Situation in Sudan underscores more trouble since South Sudan secession

Article by Anita Panait, on November 16, 2012

When South Sudan seceded from Sudan on July 9, 2011, there have been a lot of questions whether the new independent state would be able to flourish on its own. The new country is currently at odds with around seven armed groups in 9 of its 10 states and the interethnic warfare remains prevalent. The country from which South Sudan was born from, Sudan, has been on the edge since 16 months ago, leaving observers to wonder whether it is more frail now. This was evidenced by an event that occurred in a white conference hall in Khartoum in mid-September. Weeks before, right-wing activists in Germany had held up contemptuous cartoons of Prophet Mohammad. This was followed by an Internet-hit film made in the United States insulting the prophet.

At the mid-September conference, a group of Sudan state-backed Muslim clerics called for a peaceful demonstration against those perceived injustices. However, other people in the hall thought the call was too feeble. Over 200 radical Islamists made their way into the hall to demand more violent action. Dhaifullah Hassab Rassul, a radical preacher and long-time ruling party lawmaker, said that the statement was “too weak.”

He grabbed and tore the official statement even as leading state scholar Salah el-Din Awad read it out. To cries of "Allahu Akbar," which means “God is great,” Sheikh Nasser Ridha of the opposition Hizb al-Tahrir (Liberation Party) called for the destruction of the German and American embassies. He called for the blowing up of the embassies, tearing them “stone by stone.” He also called for the destruction of the Republican Palace in Khartoum for allowing the German and US embassies to be in Sudan. This split in Sudan is just one of the highlights of the current scenes in the country, prompting speculation that it might fail first before South Sudan does.

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