that denies that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed in there country. And for those of you who have been swayed by the silly article to think otherwise, genocide is occurring in Sudan.

  56. newrican says:

    @kwee: Please bore someone else with your comments. They sound just like the ambassadors comments…

  57. QuirkyRachel says:

    @Hossofcourse: OMG. I haven’t seen that movie in years!
    (‘The Gods must be crazy’ for those who don’t know what we’re talking about)

  58. CoffeeAddict says:

    I love my Coke but i will go without if it means getting a message across to a whack job in Sudan.