He will visit Israel if he is invited and the means are available to go. It was with this clear audacity that the chairman of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council, General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, spoke to the media on the sidelines of the meetings of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The correct translation of Al-Burhan’s statement, without the slightest exaggeration, is that he wants to visit Israel and that he is winking at the occupation authorities, asking for an invitation, with comfortable travel, and that he is eagerly waiting for them to grant his wish. So now, the decision is in the hands of the occupation government, it could either invite him now or wait, and it will decide what means of travel he will come in and what class he will fly to Tel Aviv on.
It is very similar to the appearances of some local festival stars, who are competing to display the greatest level of audacity to shake audiences, attracting the attention of producers, directors and industry managers.
We must take into account the fact that this statement was not preceded by any sign from Tel Aviv that it is interested in hosting the sovereign general, who appears to be in the process of re-presenting himself as the ruler of Sudan, with the end of the Transitional Sovereign Council’s term, which he chairs, approaching. This will then be followed by elections that he will not run in, as he promised before, declaring that he and the military council do not want to be in authority.
The current Arab reality tells us that the more the generals demonstrate their unwillingness to take over the affairs of government, the greater their insistence on gaining power. We can refer to the case of Egypt’s General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, when he swore profusely that the army did not want to govern, that he personally will not run in the elections and did not like political work. The rest of the story is known: There is terrorism at our doors and conflict amongst the civilian parties and forces that do not offer an alternative that protects the nation from the threats of the evil plotters.
What is interesting in the story is that as soon as he finished flirting with Israel and the western circles in New York, General Al-Burhan suddenly decided, without prior arrangement or scheduling, to fly to Cairo directly, and not to Khartoum, to inform his teacher and the pioneer in the game, General Al-Sisi, the outcome of what he had done in New York.
I said earlier, with the exposure of the secret meeting between Al-Burhan and then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Entebbe (Uganda) in early February 2020, that the student Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan had memorised the lesson and comprehended it after being taught by Professor Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. He understood that anyone who wants power must pay a dowry to Israel, and Al-Burhan has indeed done so. He still embodies one of the ironies of Arab politics, being the first person to normalise with Israel, immediately after the announcement of the ‘deal of the century’, although he was the fiercest in expressing his rejection of the deal and defending the Palestinian rights during the Arab ministers’ conference.
In October 2021, having met Netanyahu, Al-Burhan decided to disregard the sharing formula between the military and the civilian forces, represented by the government of Abdullah Hamdok, and to overthrow both the partnership agreement and the government. Therefore, it was said that Al-Burhan’s coup was made in Entebbe, where he met with the prime minister of the Israeli occupation government at that time, which Tel Aviv was responsible for leaking news of which to the media. Meanwhile, the Sudanese civil forces participating in the government announced their renunciation of him and their lack of knowledge of his actions. Moreover, the office of Prime Minister, Abdullah Hamdok, refuted Al-Burhan’s claim that his meeting with Netanyahu took place with Hamdok’s knowledge and consent.
In New York, Al-Burhan did not miss a moment to try to present a new face that matches the specifications of a general in a civilian mask, as he spoke to everyone who sat with him, including UN and international officials, telling them that the Sudanese army wants to withdraw from political life. this is a formula that the generals always use before they decide to take off the military jacket and put on their fake civilian face, in preparation for entering the political arenas that have been fully prepared for the military to win the race, even if their most senior official swore he does not intend to run in the elections.
Generals are always betting on the opportunism and pragmatism of the international community, and on that vast chasm between the elegance of principles and the arrogance of interests, knowing that the latter often wins in all confrontations. This rule is only broken by popular revolutions that surprise all parties with their steadfastness and the realisation that half-revolutions are defeat, and that stopping halfway is a complete loss.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 26 September 2022
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.