Sunday night, Abdullah Hamdok Appeared on national television and announced his resignation as Prime Minister of Sudan.
The news was released only six weeks after the Western-backed civilian leader was overthrown in a military coup and returned to work after being under house arrest on October 25-but it Not unexpected.
The report cited sources close to Hamdok as saying that he was concerned about Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the supreme commander and leader of the coup, who decided to restore the feared The intelligence agency’s decision was bored, and he refused to let the prime minister freely appoint his cabinet members.
Hamdok is just as Controversial transaction He signed an agreement with al-Burhan in November and said that elections will be held in July 2023. However, although the Western leaders who promoted the restoration of Hamdok quickly welcomed him back, the huge democratic movement regarded his return as “Fig leaf“This legitimized the coup and ensured the military’s dominance.
With the departure of Hamdok, analysts said that the military might consider choosing a new civilian face to recover billions of dollars in much-needed foreign aid, which was suspended after the coup.
Several unconfirmed reports stated that the military leaders have contacted the former Finance Minister Ibrahim Elbadawi, who served under Hamdok in 2019 when he Sudan began a democratic transition after the military removed long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir after large-scale protests. However, the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the European Union warned the ruling military not to unilaterally impose a new prime minister and threatened that they would stop providing financial assistance if “a wide range of private stakeholders” did not participate. process.
“I believe that Elbadawi is a man of integrity, and he will never accept to be an authoritative puppet that is de facto controlled and commanded by the military,” said Suriman Baldo, an expert on Sudan-an investigation team tracking corruption in Africa.
He added: “The military now needs to do some serious introspection.” “They can continue to use battlefield guns to kill the Sudanese people on the streets, or take responsible actions, step back and let the civilian-led transitional government take over.”
At least 57 protesters were killed Mass rally According to medical staff, it has been plagued Sudan since the coup and continued after the deal was concluded between al-Burhan and Hamdok on November 21.
Kholood Khair, managing partner of Insight Strategy Partners, a think tank based in the capital of Sudan, Khartoum, said she expects the military to escalate its repression to trigger street violence. She believes that in this way, the military can portray the pro-democracy movement as a group of angry young men who pose a threat to national security.
“The military wants the streets to lose credibility so they can say that they are suppressing a violent rebellion. Then they can call [street] Violence, do whatever you want. They can put the label of terrorism on it,” Kyle said.
Fear of prolonged deadlock
The military is already trying to control the narrative by fighting the media. During the large-scale protests on December 30, security forces raided the television station and attacked journalists. This happened a few days after they were given broad powers and legal immunity.
However, the protests showed no signs of slowing down, which raised concerns that the prolonged stalemate might plunge the country, which is already dealing with a severe financial crisis, into further conflict.
Jihad Masamon, a Sudanese researcher and political analyst based in the United Kingdom, warned that the worst scenario could lead to the disintegration of security forces. He emphasized that junior officers might try to overthrow al-Burhan and other old guards.
“Al-Burhan is always worried about junior officials planning a coup,” he said.
Despite the uncertainty and increasing violence, analysts said that Sudanese political parties and Western powers should unite to support the demands of street movements, thereby driving the military into desperation.
One way to do this is to support Sudan’s “resistance committee,” a decentralized network of community organizations that spearhead the democratic movement. According to Kyle, the Resistance Council plans to publish their political roadmap this month, aimed at pushing political parties to adopt public demands.
“My feeling is that some [demands] Will be downplayed because you need to get more people to agree to it, and some of them will be tough because people are tired of meeting the minimum requirements,” she said. “But as a starting point, I can’t think of a better one. of [road map] In terms of reflecting public opinion. “
At the same time, outside of Sudan, some people are calling for Western countries to put more pressure on the military.
Cameron Hudson, a non-resident senior researcher at the Atlantic Council Africa Center, said: “I worry that Washington is taking this wait-and-see attitude, rather than trying to shape events and results,” he called on US officials to maintain consultations with the democratic movement.
According to Hudson, the White House should also consider sanctions against Sudan’s military rulers, including the Director of the Military Intelligence Service, the Director of the General Intelligence Service, and the deputy commander of the Rapid Support Force. Now Hamdok, a man who was previously at the center of the United States Policy-no longer appears in the picture. He emphasized that the threat of sanctions by US Senator Christopher Coons had previously forced the military to release Hamdock from house arrest and restore his position as prime minister.
“if [Washington] Repeatedly…Human rights are part of their foreign policy prospects, so why should we debate whether they should sanction those who murdered pro-democracy protesters on the street? “Hudson said.