The Return of the Sudan Elite Islamist Regime
by Abakar M. Abdallah (May 2020)
Sudan Protester Reciting Poetry 2019, AFP Photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba Prize-Winning Photo
The reality facing Sudan, the US, and the West in 2020 is the former National Congress Party (NCP) Islamist regime still controlling power in Sudan. This despite the military coup d’état that overthrew and imprisoned former President Bashir on April 11, 2019. That action by other NCP military leaders temporarily ended four months of daily domestic street protests over economic issues that erupted in December 2018. Those protests were immediately renewed calling for Bashir’s removal by civilian groups led by a consortium, the Forces of Freedom and Changes (FFC) that encompassed the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, Sudanese Professional Association and other civilian reform and resistance groups.
Street protesters rejected the Transition Military Council (TMC) led by Ibn Auf with the participation presence of Salah Gosh, the “head of the National Intelligence and Security Service, a paramilitary body notorious for torture which tried to brutally suppress the protests”. Also in the TMC was General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, the Defense Minister, a former diplomat and head of Sudan’s military intelligence, who “the US State Department imposed sanctions for his role in “violence, atrocities and human rights abuses” in Darfur. According to a New York Times report on the ouster of Bashir, “General Ibn Auf had provided logistical support to the Janjaweed militia, which carried out some of the worst atrocities in Darfur, and even directed attacks”. Ibn Auf ‘resigned’ one day following his announcement of Bashir’s ouster.
The new head of the TMC was General Abdel Fattah Abderhaman al-Burhan of the Sudan Armed Forces. His Deputy on the council was the notorious Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dogolo ("Hemetti"). Hemetti is considered the real leader of the TMC. Hemetti commands the Rapid Support Force and Janjaweed militias that continue ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people’s regions of Darfur, Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile State.
Following the July 2, 2019 massacre of protesters in Khartoum, the TMC reached a political agreement with the FFC on July 17th, followed by a Constitutional Agreement on August 4 and ‘dissolution’ of the TMC and transfer of power to a Sovereignty Council. That was followed by the nomination of Abdalla Hamdok as Prime Minister, and up to 20 Ministers for the Cabinet to facilitate a 39-month transfer to a democratically elected government. That left both Hemeti and Burhan controlling the first 15 months period of the Council during the transition.
Now, a year following Bashir’s ouster there are indications that a new wave of violence is being fomented by the Khartoum Nile Elite Islamist “deep state”.The RSF/Janjaweed militias burned and massacred the Kerindang Internally Displaced Peoples’ camp in al-Geneina, Western Darfur in which 45 people were killed and 57 others wounded on December 30, 2019. On March 31, 2020, the RSF/Janjaweed attacked and destroyed Dawani village, South Darfur killed 12 people and injured 5 others. Al Jazeera reported on March 9, 2020, PM Hamdok surviving a bombing and assassination attempt. Radio Dabanga on April 17, 2020, reported protests in Khartoum by Bashir regime supporters calling for the overthrow of the Abdallah Hamdok interim regime:
On Thursday, hundreds of people in the Sudanese capital protested the government of Abdallah Hamdok for its failure to resolve Sudan’s crisis. They were stopped by the police who used teargas to disperse them.
It was the third time in eight days that defenders of the defunct regime of former President Omar Al Bashir staged a demonstration.
On April 9, protesters demanded the transitional government be replaced, and called for the continuation of subsidies on basic consumer goods. On Sunday, mainly women supporters demonstrated 30 protesters were arrested for violating anti-coronavirus (COVID-19) measures.
After the meeting of the Council of Ministers on Thursday, Minister of Industry and Trade Madani Abbas Madani told reporters in Khartoum that he and his colleagues agreed that supporters of the defunct regime “should not be allowed to occupy the spaces of freedom that the Sudanese people have extracted from the same former regime, and overthrow the democratic path in Sudan.”
Radio Dabanga reported the renewal of Peace Discussions in Juba, South Sudan between the Sudan Sovereignty Council and Sudan Resistance Force (SRF). It cited the absence of leading Darfur and Nuba resistance groups:
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) which is not a member of the SRF alliance, reported earlier this week that its negotiating team is still waiting for the response of the Sudanese government concerning a number of items they presented at the end of February.
The faction and the Sudanese government have yet to reach an agreement on secularism and the right to self-determination for the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan.
The negotiating team is still present in Juba, despite the apparent stalemate. The SPLM-N El Hilu also mentioned “dangerous” security tensions and military maneuvers in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.
The mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement, founded by Abdel Wahid El Nur, refrains from joining the peace talks, despite several calls to do so. The delegation Chief of Mina Minawi of Sudan Liberation Movement faction briefly suspended negotiations in Juba complaining that they have been negotiating for 8 months with the transition government without reaching any visible results.
The transitional regime does not want to sign a peace agreement with Darfur resistance forces currently in Peace Forum discussions in Juba, South Sudan. What they are doing is just a tactic to provide time so that they can strengthen their grip on power. Genocide, war crimes and human right atrocities in Darfur are continuing. The RSF/Janjaweed is implementing the Arab Coalition Plan by bringing new people from Chad, settling them in various parts of Darfur. Sudan is still serving as a haven for terrorists. The Syrian terrorists fly in from Damascus, Istanbul, Khartoum, and travel by road to Tripoli, Libya. RSF/Janjaweed militias continue training of Jihadists. Over five groups have been graduated since the fall of Bashir. They recruit these Jihadists from countries in the African Sahel region. Some are taken to fight proxy wars in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and others deployed as part of RSF/Janjaweed militias. Some of them infiltrate back to the Africa Sahel region and Libya.
The National Congress Party (NCP) formerly led by ousted President Bashir is planning a coup to take a full control. According to some Sudanese social media reports in Khartoum this was the reason they brought back former Intelligence Chief Salah Gosh to Khartoum. The TMC head Chairman General Barhum declared that Gosh was the mastermind behind planning of the coup that overthrown Bashir.
If the US, Israel, and EU countries want to end terrorism in the Sahel region; they should support the Sudan United Movement (SUM) to control Sudan. Once we replace the Sudan Khartoum—Nile Elites interim government the terrorists would no longer have a haven in Sudan. The rich Gulf States will lose the communications linking them to Jihadists in the Sahel region as currently everything does go through Sudan.
Enter the Total Marginalization Force Group
The Total Marginalization Force Group (TMFG) is one of the largest groups in the Sudan that emerged following the dispersed protesters of the Sit-In Protests in 2019. It represent all the people of Sudan except the ruling elite. All the armed movements and civilian opposition groups are members. They have a Consultative Council composed of 30 members from all parts of Sudan including most senior politicians. This group might take the lead in upcoming demonstrations to uproot the Khartoum-Nile Elites from power.
The Sudan United Movement (SUM) is fighting to make possible regime change in Sudan and put an end to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity that are continually committed against our people. The movement struggles to address the social injustice and economic marginalization that continued in the country for many years for which there is no end in sight. Unfortunately, these efforts are undermined by the fragmented resistance struggle that divided several components of armed movements and civilian activist groups. These groups are further sub-divided into various fragmented elements, each claiming fighting to achieve the same objective.
Most of these groups suffer from the lack of experience or inability to formulate a clear, concise vision, with sound strategy to guide them in their course of struggle. Therefore, we call upon the unification of the various fragmented groups which would enable us to put our efforts together and reinforce one another to achieve a common goal. The second problem is to secure political support, as well as material assistance especially from abroad. Understand that our adversaries obtains direct and indirect political and material assistance from the outside world; notably, the Arab states. Our focus should be to make continuous efforts to achieve these objectives.
What follows are the Sudan United Movement’s (SUM) responses to the Total Marginalization Forces Group (TMFG):
In case the current Juba Peace Forum has not brought peace, what might we expect from you?
SUM: The Sudan United Movement is not part of the ongoing negotiations in Juba, South Sudan. Therefore, its failure or success does not conflict with our course of struggle. Based on our experiences with the successive Sudan regime that ruled the country, peace negotiations are not made to bring peace but to help the regime survive. This policy was established by the Ismail Azhari regime in 1956 with the objective to quell the South Sudanese resistance. Instead of addressing the root causes of the problems, Azhari sought to resolve the crisis through a “combination of military and police repression” as well as peace negotiations and discussions hoping that the pressure would make the resistance give up their demands. This strategy became the foundation for successive regimes ruling Sudan to this date. They use the same strategy even though this approach categorically failed to bring peace in Sudan. As the word “peace” is attractive, they use it deceptively to cover up the regime’s bad image and intentions. This has been the reason that negotiations have continued for years with no peace. Instead, some 6 million Sudanese have been decimated over the last 60 years under the cover of peace negotiations and the deception continues.
What are your alternative means to address bringing peace in case the transitional period may be disrupted by the resignation of Premier Hamdok, a military coup or declare an early election?
SUM: Power is already hijacked and controlled by both military and civilian groups representing the National Congress Party (NCP) and the “deep state”. Moreover, resignation of Premier Abdallah Hamdok does not change anything on the ground since he was handpicked by those who control Sudan politics to deceive the public in order to achieve their objectives. Peace cannot be achieved under the “deep state” represented by the traditional political parties controlling power. Peace in Sudan will not come until the Khartoum-Nile Elites “deep state” regime is totally dismantled and a new form of government incorporating all Sudanese societies is established. Peace will not come in Sudan if those who committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are controlling the government.
Any elections in Sudan at this chaotic moment would not be fair and transparent because Sudan’s political parties initially were formed by ethnocentric narrow-minded people from one region in the country. These political parties are motivated mostly through personal, family interests, religious sectarianism, tribalism, and allegiance to foreign rulers. Therefore, they offer no solution for Sudan’s crisis. On the other hand, the marginalized people of Sudan have no officially registered political parties to represent them in any elections. As a result, we are not optimistic about any elections. Elections in our view change nothing on the ground since they will be carried out by the same people who ruined Sudan over the last 60 years.
In case another popular uprising erupts in the street in the upcoming days, do you have any strategy to ensure that the revolution is not stolen again? We believe that peace in Sudan would not come without fundamental change of the existing political system.
SUM: The Khartoum Nile Elites or Kharto-Nile Elites (KNE) succeeded in stealing the revolution for the third time because they control the security forces of the state. It is only through the state security forces that they steal revolutions. Sudan’s security today is protected by foreign mercenaries with allegiance to the NCP and “deep state”. The December 2018 revolution was dispersed using the same force. Nothing prevents them from using the same force against the imminent uprisings.
Are you ready among yourselves as armed movements within different groups with your various ideologies and without conditions to unite with RSF/Janjaweed militias as a military force representing marginalized people?
SUM: The Rapid Support Forces/Janjaweed militias, consist of mercenaries mostly from foreigners and terrorist groups, who committed genocide, war crimes and human right abuses in Darfur, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. Currently, they occupy villages and farms of the Internally Displaced People in Darfur. The militias continually kill the innocent unarmed population of Darfur and prevent them from going back to their villages and farms. We have taken arms to defend our people from the brutality of these barbaric militias. With this reality, SUM will remain committed to the cause of our people and would never cooperate with criminals until the new settlers are entirely removed from the land and rectification of the past and the ongoing injustices is achieved.
We are currently a civil political incubator for you as armed movements. Do you represent us, are you accepting us?
SUM: It comes as a surprise to see you distinguish yourselves from us despite that we have emerged from the same people struggling in the same cause. SUM is fighting for all the Sudanese, regardless of their race, religion, color, gender, or origin. We have never rejected anybody and will never do so.
Can you support us? If so, how?
SUM: Yes, we will support you depending on our capacity.
What can you advise us on as we are planning to lead a new popular uprising?
SUM: Remember, the Khartoum-Nile Elites stole revolution three times in Sudan’s history of struggle because they controlled government institutions. The most important of these institutions is the security forces (Sudan Armed Forces and Police). First, you need to gain the hearts and minds of enough military personnel or units to protect protesters. If the regime collapses; the protesters should constitute a transitional revolutionary government without intervention of any other parties other than those in the protest movement. The army and police must remain neutral and play their traditional role, keeping the security of the state. Second, do not allow any external intervention, whether within or outside the country. No negotiations whatsoever with any other party or group pretending that it represents the previous regime; to prevent a repetition of the mistakes of the December revolution. Invite all the opposition groups including armed movements to join up in the formation of the government. The new transitional revolutionary government should remain protected by protesters until total control of the state and the situation returns to normal.
8.We need to prepare a program for a complete plan for a fully executed project could you support us?
SUM: One thing you need to understand is that the “group or groups” is a social media system that recently emerged connecting friends, families, or a certain number of people. However, it cannot be used as a platform to deal with issues at the political level of a country or the outside world. For example, dealing with public policies, governments, organizations, etc. Therefore, you need to establish an organization such as political party, a political movement or “civil rights movement.” Through such an organization you will be able to engage with all the people of the country, embrace other nations, approach regional and international organizations such as the UN, AU and EU to explain what is going on in the Sudan and enable people understand the reality of Sudan’s perpetual genocide, war crimes and human right abuses. Then you may propose possible solutions and solicit political support and possible financial assistance.
Lt. Gen. Abdallah is Chairman of the Sudan United Movement. He is a native of North Darfur who joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in 1984 and became active in the Nuba Hills and Darfurians resistance movements. In 1989 he joined the Patriotic Salvation Movement in neighboring Chad based in Darfur. He served as an officer in the Chadian army for 23 years. He held senior intelligence and counterterrorism posts including as Coordinator of the Multi-National Joint Task Force of Nigeria, Chad and Niger. He was Coordinator of Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI) Anti-Terrorism Unit of Chad and Commander of PSI Anti-Terrorism Battalion of Chad 2004. He is a graduate of the Intelligence Officers’ Advanced and Combating Terrorism Courses, US Army Intelligence Center and Schools, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He was a Counter Terrorism Fellow and a Graduate of the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, Washington, DC, 2005. He was an International Fellow and Graduate of the US Army War College, Class of 2008. He was Graduate of Nigeria Armed Forces Command and Staff College Course 22, of the year 2000. He is the co-author of Genocide in Sudan: Caliphate Threatens Africa and the World with Jerome B. Gordon and Deborah Martin, JAD Publishing, LLC, 2017.
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