After Sudan's Coup Attempt, Ruling Islamists Are Divided

Article Summary
Following an attempted coup d’état, Al-Nour Ahmad al-Nour writes of growing division among ruling Islamists in Sudan.

Growing division is taking place among ruling Islamists in Sudan, while Ghazi Salahuddin — head of the National Congress Party’s (NCP) parliamentary bloc and former candidate to lead the Islamic movement — attacked his colleagues and described President Omar al-Bashir’s leadership of the movement as unconstitutional. However, an official within the Islamic movement said that Salahuddin’s position “is unjust towards his brother.” The opposition Umma Party threatened a show of force in response to accusations leveled against its chairman, Sadeq al-Mahdi, of being involved in the attempted coup d’état to overthrow the Bashir regime.

In a media statement, Salahuddin criticized the formation of a supreme command for the Islamic movement. This command includes the president, his vice-presidents and the speaker of the house, and was formed during the movement’s recent conference. Salahuddin explained that these figures entered the movement without being elected by its institutions. He added that Bashir’s presence at the top of the Islamic movement — a move “which has not been legally registered yet” — raises thorny legal and ethical questions.

He also said that the elected secretary general of the Islamic movement, Al-Zubair Ahmed Hassan, will not be able —  under the supreme command of these executive officials, which consists of “a group of persons that surpass him in power and influence” —  to adopt any initiatives without their permission, which restricts his powers. He noted that 80% of the ruling NCP’s members are not members of the Islamic movement and “may not want to be.” He called for an investigation into recent developments in the movement’s conference and the interference of “influential parties from within the authorities” in favor of a candidate and at the expense of another.

However, Hamed Sadiq — an official from the ruling party — noted that Salahuddin was a member of the Shura council, which unanimously approved the Islamic movement’s constitutional articles that were later on approved by the general conference.  He added that the Shura council requires everyone to be committed to what has been agreed upon by the group.

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He rejected Salahuddin’s skepticism regarding the independence of the movement’s leadership, adding that what took place is unjust towards its members and that 70% of the members have received postgraduate education, enabling them to make good and sound decisions.

As for integrating the Islamic movement into the ruling party, Sadiq said that some were calling for the secretary general to be entirely devoted to the movement and to be independent. Sadiq said that the current secretary general is as such and everything that they have called for exists in the current secretary general. He stressed that Hassan is entirely devoted and doesn't hold any executive or governmental position. He believed that his presence in the economic secretariat of the ruling party is a matter that concerns the party. If the party decided that he should be removed from the secretariat, it will the party’s issue and the Islamic movement should not impose its opinion on any other institution.

A group of Islamists — who have called for reforming the regime by combatting corruption, unifying Sudanese Islamists and changing the ruling figures — have backed the candidacy of Salahuddin for the post of secretary general of the Islamic movement.

In addition, vice president of the NCP Nafei Ali Nafei suggested a different theory regarding the attempted coup d’état to overthrow Bashir. The authorities foiled this attempt and arrested a group of senior Islamic officers, most notably the former director of national security and intelligence services, Maj. Gen. Saleh Abdallah Gosh. Nafei accused the opposition parties of plotting the attempted coup with the assistance of a number of Islamists who have “personal ambitions.”

In a popular gathering in Kreideh in the White Nile State, he attacked the opposition forces, adding that they don't have a vision to govern the country and only agree on overthrowing the current regime. He added that they “receive orders from the West and from secularists, and support the pro-armed movements to overthrow the regime.” He said that the conspiracies being plotted against Sudan will only increase the country’s strength and immunity.

This is the first time that the opposition has been publicly accused of masterminding the coup attempt, behind which stand a number of senior Islamist officers. Minister of Information Ahmad Bilal said in a press statement that the investigation into the foiled [coup] attempt led to communications between the defendants and rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). He noted that an opposition party is involved in the attempt but declined to name it, confirming that two opposition members are among the detainees. The Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Hassan al-Turabi denied any relation to the detainees.

Official sources leaked reports yesterday [Dec. 3] revealing coordination between Mahdi and the suspected perpetrators of the coup attempt. They said that Qosh informed Mahdi of the coup attempt, prompting Mahdi to travel to London to act as an external cover should the coup succeed, to support it via contacts with major countries and coordinate with the coalition of rebels from the Sudanese Revolutionary Front. They said that Qosh paid about 400,000 Sudanese pounds ($70,000) for the execution of the coup attempt.

But the Ansar religious movement upon which the Umma Party — led by Mahdi — is based, accused a domestic current of continually targeting the Ansar movement and its leadership, directing its security and media apparatuses to promote “misleading” news about it, and employing state financial resources to eliminate it.

The Ansar movement said in a statement yesterday that the information was leaked by sources that “have an interest in creating tension” and “dragging our country into internal battles, and implementing an agenda harmful to the homeland and the people.”

The Ansar movement said that ever since Mahdi traveled to Britain, state officials have made statements paving the way for this accusation even “before the alleged coup attempt was announced.”

The statement warned against targeting Mahdi, saying that the circulation of news accusing Mahdi is a prelude to an upcoming step. The Ansar affairs department called upon supporters to prepare for defending their leadership and movement, announcing that the upcoming Friday prayers will be massive.

The South

Furthermore, South Sudan’s chief negotiator Pagan Amum said that his country will resume exporting oil through Sudanese territory later this month, after he agreed with officials in Khartoum on implementing the cooperation agreement and overcame all previous obstacles. He said that he expects Sudan to receive more than $100 million a month from oil export operations.

In a news conference at the end of his visit, Amum said that his meetings in Khartoum yielded positive results that call for optimism, adding that a detente in the relations between the two countries is imminent.

Amum renewed his country's readiness to support dialogue between the Sudanese government and the rebels of the “Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North” to end the armed conflict in the states of the Blue Nile and South Kordofan. He added that Juba can use its historical ties with the rebels and push for a lasting peace process. He described Khartoum’s request for the intervention of Juba to disarm the fighters as “impossible” as it would be an interference in the affairs of another country, in addition to the fact that his country does not have the capabilities to carry out the operation.

He continued: “We are in an emerging state that depends on oil, and we cannot play with fire.” He added: “We have a strong conviction of the need to help the Sudanese to end the armed conflict.” Amum called on Khartoum to act similarly and help Juba to hold a dialogue with the rebel groups it is fighting so peace would prevail in South Sudan.

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Found in: protests, pagan amum, omar, history
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