Case study: Sudan; the CIA’s early links with Islamists

Published on Intrepid Report, by Wayne Madsen, July 12, 2013.

A formerly secret CIA “Current Intelligence Weekly Summary,” dated March 19, 1959, provides evidence of the agency’s early cooperation with Islamist sects that were influenced by Saudi-inspired Wahhabists. As early as 1959 and the Dwight Eisenhower administration, CIA analysts were praising Sudan’s Ansar sect, made up of followers of Imam Sayid Abdul Rahman al-Mahdi, who “formed the principal support of the more pro-Western officers” of the Supreme Army Council and the cabinet.  

In many ways, the CIA’s co-option of radical Islamists began during the Cold War in an effort to stymie the spread of Arab communist-led popular fronts that championed secularism over Islamist rule and sharia law. What a different place the Middle East would be today had the CIA not encouraged the Islamists and allowed secular socialism to spring forth in the Arab and Muslim world.

The CIA’s man in Sudan, al-Mahdi, was the son of Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, called the “Mad Mahdi” by the British, whose forces he defeated in the Battle of Khartoum in 1885. The Mahdi had defeated British General Charles George “Chinese” Gordon’s severed head placed between the branches of a tree so stones could be thrown at it. Gordon was an eccentric Christian evangelist who believed the Devil lived on Pitcairn Island in the Pacific.

The Mahdi, who was a messianic figure who imposed sharia law on Mahdist Sudan, died shortly after his victory at the age of 40. His son, who cooperated with the British in World War II, died in 1959 shortly after the CIA gave him high marks. He was succeeded as head of the Ansar sect by his son, Sadiq al-Mahdi.

The Ansar sect formed the Sudanese Umma Party, which cooperated with the Muslim Brotherhood in a series of coalitions. Although Saqiq al-Mahdi served in a number of government positions, including prime minister of Sudan, the Mahdists never achieved full power and a full Mahdist state in Sudan. Last year, Sadiq met with the chairman of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Dr. Mohamed Badie, and affirmed their common goals.

A major leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan ‘Abd Allah al-Turabi, who identified himself as a “Muslim Brother,” praised the 1995 attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia. The attack was reportedly coordinated by Egypt’s Islamic Jihad; Al Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden, who resided in Sudan from 1992 to 1996; and members of the Sudanese government.

However, Turabi, like Bin Laden with the anti-Soviet Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, had a past association with the CIA. Turabi served as a CIA asset in 1984 when he worked with the head of the anti-Muammar Qaddafi Libyan opposition, Dr. Mohammed Yusuf al-Maqrif, to set up anti-Qaddafi Libyan insurgent training camps in Sudan, near the Libyan border. Sudanese leader Jaafar al-Nimeiry, who was a close ally of the United States, named Turabi as his liaison to the CIA in providing support to the Libyan insurgent camps.

In return, Turabi and his Muslim Brotherhood colleagues pressed Nimeiry to impose sharia law on Sudan … //

… (full text).


ECHELON Today: The Evolution of an NSA Black Program, on Dissident Voice, by Tom Burghardt, July 12, 2013;

Snowden, Greenwald, and Assange: The Conspiracy Matrix, on Dissident Voice, by Binoy Kampmark, July 12, 2013;

Everyday ordinary people: taking back our humanity from the jaws of despair, on Intrepid Report, by Larry Pinkney, July 12, 2013;

Econ4 on the New Economy, on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, July 13, 2013;

The USA is 27th (chart), on Real World Economic Review Blog, by David Ruccio, July 12, 2013;

Putting People over Profits: The Fight Against Fracking, on Dissident Voice, by Walter Brasch, July 12, 2013: Pennsylvanians want to put a moratorium on fracking …;

Graph of the day: Investments in the Eurozone, 2000-2013, on Real World Economic Review Blog, by merijnknibbe, July 10, 2013.

Comments are closed.