FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Monday, October 1, 2012

Partial Notes on the Gallab's "First Islamist Republic" (Sudan)

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

Below are my partial notes on The First Islamist Republic by Abdullahi A. Gallab.

Adullahi A. Gallab, The First Islamic Republic (Ashgate, 2008)

THESIS: Sudanese experience shows that Islamism (and all other ‘isms’) can and should be contested.

Sudan was one of the 1st African countries to gain independence but the last 50 years have been a dismal failure.

The Birth of the First Islamic Republic
- in the first coup (30 June 1989) Al-Bashir (in Sudanese Defense Force) colluded with Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha (NIF) and Al-Turabi to overthrow Sadiq al-Mahdi but deliberately jailed Turabi and others to mask the fact that it was an Islamist coup.  They wouldn’t admit this till al-Bashir was deposed 10 years later. 
- This 10 year rule was a ‘reign of terror’

Revolution in the Sudan
- 1989-1999 revolution-like period at least
- Rise of dictatorial rule that used oppression to establish Islamist model distinct to al-Turabi’s Islamists ideas and state theories

About the Islamists
- What does Islamist mean?  Better to use “political islam”?  How do we use the term “fundamentalism”? 
- Since 1928 emergence of Society of Muslim Brothers (Hasan al-Banna), local ideological groups have evolved such as Sudanese Islamists.
- al-Turabi has led movement since 1964 through a number of variations of governance and political structure that continues to present

The Islamist State in Sudan
- Islamists in Sudan see themselves as making a fundamental break with Sudan’s past and the world at large
- National Charter for Political Action (1987) is a blueprint for radical change both regime-wise but also for an alternative society.
- first Islamic state was an embodiment of the comprehensive call which meant forcing people into “righteousness”
- With the coup one sees a fusion of Islamism and totalitarianism in the state’s rule and ideology

Chapter 1: Reflection on Islamism in Sudan
- al-Turabi overstepped in his initial aspirations for the way in which Islam in Sudan would become a global force and phenomena—a pan-islamic international order
- from base (qaeda) in Khartoum, they granted citizenship to Islamists from all over and formed two strategies:
            * Destabilize un-Islamic muslim and arab states and replace them
            * Claim leadership of world Islamic movement thru “Islamists Comintern” (under auspices of PAIC)
- within Sudan they violent suppressed all over religious groups to include muslims that fell outside their particular brand

The Islamists within the Sudan’s Social World
- Spirit of independence (and “invention of locality”) as an idea of cultural and historical continuity in Sudanese life
- Always viewed as separate from Egypt—this was characterized by Muhammad Ali’s invasion in 1820-1.  Sudan was primarily used to hunt for slaves and for resources.  However, inside Sudan fissions began to form along religious lines

Redrawing the Economic and Socio-Political Map
- 3 periods: british conquest in 1898, independence in 1956 and early years of Nimairi regime
- British failed to create modern state but did introduce Sudan to international system
- Independence Nimairi modeled nation after Nasser’s Arab Socialist regime (expansion of public education, transportation and comm.)
- Early Nimairi period saw crackdown on political parties, nationalization of financial institutions...
- peculiar nature of condominium composition: Britain’s unprecedented partnership with semi-colonized African state (Egypt) to colonize another country
- historically then, most northerners shared religion, language and some culture with Egyptians
- during colonial period, infrastructure and economy was developed (mainly in the north) to fracture dependence on Egypt—it basically gave them the tools/structures to for a nation-state.
- evolution of Sudanese identity: sacredness of Arabic language in relation to Koran; development of Arabic print journalism; spread of  Egyptian Arabic books and magazines and journals; orthodox islams as state religion; Arabism as major force.

Chapter 2: Elementary Forms of the Islamist Movement
The Elementary Form of the Movement
- Most say the movement is not connected to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and is self-made and novel
- Author argues that no trends were novel or original in origin
The Anatomy of the Islamist Movement
Determinants and the Course of the Islamist Movement

Chapter 3: Competing Visions in the Aftermath of the October Revolution
The Emerging Field of Power
Who is Hasan al-Turabi?
The Coup as Mode of Change

Chapter 4: From the Corporation to the Coup
Property, Power and Violence: The Islamists’ Pattern of Stratification
The Trail of Violence
The Hijra to the Camp
The Hijra to the Campus
The Migration to the Land of Plenty


The first thing is the Nile and the way it ties it to Egypt moreso than any other country in Africa.  So it’s integrated historically.

- Ottoman Trachia is first conquest of Sudan (with help of Egypt).  Out of this period comes the Mahdist regime in the late 19th century.  Condominium follows this regime (overthrows it). 

Brits felt very threatened by Sufi Islam and so they integrated Islam into the colonial state to resolidify more orthodox elements of Islam. 

Politics have always been sectarian (not ethnic).  There have always been two parties that agree on Arab-Islamic Sudanese identity and that Sharia law should be used—but they disagree on how to implement and govern.  These two parties are Democratic and Umma parties (though their names go through many variations). 

Al-Bashir claims to be democratic but a more vanguard, democratic rule by the intellectual elite. 

Turabi is much more vanguard—he’s much more set on remaking society to his idea and then letting it choose his idea democratically after the fact.  Agenda of first republic is of Islamization and Arabization.  Their jihad is very complex—defeating the southerners first and then changing them to self-identifying Islamic Arabs. 

During the 10 year period, Turabi treats the civil war with south as a jihad.  He was always a real believer in his agenda—it wasn’t just about staying in power like with al-Bashir.  Turabi had a lot of support out of Darfur but his base was always at the university level.  He’s ultimately unsuccessful because he’s kicked out by Bashir in 1999.  Since then he continues to be a thorn in their side (even now at the age of 80).

Bashir doesn’t have much of an agenda now except to stay in power

*Arabization means Arabic is the official language and it’s taught in all the schools

Why did Bashir allow Turabi to create the PDFs?

Sudanese politics are always about the following agendas:
Territorial integrity
*But they are pragmatic always
*Biggest issue after secession is the new periphery is closer with the lower 1/3 lopped off.  The periphery is closer and easier for Khartoum to marginalize and effect. 

*The three areas never voted on whether they were joining the north or the south.  The SPLA basically sold out those three areas because they were just concerned with getting the secession of the South.

- Post-Bashir Sudan is the biggest question!

- Paradox of Sudan is that it has a good democratic structure but that it’s always under military autocratic rule

- South was never secessionist until they found oil.  It was never a North-South problem but always a Center-Periphery problem (John Gareng). 

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