Monday, May 12, 2008

Sudan: JEM assult highlights peace strategy risks - 12 May 2008

EVENT: Rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement on May 10 launched an assault on Omdurman, a western suburb of Khartoum.

SIGNIFICANCE: Omdurman, situated across the Nile from Khartoum proper, is part of the capital's greater metropolitan area. This is the first time a Darfur rebel group has staged an attack on the capital. Government forces defeated the rebels, but their attack highlights a number of concerns for the government and the wider political situation in Sudan.

ANALYSIS: The full details and repercussions of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attack on Omdurman on Saturday are still emerging. However, the key details and implications are already apparent:

1. Attack. The attack on Omdurman was never going to succeed in toppling the government by force. However, it succeeded to the extent that it presented an audacious and symbolic challenge to the government's control of the capital:

- Objectives. JEM did not expect to capture the capital, but aimed to send a warning to the government and a wider audience, and to test the strength and loyalty of the army and security forces in the capital. JEM has previously staged small attacks outside Darfur, on targets in Western and Northern Kordofan, and it has always held a stronger interest in political change in Khartoum than has the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A). Read more >>>>

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