Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, March 2019
Protests Continue in Sudan Against Al-Bashir's Government
March 12, 2019
Sudan’s protests are result of armed struggle in marginalized areas: Minnawi
Sudan Tribune, March 10, 2019 (NANTES, France) -
The leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) Saturday said the ongoing peaceful protests in Sudan are a natural consequence of the armed struggle in the in the marginalized areas against the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.
Speaking at a public meeting held in Nantes, France, Minnawi pointed to those who seek to distinguish between the armed action of rebel groups in Darfur region, the Blue Nile, and South Kordofan states and the nationwide protests that have begun in December 2018.
"The main reason for the outbreak of the revolution was the deprivation experienced by the Sudanese people to satisfy needs for food, treatment and education after the regime had used all the resources to finance the war," said Minnawi.
"From 2003 to 2009, the Darfur war, reportedly, cost the government $ 30.5 billion," he further said.
He pointed out that the same amount may have been spent on the war in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
"The main reason for this revolution is the margin. The peaceful movement is not isolated from the original (armed) movement. The current revolution is an extension of the existing revolution and launched by the (armed) movements," he stressed.
"So whatever is said, the (armed) movements are the key to the consciousness of the (Sudanese) society."
Several opinion articles rec ently emphasized that the popular uprising was the only valid tool to achieve regime change in Sudan, pointing to the previous experiences of 1964 and 1985 when the Sudanese people successfully overthrew Aboud and Neiminri regimes.
Minnawi further pointed that the supporters of his movement and the other armed groups are also taking part in the ongoing peaceful protests to topple down al-Bashir’s regime.
Adding that the ongoing "revolution is the mother of revolutions" in Sudan because it will not only brings a regime change but a radical change in the Sudanese society.
The Sudanese government has been fighting armed movements in the Darfur region since 2003, before to bring a relative stability in most parts of Darfur in the last two years.
However, regional and international efforts continue to achieve a lasting political solution negotiated between the government and the armed groups.
SLM-MM and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of Gibril Ibrahim were supposed to engage in a new round of talks last January in Doha but the process was delayed as a result of the protest movement.
Sudan’s professionals call on army to join the revolution
Sudan Tribune, March 8, 2019 (KHARTOUM) -
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) Friday has called on the Sudanese army to join the revolution and take the side of the protesters calling to oust the regime of president Omer al-Bashir.
Since last December, the Sudanese government has been facing unprecedented protests calling for the resignation of President Omer al-Bashir. But the latter refuses this demand saying the opposition has to prepare for the general election in April 2020.
The SPA is an umbrella organization of trade unions spearheading the demonstrations across the country.
In a live video aired on the SPA Facebook page on Friday, a spokesperson of the umbrella organization Al-Muntasir Ahmed said the regime seeks to push the protesters to resort to violence.
He was commenting on video footage that went viral on social media on Thursday in which dozens of armed security forces, police and government militias on four-wheel-drive vehicles appear wondering around a famous square in Burri neighbourhood and calling on protesters to come out of their homes and meet them.
Ahmed pointed out that they handed over the video to the international rights groups, saying “we told them that the regime is pushing the streets [protesters] to adopt violence”.
He conveyed four messages from the SPA to the protesters , Sudanese army, international community and the “critical mass” including the youths and the Islamists.
“We ask the protesters to adhere to the peaceful demonstrations because that is the only way to ensure the success of the revolution and protect the Sudanese people” he added
He described the Sudanese army as the “giant”, asking it to take the side of the people.
“Let us join hands to build a homeland that accommodates all its citizens regardless of their professions, ethnicities, religions and cultural backgrounds,” he said
Last January, Defence Minister, Awad Ibn Ouf, and the Army’s Chief of General Staff Kamal Abdel-Marouf vowed full support to President al-Bashir saying the army wouldn’t hand over the country to the “homeless”.
Ahmed further called on the international community to support the revolution, saying the SPA realizes that international relations are based upon mutual interests.
“You have vested interest in a stable and democratic regime that protects the country and supports regional stability rather than this regime that steals your money,” he said
The SPA spokesperson also urged the “critical mass” including the youths and the Islamists who are taking a neutral position towards the protests to join the revolution.
“You are aware of the fact that this is a fascist regime that killed the Sudanese people in order to achieve narrow interests of the ruling gang,” he said
Since December 2018, over 33 people were killed across the country according to the Sudanese authorities but activists and rights groups say the death toll is over 50 people.
Also, hundreds of demonstrators have been injured and thousands arrested.
Late last month, the Sudanese government said it has released 2430 out of 2650 protesters.
No easy end to stand-off between al-Bashir and Sudan’s protesters
News Time Africa, March 1, 2019
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir continues to hold the country hostage. While his intelligence chief Salah Abdallah Gosh announced recently that al-Bashir would be stepping down as head of the National Congress Party, the president himself has made no such commitment.
The crisis in the country continues to deepen. Al-Bashir has declared a state of emergency , dismissed the federal government and sacked all state governors. He also subsequently appointed military and security officials to run Sudan’s 18 states, appointed a new state defence minister and reshuffled the army command.
The US, Britain and France have expressed deep concerns, particularly over the nationwide state of emergency. Activists claim that at least 37 people have died since December 2018 when the first protests took place in the Nile-side town of Atbara. Demonstrations have been staged in cities across Sudan, including the capital Khartoum. Though the protests were initially about the high cost of living, including the prohibitive price of bread, demonstrators are now calling for al-Bashir to resign.
All things considered, there are dangers down this road. The Sudanese state is weak after decades of war and sanctions. Removing al-Bashir would do little to change the structure of the state. The country is almost insolvent and it has become harder for him to keep everyone in line. Whoever takes control will need to take control over the security apparatus throughout the country or risk anarchy.
Continued protests could also affect South Sudan. Sudan previously depended on South Sudan’s oil production to boost its own economy and to keep the warring factions in South Sudan in line. Many fear that the South Sudan peace deal will fall apart if al-Bashir is removed. This would leave the world’s youngest nation in a disastrous situation.
But at this stage, if al-Bashir goes the biggest fear is that Sudan could end up like Libya, with militia running the country and a state that comes crashing down into fragments.
The protests have led to the further unravelling of a country that’s already fragile economically, politically and socially. Despite waves of government attempts to crack down on protesters, the uprising seems to have gained more strength. Protesters seemed to be spurred on the more the government uses violence to suppress them.
Very few African states have experienced as many post-independence uprisings as Sudan did between 1964 and 1985. These forced the ruling military regimes to step aside. But they failed to herald in new civilian leaders – what followed was simply a re-run of military rulers.
The current uprising has been different. It represents the most sustained challenge to 75-year old al-Bashir’s 30 years in power. Protesters – mostly young Sudanese – have been bold in their attempt to remove the regime. This has included burning the headquarters of the ruling National Congress Party headquarters, breaking into food stores to distribute grain to people, as well as challenging and heckling influential cleric Abdul Hai Yusuf who has been known to be pro-government.
Nevertheless, civilian rule still looks unlikely. This is because the power base is still contained within the army and elites.
The role of the EU and US
Under the Obama administration, US officials claimed that cooperation on counter-terrorism efforts with Sudan had improved. Since then the US and EU have been working hard to rebuild their ties with Sudan by partially lifting sanctions.
In addition, the EU has been working with Sudanese authorities to stem the flow of migrants, while the US has been actively fighting terrorist cells in and around the region.
But getting close to al-Bashir in a bid to solve the migrant crisis and to fight terrorism is simply compromising the legitimacy of the EU and the US when it comes to international human rights abuses. Many of the security forces that the US and EU have trained to fight terrorism and curb migration are the same forces being used to clamp down on protesters.
There are two probable outcomes for Sudan. First, Bashir could voluntarily resign, hand over power and choose to leave the country. This isn’t a likely option unless he can agree on a safe passage to another country, for example Egypt. This is because he could possibly face being charged by the International Criminal Court.
It’s therefore more likely that he will stay in the country and continue to challenge the uprising by using the state of emergency and suppressing the protesters violently. This will result in more bloodshed and is likely to trigger more violent responses from the protesters. In turn, this could fuel the creation of armed groups, potentially turning the protests into armed conflict.
Under this scenario the already fragile state could be destabilised, leading to massive displacement and immense human suffering.
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