By Abayomi Azikiwe
On Sunday November 21, the international media began to report that the ousted interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in the Republic of Sudan had been reinstated by the leader of the military junta General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
Hamdok had been held under house arrest after being deposed by the military on October 25 amid mass demonstrations, an earlier reported attempted coup and fierce debates over the future of the oil-rich state.
The revised deal between Hamdok, some technocratic leaders and others appointed to the al-Burhan-created new Sovereign Council, provides for the reconfiguration of yet another transitional administration that will oversee the country’s affairs until elections can be held supposedly during July 2023. Immediately skepticism was voiced by numerous opposition parties, mass organizations, trade unions and youth groupings.
Demonstrations, which were scheduled for November 21, continued prompting even more repression by the police and military against the people. Several people were killed by the security forces as hundreds of thousands went into the streets to demand that the military junta leave their positions of absolute authority in Sudan.
The civilian-led Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have categorically dismissed the Hamdok statement made on November 21 as evidence that the military coup of October 25 is still in force. Hamdok was echoing the military plans to create what they have referred to as a “technocratic” cabinet that would obviously remain under military domination.
FFC elements, among others, are demanding a complete return to civilian rule. The military in their opinion have forfeited any capacity to govern Sudan without state repression. Since the October 25 coup led by al-Burhan, more than forty people have been killed in demonstrations and resistance related activities.
An article published by the Sudan Tribune says of the response of the opposition that:
“’We were surprised by the signing of a political declaration between His Excellency Mr. Abdallah Hamdok, the Prime Minister, and His Excellency General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,’ said the FFC in a short statement issued on Sunday (Nov. 21). The political coalition further stressed they were not part of the deal and voiced its support for the demand of the Sudanese people to restore civilian rule. The FFC supported protests calling for the release of Hamdok and the other detainees and to restore the civilian-led transition…. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) which led the December revolution against the regime of ousted President Omar al-Bashir also rejected the ‘treason agreement’…. The Sudanese Congress Party, Sudanese Communist Party, National Umma Party, Unionist Alliance, SLM led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur, and Resistance Committees rejected the agreement.”
Although the FFC had included as a main demand within their program that Hamdok be released from custody, the ultimate objective of the democracy movement is to remove the domineering influence of the military within the Sudanese political and economic structures. Many sectors of the national economy are utilized by the military elites to enrich themselves while maintaining hegemony over the functional operations of the state.
Sudan and the International Situation
The al-Burhan regime, which has called itself the Transitional Military Council (TMC), has close ties with the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which after they seized power in April 2019, pledged several billion dollars in direct assistance. Moreover, Washington under the former administration of President Donald Trump and his successor, President Joe Biden, has demanded the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars by the Sudanese state to survivors of victims of several bombing attacks carried out in Kenya (1998), Tanzania (1998) and the Gulf of Aden (2000).
In exchange for these payments, the U.S. is removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. This agreement will make Sudan eligible for loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other global financial institutions.
However, to date, the Sudanese masses do not appear to have benefited from any of these deals struck with the interim administrations which have come and gone since April 2019. With the advent of a renewed Hamdok-military alliance, many are unconvinced that the situation will improve for the tens of millions of youth, women, workers, professionals and impoverished people in general.
Neighboring Egypt, a state closely aligned with the United States, is seeking to maintain its relations with the military regime in Sudan. Egypt opposes the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project (GERD) which has caused tensions with the Addis Ababa government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Sudan has once again raised the issue of a border dispute with Ethiopia while Addis Ababa itself is battling a Washington-backed insurgency attempting to overthrow the administration of Prime Minister Abiy.
Therefore, the domestic crisis in Sudan has regional, continental and international implications due to the geographically strategic location of the country and its vast oil and other natural resources. The initial Sovereign Council under Hamdok and al-Burhan, signed onto the Abraham Accord which ostensibly normalized relations with Tel Aviv even though such a maneuver is in violation of the Israeli Boycott Act of 1958. The decision to boycott Israel was made by an elected parliament and national government just two years after the independence of Sudan from British imperialism in 1956. Any move to reverse this course at the aegis of the U.S. and its allies would surely appear to be in contravention of Sudanese constitutional law. Until an elected government of the people can be established, there cannot be any real political debate on the relationship of Sudan to those occupying Palestinian land.
Forcing the Abraham Accord on as many states within West Asia and Africa as possible is designed to further undermine the Palestinian struggle for statehood and independence from Israeli control. Yet the Palestinians are continuing to resist the colonial occupation as was evident in the uprising which occurred during May 2021.
The political balance of forces within Sudan is of importance to imperialism and its allies throughout the African continent and West Asia. Consequently, Washington under Trump or Biden does not want a revolutionary government taking power in Khartoum. A genuinely revolutionary democratic government in Sudan would inevitably be in solidarity with the Palestinians and all progressive forces throughout Africa and the world.
According to a report written by Joseph Krauss for the Associated Press and reprinted by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) as it relates to the role of Tel Aviv in the Sudanese internal political crisis:
“Israel is also seen as a potential ally of the generals, who were the guiding force behind Sudan normalizing relations with it last year in exchange for removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism…. Israel’s Walla news website reported that an Israeli delegation met with Sudan’s generals days after the coup. The Israeli government has not commented on the coup or its aftermath.”
Although the U.S. has expressed opposition to the military coup of October 25, the objective of Washington in the short-term is a partnership between the Sudanese military and a technocratic elite to govern the country. The U.S. does not want a civilian administration that would oppose its designs on Sudan.
Nonetheless, this is exactly what is needed inside Sudan and other territories throughout the African Union (AU) member-states. U.S. dominance over the internal and foreign affairs of post-colonial African governments has served as the major impediment to genuine development, sovereignty and revolutionary social transformation.
Sudan, through the independent initiatives of the mass organizations, youth, women, trade unions and professional groupings, could serve as an example for a revolutionary movement which emerges from the people. Under such a dispensation, relations with other neighboring states would be based on the principles of peaceful co-existence and mutual cooperation.