Sudan: Dangerous Regression.
Featured Image: South Sudan’s presidential guard await the arrival of foreign dignitaries invited to participate in the country’s official independence celebrations in the capital city of Juba. By Steve Evans, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
As of Monday morning, 25 October 2021, the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Handok and certain civilian members of the Transitional Sovereignty Council (as the government was called) have been put under arrest, and the military have retaken control. General Abdel-Fattah al-Burham who heads the military faction has said that a “technocratic administration” will be put into place until July 2023 when elections will be held. Currently, there are protests by civilians on the streets of the major cities, but the impact of these protests in uncertain. The situation can evolve in unpredictable ways.
the Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Handok. I was honored to meet @SudanPMHamdok, the first Sudanese leader to visit Washington in 34 years. As Sudan undergoes a historic political transition, I look forward to supporting Hamdok’s ambitious reform agenda and greater freedom for the Sudanese people. By Office of Senator Chris Coons, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, 18th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement gets underway in Baкu. By President.az, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Armed Conflict in Darfur.
In April 2019, persistent street protests led to the end of the government of General Omar Al-Bachir who had been in power since 1989. He had faced a long-running civil war with the south of Sudan, as well as armed conflict, largely tribal based, in Darfur. The economy of the country was in bad shape. Part of the anti Al-Bachir movement had economic motivations. However, there was also a wish for a less authoritarian government, and the term “democracy” was often used.
A military government first replaced Al-Bachir. However, during the protests that led to his departure and arrest, professional groups and trade unions became increasingly active. They demanded a share in the government of the country. Thus a fairly unique administration was set up comprised of an evenly divided civilian and military component. It is most of the civilian component that is now under arrest.
Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, listens to a speech during the opening of the 20th session of The New Partnership for Africa’s Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2009, By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
The civilian-military joint administration was not able to deal with the difficult economic situation. To end the civil war which had divided north and south Sudan, a referendum created a separate state, South Sudan. However, economic issues, especially the production and sale of oil was not worked out. As a result, economic conditions remained very difficult. There were even street protests demanding a return to military rule.
Other Middle East governments, in particular Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt opposed the “winds of change” in Sudan. It is unknown what role these countries may have played in the October coup. It is certain that Sudanese military leaders had regular contact with the military in these Middle East countries.
The current situation in Sudan is one of regression for democratic and popular currents, a situation which must be watched closely and support given, if possible, to democratic currents.
Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.