Eighth Anniversary of the Operation Long Arm Launched by JEM Entering the Enemy Den in Khartoum
By Mahmoud A. Suleiman
Tuesday 10, May 2016, will mark the 8th anniversary since the forces of the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) launched an attack on the three town capital Khartoum of Sudan where the poisonous head of the serpent exists. 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 circumstances include the following:
The military operation carried out by the forces of the rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on 10 May 2008 to onslaught the three-town capital of Sudan thought by many military analysts and experts as a quantum leap in the strategy of the movement. Furthermore, it becomes more so in the stalemate situation of lack of progress of peace process for Darfur and the apathy of the UN-AU joint mediation and the prevailed position of some quarters in the international community in support of the NCP regime. Moreover, the facilitators and mediators showed clear alignment with the government of Sudan (GoS) side while had padded hostility against the (JEM). The rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has adopted national agenda for all Sudan –Pan-Sudan – since its inception and its announcement in the nineties of the last century – the twentieth century and therefore it added the word ‘Sudanese’ and named itself in the first place.
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. Furthermore, the (JEM) will not have and never had any sense of animosity against the people of the far North of Sudan whether Nubians, Mahas, Danagla, Shaigiya, Ja’aleen or any other of the inhabitants along the Nile Valley.
The main objectives of the JEM included meeting the aspirations of the people of the marginalized areas in Sudan who are spread all over the swaths of Sudan, the country once referred to as the country of “One Million Square Miles’ in size but the regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) led by the minority supremacist racist clique decided to make unity revolting to the people of the southern part of Sudan choosing secession.
The demands of the (JEM) are the basic rights of every Sudanese citizen that included power sharing, wealth sharing, justice, freedom and equality in rights and duties without discrimination based on colour, creed, gender, age, political or regional affiliation or any other titles. Of the objectives of The Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) include handling the conflict related exacerbation in Sudan, ensuring the rights and future of displaced persons, refugees and those migrated into the Diaspora. On top of all come security arrangements to contain the lawlessness and security chaos. 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 as has been said. The political thought, believes of the Movement remain as such that Darfur crisis as a symptom of a nationwide endemic disease spread by the current 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. Apart from unleashing the notorious Janjaweed militias against the people of Sudan in Darfur, the regime led by the genocidal criminal, fugitive from the international justice, Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, has now cloned the same militia and codenaming it, the Rapid Support Force (RSF) which replaced the Sudan Armed Force (SAF) and joined the so-called National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) to wreak havoc in the land by killings, displacement all the regions of Sudan, even in the Capital Khartoum, and not only in Darfur, as in the past.
Reasons and circumstances led the (JEM) launching the Operation Long Arm (OLA) includes the following:
- Frustration and injustice that have accompanied the leaders of the movement after coming out of the Darfur peace process in Abuja in Nigeria. The Peace Agreement proved defective, and virtually signed under duress by only one faction of the Darfuri movements.
- The negative position of the regional and the international community toward the movement
- Failure of the project of the National Redemption Front (NRF) by plot of some members of the fragile coalition and neighboring countries
- Conspiracy of yesterday companions against the movement and their support of the government ; Justice and Equality Movement , like other liberation movements, suffered from attempts to divide it by the Government of National Congress Party and the governments of the neighboring countries resulted into defection of some of its senior members and joining other movements or the government ranks
- Victories of the forces of the movement against the government army in major battles such as Kariary and Um Sidir and others
- Joining of rebel groups from the region of Kordofan and especially members of some tribes of Arab origin
- The government’s determination to eliminate the movement and put an end to the insurgency as they always claim
- And the success of the movement was able to get varieties of weapons and munitions advanced and modern four wheel drive vehicles and other spoils of battles fought against the Sudanese Armed Forces
- The decision was binding on the movement and meet and comply with the decisions of the Fourth General Conference – Conference fateful decisions – the Justice and Equality Movement Sudan where she chants the crowd thick , which 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 needs to be taken into consideration.
- The chanting of the crowd says: (all intervention force must enter Khartoum) i.e. all the power of the Forces goes into Khartoum), in Sudanese Colloquial Arabic.!
- Options become limited to the movement. They are both surrender and acceptance of peace and return to the table of negotiations in Abuja and or either face international sanctions and confront the government army in battles.
- Accordingly, the Movement chose to go ahead and confront the government army in the battles, including the entry of Khartoum to move the war to the enemy’s home away from the Darfur region because the government has targeted civilians and kill them, and terrorizing and displacing the survivors of death to silence the opponents. Therefore, the Movement decided the implementation of the Operation Long Arm (OLA) on May 10 2008 at the day that confused accounts of the ruling regime in Khartoum and some of the influential symbols of supremacist political parties, from the trauma and the element of surprise onslaught. Furthermore, that the economic sanctions by which the international community, threatened the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement , late Dr. Khalil Ibrahim – the mercy of God be upon him- who does not have any financial fortunes feared their stagnation and will not lead the movement refrain from heading to Khartoum by utilising the available force. Thus, the gallant forces of the Movement decided to move forward without hesitation to enforce the decision of the Fourth General Congress as planned.
- JEM felt enough is enough and time is due to let the regime get the ultimatum that its den in the national Capital is not sacrosanct or far distant from its military arm’s strike.
- 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.
JEM might have lost the Khartoum battle, pulled out in dignity, and managed to complete the withdrawal in the same manner it carried out the attack but it has not lost the war. JEM forces will return to Khartoum if the stalemate and lack of peace in Darfur persist. This is more so in the wake of the new wave of genocide perpetrated by the recycled Janjaweed militia recently dubbed Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The international community needs to act. The people of Darfur want deeds not embellished words. The new old tactics of Omer Bashir would neither be able to fool the acumen of the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) nor that of the Sudanese people. The Wathba dialogue launched by the génocidaires Bashir on 25 January 2014 remains a dialogue with oneself, solo, for him. The roadmap of the impartial Thabo Mbeki proved to be a one-way road in favour of the (NCP) regime. The roadmap aimed to lengthening further stay on the Sudanese pseudo throne for Omer al-Bashir protecting him against the apprehension by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bashir’s hatred of the Sudanese people in general and those in Darfur in particular shown by the absurd fabricated result of the so-called Darfur Administrative Referendum the outcome of which tally with the predecessor results of April general elections where the (NCP) regime entered solo and one the ballot solo. Nevertheless, there is hope for the Sudanese people to come out victorious when they unite against the regime led by Omer Bashir. It is also so important when both the armed and civil political opposition groups unite their ranks in solidarity, as in the last conference of the Sudan Call.
One cannot end this article without paying tributes to the heroic attitudes of students in the Sudanese universities and the sacrifices of their lives in the face of repression and arbitrary killing machine of the regime of Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir. We also ask God’s mercy on the souls of the martyrs of the students. We also say loudly no other dams on the Nile River in the land of the Nubians.
Thomas Jefferson the American Founding Father the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) was quoted as saying: The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
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Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is https://thussudan.wordpress.com/