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THE INSECURE RENDEZVOUS BETWEEN ISLAM AND TOTALITARIANISM: THE FAILURE OF THE ISLAMIST STATE IN THE SUDAN.

THE EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND the rise, disintegration and eventually fall of the current regime in the Sudan, which might be obvious to some observers for a variety of reasons, is among the most complicated. This puzzle is reflected in a number of situations and forms for the last eleven years. This article begins by exploring the engagement between totalitarianism and the state the Sudanese Islamists have established. They have been in power from June 1989, when the military coup instated them in power, till the late 1990s, when Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of and ideologue behind the movement and the regime, was expelled from power by President Umar Ahmed al-Bashir on 12 December 1999. From June 1989 to December 1999 real power in the Sudan rested with Dr. Sheikh Hassan al-Turabi [1] who became the political and religious reference for the regime, the Speaker of the National Assembly in 1996, and the Secretary General of the National Congress the ruling party in 1998. On 12 December 1999 al-Bashir declared a t hree-month state of emergency, dismissed al-Turabi, and disbanded the National Assembly. On 6 May 2000 al-Bashir expelled al-Turabi from the ruling National Conference party. Since 20 February 2001 al-Turabi has been arrested and kept in detention for "conspiring with the rebels [the SPLA] to topple the government," according to his former disciple and the current government spokesman Ghazi Salah el-Din. (AP 2001)

Under the uncontested leadership of al-Turabi, the Islamists in the Sudan have tried their very best to keep the totalitarian regime intact since they assumed power. The demise of Hassan al-Turabi does not mean the end of the totalitarian state in the Sudan, though it demarcates the first decade of the Islamists' project and provides one instance from which one can investigate and appraise the practice, disposition, and consequences of the regime. However, for reasons to do with the complications of welding Islam and totalitarianism and for other factors that will be addressed in details in this article, the regime started to retreat leaving behind clear signs of disintegration. In many ways, the dismissal of al-Turabi represents a significant retreat as it has swept aside the religious and political references to "the Leader", the Sheikh, and his loyalists. Gradually, as the influence of the totalitarian system began to decline, the need for the leadership of al-Turabi as the political and religious referen ce -- the Sheikh -- of the regime also dwindled in importance. During the period between 1989-1999 the theory of the regime's protagonists and approach to governance was addressed to a single paradigm: al-hal al-Islami, the Islamic solution, in which they systemically and methodically pursued different types of coercive measures and totalitarian designs. The ideology and strategies of this one-dimensional conception of state power has been most closely affiliated with al-Turabi and his brand of Islamism. This essay addresses al-Turabi's concept of the state and considers how it relates to totalitarianism.

It is important, however, to begin the discussion of these transformations in relation to al-Turabi's theory of state by the following general comments:

First: It is important to address the term 'state' with care, understanding its historical and existential underpinnings, and with a high degree of awareness to its different definitions. For this study the state means an institution more than a government. It is the overarching apparatus that includes the ideological, administrative, bureaucratic, legal, and security systems that act in certain degree of coherence to structure and administer relations within different levels of a particular territory. The way the state deploys and restrains its different patterns of authority, power, communicative capacities, and other means of domination determines its character. On the other hand, relations between the state's spheres of power and control and society's provinces of activity differentiate between governing systems. (Offe and Ronge 82, Held 91, Mann 88) The primary function of the state-directed regime, according to the Islamists model, is to operate in a manner that attempts to demolish or converge in thei r system other autonomous institutions that normally act independently within the spheres of the civil, religious and the political societies. This is an important representation as the totalitarian setting attempts to deploy the state power to eliminate and demolish all civil and political societies, spheres and institutions. Within this approach to power, the Islamists in the Sudan, their strategists and allies tried very hard to establish such a state.

Second: As socio-political life in the Sudan has never been and will never be static, the mode of major recent developments in the country seems to be more complicated than any previous time. Currently, there are many serious developments, speculations about where the regime is heading, presumptions, and theories in circulation, as well as many explanations at work. These developments have for the most part been the subject of considerable debate. Most of that debate is addressed to a basic question: has the Islamist totalitarian state in the Sudan been laid to rest? Is the country now at a threshold of a genuine change toward a democratic multiparty system? In a number of different forms and forums Sudanese and non-Sudanese scholars, intellectuals, journalists and politicians, who share an interest in and a concern for the politics of the country, have tried to provide interpretations, analysis and reflections on the present situation in the Sudan. However, it is not necessarily that they all agree on how t o address and explain these developments. At the same time, it is true and equally important that certain aspects of power relations, individual and class conflict, changing communication and the state realities have rarely been given serious consideration in most studies that address this issue. Up to this time, the most crucial element is that most observers, researchers, journalists and writers have been looking at the existing system in the Sudan as an ordinary Third World military regime. Thus the absence of much attention to the phenomenon "for itself," its power structures and its internal and external relations, its ideological, political and economic undercurrents, have made it extremely difficult to understand the complexity and the complications of the on-going developments in the Sudanese scene. To grasp the theoretical, ideological and substantive modes that produced the phenomenon, one needs to look at the patterns, understand the project on its players and detractor's terms, its internal and ex ternal factors rather than typifying the experience or blaming one single factor for such a complex process.

Third: Virtually in all political life of African, Middle Eastern, and other Third World countries, the military represents an enduring factor and an attendant party in the house of power. The capacity of the army to disrupt any democratic political process and instate controlling authoritarian or dictatorial regimes is derived from the sources of power the military institution provides thin the power relations in the field of local, regional and international politics. Many Sudanese political entities and individuals from the elite have learned that one of the short cuts to power comes by collaborating with the army. However, it is also true that those military politicians, who function within the same class power as their civilian associates, have learned to develop a military discourse that legitimizes their role in staging coups and governing the country. It is true that research and academic studies in this field, military sociology and other military studies in the Sudan are almost missing. Moreover, t he intellectual agenda in the country still addresses the issue of the military and power from a very angry and simplistic stand.

Fourth: Today it is clear that the crisis of the regime is terminal. The Islamist model in the Sudan has clearly run out of steam and now the entire experience is open to a certain type of concerns and analysis from different schools of historians, social scientists, and journalists. The significance of the Sudanese experience, however, must not be belittled. The Sudanese Islamist movement introduced the first major experimentation of political Islam in the Sunni world within the closing end of the second millennium. Legitimacy, genuineness, proficiency, and adherence to the true tenets of Islam have endlessly been disputed by Sudanese, as well as other Muslims, the fact that the NIF has survived for more than eleven years merits serious study. The Sudanese Islamists and their benefactors inside and outside the country had expected the emergence of a model that could reinstate a certain version of political Islam as an alternative ideology and example after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the demise of East European socialism. Al-Turabi himself advocated that the Sudanese Islamist state model would act as a launching point for "pan-Islamic rapprochement... proceeding from below ". He expected that the model "would radiate throughout the Muslim World." Hence, al-Turabi explains that, "if the physical export of the model is subject to Islamic limitations in deference to international law, the reminiscence of the classical khalifat and the deeply entrenched Islamic traditions of free migration (hegira) and fraternal solidarity would make such a state a focus of pan-Islamic attention and affection" (al-Turabi 1992).

Now, as most Islamists in the Sudan and elsewhere have started to grapple with the painful realities of the total failure of their project, several questions come through seeking competent answers. Does the demise of the Islamists project in the Sudan mark the leading process of the collapse of Islamism as an attractive model and as an intellectual alternative providing support and inspiration for certain sectors of Muslims worldwide? Does the Muslim search for theoretical venues and practical solutions for the questions of power, governance and identity politics find a more creative and productive ways and means in Islam? Does this experience end up leaving behind a traumatic sense of desperation and wretchedness similar to the feelings that have been felt by failure or collapse of current or previous experiences of communism, socialism, and nationalism in the non-western world?

Fifth: It might be premature, if not completely beyond the scope of this paper, to conduct a retrospective assessment of the Islamist movement at large, and its failure. Similar explorations, however, would help questioning anew the old set of theoretical concepts and propositions that have hitherto been taken for granted. Nevertheless, the arguments of this paper are addressed to the Sudanese experience and its different dispositions. They both attempt to define the tracts and territories of thoughts and ideologies, deliberations and practices, debates and conflicts on the issue rather than giving a set of ready-made answers. Consequently, the aim of this brush-stroke characterization of the current situation in the Sudan is to delineate an attempt that could illustrate the formative genesis of power, conflict and its different ways in a crisis-riddled and collapsing regime.

Sixth: although there is a wide range of possible questions that could emerge out of the process of crisis and disintegration of the current regime in the Sudan, two of the propositions that arise out of this argument are specifically pertinent. The first one is that the totalitarian nature of the regime, for reasons to do with its ideological, cultural, and existential attributes, is in certain aspects dissimilar to most regimes that fall within the category of Third World military regimes. The second is that, the decline and the disintegration process of the current regime is different from that of other past Sudanese dictatorial regimes.

Perhaps the best place to start is with the concept of totalitarianism and how it relates to the Islamist regime in Khartoum and the ideas of al-Turabi. The term totalitarian has been used widely in connection with the Khartoum regime since its first day. It is worth mentioning that the term totalitarian (lo stato totalitariano) was coined by Benito Mussolini to describe the nature and role of the Fascist state in Italy during his reign, 1922-43. In his Doctrine of Fascism, Mussolini argued "If the nineteenth was the century of the individual it may be expected that this one [the twentieth century] may be the century of "totalitarianism" and therefore the century of the State." Such a goal could be accomplished, according to Mussolini, through a one-party regime concerned with the 'total' activities of the people including their work, their leisure, their religion, even their private lives. The basic concept of the totalitarian state was best expressed in Mussolini's well-known phrase, "all within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state"(Arendt 79, Curtis 69, Soper 85). To Antonio Gramsci, totalitarianism is any philosophy that seeks to be comprehensive and/or has a systemic impact on societal organization. (Sassoon 1987) Peter Berger adds another parameter to these ideological and philosophical dimensions describing totalitarian regime as the one that seeks "to impose state control over every institution of society, regardless of whether it engages in political activity or not" (Berger 1986). Such attempts, as Berger alludes, are essentially with the intent of converging the society in its political, cultural and economic totality within an all-embracing state-directed assemblage. Claude Lefort (1986) asserts that in similar situations all the processes of integration, homogenization or unification of society are supposed to be carried out by a single entity, which is the political party in power. Thus the apparatus constructed by that party and the regime and the state it establishes, L efort explains, contrives to dissolve the entire political and social subject with all its diversity and differences, wherever it can express itself, and transform the overall social setting into an "us." And by the end of the day, to produce a regime that attempts adamantly to bring about a "People-as-One" society. Ideologies of party and state propaganda together with the ideology of terror were instrumental to obliterate freedom and institute a totalitarian structure.

In terms of the ideological foundation of the totalitarian state and its relationship to the twentieth century Islamic political movements, it is remarkable to notice the central position the concept has been found in the world of thought and the discourse of advocates and ideologues of these movements. The debate had started earlier than the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1923 when Muslims started a deep soul-search for an alternative to the caliphate. (Enayat 1982) However, the intellectual roots of the current Islamists movements' ideological representations find their direct grounds in the following: 1 - colonial experience that the means to construct and 'essentialize' the social, economic and cultural structures of a new nation-state. 2- Hassan al-Banna (1906-1949) the founder and the first Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin) in Egypt and his approach that perceives political power, as explained in Mudhakkirat al-dawa wa al-daiya, as one of Islam's Arkan or pillars. (al-B anna 1970) The Brethren in general belong to those Muslim political groups whose aim is to see the establishment of an Islamic order. Hassan al-Banna's ideological and organizational contribution continued to influence and inspire an a priori worldview, doctrine and methods within the ranks of different Islamist groups has laid the ideological advocacy that Islam is both religion and state. He established the first political party, Jamiyyat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin in Egypt in 1927 "to bring youth in accordance with proper Islamic ethics, and to disseminate the merits and purposes of Muhammadan prophecy, including the moral virtues of truthfulness, chastity, and good social relations" (Ramadan 1993). Later, the group developed an ideological position and comprehensive plan of action. al-Banna also formed "selected groups of Rovers (Jawala) and (Kat 'ib), modeled on the Hitlerite brownshirts and blackshirts" (Choueiri 1990). 3- It was Abul A'la al-Mawdudui (1903-79) of India and Pakistan, whoever, who shaped the views of the Islamists about the state. In the Islamist state, according to al-Mawdudi, the founder of Jama'at-i Islami in India and Pakistan, "no one can regard any field of his affairs as personal and private." He elaborates that, "the Islamic state bears a kind of resemblance to the Fascist and Communist states." al-Mawdudi emphasized the importance of a one-party rule which is "the very antithesis of Western Democracy." (al-Mawdudi 1980) In actual fact al-Mawdudi "has no problem characterizing an Islamic government or 'theodemocracy' as "Islamic totalitarianism" (Esposito 1992). In turn, the Islamists in the Sudan have never been far from al-Mawdudi's influence as his works "were translated into Arabic and his ideas reworked, especially with regard to whether the advance from jahiliya to hakimiya is revolutionary or evolutionary" (Bishara 1995).

As to the Islamist state in the Sudan, it is important to address first some basic additional issues concerning the general character of the current regime in the Sudan and how that relates to totalitarianism. Here, there are three points of reference in terms of this discussion. The first one outlines a brief historical background to the development of the Islamist movement in the Sudan since 1964. This date is of vital importance because it was the beginning of a political process inside the Sudanese Muslim Brethren party that transformed it from an elitist group into an Islamist popular movement known as the Islamic Charter Front. The Front under the leadership of Hassan al-Turabi, the newly elected Secretary General of the movement at its founding conference in 1964, has departed from the Egyptian experience that it assumed in its early days. AlTurabi himself explained this in one of his interviews with Mohammed E. Hamdi later published in a book titled The Making of an Islamic Political Leader: Conversa tions with Hasan al-Turabi. He elucidated that the Islamic movement in the Sudan "developed a marked sense of self-awareness, positioning itself accurately within its own specific time and place parameters" (Hamdi 1998). This distinction is important, as the Egyptian Muslim Brethren model has generally pursued a reformist political ideology emphasizing education (tarbia) or, as al-Turabi explains, "characterized by education and reform." (Hamdi 1998) Leaders of such a model, the evolutionary path, have always argued that ruling an Islamic government should be the step that follows preparing most of the society for accepting the Islamic Sharia. Accordingly, the Egyptian model, that "had emulated an earlier model of Islamic life" according to al-Turabi, represents the start rather than the transformation of the Islamist movement in the Sudan. Hassan al-Banna and his brotherhood represent a reformist approach that builds on what Mohammed Abdu and Rashid Rida have established to reconcile Islam with what is rele vant to the Muslim's life from the West and creating a political party and a program of action that leads to the establishment of an Islamic state. The approach of the brotherhood's "comprehensiveness of Islam," (Ayubi 1991), represents political Islam in terms of its privatization, as Olivier Roy (1994) describes it. For those groups social and political action aims primarily "at re-Islamizing the society from the bottom up, bringing about, ipso facto, the advent of an Islamic state." (Roy 1994) The Islamists, including the Sudanese group, on the other hand, according to Roy are those who represent the revolutionary pole, and for whom the Islamization of the society should be accomplished through the systematic exercise of state power. Consequently, they see the inevitability of the establishment of an "Islamic order necessitating the intervention in public affairs--the capture of the state as an imperative" (Roy 1994).

In the aftermath of the 1964 October revolution in the Sudan that ousted General Ibrahim Abboud's military dictatorship (1958-1964) from power through civil disobedience, the Islamists emerged as a small political entity led by Hassan al-Al-Turabi and some of his Western educated colleagues. From that time until Lt. General Umar al-Bashir expelled him from his post as Secretary General of the National Congress Party in May 2000, al-Turabi has been the supreme leader of the Islamists in the Sudan and one of the most notable Islamists worldwide. He led the movement into a series of transformations, alliances, collaborations and developments over the years starting from the Muslim Brotherhood (1964) to the Islamic Charter Front (1964-69), to the National Islamic Front (1985-98), through to the National Congress (1998-2000). It was al-Turabi who -- by selectively borrowing from contemporary and past Islamic heritage, the Western and Sudanese political traditions -- tried to modify the ideas and ideologies of the Islamists movement and restructure them to suit his group's pursuit for power. He and his group have contrived against a broad spectrum of the illusions of the apparent failure of communist, pan-Arab, and mainstream nationalist ideologies, and models of governments in the Islamic world. Al-Turabi apprehended that, "the recent Western excitement about international "Islamic fundamentalism" and the cataclysmic collapse of the socialist world order, were conducive to the spread of Islamic consciousness masses on a world scale. Al-Turabi and the Islamists in the Sudan, who have been advocating a political ideology asserting the primacy of their version of Islam and who have been planning for "taking power and laying the foundation for a genuine Islamic mode," anticipated an opportunity in Islam "as the prevalent popular force in contemporary Islamic societies, that threatens to wipe out liberal and, nationalist and socialist tendencies and proceed to take its international course" (al-Turabi 1992). For al-Turabi the "present growth of Islamic revivalism means a sharper sense of inclusive-exclusive identity, a deeper experience of the same culture and stronger urge for united action, nationally and internationally." (al-Turabi 1992) He further elaborates that, "once a single fully-fledged Islamic state is established, the model would radiate throughout the Muslim world" (al-Turabi 1992). Operating in a political and religious market that has been politically and religiously dominated for centuries by a population whose adherence goes to Sufi orders (turuq) and two major political parties deriving their power base primarily from the Khatmia and Ansar orders, al-Turabi and his group tried in vain every possible maneuver and trickery to make their presence felt. The Islamists' aggressive offensive against Sufi orders and their leaders and saints has remained adamant and is fueled by a discourse emphasizing the re-Islamization of the political, social and economic Sudanese life. It is crucial to note that al-Turabi and h is group has always thought that popular or Sufi Islam, the religion of the majority, has embroiled "Muslim society in inexorable discord" (al-Turabi 1992). Projecting himself, his group and their role as both the purveyors of radical difference and restorers of an essential identity, the Islamists viewed the state power as necessary in order for the movement to consolidate the vision and formation of an Islamic Umma (Simone 1994). [2]

This new breed of Sudanese Islamists share a background of public and Western education, and "they live with the values of the city--consumerism and upward social mobility" (Roy 1994). According to Roy, these new Islamist groups whom he calls the lumpen intelligentsia are differentiated from, and resent, the clerical scholars: the 'ulama, or scholars of high Islam because unlike these scholars they have no state-legitimated and supported relationship to that corpus of knowledge. At the same time they have smatterings of Western education without, again, having institutional connection to that body of knowledge. However, they operate on the fringes of both spheres. While the leadership of this group takes pride in their knowledge of the West, as al-Turabi claims, their knowledge of their local culture is very shaky as al-Turabi himself admitted to a le Figaro reporter that he knows the history of France better than the history of Sudan. (Pipes 1997)

The second starting-point gives an intentionally disproportionate attention to Hassan al-Turabi's political thought from his writings and speeches. It is amusing here to give some weight to the Sudanese sense of satire as it observes that there are two Turabis: one for export, and the other for local consumption. This attribute fits very well with Hannah Arandt's characterization of the typical totalitarian leader who shows one face to one group and different faces to other groups. Arendt argues that, "[s]ince the Leader has monopolized the right and the possibility of explanation, he appears to the outside as the only person who knows what he is doing." He also projects himself as "the only representative of the movement with whom one may still talk in nontotalitarian terms" (Arendt 1979). Nevertheless, we need to read al-Turabi as a political theorist and thus what he says has a great impact on the state of affairs inside the Sudan and to a certain degree outside the Sudan.

Of course, al-Turabi's ideas have been consistently under challenge within and outside Muslim and some Islamists ranks. This is not to suggest or dispute the importance of these ideas or his intellectual contribution. As ideas or contributions of this kind can be an illustration of current Islamists discourse, they also represent part of the social change that also shaped the ideas of certain sectors of world political thought. Al-Turabi and other Islamists have promoted their own version of modernization theory that has used the state as its central focus. The Islamists theorists, by contrast, have employed an Islamic discourse that attacks vigorously other modernization political theories and practices such as the Marxists, Arab and African socialists, and other elitist schools of thought. Although they claim authenticity and originality, the Islamists have been to a large degree influenced by the Western school of modernization. There is, in due course, a strong correlation, within the current Islarnists discourse, between being a Western influenced occurrence and being part of the movement's prominent advocacy. The advocates of the Islamist movement claim that they developed an alternative anti-Western approach to Western polity and its different capitalist and Marxist paradigms, but it is worth noting at the outset that this approach is by far influenced by colonial and Western thought. In other words this discourse that attempts to confront or mystify the Western worldview does not necessarily operate outside the realm of Western scholarship and intellectuality that is deemed by the Islamists to be exogenous to Islam.

This article will not provide a detailed analysis of the relationship between Islamism and the West, nor will it give an exhaustive analysis to al-Turabi's ideas and how they relate to the Western thought. Instead, it establishes a framework for the Islamists' totalitarian ideology in relation to what al-Turabi describes as modernity. Within this framework the focus will be on themes that have fashioned that phenomenon. Hence, it is important to illustrate the intellectual and scholarly problems of al-Turabi's definition of modernity when he claims that, "Islam is the only modernity because if modern sector in our society represents modernity, then the modern sector is dominated by Islamic currents. Students and university graduates everywhere represent modernity and they are the only current which exercises any measure of ijtihad" (al-Turabi 1992). Such an oversimplification of modernity is part of the considerable flaws in al-Turabi's intellectuality, knowledge and political thought. Nevertheless, al-Turab i's political theory could better be understood if put within the context of modernity. In other words, al-Turabi's political theory, which emerged as a challenge to aspects of modernity: secularism, nationalism, socialism, etc., can hardly make sense outside the prevailing currents of modernity. Such an assumption, of course, needs some qualification. It is true that the intellectual debate about Islam and modernity has taken different tones and perspectives since the time of Shanizade Ataullah Affendi (1769-1826) in Ottoman Turkey and Rifaa al-Tahtawi (1801-1873) in Egypt and might be traced to an even earlier date when Sultan Salim (1789-1808) sent his 'ulama and traditional scholars as ambassadors to some European capitals. Later on, it was Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1838-98) and Mohamed 'Abdu (1849-1905) in Egypt, Sayyid Ahmed Khan (1817-98) and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1838-1908), in India at the end of the 19th century who gave that debate a fervent impetus. For Muslim intellectuals, who "understood Islam as the executor of historical process" as Reinhard Schulze elucidates, Islam could be perceived as the true modernity in a certain sense. But modernity, as a western project, is one of the factors within both its militaristic and non-militaristic characters of power the west has been relocated abroad. (Giddens 1990, Halliday 1999) The British colonial administration (1898-1956) provided the Sudanese project with the means to construct and essentialize the social, economic and cultural structures of a new state. It is within this context that al-Turabi's political theory, his attitude towards other versions of Islam, and Sudanese culture could be better understood.

In his 1992 presentation to selected US scholars published as Islam, Democracy, the State and the West in the Round Table sponsored by the defunct World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE) [3] and the University of South Florida, al-Turabi explained the philosophical premise of his ideology. He argues that, "It is not just that God is one, absolutely one, but also the existence is one, life is one; all life is just one program of worship, whether it's economics, politics, sex, private, public or whatever. And society is also one. So Unitarianism is a fundamental principle that explains almost every aspect of doctrinal or practical Islam" (al-Turabi 1992).

Even before the 1989 military coup that brought the Islamists to power in the Sudan, al-Turabi and his group affirmed in the Sudan Charter [4] issued January 1987, that the Muslim community in the Sudan, which represents the majority of the population according to the Charter, is "Unitarian" in its "religious approach to life. As a matter of faith, they do not espouse secularism." The Charter further affirms that the Sudanese Muslims "have a legitimate right by virtue of their religious choice, of their democratic weight and natural justice, to practice their values and rules of their religion in full range--in personal, familial, social and political affairs."

By Unitarianism al-Turabi and his party affirmed a special construction on the connection between the theological concept of wahdania, the divine oneness as one of God's attributes and the ideology of society is one as one representation of a connection of thought and practice. This representation, of course, creates a connection between the Islamic theological concept of oneness and the concept of mass society that confines the population to sameness. This only helps to understand what kind of thesis Islamist ideology is driven from. Such an ideology "cannot tolerate either intrinsic segmentation (social, ethnic, tribal, or national) or political authority that is autonomous with respect to the divine order, even in a contingent manner." (Roy 1994) Moreover, this inclusive ideology, or total order, which subordinates the rights of the individual, all aspects of life, as well as the society to the collective will of the Umma finds legitimacy in God's absolute sovereignty. Only in such a situation will God's absolute sovereignty, hakimiyya, [5] then prevail, governing all aspects of the life of the individual as well as the society (Roy 1994). Thus, the state becomes as al-Turabi argues, "only the political dimension of the collective endeavor of Muslims." (qtd. in Esposito 1982)

The third starting-point, however, and from this ideology that turned Islam into a total order nizam, the regime in the Sudan has created a totalitarian project. This project assumes that there exists only one single order, al-hal al-Islami, the Islamic solution, and one constitution, which is the Quran. According to al-Turabi this "cannot be done by rehashing old, ideological slogans without first developing a new and authentic set of roots, or usul (Moussalli 1999). Here al-Turabi bases the legitimacy of his ideology and leadership on the primacy of the role of the shiekh, the "modern" Islamist jurist, as the political and religious reference and the architect of this order and its controlling ideology. An innovative, modernized Sunni equivalent of velayat al-faqih. In such a situation, al-Turabi, the arbiter of religious, political and social constitutions is empowered to exercise political and religious authority and lead an Islamist regime, with a power bestowed from God. That order together with its id eology should be transformed into a structure of power that provides the means to the "Islamization" of the society. Moreover, these regimes and constitutions of power, their ideology and the subsequent state model that the Islamists have attempted to establish upon them demonstrate three key features of totalitarianism: the ideology of one single order, the autonomy of the state, and the system of security oppression.

Out of al-Turabi's ideology the regime has created its own model. The bureaucracy created by the ruling Islamists is also an outcome of direct involvement with the different patterns of authority and power exercised by this group through the state. It is also an outcome of the interacting dynamics within and between the competing and inherent forces of the on-going socio-political developments, and the attempts of the ruling Islamisis to monopolize the local political, religious, economic and social markets. At one profound level, from the first day, the Islamist groups have believed that their grip over power has been threatened. These patterns of fear, challenges and entanglements with other opposing political actors have shaped the form of governance against all types of imminent or anticipated threats to their domination over power. This is why to understand the form of a bureaucracy of the most horrifying practices in the history of the Sudan one has to keep in mind the kind of threat the regime has bee n facing from the first day.

Repeatedly since its independence, whenever the military stepped into power, the Sudanese civilian population returned the country to civilian rule through acts of civil disobedience. This had been successfully undertaken in October 1964 against General Abboud's regime (1958-64) and April in 1985 against Field Marshal Jaafar Nimerie (1969-1985). The lessons that have arisen from this experience are many and profound. For one thing, those lessons seem to confirm the general Sudanese belief that the military can take power by force but there is no way for them to remain in power indefinitely. This understanding has grown into a form of dual political imagination that persists in the Sudanese collective mind and political culture. Out of this dual political imagination, a Sudanese civil religion has emerged. This civil religion has its rituals that commemorate the October 1964 Revolution and April 1985 Intifada and renew the nation's commitments to their ideals. Moreover, this civil Sudanese religion has its sh rines such as the University of Khartoum, the birthplace of the October Revolution. It has poets and artists who contributed to the articulation of the values of that existential experience; examples of such artists and poets include Mohammed al-Makki Ibrahim, Fadallah Mohamed, Hashim Sidiq, Mahjoub Shareef, Mohammed Wardi, Abdel-Karim al-Kabli, and Mohammed al-Amin, to name a few. The dual nature of the Sudanese political imagination reflects itself in the considerable appeal and motivating power nationwide, and the enormous fear on the other side military regimes feel as an outcome of their breach of social, political and constitutional contracts. This unique Sudanese political experience, however, has given many groups within the political and intellectual sectors in the country a deterministic presumption that a successful uprising or intifada, which will overthrow the current regime, is inevitable. This has been reflected in most of the Sudanese political literature published or delivered, in political a nd media forums, for the last eleven years. On the other hand, and for a considerable period of time, all the lessons learned from fighting this regime seemed to indicate that the ruling regime is not only aware of that but has taken measures to avoid a new uprising against its grip on power. Under these circumstances the state has been called upon to play a very specific role. Out of this role the Islamist state theory can be summarized in the following formulations:

1. To develop a uniform bureaucracy that can help control and monopolize the political, religious, economic and social markets, the hierarchy of the old state bureaucracy in the country has to be forced to serve the ideological and political program of the Islamists' political bureaucracy. Accordingly, the party's bureaucracy that normally in similar cases represent the "the antithesis of democracy" (Lefort 1986) has assumed the upper hand in the Sudanese state. This attempt by the Islamists was meant to extend the bureaucracy of the party to take direct control of the state and eventually manage through that process the entire society. Hence, the course and the order of presentation and practice of the Islamists' polity ushered in after they assumed power in 1989 had invented the transformation of the party as a device of domination. Last year, in an interview published in the Sudanese daily, al-Ray al-A am, a leading Islamist intellectual, Hassan Mekki, explained how the process pursued after by the Islami sts 1989 coup "turned to be an authoritarian project aiming to consolidate the power of the Leader or the Guide." Mekki maintained that, "the organizational structure of the [party] took a one-way direction for the control of information and a similar way for the direction of decision taking process to the extent that the party's image became similar to other totalitarian parties" (Mekki 2000). This step is significant because it explains al-Turabi's project for a total transformation of the party, the state and the society to fit into the straight jacket of the totalitarian design.

But for the regime to stay in power and to assume its political program, the party, which is the regime's engine, has to work in coherence and unity. Accordingly, and as Lefort observed, "the party must act as a coherent force within the society as a whole, maintaining continuity in its action, binding together in a permanent way those who lend it its support, finding a structure which guarantees its unity independently of the uncertain participation of its members." (Lefort 1986) Although the Islamisis have attempted to avoid fragmentation and polarization by disbanding the party and instating a 40-member council [6] representing a cohesive core of an Islamic nomenklatura, one of the constituent ironies of the current regime, is that coherence and unity has never been achieved. The political strategy of the Islamists was that of a core group loyal to the leader working in harmony under his leadership to carry out the duties of the newfound Islamist state in the Sudan and worldwide. Around this core group ot her layers of this nomenklatura have been established by the appointment for the major offices in the state according to loyalty of those individuals to the regime. Other economic groups, especially the black marketers and hard currency dealers were attracted to the regime and the political group behind it as the state apparently became a functionary of the Islamists. The National Congress party, whatever significance might be attributed to it, sprang as a habitual outcome of that process.

It is important to notice that the new group that represented the Islamic nomenklatura and at a later stage the National Congress party is of a different nature of the old NIF. It is made up of civilian and military groups that, through a certain bond of trust or pretense of loyalty to the Leader, or private exploitation of certain aspects of economic difficulties such as the black market or money laundry. They fostered a temporary relationship among themselves based on their respective goals to assume power. What used to bind these groups together one day was their individual ambitions to ascend to power through a certain mode of exploitation to the prevailing opportunity. United into groups of individuals who combined political status, ethnic solidarity and financial power, their strategy that showed them as loyal members meekly carrying the orders of the Islamist regime as embodied in the person of the Leader Hassan al-Turabi, constituted them as the party that could lead the system to its promised goals.

It is amazing to see, when one examines the events of the early days of the Islamist regime, that the replacement of people described by Hassan Mekki as the elite and the "creative few" with "those who have the ability to preserve the accomplishments of the Islamists movement and to control the country under its banner" (Mekki 2000) was part of a long process which started even before the 1989 coup. Simone (1994) referred to "significant splits in the NIF over future political strategies," during the year that preceded the 1989 coup. He maintained that several of those he described as "progressives", who were "arguing for an ongoing commitment to the democratic process and serious negotiation with the South," left the country by 1988. If one considers the recent history of the Islamists movement in the Sudan, one might see that those "progressives", elite and "creative few" were in retreat since 1987 when the NIF held its general conference. The power conflict inside the movement that has been taking form wi thin the last two decades expressed itself in a way that the old guard of the party was unable to contain. The conflict between certain NIF factions was less marked before the conference, but the progression of events was nonetheless critical. The inter-group power conflict was partly resolved when al-Turabi caved in to the pressures of the younger power-hungry generation of the Islamists. It was surprising, at first, to most observers that a new younger generation represented by Ali Osman Mohammed Taha [7] has started to ascend power within the ranks of the NIF. But the second stage of replacing of the old guard and the remaining "progressives" took place after the coup when al-Turabi invited all members of the NIF including the founding fathers of the movements to a fancy dinner at the house of one of the members of the NIF in Khartoum North. At that dinner it was clear that al-Turabi had decided to launch a decisive strike against the old guard and to instate a new group representing the future of the move ment. Raising the hand of Ali Osman M. Taha as a representative of this new leadership he announced to his company that the Islamist movement had now entered a new era. Significant to that, al-Turabi had distributed prayer beads and copies of the Quran in which words of thanks were hand written by him for each member of the old guard for their dedication and past contribution and service for building up of the movement (Mekki 2000, al-Desouqi 2000, and Zien al-Abdeen 2000). From that point on, decisive hostilities has been launched against those who attempted to criticize these new changes. Hassan Mekki maintains that as an outcome of these developments some of those who opposed such changes either left the country or isolated themselves from the group. But the dissidents inside the movement -- along with the opposition to the developments that followed the conference in 1987, the staging of the coup in 1989, and the disbanding of the NIF in 1990 -- runs deeper within the Islamists closed circles. Some aspect s of this dissidence have been expressed within the Sudanese media, especially the print press, by al-Tayeb Zein al-Abdeen, Hassan Mekki, Mohamed Taha Mohamed Ahmed, among others who emerged later as the major critics of the regime from the ranks of the Islamists. It may be said that the events that led to the dismissal of al-Turabi from the National Congress party -- who proved to be a political survivor with exceptional abilities to exploit every situation to his favor -- was the final episode of that long saga of replacement of the old guard of the Islamists movement by a younger generation. Numerous events and cases could be cited as evidence that al-Turabi's pre-eminence among the young disciples of the Islamists who were so eager to replace the old guard deserves to be reexamined. Important among these events was the power conflict between Ali Osman and the remaining old guard of the NIF immediately after al-Turabi was assaulted by Hashim Bader el-Deen in Canada in 1992 while it was assumed that he woul d die as he stayed unconscious for some time.

These developments in themselves do not provide enough confirmation of the successful execution of that totalitarian strategy as fundamental contradictions have emerged within the new status groups regarding their relationship with the state bureaucracy, the NW old guards, ethnic groups and their conflict and competition, and society at large. Claude Lefort argues that the "bureaucracy is 'normally' at the service of the dominant class, since the administration of public affairs in the context of a given regime always presupposes the preservation of its status" (Lefort 86) Considering the aggressive attitude and the waves of purges and replacement of the higher and the middle levels of the state bureaucracy by party loyalists since 1989, in addition to the fact that these groups have never been representative or part of the dominant class in the country, the Islamists party's designs ran counter to the interest of the bureaucracy. As the bureaucratic stratum, which is composed of government officials, salari ed employees, and professionals, has a long history and experiences with different types of regimes, taming such groups by such a political power such as the Islamists has not been easy. Historically, this sector as "characterized by the exercise of delegated authority" (Dahrendorf 1994) and through skillful management of the power of professional organizations, constituted a major player in Sudanese political life. Their status position, "potentially at the center of power and knowledge" (Lefort 86) enabled them to define themselves as playing a dual role. First, as occupants of executive positions, those of them who rung in higher echelons of bureaucratic hierarchies have always been part of the decision-making process in running the country's day-to-day affairs. It is true that the last three decades have witnessed a serious brain drain in this area due to the immigration of higher numbers of employees across their different ranks, higher rates of political purges especially by the existing regime, and the decline in their earnings from the job compared to others outside the government hierarchies, but these factors are irrelevant to the power position they occupy by virtue of their closeness to the seat of authority. With the expansion of the state apparatus, undercurrent movements within the bureaucracy started to play out within the system their favorite game of controlling the means of knowledge and information. In turn, that might explain how these elements have effectively influenced the developments that led to the disintegration of the regime, as we will see later. Secondly: as a sector with a long history of unionization, such professionals identified themselves with a political role and a distinctive position between power factors. They pride themselves as the instrumental power behind the success of civil disobedience movements that removed two military dictatorships in 1964 and 1985. Thus, as far as the general order of the bureaucracy is concerned, the continuous waves of purges and oppression tha t its members have received from different dictatorial regimes, has reaffirmed at every step that their real power rests in their impartiality and group solidarity.

2. As explained earlier, religion has been given a totalitarian disposition in order to suit a specific ideology enforced by the regime's manipulation and terror processes. The crucial principle here is the hakimiyyia issue, accountability to Allah alone, has become the central representation that maintains the logic around which the regime operates. Within this religious and political arrangement al-Turabi placed himself at the center so that he alone understands, knows, and directs the various inward organism of the regime. From one hand, he "is separated from the elite formation by an inner circle of the initiated who spread around him an aura of impenetrable mystery which corresponds to his 'intangible preponderance"' (Arendt 1979). On the other hand, as Arendt maintains, the "supreme task of the leader is to impersonate the double function characteristic of the movement--to act as the magic defense of the movement against the outside world; and at the same time, to be the direct bridge by which the move ment is connected with it" (Arendt 1979). Al-Turabi has played the role of the supreme leader by exercising an absolute preeminence aptitude that transcends the day-to-day compact with the outside world to encompass a semi-divine dimension. He always reminds his local and international audiences of his foreign language capabilities, his "understanding of the laws of history," and his ability to speak in the language of people as high in status similar as the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury or to those of ordinary status such as a black African or Frenchman or a Dutchman (Hamdi 1998). He claims that he could not find time to speak to Sudanese and Muslim immigrant communities in the West "because Western audiences take up all my time." Equally, as the Sheikh and sole religious and political reference for the regime, al-Turabi feels "happy and pleased when the outside world or the West attacks him "for the service they are rendering to Islam by attacking" his character (Hamdi 1998). By such formulations, al -Turabi, the Sheikh and the Leader, projects himself to give an overarching explanation that he alone owns "the keys to history," or the solutions for all "riddles of the universe," or the "intimate knowledge of the hidden universal laws which are supposed to rule nature and man" (Arendt 1979). Before his fall from power in December 1999, al-Turabi was described by the regime benefactors as the magnificent leader, the strategic genius, and the Sheikh whose "profound fundamentalist knowledge puts him in a class of his own" (Hamdi 1998).

3. Since its takeover of power in 1989 and for almost its lifetime, the Islamist regime was involved in methodical and systemic patterns of terror. Oppression had been exercised over all sectors of the population by the state terror machine in a variety of ways. The regime, as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights demonstrated in its 1996 report, [8] "has criminalized political and ideological dissent, engages multi-faceted security forces to monitor citizens' behavior, and has installed a system of rewards and punishments based on adherence to government policies and public observance of government Islamic practices." The death penalty was clearly stated as the punishment for "any Muslim who advocates the rejection of Islamic beliefs or announces his own rejection of Islam by word or act" (Africa Watch 1991). And as the Islamist state was propagated by the regime as a representation of Islam, this provision was primarily designed to apply to those Muslims who oppose and criticize the regime. Other control mechanisms and patterns of coercion included the state of emergency and curfews from dusk to sunrise, arbitrary detention, and security personnel who visit homes and businesses and issue threats of bodily harm, torture, purges, and killings. Moreover, measures have been taken to force the population to conform to the regime's dress code for women, public morality, and mandatory training in the Popular Defense Force (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 1996). Even more striking than this is the phenomenon of "Ghost Houses." [9] In these private homes and offices security forces "committed the cruelest acts of mental and physical torture including beatings, mock executions and sleep and food deprivation" (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 1996). Hundreds of Sudanese trade unionists, members of political parties, human rights activists, university professors, civil servants, army officers, and journalists were tortured in these houses by security personnel. [10] If the concentration camps were the "most conseque ntial institutions" of totalitarianism, according to Arendt, the ghost houses, "the dwelling of horrors," would represent the core of this Sudanese regime's totalitarianism. The ghost house represents a similar technique as the concentration camps, in Nazi Germany, that illustrate the most evil designs of the regime attempts of domination. Moreover, the Party's private militias that act as the "instruments of the ideological fight of the movement" (Arendt 1979) have demonstrated an atmosphere of arbitrary violence and murder. These systematic measures of repression and coercion do not represent an accidental characteristic of the regime. They are calculated measures that correspond with the regime's means of control to "raze the boundaries of man-made law" (Arendt 1979). Such means of control represent how totalitarian regimes demand unlimited power by dominating all the population without exception in every aspect in their life (Arendt 1979).

4. To gain a total dominance over public opinion and the entire situation in the country, the regime attempted through its control of all media outlets and its own model of institutionalized propaganda campaigns to maintain a monopoly over the truth. To pursue and implement policies of its own choosing, the regime outlawed all political parties, professional organization and trade unions and all civil society organizations. Furthermore, the regime tried its hardest to destroy the economic and religious base for the religious sects especially the Khatmyia and the Ansar.

The above argument allows for some general observations that seem relevant to the overall issue of the relationship between the Islamists regime in the Sudan and totalitarianism within the period 1989-99.

The first observation to be made here is that what happened in the Sudanese political field since 1989 represents the first attempt in the history of the country for an ideological party bureaucracy to seriously exercise its power over the state bureaucracy in an effort to use the state and its institutions to mobilize and control the entire population. The slide into this new situation took a variety of forms:

First, the consistent and patterned strategy of purging the higher and middle ranks of the state apparatus and the continuous replacement of professional employees by loyal party personnel. Second, tightening the control upon the state apparatus through allocating responsibility in an authoritarian manner, by exercising a one-way movement of power from top to bottom, that consolidates the decision-making in the hands of the party hierarchy. Third, using the party personnel in different state departments and offices as an auxiliary arm of the security apparatus feeding information about the loyalty of government employees to the regime. Fourth, using the state coercive power to eliminate other seats of power. Accordingly, waves of arrests of trade unionists, political parties and professional organizations leaders and activists swept the country. Fifth, the regime worked very hard to evacuate the groups of underclass and dislocated citizens whose role started during demonstrations against military regime of G eneral Ibrahim Abboud in 1964, and were effective in demonstrations against Gaafar Nimeiri's regime in 1985 and other governments from the central and sensitive parts of greater Khartoum. In addition, the regime has weakened the student movement, but not yet killed it, by the physical brutality of the regime and by administrative and forceful conscription of thousands of students and sending them to the war zone in the South and other places. Sixth, using the state apparatus to help the new middle class, specifically members of the new riches of the black market and currency dealers who are called the parasite class or al-habaro malo, [11] to consolidate their economic position in an attempt to eliminate the old middle class whose political allegiance has normally been to the major two parties. It seems plausible, in view of this, to ask whether the Islamist regime could be identified with any of the past dictatorial regimes the Sudan had experienced before. The perceptions, practices, and theories of the cha racter of the regime identify it as a new model of totalitarianism. What I have briefly enumerated is evidence of the transformation into a total domination. There is stark difference here between this type of rule and the one-party rule in certain Arab and African countries. The totalitarian traits of the regime have been manifested from the beginning, when the regime imposed its own model of authority. This model attempts to "efface social division, to absorb all processes of socialization into the process of state control, to push the symbolic into the real," as (Lefort 86) describes attributes of other totalitarian models. This is by all means representing the essence of totalitarianism. The failure to take seriously what the regime itself has been advocating about itself has led most opponents as well as observers not see this model in its true colors.

In this essay, a theoretical argument has been made to lead us to the critical examination of the divergent forces that participated in the rise and fall of the Islamist regime in the Sudan in 1989-1999. These forces and the developments that emerged out of the variance of actions and reactions that they produced can only be understood fully with the help of addressing the totalitarian predisposition of the regime. To find a way of considering the nature of the Islamist regime one needs to go beyond the general categorization that lumps together all military regimes as part of the relics of underdevelopment and a focus of third world political activity. The Islamists have tried to formulate and carry out a totalitarian-derived ideology of Islamization disregarding the countercurrents of major political, religious, economic, and other societal forces. Such realities seem to be absent from the religious knowledge, the political practice and the social imagination of the Islamists and their allies. A similar co nsideration could give some explanation to why the Islamists were not able to see or understand the effectual sources of the state bureaucracy. At the same time, whatever the flaws and shortcomings of the theories and practices of the Islamists experiences, it is extremely important to include the instances in which inter-group conflict has worked with other factors to expedite the disintegration of the inner layers of the regime. There is no single aspect or proof of evidence that leads to the conclusion that the Islamists' model has failed because of its relation to Islam. But there is more or less, all the evidence that leads to the inference that the whole model has failed because of its relationship to totalitarianism.

Abdullahi Gallab is an assistant professor of communication at Hiram College Ohio. The author would like to thank Souad T. Ali, Mohamed Mahmoud, Abdullahi Ali Ibrahim, Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban and Richard Lobban, and Erin Donovan for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

ENDNOTES

(1.) Hassan Abdalla al-Turabi was born in the eastern city of Sudan Kassala in 1932. Although his family belongs to a famous religious sect and his father was a religious judge, he had an ordinary Sudanese public education. Later, he studied and graduated from Western schools of learning in both the UK and France. Dr. al-Turabi started his political career as one of the Sudanese elite with Islamic activist tendencies. It is significant to note that the title Sheikh Hassan al-Turabi is recent and it was formulated after the 1989 coup and his role as the chief ideologue of the regime. In fact, the term Sheikh meant no more than a title of respect for a senior religious person. A closer look, however, shows that the title Sheikh gained a new meaning to describe the role of al-Turabi as the grand jurist and the supreme religious and political reference to the regime.

(2.) T. Abddou Maliqalim Simone is an African-American Muslim scholar who spent two years in the Sudan according to his description of his mission as "both academic and consultant to the Islamic movement to Khartoum." He explains that his agenda "there was ambiguous: to work with the Islamic activists that were beginning to turn away from the movement." His book In Whose Image: Political Islam and Urban Practices in Sudan, which was published in 1994 by the University of Chicago Press is a reflection of this experience with the Islamists movement and its regime.

(3.) The defunct World and Islamic Studies Enterprise (WISE) had launched its program of roundtable forums, May 1992, by inviting Hassan al-Turabi for a one-day debate with a group of 23 academics of Islam and Middle Eastern studies. The program was supported and hosted by the University of South Florida. AI-Turabi's presentation and the roundtable discussion were published in the monograph Islam, Democracy, the State and the West: A Roundtable With Dr. Hasan Turabi.

(4.) In 1987 the NIP published a highly controversial document called The Sudan Charter in which it stated that the Muslim community in the Sudan is by far the majority one that the Muslim community is "unitarian in their religious approach to life. As a matter of faith, they do not espouse secularism." Accordingly, the Charter argues that the Sudanese Muslims, therefore, "have a legitimate right, by virtue of their democratic weight and of natural justice, to practice their values and rules of their religion to their full range - in personal, social or political affairs." The Charter explained what an Islamic state could grant in terms of personal, family and social autonomy to non-Muslims. Objections to the Sudan Charter came from both the non-Muslim side and the Muslim sides in the Sudan.

(5.) It was Abu Ala al-Mawdudi (1903-1979) of the Jamaat-e-Islami of India and Pakistan who formulated an Islamic theory of the state around the concept of al-hakimiyyia l 'illah. According to Mawdudi for the Islamic state to promote virtue and combat evil, it must be totalitarian similar to the communist and fascist states. The Islamists in the Sudan have been strongly influenced Mawdudi's ideas through his writings and as re-articulated by the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb. Al-Turabi later incorporated the hakimiyya doctrine with his idea of the central legislative role of the state. That was reflected in the role he assumed as the chief legislator for the regime. For more information about Mawdudi's ideas about the state see his book The Islamic Law and Constitution.

(6.) The council of forty was a shadowy body that had been picked by Hassan al-Turabi to include his closest and most loyal disciples to set the regime's strategy and act as harmonious political entity after he disbanded the NIF party.

(7.) Ali Osman Mohamed Taha's ascent to power since the last NIF general conference in 1987 when he was elected the deputy secretary general of the party has always been associated to his relationship with Hassan al-Turabi. He has always been perceived as a political character that lacks imagination though an obedient disciple of Hassan al-Turabi. Meanwhile Ali's own low key style, his child-like complexion and his apparent quiet demeanor make many people overlook this manipulative, opportunistic and ruthless character. Ali's ascent to power is a combination of many factors: (a) the expanding numbers of the younger second generation of the Islamists. (b) The frustration of those groups from the control of the older generation over leadership positions for a long time. (c) Their disrespect to the democratic process and the impatience of some of those groups to find a short cut to power through a military coup.

(8.) In 1995 the Sudanese Chief Justice Obied Hag Ali invited the Lawyers Committee, a human rights committee that works to promote international human rights and refugee law and legal procedures in the United State and elsewhere, to visit the Sudan and view the legal system in operation. In April 1995 a search mission delegation of the committee visited the Sudan for two weeks. The report, Beset by Contradictions: Islamization, Legal Reform and Human Rights in Sudan was based on that mission.

(9.) Following the military coup in 1989, the Islamists regime has created restrictions, under the National Security Act, on daily life and all political activity in an effort to maintain control. Secret detention centers notorious for torture and ill treatment, known as ghost houses that turned political detention into detention to a physical and mental torment, were created and operated by the regime trained individuals. The Sudanese refer to the oppressive rules the regime has imposed as the "red line," and anyone who breaks these rules and crosses that line while expressing their political or civil independence, especially members of political parties, trade unions and journalists, is severely tortured in these ghost houses.

(10.) See, for example, the UK based Sudan Victims of Torture Group press releases and documents.

(11.) Satire, jokes and mockery have shaped the Sudanese people's mode of expression all through the years of the Islamis's regime. One of the catchphrases people use these days in the Sudan to describe the greedy new class of the regime black market lords and other new riches is the term alhabaro malo. The term has been reinvented to give a contradicting meaning to its original usage. The original actual meaning of the phrase describe those pious Sufi hermits who scrambled for the praise of Allah and accordingly their souls were filled with satisfaction. The current satirical usage of the term describes a group of Islamist 's new wealth who scrambled for material wealth through ungodly means.

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Author:Gallab, Abdullahi A.
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Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Mar 22, 2001
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