On January 9, 2011, South Sudan votes on whether to remain part of Sudan, or, as is widely assumed, to separate and form a new, free, democratic nation of South Sudan. The Referendum on Secession was guaranteed to the South in the hard-won 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
But the marginalized and oppressed peoples of other regions of Sudan have no such guarantees. Particularly vulnerable are the “disputed regions” on the north/south border, not included in the secession vote. These regions include Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Abyei. In light of the South’s anticipated departure, the National Congress Party (NCP) regime is preparing to intensify the jihad elsewhere in the country. A document recently leaked, not by Julian Assange, but by courageous members of Sudan’s resistance to Islamization and Arabization, details the Khartoum regime’s agenda for the Nuba Mountain region of Southern Kordofan.
The confidential memo regarding the Nuba Mountains was sent to Ahmed Haroun, governor of Southern Kordofan, by Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Taha. Along with his fellow ideologue, President Omar el Bashir, Haroun is an indicted International Criminal Court criminal. Smooth-as-a-snake Taha, who charms the common sense right out of some U.S. State Department officials, is one of the ruthless architects and enforcers of Shari’a in South Sudan and Darfur. Taha’s original Arabic memo was translated into English as a cry for help for the Nuba Mountains. Its contents, speaking of various methods which will be used to radicalize the Nuba, should disturb and motivate those in the West concerned about both the spread of Islamic/Arab supremacism and about human rights in Africa.
Vice President Taha announces “quadrupled plans towards the ‘Modern Southerners.’” The term “Modern Southerners” is a derogatory label applied to all Sudanese who oppose the NCP Islamist agenda of Shari’a. In the document, this means specifically those in the Nuba Mountain’s “liberated area” (freed from Islamic control by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) but under continuous attack by Khartoum during the war). These Nuba Mountain Modern Southerners are to be undermined and neutralized so that their infection does not spread to their children or to other areas of Sudan.
First, Taha tells Governor Haroun they must “recruit descendants of the Modern Southerners into security forces” in order to “control them through military commands.” Understand that this would not be done through bright young men in a Sudanese version of ROTC, persuading young Nuba how great it would be to serve in the Sudanese jihad. The means of attaining recruits would include abducting children and creating child soldiers through brainwashing in Islamic camps, as well as various forms of intimidation and impressment. The latter strategy has worked wonderfully well in Darfur, where a large number of the well-known janjaweed were actually pressed into service by Khartoum through threats on their families. Ironically, when these young men were able to escape, they fled to the Nuba Mountains seeking refuge.
The vice president’s second order is to “disrupt the return” of Nuba “elites” from the Diaspora to stop their political, social, and cultural influence in the region. “It is essential that they be absorbed and organized to weaken the Modern Southerners,” he says chillingly. In typical Islamic parlance, where “peace” means submission to Islam and “unity” means complete Arabization of the country, “disrupting the return” could have definite malevolent implications.
Absorption and organization is equally unsettling. During Sudan’s first genocide, in the south and in the Nuba Mountains, Khartoum’s campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Nuba Mountains included absorption and organization. In the U.S. Committee for Refugees report Quantifying Genocide in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains 1983-1998, Dr. Millard Burr writes how the Islamic regime resettled over 170,000 Nuba forcibly into 91 “peace villages.” These villages were in reality prison camps enhanced by government-orchestrated famine that killed tens of thousands. Burr says that rape was also “an integral part of the government plan for Nuba.” Thousands of women transported to the peace villages were raped as part of the cultural “absorption.” This is the future that Taha plans for the Nuba.
Another means of dealing with children of the Nuba says Taha is to “revive religious institutions (Islamic teachings, Islamic moralization, Islamic charities … etc.)” and to enlist “a large number of the descendants of the Modern Southerners in the above-mentioned projects … until it is possible to control their intellects.” The creation and expansion of madrassas, along with the military recruitment noted above, would turn young people against their own families and culture. This is also resurrecting what was done to the Nuba during the war. Children were separated from their parents and educated forcibly in Islamic schools. Apart from the immorality of this, the West should consider the impact of thousands of madrassa-indoctrinated young people on Africa and beyond.
Finally, says Taha, the Islamists must “occupy them with internal and external quarrels.” This may include political infighting, graft, and other forms of corruption, but more likely has a further nefarious meaning. Throughout the war and since the signing of the CPA, the NCP has been using proxy militias to destabilize the region by attacking communities in South Sudan and the disputed regions of Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Abyei. There is no reason to believe that Khartoum will not continue this pattern after the referendum.
The people of the Nuba Mountains, with 52 ethnic groups featuring multiple languages and dialects, modeled the polar opposite of Khartoum’s ideal Islamic nation. People of African and Arab ethnicities, Christians, Muslims, and followers of traditional religion lived together in peace, proud of their shared heritage. Although initially the Nuba tried to remain neutral in Sudan’s civil war, the SPLA New Cush Brigade, comprised of Nuba, was created by a former schoolteacher, Yusif Kuwa Mekki, in January 1989. Kuwa’s eyes were opened to the rampant racism and discrimination shown to them by Khartoum as a young student, when a schoolteacher complained, “What is the use of teaching Nuba, who are going to work as servants in houses?” The SPLA Nuba leaders — Commanders Kuwa and Abdel Aziz Adam el-Hilu — were hated by Khartoum, but heroes to lovers of freedom. Although Kuwa died in 2001, el-Hilu is the deputy governor of Southern Kordofan and is extremely popular with Sudanese all over the country.
As the days count down to the referendum, Khartoum is counting on the West’s Sudan attention-deficit disorder to pursue its agenda throughout the country. While the United States focused on Darfur, all the while taking pains to avoid terms like “jihad,” “forced Islamization,” or “Arabist supremacism,” it was free to violate and ignore protocols of the CPA. Now the NCP is stepping up the genocide in western Sudan and plotting to bring the rest of the country in line with Islamization and Arabization while all eyes are focused on South Sudan.
U.S. policymakers and jihad-watchers should take Vice President Taha’s memo very seriously. Like the Southern Sudanese, the people of Nuba Mountains resisted Islamization and Arabization. They, along with all of Sudan’s marginalized and oppressed people, want freedom and democracy. Hopefully, the new Congress will renew its efforts against Islamic terrorism, concentrate more on jihad in Africa, and counter Khartoum’s war against its people throughout the country. Alongside the people of the new, free nation of South Sudan, the Nuba and others who have been marginalized could lead to the transformation of the entire country and stop Khartoum and its Islamist allies’ plans for the rest of Africa.