SINCE SEIZING POWER in 1989, the National Islamic Front of spiritual leader Hassan al-Turabi and President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has put Sudan on the cutting edge of the Islamic revolution.
They have served as a conduit for Iran's export of terrorism, harbored subversives of neighboring Arab regimes, genocidally suppressed the black Christians of the south and given sanctuary to cultist Christian insurgents in Uganda. This was the regime that sponsored the revival of black slavery in its own country that was exposed by Sun reporters Gregory Kane and Gilbert Lewthwaite last year.
But the Bashir regime is on the ropes. John Garang's People's Liberation Army has reconquered much of the south. Islamic opponents of the Turabi-Bashir tyranny have made common cause with the black and Christian southerners. Insurgents have threatened to sever the lifeline between the capital of Khartoum on the Nile, and Port Sudan on the Red Sea. The regime now appears to be collapsing back on Khartoum and could succumb to a siege.
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright raised the level of U.S. recognition and support of Mr. Garang in a recent meeting. Washington has already indirectly supported him through small amounts of aid to Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea, which despite their denials are helping Sudan's insurgents.
Ms. Albright told Mr. Garang that the U.S. will support his alliance politically as long as it is committed to democratic secular government. She offered political, not material, aid. Mr. Garang made the right responses.
Washington is getting nowhere in its dream of ending other demons, but the Turabi-Bashir tyranny in Sudan may self-destruct under this pressure. The need then will be to ensure that its successor is an improvement, and that the people of Khartoum do not needlessly suffer.
Pub Date: 12/22/97