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Sudan: Dangerous Regression Sudan: Dangerous Regression
by Rene Wadlow
2021-10-28 07:00:21
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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.

sud0001_400In 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.

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

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