Sudan Trapped In A Political Turmoil
Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan announced on Monday, 25 October that the military seized control over the sovereign council in an attempt to prevent a prospective civil war. Burhan disposed of Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and dissolved the government and held Hamdok at his home until he was released after international pressure.
It is worth noting that the Sovereign Council is a transitional council established since the 2019 Sudanese revolution and the ultimate decision-maker in Sudan. It rules and helps facilitate the democratic transition in the country, composed of both military and civilian members and headed by Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.
Burhan said in a televised conference that “There were people talking about discriminating against others, and that was driving this country to reach a civil war that would lead to the fragmentation of this country, tearing apart its unity, its fabric, and society. These dangers were in front of us.”
Such a coup would stand an obstacle to the transition to democracy which had already started in 2019 by the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar Al-Bashir and his Islamist government.
It is worth mentioning that the coup came weeks before the sovereign council is handed to a civilian, which would reduce the military’s hold on the country.
Since the council’s establishment, a competition started between the military and civilian members to take hold of the country. Burhan claimed that such conflict among the state’s political parties would lead to a civil war.
Just hours before the military coup, Jeffrey Feltman, US envoy to the Horn of Africa, left Khartoum where he met Sudanese military and civilian leaders to calm tensions among them and keep the transition to democracy on track.
However, such a step was not expected which pushed the Biden administration to freeze the financial aid to Sudan worth $700 million, dedicated to fostering democratic transition since 2019.
“The civilian-led transitional government should be immediately restored. It represents the will of the Sudanese people, as evidenced by the significant, peaceful demonstrations of support,” said Ned Price, spokesman for the United States Department of State.
“We recognize the legitimate grievances about the pace of the transition, but (the) dismissal of government officials and dissolution of government institutions, both violate Sudan’s constitutional declaration and abandon the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people,” he added.
Not only the financial aid that has been suspended but also military aid had been halted since the now-ousted autocrat Omar Al-Bashir took control in 1989.
There is a probability that economic sanctions might be imposed on Sudan which would represent a huge burden over its already exhausted economy.
Tensions might arise once again between Khartoum and Washington after they witnessed a thaw in relations since 2020 when the US removed Sudan from the list of “state sponsors of terrorism”.
Price said, “Clearly an action like this is something that the United States would, and now does, oppose and condemns in the strongest possible terms.”
It is worth mentioning that on the regional level, the African Union (AU), headquartered in Addis Ababa, suspended Sudan from all its activities until the civilian-led authority returns.
The regional African bloc said that it strongly condemns the seizure of power and that branding it is unconstitutional.
The military coup occurred on a unilateral basis where Burhan was not surrounded by the Sudanese people to have popular approval. On the contrary, huge masses amounted to protests, chanting “No to military rule”. Now, Sudan faces huge political as well as economic turmoil, and it has to correct its path as soon as possible.