Seventh Anniversary of the Operation Long Arm by JEM
By Mahmoud A. Suleiman
This article comes against the backdrop of the Seventh Anniversary of the May 10, 2008 Operation Long Arm (OLA) launched by the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on the Three Town Capital Khartoum. Or it is about the military Operation Long Arm and the entry of Omdurman in Daylight on May 10 2008 by the rebel group the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
Sunday, May 10, 2015 marks the Seventh Anniversary of the epic bold military operation carried out by the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) gallant forces against the National Congress Party (NCP) regime, archenemy of the people of Sudan in the Darfur region.
The (OLA) by the rebel group, JEM, thought by many military analysts and experts as a quantum leap in the strategy of the movement.
JEM rebel group fought major fierce battles against the regime of the (NCP) prior to the (OLA). The battles included Haskanita, Kariary, Umsidir, Kulkul, Al-Saiah and Gereida, to mention a few. JEM came out of the foregoing battles victorious.
The (OLA) was an implementation of decisions of the masses of the (JEM) membership at the Fourth General Congress – Conference fateful decisions – held in the liberated zones in Darfur in October 2007. The crowds chanted slogans calling for: (All JEM forces must enter Headquarters of the Enemy in Khartoum from where the regime takes decisions of committing crimes of genocide and waging wars of attrition. The conferees included delegates from within Sudan and from abroad, women and men and camps displacement and asylum and from the diaspora. The General Congress is constitutionally the highest authority in the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement, a fact that taken into consideration.
Numerous reasons and circumstances surrounded the Sudanese Justice and equality movement’s (JEM) decision to implement that bold military operation, dubbed as the Operation Long Arm (OLA), on May 10, 2008 through a distance of 1,200 km set to invade the Sudanese capital Khartoum. The Military operation started across the barren Sahara Desert devoid of trees and bunkers, and exposed to enemy Military Aviation prone to warplanes bombardment by the MiG- 29, Sukhoi bombers and Antonov airship and travel a faraway distance of more than a thousand kilometers. Reasons and circumstance represented in the accumulated injustices and grievances that befell on the people of Sudan in Darfur at the hands of the NCP Islamist. Moreover, those grievances continued occurring in light of the systematic deprivation of the citizenship rights as well as the ongoing impunity and the failure of the international community to support the International Criminal Court (ICC) implement the and apply legal rights of the victims’ relatives and the survivors. That situation continued because of the intersection of the Common interests between some members of the international community in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the National Congress Party (NCP) regimes.
The main objectives of the JEM included meeting the aspirations of the people of the marginalized areas in Sudan in power sharing, wealth sharing land Hawakeer issues. JEM also the rights and future of displaced persons, refugees and those migrated into the Diaspora. On top of the objectives come security arrangements to contain the lawlessness and security chaos in the region deliberately created by the regime to create more chaos to torment the citizens. The Project of the Justice and Equality Movement, if achieved, will be a guarantee that another region not to carry weapons tomorrow or the day after tomorrow demanding legitimate rights.
The Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has national agenda in its political thought. It believes the Darfur crisis as a symptom of a nationwide endemic disease spread by the current racist ruling regime in Khartoum. The imposition of unilateral culture, language, faith, ethnicity and blurring and obliterating the culture and identity of others along with monopolizing power, wealth and hegemony over and domination over the joints of the state of the judiciary and the civil service and the higher ranks in the army and police and security apparatus is unacceptable. JEM attracted its membership from diverse Sudanese tribal background, belonging to 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 the Southern Sudan. Therefore, this refuted the state owned media propaganda machine’s absurd portrayal of JEM as a sole Zaghawa monopolised movement. Furthermore, the individual members of the Movement before joining it belonged to ideologically to diverse political thoughts, from the far left to the far right and not all of them of an Islamist background as the NCP regime keeps saying it over and over. The Justice and Equality Movement is a nationalist movement, wide spread in all regions of Sudan and carrying an integrated project for change in Sudan, which is far from fanaticism and tribalism.
JEM felt enough is enough and time is due to let the (NCP) regime get the ultimatum that its den in the national Capital is not sacrosanct or far distant from its military arm’s strike. Moreover, JEM, at the time, showed its readiness to sit down, negotiate, and agree on the best ways for peaceful coexistence within the framework of one state in which all citizens enjoy equal rights and duties and Citizenship as the only identity for all Sudanese live with each other as compatriots.
The Forces of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) moved from the liberated zone in Darfur in western Sudan, cutting off more than 1,200 kilometers of distance and after three days of skirmishes with the government affiliated forces that tried and failed to repel on the way reached the Omdurman.
Historians indicated that the (JEM) attack on Omdurman on Saturday 10 of May 2008 represents the Third military operation entering the City of Omdurman. The first one was the invasion of Turkish and English foreign colonial armies. The second invasion of the National Capital in Khartoum was in 1976 by the so-called invasion of ‘Mercenaries’. The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi embraced the Sudanese opposition leaders against President Jaafar Nimeiri in that incident. The then opposition group, National Front forces, consisting of the Umma Party and the Democratic Unionist Party and the Muslim Brotherhood. Their force was supplied with weapons and funding enabling it to invade Khartoum in 1976, which labelled as the “invasion of forces mercenaries”. Ironically, most of the foot soldiers in that invasion their origins from Western Sudan!
The Operation Long Arm (OLA) will remain engrained in the minds and the conscience of the people of Sudan in Darfur for decades to come as historical station from where coming generation would take lessons. With regard to the battle and the consequential effects, there is a plethora of documented literature about it. For example, the Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_attack_on_Omdurman_and_Khartoum said: “JEM forces entered the city of Omdurman, targeting the Arba’een military base and the Al-Aswat police station. Government troops backed up by tanks, artillery, and helicopter gunships immediately deployed to Omdurman, and heavy fighting raged for several hours. The rebels then started to move towards the “Al-Ingaz Bridge” to cross the White Nile into Khartoum in an apparent attempt to reach the Presidential Palace, while another JEM force headed towards the National Radio and Television building in Omdurman. Government forces repelled both attacks. Some military ‘strategists label Omdurman as the vulnerability Gap of the National Capital as all invasions accessed the Capital via that Old City!
The Operation long Arm (OLA) revealed the extent to which the JEM’s commitment to rules of war and respect for international humanitarian law (IHL). Non-aggression on citizens and civil arable land represented JEM’s commitments. The main objectives of JEM included achievement of democratic state in which citizens enjoy freedom and fair and equitable chance of national job positions without discrimination along with justice and decent livelihood for all irrespective of colour, creed, gender, age, culture, language or political and regional affiliation.
Since the entry of the Justice and Equality Movement of Omdurman, number of events passed on the Movement. The most grave of which was the crime of the assassination of its leader, Dr. Khalil Ibrahim Mohammed by international parties complicit with the abhorrent Islamist regime of the National Congress Party.
Nevertheless, the Movement in spite of the loss and calamity managed to withstand the shock and went ahead with the election of the current President, Dr. Gibril Ibrahim Muhammed. Furthermore, the Movement went forward forming alliance with both the political and armed opposition. This resulted in the formation of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF). More alliance with the main political opposition group the National Consensus Forces (NCF) led by the veteran politician Mr. Farouq Abu Eissa followed. The Sudan Call group called on the opposition to harden against the (NCP) regime led by the genocidal criminal fugitive from the international justice, Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir with the view to oust him and the entourage once for all.
One can conclude quoting this: “Revolution means Democracy in today’s World, not the enslavement of peoples to the corrupt and degrading horrors of Totalitarianism”.
Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is https://thussudan.wordpress.com/