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What the Khartoum Regime Really Thinks

By Eric Reeves


Continued from last Issue.


A great deal more could be said about what is revealed by a close, detailed examination of the contents and verbal habits of those who speak in this document. From the point of view of such analysis, I believe all evidence points to authenticity.

My source is regarded by all who know him as a man of the greatest integrity; one frequent and highly knowledgeable traveler to Sudan says of him, “he is the most honest, trustworthy and highly principled man” I have met in Sudan. My source is intelligent, highly resourceful, and extremely well-informed; he would not knowingly put my reputation for accuracy at risk gratuitously. I have never, in fifteen years of writing extensively about Sudan, been accused of relying on a fabricated document or source; my source on this occasion is well aware of this, and how destructive to my reputation it would be were the document a fabrication. At the same time, my source sees no point in speaking openly to me in Northampton, Massachusetts about the details of how he came to possess the document in Sudan. He would be particularly vulnerable to Khartoum’s enhanced intercept capacity.


The Burden of Proof

It would seem to me that the burden of proof is on those who would argue that the documents are fabrications, that there was no meeting such as described. Moreover, while the motives for fabrication by the regime are murky and implausible at best, certainly there is no difficulty at all in imagining the motives of someone who knew of the August 31, 2014 meeting and had access to these highly confidential and equally authoritative minutes. There are a great many Sudanese desperate to bring down the regime; and they know that it will require extraordinary and courageous actions, and that these are likely to be directed against exceptionally well-protected “targets.” But given those in attendance and the agenda items of the August 31 meeting, this would be the moment to take the ultimate risk.

The English translation is 30 pages in length (a length that again argues against fabrication, given the continual potency and specificity of the revelations); it will require several thematic analyses to present what stands as consensus within the regime on a range of topics, to parse sometimes partially opaque pronouncements (or translations), and to provide a clear overall view of the regime’s thinking at this crucial moment in the political history of Sudan. Additional portions of all documents will be released with these new analyses; eventually all will be released.

Some of the topics to be addressed individually:

[Again, all quotes included here come from a lightly edited version of the English translation of the original Arabic document; edits are for punctuation errors (including apostrophes indicating possession, extra spaces, gratuitous end punctuation, and a great many unnecessary commas; some unidiomatic passages have been made slightly clearer. In the context of this analysis, some excerpts have been somewhat more heavily edited, but still limited to matters of grammar and idiom. Brackets [ … ] are used where editorial intrusion has been greatest; these edits are occasionally the work of the translator, not mine; I’ve attempted to put all the former in different brackets { ... }. All comments by me, including interpolations of explanation and identification as well as extended critical remarks are in italics; all emphases have been added by me.]

§§§    Reneging on commitment to provide the United States with the intelligence acquired by the regime concerning terrorist groups, including in North Africa:

“The Gulf States have only very weak information about the terrorist groups that are based in Libya, Somali, Nigeria, Mali, North Africa Arab countries and Afghanistan because they have bad relations with these radical groups. They want us to cooperate with them in the war against terrorism because the radical groups constitute [a] direct threat to them. Their relation with ISIS, Nusra Front, Muslim Brothers, and Palestine Islamic Movement is even weaker. We will not sacrifice our relations with the Islamists and Iran for a relation with the Saudis and the Gulf States. What is possible is a relation that serves our economic interests in terms of investments, employment market, etc…,” Lt. General Yahya Mohammed Kher, State Minister of Defense (page 12). [Can any reasonable person imagine that Khartoum is sharing with the Obama administration the intelligence bragged about here? – ER]

“Currently, there are twenty thousand (20,000) Jihadists and fifteen (15) newly formed Jihadist Movements who are scattered all over from Morocco to Egypt, Sinai, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, all Gulf States, [a w]ide presence in Africa and Europe and nobody else owns a data-base on that [such] as the one we have. We release only limited information to the Americans according to the request and the price is the armed movements file. The coming days carry a lot of surprises,” First Lt. General and Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein (page 24). This clearly suggests reneging on any counter-terrorism effort promised to the U.S.—that if the U.S. doesn’t ask the right question, make the right “request,” they won’t get the information they most want. Moreover, the claim that the price the U.S. is willing to pay is to provide the regime with intelligence on Sudan’s rebel movements suggests an unscrupulous betrayal—ER]

[On Sudan’s future relationship with international terrorism—ER]:

“We can create them a problem with the Islamic radicals, but we are not going to use this card now,” First Lt. Gen. Hashim Abdalla Mohammed, Chief of Joint General Staff (page 17). [The clear implication is that “creating problems” with Islamic terrorists is one of the tools in the NCP/NIF bag of tools—one of their “cards” (a repeated, and telling, metaphor)—ER] 

     The strength of the commitment to Islamism and political Islam, too often played down in current characterizations of the regime:

[Throughout the document the centrality of Islamism and Islamic rule is clear, and the corresponding fear that opposition movements are bent on … “remov[ing] the Islamic movement from power” (page 3).

“[Iran is] our biggest ally [because of] our web-like relations with all the Islamic Movements, world-wide,” Lt. General Al-Rashiid Fagiri, Director of Popular Security” (page 9).

[The great rubric for all regime opponents is “supporters of the New Sudan Project,” referring to the principle, most forcefully articulated by the late Southern leader John Garang, that neither race nor ethnicity nor religion should be the basis for citizenship in a truly multi-party, democratic Sudan—ER]

The phrase “New Sudan Project” is used incessantly, a sign of what the regime most fears—ER]:

“In order to foil the New Sudan Project we are watching closely all political party activities. When we discover that a politician is going abroad to meet the rebels we usually prevent him not to travel,” Lt. General Abdalla Al-Jaili, Popular Defense Forces General Coordinator (page 9).

“We can bring all the Islamic movements to fight [the rebels], just we tell them that these rebels are collaborators and agents of America,” First Lt. Gen. Hashim Abdalla.

Mohammed, Chief of Joint General Staff (page 17).

[Most notably, comments by the Vice President in his “recommendations” section—ER]:

“We consider the New Sudan Project as [the] top internal and regional challenge that endeavours to expand the foreign intervention and division of Sudan [understandably so—ER]. All the political, security, military, and diplomatic organs should change the approach in dealing with it” (page 28).

    Support for Iran as a means of supporting Islamist movements worldwide and gaining important regional support:

“Are you sure Saudi Arabia can change its mind [concerning our relationship] after [the Saudis] classified the Muslim Brothers as terrorists? On the other hand you know that our relation with Iran is part and parcel of our relation with the Muslim Brotherhood International Islamic Organization. Accordingly, we must consult with Iran and our Islamist group, before taking any step in this regard. This is because the Kingdom cannot be trusted despite their knowledge that we are in a position to threaten their rule,” Lt. General Abdal-Gadir Mohammed Zeen, National Service Coordinator (page 6).

“We are the only state that will not be affected by the conflicts taking place between Sunni Islamic groups and the Shite’. This is, because we succeeded to manage good relations with all Islamic groups, through the cover of social organizations, and not through the state apparatus. The secret of the strength of the Ingaz (NCP) government lies in the smooth management of the alliance with Shite’ Iran on one side and the alliance with the Sunni Islamic groups on the other side,” question and statement from Lt. General Siddiig Aamir, Director General of M.I. [Military Intelligence] and Security (pages 10 – 11).

[Virtually every speaker invokes the “strategic relationship with Iran”; it is a constant in the discussion. In the past this “relationship” has dictated that Khartoum allow for the transfer of Iranian weapons destined for Hamas in Gaza to pass through Sudanese territory—ER]:

“The relation with Iran is one of the best relations in the history of the Sudan. The assistance we received from Iran is immeasurable. Accordingly, the management of this relation requires wisdom and knowledge with all its details. The commonalities between us are many,” 1st Lt. General Abdal-Rahim Mohammed Hisen [Hussein], Minister [of] Defense (page 26).

To be Continued

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