Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 15 October 2003

Now That Hakim Dima Returns, the Brotherhood Might Unify!


By Mahgoub El-Tigani*, Sudan Tribune

OCTOBER 14, 2003 — Aside from the principled struggles of human rights groups to insure the release of all political opponents from unlawful detention, or the traditional courtesy of the Sudanese towards one another regardless of hostilities, the release of Hassan al-Turabi, the "former" highest statesman of the Muslim Brotherhood factions in the Sudan, is cautiously welcomed in the Sudanese arena?

Many people who have silently witnessed for half a century the same Sheikh selfishly teen-aging in the political arena to always find a place with, on, or under the throne - now dubiously smiling for his freedom from jail - were shrugging shoulders, wondering about a whole series of conflicts that, starting in the year 2000, never stopped up to this day. Indeed, the public has closely experienced the Sheikh’s thirst for power, hence the notorious title, Hakim Dima Sheikh al-Kizan [the power-yearning Brothers’ Chief].

The public pretty knows: how Hakim Dima sold out the October Uprising in 1964; how he had feverishly threatened to overthrow the third democracy, and then ruthlessly "fulfilled his promise" via the hateful June coup. The public equally knows how Turabi is still planning to place himself in "a seat of power," whatever, as he did under all power-seeking slogans: "the Muslim Brotherhood Islamic Charter with Sadiq ’Abd al-Magid, the National Front with Sadiq al-Mahdi, the National Unity with Ja’far Nimeiri succeeded by an Islamic Strategic Alliance once again with Sadiq al-Mahdi, up to a full-fledged destructive take over of the political power with his own NIF military faction.

Of all this amazing life-long show of power-climbing, the public was somewhat "amusingly" watching the political actor Turabi on June 30, 1989, theatrically pretending to be "a prisoner of conscience" (!) in the Kober Prison with the other detained politicians of the deposed democratic government and opposition against whom he had treacherously conspired with the NIF military to keep away from State powers up to this moment. "Well! The Hakim-Dima was practically exiled at home, enjoying all privileges and facilities (luckily not any Ghost House as the other opponents suffered); still a badly-cooked show-down by his disciples, that is ended up, these days, with a fresh come-back, ...and then a vicious circle," suspected many observers.

The rebellious disciple Omer Bashir, whose recruitment, training, and appointment to the top rank of the Palace was originally blessed by the "theatrically persecuted" Sheikh through his ’renegade" deputy ’Ali Osman, was forced by the continuous isolation of the regime in the peace process to wrap up all Brotherhood factions to face out the increasing national and regional pressure for a comprehensive peace agreement - one that might bring in the final analysis a peaceful transformation of the 14 years’ Brotherhood authoritative rule "to some acceptable form of regular democracy," as many moderators sincerely hope. A militia-based government, nonetheless, would never give up authority without overwhelming military and civilian pressure - for sure.

The "renegade" deputy ’Ali Osman were and his pen-carrier Bashir were forced by the Brotherhood International, not only to release his former mentor, but to restore the lost unity of the NIF organization that caused great concerns for the Brotherhood International. As is well-known, the Haraka issued on Friday May 24, 2002 a famous Call on The People of Sudan describing the 99 persons who signed the Call with these ’empowering’ words: "the Islam’s ulama [scholars] and leaders of Islam’s movements, as well as Islam’s preachers and Islam’s thinkers." The Brotherhood International Call shamelessly high jacked the ultimate leadership of Islam in the best tradition of the Qutb disciples.

The Call condemned "the Revolution’s confrontation" [i.e., the authority conflict between the Bashir and the Turabi ruling factions]. That for them was nothing but "A source of happiness to the enemies of Islam and the regimes of suppression; a great sorrow to the hearts of believers and supporters of freedom. The confrontation was an expression of the failure of an Islam’s movement that had been pursuing Shoura [consultation] and democracy (!) as it was committed to settle disputes via the means of dialogue and legislation to reach consensual behavior."

The late Mashhour, Yousif al-Qaradwi, ’Awe-da, Ho-waidi, and the other signatories to the Call from Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Yemen, Oman, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Europe did not mention a word about the right of the People of Sudan (as a different entity from the Brotherhood groups) to condemn the Brotherhood atrocities, chief of which is escalating civil war all over the country, spreading acts of terrorism in the region, abusing the armed forces and civil service, abrogating constitutional rule, suppressing human rights and civil freedoms, corrupting the Sudan’s State and society, theologizing and indoctrinating Sudan’s education, and the other national or international crimes of their dictatorial reign.

The Brotherhood International’s concern was centered on the other direction: "the brotherhood sentiment and the Shoura tradition," as they firmly ascertained, clearly because any fascist group cares only for its members besides the system of monopolizing authority, that is to say the version of Shoura the Akhwan admire above all since it is a spiritual concept that enables the Brothers, according to their wrongful worldly interpretation, to cash kul al-tayabat li-Allah [all the good things of God: political power, economic power, and ideological power] for their own good.

To illustrate, here is a story bitterly narrated in Khartoum: a Muqri’ [a community reader of the Holy Qur’an] was arrested for serious embezzlement in the news, which "the Press National Council of Professor Shumu" never permits the press to publish. The former Muqri’ was appointed general-manager of a bank where he embezzled billions of Sudanese pounds and was finally asked to settle the whole theft "peacefully," (i.e., without publicity) being a faithful Brother. This tayabat has to be compared with the thousands of the unemployed or displaced citizens who will be jailed and tortured by the NIF security or police forces if they try to get a little bit tayibat.

The Islam’s ulama must be the happiest for the Turabi come-back: "The Umma of Islam is now unified," one hears them asserting in a unique politico-economic ecstasy, "Isn’t he the decisive leader who opened the Sudan Treasury for us, the Brothers, from every where?" Sure he did! However the Bashir-Osman faction has already consolidated its own hegemony, isolated as it might be. Moving frighteningly to accommodate hostile parties, such as the al-Mahdi Umma and the Merghani DUP, the ruling faction is cornered inside the cage of isolationism it has been ruling with since the beginning of the June coup: to share with no one national decision making, but to open a bit for political maneuvering through the Shoura symbolic mechanism.

By the Shoura tactics, the governing group would probably insure comfortable conformity with largely hostile Muslim constituencies, embarrassing their leaderships with Islam’s teachings, and forcing them to comply with the government’s plans. The rushing of two Umma and DUP top officials to accept the government’s invitation to "sit with them" in the Kenya negotiations "without participating in the negotiations" is a clear illustration of the magical impact of the Shoura politics; a miserable example of the way the Umma and DUP parties still are forced to comply with the Brotherhood tactics to the detriment of the Sudanese democratic popular movement.

On his release, it is said al-Sheikh Dr. Hassan Dafa’-Allah al-Turabi uttered a few words about "the need for freedoms and rights" (!). The release or the words were immediately conveyed to Reuter by his badly-reputed assistant, Mohamed al-Amin Khalifa (who is one of the killers of Brigadier Mohamed Osman Karrar and the other members of the Ramadan Rectification Movement 1990), and a "former" leader of the Salvation Revolution 1989. This assurance of the faction’s concerns for the sacred values of democracy and human rights should be clearly understood as a determination to continue the half-century or more political deception.

For many people, however, the way to put an end for this deception is quite simple: if Turabi and his accomplices (including Bashir, Osman, and their team) are serious about the human rights and the public freedoms they had savagely suppressed before they ended up repressing themselves by the same abusive powers, they need to act ethically as serious rulers do: step down from the Brotherhood false towers of deception to stand open trials for the gross human rights violations they ruthlessly committed throughout the Salvation Rule, before the independent judiciary of Sudan. Nothing is more, nothing is less. For a greater number of people, however, the political crisis is a power conflict that has to be settled by strong popular confrontations supported by the Sudanese Armed Forces.

The release of Turabi is a step forward towards the strengthening efforts of the Brotherhood International to hold tightly the Sudan’s State under the Haraka authority, maintain the military-civilian alliance, and consolidate the Akhwan program versus the regional and international pressure that is varyingly pulling the country towards non-Brotherhood plans. The few upcoming days might show the extent to which the Brotherhood unification project might steadfastly drag the compromising Umma and the other moderating party leaders of the DUP to a closer alliance with "the willing elements of the NIF leadership" to strike a Shoura deal. This deal for sure aims to prolong the Brotherhood rule on one hand within some decorating appointments (in the cabinet for example) with the "perfect aim" of slowing down the democratic movement for an extended period of time.

The government’s Shoura plans, including the Turabi release, will not go well if more democratic elements of the Umma/DUP leadership like Madibo and Sid Ahmed al-Hussain continue to reject the Brotherhood deception, in principle. Although the American-supported bilateral negotiations have weakened the NDA role, the NDA, led by Mohamed Osman al-Merghani, is consistently opposed to the Brotherhood plans, The NDA democratic forces, trades unions, and the other civil society groups have a little choice but to stick together, mount up their democratic critique of the Brotherhood reactionary ideology or governance, and struggle as strongly as they can to force implementation of the NDA comprehensive program for transitional rule and democratic change.

To achieve this goal, the NDA leadership must respond favorably to the popular movement: move steadily to the street; never move, slow or fast, towards any Shoura deal!

*Member of Sudanese Writers’ Union (in exile) and the president of Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo-Branch

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