Connect with us


Sudan’s deal a clean slate for Hamdok but lost opportunity for real change: Analysts

The deal signed between Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and General Abdel-Fattah Burhan allows the PM to get rid of a previous government that caused him “headaches” in the past and start anew, but the deal was a lost opportunity to do more than restore the status quo, analysts told Al Arabiya English.

Hamdok signed a political agreement with Burhan on November 21, ending the coup launched by the military on October 25. But analysts question what that deal really means for the future of Sudan.

Here’s what analysts told Al Arabiya English:

A new cabinet

The political agreement allows Hamdok to form an independent cabinet of technocrats, until an election can be held in July 2023.

Analysts find that the deal between Hamdok and Burhan is an opportunity for the PM to clean house in the cabinet and appoint new ministers who would be more cooperative in implementing changes to the government, its policies and projects.

“The infighting of the former civilian government was a headache for Hamdok,” said Theodore Murphy, Director of the Africa Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“The coup was a terrible catastrophe but if there is any silver lining to be wrung out of it, I think that Hamdok’s calculus was that it gave him an excuse to disperse of the difficult people in his constituency who were making his life difficult,” Murphy added.

Sudan has suffered from an ailing economy, widespread shortages of essential goods such as fuel, bread and medicine, incredibly high inflation and a society that was hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Implementing reforms to better manage the country under Hamdok has not been very successful and the government’s efforts did not appease the general public.

“I think Hamdok thought [the deal] would improve his situation. The status quo before wasn’t great for Hamdok, because his political constituency, his cabinet, his ministers, there was a lot of infighting, there was a lot of difficulty,” Murphy said.

Hamdok’s office said in a statement last month that the PM denied having any “personal interest” in signing the deal and had stressed in multiple interviews that it was only for “national interest” and to “stop bloodshed”.

Why only Hamdok reinstated?

The reinstatement of Hamdok did not reverse the coup. The military retains overall control and the appointment of a technocratic government further dismisses the political parties and the pro-democracy protesters.

Analysts question why only Hamdok was reinstated from the previous government in the deal with the military.

“The agreement is a deal only between two figures: General Burhan and Hamdok,” Murphy said.

“The fact that he is the only one allowed to make that decision combined with the fact that his democratic constituency, the protest movement, has discarded him, that’s the more worrying part,” Murphy added.

“You don’t have to worry that the military – Burhan – is going to pull a fast one on Hamdok. I think what’s more worrying is what’s the understanding between Hamdok and Burhan.”

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Fellow at Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center believes the deal means the military “successfully asserted their political dominance in terms of setting the pace and direction of the transitional process.”

“Hamdok apparently felt unable to resist this assertion. Maybe he judged the US and EU to be insufficiently committed to forcing the generals to retreat, but in all cases, he made a strategic misjudgment,” Sayigh added.

As for the future of the relationship between civilian leadership and the military in Sudan, Sayigh said: “If Hamdok resigns and moves back into opposition, there is a chance to bring Burhan and his allies under real pressure and salvage the transition”

“But if he doesn’t, or if he continues until he loses all legitimacy and influence and becomes expendable (for the military), then I fear that Sudan’s transitional process will be hijacked by the military who will work towards… a civilian façade government that cedes complete autonomy to the military and leaves it as the most influential political actor and also an economic actor,” he added.

Why are protesters against this deal?

The Sudanese Professionals' Association strongly opposed the deal, accusing Hamdok of “betrayal” and “political suicide”.

The Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, an umbrella of many political parties and pro-democracy groups, also objected to any deal made with the military.

The protesters feel “there was a good political opportunity thanks to widespread domestic and international opposition to achieve more than simply restoring the status quo ante,” Sayigh said.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Read more:

Sudan’s PM Hamdok denies any personal gain in signing political deal with Burhan

Sudan’s PM Hamdok says he expects new government to be formed within two weeks

Top Sudan general sees ‘positive’ signs coup sanctions will be lifted

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Putin, Xi pledge friendship but talks yield no Ukraine breakthrough

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin emerged from two days of talks on Tuesday with warm words of friendship between China and Russia and joint criticism of the West but no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough over Ukraine.

Xi's visit to Moscow – long touted by the Kremlin as a show of support from its most powerful friend – featured plenty of demonstrative bonhomie. The two leaders referred to each other as dear friends, promised economic cooperation and described their countries' relations as the best they have ever been.

A joint statement included familiar accusations against the West – that Washington was undermining global stability and NATO barging into the Asia-Pacific region.

On Ukraine, Putin praised Xi for a peace plan he proposed last month, and blamed Kyiv and the West for rejecting it.

“We believe that many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China are consonant with Russian approaches and can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement when they are ready for that in the West and in Kyiv. However, so far we see no such readiness from their side,” Putin said.

But Xi barely mentioned the conflict at all, saying that China had an “impartial position” on it.

The summit, Putin's biggest display of diplomacy since he ordered his invasion of Ukraine a year ago, was partly upstaged in Kyiv, where Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made a surprise visit and met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The latest world leader to make the gruelling overland journey to show solidarity with Ukraine, Kishida toured Bucha on the capital's outskirts, left littered with dead last year by fleeing Russian troops. He lay a wreath by a church before observing a moment of silence and bowing.

“The world was astonished to see innocent civilians in Bucha killed one year ago. I really feel great anger at the atrocity upon visiting that very place here,” Kishida said. “Japan will keep aiding Ukraine with the greatest effort to regain peace.”

Diplomatic cover

Washington denounced the timing of Xi's visit to Moscow, just three days after the International Criminal Court in the Hague issued a warrant for Putin's arrest on war crime charges of illegally deporting Ukrainian children.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said visiting at such a time amounted to giving Putin “diplomatic cover” for atrocities. Moscow denies illegally deporting children, saying it has taken in orphans to protect them, and has opened its own criminal case into the ICC prosecutor and judges.

Putin and Xi signed a “no limits” partnership agreement last year just weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. Beijing has since declined to blame Moscow for the war and criticised the West for imposing sanctions on Russia, even as China has profited by securing a deep discount for purchases of oil and gas that Russia can no longer export to Europe.

The West has largely dismissed Xi's peace plan for Ukraine as at best too vague to make a difference, and at worst a ploy to buy time for Putin to rebuild his forces and tighten his grip on occupied land.

But Kyiv, perhaps hoping to keep China neutral, has been more circumspect, cautiously welcoming the plan when China unveiled it last month. Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on Xi to speak to him.

Ukrainian officials hinted that a phone call could be in the works: “We are waiting for confirmation,” Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. “That would be an important move. They have things to say to each other.”

Kyiv says firmly there can be no peace talks with Russia unless it withdraws its troops. Moscow says Kyiv must accept territorial “realities” – a reference to its claim to have annexed nearly a fifth of Ukraine.

Washington has said over the past month that it is worried that Beijing could arm Russia, which China denies.

Explosion in Crimea

On the ground, Ukraine's Defence Ministry said an explosion in Dzhankoi city in Crimea overnight destroyed Russian Kalibr-KN cruise missiles as they were being transported by rail for use by Russia's Black Sea Fleet to attack Ukraine.

Russian-installed officials in Crimea, controlled by Moscow since 2014, said the blast was caused by drones laced with shrapnel and explosives, and targeted civilian sites. One person was injured, they said.

Kyiv never discusses responsibility for attacks in Crimea. Dzhankoi is Crimea's main railway hub, linking routes to Russia proper with naval bases on the peninsula and Russian-occupied territory in mainland Ukraine.

Mick Ryan, a retired Australian major general and military analyst, said Ukraine apparently being able to hit the cargo “forces the Russians to rethink their force posture and defensive deployments in Crimea and beyond”.

“Strikes like this are not war winning silver bullets. But, their impact is cumulative on the degradation of Russian morale and war fighting capability,” he tweeted.

Kyiv recaptured swathes of territory in the second half of 2022, but its forces have largely kept to the defensive in recent months. Moscow, meanwhile, has launched a massive winter offensive using hundreds of thousands of freshly called-up reservists and convicts recruited as mercenaries from jail.

Despite the bloodiest fighting of the war, which both sides describe as a meatgrinder, the front line has barely moved for four months.

The one exception has been around the small eastern city of Bakhmut, where Russian forces made gains in January and February. Kyiv has decided this month not to pull its forces out of the city.

In the town of Chasiv Yar, just west of Bakhmut, bursts of incoming and outgoing artillery fire could be heard. Between apartment blocks, mainly elderly residents queued for water and food delivered by a team from the State Emergency Service.

Oleksii Stepanov said he had been in Bakhmut until five days ago but was evacuated when his house was destroyed by a missile.

“We were in the kitchen and the missile came through the roof. The kitchen was all that was left standing,” said the 54-year-old.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Read more:

Putin offers to meet China’s growing energy demands, Xi wants ‘practical’ cooperation

Russia's reliance on China rises amid Ukraine sanctions

Putin says Russia-China ties have ‘unlimited possibilities’

Continue Reading


US ‘extremely troubled’ by Israeli parliament vote to legitimize settlements 

The United States said Tuesday it was “extremely troubled” by the Israeli parliament's vote legitimizing some settlements, calling the move "provocative" and in violation of promises to ally Washington.

“The United States is extremely troubled that the Israeli Knesset has passed legislation rescinding important parts of the 2005 disengagement law,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

Read more:

Britain, Israel aim to deepen tech, trade, security ties

Iran protest abuses could be ‘crimes against humanity’: UN expert

Iran’s protest anthem ‘Baraye’ played at White House celebration

Continue Reading


End of truce: Colombia kills two cartel members, captures one

The Colombian army said Tuesday it had killed two members of the infamous Gulf Clan drug cartel and captured one of its bosses as operations resumed after the government called off a ceasefire.

On New Year’s Eve, the government of new President Gustavo Petro had declared a bilateral ceasefire with armed groups including the Clan, National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels and dissidents of the disarmed former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

It was a first step in leftist Petro’s “total peace” plan to end decades of armed conflict through negotiation.

But on Sunday, Petro suspended the truce with the Gulf Clan, accusing it of being behind attacks on civilians.

The government said the group had been supporting attacks by illegal gold miners since March 2 in the country’s northwestern Antioquia department.

Workers in illegal mines have been protesting the government’s destruction of the heavy machinery they use to dredge up soil to find gold.

Miners have shut down roads, and attacked a town hall and a bank in the Caucasia district.

On Monday, the army said, it had captured the alleged “coordinator of the hired killers… of this illegal group,” a man known as “Andres,” in the Antioquia region.

According to Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez, some 10,000 policemen and soldiers were deployed to the area.

And in a video sent to the media, the military said a “confrontation” in the neighboring Bolivar department “caused the deaths of two members of the Clan.”

The troops will “continue military operations,” added Colonel Luis Cifuentes, in charge of operations against the Clan.

Criminal groups in Colombia make almost as much money from illegal mining as they do from trafficking cocaine, authorities say.

According to official estimates, the Gulf Clan – Colombia’s biggest cartel – is behind between 30 and 60 percent of the drugs exported from Colombia, the world’s largest cocaine producer.

Read more:

Mexican president calls US State Department ‘liars’ after rights report

Continue Reading