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UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Sudan Brief historical overview of pre-colonial period to independence Presentation material for educators and activists developed by: UnderstandingSudan.org latest version: March 11, 2006
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Independence: 1956 The British ceded power rather quickly, to a class of educated graduates of Gordon College. This class had a well-developed sense of Sudan as a nation with a Muslim and Arab identity. They viewed the western and southern regions as romantic, quaint, backwards areas that needed to be civilized and pacified. There was little sense of multi-cultural tolerance. The class was, however, fractured along sectarian lines within strains of Sufi Islam, across political ideologies (from Communism to pro- Egyptian unity), and
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Independence: 1956 The class was, however, fractured along sectarian lines within strains of Sufi Islam (Ansar- legacy of the Mahdist movement, Khatmiyya- a Sufi sect originally opposed to the Mahdiyya and initially allied with the British and Egypt), across political ideologies (from Communism to pro-Egyptian unity), and across smaller ethnic groups (tribes) of the northern Sudanese elite 1958: First parliamentary period collapsed with a welcomed military coup by General Ibrahim Abboud.
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Southerners had insignificant role British program to ‘indigenize’ the civil service was highly rigged against southerners, partially because they did not have much education and did not speak Arabic –1954- only 6 southerners were appointed to 800 senior administrative posts. Southern political leaders largely excluded from deciding the structure of the north-south relationship –No consideration for southern autonomy in independent Sudan; problem of cultural and regional minority ignored
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 October Revolution: 1964 October 1964 people in Khartoum take to the streets, and overthrow military regime First African popular revolt since anti-colonial movement, first military dictator thrown out by popular movement But victory is short-lived: Parliamentary regime under Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi (great grandson of the Mahdi) overthrown in 1969
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Dictatorship of Gaafar Nimeiri: Nimieri proves skilled dictator, surviving numerous coups, intriguing constantly with political forces, building pretensions of rule by consent through novel political institutions (the single party Sudanese Socialist Union)
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Dictatorship of Gaafar Nimeiri: Borrows enormously from creditor nations, esp. when allies with Anwar Sadat of Egypt after signing of Camp David accords with Israel in 1979 Inflation grows, economic bottlenecks emerge, mechanized farming displaces peasant farmers, leads to environmental destruction Sudanese pound repeatedly devalued, currency exchange heavily regulated, indebtedness grouws to $10b 1984: Refugees from Ethiopian famine overburden eastern Sudan, then famine breaks out in western Sudan
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Jonglei canal: Southern grievance against North The canal would drain the Sudd swamp which the White Nile flows through Southerners felt that the water would go to the north to benefit northern Sudan and Egypt. No one cared what it would do to the ecology of the south –Would destroy pasturage and fish ponds the main source of livelihood for the south.
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Fundamentalist Islam: Northern grievance against Nimeiri In 1983 Nimeiri consolidated a personal and political shift to an alliance with the small but growing National Islamic Front Named Hasan al Turabi, NIF leader, as Attorney General Turabi and Nimeiri introduced shari’a law to replace British common law and British-based statutes in criminal courts –Flogging, amputations and crucifixion as punishment –Alcoholic beverages made illegal Hanging on Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, leader of reformist Islamic sect (the Republican Brothers) for apostasy
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Second popular uprising? 1985 Students and population again take to the streets in April 1985, in conscious echo of 1964 But Nimeiri’s second-in-command, Suwar al- Dahab takes power in palace coup while Nimeiri visiting George Bush in Washington One year transition period, elections, lead to another parliamentary regime with Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi returning to power Civil war – see later slide – continues, ecnoomic decline continues June 30, 1989: Military takes over in coup
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Islamist rule: 1989-present Military takes power in June 1989 At first presented as neutral, but quickly revealed to be allied with National Islamic Front Hasan al Turabi, leader of NIF, at first placed under arrest, emerges to be true leader of regime Torture and summary execution used to establish power early on Full implementation of shari’a law and alliances with fundamentalism/Islamist forces pursued (Osama bin laden hosted in Sudan )
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Recent developments 1999: Turabi and military leader General Omar al Bashir fall out, Turabi arrested and loses power struggle. Turabi remains under virtual house arrest Oil pipeline built and oil fields developed in alliances with oil companies from China, Malaysia and India. Oil exports begin in 2003, revenue to government now amounts to perhaps $2 billion per year, half of the government budget
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Civil war in southern Sudan 1955: Shortly before formal transfer of power from British to independent parliamentary regime, several barracks of southern soldiers mutiny in southern Sudan, leave for the bush and across borders to Ethiopia and Uganda Grievances: Northern military officers will take over southern garrisons, and south will become a “colony” of northern Sudan with forced Islamization and Arabization
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Anya Nya Civil war in south very slow moving, with few pitched battles Rebel groups gradually coalesce into Anya Nya force Joseph Lagu emerges as undisputed leader By many accounts obtains arms from Israel Signs Addis Ababa agreement with general Nimeiri in 1972 –Regional autonomy of southern Sudan –Integration of military forces
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Nimeiri’s abrogation of Addis Ababa After discover of oil by chevron in southern Sudan in Bentiu and Heglig, Nimeiri emasculates Addis Ababa agreements, eventually dividing South into three regions under governors controlled by northern Sudan Southern soldiers rebel in 1983, join remnants of Anya Nya, eventually form Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Under John Garang, Ph.D. economist and Colonel in Sudanese Army, SPLA emerges as undisputed leader of southern rebellion Begins as a Marxist movement closely allied to Ethiopia SPLA controls much of countryside in southern Sudan from Early on drops Marxist language and reinvented as fighting for a “New Sudan” that would promote tolerant and inclusive state focusing on equitable development
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 SPLA - trouble When Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam overthrown in 1989, SPLA in trouble 1991: Riek Machar, Lam Akol and Gordon Kong split with john Garang –Accuse Garang of being dictator and arbitrary rule –Subtext of fighting for separation rather than “New Sudan” Split leads to terrible inter-tribal fighting in South Sudan – Dinka against Nuer – thousands are massacred
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 SPLA - redemption Garang establishes alliances with powerful U.S. Christian movement – slavery issue Machar and others sign peace agreement with Khartoum regime in 1997 – become discredited U.S. government firmly backs Garang with economic assistance and pressure on Khartoum, accusing Sudan of supporting terrorism and slavery
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 The slavery issue of the 1990s Lots of controversy over what is a slave, in the same way there is controversy over naming of genocide –Slavery Convention of 1926 defines slavery as the status of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised –Condition or status of being owned –Slave trade is defined as all acts involved in the capture and acquisition of a person with the intent to sell, exchange, or dispose of him or her
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 The Sudan government response NIF government of Hassan Turabi deliberately widened the definition of slavery to include all forms of exploitation –In this way Turabi and Sudan government portrayed slavery as relatively banal, likening it to the extreme economic exploitation that one sees in lots of societies, rather than chattel slavery
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Where/how did slave raiding happen? Slavers were typically from the Baggara ethnic group – identified in Sudan as Arab cattle herders Slaves were typically members of the Dinka ethnic group Historical relationship of cattle raiding between the two groups. What is different now is that the raiding attacks are sponsored by the government to pillage for cattle, loot grain, and capture Dinka women and children and sell them into slavery in the North
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Why is slavery so persistent in Sudan? Eradication of Nile slave trade a major Victorian cause in the 1870s Long tradition of domestic servitude in northern Sudan Race and Notions of Superiority in Sudan Many northern Sudanese regard themselves as Arab, and see southern Sudanese as African, different, and perhaps sub-human Common for northern Sudanese in both private and public discourse to refer to southerners as abid (“slave”)
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Government has allowed slavery to be used as weapon of war Slave taking militias are allied with Sudanese army as part of war against SPLA –Murahileen- tribal militias that raid villages and loot, pillage and capture slaves
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Arguments against slave redemption If there are foreigners willing to pay to redeem slaves, people might take advantage of it as a business opportunity – more slave-raiding? –risk of fraud in the redemption process –middlemen might borrow children who have never been abducted –SPLA commanders charge exorbitant exchange rates Undercuts local peace efforts between Baggara and Dinka –halt raiding in exchange for access to dry season grazing
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 John Garang de Mabior June 23, 1945 – July 30, 2005 Vice President, Sudan SPLA Leader
UnderstandingSudan.org University of California, Berkeley © 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement Signed January 9, 2005 after almost two years of negotiations that began in earnest with the Machakos Protocol of 2003 Six year interim period of joint rule (SPLA leader to be Vice President of Sudan and President of Government of Southern Sudan) followed by referendum – South can vote to become independent country Oil revenues to be split 50:50 between North and South.
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