Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 17 March 2009

New Sudanese terrorist alliance threatens a repeat of September 11


By Abdullahi Osman El-Tom

March 16, 2009 — It would be a mistake not to take the recent formation of an alliance of a “jihadist” group with due seriousness. By any measure, this alliance bears the hallmarks of a terrorist organisation with the potential for grave consequences, both nationally and internationally. Given Sudan’s strict control over its printed media, the lack of prompt and categorical dismissal of the news is a firm indicator that the alliance is real and should be addressed as such.

The group, which consists of Islamic jihadist and Darfur Arab militias was officially formed on March 10th 2008. Unlike clandestine groups, this alliance declared itself openly to the media in a press release published in the pro-government Akhir-Lahza newspaper. Other rival papers also carried the same news later.

The press release came as no surprise since some of these groups had in the past fought alongside the Khartoum government in its war against its current government partner, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). In the press release, Mohamed Ahmed Abu-Quiseissah signed for the Martyr Abu-Quiseissah Group, Abu-Midian Al-Sheik for Ansar Al-Sunnah Al-Jihadiya, Al-Traifi Abdel Rahman Khalid for the Group in Search of Martyrdom, Yousif Abdel-Rahman Marfaeen for the Martyr Abdel-Fattah Brigade and Musa Hilal for the Darfur Lions Brigade (Sudantribune.com, March 11th and SudaneseOnline.com, March 10th) . For those who are unaware of the details of the Darfur terror map, Hilal has the dubious distinction of being a self confessed Janjaweed leader. His name appeared in the Human Rights Watch listing of 51 personnel involved in Darfur war crimes. In a stunning twist of irony, Hilal was appointed last year as advisor for the Ministry of Federal Government. Five days later, Hilal denied that he signed for the alliance calling it a hoax altogether.

The agenda of the new alliance was spelt out in no uncertain terms. It includes a pledge to carry out over 250 attacks against countries and individuals that support the decisions of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Alliance also threatened a repeat of September 11 aimed at imperialists across the globe, CIA agents of USA, UK and France. Ocampo, the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Khalil Ibrahim of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Abdel-Wahi Nur of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) were declared as Zionist stooges and enemies of Islam. A group spokesperson decreed, “In God’s law, it is legitimate to spill their blood and they are to be hunted wherever they go”, (see Quranic verses below).

Characteristic with all Islamic terrorist organisations, the Sudanese alliance resorted to highly selective quotations from the Quran to endorse the legitimacy of its exhortation upon the faithful to violence, urging them to partake in terror as a religious duty. Quotes from the Quran were;

“Therein, and fight the Pagans

All together as they

Fight you all together.

But know that God

Is with those who restrain

Themselves.” (Toba, Sura IX, Verse 36) and

And slay them

Where ever ye catch them

And turn them out

From where they have
Turned you out;

For tumult and oppression

Are worse than slaughter (Baqra Sura II, Verse 191).

That the new alliance is intent on impacting globally to realise its objectives is made clear in its initial pledge to orchestrate attacks against foreign countries, and equally in its intention to reach out to other Islamists and terrorist groups. Its announcement in this regard reads:

“ [the group] issued its instructions that include establishment of joint brigades under unified leadership for execution of jihad and cleansing of Darfur from impurities of agents of new colonialism, in coordination with all jihadist and liberation movements in the whole world and in order to realise jihadist and liberation objectives” (SudaneseOnline.com, Arabic Section, March 10th 09).

Like Al-Qaeda, this new alliance does not intend to pursue a centralised command over the actions of its members. Neither does it intend to submit to instruction from its mentoring government in carrying out its actions. This is clear in a quote repeated in Sudan’s tabloid newspapers, in which a member of the group said:

“The popular Defence Forces (government Islamic militias) used to operate under strict and disciplined orders of Sudan’s Armed Forces. However, under current situation, we can no longer control rage of the jihadists while they see their country being pillaged by their enemies. We, therefore, declare frankly and warn that we cannot guarantee safety of any individual who works against supreme interests of the nation”.

Commenting on this quote, SudaneseOnline.com reported that newspapers in the country must obtain daily clearance of what they print and hence the above statement undoubtedly came with the full blessings of the regime.

The formation of this terrorist alliance must be seen within the context of current wider politics in the Sudan. The call for a return to Islamic extremism and unbridled attacks on so-called ICC supporters has already been legitimated by the Government. On February 23rd, the head of intelligence, Gen. Salah Gosh “warned of chopping hands of those who are found to be collaborating with the ICC and warned that Khartoum is ready to return to its era of savagery, meaning the era of Islamic fundamentalism” (Steve Paterno in Sudantribune.com, March 11th 09). Gosh’s statement came amid continuous anti-Western rhetoric of the President himself. In addition to some silly clichés espoused by Al-Bashir recently, such as “They (USA, UK and France) are all under my shoes” or “the UNSC and the ICC personnel should soak their resolutions and drink their water”, Al-Bashir has taken a step further in inciting anti-Western hatred and driving a wedge between Muslims and the rest of the world by declaring on March 12th, that the West is trying to impose gay marriage on Sudan and a fake Quran compiled by Jews under the title “True Quran”. The remark has clearly racist overtones but Al-Bashir lives in a country where one can be openly prejudiced and still retain some form of respectability.

Al-Bashir’s jingoism is not empty talk as there is no shortage of misguided individuals who are ready to heed his call. On March 11th, Al-Bashir addressed a support rally of representatives of Dar Hamid ethnic group. Dar Mahameed representatives staged their support in a disturbing and unconventional way. They referred to their mission as “mobilisation of death – Nafrat al mout” indicating the group’s readiness to forsake their lives in defence of Al-Bashir. This is the closest Sudan has come to evincing suicide killers.

The convergence of the new group with the government is disturbing but informative. Musa Hilal, provides a link between the government and the terrorist group. By virtue of his position in a Federal Ministry, he is within ready access of sensitive military and security information and in particular, the itineraries of top diplomats doing business with the government. Even further, his post enables him to hand down government orders to his followers.

On March 11th 09, news came that unknown gunmen abducted aid workers from Médecins Sans Frontiéres – Belgium (MSF), two Sudanese, a Belgian nurse, Canadian doctor and a French coordinator. The Sudanese were released with demands of a ransom of $750,000 and the scrapping of the ICC arrest warrant in exchange for the release of abducted foreigners. Thanks to intense international pressure all hostages were later released unharmed. But there is a larger problem. All indicators point to the implication of Sudan government and the alliance discussed in this article. An eye witness told Darfur Dutch based Radio Dabanga that hostages were abducted by men wearing the official uniforms of members of the Border Guards Force (BGF) and in the government held town of Saraf Omra. It is common knowledge that the BGF consists of Janjaweed fighters recruited into an official force to circumvent UNSC orders.

The hostages were held in Kabkabiya area, West Darfur. Kabkabiya is popularly known in Darfur as the Janjaweed capital and is a stronghold of Musa Hilal, the advisor to Al-Bashir and his government. Ahmed Husain, the spokesperson for JEM, which has indisputably the most sophisticated intelligence network in Darfur, gave impressive details of those involved in the kidnapping. Talking to Radio Dabanga, he gave the names of some of the culprits, their military titles and the government training schools from which they have recently graduated. Husain added that the area where the hostages were kept – north east of Kabkabiya - is a stronghold of Hilal but equally a base for Salah Gosh intelligence units as well as the Popular Defence Force (PDF). It should be noted that the intelligence units, the PDF and Hilal’s Janjaweed forces are indistinguishable in Kabkabiya area.

Khartoum’s new Islamist alliance is a terrorist organisation and must be taken as such. The corollary between it and Al-Qaeda is very clear in its broader call for terror. In expectation of martyrdom status, it urges its members to take the liberty of waging violence in the name of Islam and other ideals and calls for the spillage of blood of those who are either innocent civilians or have no direct involvement in the issue of contention. This is nothing other than quintessential terrorism. The world must act and it must do so swiftly. While it is unlikely that this group will manage an exact replica of September 11 as it decreed, we must make sure that it will not come anywhere close to it. This can only be ensured by taking Al-Bashir to task, with immediacy. The organisation he is fostering must be disbanded, its members reined in and the environment that hosts them destroyed. If that means the departure of Al-Bashir, or his banishment to the Hague, so be it.

Author is Head of Bureau for Training and Strategic Planning of JEM
He can be reached at: Abdullahi.eltom@nuim.ie

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  • 17 March 2009 08:54, by Wad Juba

    I just hope all Sudanese, particularly northerners can see the bigger picture and rally their support behind the ICC and the UNSC so that Al Bashir and his cronies can face justice. Because the terrorist groups that Bashir and his die-hards are forming will only result into chaos for the nation.

    repondre message

  • 18 March 2009 19:03, by Klashenkov

    Americans and west you supported Taliban and qaeda Osama to fight Russia in Afghanistan but now is yur time to pay back. you created the terrorist by invading their country now we will support them Afghanis to fight you out also.

    repondre message

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