Sudan: Hope Lingers but War Threatens, Plus: South Asia Crisis

General December 10, 2008

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 508 | Wed 10 Dec 2008

In 1983 Sudan's President Numayri violated the 1972 Addis Ababa
peace accord and decreed that Sharia (Islamic) Law would be
implemented across the whole of Sudan. This led to the resumption
of civil war between the Islamist Arab-dominated Government of
Sudan (GoS) in the north and the African non-Muslim, predominantly
Christian south. For more than 20 years the southern 'rebels'
resisted Islamisation and Arabisation despite GoS aerial
bombardments and scorched earth raids by jihadist paramilitaries,
as well as GoS-caused famine and a massive slavery industry. The
war ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA) in January 2005.

Southern leader Dr John Garang had a vision for a New Sudan: one in
which all of Sudan -- not just the South -- would be liberated and
all Sudanese, irrespective of race or religion, would be free and
equal. In pursuit of this vision he sought to unite all Sudan's
various opposition groups to remove the racist and repressive
minority Arab-Islamist regime from power through democratic
elections. The only way to get most Southerners to the table was to
offer them a referendum on separation and independence. Whilst the
CPA provided for a referendum in 2011, Dr Garang's hope was that
over the next six years the situation could be turned around
through elections slated for 2009, and that the equity and liberty
the Southerners longed for would become a reality not only for them
but for all Sudan's marginalised and persecuted peoples.

Only months after the CPA was signed, John Garang died in a
mysterious plane crash. In the years since, the Arab-Islamist
ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum has stalled on
implementing the CPA, leading the Southerners to threaten
separation and the Islamist regime to threaten jihad. (The North
will never let the South separate from Sudan, as all Sudan's oil is
in the south.) However, over recent months Southern leaders have re-
embraced Dr Garang's New Sudan vision. The NCP is a minority
government which can be toppled in elections if there is unity
amongst the opposition and now the Sudan Peoples Liberation
Movement (SPLM)is working towards making this unity a reality. The
NCP knows it cannot win against a united opposition and will
doubtless seek to divide peoples and scuttle the elections,
possibly through escalating conflict.

Oil-rich South Kordofan (Nuba Mountains) is a 'transitional' region
that lies between north and south Sudan and was an ally of the
South during the 21 years of civil war. The region has long been
terrorised by jihadist paramilitaries from the north. In violation
of the CPA, the GoS has recently been deploying thousands of troops
to South Kordofan, allegedly to counter Darfurian rebels who
Khartoum claims are planning to stake a claim there for leverage in
peace talks. Any such defensive action should be taken by Joint
Integrated Units as stated in the CPA -- not Northern forces.
Tensions are extremely high and rising. If war erupts in South
Kordofan it could be very difficult to contain and would doubtless
scuttle the 2009 elections.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT:

* the long-suffering church in Sudan will keep growing in grace,
knowledge and faith, never losing hope or missionary vision.

* the Christian leadership within the (southern) Sudan Peoples
Liberation Movement (SPLM) will be drawn to prayer and God will
give them supernatural wisdom, grace, discernment and strength.

* God will go before these leaders and use them and the SPLM to
bring liberty, equity and justice to all of Sudan; may God
receive all the glory.

* God will intervene against all sin and evil forces trying to
block the liberation of Sudan, uprooting belligerence,
intolerance, corruption and pride so that peace, justice and
liberty may take root, grow and blossom for the benefit of all
Sudanese and the glory of God.

'Now unto him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that
we ask or think . . .' (Ephesians 3:20a ESV)

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SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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HOPE LINGERS IN SUDAN BUT WAR THREATENS

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended the Sudan war
between the Arab, Muslim North and the African, mainly Christian
South. The CPA provides for elections in 2009 and a referendum on
Southern separation in 2011. Southern leader Dr John Garang
believed that if all opposition forces united, then the racist,
Islamist, Arab-dominated regime in Khartoum could be toppled in the
2009 elections and ALL of Sudan would be liberated. When Dr Garang
died mysteriously in 2005 his vision lost its momentum. Tensions
have since escalated as Khartoum has flouted the CPA. However,
Southern leaders are now working at building opposition unity ahead
of the 2009 elections. The regime in Khartoum knows it cannot win
against a united opposition and will doubtless seek to scuttle the
elections, possibly through fomenting conflict. Please pray for
Sudan's liberation.

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* SOUTH ASIA CRISIS UPDATE

The road that runs from Peshawar (north-west Pakistan) to Bagram
(Afghanistan) via the Khyber Pass carries 70 percent of NATO
supplies. If the al-Qaeda-Taliban alliance can cut that supply-line
then NATO is finished in Afghanistan. Early on 7 December, some 160
vehicles in two NATO transport terminals in Peshawar were totally
destroyed in a large militant operation. Another 50 vehicles were
destroyed in an attack on a third supply base the following night.
The battle for Peshawar is pivotal for both Afghanistan and
Pakistan -- and global security. Meanwhile, the Hindu nationalist
BJP continues to lead the call for a strong Indian response to the
Mumbai terror attack. Such a response could jeopardise Pakistan's
battle against jihadists in the north-west, whilst lack of response
could jeopardise the future of the Congress-led government in
India. Pray for God to lead the way so that neither jihadist Islam
nor Hindutva profit from this crisis.

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RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
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Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.