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Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir ( , born 1 January 1944) is the current President of Sudanmarker and the head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a colonel in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi.

In October 2004, al-Bashir's government negotiated an end to the Second Sudanese Civil War, one of the longest-running and deadliest wars of the 20th century, by granting limited autonomy to Southern Sudanmarker. Since then, however, there has been a violent conflict in Darfur that has resulted in death tolls between 200,000 and 400,000. During his presidency, there have been several violent struggles between the Janjaweed militia and rebel groups such as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the form of guerilla warfare in the Darfur region. The civil war has resulted in over 2.5 million people being displaced, and the diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chadmarker being at a crisis level.

In July 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, accused al-Bashir of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on 4 March 2009 on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him for genocide. The warrant will be delivered to the Sudanese government, which is unlikely to execute it. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC. The court's decision is opposed by the African Union, League of Arab States, Non-Aligned Movement, and the governments of Russia and China. One expert has called on the court to suspend the arrest warrant.

Al-Bashir is a candidate in the upcoming 2010 Sudanese presidential election, the first democratic election with multiple political parties participating in ten years. His political rival is Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit, current leader of the SPLA.


Al-Bashir was born in the village Hoshe Bannaga, then part of the Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan. He received his primary education there, and his family later moved to Khartoummarker, where he completed his secondary education. Al-Bashir is married to his cousin Fatima Khalid. He also has a second wife named Widad Babiker Omer, who had a number of children with her first husband Ibrahim Shamsaddin, a member of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, who died in a helicopter crash. Al-Bashir does not have any children of his own.

He joined the Sudanese Army in 1960 and studied at the Egyptian Military Academy in Cairomarker, as well as graduating from the Sudan Military Academy in Khartoum in 1966. He quickly rose through the ranks and became a paratrooper. Later, al-Bashir served with the Egyptian Army during the October War (Yom Kippur War) of 1973 against Israelmarker.


1989 military coup

When he returned to Sudanmarker as a colonel in the Sudanese Army, al-Bashir led a group of army officers in ousting the unstable coalition government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi in a bloodless military coup on 30 June 1989. Under al-Bashir's leadership, the new military government suspended political parties and introduced an Islamic legal code on the national level. He then became Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (a newly established body with legislative and executive powers for what was described as a transitional period), and assumed the posts of chief of state, prime minister, chief of the armed forces, and minister of defense. Subsequent to al-Bashir's promotion to the Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, he allied himself with Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the National Islamic Front, who along with al-Bashir began institutionalizing Sharia law in the northern part of Sudan. Further on, al-Bashir issued purges and executions in the upper ranks of the army, the banning of associations, political parties, and independent newspapers and the imprisonment of leading political figures and journalists.


On 16 October 1993, al-Bashir's powers increased when he appointed himself President of the country, after which he disbanded the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation and all other rival political parties. The executive and legislative powers of the council were later given to al-Bashir completely. In the early 1990s, al-Bashir's administration gave the green light to float a new currency called Sudanese Dinar to replace the battered old Sudanese Pound that had lost 90 percent of its worth during the turbulent 1980s. He was later elected president (with a five-year term) in the 1996 national election, where he was the only candidate by law to run for election and Hassan al-Turabi was elected to a seat in the National Assembly where he served as speaker of the National Assembly "during the 1990s." In 1998, al-Bashir and the Presidential Committee put into effect a new constitution, allowing limited political associations in opposition to al-Bashir's National Congress Party and his supporters to be formed, although these groups failed to gain any significant access to governmental power until the Darfur conflict became a subject. On 12 December 1999, al-Bashir sent troops and tanks against parliament and ousted Hassan al-Turabi, the speaker of parliament, in a palace coup. However, despite receiving international criticism regarding internal conflicts, Omar al-Bashir has managed to achieve economic growth in Sudan. This is because of the drilling and trading with oil from Southern Sudanmarker, with Chinesemarker and Russianmarker firms participating.

Tensions with al-Turabi

In the mid-1990s, a feud between al-Bashir and al-Turabi began, mostly due to al-Turabi's links to Islamic fundamentalist groups, as well as allowing them to operate out of Sudan, even personally inviting Osama bin Laden to the country.

The United Statesmarker had listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993, mostly due to al-Bashir and Hassan al-Turabi taking complete power in the early 1990s. U.S. firms have been barred from doing business in Sudan since 1997. In 1998, the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factorymarker in Khartoummarker was destroyed by a U.S. cruise missile strike because of its alleged production of chemical weapons and links to al-Qaeda. However the U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research wrote a report in 1999 questioning the attack on the factory, suggesting that the connection to bin Laden was not accurate; James Risen reported in the New York Times: "Now, the analysts renewed their doubts and told Assistant Secretary of State Phyllis Oakley that the C.I.A.'s evidence on which the attack was based was inadequate. Ms. Oakley asked them to double-check; perhaps there was some intelligence they had not yet seen. The answer came back quickly: There was no additional evidence. Ms. Oakley called a meeting of key aides and a consensus emerged: Contrary to what the Administration was saying, the case tying Al Shifa to Mr. bin Laden or to chemical weapons was weak."

After being re-elected President of Sudan with a five-year-term in the 1996 election with 75.7 percent of the votes, al-Bashir issued the registration of legalised political parties in 1999 after being influenced by al-Turabi. Rival parties such as the Liberal Democrats of Sudan and the Alliance of the Peoples' Working Forces, headed by former Sudanese President Gaafar Nimeiry, were established and were allowed to run for election against al-Bashir's National Congress Party, however, they failed to achieve significant support, and al-Bashir was re-elected President, receiving 86.5 percent of the vote in the 2000 presidential election. At the legislative elections that same year, al-Bashir's National Congress Party won 355 out of 360 seats, with al-Turabi as its chairman. However, after al-Turabi introduced a bill to reduce the president's powers, prompting al-Bashir to dissolve parliament and declare a state of emergency, tensions began to rise between al-Bashir and al-Turabi. Reportedly, al-Turabi was suspended as Chairman of National Congress Party, after he urged a boycott of the President's re-election campaign. Then, a splinter-faction led by al-Turabi, the Popular National Congress Party (PNC) signed an agreement with Sudan People's Liberation Army, which led al-Bashir to believe that they were plotting to overthrow him and the government.

Further on, al-Turabi's influence and that of his party's "'internationalist' and ideological wing" waned "in favor of the 'nationalist' or more pragmatic leaders who focus on trying to recover from Sudan's disastrous international isolation and economic damage that resulted from ideological adventurism." At the same time Sudan worked to appease the United States and other international critics by expelling members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and encouraging bin Laden to leave.

On al-Bashir's orders, al-Turabi was imprisoned based on allegations of conspiracy in 2000 before being released in October 2003. He was again imprisoned in the Kober (Cooper) prison in Khartoum in March 2004. He was released on 28 June 2005, in the height of the peace agreement in the civil war.

Civil war

Civil war had raged between the northern and southern halves of the country for over 19 years between the northern Arab tribes and native southern African tribes, but the war soon effectively developed into a struggle between the Sudan People's Liberation Army and al-Bashir's government. The war resulted in millions of southerners being displaced, starved, and deprived of education and health care, with almost two million casualties. Because of these actions, various international sanctions were placed on Sudan. International pressure intensified in 2001, however, and leaders from the United Nations called for al-Bashir to make efforts to end the conflict and allow humanitarian and international workers to deliver relief to the southern regions of Sudan. Much progress was made throughout 2003. The peace was consolidated with the official signing by both sides of the Nairobi Comprehensive Peace Agreement 9 January 2005, granting Southern Sudanmarker autonomy for six years, to be followed by a referendum about independence. It created a co-vice president position and allowed the north and south to split oil deposits equally, but also left both the north's and south's armies in place. John Garang, the south's peace agreement appointed co-vice president died in a helicopter crash on 1 August 2005, three weeks after being sworn in. This resulted in riots, but the peace was eventually re-established and allowed the southerners to vote in a referendum of independence at the end of the six year period, which will be in 2011.

Darfur conflict

As the conflict in the south of Sudan began to subside, a new conflict had already begun in the western province of Darfurmarker in early 2003. Unlike the Second Sudanese Civil War, this is believed to be an ethnic, rather than a religious war. The ethnic cleansing towards the non-Afro-Arab population by the Janjaweed militia has reportedly reached a death toll between 200,000 to 400,000, while the Sudanese government has denied this, saying the number of people who are killed in the conflict are less than 10,000.

The Sudanese government has been accused of suppressing information by jailing and killing witnesses since 2004, and tampering with evidence, such as covering up mass graves). The Sudanese government has also arrested and harassed journalists, thus limiting the extent of press coverage of the situation in Darfur. While the United States government has described the conflict as genocide, the UN has not recognized the conflict as such. (see List of declarations of genocide in Darfur).

In March 2007 the UN mission accused Sudan's government of orchestrating and taking part in "gross violations" in Darfur and called for urgent international action to protect civilians there.After fighting stopped in July and August, on 31 August 2006, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 1706 which called for a new 20,600-troop UN peacekeeping force called UNAMID to supplant or supplement a poorly funded and ill-equipped 7,000-troop African Union Mission in Sudan peacekeeping force. Sudan strongly objected to the resolution and said that it would see the UN forces in the region as foreign invaders. The next day, the Sudanese military launched a major offensive in the region.

The United States Government claimed in September 2004 "that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the Government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility and that genocide may still be occurring." Al-Bashir declared that the government had squashed the rebellion in February 2004, but rebels still operate within the region and the death toll continues to rise.

On 29 June 2004, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with al-Bashir in Sudan and urged him to make peace with the rebels, end the crisis, and lift restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian aid to Darfur. Kofi Annan met with al-Bashir three days later and demanded that he disarm the Janjaweed. A high-level technical consultation was held in Addis Ababamarker, Ethiopiamarker on 11–12 June 2007, pursuant to the 4 June 2007 letters of the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, which were addressed to al-Bashir. The technical consultations were attended by delegations from the Government of Sudan, the African Union and the United Nations.

During an interview with Sir David Frost for the Al Jazeera English programme Frost Over The World in June 2008, al-Bashir insisted that no more than 10,000 had died in Darfur.

Arrest warrant

Al-Bashir is accused of directing attacks against civilians in Darfur

On 14 July 2008, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, alleged that al-Bashir bore individual criminal responsibility for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since 2003 in Darfur. The prosecutor accused al-Bashir of having “masterminded and implemented” a plan to destroy the three main ethnic groups, the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa, with a campaign of murder, rape and deportation. The arrest warrant is supported by NATOmarker, the Genocide Intervention Network, and Amnesty International.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on 4 March 2009, indicting him on five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape) and two counts of war crimes (pillaging and intentionally directing attacks against civilians).International Criminal Court (4 March 2009). . Retrieved on 4 March 2009. The court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him for genocide. However, one of the three judges wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that there were "reasonable grounds to believe that Omar Al Bashir has committed the crime of genocide".International Criminal Court (4 March 2009). . Retrieved on 4 March 2009. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC. However, the Arab League and the African Union condemned the warrant. al-Bashir has since visited Egyptmarker and Qatarmarker. Both countries refused to arrest him and surrender him to the ICC upon arrival. Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Amnesty International claimed that al-Bashir's plane could be intercepted in International Airspace. Sudan announced that the presidential plane would always be escorted by fighter jets of the Sudanese Air Force to prevent his arrest.

The charges against President al-Bashir have been strongly rejected. President of Libyamarker and Chairman of the African Union Muammar al-Gadaffi characterized the indictment as a form of terrorism. He also believes that the warrant is an attempt "by (the west) to recolonise their former colonies. Egypt said, it was "greatly disturbed" by the ICC decision and called for an emergency meeting of the UN security council to defer the arrest warrant. The Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa expressed that the organization emphasizes its solidarity with Sudan. The ICC warrant was condemned for "undermining the unity and stability of Sudan". The Organization of the Islamic Conference denounced the warrant as unwarranted and totally unacceptable. It was argued that the warrant demonstrates selectivity and double standards with concern to war crimes. There have been large demonstrations by Sudanese people supporting President Bashir and opposing the ICC charges. Others argue the warrant sets a dangerous precedent in international relations and could hamper efforts to bring peace to Sudan.

Al-Bashir has rejected the charges, saying "Whoever has visited Darfur, met officials and discovered their ethnicities and tribes ... will know that all of these things are lies." He described the charges as "not worth the ink they are written in". The warrant will be delivered to the Sudanese government, which has stated that it will not carry it out. Despite a UN security council resolution which states that Sudan must cooperate with the ICC, Sudan does not recognise the International Criminal Court. Sudan is not a state party to the Rome Statute, and claims that it does not have to execute the warrant because of this. Amnesty International stated that al-Bashir must turn himself in to face the charges, and that the Sudanese authorities must detain him and turn him over to the ICC if he refuses.

The Sudanese government retaliated against the warrant by expelling a number of international aid agencies, including Oxfam and Mercy Corps. President Bashir described the aid agencies as thieves who take "99 percent of the budget for humanitarian work themselves, giving the people of Darfur 1 percent" and as spies in the work of foreign regimes. Bashir promised that national agencies will provide aid to Darfur.

During a visit to Egyptmarker, al-Bashir was not arrested, leading to condemnation by Amnesty International. In October 2009 al-Bashir was invited to Uganda by President Yoweri Museveni for an African Union meeting in Kampalamarker, but did not attend after protest by several NGOs. On October 23, 2009, al-Bashir was invited to Nigeriamarker by President Umaru Yar'Adua for another AU meeting, and was not arrested. In November, he was invited to Turkeymarker for an OIC meeting. Later, he was invited to Denmarkmarker to attend conferences on climate change in Copenhagenmarker.

See also


  1. BBC NEWS World Africa | Q&A: Sudan's Darfur conflict
  3. People's Daily Online - Darfur peace talks to resume in Abuja on Tuesday: AU
  4. Hundreds Killed in Attacks in Eastern Chad -
  5. BBC NEWS | Africa | Sudan cuts Chad ties over attack
  6. BBC News, 4 March 2009. Warrant issued for Sudan's Bashir . Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  7. DAILY NATION - After Bashir warrant, Sudan united in protest
  8. Alex de Waal, "Dangerous Weeks Ahead"
  9. SudanTribune article : SPLM Kiir to run for president in Sudan 2009 elections
  10. SudanTribune article : Eastern Sudan Beja, SPLM discuss electoral alliance
  11. BBC NEWS | Africa | Profile: Sudan's President Bashir
  12. Kepel, Jihad (2002), p.181
  13. Profile: Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan | World news |
  14. New York Times, 16 March 1996, p.4
  15. The Appendix of the 9/11 Commission Report
  16. Stefano Bellucci, "Islam and Democracy: The 1999 Palace Coup," Middle East Policy 7, no. 3 (June 2000):168
  17. War in Sudan? Not Where the Oil Wealth Flows – New York Times
  18. War in Sudan? Not Where the Oil Wealth Flows -
  19. - Families of USS Cole Victims Sue Sudan for $105 Million - Local News News Articles National News | US News
  20. Bin Laden uses Iraq to plot new attacks
  21. The Nation | Unconventional Wisdom Since 1865
  22. [1]
  23. Risen, James (October 27, 1999). "To Bomb Sudan Plant, or Not: A Year Later, Debates Rankle
  24. Profile: Sudan's President Bashir
  25. Fuller, The Future of Political Islam, (2003), p.111
  26. Wright, The Looming Tower, (2006), p.221–3
  27. Wasil Ali, "Sudanese Islamist opposition leader denies link with Darfur rebels", Sudan Tribune, 13 May 2008.
  28. Morrison, J. Stephen and Alex de Waal. "Can Sudan Escape its Intractability?" Grasping the Nettle: Analyzing Cases of Intractable Conflict. Eds. Crocker, Chester A., Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace, 2005, p. 162
  29. BBC NEWS | Africa | Sudan bids rebel leader farewell
  30. The Genocide in Darfur — Briefing Paper Save Darfur
  31. Sudan president charged with genocide in Darfur, Associated Press.
  32. Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General (PDF), United Nations, 25 January 2005
  33. U.S. Calls Killings In Sudan Genocide
  34. Al Jazeera English - FROST OVER THE WORLD - Darfur special
  35. International Criminal Court (4 March 2009). " ICC issues a warrant of arrest for Omar Al Bashir, President of Sudan ". Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  36. France 24 | Bashir in Doha before start of Arab summit | France 24
  37. Uproar in Sudan over Bashir war crimes warrant
  38. Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Arab leaders snub al-Bashir warrant
  39. OIC backs Sudan's Bashir, slams ICC
  40. Arrest warrant against al-Bashir triggers int'l concern_English_Xinhua
  41. International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Sudan's leader - 2 | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire
  42. [ SUDAN: The case against Bashir]
  43. Amnesty International - Document - Sudan: Amnesty International calls for arrest of President Al Bashir. 4 March 2009
  44. BBC News, 27 July 2008. Sudan ICC charges concern Mbeki. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  45. ICC issues arrest warrant for Sudanese President al Bashir | Amnesty International
  46. CNN (4 March 2009). " Sudan orders aid agency expulsions". Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  47. UNHCR | Refworld | Sudan: We will fill the aid gaps, government insists

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