Home | News    Sunday 26 March 2006

Ruling party demands opposition PCP to distance itself from Turabi

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Mar 25, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — The ruling National Congress party (NCP) has rejected justifications put forward by leaders of the opposition Popular Congress party PCP regarding statements made by its general secretary Hassan al-Turabi, and demanded to distance it self from these statements

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Nafei Ali Nafei

The statements included accusations against prominent government personalities of involvement in the assassination attempt against the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

The NCP demanded the PCP to issue an official statement affirming that al-Turabi’s statements represented his own view.

Deputy NC leader and secretary of political and organizational affairs Nafei Ali Nafei said it was not easy to regard al-Turabi’s statements as personal since he was no ordinary man.:

"Al-Turabi, he said, "is the real force behind the PCP", and urged the PC leadership to issue a statement stressing that that those of al-Turabi were personal statements and did not represent the party’s view.

Nafei pointed out that what al-Turabi had stated, with the encouragement of Ray al-Shaab PC newspaper, was a good enough reason to suspend dialogue between the NCP and PCP.


As the question of Turabi’s statement continues to feed quarrels and contradictory statements between the former members of the National Islamic Front and Islamist regime up to 1999, ST publishes below a translation of Turabi statements to Al-Arabiya TV on 17 March.

Dubai Al-Arabiyah Television in Arabic, independent television station financed by Arab businessmen, at 1920 GMT on 17 March carries a new 35-minute episode of its "The Third Eye" recorded investigative program featuring an interview with Hasan Abdallah al-Turabi leader of the Sudanese opposition Popular Congress Party, by Ahmad Abdallah in Khartoum. Al-Turabi’s interview is occasionally interrupted by comments from Sudanese politicians and political analysts.

The program begins with an introduction giving a biography of Al-Turabi and the views of Sudanese politicians and analysts about him. Al-Turabi looks relaxed, talking casually and at times incoherently, chuckling all the time.

Al-Turabi denies that he has connections with foreign intelligence. He says that after he left prison, an American from the US intelligence, one of "the admirers of Al-Turabi established an organization and came to me and asked me if it was possible for me to negotiate with Israel in order to mend your relations with the USA and then with some of the Arab states, as he put it." Abdallah asks him if this man was an American or from the US intelligence, he replies: "Yes, yes. A former intelligence man." He adds: "I told him: do not talk to a Muslim like that. You must be clever. You can ask me if I can talk to a Jew, and I would tell you: Yes, the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, used to talk with the Jews in his own country. Israel is very dear to a Jew and for me the authority is dear because it is part of religion."

Asked what this man wanted him to talk about, Al-Turabi says: "He wanted me to talk to Israel. He thought that the entire government was behind me. He told me: If you hold talks with Israel, you will automatically improve your relations with the USA. If relations with the USA are improved, your relations with certain Arab countries will improve as well."

Commenting on this part of Al-Turabi’s remarks, Diya-al-Din Bilal, a "political analyst" says: "Al-Turabi is accused by his adversaries of exploiting some Koranic verses to serve the political reality. Some say that Dr Al-Turabi is a pragmatic and is trying to subject these verses and adapt them to the Sudanese reality to realize direct political gains."

Ghazi Salah-al-Din, adviser to the Sudanese president, says that if pragmatism means that a man is always prepared to abandon his principles and convictions to realize his gains, then this is rejected in Islam. Qutbi al-Mahdi, a former adviser to the Sudanese president, says Al-Turabi’s "generation is now dwindling in number," adding that Al-Turabi thinks that his movement has a political plan and that this plan "is his personal plan."

Hasan Sati, a political analyst says: "Al-Turabi’s personality is multifaceted. Al-Turabi is a thinker and has made profound contributions to the issue of renewing the Islamic thought and has his own views on how political Islam should be in the new millennium. But there is anther Al-Turabi, the one who has led this movement over many decades and who wants to see the fruits or the reward; namely, taking over power."

Abdallah says that "the USA accused Al-Turabi of backing the extremists, that he had known about the attempt against the life of Egyptian President Muhammad Husni Mubarak in Addis Ababa in 1995, that he was directly backing Al-Qa’idah leader Ussama Bin Ladin; and that he was the one who asked Ussama Bin Ladin to reside in Sudan in 1991 and helped him establish training camps for the Arab mujahidin."

Al-Turabi says that Ussama Bin Ladin entered Sudan only as a financier. He says Bin Ladin visited him because he, Al-Turabi, was famous and all Afghan jihad movements knew him. He adds: "He visited me and then I returned the visit. Then he visited me once again. That was all. That was everything that happened between him and me. He never spoke to the press, in mosques, or to neighbours, and never published a paper."

Asked what they talked about, Al-Turabi says: "It was a discussion on Islam and Afghanistan and such matters. It was a general discussion." He denies that Ussama Bin Ladin mentioned to him his intention to establish the Al-Qa’idah organization. He says: "I heard from the Sudanese Security Department long after this that they had some sort of camps. They were not organized camps because they would be easily discovered in Sudan."

Asked about the satellite pictures and the claims that there were camps for training terrorists in Sudan, he says: "This was the most stupid information that the Americans published. All this was nonsense. After that there were some camps that nobody reached. They were not arranged and organized like the ones in Afghanistan." He says: "Some of the mujahidin who arrived from Afghanistan heard that Sudan was an open Islamic country and they thought it would be a refuge for Muslims. They came here to work as traders, engineers, and road builders. Ussama Bin Ladin came to build a road." He says the "Government supervised a dialogue between him and Saudi Arabia so he could return to his country and work in safety as an investor."

Asked about a reported assassination attempt against Bin Ladin in Khartoum, he says: "I myself was on the hit list." He says the plotters were not Sudanese but from North African countries. He says: "They recruited some of the Sudanese who were originally from western Africa, one of our neighbouring countries. They attacked a mosque for the Salafis. This is because the attacker was a Salafi Muslim who split from them and then became an enemy of the Salafis. He hated the Salafis more than others. They attacked the mosque and killed some. They also attacked a minor police station. They came here to attack Ussama Bin Ladin in 1994. They tried to attack his house but some of the Sudanese security men, who were residing in a building just close to them, attacked the plotters and aborted the attempt." He says the attack was not masterminded by any state. "I am certain of this" because "I heard this from the Sudanese intelligence and the judges who tried them."

Asked about Carlos [terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez], Al-Turabi says: "Carlos entered Sudan with an Arab diplomatic passport and Sudan was reticent. It refrained from revealing the name of the state that issued the passport. Probably the passport was forged." Pressed to reveal the name of the state, he says: "He came from Jordan. Probably he carried a passport from another country but, after all, all passports can be forged." He says Carlos was speaking Arabic and he was accompanied by an Arab woman who claimed to be his wife. Al-Turabi says that he himself never met Carlos.

On the 1995 attempted assassination of President Mubarak in Addis Ababa, he says: "Certain Egyptian youths came here. They were not Muslim Brotherhood but from other movements, jihadist movements. They were different from the Muslim Brotherhood. They came here to pursue their president because they believed that it would be easier for them to find him in Ethiopia than in Egypt where he is well-protected." He says he never met them but "another person, who occupied the leading position after me, met them," adding that others also met them. Al-Turabi refuses to reveal the name of this official and says: "The brothers know him and the brothers in Ethiopia know the name," noting that those who knew about this are still in authority.

Abdallah tells Al-Turabi: "If some of the current political leaders were behind the attempted assassination of the Egyptian president in June 1995, then this means that the Sudanese president himself knew." Al-Turabi responds: "No, the president himself did not know and I am certain of this."

Asked why the Egyptian security officials accused him of involvement in the assassination attempt, he says "The Egyptian security officials did not do this but the media attributed this to the movement to which I belonged." Responding to a question, Al-Turabi says Ussama Bin Ladin has nothing to with this issue at all.

He says: "The new fact that I will be revealing to you is this: Some Islamic brothers came to me from another country, another Arab country, and said: We want to pursue this head of state there. I told them: What would happen in your country if you hit him?" He says that he told them that they would be arrested and they would all be killed. Asked about the identity of these people, he says that "they were not very far from Egypt and I will say no more."

Al-Turabi refuses to reveal names of those Sudanese officials who were involved in the assassination and says: "Go to Ethiopia and Egypt and they will show you documents and evidence. My name is not in these documents." He says: "I cannot bring charges against them in Sudan because many who lent their backing to them from a distance were not the ones who opened fire at the Egyptian president’s car on the Addis Ababa airport road. However, many of those who backed them from a distance were killed in Sudan." He says that "these Sudanese helped in the planning and were from the Sudanese security services." He notes that three security chiefs were dismissed because Ethiopia brought the names to the president and he had to dismiss them," noting that these individuals "were later reinstated in other positions and they now assume top positions in the authority." He says he learned these facts during a meeting attended by the president and some of these men. He says that during the meeting, "it was proposed to liquidate" those who returned from Ethiopia. He says: "I told them: Fear God, whoever kills a believer on purpose will go to hell." He says the Egyptians who returned from Ethiopia left for Pakistan "but some of the Sudanese who knew, because they worked in the Department, were found dead, murdered, in Sudan." He adds: "Some of those who killed them were executed."

Asked why he remained silent, he says: "Life is like that." He notes that he wanted to avoid scandals. He says: "However, if I am summoned for a testimony in court and if I testify under oath, I will tell the whole truth."

Asked about Al-Turabi’s claims, presidential adviser Ghazi Salah-al-Din says: "This is very regrettable," and adds: "When evil ones plot their crimes, there is always a minimum level of decency among them; namely, that they will not betray one another. I consider such accusations within political differences. However, I had hoped not to hear such accusations because they are a mean behaviour with the purpose of settling political scores."

For his part, Qutbi al-Mahdi says that Al-Turabi has never gone as far as this in his political accusations. However, he was in power at that time and was himself charged of all these things. I believe that his talk is within the political wrangling between the National Congress Party and the Popular Congress Party."

Political analyst Bilal says: "The Egyptian regime has always accused the Islamic political movement under Al-Turabi of trying to back the Islamic groups that oppose the Egyptian Government."

Abdallah then asks Al-Turabi to comment on claims that he exploited the Darfur crisis in his struggle with President al-Bashir. Al-Turabi says: "All these are false media analyses." He says: "The movement that I am leading now has branches in all areas and among all tribes in Darfur, in the south, in the east, and in the west."

Abdallah tells Al-Turabi that his movement was so powerful that it has armed supporters. Al-Turabi says: "Some supporters left our party, which is an Islamic call and political party and joined armed movements on both sides. Sudan now has the greatest number of armies in any country in the word. Sudan is not ruled by its army. African and international armies were involved in the southern Sudanese issue and there are many world armies that will be coming here to tackle the Darfur issue. We have dozens of militias that are independent of the Sudanese Army."

Asked finally if his party has armed militias, he says: "Of course not," and adds: "We have repented. Even if the entire army comes to me with all its weapons and divisions and tells me that they want to topple the regime for me, I will not accept this because whoever topples the regime would turn against us later on. In all Islamic and non-Islamic states, the army which you help place in power turns against you. By God, I fear revolutions, violence, the assassinations, and the bombings that kill at random — children, innocent civilians, and poor people."

(ST)

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