Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

South Africa

Colonel John Garang’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) played no direct role in the April 6 coup in Khartoum. But as the only organized, fighting resistance to the regime of Ja‘far Numairi, it laid the groundwork by chipping away at the state in a guerrilla campaign that cost the government one million Sudanese pounds ($400,000) a day. The new military rulers have given top priority to ending the rebellion, which has paralyzed vital economic projects and drained army morale and resources for more than two years.

Events elsewhere in the world — elections in Nicaragua, death squads in South Africa and recent decisions by the European Commission — hold much instruction for people concerned with the Middle East. Elections, after all, are not the same as democracy. After ten years of US armed intervention and economic aggression, a majority of Nicaraguans voting on February 25 chose an alternative to 10,000 percent inflation, to pervasive shortages, to the killings and sabotage of the Contras. “Sandinistas Lose the Hunger Vote” was the accurate headline in the Financial Times. The winning opposition front was cobbled together and financed by the State Department.

Colonel John Garang’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) played no direct role in the April 6 coup in Khartoum. But as the only organized, fighting resistance to the regime of Ja‘far Numairi, it laid the groundwork by chipping away at the state in a guerrilla campaign that cost the government one million Sudanese pounds ($400,000) a day. The new military rulers have given top priority to ending the rebellion, which has paralyzed vital economic projects and drained army morale and resources for more than two years.

James Adams, Israel and South Africa: The Unnatural Alliance (London: Quartet Books/Namara, 1985).

James Adams, a senior executive at the Sunday Times of London, scores an overwhelming victory in undermining the thesis of his own title. After even a few pages, his book convinces us, albeit unintentionally, that the Israel-South Africa courtship (and its many consummations) is quite a natural alliance after all, though not without the usual bumps. Mercifully, his remarks on the presumed improbability of the relationship betweeen “a people in flight from racism” and a state “founded on the ideas of racial superiority” absorb little of the author’s energy or the reader’s time.

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