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Discreetly ‘anti-Islam and pro-intervention’

A New Year prophecy for Mathews
Crescent International

Daniel Koat Mathews is a veteran of Sudan’s southern rebel politics. It goes back 34 years ago, to 1963, when he helped to found the first Ananya rebel movement. He had since been an active member of the South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM), a member of its executive committee as well as SSIM’s secretary for foreign relations. He was also a commander in the movement’s South Sudan Independence Army (SSIA). But in April 1996 he broke away with the movement because the SSIM leader and SSIA commander-in-chief, Dr Reik Machar, had signed a Political Charter with the Sudanese government to end the long-running and fruitless rebellion in favour of a negotiated solution to their concerns. Mathews thought it was betraying the southern rebel cause.

He denounced Reik Machar for his ‘betrayal’ and quit to lead his own faction of the movement. However, he did not take long to realise that Reik Machar had been no traitor; he had simply tried to extricate himself and his Neur people from a long-running imperialist game in which the African is a pawn against himself. Those who had earlier come to prey upon its resources are not willing to leave its people in peace and leave them free to carve out their own destiny. That would mean an end to the great loot of the world’s richest continent and a radical shift in the world’s balance of power.

The Africans have, therefore, to be kept divided and sub-divided along religious, tribal and ideological lines. They have to be kept warring against themselves while the continent’s resources were kept flowing towards their not-so-former colonial capitals.

However, Mathews ‘meditated and prayed for God’s guidance’ and consulted his friends and colleagues. He found that the southern grassroots were getting fed up with being perpetually used by colonial powers in their own ethno-centric designs. They were coming to believe in their own internal, Sudanese, instead of any outsider solution. So Daniel Mathews came to London to meet British and American officials and to convince them of the need to take a constructive [instead of a subversive] -view of the continuing process of peace and development in south Sudan. They listened to him with courtesy and interest. They raised queries and made subtle suggestions. However, the US embassy official decided to be a little candid with his visitor and told him he didn’t expect the ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ regime in Sudan to last the New Year.

Sudan has long been on the American hit list. But, it seems when, early last December, the US ambassador to Sudan, Timothy Carney, chose to make a deliberately public visit to the Sudanese opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) office in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, he meant to let every one know that the administration had declared war on the Sudanese ‘fundamentalist regime’; so its days were now numbered.

The ambassador spent a good two-hour with the NDA leaders, Dr Umar Nur al-Da’im (Ummah Party), Dr Mansur Khalid (Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement), Dr Ahmad Ja’afar Abdullah (Democratic Unionist Party) and Hasan Mahi (Sudanese Nationalist Party). Whatever might have transpired inside the NDA office, its message was loud and clear. Earlier in 1996, the US ambassador to Sudan had moved his residence from Khartoum to Nairobi and he now visits the Sudanese capital once a month. The reason given for the move was ‘security’.

Timothy Carney’s pep call to the NDA had been preceded by a report leaked to Washington Post (11 November 1996) by the administration and congressional officials that the US was about to send nearly $20 million in surplus military aid to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda. These three African countries were ‘collaborating [with the US] to overthrow the militant Islamic regime in Sudan, which is regarded in Washington as a key sponsor of international terrorism,’ the Post added.

George E Moose, assistant US secretary of state for African affairs, claimed they were ‘assisting these governments in their own defence’. The newspaper said congressional sources and several African affairs experts were expressing their ‘scepticism that the equipment would be kept from rebel Sudanese’.

The then CIA director, John Deutch, had earlier in April spent three days in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Mid October the secretary of state, Warren Christopher travelled to Addis. The US had decided to adopt a tougher line on Sudan.

The year 1996 proved to be a year of hectic activity on the Sudanese front.

The Ethiopian forces attacked Sudan on 12 January 1997. The New Year had begun. The Washington Post (5 December 1996) had averred: By remaining at a discreet remove from the front-line action, Washington can hope to shield itself against charges of being anti-Islam and pro-intervention and yet make a difference.’

Courtesy: Impact International, London.

Muslimedia - March 1-15, 1997

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 1

Shawwal 21, 14171997-03-01

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