Justice and Equality Movement
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|Justice and Equality Movement|
|Participant in the Darfur conflict and the Sudan internal conflict|
|Leaders||Khalil Ibrahim (2000-2012)
Gibril Ibrahim (2012-present)
|Area of operations||Darfur & Kurdufan, Sudan|
|Part of||Sudan Revolutionary Front|
|War in Darfur|
|UNMIS / AMIS / UNAMID|
|History of Darfur|
The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) (Arabic: حركة العدل والمساواة, Ḥarakat al-ʿAdl wal-musāwāh ) is a Sudanese opposition group founded by Khalil Ibrahim, the group has been led since January 2012 by his brother Gibril Ibrahim, as Khalil was killed in December 2011. JEM's political agenda includes issues such as: radical and comprehensive constitutional reform to grant Sudan's regions a greater share of power in ruling the country (one point of this is a rotating presidency), the replacement of social injustice and political tyranny with justice and equality, and basic services for every Sudanese.
Formation and organization
The beginnings of the Justice and Equality Movement trace to the writers of the Black Book, a manuscript published in 2000 that details the structural inequality in the country; the JEM founder, Khalil Ibrahim, was one of the authors. JEM advocates replacing the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir and the ruling Congress Party with a civil, democratic state that respects the rights of Sudan's various ethnic groups, women, and youth. The JEM further committed itself to these principles when it signed the New Dawn Charter in January 2013.
JEM possesses forces numbering around 35,000 and has the largest base and spread of support in Sudan among the groups opposed to the government of president Omar al-Bashir.[according to whom?] Rather than being based on only a few ethnic groups, the membership of the organization is ethnically diverse and has a leadership which includes both Black Africans and Arabs. Illustrating this diversity is the fact that some of the leadership of the group are members of President Bashir's tribe. JEM is part of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of groups opposed to the government in Khartoum that include the Sudan Liberation Movement(Abdul Wahed), the Sudan Liberation Movement (Minnawi), and the Sudan Liberation Movement - North.
History of attacks
In October 2007, the JEM attacked the Defra oilfield in the Kordofan region of Sudan. The Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, a Chinese-led consortium, controls the field. The next month, a group of 135 Chinese engineers arrived in Darfur to work on the Defra field. Ibrahim told reporters, "We oppose them coming because the Chinese are not interested in human rights. [They are] just interested in Sudan's resources." The JEM claims that the revenue from oil sold to China funds the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militia.
On the morning of December 11, 2007, Khalil Ibrahim claimed that JEM forces fought and defeated Sudanese government troops guarding a Chinese-run oilfield in the Kordofan region. Khartoum officials, however, denied that any oil fields had come under attack. Ibrahim said that the attack was part of a JEM campaign to rid Sudan of Chinese-run oilfields and stated that "[The JEM] want all Chinese companies to leave. They have been warned many times. They should not be there."
In May 2008, JEM engaged in its most famous operation against the Sudanese government when it attacked the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. JEM's advance recorded many impressive gains which included temporarily controlling the city of Omdurman, the airport at the Wadi Sayedna military base, 10 miles (16 km) north of Khartoum, and three bridges leading into the capital. The operation ended with heavy battles in the western part of the Sudanese capital that included the government's use of army helicopters to repel the JEM advance. Following this battle, Eltahir Elfaki, the General Secretary of JEM's legislative council, vowed that the war would henceforth be fought across the country, saying that "We haven't changed our tactics. From the beginning, Jem is a national movement and it has a national agenda." Khalil Ibrahim declared that "This is just the start of a process and the end is the termination of this regime".
In April 2013, JEM and its allies in the Sudan Revolutionary Front engaged in many successful attacks against Sudanese government forces. In a raid coordinated between all the parties of the SRF that included the use of 20 vehicles, the opposition forces briefly held the strategic city of Um Rawaba in North Kordofan, located 300 miles (480 km) south of Khartoum. As part of the offensive, JEM and the SRF also gained control of Abu Korshola, a strategic town of 40,000 in South Kordofan. In its bid to retake control, the Sudanese Armed Forces engaged in indiscriminate air raid campaigns. On May 27, the opposition forces withdrew in order to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to the area's residents. Since then, opposition forces continue to engage in offensive operations, leading to dozens of casualties for Sudanese forces around Abu Korshola.
Notes and references
- BBC Staff (24 February 2009) "Who are Sudan's Darfur rebels?" BBC News
- Aljazeera English, Sudan rebels fight to forge new country, 15 April 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZzywqPJ7IE
- "Darfur's strongest rebel group elects new chief" Reuters, 26 January 2012 http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/26/ozatp-sudan-darfurr-idAFJOE80P05T20120126
- Uppsala Conflict Data Program Conflict Encyclopedia, Sudan, General Non-state conflict Information, JEM, Actor Description, viewed 25 July 2013, http://www.ucdp.uu.se/gpdatabase/gpcountry.php?id=145®ionSelect=1-Northern_Africa#
- Sudan Tribune, New Dawn agreement is strategic breakthrough for Sudan, JEM, 15 January 2013 http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45202
- Sudan Tribune, The New Dawn Charter represents a crucial moment for Sudan, 10 January 2013 http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45182
- "Darfur rebels spurn Chinese force". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2007-11-24. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
- "Sudan rebels 'attack oilfield'". Al Jazeera English. 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- Steve Bloomfield, The Independent, Darfur rebels poised to take Khartoum, 11 May 2008
- "Sudan 'repulses' rebel attack", Al Jazeera, May 11, 2008.
- "Sudan leader 'terrified' by arrest", Al Jazeera, May 13, 2008.
- Reuters, Sudan rebels attack city, push closer to capital, 27 April 2013
- Reuters, Sudan's army seizes back town from rebels in oil state, 27 May 2013
- Enough Project, Civilians Caught in the Crossfire: The Bombing of Abu Kershola and Ad Dandour, 10 June 2013, 
- Reuters, Sudan's army seizes back town from rebels in oil state, 27 May 2013 
- Radio Dabanga, ‘SRF kill 14 Sudan government troops in blitz on Abu Karshola, South Kordofan’: Rebels, 9 June 2013, 
- Radio Dabanga, Sudan rebel attack on Abu Karshola ‘kills 30 SAF, downs chopper’, 31 May 2013