By Mahmoud A. Suleiman
May 12, 2008 — The 10th May 2008 operation carried out by JEM forces on Omdurman is a quantum leap in its strategy in the prevailing stalemate situation of lack of progress of peace process and apathy of the UN-AU joint mediation. For over five years, the people of Darfur continued to be subjected to torture, killing and loss of livelihood by the genocidal National Congress Party (NCP) military machine and its allied militias on daily basis and with impunity while the International Community and other great world powers and their lip service and condemnation rhetoric. JEM is an armed rebel movement fighting for just cause of its people. It has national agenda in its political thought, believes Darfur crisis as a symptom of a nationwide endemic disease spread by the current ruling regime in Khartoum. JEM felt enough is enough and time is due to let the regime get the ultimatum that its den in the national Capital is not sacrosanct or far distant from its military arm’s strike. Operation “LONGARM” is a message of significance at this point in time when the NCP regime reiterates its position of “NOs” like a mantra and denies there can be any other truth than the one it is currently chanting.
JEM might have lost the Khartoum battle and pulled out in dignity and managed to complete the withdrawal in the same manner it carried out the attack but it has not lost the war. JEM forces will return to Khartoum if the stalemate and lack of peace in Darfur persist. The international community needs to act. The people of Darfur want deeds not embellished words. JEM is ready to sit down and negotiate and agree on the best ways for peaceful coexistence within the framework of one state in which all citizens enjoy equal rights and duties and live with each other as compatriots.
Important Lessons have to be learnt from Operation Long Arm as it exposed the fragility of the ruling NCP regime’s security system and the claim of GoS to have been providing security and peace to the people of Sudan. Furthermore, the Sudanese public also have learned, the hard way, the degree of racism that prevails among the elements of the Apartheid NCP regime who chanted derogatory remarks to incite ethnic hatred similar to that of the Hutu racism which swept the unity of the Rwandan people. More importantly, the regime has started a campaign of harassment, intimidation and arrest of people from Darfur as a reprisal.
The 10th May 2008 event also indicated the degree of isolation of the ruling regime from popular support. Those who were portrayed in the state television channel and radio were elements belonged to security and intelligence service, the police, the infamous Popular Defence Force (PDF) as well as some hirelings. The supremacist ruling regime elements advocated every now and again their Arab ancestry, expecting an immediate rescue whenever they face an imminent danger. So far no such support has arrived to them from Arab World yet. It is ironical that the presidential advisor Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail and State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ali Ahmed Karti, have flown to Cairo to resolve Lebanon’s political internal crisis while a barrage of artillery bombardment was still roaring in the streets of Khartoum! Members of JEM come from diverse tribal background, belonging to 67 tribal groups, from Darfur and other regions of Sudan including Southern Sudan. Therefore, the state owned media propaganda that portrays JEM as a sole Zaghawa movement is absurd. It seems as if history is repeating itself in that in 1976 when the then National Font, a collective Sudanese opposition group lead by Umma Party during the former President Jaafer Mohamed al-Nimeiri, attacked Khartoum from their base in Libya. The force was readily labeled “Mercenaries” in the manner the current NCP ruling regime has called JEM fighters “Mercenaries” because the majority of the soldiers or almost everyone has dark skin and African features!
According to credible sources, there is a series of random executions in various districts of the capital against all those suspected by security forces after the storming of Omdurman and the outcome was as follows: 17 people have been shot dead in Umbadda District, 5 in Soog Libya and 2 at Khartoum football stadium. Salah Abdalla Gosh security forces continue carrying out executing people on the basis of Zaghawa ethnic origin or for being from Western Sudan. This is in addition to aggressive assault, torture, and arbitrary arrest of hundreds of innocent Darfuri business men in Khartoum by the regime’s security forces. In the circumstances, it is incumbent upon the United Nations (UN), as the guardian of universally-agreed international human rights laws and the Human rights groups to respond to the plight of the people from Darfur living in the National Capital of Sudan as soon as possible. Will the international community shoulder its duties towards those oppressed people of Darfur in the country’s capital? That is the question!
Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). He can be reached at email@example.com