The row over Turabi leaves the National Islamic Front still
in charge. It may now announce a referendum for the South
The National Islamic Front is trying harder than ever to woo foreigners and the opposition, following the noisy quarrel between the NIF founder and leader, Hassan Abdullah el Turabi, and the general he promoted to president, Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir (AC Vol 41 No 1). Even while the insults were flying, General Omer insisted he had declared a state of emergency on 12 December mainly to 'save the dialogue' with the opposition and with other governments. However, Omer's faction of the NIF is no less avowedly Islamist or less determined to prosecute the war against southern Sudanese than Hassan el Turabi's faction. Since the drama erupted, Khartoum has signed pacts with Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda, has successfully solicited backing from Egypt, plus Algeria, Libya, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and has praised a surprised United States for its 'change of policy'. Now it is stressing its attachment to the free market and liberalisation, and putting state-owned corporations up for sale.
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