The River War - An Account Of The Reconquest Of The Sudan By Winston S. Churchill

















































 -  Nor, upon
the other hand, are there great incentives. The tale is one of war of
the cruellest, bloodiest, and - Page 100
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Nor, Upon The Other Hand, Are There Great Incentives.

The tale is one of war of the cruellest, bloodiest, and most confused type.

One savage army slaughters another. One fierce general cuts his rival's throat. The same features are repeated with wearying monotony. When one battle is understood, all may be imagined. Above the tumult the figure of the Khalifa rises stern and solitary, the only object which may attract the interest of a happier world. Yet even the Khalifa's methods were oppressively monotonous. For although the nature or courage of the revolts might differ with the occasion, the results were invariable; and the heads of all his chief enemies, of many of his generals, of most of his councillors, met in the capacious pit which yawned in Omdurman.

During the thirteen years of his reign Abdullah tried nearly every device by which Oriental rulers have sought to fortify their perilous sovereignty. He shrank from nothing. Self-preservation was the guiding principle of his policy, his first object and his only excuse. Among many wicked and ingenious expedients three main methods are remarkable. First, he removed or rendered innocuous all real or potential rivals. Secondly, he pursued what Sir Alfred Milner has called 'a well-considered policy of military concentration.' Thirdly, he maintained among the desert and riverain people a balance of power on the side of his own tribe. All these three methods merit some attention or illustration.

The general massacre of all possible claimants usually follows the accession of a usurper to an Oriental throne.

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