It is not the first time, since Sudan's independence on 1 January 1956, that the military overthrew civilians. If the name of the conflict in Sudan was shortened, it would have been described as a conflict between civilians and the military.
The military recorded its first successful coup against civilians in November 1958. It was led by General Ibrahim Abboud against the coalition government consisting of the Umma and Democratic Unionist parties. Ismail al-Azhari was head of state and Abdullah Khalil was prime minister.
The military rule remained in control of the Sudanese people until it disappeared after a popular revolution that toppled it in 1964. Sudan was then governed by a partisan coalition and governments produced by-elections, until they were overthrown by the military.
Jaafar Nimeiry announced that he led a successful military coup against civilians in 1969, in the May 25 coup, and ruled Sudan with authoritarianism and unilateralism for more than 16 years. He oppressed who he oppressed and executed who he executed until he was toppled by a popular revolution by the brave, courageous people who made many sacrifices until they imposed their presence through the streets so that civilians would rule through parties and elections.
Omar Al-Bashir announced that he led a successful military coup, in which the military succeeded for the third time in seizing power, on 30 June 1989, against the elected partisan civil government headed by Sadiq Al-Mahdi. He called it the national salvation revolution. Al-Bashir continued to rule Sudan in cooperation with National Islamic Front and its leader, Hassan al-Turabi until they separated from each other.
Al-Bashir's rule was overthrown through a popular revolution, which erupted in December 2018, and he stepped down on 11 April 2019, by the decision of the army. General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan took over, after reaching an understanding with the popular movement and its political forces that gathered under the slogan and name, 'The Forces of Declaration of Freedom and Change Alliance'.
On 17 August 2019, the military and civilians agreed on a constitutional document and a transitional period was reached, based on partnership between civilians and the military, until January 2024, when the military would hand over power to civilians. However, as usual, they do not adhere to documents and pledges and, instead, monopolise power.
Yesterday, Monday, 25 October 2021, the military seized power and arrested Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, who refused to compromise and surrender to the military. He refused to support or accept their measures. He is known for his stubbornness and principle, as he previously refused to be a finance minister during Bashir's rule. Now, he is refusing the military's rule and their authoritarianism, as they did not respond to the spirit of partnership and its requirements and, instead, decided to seize power, taking Sudan back to military rule.
The successful military coups by Ibrahim Abboud, Jaafar Nimeiry, Omar Al-Bashir, and Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan were not the only military attempts and ambitions. There were also several failed coups by Ismail Kabeida, which was the first military coup in 1957, Hashem Al-Atta in 1971, Hassan Hussein in 1975, Mahmoud Nour Saad in 1976, Abdul-Kader al-Kadro and Mohammad Osman in 1990, Ahmed Khaled in 1992, and Hashem Abdel-Muttalib in 2020 against the Military Council on 11 July 2021.
Sudan is a country of coups, just as it is a country of popular revolutions, and, today, it is on a hot plate, heading towards the unknown. Who will succeed?
It is clear that the military is in control, but it is impossible for matters to go in their favour.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Addustour on 26 October 2021
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.