A unit of Sudan’s new Islamic militia, the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), paraded past. This was the vanguard for PDF forces that with reserves would soon number 100,000-both zealots and conscripts-the Islamic “shock troops” that that year were beginning to replace the regular army on the front line. This platoon was young, carried Korans, and wore worn khaki uniforms donated by Iran. The PDF was heralded as God’s scourge on the rebels, who dreamt of going to Heaven to join the ranks of the martyrs.