The Trump Administration announced that it is permanently lifting some sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Sudan this month, extending and enhancing Obama-era Sudan policy.
Most of us don’t like being underestimated. But in the case of Sudan’s Khartoum regime, it has enabled the Arabist Islamists to maintain control while committing five genocides against indigenous black African Sudanese.
The President of Sudan, International Criminal Court-indicted Omar al-Bashir, and his National Congress Party regime (formerly National Islamic Front) is responsible for all five genocidal wars. Bashir took power in a coup in 1989 led by hardliner Muslim Brotherhood Islamists.
Do you think five genocides must be an exaggeration? Genocide is “the crime of destroying or conspiring to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.” The Sudan regime has conspired to destroy all the people groups listed below, not just the Darfuri, where genocide was declared by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, September 9, 2004.
Genocide in Southern Sudan (now Republic of South Sudan) and the Blue Nile region, 1989-2005, 2.5 million dead
In December 1999, the U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) released a report by Dr. Millard Burr, author and former director of logistics operations for Operation Lifeline in Sudan, currently Senior Fellow at the American Center for Democracy. According to Burr’s Quantifying Genocide in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains, the death count was almost two million in 1998. This seminal report on Sudan genocide is noted by every serious genocide scholar, and the complete report is in Dr. Samuel Totten’s Genocide by Attrition.
Considering that killing continued until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of January 2005, and that Khartoum also waged war against Southern Sudan decades earlier (1955-1972), the number could be hundreds of thousands or millions more. The war included aerial bombardment of civilians – markets, schools, and churches – and of starving families waiting for food drops from the UN that provided Khartoum with coordinates of each stop. War also included slave raids by government-sponsored muharaleen, Arab militias, taking women and children and killing men. Conflict taking place in South Sudan today by rebel combatants attempting to overthrow the government is encouraged and aided by Khartoum. Once jihad is declared, it is never rescinded.
Genocide in the Nuba Mountains, 1989-2002, 500,000 dead
When central Sudan’s Nuba people aligned with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in 1989, genocide began on a whole new people group. Whereas Southern Sudan was majority Christian, the over 50 Nuba tribes consisted of approximately 50/50 Christians and Muslims living together in harmony. But they were not considered “true” Muslims when they resisted Khartoum’s Islamization and Arabization agenda.
Burr reported, “from 1989 through 1991 alone, scores of villages were burned and thousands of villagers killed in joint army and militia assaults.” Nuba were starved by scorched earth campaigns, bombed, “disappeared,” and then, says Burr, “In January 1992, South Kordofan governor, Lt. General al-Hussein, formally declared a Holy War (Jihad) in the Nuba Mountains. By approving of or acquiescing in wholesale murder, abduction, rape, family separation, forced religious conversion, and the forced relocation of tens of thousands of Nuba in so-called ‘peace villages,’ the Khartoum government sought to extirpate the Nuba peoples themselves … initiating policies that would lead ineluctably to the deracination and acculturation of the Nuba peoples.”
A 2002 negotiated ceasefire by the first U.S. Sudan Special Envoy, Ambassador Jack Danforth, may have stopped total eradication of the Nuba.
With Darfur, Khartoum wages genocide against African Muslims. In 2003, government-funded-and-armed Arab militias called Janjaweed (“devils on horseback”) began what is now known as the Darfur genocide, perpetrating mass slaughter and rape of men, women, and children. World Without Genocide explains,
Attacks on Darfuri villages commonly begin with Sudanese Air Force bombings. Air campaigns are often followed by Janjaweed militia raids. All remaining village men, women, and children are either murdered or forced to flee. Looting, burning food stocks, enslaving and raping women and children, and stealing livestock are common. Dead bodies are tossed in wells to contaminate water supplies and entire villages are burned to the ground.
The death count is now some 500,000. Millions more are displaced internally and outside Sudan, such as in Chad. An alarming demographic alteration of Darfur is occurring. Arab Islamists are brought in to permanently displace the African Darfuri. Meanwhile, the government bans outside aid and Amnesty International last year documented use of chemical weapons in Darfur by Khartoum.
Genocide in the Nuba Mountains, June 2011 – continuing today, death toll unknown
Genocide began again in the region after some six years of relative peace. Khartoum’s troops and militias attack Nuba civilians while the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North fight to defend them. President Bashir tells his troops to rid the area of “insects,” according to former Sudan U.N. Chief Professor Mukesh Kapila.
Time interviewed those who fled to South Sudan when the war started:
The children and women pouring in from Kadugli and other towns wear signs of deep trauma and hunger, say aid workers, and tell stories of Arab militias killing anyone who is black. “The government thinks that all black people are opposition supporters and are therefore targets, even if they are children or old grannies,” … pro-government forces were acting as if under an order to clear out the Nuba population.
Small Arms Survey Sudan adds:
Nuba were being targeted for arrest and/or execution. Reports of incidents came mostly from Kadugli, although other government-held towns or localities also seemed to be affected. Eyewitnesses described door-to-door searches carried out by the PDF, often using lists. Many Nuba civilians were also targeted in Kadugli’s streets while trying to flee and were killed by throat slitting or gunfire, say eyewitnesses. Others who escaped from the city by vehicle were stopped at checkpoints. Nuba eyewitnesses say that the PDF and SAF forces targeted anyone who was ‘black’ … Church groups and others alleged ‘ethnic cleansing.”
Nuba Reports, the most reliable news service from the conflict area, has documented every bomb that falls in the Nuba Mountains since April 2012. The current count is 4082. Not as well documented are the number of children and adults killed by shrapnel or by snake bites while hiding from Antonov bombers in caves.
Genocide in Blue Nile State, September 2011 – continuing today, death toll unknown
According to Sudan expert Eric Reeves at the inception, “human displacement in Blue Nile has quickly become massive and suffering by civilians acute. More than 50,000 have been displaced since the beginning of Khartoum’s campaign on September 1, and 25,000 have fled to Ethiopia.” Khartoum denies humanitarian access, both to prevent foreign observers and as a savage weapon of war. Particularly egregious is Khartoum’s bombing to stop farming, along with the aid blockade, to starve the people of Blue Nile State.
As with the treatment of the Nuba, Khartoum’s genocidal war against Blue Nile State has a decidedly racist element. Kapila was told that Bashir described Blue Nile State tribes as “black plastic bags.”
Today, the genocidal leadership in Khartoum doesn’t think that anyone really cares what it is doing in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile State, and Darfur. And after the October 6th lifting of sanctions by the United States government, it may be that they are right. One anonymous interviewee in the Nuba Mountains reproached, “Your silence is a shame to humanity.” Lifting sanctions in the midst of ongoing genocide is also a shame to humanity.
But along with the shame, with each genocide perpetrated by Khartoum, there have been activists and victims who fully comprehend Sudan, and who stand as a voice of truth, a witness to both the genocide and the silence. Their voices have made a difference. They will not cease, but will continue to speak the truth. Maybe the Trump Administration will re-think the policy of underestimating evil in Sudan.