Sunday, May 11, 2008

JEM rebels in a suburb of Khartoum

Sudan Officer
JEM rebels in Khartoum, capital of Sudan
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's failure to stop the rebels reaching Khartoum, his capital, is a blow to both the administration and the prestige of the army. JEM rebels fought Sudanese troops in a suburb of Khartoum. "These forces are Chadian forces originally, they moved from there led by Khalil Ibrahim who is an agent of the Chadian regime. It is a Chadian attack," al-Bashir said. Chadian President Idriss Deby was almost toppled in February by a rebel force that made a lightning attack across Chad from near the Sudanese border. He blamed Omar Hassan al-Bashir, but Sudan denied any involvement. Chad's former colonial power France swung behind Deby when he was attacked earlier this year and remains his main backer.

France has a big component in the European Union's Eufor force near Chad's border with Darfur, which is meant to protect refugees and aid workers.
Jean-Marie Guehenno, the French head of UN peacekeeping operations warned that a reported proxy war between Sudan and Chad through rebel groups on each side of their border threatened to destabilize the region and could lead to a wider conflict.
If the Khartoum government survives, it could mean more support for the Chadian rebels to make another push against Deby.
Regardless of whether the rebels succeed in overthrowing the government, the psychological importance of the attack is huge. Khartoum has been able to live isolated from violence for decades while the Arab-dominated central government's forces have battled rebels from the regions on the peripheries of the vast state.For the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels, it is a boost for their credibility at a time Darfur rebel movements are increasingly fractured.

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