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Sudan: The Counterrevolution No One’s Heard of Until Now

In society, the greatest way to solve any crisis or problem is to try and understand it on a personal level. Some say if you want to solve most of the world’s problems; whether it’s gender inequality, poverty, discrimination – the one thing needs to be attained is solving income inequality. The same methodology applies in humanity, because the only way humans can solve anything is if they learn to understand one another and be moved to help. This is the underlying problem of what’s happening in Sudan.
Now, the world is and has maybe always been somewhat of a terrible place but if you think of all the money or power that is spread in certain corners and creases and just how much there is to give in comparison to how much people need, there could be some sort of change. The issue with most issues, including what is happening in Sudan is people simply do not know the reality of the actual crisis, and therefore are not touched or moved by it and have no motivation to help or learn. On a political, social and day-to-day scale.

This is What’s Happening in Sudan: 
“Hospitals in Khartoum record more than 70 cases of rape in aftermath of attack on protest. More than 100 people were killed and as many as 700 injured in the attack last Monday on a sit-in and clashes afterwards. Many victims have not sought medical treatment, either because of fear of reprisals, insecurity in the city, or because care has been limited. Human rights activists and experts have described the reports of sexual violence as reliable.” – (The Guardian, June 11th) 
In April, president Omar al-Bashir was ousted after protests and a military coup. Since then, there has been violent attacks on civilian protesters by military officials while the country is transitioning to the next power. Bashir in power since 1989, and had been indicted for war crimes and genocide in Darfur, a region in Western Sudan. Once Bashir left, the military leaders said that they would agree to civilian rulings while they stepped in to run the transitional government.
The New York Times reported on June 3rd that the civilian negotiators offered a negotiation that would feature compromise and a rotation of power between themselves and the military leaders. But then the talks deteriorated and this initiated a two-day strike.
This started the extreme violence. The response to the strike included paramilitary and security forces raiding unarmed demonstrators at the capital of Sudan who were protesting peacefully. This then resulted in 52 people dead and 784 injured, according to the Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation. The military then created an internet blackout that cut off all mobile data which most Sudanese people use to access the internet. This has left many unable to communicate or share information to the rest of the world.
This started a chain of civilian reports, which put the death count over 100 and said that bodies were dumped into the Nile river. There has also been reports by civilians that soldiers had raped women and robbed stores, and other burned tents and beat protesters. Leaders from the protesters have said that this violence has spread beyond the capital and within a number of towns across the country.
The group that started most of the violence is called the Rapid Support Forces, which is led by Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan or Hemeti. He came to power as a commander of a military group called the janjaweed, which formed the RSF that was the same group accused of atrocities in Darfur in the 2000s. Both Hemeti and the leader of the military coup have a close relationship with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Both have given billions of dollars to the military forces that have assumed power in Sudan. 


The pro-democratic movement that is led by the Sudanese Professionals Association want the civilian rule and a long period of transition before any new election begin to properly prepare voters and allow the country to have systematic time to mature politically. In the beginning, the pro-democratic organisers and the military council had agreed to a three-year plan to enter into a transition phase towards democracy – but then negotiations fell apart quickly. Then the military came out and said that they will hold elections within nine months.

As of today, (June 11), an Ethiopian envoy states that Sudan’s opposition has agreed to suspend their campaign of civil disobedience and a general strike, in exchange for military concessions. This strike brought a standstill as the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces alliance tried to pressure the military council to cease their own power.

The top US diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, is going to Sudan this week according to the State Department and the BBC. Nagy aims to, “call for a cessation of attacks against civilians.” 

Prior to that, several US officials (anonymously) complained that the Trump administration had ‘no solid strategy’ on Sudan beyond sharply worded statements condemning violence. This clearly was not sharp enough to coordinate between the State Department, National Security Council and the US Agency for International Development.

The biggest issue with Sudan is that there is very little intelligence or insight on the political and social crisis when it comes to forecasting a plan of any diplomacy – especially when there is a ban on internet and communication from within. On top of that, during the United States (and the rest of the world’s) absence, the Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt) are stepping in.

If we have learnt anything from history, it’s that things crumble when there is no communication or intelligence. Things become too far gone, and uncontrollable long after it is reported in the news. That history itself is, in the words of media theorist Marshal McLuhan: “Rite words in rote order.”


Featured Image from: Sky News

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