In Sudan, no one is aware of what will happen after Al-Bashir

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CAIRO (AP) – As violent anti-government protests come into their fourth week, Sudan appears to be heading for political paralysis, with protracted unrest in much of the country and a fractured opposition with no clear idea of ​​what is going on. If you want to see the country, you have to do it. the leader of the country for 29 years becomes reality.

Even for a country that seems difficult to handle when it does not tear, the years at the helm of President Omar al-Bashir have made Sudan an uplifting story: from genocide and bloody rebellions to ethnic cleansing, famine and endemic corruption.

But Sudan struggled to reign before Al-Bashir during his military-state coup in 1989. Protest leaders say that a fresh start is needed if the country wants to have a chance to progress .

"Very few people still support this regime, its way of governing or the use of an Islamic narrative," said Othman Mirghani, a prominent Sudanese analyst. "The conclusion reached by the people is that this regime must be lowered and that the search for a modern Sudanese state based on contemporary values ​​must begin."

Here is an overview of the situation after more than three weeks of protests that claimed the lives of at least 40 people.

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POLITICS VS. MILITARY RULE

Military and democratically elected governments have been taking turns in Sudan since independence in 1956, from coups d'etat that brought the generals to power, eventually being overthrown by popular uprisings. The only exception was in 1986, when the military kept its promise to hand over the reins to an elected government a year after taking power.

The military has been the dominant force in Sudan since independence and, according to analysts and activists. Al-Bashir was born in the army, but he marginalized the army as the main fighting force in the country and replaced it with loyal paramilitary forces he created.

This has frustrated junior and junior officers, largely because the generosity of the state has benefited paramilitary forces and security agencies, not them.

Since the beginning of the demonstrations on 19 December, the army has twice declared its support for the "leaders" of the country and is committed to protecting the "gains" of the people. She never mentioned al-Bashir either.

Army troops deployed to protect vital state facilities, but they did not attempt to stop the demonstrations and, in some cases, seemed to offer a measure protectors.

All this suggests the possibility that the army can regain power and send back al-Bashir. But many fear that the Sudan Rapid Forces, a 70,000-strong, well-armed paramilitary force made up of tribal members allied with Al-Bashir, may intervene by intervening, either to protect the president or to set up his own leadership. .

Curiously, al-Bashir, 74, said on Tuesday that he would not mind if he was replaced by a member of the military.

Hany Raslan, an Egyptian expert in Sudan, said that "in any normal country, the comments of Al-Bashir would have been interpreted as part of a transfer of power, but it is Sudan and it is very likely trying to win the favors of the army ".

If the Sudanese military regime led to the suppression of human rights and freedoms, its brief democratic episodes – 1956-1958, 1964-1969 and 1986-1989 – were defined by their ineffectiveness. Traditional parties like the Umma and the Democratic Union have ruled, but their inability to build a modern state and lay the economy on solid ground has paved the way for the next military takeover.

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THE ISLAMIC MODEL OF AL-BASHIR

Al-Bashir took power with the support of the army and Islamists, who then formed the basis of his power. Over the past three decades, his party of the National Congress – dominated by extremist Islamists – has had the power to control the government and dominate the economy.

The leaders have proclaimed themselves to have established the Islamic rule of sharia law in Sudan and described its past wars as "jihad", whether against southerners or against insurgents in the western region of Darfur. Al-Bashir often denounces the "laity" as the worst enemy of Sudan and praises his long domination as proof of God's support.

Critics, however, say that Islamist ideology has become largely a polish for a political machine that allows parents, loyalists, politicians and businessmen al-Bashir to To amass wealth through their links with the government.

"This is not an Islamic experience, it is an experience that uses religious slogans to conceal practices that have nothing to do with Islam," said the spokesman. Sudanese analyst Mirghani.

But even if Al-Bashir goes away, his executives and other Loyalists will still have considerable power and will be able to withstand major changes, supported by religious rhetoric that can still rally part of the population by their side.

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HOPES OF PROTESTERS

When past popular uprisings were successful, the elected governments that followed were mainly built around the Umma and Democratic Union parties.

These two traditional parties are now weak and fractured. Moreover, their political speech is also immersed in religion, which does not resonate with many of the new generation of young street activists, mainly young people, loyal to liberal parties and professional or independent unions.

"It will be a wrong step if we describe ourselves publicly as liberals or laypeople, but what we are looking for are policies that are essentially liberal without being manifestly contrary to the teachings of Islam," said one protester. 26 years old. "We need a government of technocrats. We are done with traditional parties, "she said, provided she was not named for fear of reprisals.

Activists and analysts say the weakness of the opposition groups is a direct product of Al-Bashir's division and rule tactics, which keeps high-ranking politicians away from their parties with noble promises. national unity and allowing them to abuse their positions for personal reasons. Gain.

The protesters often chant "freedom, peace and justice" and "the people want to overthrow the regime", the latter being the main slogan of the revolts of the Arab Spring of 2011. But nothing indicates to achieve their ambitions.

"There is no doubt that these protests will bring great changes, but they will never be of the magnitude that Sudan needs," said another activist, who also did not want to be named.

"Al-Bashir could resign or be dismissed by the army, but Islamists have the power to reorganize and regain power," she said.