Independent Sudan (1956- )

Sudanese slavery
Figure 1.--This is a photograph of a southern Sudanese boy soldier in 1993. The press caption read, "Kongor, South Sudan. Part of the 'Hunger Triangle' of Kongor, Ayod and Waat in which fighting between the rival factions of the SPLA has brought famine and displacement to most of the population. Relief efforts are hampered by fresh fighting and flooded airstrips. Deng Ding (16) fighter with the SPLA Garang faction. His father was killed by the SPLA Riak faction and their cattle taken. Three of his brothers and sisters have died of starvation, his mother is alive and living on food aid in Kongor. He hopes for an SPLA victory over the government forces." Most of us seeing this photograph are disturbed by children involved in combat. It shoukld be kept in mind that masny children who were not able to take up arms were enslaved by the Arabs and suffered years of brutality in the north where they were taken.

General Muhammad Naguib upon seizing power in Egypt recognizes Sudan's right to self-determination (1952). Britain and Egypt jointly agree to facilitate the transitional to independence (1953). The first elections in the Sudan are won by the National Unionist Party, led by Ismail al-Azhari (1954). He campaigned on a policy of merging Sudan with Egypt to achieve the 'unity of the Nile Valley'. His views begin to change, however, after becoming prime minister. He thus oversaw the transition toward an independent Sudanese state. Only a few months before the agreed date of independence, violence erupts in the south (August 1955). Violence flared with riots and army mutinies. The non-Muslim largely Christian majority in the south feared domination by the Arab north. Under Egyptian-British rule a secular regime was in force. Once independent, the Arabs would be able to impose Sharia on the south. And this is precisely what occurred. The more numerous Muslim Arabs attempted to transform the Sudan into a fundamentalist Islamic state, including the Christian south. The Mahdist tradition was important in the independent Sudan. Two of the main parties were led by direct descendants of the Mahdi. The desire of the Muslim north to impose Sharia have led to two separate and long-running conflicts. First in the north, a conflict developed between religious and secular rivals. Secularists in the early years of independence promoted Marxist economic policy. The other developed in the south as the northern-dominated south attempted to impose Sharia on the Christian south. This developed into a full-blown civil war when insurgent groups in Equatoria fielded combat units to prevent Muslim domination. In th ensuing civil war, the Arab north possessed most of the modern weapons. Open warfare broke out (1983). Air attacks were carried out on southern villages. An estimated 2 million people were killed, mostly Christian civilians. Women and children were seized and brought north as slaves, another aspect of the Mahdist tradition and the widely accepted belief that the Koran condones the enslavement of non-Muslims. Sudanese Arabs launched a new campaign against Africans, this time in the western province of Darfur This time the targets were Muslim Africans. Sudanese officials have been implicated in genocide.

Independence

General Muhammad Naguib upon seizing power in Egypt recognizes Sudan's right to self-determination (1952). Britain and Egypt jointly agree to facilitate the transitional to independence (1953). The first elections in the Sudan are won by the National Unionist Party, led by Ismail al-Azhari (1954). He campaigned on a policy of merging Sudan with Egypt to achieve the 'unity of the Nile Valley'. His views begin to change, however, after becoming prime minister. He thus oversaw the transition toward an independent Sudanese state. Only a few months before the agreed date of independence, violence erupted in the south (August 1955). Violence flared with riots and army mutinies. The non-Muslim largely Christian majority in the south feared domination by the Arab north. Under Egyptian-British rule a secular regime was in force. Once independent, the Arabs would be able to impose Sharia on the south. And this is precisely what occurred. The more numerous Muslim Arabs attempted to transform the Sudan into a fundamentalist Islamic state, including the Christian south.

Mahdist Tradition

Egypt's attempts to control Sudan and Britain's attempts to stamp out the slave trade led to a fundamentalist Islamic reaction in the Sudan during the late -9th century. A charismatic tribal leader imbued with Islam emerged--Mohammed Ahmed who styled himself the Mahdi. The Mahdi and his followers managed to seize control of the Sudan and impose Sharia, including the slave trade. After more than 10 years, the British and Egyptians managed to regain control. The Mahdist tradition, however, remained strong. And at the time of independence was still important among Arabs in the north.

Conflicts

Two of the main parties in the Arab north which dominated the transition toward independence. were led by direct descendants of the Mahdi. The desire of the Muslim north to impose Sharia led to two separate and long-running conflicts. First in the north, a conflict developed between religious and secular rivals. Secularists in the early years of independence promoted Marxist economic policy. The other developed in the south as the northern-dominated south attempted to impose Sharia on the Christian south. This developed into a full-blown civil war when insurgent groups in Equatoria fielded combat units to prevent Muslim domination and Islamization..

Secularists and Islamicists

Many leaders in the Arab world were strongly influenced by totalitarian political movements, in part because both the NAZIs and the Soviets challenged British power. As the Soviets emerged victorious in World War II, socialist ideas received considerable popularity as the economic system to rapidly develop newly independent states. These currents in the Sudan mixed with Islamic fundamentalism in the dominant Arab north. The military seized power and ruled the country (1958-64). Elections brought a Muslim government to power which banned the communist party (1965). Col. Gaafar Mohamed el-Nimeri led a leftist coup (1969). He set up single-party rule by the Sudanese Socialist Party. Nimeri aligns Sudan with Soviet bloc in the Cold War. He pursued more pragmatic policies at home. This enables him in 1972 to end the 17-year-civil war in the rebellious Christian south. He changed policy in 1983 which led to renewed civil war. This led to the escalation of the southern Christian African rebellion. There were also protests in the north as moderate secularists objected to the harsh provisions of Sharia law. Nimeri vacillated as he attempted to deal with the opposition to his policies. He is finally overthrown by a bloodless coup (1985). Elections result in a series of ineffective coalitions. Finally the military takes power again (1989). The military by this time has become more thoroughly Islamicized. The conflict between the secularists and Islamicists has been finally resolved in favor of the Islasmicists.

North-South Civil War (1955-72 and 1983- )

Civil war broke out even before independence was achieved. Nimeri ended the 17-year-civil war in the rebellious Christian south by signing the Addis Adaba Agreement, allowing for the internal autonomy of Equatoria. A secular government might have been able to make the compromise work with autonomy and power sharing with with the African Christian south. Islamicists who came to dominate the Arab north were not willing to compromise, but instead set out to Islamicize the south. Nimeri changes his policy. Renewed violence in the south the growing strength of the Muslim Brotherhood in the north were factors here. Nimeri amends Sudanese law to bring it into line with the strict and punitive Islamic legal code, the sharia (1983). He also abrogates the Addis Adaba Agreement, ending southern autonomy bringing Equatoriana back under central administration, meaning northern rule. The attempt to impose Sharia led to renewed civil war between the Arab Islamic north and the Christian African south. The Arab north possessed most of the modern weapons. Open warfare broke out (1983). Air attacks were carried out on southern villages. The victory of the NIF Muslim fundamentalists result in the intensification of Government efforts to defeat the southern rebellion. The rebellion is led by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA). The war with the northern secularists gone acquires the character of Jihad with added ethnic undertones. Newly Impassioned Arab mujaheddin move south with the Army to confront the African Christian infidels. This was poorly reported in the Western press and ignored in the Arab media. Government forces seized women and children and brought north as slaves, An aspect of the Mahdist tradition was the widely accepted belief among fundamentalist Muslims was that that the Koran condones the enslavement of non-Muslims. The result is devastation and suffering. An estimated 2 million people were killed, mostly Christian civilians. Another 3 million southerners became displaced refugees. The Government succeeded in devastating the south and killing civilians, but is, however, unable to defeat the SPLA militarily. The cost of pursuing the war finally convinced even the Islamicists that compromise is needed (mid-1990s). The government and the SPLA agree to hold a referendum on self-determination in the south (1998). No date is set.

National Islamic Front--NIF (1989- )

The military seized control of Sudan again in coup led by Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir (1989). The largely Islasmicized military by this time largely are in agreement with Muslim fundamentalists who demand Sharia and the Islamization of the south. Bashir ruled through a Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation. The Council is closely associated with the National Islamic Front (NIF) which is the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Bashir won elections held (1996). The NIF is the only political party permitted to operate and wins all 400 seats in the national assembly. The NIF places the government in the hands of Muslim fundamentalists. They proceed to establish a totalitarian Islamic regime. The remains of the British secularist and parliamentarian institutions are ended. The NIF suppresses dissent and political liberties. Press freedom and the independent judiciary are ended. The NIF used police powers to enforce puritanism in daily life. Bashir and the NIF take some tentative steps toward democracy by allowing other political parties to participate in elections (1999). One small incident over of all things a teddy bear exposed Islamic fanaticism in Sudan to the Western world (2007).

Darfur

Sudanese Arabs largest a new campaign against Africans, this time in the western province of Darfur. This time the target were Muslim Africans. Sudanese officials have been implicated in genocide. The Sudanese Government is engaged in a genocide against the Darfur people, Black Muslims of the western Sudan. There appear to be two elements involved. One is the racial element. The Khartoum Government looks down on the Black Darfurs. Two the Darfurs do not accept the strict Sharia code promoted Law promoted by the Khartoum Government. The numbers of people being killed in military actions by the Khartoum Government is substantial. Even more significant is the efforts by the Khartoum Government to deny relief shipments. Some reports suggest that as of mid-2004 about 30,000 people have been killed. Human rights groups estimate that 0.3-0.5 million may die if Sudan succeeds in preventing relief supplies reaching these beleaguered peoples. There is virtually no coverage of this in the Arab press or satellite news like Al Jazeera. Here is not just the Arabs that covering up the genocide. Nor has the United Nations been willing to address this outrage.

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Created: 8:03 PM 1/21/2010
Spell checked: 7:56 PM 1/22/2010
Last updated: 8:03 PM 1/21/2010