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Hezbollah and Hamas: The Sudanese Connection By: Faith J. H. McDonnell
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thrilling as it may be, perpetrating genocide on its own people does not by itself satisfy the ruling National Congress Party in Sudan. Stories have surfaced recently connecting Sudan with Hezbollah and Hamas. They give weight to numerous claims that the radical Islamist regime of Omar el Bashir in Khartoum is involved with terrorists around the world. Sudan’s genocidal humanitarian disasters have long been the focus of the Sudan policy of both the United States government and American activists. Sudan’s active role in global terrorism has not. But both deserve focus because both are methods by which Khartoum hopes to bring about an Arabized Shari’a state, an Islamized Africa, and eventually, a worldwide Islamic Caliphate.  

A recent example of Sudan’s role in international terrorism was the news that Hezbollah is sending recruits to Sudan for training as suicide bombers. According to the May 28, 2009 Philadelphia Bulletin, prospective Hezbollah terrorists under interrogation in Egypt confirmed this educational opportunity provided by Sudan. But Southern Sudanese have spoken of these terrorist training camps for years. They display maps with “x’s” marking the spots on Sudan’s vast landscape where Al Qaeda and other Islamist-based camps are located. Southerners and other of Sudan’s marginalized peoples have a wealth of intelligence that could be helpful in fighting terrorism or “man-caused disasters.” And they, unlike Salah Gosh, Khartoum’s architect of genocide in Darfur, and the United States government’s star intelligence source, do not practice taqiya*.  

Sudan’s Hamas connection was revealed a couple of months earlier, with reports of Israeli air strikes that took place in January and February 2009 in the eastern Sudan desert. The air strikes, northeast of Port Sudan, wiped out large convoys of trucks of Sudanese Arab smugglers carrying Iranian weapons to Gaza for Hamas. The Khartoum regime first attributed the attacks to the United States. Then they named Israel as the perpetrator. Although Israel did not admit to conducting the strikes, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did say that his government "operates everywhere we can hit terror infrastructure."  

When Sudan’s Minister of Transportation, Dr. Mabruk Mubarak Salim, addressed the press, he was distraught over the deaths of allegedly hundreds of innocent passengers in the trucks. He finally admitted that “traders” were involved, but did not admit any role of Khartoum in smuggling weapons to Hamas. But Khartoum is somewhat low-key about its international connections. (Except to the Arabic speaking press. Khartoum knows that even if the Americans obtain an accurate translation, they will assume it is just “inflammatory rhetoric,” as they always do.) 

The Minister of Transportation denied vehemently that the Rashaida Arab smugglers were terrorists. Salim, himself a Rashaida, claimed that his kinsmen only engage in this “illegal trade” because they are so poor and marginalized. But actual poor and marginalized Sudanese say Salim directs the smuggling! In addition, marginalized Sudanese assert that the Rashaida, Bedouins from Saudi Arabia, are far better off both economically and politically than the indigenous Beja people of eastern Sudan.    

In its usual racist, imperialist fashion, the National Congress Party is displacing the Beja, a black, African people that make up 15 percent of the people of Sudan. They are selling Beja land, rich in natural resources, to Rashaida and other Arabs from outside Sudan. They have also appointed only Rashaida as regional politicians in eastern Sudan, and of course have given a Rashaida, Salim, the only countrywide ministerial position occupied by an eastern Sudanese.  

Khartoum’s Arabists label as “minorities” all of the primarily black, African Sudanese, the indigenous people groups that comprise 87-90 percent of the population. They have been marginalized and oppressed through religious and/or racial jihad beginning in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains, continuing in Darfur, and reaching into northern Sudan (Nubia), and eastern Sudan. Khartoum’s ideal Sudan is a pristine Arab Islamic state, unsullied by infidel and Muslim black African Sudanese. No wonder that not only Sudan’s marginalized black, African people groups, but many northern Sudanese Arabs, believe in the vision of the late Dr. John Garang, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, of a “New Sudan,” in which all Sudanese are equal and have peace and religious freedom. 

Particularly in the last decade, the U.S. government has rightly and admirably worked to alleviate Sudan’s ongoing humanitarian crises and promote conflict resolution. The Sudanese are grateful to America for its generous aid and especially for the herculean efforts of President George W. Bush which led to the north/south peace agreement. But they wonder why the United States addresses Sudan primarily as a humanitarian issue when the root of the crisis is the National Congress Party’s ideology of jihad and Arab imperialism. A March 26, 2009 Sudan Tribune report of the Israeli air strike indicated that many Sudanese appreciated Israel’s attitude towards the regime. One reader commented, “The Sudanese Government thinks they’ll treat Israelis like Darfurians or Southerners. Be informed they’re Israelis; they don’t play when it comes to security of their people.” Another Sudanese reader said he loved Israel “because they don’t sign deals with terrorists.”  

The U.S. government is compelled to endure the National Congress Party’s incessant and insulting games so that the regime will grant “permission” to them to continue to supply humanitarian aid. But the Sudanese regime never lets a crisis go to waste. When America fed famine victims in Southern Sudan, Khartoum bombed the Nuba Mountains. When America focused on Darfur, Khartoum threatened the peace agreement. Now as America refocuses on the peace agreement, Khartoum builds dams to flood Nubia and displaces the Beja. They use each new crisis works to delay the fulfillment and change the terms of the north/south peace deal, the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that they signed with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. The upcoming national elections and Southern Sudan’s referendum on whether or not to secede from Sudan are major threats to Khartoum’s hegemony. 

Later this month, the U.S. government is hosting a meeting with representatives of the National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to try to save the CPA from total breakdown. In today’s political climate, it is less likely than ever that the United States will address Khartoum’s jihad objectives. And although one would assume that the overarching principle of moral equivalence would mean that both the guilty and the innocent would be forced to make concessions, things never seem to work that way. It would not be the first time that the SPLM would, however unjustly, be pressured to make all of the concessions and compromises to keep the CPA from collapse.  

But while the CPA exists there is still hope for an end to war and for a better Sudan. This is particularly true if the U.S. government supports the coming together of Sudan’s marginalized Muslims, Christians, and others, including Arabs from the North who are risking their lives to join the efforts to bring about the New Sudan. If they were to succeed, Sudan’s humanitarian crisis and all that it entails, might truly end.  

*Koranic-based deception to advance the cause of Islamic jihad.

Faith J. H. McDonnell directs The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan, and is the author of Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books, 2007).

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