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No truce against the military regime in Sudan

Sunday 6 November 2022, by Paul Martial

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On 25 October, the anniversary of the brutal end of Sudan’s democratic transition through a coup d’état, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest against the military’s rule. While this exceptional mobilization undermines the junta, Western chancelleries and traditional Sudanese parties are trying to reach an agreement with the coup leaders.

It is nearly a year since General Burhane and Mohamed Hamdan Dogolo, known as "Hemidti", head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF), overthrew the civilian government resulting from the 2019 revolution that had brought down the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir. Their primary objective is to consolidate their position for financial and immunity reasons.

The military clinging to power

Since al-Bashir came to power in a coup in 1989 in alliance with Islamic fundamentalists, the military hierarchy has gradually taken over the country’s main businesses. The generals own banking establishments, agri-food and construction industries. As for Hemidti, with his militia, he has seized the country’s main gold mines. The transitional government that emerged from the 2019 revolution had begun to take measures against these monopolies. This was one of the reasons why the military deposed the civilian transitional authority.

Losing power also means that they risk being held accountable at some point for decades of corruption and economic plunder, but also for other extremely serious misdeeds. These include crimes against humanity during the wars in Darfur and other provinces of the country, as well as the assassinations and torture of protesters imprisoned in government jails. The stakes are high for the coup plotters: to obtain a civilian government that would be headed by a military council.

Burhane and Hemidti can benefit from the support of some countries. Egypt, which does not like the idea of a democracy being installed on its border, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which are using RSF troops for their war in Yemen against the Houthis, and finally Russia, which hopes to install a military base in the strategic city of Port Sudan.

The crisis is accelerating

The situation in the country is continuing to deteriorate. UN agencies estimate that nearly a third of the population, or 15 million people, are in a food crisis - an increase of 50%. Half of the country’s children could die of hunger. In order to monopolize the gold mines, the government does not hesitate to use inter-community conflicts. The recent clashes in the West Kordofan and Blue Nile region, which have left more than a hundred people dead, are forcing thousands of people to join the camps for the displaced.

Sacked after the revolution, fundamentalists have returned to the country in force since the coup. They occupy positions in the upper echelons of the administration and in public companies. Moral order is once again imposed, particularly on women and youth. Young girls who are not veiled or simply wearing trousers can be arrested. A woman has just been sentenced to stoning for adultery. Young men with long hair or with Rasta hairstyles are imprisoned and shorn.

Continued fighting spirit

On 25 October, the anniversary of the coup, there were huge demonstrations against the junta. The slogans have not changed: a refusal to compromise with the military and the demand that they return to barracks. At the same time, following the murderous events in the Blue Nile, collections were organized for the victims, and slogans for the unity of the country and against racism were taken up.

Under the radar, the US, aided by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, is trying to extract an agreement with the old political parties on the basis of the military’s proposal. That is, to return to the previous status quo with a civilian government with limited room for manoeuvre leaving the real power to the military. Hence the importance of structuring an opposition that remains faithful to the demand for a genuine civilian government. The resistance committees, the backbone of the struggle, with their charter of people’s power, offer a real political alternative to a compromise agreement with the coup plotters.

3 November 2022

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.


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