Sudan

History

Kingdom of Kush

The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient Nubian state centered on the confluences of the Blue Nile, White Nile and River Atbara. It was established after the Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt, centered at Napata in its early phase. After king Kashta ("the Kushite") invaded Egypt in the 8th century BCE, the Kushite kings ruled as Pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt for a century. During Classical Antiquity, the Nubian capital was at Meroë. In early Greek geography, the Meroitic kingdom was known as Ethiopia. The Nubian kingdom at Meroe persisted until the 4th century AD.

The Mahdist rule (1885–1899)

Muhammad Ahmad ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah

The Mahdiyah (Mahdist regime) did not impose Islamic laws. The new ruler's aim was more political than anything else. This was evident in the animosity he showed towards existing Muslims and locals who did not show loyalty to his system and rule. He authorised the burning of lists of pedigrees and books of law and theology as well as destruction of mosques in the north and east of Sudan. The Mahdi maintained that his movement was not a religious order that could be accepted or rejected at will, but that it was a universal regime, which challenged man to join or to be destroyed.

Originally, the Mahdiyah was a jihad state, run like a military camp. Courts enforced the regime's grip on power and the Mahdi's precepts, which had the force of law. Six months after the fall of Khartoum, the Mahdi died of typhus, and after a power struggle amongst his deputies, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad, with the help primarily of the Baqqara Arabs of western Sudan, overcame the opposition of the others and emerged as unchallenged leader of the Mahdiyah. After consolidating his power, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad assumed the title of Khalifa (successor) of the Mahdi, instituted an administration, and appointed Ansar as emirs over each of the several provinces.

Regional relations remained tense throughout much of the Mahdiyah period, largely because of the Khalifa's brutal methods to extend his rule throughout the country. In 1887, a 60,000-man Ansar army invaded Ethiopia, penetrating as far as Gondar. In March 1889, king Yohannes IV of Ethiopia, marched on Metemma; however, after Yohannes fell in battle, the Ethiopian forces withdrew. Abd ar Rahman an Nujumi, the Khalifa's general, attempted an invasion of Egypt in 1889, but British-led Egyptian troops defeated the Ansar at Tushkah. The failure of the Egyptian invasion broke the spell of the Ansar's invincibility. The Belgians prevented the Mahdi's men from conquering Equatoria, and in 1893, the Italians repelled an Ansar attack at Akordat (in Eritrea) and forced the Ansar to withdraw from Ethiopia.

Independence and National Rule (1956–1989)

Sudan's location map

The continued British occupation of Sudan fueled an increasingly strident nationalist backlash in Egypt, with Egyptian nationalist leaders determined to force Britain to recognise a single independent union of Egypt and Sudan. With the formal end of Ottoman rule in 1914, Hussein Kamel was declared Sultan of Egypt and Sudan, as was his brother and successor Fuad I. They continued their insistence of a single Egyptian-Sudanese state even when the Sultanate was retitled as the Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan, but the British continued to frustrate such reaches for independence.

Sudan's Independence map

Some historians argue that beginning of the Sudanese nationalism dates back to 1920s, immediately after World War I. In 1919, Six Sudanese graduates led by Obeid Haj Elamin formed the Sudanese Unity Society, a political forum called for independence of the Sudan and unity with Egypt. In 1921, a number of Sudanese militants working in the Sudan force, a branch in the colonial British Army, joined their civilian counterparts. In 1923, Ali Abd al Latif, a former army officer, had reconstituted -with Haj Elamin- the Unity Society into a political movement called "the White Flag League", which called for the independence of Sudan. The League had organized demonstrations in Khartoum that took advantage of the unrest that followed Stack's assassination.

Ali Abd al Latif's arrest and subsequent exile in Egypt sparked a mutiny by a Sudanese army battalion led by the Lieutenant Abdelfadeel Elmaz, the suppression of which succeeded in temporarily crippling the nationalist movement. i.e the well known 1924 revolution. The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 finally heralded the beginning of the march towards Sudanese independence. Having abolished the monarchy in 1953, Egypt's new leaders, Muhammad Naguib, whose mother was Sudanese, and later Gamal Abdel-Nasser, believed the only way to end British domination in Sudan was for Egypt to officially abandon its claims of sovereignty over Sudan.

Leaders of the White Flag League Leaders of the White Flag League. From the left: Hussein Sherief, Ali Abdelateef, Salih Abdelgadir and Obeid Haj Elamin.

The British on the other hand continued their political and financial support for the Mahdi successor Sayyid Abdel Rahman who, they believed, could resist the Egyptian pressures for Sudanese independence. Rahman was able to resist the pressures, but his regime was plagued with political ineptitude, which garnered him a loss of support in northern and central Sudan. Egypt and Britain both sensed a great political instability forming, and opted to allow the Sudanese in the north and south to have a free vote on independence to see whether they wished for a British withdrawal.

Sudan's flag raised at independence Sudan's flag raised at independence ceremony in the 1st of January 1956 by the Prime Minister Isma'il Alazhari and in presence of opposition leader Mohamed Ahmed Almahjoub

In 1954, the governments of Egypt and Britain signed a treaty guaranteeing Sudanese independence. Afterwards, a polling process was carried out resulting in composition of a democratic parliament and Ismail Al-Azhari was elected first Prime Minister and led the first modern Sudanese government. on 1 January 1956, in a special ceremony held at the People's Palace, the Egyptian and British flags were lowered and the new Sudanese flag, composed of green, blue and white stripes, was raised in their place by the prime minister Isma'il Alazhari.

Military Coup d'état (1989–present)

On 30 June 1989, colonel Omar al-Bashir led a group of army officers in ousting the unstable coalition government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi in a bloodless military coup. Under al-Bashir's leadership, the new military government suspended political parties and introduced an Islamic legal code on the national level. He then became Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (a newly established body with legislative and executive powers for what was described as a transitional period), and assumed the posts of chief of state, prime minister, chief of the armed forces, and minister of defense. Subsequent to al-Bashir's promotion to the Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, he allied himself with Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the National Islamic Front (NIF), who along with al-Bashir began institutionalizing Sharia law in the northern part of Sudan. Further on, al-Bashir issued purges and executions in the upper ranks of the army, the banning of associations, political parties, and independent newspapers and the imprisonment of leading political figures and journalists.

Civil War and Secession of South Sudan

In 1983, the civil war was reignited following President Gaafar Nimeiry's decision to circumvent the Addis Ababa Agreement. Nimeiry attempted to create a federated Sudan including states in southern Sudan, which violated the Addis Ababa Agreement that had granted the south considerable autonomy. He appointed a committee to undertake "a substantial review of the Addis Ababa Agreement, especially in the areas of security arrangements, border trade, language, culture and religion".[52] Mansour Khalid, a former foreign minister, wrote: "Nimeiri had never been genuinely committed to the principles of the Addis Ababa Agreement".[53] When asked about revisions he stated "The Addis Ababa agreement is myself and Joseph Lagu and we want it that way... I am 300 percent the constitution. I do not know of any plebiscite because I am mandated by the people as the President".[54] Southern troops rebelled against the northern political offensive, and launched attacks in June 1983.

The war went on for more than twenty years, including the use of Russian-made combat helicopters and military cargo planes that were used as bombers to devastating effect on villages and tribal rebels alike. "Sudan's independent history has been dominated by chronic, exceptionally cruel warfare that has starkly divided the country on ethnic, religious, and regional grounds; displaced an estimated four million people (of a total estimated population of thirty-two million); and killed an estimated two million people. It damaged Sudan's economy and led to food shortages, resulting in starvation and malnutrition. The lack of investment during this time, particularly in the south, meant a generation lost access to basic health services, education and jobs.

Sudan's Secession map

The war continued even after Nimeiry was ousted and a democratic government was elected with Al Sadig Al Mahdi's Umma Party having the majority in the parliament. The leader of the SPLA John Garang refused to recognize the government and to negotiate with it as representative of Sudan but agreed to negotiate with government officials as representative of their political parties.[citation needed] The Sudanese Army successfully advanced in the south, reaching the southern borders with neighbouring Kenya and Uganda. The campaign started in 1989 and ended in 1994. During the fight the situation worsened in the tribal south causing casualties among the Christian and animist minority. Rebel leader Riek Machar subsequently signed a peace agreement with the Sudanese government and became Vice President of Sudan. His troops took part in the fight against the SPLA during the government offensive in the 1990s. After the Sudanese army took control of the entire south with the help of Machar, the situation improved. In time, however, the SPLA sought support in the West by using the northern Sudanese government's religious propaganda to portray the war as a campaign by the Arab Islamic government to impose Islam and the Arabic language on the animist and Christian south.

Peace talks between the southern rebels and the government made substantial progress in 2003 and early 2004. The peace was consolidated with the official signing by both sides of the Nairobi Comprehensive Peace Agreement on 9 January 2005, granting Southern Sudan autonomy for six years, to be followed by a referendum about independence. It created a co-vice president position and allowed the north and south to split oil deposits equally, but also left both the north's and south's armies in place. John Garang, the south's peace agreement appointed co-vice president, died in a helicopter crash on 1 August 2005, three weeks after being sworn in. This resulted in riots, but peace was eventually restored.

The southern region became independent on July 9, 2011, with the name of South Sudan. Despite this result, many crucial issues are yet to be resolved, some of which requiring international intervention. The threats to people of South Sudan after referendum are numerous, with security topping the list. Other threats include disputes over the region of Abyei, control over oil fields, the borders, and the issue of citizenship.


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