A closer look – Sudan: Where to go after the fall of Bashir?

File Reuters

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Sudan’s army overthrew President Omar al-Bashir after spending three decades in power, following months of popular protests.

The army has announced a transition period of up to two years, followed by elections, but protesters are demanding the rapid handover of power to civilians.

Q: How did Bashir fall?

Bashir, 75, was one of the oldest leaders in Africa and the Arab world. He took power in a 1989 coup that continued despite the isolation imposed by the West, despite civil wars, the secession of southern Sudan, a list of charges from the International Criminal Court and several previous waves of protests.

But a deepening economic crisis triggered protests in December that quickly spread across the country, which has a population of 40 million, calling on Bashir to leave. Protests over 16 weeks continued despite a security crackdown in which dozens of people died and thousands of people were detained by the authorities.

On April 6, protesters mounted a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry in Khartoum. Security forces and intelligence services tried to evacuate the sit-in area, but the army guarded the protesters before announcing the overthrow of Bashir on April 11.

Hamid al-Tijani, a professor of public policy at the American University in Cairo, a Sudanese, said that despite al-Bashir’s close ties to senior military commanders, middle-level and even the most community-friendly officers sympathized with protesters’ demands.

He added that with the escalation of pressure from the street, groups within the security establishment have left themselves behind Bashir in their bid to protect their positions.

A Sudanese army officer said a deal had been concluded with military leaders. “It was necessary to change faces and everyone decided to change them without bloodshed.”

What happened next?
The appointment of Awad bin Auf, the defense minister and vice president at the head of the Transitional Military Council, sparked widespread anger among the protesters because of the close ties he had with Bashir.

The pressure lasted only 24 hours, and he stepped down from his position on Friday night. The next day, Salah Abdullah Mohammed Saleh, known as Salah Qosh resigned from the post of Director of the Security and National Intelligence.

Salah Qosh was long considered the second most powerful man in the country after Bashir and was one of the main leaders targeted by the protesters.

* Who control now?

Abdul Fattah al-Burhan replaced Ben Awaf as head of the military council. Al-Burhan was the third-ranking leader in the Sudanese army and little is known about him at the grassroots level.

A Sudanese ground force commander oversaw the troops sent by Sudan to fight in the Yemeni-led war under Saudi command and has close ties to senior military officials in the Gulf.

The deputy proof is the commander of the rapid support forces, Muhammad Hamdan Daklu, and his popular nickname is Hamidati. Rapid support forces have been a paramilitary unit that emerged from the janjaweed militia that fought in Darfur and left fighting forces in Yemen.

Another member of the 10-member Military Council is a representative of the National Security and Intelligence Service and the police chief.

A Sudanese source close to the military leadership said the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt had a role in planning “to isolate al-Bashir, Awad bin Auf and Salah Qosh as part of a strategy to weaken the Islamists’ power in Sudan.”

Bashir took power in a coup backed by Islamists. He belonged to the Islamic Movement, which is similar to the Muslim Brotherhood and applied Islamic law.

Who are the supporters of the new leadership?
The UAE, a key member of the alliance fighting in Yemen under Saudi leadership, has welcomed the appointment of the proof and said it would speed up sending aid to Sudan. After the proof was set, Saudi Arabia said it would send wheat, fuel and medicine to Sudan.

The Egyptian presideness Egypt’s support for Sudan’s stability.

The Transitional Militacy said in Cairo that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on the telephone to expiry Council in Sudan also announced that a joint delegation from the UAE and Saudi Arabia visited Khartoum and met with the proof and Hamidi to convey the message that the two countries are ready to provide support to Sudan in this “important and historic phase”.

The source said the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which supported the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and worked to counter Islamists associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the region, are working to achieve the same goal in Sudan.

“They want to use economic aid to encourage some centers of power in Sudan and weaken the presence of Islamists and their full control over economic institutions.”

The Sudanese military officer said the influence of Qatar and Turkey, the regional rivals of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which had strong ties with Bashir, would be limited. “The tug-of-war game is currently the winner of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.”

Hamidati received diplomatic envoys from the West, and several said they had asked him to ensure the rapid transition of civilian rule. The British ambassador said the meeting “was not to support or to legitimize.”

* How much concessions can the army make?

Promise promised to form a civilian government after consultations with the opposition forces and announced the easing of extraordinary measures and the release of political prisoners.

But nothing has been said about the army in terms of protesters’ demands to involve civilians in the Governing Council and to hold accountable Bashir’s footnote members, some of whom have been charged with international sanctions or charged with international charges.

The army may be afraid to make concessions if it faces opposition from other positions in the security apparatus.

Bashir had the strongest ties in the branches of the various security forces, which may enter into rivalries with each other after his departure.

Alex Dole, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University, said that while the ISF and the National Security and Intelligence Service had ties to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Islamists in the Sudan People’s Defense Force (PDF) had links to Qatar.

“Basically they want a smooth exit for Bashir and the army will remain as an institution and they have Egyptian support for this strategy … The problem is that the demands of the demonstrators are about democracy and they are the only ones who want democracy. No one wants democracy.”

Q: What is the fate of al-Bashir?

When Ben Awf announced Bashir’s dismissal, he said the former president was under house arrest. Sources told Reuters Bashir was being held under heavy guard at his residence.

Two sources from the Bashir family said he was transferred to Kober prison in the capital Khartoum late on Tuesday. A source at the prison said Bashir was being held in solitary confinement under heavy guard.

The junta said it would not extradite him but could try him in Sudan.

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010 on suspicion of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In recent years, al-Bashir has challenged the court and visited several friendly countries, including member states.

Sudan and Bashir have denied war crimes and said the figures for casualties in Darfur were exaggerated.

Some speculated that they might follow the example of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and turn to Saudi Arabia.

This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.

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