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Vol 50 No 2

Published 23rd January 2009


Sudan

New politics, new threats

Three new developments will shape Sudan's politics this year: the International Criminal Court's (ICC) issue of an arrest warrant for President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir; the planned elections under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement; and the inauguration of President Barack Obama's government in the United States with a clear commitment to act against Khartoum's mass murder in Darfur.

New politics, new threats The ruling National Congress (NC, aka National Islamic Front) is struggling to adapt to new realities. A dozen years of meticulous planning and patient entryism preceded the June 1989 coup d'état in which it seized power in a roar of Islamist certainty. It was led by Hassan Abdullah el Turabi, who on 12 January declared that the man he had put in the Palace, Omer el Beshir, 'should assume responsibility for whatever is happening in Darfur, displacement, burning all the villages, rapes, I mean systematic rapes, continuously, I mean on a wide scale and the killing'. Choosing his words with care while managing to sound careless, the veteran lawyer and Islamist leader called for Field Marshal Omer to give himself up to the Court: Politically he is guilty. No doubt about it.'

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