The NCP in Sudan

Year of Origin:
1940s“Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan,” Oxford Islamic Studies Online, accessed September 30, 2016, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e1641.
Place(s) of Operation:
Sudan

Sudan

The National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan is the successor organization to the Brotherhood-affiliated National Islamic Front (NIF).“National Congress Party (NCP),” Sudan Tribune, accessed September 30, 2016, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?mot137; “Political parties in the fray,” Al Jazeera, April 7, 2010, http://www.aljazeera.com/focus/sudanelection/2010/04/2010479459467505.html#ncp; Andrew Natsios, “Behind the Foiled Coup,” U.S. News & World Report, November 26, 2012, https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2012/11/26/sudans-bashir-government-faces-more-problems-after-failed-coup. Long steeped in controversy, the NCP and its precursors have associated themselves with such notorious terrorists as Osama bin Laden and a variety of extremist groups including al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Greg Botelho, Sudanese Islamist leader, bin Laden ally Hassan al-Turabi dies,” CNN, March 5, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/05/africa/sudan-hassan-al-turabi-dies/; “Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm. Although formally registered as a political party, NCP precursors have at times embraced genocidal violence against the country’s non-Muslims to advance their Islamist agenda.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm; Ahmed Kodouda, “Sudan’s Islamist Resurrection: al-Turabi and the Successor Regime,” African Arguments, February 24, 2016, http://africanarguments.org/2016/02/24/sudans-islamist-resurrection-al-turabi-and-the-successor-regime/; “Darfur Genocide,” World Without Genocide, accessed October 12, 2016, http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/darfur-genocide. Sudanese President and NCP chairman Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir currently stands accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide for his violence against religious and ethnic groups throughout Sudan.“National Congress Party (NCP),” Sudan Tribune, accessed September 30, 2016, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?mot137; “Darfur Genocide,” World Without Genocide, accessed October 12, 2016, http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/darfur-genocide.

The Brotherhood first took root in Sudan in 1949, when a group of Sudanese students returning from Egypt decided to form a Brotherhood outpost. At the time, the students allied themselves with the country’s Ansar-Umma, an Islamist political bloc advocating for Sudanese independence from the British government.“Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan,” Oxford Islamic Studies, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e1641; “National Islamic Front,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/political-parties-nif.htm. In 1963, however, the Sudanese Brotherhood formed its own political party, the Islamic Charter Front (ICF), which advocated for the national adoption of an Islamist constitution.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm; “Islamic Charter Front,” Oxford Islamic Studies, accessed October 11, 2016, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e1095. Headed by its secretary-general Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi—then the dean of the law school at the University of Khartoum—the ICF primarily recruited on university campuses in an effort to enlist young, well-educated members.“Islamic Charter Front,” Oxford Islamic Studies, accessed October 11, 2016, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e1095; “Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm.

After a military coup in 1969, Sudanese President Nafar al-Numayri abolished all other political parties, effectively dissolving the ICF.“Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan,” Oxford Islamic Studies, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e1641; “Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm. Following political transition in 1985, Turabi reorganized the former ICF into the National Islamic Front (NIF),“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm; “Sudan profile – Timeline,” BBC News, January 10, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14095300. which pushed for an Islamist constitution and refused to support a 1989 U.N. peace agreement.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm; “National Islamic Front,” Global Security, accessed February 17, 2017, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/political-parties-nif.htm. The NIF ultimately backed another military coup bringing to power Sudanese Colonel Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, who publicly endorsed the NIF’s Islamist agenda.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm; “Sudan profile – Timeline,” BBC News, January 10, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14095300. James Petermeier, “Sudan,” World Without Genocide, 2012, http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/wwg/genocides-and-conflicts/sudan. Bashir has remained president of the Sudanese government since 1989 and, under the guidance of now-deceased political adviser Turabi, implemented a version of sharia (Islamic law) throughout Sudan.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm; “Profile: Sudan’s Islamist leader,” BBC News, January 15, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3190770.stm; “Profile: Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir,” BBC News, April 6, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-16010445.

Under Turabi’s stewardship, the NIF established ties with a variety of terrorist actors, including al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as Ali Mohamed, an al-Qaeda operative convicted by the U.S. government for organizing the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.“Who Is Bin Laden?” PBS Frontline, accessed February 22, 2017, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html; Greg Botelho, “Sudanese Islamist leader, bin Laden ally Hassan al-Turabi dies,” CNN, March 5, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/05/africa/sudan-hassan-al-turabi-dies/; Jonathan Schanzer, “Pariah State: Examining Sudan’s Support for Terrorism,” Defend Democracy, July 5, 2012, http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/pariah-state-examining-sudans-support-for-terrorism/. Soon after Bashir’s 1989 coup, Turabi encouraged bin Laden to relocate his operations to Sudan. In 1991, bin Laden accepted Turabi’s invitation, promising to fight alongside the NIF against Christian separatists in southern Sudan in exchange for safe haven.“Who Is Bin Laden?” PBS Frontline, accessed February 22, 2017, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html; Greg Botelho, “Sudanese Islamist leader, bin Laden ally Hassan al-Turabi dies,” CNN, March 5, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/05/africa/sudan-hassan-al-turabi-dies/

Turabi is also responsible for building Sudan’s ties to representatives from other terrorist groups. From 1991 to 2000, Turabi founded and ran the Popular Arab and Islamic Congress (PAIC), an annual conference that attempted to unify global terrorist leaders as a cohesive force against Western world powers. PAIC congregations hosted leaders and representatives from the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm. In response to these and other activities, Sudan was placed on the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993.“Who Is Bin Laden?” PBS Frontline, accessed February 22, 2017, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html.

In addition to meeting with terrorist and extremist groups, Turabi stands accused of carrying out gross human rights violations, including the forced use of child soldiers, in pursuit of his Islamist agenda. In the 1990s, Turabi organized the NIF’s “Civilization Project,” a program that was designed to encourage Sudanese youths to carry out violence against the country’s Christian population.Ahmed Kodouda, “Sudan’s Islamist Resurrection: al-Turabi and the Successor Regime,” African Arguments, February 24, 2016, http://africanarguments.org/2016/02/24/sudans-islamist-resurrection-al-turabi-and-the-successor-regime/; “Sudan’s Islamist Regime: The Rise and Fall of the ’Civilization Project’,” Democracy First Group, accessed November 3, 2016, http://www.democracyfirstgroup.org/sudans-islamist-regime-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-civilization-project/. Turabi also worked to remove non-Islamists from the government entities, including in the civil service, military, and security sectors. Non-Islamists were reportedly subjected to torture as part of Turabi’s efforts to implement sharia within Sudan.Ahmed Kodouda, “Sudan’s Islamist Resurrection: al-Turabi and the Successor Regime,” African Arguments, February 24, 2016, http://africanarguments.org/2016/02/24/sudans-islamist-resurrection-al-turabi-and-the-successor-regime/.

In 1996, following years of pressure from the United States and other Western governments, Bashir expelled bin Laden from Sudan, and began efforts to rebrand his party.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm; “Bin Laden’s Sudan links remain,” BBC News, September 23, 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1559624.stm. In 1998, Bashir created the National Congress Party (NCP), effectively dissolving the NIF. The NCP, unlike its NIF precursor, de-emphasized its Islamist agenda and instead focused on garnering widespread support for Bashir.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm; “Profile: Sudan’s Islamist leader,” BBC News, January 15, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3190770.stm; “National Congress Party (NCP),” Sudan Tribune, accessed September 30, 2016, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?mot137.

In order to publicly distance the NCP from its history of violent Islamism, Bashir removed Turabi from his position as the NCP’s secretary-general. Turabi, who disapproved of the party’s rebranding, broke off from the NCP to form the Popular National Congress Party (PNCP) in 1999.“National Congress Party (NCP),” Sudan Tribune, accessed September 30, 2016, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?mot137; “Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm; “Popular Congress Party (PCP), Sudan Tribune, accessed March 1, 2017, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?mot320. Bashir immediately countered Turabi by establishing the NCP-affiliated Islamic Movement (IM) to serve as a counterbalance to the Islamist PNCP.“Islamic Movement,” Sudan Tribune, accessed October 11, 2016, http://www.sudantribune.com/+-Islamic-Movement,837-+. Although Turabi’s PNCP remains openly Islamist in its agenda, the party claims that it is not affiliated with the global Brotherhood movement.Popular Congress Party, Popular National Congress Party (PNCP),” Global Security, accessed October 11, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/political-parties-pcp.htm.

Following Turabi’s split from Bashir in 2000, the NCP surged in popularity, garnering 5 million members by 2009.“National Congress Party (NCP),” Global Security, accessed October 11, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/political-parties-ncp.htm; “National Congress Party (NCP),” Sudan Tribune, accessed September 30, 2016, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?mot137. Despite Bashir’s efforts to rebrand his party, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest in 2009, charging him with crimes against humanity and war crimes. In 2010, the ICC issued an additional arrest warrant for Bashir, charging him with three counts of genocide.“Darfur Genocide,” World Without Genocide, accessed October 12, 2016, http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/darfur-genocide; “Al Bashir Case,” International Criminal Court, accessed February 23, 2017, https://www.icc-cpi.int/darfur/albashir. According to the ICC, Bashir has funded and armed Islamist militias known as the Janjaweed in western Sudan. The Janjaweed are responsible for slaughtering more than 480,000 men, women, and children since 2003.“Darfur Genocide,” World Without Genocide, accessed October 12, 2016, http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/darfur-genocide.

Although Bashir has not complied with the ICC’s warrants, his party has received backlash in the form of sporadic public protests.“Darfur Genocide,” World Without Genocide, accessed October 12, 2016, http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/darfur-genocide. Bashir managed to win re-election in April 2015, although the NCP conceded after pressure from the African Union (AU) that there was a significantly lower voter turn-out than in previous elections. Only a third of the country’s registered voters took to the polls, according to the AU’s findings, while protesters engaged in violent clashes between government forces and opposition groups.Morgan Winsor, “Sudan Elections 2015: Ruling National Congress Party Admits Low Voter Turnout After Government Dismissed Remarks About Poor Participation,” International Business Times, April, 21, 2015, http://www.ibtimes.com/sudan-elections-2015-ruling-national-congress-party-admits-low-voter-turnout-after-1890083.

Bashir’s NCP has, since December 2016, begun expelling dozens of alleged Brotherhood members from the country in an apparent effort to improve relations with neighboring Egypt. In January 2017, Bashir and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi agreed to begin a new phase of bilateral relations.“Sudan seen abandoning Muslim Brotherhood to repair relations with Egypt,” World Tribune, February 16, 2017, http://www.worldtribune.com/sudan-seen-abandoning-muslim-brotherhood-to-repair-relations-with-egypt/; Shounaz Meky, “Is Sudan abandoning the Muslim Brotherhood to mend ties with Egypt?”, Al Arabiya, February 15, 2017, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/02/15/Is-Sudan-abandoning-Muslim-Brotherhood-to-mend-ties-with-Egypt-.html. Nonetheless, some Sudanese Brotherhood members continue to hold leadership roles in the NCP and Sudanese government, including Speaker of the National Assembly Ibrahim Ahmed Omer and Minister of Defense Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein.Esther Spraqgue, “A Terrorist Goes to Washington,” Huffington Post, February 20, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-terrorist-goes-to-washington_us_58ab5aede4b029c1d1f88d98; “Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein,” Sudan Tribune, accessed February 23, 2017, http://www.sudantribune.com/+-Abdel-Rahim-Mohamed-Hussein,593-+.

History

 

Violent Activities

The Sudanese Brotherhood has been complicit in human rights abuses and genocide in Sudan. The group’s leadership—including former NIF leader Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi, and Sudanese President and NCP leader Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir—have also been accused of carrying out widespread human rights abuses.“National Congress Party (NCP),” Sudan Tribune, accessed September 30, 2016, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?mot137; “Darfur Genocide,” World Without Genocide, accessed October 12, 2016, http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/darfur-genocide.

Brotherhood-linked Sudanese political parties NIF and NCP have been implicated in violence throughout Sudan. The NIF launched a genocidal war in southern Sudan during its rule from 1989 and 1998. In 1993, the United States designated NIF-led Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism for allowing al-Qaeda to operate and train within the country.“Who Is Bin Laden?” PBS Frontline, accessed February 22, 2017, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html; “Country Reports on Terrorism 2015,” U.S. Department of State, June 2016, 301, https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258249.pdf. Concurrent 1999 U.S. congressional bills condemned the NIF-led Sudanese government for “for terrorism, and continued human rights violations.”“H.Con.Res.75 - Condemning the National Islamic Front (NIF) government for its genocidal war in southern Sudan, support for terrorism, and continued human rights violations, and for other purposes,” Congress.gov, accessed March 27, 2017, https://www.congress.gov/bill/106th-congress/house-concurrent-resolution/75/text. The congressional resolutions further accused the NIF of allowing Sudan to become a “refuge and training hub” for international terrorist groups including al-Qaeda.“H.Con.Res.75 - Condemning the National Islamic Front (NIF) government for its genocidal war in southern Sudan, support for terrorism, and continued human rights violations, and for other purposes,” Congress.gov, accessed March 27, 2017, https://www.congress.gov/bill/106th-congress/house-concurrent-resolution/75/text. Following the NIF’s 1998 dissolution, the Sudanese government, led by Brotherhood-affiliated NCP, has continued to support global terrorist movements, harboring groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah to operate within Sudan.“Who Is Bin Laden?” PBS Frontline, accessed February 22, 2017, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/etc/cron.html; “Country Reports on Terrorism 2015,” U.S. Department of State, June 2016, 301, https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258249.pdf.

Sudanese Brotherhood-affiliated leaders have also been linked to violence. While leading the NIF, Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi—then a close adviser to Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir—established ties with a number of extremist individuals, most notoriously Osama bin Laden. In 1989, Turabi invited the al-Qaeda founder to “transplant his whole organization to Sudan,” according to the U.S. 9/11 Commission report.National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, and Lee Hamilton. 2004. The 9/11 Commission report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (Washington, D.C.): 57, http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf; Greg Botelho, Sudanese Islamist leader, bin Laden ally Hassan al-Turabi dies,” CNN, March 5, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/05/africa/sudan-hassan-al-turabi-dies/; Lawrence Joffe, “Hassan al-Turabi obituary,” Guardian (London), March 11, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/11/hassan-al-turabi-obituary. As part of his push to implement sharia in Sudan, Turabi is reported to have carried out gross human rights violations during which non-Muslims were reportedly subjected to torture.Ahmed Kodouda, “Sudan’s Islamist Resurrection: al-Turabi and the Successor Regime,” African Arguments, February 24, 2016, http://africanarguments.org/2016/02/24/sudans-islamist-resurrection-al-turabi-and-the-successor-regime/; “Sudan’s Islamist Regime: The Rise and Fall of the ’Civilization Project’,” Democracy First Group, accessed November 3, 2016, http://www.democracyfirstgroup.org/sudans-islamist-regime-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-civilization-project/. Turabi openly referred to Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war as “jihad” against the separatists.Lawrence Joffe, “Hassan al-Turabi obituary,” Guardian (London), March 11, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/11/hassan-al-turabi-obituary; “Profile: Sudan’s Islamist leader,” BBC News, January 15, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3190770.stm; “Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm

Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir has also carried out human rights violations. Specifically, the International Criminal Court has accused Bashir of carrying out crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide against religious and ethnic groups throughout Sudan.“National Congress Party (NCP),” Sudan Tribune, accessed September 30, 2016, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?mot137; “Darfur Genocide,” World Without Genocide, accessed October 12, 2016, http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/darfur-genocide; “Al Bashir Case,” International Criminal Court, accessed February 23, 2017, https://www.icc-cpi.int/darfur/albashir. Alongside Turabi, Bashir launched a series of violent attacks against the country’s non-Muslim population during Sudan’s civil war in the 1990s.“Profile: Sudan’s Islamist leader,” BBC News, January 15, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3190770.stm; “Profile: Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir,” BBC News, April 6, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-16010445. When Darfuri rebels began their uprising against the Sudanese government in 2005, Bashir backed Arab Janjaweed militias, which committed mass murder and rape against the black Christian population.“Profile: Sudan’s Islamist leader,” BBC News, January 15, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3190770.stm. These militias ultimately killed more than 480,000 people and displaced more than 2.8 million.“Darfur Genocide,” World Without Genocide, accessed October 12, 2016, http://worldwithoutgenocide.org/genocides-and-conflicts/darfur-genocide. In March 2009 and again in July 2010, the International Criminal Court issued warrants for Bashir’s arrest for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.“Al Bashir Case,” International Criminal Court, accessed February 23, 2017, https://www.icc-cpi.int/darfur/albashir.

Ties to Extremist Groups

In 1989, the NIF, led by Brotherhood member Hassan al-Turabi, allied itself with Osama bin Laden, inviting him to set up a base of operations for al-Qaeda in Sudan. Al-Qaeda representatives have also attended Turabi’s now-defunct Popular Arab and Islamic Congress (PAIC), an annual conference from 1991 to 2000 that brought together global Islamist militant leaders in an effort to unite against the West.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm.

Representatives from Hamas took part in Turabi’s now-defunct PAIC, an annual congregation of global Islamist militant leaders last organized in 2000.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm

Representatives from Hamas took part in Turabi’s now-defunct PAIC, an annual congregation of global Islamist militant leaders last organized in 2000.“Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi,” Global Security, accessed October 7, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/sudan/turabi.htm.

Designations by Governments and Organizations

For a complete list of countries and organizations that have designated the Muslim Brotherhood, please see the Muslim Brotherhood's full report