Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 10 May 2020

Remembering Operation Long Arm


By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

Sunday the 10th of May 2020 will mark the 12th Anniversary since the Forces of the Gallant Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) launched a calculated and a well-planned attack on the Three Town Capital of Sudan Khartoum where the Master of the poisonous serpent Muslim Brotherhood entity head used to dwell and exist. Although twelve years have passed since its launch, the Memory of the Operation Long Arm (OLA) remains in the conscience of the Sudanese people. Despite the fact that the Operation long Arm (OLA) was carried out by the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and entered the Sudanese Three Town -Capital Khartoum openly during the Daylight on Saturday the10th of May 2008, it still remains vivid in the moral sense of the Sudanese public. That Military Operation started across the barren Sahara Desert devoid of trees and bunkers and exposed to the enemy Military Aviation and prone to warplanes bombardment by the MiG- 29, Sukhoi bombers and Antonov airships. The (JEM) forces had travelled a very faraway distance of more than a thousand kilometres. It is also noteworthy that JEM attracted its membership from diverse Sudanese tribal and ethnic backgrounds, belonging to at least 67 tribal groups, from Darfur, Kordofan, the Central Region and other regions of Sudan including members from the far Riverain North and as well as from the Nuba Mountains and Southern Sudan. Therefore, this has categorically refuted the state-owned media propaganda machine’s absurdly portrayal picture of JEM as a solely Zaghawa monopolised Movement. One of the citizens of the regions other than the Darfur region may ask about the reasons that prompted the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement to take up arms against the central government in the capital Khartoum. In this window, let us browse the history of Sudan to know the extent of the systematic injustice that the Sudanese citizens in the Darfur region have through the ages and under different regimes.

The Injustice imposed on the citizens of Sudan in the Western Region of Darfur is a part and parcel of the total crisis that the country has suffered from since Independence; in fact, a continuation of the policies of the former colonials. And therefore it is wrong for anyone to think that what the people of the Darfur region are doing is nothing but a kind of nervousness, racism and regionalism. The one whoever thinks that the Darfur crisis has no genuine grounds that type of individual should be considered living in the darkness of misinformation. The people of Sudan in Darfur are usually seen from some sectors with suspicion and accused as having no genuine cause to complain as though they are just stirring up unfounded Issues that do not exist.

There has been a question that remains lingering in the minds of many people as to whether Darfur has a fair and objective issue, or is the matter merely a claim that is not supported by the facts?

The answer to this question requires looking at the situation in Darfur from the historical, geographical, developmental, political, economic and administrative point of view to see how the people of Darfur are objective and have just and genuine issue and it is not a claim or fatwas on abstract facts.

The Darfur community consists of multiple social components and diverse cultures that blended and fused, resulting in a rich civilization with unique features, expressed in the form of Kingdoms and Sultanates through the ages and developed Civilization and good governance and established the teachings of the true Islamic religion free from hypocrisy, corruption and injustice.

This rich and accumulated experiences, devised patterns of systems, customs and mechanisms, which organized social life, and arranged how to exploit the wealth of resources enjoyed by Darfur, and put in place measures that address conflicts when they occur.

Despite the aforementioned background, the region of Darfur and its citizens have been subjected to injustice and oppression. It is really unfortunate that while this happens, we find the situation in Darfur has deteriorated in the way it has become a subject of international public opinion and witnessed the largest peacekeeping mission known as the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) the largest mission in the history of the United Nations. On the other hand, Darfur has remained throughout its history difficult for the legions of colonialism, and it has been making sacrifices after the sacrifices, that instead of being appreciated and considered a source of national pride and treasure, but it was seen with the eye of ingratitude and thanklessness, from many regimes, Sudanese history tells. Thus, Darfur suffered a double burden from the homeland and the colonial powers alike as we will see in the next paragraph.

Darfur has faced Turkish-Egyptian colonialism for about sixty years, as well as Anglo-Egyptian colonialism for about twenty years, along with the people of Darfur supporting the Mahdist revolution and achieving the country’s first independence, throughout the years of struggle against the colonizers. The people of Sudan in Darfur region remained cohesive with the other marginalized citizens in South Kordofan Nuba Mountains, Ingassana in the Blue Nile region and Eastern Sudan Beja people suffering the experience and services of the foreign and internal colonizers, which created an objective difference in development and basic services between Darfur and the rest of Sudan other than the forgotten areas referred to above. It suffices to note that the first school opened in Darfur was fifty years after the first school opened in Central Sudan. The Sudanese cadres that used by the colonial powers to administer Sudan until independence were trained and contributed to the development of Northern and Central Sudan but obviously not Darfur and similar areas. They were managed by the security cadres of the Colonial Intelligence services, whose mission was to impose the law of the closed territories that was applied to the Darfur region. Thus Darfur has become the outcast province which governs isolation and deprivation of development and services for this part of the country. Despite this repression, oppression and deprivation, the Darfur citizens continued to ignite revolutions and uprisings against the colonials led by tribal leaders such as Sultan Ali Dinar in El-Fasher, Sultan Tajeldin in Dar al-Massaleit and other anti- Colonialization rebels.

In spite of this continuous national giving and transcendence over the bounties, the people of Darfur remained wherever they sought to express their grievances they suffer more injustice by the neocolonial policies pursued by successive Sudanese national regimes. The spirit of hope and the ability to make the independence a treasure have gone with the wind of denial. The so-called ‘national’ governments followed the footsteps of the colonial policies that were able to isolate Darfur from communicating with the rest of the country and deprived its people of the services that were supposed to be rights rather than a grant or charity provided by the charitable giver. This applies to all services whether in health, education or reconstruction projects. Those are the policies that prefer one over others created a difference between the sons and the daughters of one nation.

Darfur is located in a geographical distant space which is very far away from the ruling centre in Khartoum and worse it is away from the main port of the country in Port Sudan. This geographic reality imposes an economic dialectic that the abundant produces of the Darfur region are dealt with at the lowest and cheap price and that the needs of Darfur from imports are bought at the highest prices; thus the citizen remains a loser in both cases. In the face of this inherited situation, the people of Darfur demanded that the various successive political regimes address this imbalance – this has been inked and quoted in the book authored by the rebel Justice Equality Movement (JEM) in its book:“ The black book: Imbalance of Power and Wealth in Sudan”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book:_Imbalance_of_Power_and_Wealth_in_the_Sudan
In the circumstances, the people of Sudan in the region of Darfur thought of constructing the road that connects the production sites, to the main National Port. Chief among them is the western Rescue Road. The people of Darfur came to their mind, that the central government is unlikely to contribute to such development project for Darfur and they ended up thinking to depend on themselves despite their limited capabilities. They decided to have financial input to the project from the Sugar rations allocated to Darfur, even if it led to depriving their children of them for the sake of making this way that serves Darfur and the country alike. With that resolve, the people of Darfur were able to collect large sums of money, but those who are betting that Darfur remains an area for the production of Crops and a market for consumption and a source for cheap labour for the centre, hence, the Sugar money that was collected found its way into the Northern Rescue Road to serve the population of the Northern Nilotic Region of Sudan. It was one of the reasons that became the direct cause that provoked the youth and prompted them to take up arms. Furthermore, there were other vital development projects that have started to work but have been completely cancelled, such as the Jebel Marra Project, the Savanna Project, the Ghazala Jawazat Project, the Habila Project, the Baggara Basin Water Project, the El Fasher cities water network project in Nyala, El Geneina and other vital projects.

Despite the advanced role that the people of Darfur played in achieving independence, such as the burning of the English flag in the city of El Fasher, Capital of Darfur Province in a massive demonstration on February 2, 1952 AD. Unfortunately, as soon as independence was declared, the ruling political elite turned its back on Darfur, striking at it a new collar of political isolation and depriving it of the basic jobs that colonialism has left, which are more than eight hundred jobs as mentioned by some researchers. Darfur did not get a single job. In addition to that, Darfur was isolated from the contribution to deliberately leading the country in the executive and legislative apparatus, as the corridors of Darfur witnessed a new pattern of isolation and blockade through what was known as the “export of deputies of the Parliament who decided to run in the constituencies of Darfur while they had not been in the Darfur Province before, a precedent that reflects the extent of the cunning mentality that ruling the country. It is also noteworthy to point out that the First Minister of the sons of Darfur was the leader Ahmed Ibrahim Dereig after Eleven years of independence of Sudan and after violent political confrontations and while the first Governor in Darfur was the late Engineer Mahmoud Bashir Jamaa after twenty-five years of independence. And the first ambassador from Darfur was Dr Al-Tijani Fadil, after Fifty years of independence and the first school opened in Darfur was Fifty years after the First School opened in the Central Region of Sudan. These models clearly demonstrate the extent of the systematic policies that were followed in isolating the people of Darfur and depriving them of their natural right to contribute to leading the country and participating in national decision-making. And it also proves that recognition of the just right of the people of Darfur is only possible after confrontations and clashes. It is truly surprising that this was not only in the past, but it is the same right now. To say that all the efforts made by the people of Darfur to draw the authority’s attention to the gravity of the injustice policies aimed at Darfur, whether reflected by the uprisings or processions that were led by many organizations such as the Sony’s Darfurian revolutionary movement and the Red Flames, the Darfur Renaissance Front and the solidarity of the countryside and other attempts have been completely ignored and they were considered as kind of racism and tribalism. Thus, the situation continued to deteriorate from bad to worse until it ended in taking up Arms carrying weapons to fight for the denied citizenship rights.

After careful consideration of the above isn’t it time to genuinely go beyond the old practices and policies that have deprived the people of Darfur to claim their legitimate rights after the glorious December 19, 2018 revolution?

The Operation Long Arm (OLA) comes this very day reflecting the fruits of the changes brought about by the Glorious December 19, 2018, popular Revolution. Of the jokes that were recorded in those moments is that one of the Sudanese citizens said commenting during those pivotal moments and describing what he was seeing from a distance: “the Sudanese Justice and Equality Forces are a fierce force, quick to attack and eliminate the forces of the National Congress Party, under every moment. We ask God, our Lord, to grant them a clear victory; those who rule us in Sudan are nothing but robbers at best and Corrupt gangsters at their worst”! This revolution has been participated in its detonation by all components of the Sudanese people. Therefore, political groups must unite in order to make the opportunity for the counter-revolution to dismantle their achievements. This is the only way to build a new Sudan that is one of the demands of the revolution, in addition to a reform destroyed by the organs of the ousted ruling regime during the past thirty lean years. Now is the time to admit that we, as a Sudanese people have wasted valuable decades in absurd internal wars. Therefore we have to stop these self-destructive wars of attrition that their roots and causes had begun since August 1955, just before the dawn of the Declaration of Independence from the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium of January the First 1956. To reiterate the fact, now, with what has been achieved in Sudan after the revolution, it is the appropriate moment to achieve sustainable peace, after the people suffered too long from the scourge of wars that continued without interruption as a result of the intransigence of the most military rulers of the Sudanese state since independence.

But today, the (OLA) comes at different circumstances in Sudan. There have been far-reaching changes since then; in that the components of the Sudanese people rose up and caused the Glorious Popular Revolution on the Nineteenth of December 2018 and Overthrew the ruling regime of the Masonic National Congress Party (NCP) the branch of the global Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) and removed its Tyrant President Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, the perpetrator of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in the Darfur region and remained fugitive from the international justice and being chased by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, in the Netherlands, and along with him his criminal entourage who are now in the famous Kober Prison. At present, the ousted Omer al-Bashir is imprisoned in a correctional facility for the elderly criminals, pending his delivery to the (ICC). It is also noteworthy the presence of al-Bashir’s criminal fugitive entourage who are currently detained in Kober Prison, awaiting their handover to the International justice at the International Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Furthermore, the Sudanese Revolutionaries have managed to form Transitional Political Institutions of Sovereignty and Council of Ministers along with a Prime Minister both of which have actively engaged with the Armed Struggle Movements (ASM) of Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Movement –Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) –Agar and others engaged in the Process with a view to reaching to a comprehensive sustainable and just Peace all over the Country in the peace negotiations platform Juba, the Capital of South Sudan. Furthermore, some armed movement factions at the Juba peace platform thought to suggest among other peace requirements the following:
- First: Achieving a just and comprehensive peace that meets all its objective and procedural requirements in a manner consistent with the internationally recognized and popularly accepted standards by addressing the root causes of the national crisis and the causes of wars and addressing their corresponding effects.
- Second: The immediate surrender of the deposed genocidal criminal Omer al-Bashir and all those wanted with him to the International Criminal Court in order to achieve justice and without linking that file with politics.
- Third: To call for a national conference to resolve controversial issues related to the peace file and adopt it within the provisions of the permanent constitution.
- Fourth: Halting the ongoing negotiations in Juba until the constitutional document is amended to pave the way for a comprehensive peace, completing procedural shortcomings and resolving duplication between the transitional authority parties regarding the peace file.
- Fifth: Issue immediate decisions by the government to establish security in the region of Darfur, to resolve the security chaos, stop killings, looting and rape, support and reform justice agencies, and call for a security conference in Darfur in preparation for civil reconciliation.

Some historians report that on Wednesday, August 28, 1963, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. said at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington that he has a Dream and he was dreaming about seeing a future in which Blacks and Whites in America coexist freely, equality and in homogeneity. The dream of the Pastor came true on Tuesday 20 January 2009, when Barack Hussein Obama ascended the Presidential throne of the United States of America. Equally, the dream of the people of Sudan is that the political elites who have ruled Sudan since the dawn of independence to recognize the right of the marginalized people of Sudan to assume Sovereign positions in Sudan on an equal basis with them without discrimination.
Martin Luther King Jr. has been quoted as saying: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/injustice

Whereas George Denis Patrick Carlin the American stand-up comedian, actor, philosopher, author, and social critic and was known for his black comedy and reflections on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects has been quoted as saying: “The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/injustice

Dr Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is https://thussudan.wordpress.com/

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  • 11 May 10:05, by Nueri Dial

    Please read Peace agreement very well. OPP has 0.8 not 0.08 per your false and low informed mind. You can never compete with known PHD. Only Dr.Riak and Dr.Lam in our country the rest are their Junior

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