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Q&A: The Reality of the Protests in Sudan

Question:

The protests that erupted for more than two months are still continuing to this day. Are they spontaneous due to the deteriorating economic conditions? Or is the reason for the demonstrations in Sudan the tension in relations between Khartoum and Washington after the visit of US Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, to Khartoum in November 2017? It is suggested that among the issues raised in his talks with the Sudanese side is the issue of not re-nominating Al-Bashir in the 2020 elections, and that Al-Bashir was so nervous and traveled to Russia to provoke America, and there he agreed to build the Russian military bases. Does this mean that America decided to change Al-Bashir and stifle the economic situation of Sudan, and prevented its agents, especially Saudi Arabia, from helping Sudan? Also how do you explain  Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi’s support for the protests; does it mean that the British have a hand in it? Forgive me for the long question. Jazak Allah Khair.


Answer:

To get a clear answer, the following matters must be reviewed:

1- Yes, on 16/11/ 2017, US Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, visited Sudan and met with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, representatives of the Ministry of Interior and the National Security and Intelligence Services, in addition to the Sudanese Embassy Chargé d’Affaires in America. He also met with a number of religious leaders in a closed session, and then gave a lecture at the Martyr’s Hall of the University of the Qur’an Al- Kareem, speaking about US policy on Sudan. [The American official demanded in this meeting, according to leaks reported in  Sudan Times website, that the Sudanese government  review, amend or repeal a number of laws, the most prominent is that which talks about the execution of the apostate (from his religion (Islam) and called for “the abolition of the article of the dress in the public order law, which punishes women by lashing if they wear indecent clothing, according to the vision of the law enforcement officers of the police. And he called for preserving of the religious freedom for all when drafting the new constitution of Sudan” (Sudan Tribune 18/11/2017)].

2- It is also true that some leaks have stated that:

Sullivan asked Al-Bashir not to run for the 2020 elections, and that Bashir did not accept that, and then there was tension in the relations, but this is unlikely because Al-Bashir can not oppose the instructions of his master, America, and he does not run for office unless America wants that. If we assume that he rejected America’s instructions and insisted on his re-nomination in the 2020 elections and to stay in power, America will conduct a coup against him and remove him as it brought him by the coup of 30/6/1989. Note that when it was mentioned in the social media sites that the US official asked Al-Bashir not to run for the elections in 2020, [Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandoor, denied that and said: “The United States did not impose any conditions not to nominate Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for the elections to be held in 2020 in exchange for lifting Sudan’s name from the list of states sponsors of terrorism,” and he said: “Everything we discussed with John Sullivan, US Deputy Secretary of State, in his recent visit to Khartoum is related to human rights and religious freedoms” (Al-Quds Al-Arabi 14/11/2017)]

The visit is a sign of harmony, not tension. Sullivan met with various sectors of the state during this visit and he was warmly welcomed. This visit came after the lifting of the US administration travel ban on the citizens of Sudan on 26/9/2017 and also after the lifting of some economic sanctions, which lasted about 20 years on Sudan on 6/10/2017. So the visit was not to discuss the nomination, but its main purpose was to remove the name of Sudan from the list of “states sponsors of terrorism”, so America has stipulated some conditions to lift the name of Sudan from the list of “states sponsors of terrorism” as mentioned above in the Sudan Tribune website. This is on the one hand, and on the other hand, Al- Bashir renewed, ten days before Sullivan’s visit to Sudan, his previous pledges not to run for presidency. [“Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir renewed on Monday his previous commitment to abandon the country’s rule by the end of its second presidential term in 2020 …. Al-Bashir’s commitment came in a speech to the youth mass gathering  on the occasion of the 7th General Conference of the Sudanese National Union for Youth in Khartoum.” (Al-Khaleej Online, 6/11/2017)]. Although it is not difficult to overturn the covenants in such countries, the US statements and contacts with Sudan exclude that the purpose of the visit is to prevent Al-Bashir from running for office, since the American-Sudanese contacts continued after the visit and after the start of the protests in order to remove its name from the list of states sponsoring “terrorism” since 1993. Because this continued after Trump’s abolition of the economic and trade sanctions it imposed on Sudan since 1997, and  America put the condition to complete the second phase on removing the name of Sudan to expand its cooperation in “combating terrorism” and promote human rights and religious and political freedoms … etc.

3- Sullivan’s visit on 16/11/2017 is not the motivation for the protests that began on 19/12/2018 because the American position after the visit and during the protests was on the side of the government and not on the side of the protests as the communications and statements indicate that. on Sunday 17/2/2019 Special Assistant to the US president and the top adviser for Africa at the National Security Council, Cyril Sartre, arrived in Khartoum accompanied by the Director of the Department of Africa in the National Security Council Darren Seraile, and concluded his talks in Sudan Wednesday 20/2/2019. In one of his statements, the US special assistant said after the meeting at the Republican Palace [“I held a fruitful and constructive meeting” with the President’s deputy and indicated that the visit is to continue the dialogue between the two sides, “This will lead to the removal of Sudan’s name from the states sponsors of terrorism list soon,” Cyril stressed that: “with more patience the government will be able to find a political solution and that no solutions will be imposed from the outside on Sudan, pointing out that through joint action the two countries will find a strong partnership”… (Ash-Shuruq News 18/2/2019)] All this shows that the visit was not the motive for the protests, but it is indicative of the American support for Al-Bashir rule, and not to impose any solution from abroad, and the establishment of American conditions to remove Sudan’s name from the U.S. list of states sponsors of terrorism.

4- As for the positions of America’s agents, it was also supportive of the ruling and not of the protests, i.e. not as stated in the question.

This is as follows:

A- As for Saudi Arabia, since the beginning of the military operation in Yemen, the alliance continues to inject new investments in the fields of Sudanese agriculture:

[“Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab investor in Sudan in 2016, with investments estimated at $ 15 billion, and these investments are concentrated on feed, wheat and corn; and supports the economy of Khartoum.”  (Al-Khaleej Online 17/7/2017)] The Saudi Ambassador confirmed: [“That the value of actual Saudi investments in Sudan exceeded 12 billion dollars.” (Al-Bawaba site 03/12/2018)] … and [“on Monday 7/5/2018 Sudan announced that it reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia for a period of five years.” (Sudan Tribune 7 /5/2018)]

– A Saudi ministerial delegation visited Khartoum on 24/1/2019 and held talks with Sudanese President Al-Bashir in which they discussed the situation in Sudan. Saudi Trade Minister, Majid Al-Qasabi, said in a press statement: [“The visit of the delegation to Sudan came under the guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to strengthen economic relations with Sudan and increase trade exchange,” adding: “King Salman stressed that the security of Sudan is the security of the Kingdom, and its stability is the Kingdom’s stability, and that Sudan is dserving of a relationship with it more than any other country.” (Egyptian Al-Watan 26/1/2019)] All this confirms that Saudi Arabia did not abandon the support of Sudan.

B- As for the other pillar, Egypt, Bashir visited Egypt on 27/1/2019. Sisi welcomed him in a reception at the airport and showed his hospitality, and this indicates that America did not decide to remove Al-Bashir; otherwise, Sisi would have not carried out what he did as he is loyal to America and a follower. The visit was described by the Sudanese ambassador to Egypt as: [“the visit is the most important visit in terms of time and content …” (Egyptian Al-Sabah 27/1/2019)]. Note that Al-Bashir visited Egypt and met Sisi on 6/11/2018 after Sisi’s visit to Sudan on 25/10/2018 accompanied by 12 ministers and signed 12 agreements. After the outbreak of the protests directly, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Samih Shukri, and the head of intelligence visited Sudan and met with Omar Al-Bashir and their counterparts. [Shukri said after the meeting: “Egypt is confident that Sudan will overcome the current circumstances, and that Egypt is always ready to provide support and aid to Sudan, and the security and stability of Sudan is part of the security and stability of Egypt.” (Egyptian Al-Bawaba 27/12/2018)] This shows that Egypt still supports Sudan.

C- Internally, the most important local American forces are the army. The Sudanese army’s position on the protest was to side with Al-Bashir and to protect his regime. The army declared in a statement: [“That they will gather around its leadership and its concern for the gains of the people and the security and safety of the citizen’s blood, honour and wealth.”(Arabic Post 23/12/2018)]. [“The army will not hand the country over to the holders of odd prospects of the defeated rebel leaders and the agents of the suspicious organizations abroad,” said the chief of staff of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Kamal Abdul-Maarouf, in his address to officers of the ranks of brigadier general and colonel.” (Misr Al-Arabiya 30/1/2019)]. This indicates that the army still supports Al-Bashir, and so was the position of the military and other security sectors: [“Gen. Mohammad Hamdan Daglo Himaidti, the commander of the rapid support forces in Sudan, threatened that his forces were ready to deal with those he described as greedy.” (Al-Maseera Net 26/12/2018)]. Also: [“Salah Qosh, head of the Sudanese security and intelligence apparatus, said in a brief statement to the parliament that there are many initiatives in the arena “but everyone should know that any initiative that goes beyond existing legitimacy has no place,”  (Al-Jazeera Net 21/2/2019)]. America used the army to carry out coups and it is established in it since the Nimeiri coup in 1969.

5- Regarding the opposition: [“On the fourth day of the protests, Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, leader of the Umma Party, called for the formation of a new coalition government with the participation of all parties,” he said that he “supports the popular protests in the country… but stressed that his party will not take part in them” British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC 22/12/2018)], but when he saw the continuation of the protests, he announced its adoption: [“The head of the National Umma Party, head of the Sudan Appeal alliance, Al Sadiq Al-Mahdi, announced his support for the popular movement calling for the overthrow of the regime… He called for a halt to the killing of demonstrators before he asked President Omar Al-Bashir to step down.” (Sudan Tribune 25/1/2019)], that is after more than a month of protests, trying to exploit it later on. Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi is known for his allegiance to the English, and he headed the Sudanese government between 1986 and 1989, and he was removed by Al-Bashir’s coup after that. He formed the gathering of Sudanese professionals and it emerged as a parallel organization to the pro-government official trade unions. This gathering of professionals has a European influence through Al-Mahdi. It is an attempt to be the alternative to official unions controlled by the regime, and its leaders abroad have settled in Europe.

[“From its leaders mentioned abroad and are speaking on its behalf are journalist Mohammad Al-Asbat in France and Dr. Sarah Abdeljalil in Britain”. (BBC website 24/1/2019)]. The protests also involved secular trends and other marginal movements that are not influential in the change. Although the influence of the British permeates these gatherings, especially in Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi’s party, but this influence is not capable of actual change. However, the continuation of the protests gives it strength due to the British experience in exploiting the protests. This is why there was delay of the announcement of Al-Mahdi’s Party of its support to the protests for about a month, thinking that Al-Bashir will extinguish it in its early days, but when it stretched, he rode its wave! Then, after more than two months, Al-Mahdi became stronger, and stressed on the resignation of Al-Bashir [and he expressed his willingness to meet with opposition representatives to agree on the details of the transition to the new regime … (Sputnik 2/3/2019)]. Thus, the longer it takes for the ability of the regime to stop the protests, the strength of the British agents increases; thus America took into account this matter, and in anticipation of any emergency, it arranged with Al-Bashir to storm these gatherings by the withdrawal of some political parties participating in the government, which are from it, and then form an opposition to the government: [President of the Umma Party, Mubarak al-Fadil, announced the  dissolution of his party’s partnership with the ruling National Congress party and his withdrawal from the government… (Al-Neelain website, 28/12/2018)] as well as the withdrawal of Ghazi Salah Al-Din: [The Reform Movement has now decided to withdraw all its representatives in the legislative councils, this was during a press conference by Ghazi Salah Al-Din…” (Sawa news agency 1/12019)]. Ghazi Salah Al-Din was elected as the head of the National Front for Change [“The National Front for Change” elected Dr. Ghazi Salah Al-Din yesterday as President of the Presidential Council of the Front.” (Al-Khaleej 365 in 14/2/2019)]. In addition to this infiltration and in anticipation of the escalation of the protests and their exploitation by Europe, it gave Al-Bashir the green light to impose a state of emergency, which he imposed on 22/2/2019. Recently, on 28/2/2018, the Meghrani party withdrew from the government, which is known for its relations with America [the Democratic Unionist Party led by Mohammad Osman Al-Merghani announced on Thursday it is ending all Partnership in governance it signed with the ruling National Congress Party and its withdrawal from the Sudanese government” (Al Ain News 28/2/2019)].

Then came the new step to calm the opposition by Al-Bashir himself declaring that he is neutral and not with any party against any party! [The Sudanese president authorized his powers as chairman of the National Congress Party (NCP) for his vice president in a step to run ahead as his options recede in the face of the worst crisis in three decades of his rule … The party said in the statement that the decision comes “in fulfillment of the President’s speech to the nation, that he stands at the same distance from all political forces.” (Middle East Online 1/3/2019)]. And this is how Al-Bashir deceives himself before deceiving others; how can he be neutral when he is the head of state, and his party is the ruling party? Even if he assigned his post of head of the party to someone else, it’s just a formality?!

Any way, it is from the methods to calm the protests! And all this is to try to influence the opposition and contain the protests, especially as the regime now has forces that infiltrated the opposition, and if these forces can not contain them, then it will try to lead them or participate influentialy in its leadership and thus America‘s hegemony continues.

6- As for the visit of Al-Bashir to Moscow, which lasted for 4 days on 22/11/2017, six days after the visit of Sullivan to Sudan, the purpose of the visit was not for Al- Bashir to complain about America to Russia, but it was an order and with the approval of America. The proof of that: [a Sudanese newspaper revealed on Wednesday, a deal between Khartoum and Washington, to secure the route of the plane of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to Russia in exchange for accepting the cancellation of controversial laws objectionable by the US administration, coinciding with the start of the first visit to Bashir to Moscow. Informed sources told Alrakoba Newspaper that: “The Sudanese regime received assurances from the US Deputy Foreign Minister John Sullivan, on his visit to Khartoum, not to intercept Al-Bashir’s plane in exchange for passing US proposals for the permitting of religious freedom, and the abolition of controversial legal materials concerning “apostasy, inheritance, and revealing clothing…” (Masrawy 22/11/2017)].

Because if it was not ordered by America, Bashir could not have used the Saudi airspace, as the colonial state that the Saudi regime follows influence the control of the airspace, as happened during the reign of King Abdullah the British agent in 2013. Britain did not want Al-Bashir to reach Iran because it did not want the Iranian regime to gain fame by the arrival of many leaders for the inauguration ceremony of the President, thus Saudi Arabia has banned Al-Bashir’s plane in response to the British desire. [The Sudanese presidency announced that Saudi Arabia banned the president’s regime on Sunday from crossing its airspace to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Iranian president in Tehran, forcing him to return back… (France 24 4/8/2013)]

7- All of the above excludes America’s standing behind the protests. Britain does not have the ability to launch them, so how did it start and continued?

The answer is that the protests started spontaneously because of the escalating crisis in people’s living in Sudan, and the whole issue is as follows:

a- Al-Bashir and his associates have thought that by surrendering South Sudan in compliance with America’s orders, Sudan will live in prosperity and security and will be supported by America after lifting the sanctions. But the opposite happened; the economic situation began to deteriorate further and worsen. The crisis intensified with the beginning of 2018 after the lifting of the American sanctions from Sudan! The government has raised the price of bread and raised the value of the customs dollar three times and devalued the local currency, which led to higher prices followed by fuel crises. Bread prices have doubled leading to shortages. A person has to stand for long hours in queues to get a loaf of bread that its price has become unaffordable. The inflation rate is around 70%, and the central bank has confiscated money from the banks in an attempt to stop its decline. The dollar price increased until the bank was forced to reduce the currency rate by more than 60% making the price of the dollar 47.50 pounds, and it fell until it reached on 20/2/2019 in the parallel market (free market) 75 pounds against the dollar.

b- The poverty rate among the population of Sudan reached record levels. The Central Bureau of Statistics confirmed: [“The poverty rate is more than two thirds of the population based on the results of a survey conducted in 2014 as the first study since the secession of southern Sudan in 2011”]. All this happened after the IMF launched its recommendations, but rather its orders as it does everywhere. It called on the government to devalue the currency and remove subsidies on fuel, electricity and wheat, pledging with the World Bank to provide technical assistance to Sudan in the implementation of the economic reform program! The pledge was made at the IMF / World Bank meeting on the sidelines of meetings in Bali and Indonesia, in October 2018. Note that the IMF called on the government to devalue the pound in its annual report of December 2017, and it stressed that this was necessary to create the conditions necessary to attract investors and promote economic development in the country. It also called on the government to abolish electricity and wheat subsidies between 2019 and 2021 after devaluation of the currency. The obedience of the Sudanese regime to these orders led to the deterioration of the economic and living conditions of the people.

c- Thus, the conditions of the Sudan were ready to explode. This was a spontaneous exit to the street due to widespread poverty, high prices, high cost of living, increased unemployment and poor distribution of wealth. All this was due to Al-Bashir’s implementation of the capitalist system and following the recommendations of its financial institutions: the IMF and the World Bank. It is a pro-American regime that implements its policy, in particular the separation of the south and the loss of the state’s large income of oil [and after the secession of southern Sudan in 2011, Khartoum lost three quarters of its oil resources, which was pumping in its treasury about 80% of foreign exchange resources. (Al Jazeera Net 26/12/2018)]. Life was becoming unbearable, then the spark of the Sudanese revolution broke out in the north of the country in the state of the River Nile in the city of Atbara on 19/12/2018 and then spread in all the cities of Sudan, and it is still continuing, and its fire did not extinguish; they have only one demand: the departure of the regime.

Thus, the protests began spontaneously and then forces joined it to exploit it to its favour to achieve their interests and divert the  protests from its path as described above.

In conclusion, there are two things worthy of consideration and pondering:

As for the first, the first thing imposed by America on its agents is to exert their efforts in the service of its interests. Al-Bashir exerted his effort in this, and he even betrayed his division and separated the South from Sudan. To this day, America continues to support Al-Bashir and it is in contact with him and his regime is evidenced to this, as we have shown. But if the protests continue and Al-Bashir cannot control it soon, he will fall from the eyes of America and will be unable to serve America’s interests, then it is likely that America will seek to change him, and perhaps the order of the withdrawal of some of its men from the government is to ride the wave of opposition, especially Merghani’s party that is pro-America. Perhaps all this is going on in this direction, i.e. the formation of the alternative, because any change to Al-Bashir requires the existence of the alternative that is acceptable to the people. America uses this method with its agents; it used it with Mubarak when he could not control the protests, and it ordered him to leave and he resigned and assigned Tantawi and his military council in his place. It is a style used by America, and before it orders its agent to leave, it needs an alternative, but it fears that the change happens before the replacement of the alternative, in case the sincere men get to power and become a thorn in its throat but rather a dagger in its chest. Keeping its agent Bashar so far is an example.

As for the second matter, what is feared is that the blood of those killed and wounded and those losses in the streets and public facilities will be lost. And the protests eventually lead to the replacement of an agent with another agent. And the man-made constitution remains in place in the country, killing souls and burdening people. This is what we warned of, because until today  the protests do not adopt the demands of Islam and do not call for the implementation of Shariah law, by following a sincere righteous leadership working to resume the Islamic way of life by the establishment of the Khilafah Rashidah (rightly guided Caliphate). And so the political crisis will remain as it is, and may be even worse, and the economic crisis will remain the same, and may be worse. Allah’s saying is the clear truth: فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَى * وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْ ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنْكاً “…then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter] * And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life” [TA-HA: 123-124]

Allah Al-A’leem Al-Hakeem is Truthful

فَاعْتَبِرُوا يَاأُولِي الْأَبْصَارِ

“So take warning, O people of vision”

[Al-Hashr: 2]

 

27 Jumada II 1440 AH

4/3/2019 CE

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