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National Democratic Alliance Report on the Political Situation (June – November 2001)

02-12-2016, 01:50 AM
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National Democratic Alliance Report on the Political Situation (June – November 2001)

    01:50 AM Feb, 12 2016

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    Since our last meeting (June, 2001), events with far-reaching impact took place within the national scene and international arena. The NDA Leadership Council, in its various consultative meetings as well as different factions of the Alliance, had occasion to comment on those enents. However, the NDA is still called upon to articulate in the meeting a consensual position on the developments that had ensued in the last six months, especially in view of the direct implication of some of them on its policies.
    At the internal front the regime, despite its recurrent crises, continues to arrogantly pursue its suppressive policies and behaves as if it is there to stay in perpetuity. For example, the Emergency Laws are still in force, the Public Order Laws remain to be a damoclean sward over the heads of all citizens, press freedom is violated daily by subjecting the print media to censorship before publication. As for respect of political diversity which the regime often claims adhering to and recognizing, that recognition is belied by unceasing arrests of NDA Secretariat members and party political activists in Khartoum, Medani, Kamlin etc. even the NIF's Sheikh, Dr. Hassan Turabi was not saved from that repression. Other things withstanding, by singling Turabi out, the NDA wishes to assert that the political freedoms for whose realization it unflinchingly struggles are inalienable rights rooted in natural law and enshrined in universal declarations as rights that should be enjoyed by all. Accordingly, inasmuch as we claim those rights for ourselves, we also uphold the right of others to enjoy them.
    The question remains as to what induces the regime, despite all its internal weaknesses, to assume such a highhanded and arrogant stance؟ First, the regime seems to wrongly believe that it had gained its end, through multiple peace initiatives, by neutralizing the NDA and jostling it away from its other tools of struggle: armed and popular. The regime it also fantacises that it has succeeded in dividing the ranks of the NDA through North – South fault lines, as well as dividing the Northern opposition itself along ideological divides. The regime, in addition, made a fantasy of pretence by assuming that the whole world was now persuaded of the genuiness of its drive for peace, notwithstanding its relentless effort to build up its war effort through unabating forcible conscription of youth, bossting of tribal militias and unremitting use of the official media for deepening the culture of violence. Secondly, the regime envisages that with the newly acquired wealth generated from oil, it shall be in a position to reinforce its machine of war in a way that shall tip the balance of power in its favour, while using Sudan's oil potential as a carrot to allure countries wishing to invest in it. In all this, the regime seems to take the world for granted and assume that the NDA's struggle against it is primarily to share power at any cost.
    Nevertheless, the NDA's commitment to a comprehensive political settlement never waned. To achieve that sublime objective, and in response to mediators interventions, the NDA reviewed and fine-tuned its original positions in order to facilitate the mediators peace efforts. If the regime was at all concerned with the denouement of the peace process, it would have followed suite. In deference to some mediators, the NDA went a step further to lower the creation of condition it has set in its Kampala and Tripoli meetings for the creation of conducive to dialogue with the regime and eventually for enabling Sudan to proceed, in an interim periods, from the government of one party to that of the whole nation. Obliviousness to all those concessions made by the NDA – from whichever source it comes – is unwarranted, if not biased.
    On its part, the regime estimated that peace initiatives were nothing but gimmicks to embellish its face outside Sudan and delude those inside it. For example, while the regime perseveres with its efforts, within the IGAD forum, to reach an agreement with the SPLM- to the exclusion of all other forces-, it still misleads countries of the Joint Egyptian – Libyan Initiative (JELI) that their initiative is the most viable one for resolving Sudan's crisis because it encompasses all parties to the conflict. Surprisingly, it was the regime – and nobldy else- who virtually locked those parties out of IGAD by warning its Secretariat against meeting with the NDA, let alone having it included in the IGAD initiative. The regime's sordid maneuvers are too thin to see through, and if that regime is at all to be taken seriously by its adversaries, it shall have to stop those brainless maneuvers.
    Lately, the regime attributed the failure of the IGAD peace effort to the SPLM's intransigence over the issue of dismantling the regime. Lest there shall be no misunderstanding, the dismantlement of the regime is one of the basic objectives of the NDA. Dismantlement, in the eyes of to the NDA, means the end of the hegemony by one party on the totality of Sudan's political and economic spaces. It shall be the an act of utmost folly, if the regime is to count on hauling the NDA, kicking and crying, to join it unconditionally under the current political dispensation. To all ends and purposes, that dispensation represents a crime against humanity. Truly, it is the regime that has unlawfully usurped power, monopolized all the country's political space and economic institutions, destroyed the social fabric of the nation and made of violence a tool of policy, that should be brought to peaceful settlement, kicking and crying.
    The NDA, all the same, reiterates its adherence to the principle of a comprehensive political settlement and affirms its commitment to all peace initiatives, especially JELI and the Eritrean peace effort. It also maintains its adoption of the IGAD-DOP in accordance with its Asmara Resolutions (June, 1995). In the light of the above, the NDA I shall strive to ensure that all parties to the conflict be brought under one umbrella to put an end to blood-letting, ensure just peace and lay the foundations for political and social stability in Sudan. But neither is just peace tantamount to surrender, nor is it tenable or its realization feasible, when a minority group claims solely for itself the right to determine the steps towards peace, or seek to lead the country in any future interim arrangement.
    Within the international endeavors to bring peace to Sudan, the NDA leadership in Cairo-as well as other leaders inside Sudan-met with the American Peace Envoy to sudan, Senator John Danforth. Danforth established four bench marks to be attained at the first phase of his intervention: guarantee of unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid to the Nuba Mountains and Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal, cessation of aerial bombardments on civilian targets, putting an end to forcible abduction of women and children by tribal militias and ceasing religious persecution of Christians. All those heinous practices go contrary to modem Sudan's political tradition. For it is the NIF regime that has made of the terrorization of civilians through aerial bombardments a weapon of choice, not only in the South but also in the Nuba Mountains and Eastern Sudan. It is also the NIF that has "improved" on the use of tribal militias as advance parties for its military raids and loosened the rein on them to engage in the abduction and enslavement of women and children. As for religious persecution, it continues to be practiced by the regime even against Muslim adversaries. Moreover, Sudan's civil war was transformed into a jihad against non-Moslims. Indeed, the regime went a step further in 1992 by issuing a fatwa legitimizing jihad against Muslims in the Nuba region.
    Characteristically, the regime's approach to the four points raised by Danforth was no different from the towards other pace initiatives: double talk and duplicity. For example, while agreeing to a cease-fire in the Nuba Mountains and Bahr el Ghazal, the regime opportunistically sought to extend that cease-fire to oil-producing areas. That is amazing since the military spokesmen of the regime, more than once, dismissed statements about incursions by the SPLA into oil producing areas as baseless assertions and figments of imagination. In one statement the military spokesman said: "SPLA shall only reach those areas in its dreams". The regim's opportunism, contradictions and humbug know no bounds.
    On forceful abductions, the regime's foreign minister told US envoys that it was investigating some cases. Also on the eve of Danforth's visit, the regime established an investigation committee to seek and punish perpetrators of abductions and enslavement. Albeit, General Bashir told the Khartoum press last week that his regime knew of no cases of enslavement and he was waiting for the US to produce evidence. The regime cannot be that inefficient to the point that the right hand knows not what the left does. Bashir's statement, in essence, is yet another example of the regime's duplicity. He could not be oblivious to the divers reports on the phenomenon of slavery in Sudan produced by the UN Human Rights Monitors, UNICEF, Amnesty Int. etc, even if the chose to disregard the damning report produced by the Sudanese Human Rights Organization, following a field visit to Bahr el Ghazal.
    In view of all the above the NDA Leadership Council directs all its factions and activists within Sudan to countinue, in cooperation with the aggrieved, unveiling those practices and exposing them to the world. That we are all called upon to do, not only to corner the regime, but also because those practices scandalize the Sudan as a whole, and do no honour to Islam.
    However, in spite of the NDA's appreciation of the circumstances that impelled Senator Danforth to single out those four isuues, it points out that other important issues like violations of civil and political rights and denial of democracy cannot be put on a back burner. We thus hope that the peace envoy shall, in his commendable effort, treat those issues with the urgency they deserve. The NDA is assured that this shall be the case given the extension of the US embargo on the Khartoum regime. That extension was justified, among other things, by the regime's gross violations of human rights. Equally, in announcing Danforth's appointment, the US President was unequivocal in his condemnation of the Khartoum regime for the war it is waging against its own people. In general, the NDA believes that, given its cruel policies and obscurantism, the Khartoum regime is no different than Taliban. Accordingly, it deserves no less than the Taliban treatment. It shall be a grave mistake to assume that a political settlement predicated on leaving the Khartoum regime intact, will bring peace to Sudan. Besides, left as is, the regime shall remain to be a source of perpetual insecurity in the region. In effect, if the regime is now bowing to the wind, it is only stooping to conquer, or so it believes. The Khartoum regime remains to be the self-same NIF regime of June 1989 whose political agenda was anchored on internal repression and external terror. That regime also had always been part and parcel of an international network of terror of which Khartoum (through the Popular Arab and Islamic Congress) was the incubator. That congress was indeed the womb from which al Qaida has emerged.
    Within the external arena, the region witnessed a stability of sorts in the East following the cessation of hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea. To the South, the belated intervention by the UN in the conflict in the Great Lakes area also helped bring a measure of stability to that region. This would certainly enhance abilities of neighbouring countries who were understandably preoccupied with their domestic problems, play a more active role in Sudanese peace efforts.
    The regional concern with peace in Sudan was given an added impetus by Nigeria's call for an open Sudanese dialogue with a view to hastening the movement towards peace. The Nigerian effort is enhanced by the personal interest evoked by the Nigerian President, General Olesujun Obasanjo. Obasanjo is no stranger to peace making in Sudan, his role goes back to the eighties ie before the NIF's usurpation of power. The NDA Leadership Council welcomed the Nigerian intervention on basis agreed upon by both parties. Sudan's problems, the NDA believes and Obassanjo agrees, are comprehensive in nature and, therefore, are not amenable to disaggregation into North and South issues. This, however, is not the way the government and some other politicians perceive the Nigerian effort. The former seeks to use the Abuja gathering as a forum for creating a new Southern force parallel to the SPLM. That view was openly expressed by the regime's peace advisor. Clearly, the regime did not learn a single lesson from the failure of its divide and destroy tactics which culminated in the hepless peace-from – within adventure. The latter, who assemole a medley of disgruntled Southern politicians, wish to take the Sudan back to square on when Sudan's problems were seen through the distorting lenses of North against South, Muslim against Christian and Arab against non Arab.
    Within the Arab region in particular, the regime made mileage of its isolation of Dr. Turabi, and attributed to that one man responsibility for all the regime's misadventures and crimes. Experience, however, has shown that nothing has changed since Turabi was removed from the scene. The alibi was therefore, as false as it was absurd. If anything, the cruelty of the regime has intensified since Turabi's departure. But whatever think those who were heartened by Bashir's vaultface on outside terror ism-with or without Turabi -, the NDA wishes to recall that its fight against the regime was primarily prompted by that regime's internal terror including war against its own people.
    On the other hand, as alluded to earlier, oil production and exportation as well as the regime's false suing for peace had an undeniable impact on the external front. An increasing number of countries (European Union Canada) were induced into listening (same with a half ear) to the regime's pleas. As a result, some of those countries championed the removal of sanctions imposed on Sudan by the UN Security Council (Resolution 1054 adopted on April 26, 1996) following the failed association attack against President Mubarak. Among the permanent members of the Council, China and France were at the forefront. However, the lifting of sanctions could not have been as easy without the appeal to lift them made by the two countries who were directly affected by the attempt (Egypt and Ethiopia).
    The regime's jubilation over that decision, however, was short-lived. No sooner had his envoys to the Security Council abstained on the vote to lift sanctions, than President Bush declared the extension of the US sanctions against Sudan for another year. Those sanctions, it was reported, were not only imposed against the Sudan government for its support of world terrorism, but also for its gross violations of human rights. The NDA warmly welcomes the decision of the US administration. Nonetheless, Khartoum has admittedly created a niche for itself in Europe, using oil as an allurement. The NDA did not relent in exposing Khartoum's false pretences to European countries. In this it was encouraged by the support of European and Canadian civil society organizations to whom we remain indebted. Our best weapon in this campaign, however, shall remain to be the regime's own trickstry. Having succeeded in deceiving some people some time, it now assumes that it can deceive all the people, all the time.
    The most defining moment in the past period was the attack on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. All evidence points to the responsibility of Usama Bin Laden and his Qaeda group for that criminal act. That attack did not only traumatize the US, but its fallout has caused tremors all over the world. One result of that crime was a palpable change in America's strategic vision towards festering problems in flashpoints around the world. In our estimation, the enhanced concern of the US with Sudan's protracted conflict, despite its current domestic woes, is in piece with this policy.
    The NDA unreservedly condemns the September criminal attack on the US and supports the international campaign to weed out international terrorism and drain its economic base. It is also gratified by the international efforts led by the UN to create an international consensus on terrorism: defining its meaning so al to distinguish between terrorism per se and legitimate liberation struggle and mobilizing the world in the war for its eradication. In this respect, the NDA recalls its numerous declarations since 1995 in which it exposed the international terrorism per se and legitimate liberation struggle and mobilizing the world in the war for its eradication. In this respect, the NDA recalls its numerous declarations since 1995 in which it exposed the international terrorist network and drew attention to the organic link between it and the Sudan regime. Indeed, the NDA had singled out a number of terrorism benefactors whose names had now appeared on the list of financial organization put under embargo by the US. In condemning that terrorism, however, the NDA is prompted both by its sympathy to the people of the US as well as its desire to save Islam and Muslims the ignominy of terrorist stigmatization.
    Fearful of American retaliation, the Khartoum regime hastened to join the antiterrorism handwagon. Ironically, what the regime lately began to call international terrorism was previously extolled as Islamic jihad against dwal al istikbar (arrogant or imperious states). The motto of the regime then was "America qad dana' azabuha" (America's days are numbered). But without shame or remorse, the regime is now hailing its intelligence cooperation with the Americans: the very people "whose days were numbered". It never dawned on the regime, however, that before normalizing relations with America, it has to normalize them with its won people, and before denouncing the external terror in which it was enmeshed, it has to put an end to local one.
    We may also add that the information revealed by the regime to the US intelligence agents, was only the tip of the iceberg. Fear of unearthing evidence that may incriminate it, the regime was reluctant to reveal information on the assassins of Mubarak, on those who harboured them in Khartoum and spirited them out to Afghanistan, on the Abu al Hamam gangns who were transported from Afghanistan to Algeria through Sudan, on groups who were smuggling arms through the desert to Egypt and furthermore on Khartoum's direct involvement with al Qaida, regarding which evidence was exposed after the capture of Jalal Abad and Kabul. And despite our satisfaction from the manner in which the regime has exposed its own hypocracy, its betrayal of those who sought its protection and the collapse of all the idols and ideals it has for years falsely upheld, still the question arises: what makes such a regime which has lost every fig leaf covering its viles, insist on claiming to have any moral authority. In reality the only truth that remains now about the regime is its determination to stay in power.
    The NDA is determined to achieve a peaceful a peaceful settlement without abandoning any of its other options particularly that those options proved their efficacy in forcing the regime to become relatively sensible. Specialized committees of the NDA shall, therefore, examine all issues related to up-grading its means of popular and armed struggle in a manner that would impose a degree of rationality on an extremist and irrational regime. One motive for this course of action is the regime's recent total disdain to all NDA-related affairs. A case in point is the progressive shrinking of the so-called limited margin of liberties. That margin did not come as a grant from the regime, but was wrung out by the Sudanese people through years of struggle. Consider for example the ban imposed on the NDA delegation to travel to Asmara to participate in the on-going Leadership Council meeting dedicated to discus peace initiatives. Such action betrays not only intolerance of the controlled margin of freedoms, but also its contempt to peace efforts including the Egyptian-Libyan peace initiative, which it claims to support and wish to advance and accelerate.

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