Deal between Hassan Al-Turabi and John Garang

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

Answer to a Question

About the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Hassan Al-Turabi and John Garang

The Sudanese authorities arrested the leader of the Popular National Congress, Hassan Al-Turabi on 21st February 2001. This was in the wake of the "Memorandum of Understanding" that the Popular National Congress signed with John Garang, leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. The authorities justified the arrest by stating that “the "Memorandum of Understanding" was a declaration of a political alliance aimed at fighting the state alongside a movement that has been fighting the state for 18 years. This is not a political understanding between two movements… It is an agreement that flagrantly calls for a conspiracy and violent menaces.” However, the signing of the "Memorandum of Understanding" does not contradict in any shape or form the Sudanese constitution, nor does it contradict the prevalent Sudanese convention among the national parties and associations. This was confirmed by the communiqué issued by the Sudanese embassy in Cairo on 25th February 2001, which stated: “The Sudanese is not against the principle of any party or group establishing contact with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement if this were aimed at persuading the movement to shift towards peace and relinquish violence and respond to the repeated calls for peace.”

Hence, if this is the government’s stance towards the issue of contacting and negotiating with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, why did the government arrest Al-Turabi and exaggerate in accusing him of betraying the blood of the martyrs, suspending Jihad, working towards wrecking peace and stability and towards toppling the government? In other words, what is the reality of the "Memorandum of Understanding" within the framework of the domestic and regional efforts being made to solve the problems of Sudan, especially with regard to the issue of national reconciliation between the various parties and the crisis of the south?

In order to answer this question, it is imperative to draw attention to the fact that Sudan is under the American influence and that Al-Bashir, Al-Turabi and Garang are all American agents. The exit of Al-Turabi from the government to join the opposition is a necessity imposed by the nature of the new phase is which Sudan has entered –in its progress within the American designs for Sudan-. It has become necessary for Al-Turabi to play the same role for the sake of America, but from a different position than that he previously occupied. The exit of Al-Turabi from the government was inevitable in order to pave the way for the normalisation process with the neighbouring states, the Gulf States, Europe and America to take place smoothly. Furthermore, the exit of Al-Turabi from the government has hastened the return of the opposition figures, the leader of the Ummah Party and the leader of Al-Ansar Party, Sadiq Mahdi.

Therefore, it could be said that the "Memorandum of Understanding" falls within the same efforts that the meetings undertaken by the Sudanese government with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement are aiming to achieve, be it through the IGAD initiative, or through the Libyan-Egyptian joint initiative. This becomes apparent when reviewing the main clauses that the "Memorandum of Understanding" has called for:  1-Recognising the religious, ethnic, cultural plurality of Sudan. 2-Reaching a historical settlement and a peaceful solution. 3-Achieving the political freedoms of all parties, lifting the state of emergency and supporting peaceful resistance. These clauses, from the "Memorandum of Understanding", are met with a unanimous consent from all the Sudanese parties. If we were to exclude the issue of peaceful resistance against the regime, the rest of the clauses are part of the Sudanese government agenda, be it with regard to political freedoms and the peaceful activities of the various parties, or with regard to settling the issue of the South peacefully, within at least a federal framework.

The arrest of Al-Turabi was a means of absorption and cover-up, in order to conceal the real aims that America worked towards achieving through her two agents who signed the "Memorandum of Understanding". The timing was very carefully chosen to coincide with the Sudanese public opinion engrossment in the issue of forming a new government, which was marked by the entry of new parties, in addition to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Supporters of Al-Sunnah.

The document has restored the credibility of Al-Turabi among the opposition parties within Sudan and removed any doubts that they may have harboured about his ability and that of his party to achieve a comprehensive reconciliation in Sudan, be it with regard to the entente or peace. These two terms are used instead of the “secularisation of the state” and “giving the South a Self-Rule”. The political parties’ sympathy towards Al-Turabi was expressed by the member of the political bureau from the Federal Democratic party, Abdul-Raheem Mohammed Salah, when he said: “No matter how much people differed with sheikh Al-Turabi, nobody can ignore his role in the Sudanese political life. All of the political forces of the opposition have debated with Garang. The meeting between Al-Turabi’s party with Garang is a positive step towards narrowing the differences among the Sudanese various parties. The meeting between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and the Popular National Congress is deemed as a progress in political perception and a transparency in political dealings.”

To present Al-Turabi in Sudan as being one of the most prominent Muslim scholars and to the outside world as being the renovator and the “Scholar” was meant to achieve more than one goal. It was designed to lend legitimacy to the agreement and give the Kafir Garang a testimony of innocence and a vindication for the war he is waging to break away from Sudan with the backing of America. The outcomes of the agreement were designed to reassure the neighbouring countries and the European public opinion. These outcomes have also managed to establish the possibility of dressing Islam with the cloak of pragmatic politics according to the Western Concept, and consolidate the call of the West among the Muslims to separate the Deen from the state. As a vivid example of this, the notion of letting the South decide to rule itself by itself. America has already started calling for the respect of the human rights and the civil rights of Al-Turabi; she has also called for his release. Hence, steps have already been made towards his return to the political life in Sudan.

The "Memorandum of Understanding" represents a fatwa from the so-called head of the Islamic movement, stipulating the permissibility of dividing Sudan, with the presence of an entity for the Christians in the south, though in the shape of a self-rule. Hence, the Sudanese opposition parties, at home and abroad, have deemed this "Memorandum of Understanding" a major step towards consolidating the reconciliation that will lead to harmony and peace between the Sudanese. The arrest of Al-Turabi was one of the factors that contributed to the sympathy expressed towards him and to the adherence to what the "Memorandum of Understanding" stipulated.

What Al-Turabi has perpetrated by signing the "Memorandum of Understanding" confirms that he is one of America’s loyal agents, be it from within the government or outside it; hence, it is imperative to expose him and his likes to the Ummah so that she may identify them and work towards preventing them from continuing to act as chieftains, speaking in the name of Islam, thus stripping them of their competencies to act on behalf of America. The Ummah may then work towards thwarting and then banishing the American influence from the Islamic lands.

18th Muharram 1422

11th April 2001