Former President of Sudan, 83-year-old Field Marshall Abdel Rahman Suwar Al-Dahab, has died at a hospital in Saudi Arabia.
Sudanese media noted that Al-Dahab had been in a military hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh but died earlier today, according to Arabi21. No further details as to the cause or circumstances of his death have been released.
Al-Dahab was the president of Sudan from 1985-1986 after launching a military coup to overthrow president Gaafar Nimeiry, who had ruled Sudan since 1969. Al-Dahab then led Sudan’s Transitional Military Council until elections could be held. Since then Al-Dahab had worked in advocacy for the Islamic Dawa Organisation, an organisation which has provided relief campaigns across Sudan in the wake of national disasters and subsequent shortages of food, medical supplies and shelter.
Throughout his life Al-Dahab was a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, in April calling on the international community to protect Palestinians from “Zionist crimes”. Al-Dahab explained: “Today’s priority is not speaking about a safe Israeli state, but securing the life of the Palestinians in the face of the crimes the [Israeli] occupation carries out against them. Israel has a right to live in peace if it responds to the just demands of the Palestinian people, but this is not the time to speak about this.”
Al-Dahab was responding to a controversial claim made by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), who said that Israel has the right to live peacefully in a Jewish state. In an interview with the Atlantic MBS claimed: “I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land […] but we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.” MBS’ father and leader of Saudi Arabia, King Salman was forced to reiterate Saudi Arabia’s support for the Palestinians to minimise the fallout from the comments.
The former Sudanese president has also spoken out about the rift with Qatar, which has seen a boycott imposed on the Gulf state since summer 2017 at the behest of regional foe Saudi Arabia. In March, Al-Dahab called on Saudi Arabia to end the crisis and invite Qatar to participate in the then-upcoming Arab summit in Riyadh. Al-Dahab argued that “the siege policy adopted by the three Gulf countries with Qatar has harmed all the Gulf states, as well as Gulf and Arab national security”. He added that “Qatar is an active member of the Arab League and its presence in the Arab world is very important […] Saudi Arabia should work to overcome the differences, and end the blockade imposed on Qatar, which has no justification”.