SUDAN: A Statement from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM): JEM Takes Stock of Recent Development and Conspiracies
The following is an official statement from Sudan’s Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). This statement, which shows a preparation date of July 5, 2010, was distributed on July 8, 2010.
JEM Takes Stock of Recent Development and Conspiracies
Source: Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)
July 8, 2010 9:37 pm
JEM has emerged out of the Abuja Talks and its embarrassing outcome, the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), with tremendous experience that sets the parameter for future negotiations. The Darfur Movements came out of Abuja in total disarray, steeped in endless reduplication.
Following Abuja, JEM took a tri-partite course of action: to unify the Movements, to continue its armed struggle against GoS [Government of Sudan], and to pursue its political negotiation of the conflict. The lack of unity of the Movements forced JEM to launch into unilateral talks with GoS at Doha, a process that found support at national, regional and international levels. Withdrawal of JEM from Doha has been marred by an orchestrated campaign of disinformation. In this regard, JEM wants to clarify certain issues for all stakeholders and at all levels: national, regional and international.
Unity of the Movements
Following the invasion of Omdurman, and grounded on its national character and aspirations, JEM launched into an ambitious programme of unifying the Darfur and Kordofan Movements. Between December 2008 and mid 2009, 29 movements and groups joined under the banner of – New – JEM. The Movement continued its invitation for unity to all others in Doha irrespective of their size, clout and presence on the ground. It proposed various types of unity, ranging from integration into JEM to forming any other unified body to be agreed upon by constituent partners. Unfortunately, the Movements were not able to respond to JEM’s call for unity and continued their never ending proliferation as designed by ‘Divide and Rule’ policies of GoS and aided by interested international players. Despite JEM’s effort to unite the Movements, it has been labelled as an exclusionary organisation. Many media circles and political analysts replicated this naäve accusation as though negotiation venues are bazaars for whoever wants to join.
The Doha Venue
When JEM was negotiating in Doha, it indeed set forth certain conditions, a usual format for any engagement of this kind; that talks should proceed between JEM and GoS at the initial stage with other movements joining later following their unification. JEM insisted on having single parallel talks with a single signature at the end. In JEM’s view, this is the only way to guarantee a united front against a government renowned for reneging on its deals and addicted to playing its opponents off against each other. JEM’s approach was also in line with previous struggles in Sudan, international records and was equally indispensible for safeguarding the interests of our marginalised people. However, the host country opted to deviate from this path, pursuing exactly the opposite aim and was vehemently aided in that by some international circles. The sequence of events was as follows:
· JEM signed the Goodwill Agreement in February 17th 2009. Regretfully, it soon became evident that the GoS had no intention to abide by the Agreement. Its breaches of the Agreement included: obstruction and expulsion of international NGOs, intimidation of IDPs and detention of their leaders, a continuation of aerial bombardment of non-combatants and failure to release JEM prisoners with GoS.
· The Mediation and the host country failed to persuade GoS to abide by the Goodwill Agreement and instead went into a wild search for other movements, particularly those willing to sign deals with no prospects of implementation.
· Given the above, JEM was left with no choice but to suspend its participation in the first round of Doha Talks.
· Away from Doha, JEM continued its engagement with the Mediation. Some success was achieved. GoS allowed partial return of INGOs and with the help of Chad, we signed the Framework Agreement, accompanied by a ceasefire.
· Again, in its characteristic way, GoS failed to abide by the Agreement. Ironically, the government army attacked JEM forces on the day of signing the Agreement and continued to breach its core component, the Ceasefire, afterwards.
· It became evident to JEM, and others who cared to know, that the GoS was driven by one objective and that was to facilitate progress of the general elections in the country and nothing else.
Suspension of the Second Round of Doha Talks
JEM had to suspend participation in the Second Round of Doha Agreement for the following reasons:
· Failure of GoS to abide by the two Agreements, in particular the ceasefire, and the absence of any safeguards for signed agreements.
· The weakness of Mediation and the lack of a clear negotiation strategy and road map for peace.
· The lack of a clear mechanism for the inclusion of international partners and observers.
· The refusal of the Mediation to listen to JEM’s demand to widen the scope of talks and move towards a comprehensive solution of the conflict.
· The refusal/inability of the Mediation to discern exact parties to the negotiation.
· The lack of neutrality of the Mediation and the host country in the talks.
· The adoption of parallel talks despite singularity of Mediation, venue and conflict. This is likely to undermine the cause in several ways:
· The lowering of the ceiling of demands and hence reaching an agreement that falls short of legitimate expectations of our people.
· Reaching multiple agreements that are contradictory and unworkable, thus giving GoS an opportunity for selective implementation of the final deal.
· Flooding the venue with hundreds of people, selected on an arbitrary basis, thus giving GoS and the Mediation the opportunity to pass their own agenda uncontested.
· Institutionalisation of divisions among the movements instead of unifying them as often claimed.
Conspiring Against JEM and it its Constituency
By the second half of 2009, it became evident that JEM was moving steadily towards unifying movements and groups under its banner. Fearing imminent victory by JEM, GoS launched its new plan to counter JEM, a plan that was to involve many other anti-JEM actors at national, regional and international levels. General Gration, the U.S. Envoy was all too willing to sell this conspiracy to other players including the AU/UN Mediation, the host country and some of the neighbouring countries. Roles were allocated as follows:
1. The Government of Sudan aimed to:
· Manoeuvre around and slowly sign a temporal ceasefire arrangement that allows time for the general elections and confers legitimacy on Al Bashir’s reign afterwards.
· Continue its military approach and create a new reality that intimidates and silences those who are struggling for their rights on the margins.
· Disseminate and spread defamatory misinformation about leaders of JEM in an effort to set the Interpol, UN and other international circles against them.
· Deliberately aggravate conditions in the camps to force the IDPs to leave, under a pretext of voluntary repatriation.
· Facilitate deceptive media to persuade the international community that the war has ended and there is no need for further foreign involvement in the country.
2. General Gration’s role was:
· To propagate this plan among Sudan’s neighbouring countries and force some of them to play an active role in its implementation.
· Speed up the process of tribalisation/ethnicisation of the movements.
· Meddle in the internal affairs of Darfur/Sudan movements, including an active and well-declared attempt to replace Abdel Wahid of the SPLM. The intervention led to internal war among the Fur in Jabal Mara in which several hundreds were killed or displaced
· To contribute to creation of new movements on an ethnic and tribal basis with the reincarnation of long-forgotten leaders in Darfur.
· A take over of Sudan’s diplomatic portfolio in isolating the movements from neighbouring countries, starving them of resources and forcing them into involuntary agreements.
3. Roles of Some Neighbouring Countries:
· Tighten their siege around the movements.
· Intensify their pressure on the movements to sign an agreement.
· Isolate leaders of the movements, leaving only one door open, leading to where the conspiracy against them is hatched.
4. Roles of Mediation and the Host Country:
· Turn the Talks venue into an utter state of anarchy by inviting hundreds of participants and the rejects of major movements, in order to create pseudo movements with neither the desire and intellect nor ability to address the issue at hand.
· Commission all resources of the Mediation and the host country to enable their hand-picked Tigani Seise to play his predetermined role in the plot.
· Joint Mediator is to surrender his mandates to the host country and remain as no more than a pliant secretary.
· Joint Mediator to dedicate his time to misinforming the international community and public opinion about what goes on in the Doha venue.
5. Dr. Tigani Seise:
· Following a series of meetings in Khartoum and other countries, Seise is promised a senior executive post, Darfur file and a nominal fund for compensation of IDPs. In return, he is to oppose the ICC, moderate the campaign of his fellow ethnic group, the Fur, and concentrate on internal reconciliation.
· He is to work to destroy JEM and SLM-Nur and drive them out of Darfur-Sudan conflict. GoS committed itself to deliver financial support and brief him of military plans to annihilate JEM.
Failure of the Military Venture and Collapse of Government Forces
At the time when JEM was negotiating with GoS with the help of Chad, Sudan’s army was preparing for a major assault against its forces. The purpose of the assault was total destruction of JEM’s military capabilities or simply preparing the ground for reneging on the signed agreement. GoS mobilized seven military mobile units, four along the Geneina, Sirba and Silaiaa axis and three along the Sarafa Umra, Siraif Bani Hesain and Garji Garji axis. Mobilisation led to the following engagements:
· Wadi Jiljil Battle: The battle took place on 20/02/2010, in which the government used 309 light and heavy armoured vehicles, six tanks and four fighter airplanes. The government lost the battle at its two attacking fronts. The invading army fled the battlefield leaving behind substantial military hardware as well as captured army personnel.
· Garji Garji Battle: This battle took place on 22/02/2010, in which the government employed 210 pickups, four military trucks, four tanks and 6 airplanes- 2 Antanovs, 2 Mig and 2 helicopter fighters. The Government army, aided by units of Border Guards lost the battle and surrendered substantial military hardware as well as prisoners. Border Guard Leaders Abu Ishreen and Luqman also fell among the casualties in the fight. Leaders of the Arab groups Bani Hesain and Gimir approached JEM and secured unconditional release of their members. The Garji Garji battle was a turning point in the Darfur war. It totally destroyed the morale of GoS forces, for the battle took four months to prepare. Ironically, Garji Garji was fought a day prior to signing of the Framework Agreement of 23/02/2010. JEM signed the Agreement at a high military point and not otherwise as some have thought.
Immediately after the signing of the Agreement and before the ink has dried up, our military intelligence reported intense ferrying of government forces into Darfur. An air corridor connecting Damazein of Blue Nile and Obeid of Kordofan with Darfur major cities of El Fashir, Geniena and Nyala was established. The corridor was transporting troops, security and police personnel, together with arms and ammunitions. Our intelligence also detected military movements between Geneina, Sirba, Fageera and Tina and continuous military flights into these locations. JEM military leaders reported to JEM President that such movements contravened the spirit of the Agreement and that GoS was preparing for war. The President of JEM instructed his commanders to respect the Agreement and allow mobility of government troops without obstruction. The motto was not to be the first to breach the Framework Agreement.
Attacks on JEM Forces in Jabal Moon Area
Immediately after announcement of the general elections results, GoS went into an offensive against our troops in Jabal Moon, North Darfur. The offensive included:
· An army and militia force moving from Geneina to Saliaa to Jabal Moon
· An army force moving from Abu Surooj to Bir Saliba to Jabal Moon
· A battalion of army and militia moving from Sarafa Umra to Garji Gargi to Jabal Moon
· An army and militia from Kulbus via Hilailat to Jabal Moon
· A force of army and security personnel via Oom and Kashkish to Jabal Moon.
All of these forces were equipped with long distance artillery including internationally banned chemical weapons backed by air cover. GoS mistakenly assumed the entire JEM army was gathered in Jabal Moon and that it was time to finish it off in one go. The attack coincided with a visit of Khartoum’s Minister for defence to N’Djamena to commission the Chadian Government to play its role in the annihilation of JEM.
At the time of the Jabal Moon operations, 66 top leaders of JEM were in Doha negotiating a peaceful end to the conflict. The operation in Jabal Moon was a sobering reminder that Khartoum had no intention of abiding by any agreement and was intent on its military handling of the conflict. In response, JEM decided to widen the war zone and ordered its troops to vacate Jabal Moon and deploy in West Darfur and Kordofan.
Khartoum forces entered Jabal Moon four days after our evacuation. There was not a single engagement with our forces in Jabal Moon, although GoS celebrated its imaginary battles against JEM in which numerous JEM soldiers were allegedly killed, captured or both. Instead, GoS resumed its usual sustained assault on innocent non- combatant citizens in Jabal Moon, survivors of which are still languishing in Geneina prisons.
Repulsing GoS and Assuming the Upper Hand
· GoS naively misinterpreted our evacuation of Jabal Moon as the mere defeat of our force and that our army was fleeing the battlefields. To go for the kill, GoS mobilised its forces out of Jabal Moon towards us and backed them with other units from El Fashir, Nyala, Dein, Obeid (Kordofan) and Khartoum.
· Thani Ifindu Battle, 02/05/2010: The invading government army was summarily defeated. JEM captured eight ammunition trucks, 24 fully equipped Land Cruisers and scores of hand-held guns. 13 Land Cruisers were destroyed and 57 GoS fighters of various ranks were captured in the battle.
· Umsaouna Battle, 19/05/2010: The GoS attacking army sustained another spectacular defeat. JEM gained 43 Land Cruisers mounted with various types of gunships- 23mm, 14.5mm, SPG9 and B10, in addition to four fully loaded military transport trucks. 12 Land Cruisers were destroyed while 36 army personnel surrendered.
· Khazan Jadeed-Muhajarya Battle, 31/05/2010: Two invading battalions belonging to GoS, backed by two tanks and air cover were crushed in the battle. The defeated army scattered in total disarray towards Nyala and El Fashir leaving behind 37 Land Cruisers and four transport trucks loaded with military hardware. 14 Land Cruisers belonging to GoS were destroyed in the battle.
· Uzban Douma Battle, 03/06/2010: The Uzban force of GoS came from Khartoum and belonged to the elite Central Reserve Army. Their original mission was to rescue a small army unit that took refuge and was surrounded in Jabal Adoula. The battle was brief. The elite invading force proved too fat to fight and no more resilient than those whom they wanted to rescue. 36 army personnel including high-ranking officers surrendered while other survivors raced into Taweisha. Captured soldiers were released with the assistance of the Red Cross. JEM captured 36 Land Cruisers mounted with Doshka and B10 units. Five other Land Cruisers were destroyed.
· Jabal Adoula Battle, 03/06/2010: Later, on the same day of the battle of Uzan, our forces moved to flush out the enemy unit besieged in Adoula mountain. The enemy unit was defeated. Their three tanks were captured and their photos publicised on our official website. Our forces seized 25 Land Cruisers and a complete mobile medical operation unit in the offensive. One enemy helicopter was shot down while 10 Land Cruisers were destroyed by our fire.
· Second Uzban Douma Battle, 21/06/2010: In this instance, our forces were able to defeat three enemy fronts coming from Khartoum in one go. Survivors fled the field in utter disarray towards El Fashir. They left behind 41 Land Cruisers intact while 13 others were destroyed.
· Umkatkout Battle, 22/06/2010: Engagement was spearheaded by three mobile units impregnated by local militia from the Border Guards lashed into the battle by Mr Kasha, the recently elected governor of south Darfur. The Khartoum units, who were aptly codenamed The Imminent Victory, The Good Omen and In Allah’s Support, left the capital in jubilant spirit. They left Khartoum amid security propaganda that they were to fight the last battle against JEM and that Khalil lost 40 vehicles and was already fleeing into Central Africa with his last remaining seven pickup trucks. However, the good omen turned into a catastrophe for GoS. The invading army came pretty close to near annihilation by JEM forces. Its Chief Commander Brigadier General Abdalla Hasan Elhardallo was killed together with his deputy while 27 of his forces surrendered to JEM. In the battle, JEM destroyed 22 armed pickup trucks, and one armoured anti-tank vehicle locally referred to as ‘comunder’, in addition to capturing vehicles equipped with Doshka, SPG9 and B10. Captured soldiers from Darfur Border Guards were handed over by JEM to their relatives. Other captives from further afield are still held with JEM at the time of compiling this report. GoS refused the Red Cross permission to complete their transfer for fear of demoralising the government army and as a punishment for surrendering to JEM.
Collapse of the Government Army is the Result
The Khartoum Government worked hard on the military front to create a new reality that makes a peaceful and just solution of the conflict unnecessary. For a long time, GoS has argued that the war in Darfur was over and there was no need for negotiations. Callously, General Agwai, the previous head of UNAMID Forces and Adada, the Secretary for the UNAMID regurgitated the same message, the end of war in Darfur. Adada even got a medal from GoS for his ‘excellent’ performance, if not outright deception. However, all of Al Bashir’s armies failed to bring good news to the capital. Instead, several indicators point to a spectacular collapse of morale in the official army. The following facts are instructive in this regard:
· Hospitals of Nyala, El Fashir, Dein, Geneinqa, Military Hospital in Omdurman and Khartoum Police Hospital are now full to the brim with casualties of Darfur conflicts.
· Most battles now take a considerably shorter time as most GoS soldiers are unwilling to fight and are too happy to flee the field or otherwise surrender to JEM forces at the earliest opportunity.
· JEM stopped publicising casualties of GoS in the conflict due to strong sympathy with those soldiers who found themselves obliged to fight for Al Bashir’s chair and against others of the same marginalised class. JEM no longer sees these soldiers as the enemy and many of them switch sides and join JEM forces at every battle.
· Having failed to uproot JEM, GoS turned the blame on its Chief of Staff and other top commanders removing them en masse from their post. At least 1,000 top officers were dismissed but an attempt to sack their incompetent Minister for Defence has not succeeded.
Position of the Government Army
It is now common knowledge that many soldiers are rebelling against the Government and refusing to fight against JEM. Many have now realised that JEM fights for them as well as for other marginalised people in the country:
· Many soldiers have fought for 50 years in the south and the result is a sad division of the country and departure of fellow countrymen and women following the coming referendum.
· The official army has been fighting JEM and SLM/A for seven years and is now wondering whether Darfur will take the same path as the south of Sudan.
· Numerous soldiers and army officers have come to the conviction of the futility of war in Darfur and Kordofan and have decided not to follow the orders of their commanders. Some of these courageous officers were executed but many more are languishing in prisons waiting for their fate.
The police force too was dragged into a war which they now realise is meaningless, futile and suicidal. They now blame the government for forcing them to fight an unwinnable war that is not in the interest of the nation.
The Border Guards Forces
The Border Guards consisting primarily of Darfur Arab ethnic groups have also come to a similar conclusion. They have realised that JEM is a national institution and houses many Arab groups from Darfur and Kordofan, and that they are often captured by JEM soldiers who are their cousins and belong to the same Arab groups as they do. Good treatment of captives from the Arab divide and handing them over to their leaders has also paid off. The Arab groups in the Border Guards are no longer willing to fight for Al Bashir. Recently, the government ordered Border Guard members who refuse to fight to be dispossessed of their military vehicles, guns and ammunitions. They have been accused of being traitors and taking sides with JEM.
State of JEM on the Ground
In the past two months, JEM won all the nine battles it fought against Khartoum. The government is now reduced to winning wars in newspapers, media and war propaganda but certainly not on the ground. JEM is now in total control of all rural areas in Darfur and has besieged government armies in the cities who can only move by stealth from one location to another. Khartoum’s ‘Official Military Spokesperson of Sudan’s Defence Forces’ (Al-Sawarmi) is now comically referred to in Sudan as the ‘Official Denier’ on par with Al Sahaf of Iraq, nicknamed in western media as Bob of Baghdad.
Secretariat for Media, JEM
July 5th, 2010
IntelTrends republishes selected resistance statements so that readers can access different perspectives on current affairs, political and military issues.