We rejoiced and had high hopes for the revolutionary movement in Sudan, which overthrew the head of the tyrannical authority, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. It is a great achievement for the Sudanese rebels who refused to leave the streets until their demands have been met. They learned the lesson from the Egyptian revolution and fully grasped it, chanting the slogan, “Either victory or Egypt”. We have become an example for people to learn from, and this is not bad or harmful, but rather beneficial to others. Apart from the national strife, ethnic conflicts, and the chauvinistic positions taken by some of the Sudanese people who have disowned the first failed Arab Spring revolutions and tried to remove their revolution from its Arab surroundings, motivated by the distinction each country has, the revolutions teach each other. Moreover, we are a united nation, brought together by a single culture, religion, and joint history. However, unfortunately, we have been divided by colonialism into rivalling countries and peoples suffering from the same illnesses surrounding the nation. We are suffering from the same symptoms and feel the same pains. Therefore, the treatment to our illness is the same and there is no room for complacency and defiance against each other, or for uprooting our roots that run deep in the Arab land.
We, as Arab peoples, must confront the truth and not run away from it. We are still under the control of foreign colonialism and our countries are still occupied and managed by its proxies, who are our own people and who are more brutal and violent than our colonisers. Yes, all of the Arab countries, with no exception, are under occupation. What has been said about the post-independence era is the biggies lie in history, and these Arab revolutions are only links in a long history of the Arab people’s fight and struggle against the foreign coloniser to gain our independence. Once we have done so, we can govern ourselves, and this will not happen until we obtain complete freedom and eliminate the colonisers’ agents, brothers, and factions, from government, rather than replacing one tyrant with another.
What had happened in Sudan is that the military quickly jumped on the revolution in an attempt to abort it, after it was confirmed that it would be impossible to stand in the way of the human flood that called for the overthrow of Al-Bashir. Therefore, the army believed it necessary to sacrifice Bashir in order to keep its grip on the country by means of Awad Bin Auf and then Abdel Fattah Burhan. It seems that it learned the lesson from the Egyptian revolution and took a short cut, quickly taking measures and reducing the time, combining the pure January Revolution with the blood-stained June revolution in a single statement. These two paths do not meet at all, as they are separated by a deep and long purgatory, turning Sudan’s spring into an autumn at the speed of light, before we were able to completely rejoice.
This is not a pessimistic view on my part, but rather a reading of the latest developments and occurrences in the Sudanese revolution, as well as the foreign interventions we are witnessing, which are strongly seeking to invest in the revolution given the fragile and turbulent internal situation. What does it mean for an Emirati delegation, the foothold of the counter-revolution, to visit Sudan at this sensitive and critical time? A visit from the country in which all of the conspiracies against the Arab Spring were plotted, with the help of the Israelis and Americans. We became even more concerned by the fact that the delegation members included Muhammad Darlan, the security adviser to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Moss ad’s top man in the region. The delegation also included Tasha Osman, the head of Omar Bashir’s office in the past, whose attempt to stage a coup against Bashir, with the help of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in 2017 was exposed. This was after Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s historical visit to Sudan and his signing of several economic and military agreements between the two countries. He was given Suakin Island, which is vital in the Red Sea, making it likely that Turkey would build a military base in the Red Sea. This raised the fears of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, causing them to conspire against Bashir and instruct Osman to stage a coup against him. They funded Osman but he failed to stage the coup and his betrayal was exposed. However, before he was handed over to Bashir, he had fled to Riyadh and the Saudi Crown Prince granted him Saudi citizenship.
How could I not worry about the Sudanese revolution while I see Saudi Arabia and the UAE, strangely, welcoming the coup and the taking over by Abdel Fattah Burhan, which is contrary to their behaviour towards the past Arab Spring revolutions? Burhan is the commander of the Sudanese forces in Yemen and is close to the UAE, making him the UAE’s man in Sudan. To be honest, I do not understand why that Sudanese people are happy with Auf being replaced by Burhan, as both men are cut from the same cloth and belong to the same institution, which does not want to let go of its grip on the government. Both men are also partners in the bloodshed of the Sudanese people.
How could I not be concerned when I see a gathering of civilians from the old rotten political forces that corrupted political life in Sudan, which had always aspired to be in power by using the military? Therefore, they supported all of the past military coups, dating back to Abboud’s and Nimeiry’s coups. These opportunistic forces control “professionals’ gatherings”, which were the icons of the revolution and fuel since December, mostly made up of non-politicised youth who have no political experience, which allowed for these corrupt old men to infiltrate them and ride the revolution. It is not strange for them to ask for the extension of the transitional military rule to four years instead of the two years determined by the Military Council in its first statement under the pretext of preparing the atmosphere for the transfer of power. This is an old justification commonly used by the Arab left wing, which is in crisis and unable to access the streets and build a popular base for itself. This is even though the left-wing ideology aligns with the feelings of the people in the street, making it easy for them to gain their support. However, the arrogant Arab leftist elites have memorised the theories of Marx and Lenin and refuse to come down from their ivory tower and mingle with the people. Instead, they resort to the military for protection and aspire to obtain positions through the military, not through the people, in whose names they speak.
The left wing was happy with the fall of Bashir, not because he was a tyrant, which is why we were pleased. Instead, their happiness, or gloating, was due to the fall of political Islam in Sudan, as if Bashir were ruling by Islamic law. Bashir is mistakenly considered a member of the Islamic movement. He had imprisoned Sheikh Hassan Turabi, who had made him president of Sudan. Furthermore, Bashir’s rule was riddled with the arrest of thousands of members of the Islamist movement. Bashir’s religion was based on his interests and wherever he could find power. This is a long story, too long to tell in this article. It needs a separate article to explain. Bashir was a Baathist left-wing member brought to Hassan Turabi after the coup. Turabi did not know him, as he said on a television show presented by Dr Azzam Tamimi on Al-Hiwar TV.
How could I not be worried about the future of Sudan when I see some political forces demanding that the Military Council make eliminatory decisions against their political opponents in the Islamist movement? They have also demanded that the National Congress party be eradicated from the country, as was the case with the Baath Party in Iraq and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Indeed, since the first day of the coup, prominent members of the National Congress party have been arrested, meaning that the transitional rule of the Military Council is being granted sovereign legislative and executive powers at the same time, i.e. absolute power. This means it is likely that Bashir’s dictatorship will continue, despite a change in faces.
The transitional Military Council is using this time to arrange its playing cards and prepare itself for the upcoming phase, taking advantage of the conflicts between the different revolutionary forces and playing on this conflicts to fragment their efforts and weaken the rebels, who they see as opponents. This is even though they have stated otherwise in their soft diplomatic speeches made by Burhan. This is precisely what happened in the Egyptian revolution, as similar meetings were held between the Military Council and revolutionary forces, leading to the fragmentation of this solid block and the formation of dozens of innovative coalitions. Moreover, dozens of revolutionary coalitions included individuals who did not participate in the revolution and were not against Mubarak. Their number reached over 200 coalitions fighting against each other, forgetting their primary goal for which hundreds of youth sacrificed their lives for.
The main demands made by the rebels in Sudan were the transfer of power to a civil administration and for the Military Council to become a Council for Defence and Security, under the control of the president. Therefore, the sit-in continues and Burhan has promised not to disperse it by force, although he did call for is dispersal voluntarily. In his opinion, the reasons for the protests have been remedied with the removal of Bashir. This is the greatest trick the rebels could fall for if they believe Burhan’s flattery and words and left the streets. The fall of Bashir does not mean the end of their revolution, but rather the beginning. The entire government must be overthrown, and their demands must be met. The intensity of the counter-revolution and its use of the state of chaos and immaturity among the revolutionary forces on the ground and take the chance to pounce on the revolution in democratic left-wing in a democratic disguise, which pleases the public but hides the mould of the brutal regime on the inside.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.