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Sudan’s Dim Outlook: How Do Home, Foreign Actors Influence?

Alwaght– Sudan’s post-revolution developments have now reached a decisively sensitive juncture. After the African country’s military ousted Omar al-Bashir on April 20 following weeks of protests, the revolutionary forces now face a serious challenge in the path to implement their demands and ideals. They now have to deal with the military’s resistance to power handover to the civilians, the influence of the previous regime’s figures, and the foreign meddling.

Where are the disagreements?

Official meetings between the revolutionary leaders and the military representatives started since April 27. The main discussion topics were the transition period length, the political parties’ share in the Parliamentary Council, and the makeup of the Sudan Transitional Council (STC) and its presidency.

After three weeks of talks, the two sides finally announced an agreement on a three-year-long transition period and giving two-thirds of the council to the Change and Freedom Alliance which had a big hand in arranging the anti-Bashir demonstrations.

Despite the positive atmosphere that gave the political forces and the military a chance to settle the remaining differences, the Labor Association, affiliated with the CFA, released a statement recently announcing the failure of talks with the military leaders on the presidency of a civilian figure on the STC and calling for civil disobedience and sit-in across the country. According to the Association, the military insists that a military figure should lead the transitional body and that the body should operate with a maximum presence of the military personnel. The military insists that the STC should feature 10 members, 7 of them military men while the revolutionaries press for a 15-member structure with a majority of civilian representation.

Following the first round of negotiations and reaching the agreement, Yusuf Sadiq of the revolutionary representation told Aljazeera that the STC will comprise one woman, six civilians, and three military personnel. Now the failure of the new round of talks signals that the military junta seems to reverse its decision to offer privileges to the revolutionary forces. General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council, warned the political leaders that the military gave a lot of privileges in a hope to save the country’s security but its patience is not limitless.

Counter-revolutionary parties and managing the developments  

A practical solution in Sudan will rely much on the agreement of five separate actors: The streets, the protest movement’s leadership, traditional parties, the military council, and the regional sides.

Shortly after the military coup, which ostensibly came in response to rid the people of the dictatorship and discrimination, it became clear that the military ousting of al-Bashir was a foreign and home plot to save the political regime with the least transformation through the management of the situation.

Prolonged talks will grant the military leaders longer time to arrange the conditions to their favor. To maintain the status quo, the military leaders picked specific elements of the revolutionary alliance for negotiations. They negotiated with the Sudan Liberation Movement, Justice and Equality Movement, and the National Democratic Union.

Prolonged talks will also help them organize their thought to better work out a strategy to pass through the current crisis.

Further, lengthy talks will allow the military to quell the pro-transformation movements. Sudan had a similar happening in the past. Omar al-Bashir was himself a military officer who brought down in 1989 the government of Sadiq al-Mahdi, the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Sudan.

A majority of the generals of the military council held top posts in the al-Bashir government and were given huge economic benefits in return for loyalty. Naturally, a quick transition of power to the civilians will possibly lead to cutting their economic privileges and public calls for their trial.

On Tuesday, the Attorney General stated that General Salah Abdullah Ghash, the former intelligence chief, stood investigation for charges related to financial exploitation of his post. The court said to have recovered over $1 billion in his bank accounts. The opposition argues he gave the order for the killing of the demonstrators that preceded al-Bashir removal. He was a marked insider in the al-Bashir orbit.

This sets off the alarm bells to other previous regime’s officials who are members of the military council or support it.

The army said it will not hand over al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the Netherlands. On March 4, 2009, the ICC released an arrest warrant for al-Bashir over charges of genocide in Darfur in the 2000s conflicts.

In addition to home challenges, the pro-transformation movements face foreign meddling. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt, with their support to the military council, are the main intervening actors. The scenario appears to be similar to that applied to Egypt. Removing one military leader and appointing a new military figure to check Islamists’ power gain. Sudan military accounts for a major part of the Saudi-led military coalition against Yemen. The Saudi rulers are highly worried to see people calling for an end to their countries’ military contribution to Saudi-led aggression on Yemen.

Calls for nationwide strikes and civil disobedience in the face of military’s resistance to handover the power indicates that the opposition leaders have understood the critical condition they are in and try to increase pressures on the foreign-backed junta.

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