No Sudan solution in sight

Haitham Nouri , Sunday 21 Nov 2021

In Sudan, it seems impossible to satisfy the angry street, the army and civil forces all at once.

Sudan solution in sight

Sudan remains in an array of crises three weeks after the army commander’s decision to oust the government, sovereign council and governors, freeze the Empowerment Removal Committee, and detain Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and a number of politicians.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths and injuries are rising among the Sudanese who have been protesting against the army takeover.

The Central Committee of Doctors, an unofficial medical syndicate not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, tweeted on Monday that seven people died during violent clashes that took place on Saturday. Of 200 injured people, around 100 were shot using live ammunition, and 11 remain in a critical condition, the committee added.

In a statement on Monday, the police said they did not use live ammunition and that 40 policemen were injured during the clashes.

The European Union denounced “the crackdown on peaceful protests”, after the peaceful confrontations of the first few days, according to local media reports.

Sudan has been enduring international pressure since 25 October. Representative of the secretary-general of the UN and delegations from the African Union and the Arab League have also been putting pressure on Sudan’s military to go back to the arrangements of the transitional phase, or find some way out of the current impasse that satisfies the angry street, the army and its followers and leaders of civil forces.

According to leaks from the ousted prime minister’s office, civilians will not accept anything less than a return to the pre-25 October arrangements. Hamdok has expressed his “tacit acceptance” of the army’s demand to form a government of technocrats, albeit following a return to the transitional phase arrangements.

Hamdok has not made an appearance since his detention, nor have the arrested civilian figures been released.

According to Sudanese sources who prefer not to be named, blocking internet services was the reason hundreds of thousands of protesters did not converge on Sudan’s streets.

The Triangular Capital, as Khartoum is known, comprises three cities divided by the Blue and White Nile. The population of the capital is over seven million who live in Khartoum, Omdurman and Khartoum North. The number of people seen protesting on the street so far indicate suggests there is no widespread rejection of the takeover in the capital.

The army commander, Lieutenant-General Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, denied that the army had staged a “coup”, insisting that the takeover was “a correction of the course of the revolution”, and adding that the armed forces is the “guardian of its goals”.

Sudanese journalist Fayez Al-Salik, former media adviser to Hamdok, said many people have grown bored with the political game taking place between various parties; they believe the military will have to improve their conditions to appease them and gain popularity and legitimacy.

“If all the people had been [opposed to the military’s takeover] Khartoum would have seen a sea of demonstrators forcing the army to retreat. Military rule is rejected by the middle class, who comprise the majority of the capital’s population. However, this majority will not sacrifice their lives by going out on the street to die for the sake of politicians who haven’t accomplished anything.”

According to international media reports, Khartoum is not entirely in civil disobedience. Banks, pharmacies, markets and a large proportion of government are still open for business.

“This totally makes sense. Banks and government employees support the regime and the deep state, on top of which is the Armed Forces. This is what had been happening throughout the 30 years of Al-Bashir’s rule,” added Al-Salik. On the other hand, “closing pharmacies and markets – which are private businesses – adds to people’s suffering.”

There is also “a crucial factor, which is that the Sudanese capital is no longer home to the sons of the Nile. It has taken in, throughout the past decades, people from west Sudan, who support the army, specifically the leader of the Rapid Support Forces [RSF],” he stated.

The majority of RSF elements hail from the tribes of west Sudan and Arab herders. The latter are accused by non-Arab Darfur inhabitants of forming the Janjaweed militias that carried out war crimes and crimes against humanity during the bloody conflict that took place in the westernmost part of Darfur.

Leading the RSF is General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, aka Hamidti, vice president of the sovereignty council, the highest authority in Sudan.

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