Sudan - Bashir's Ousting and Military Rule - II

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June 07, 2019
9 months

Click here for Part I

Why in news?

The power transition crisis in Sudan has led to a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

What is the ongoing crisis in Sudan?

  • Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir was toppled in April, 2019 after a months-long popular uprising.
  • Military intervention ejected Bashir from power, and in turn, a Transitional Military Council (TMC) took power.
  • Currently, the protesters are demanding a transfer of power to a transitional civilian government, followed by free and fair elections.
  • But the military generals used the crisis to concentrate more powers in their own hands.
  • Angry protesters continued a sit-in in front of the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudanese capital.
  • The talks between pro-democracy activists and the military rulers collapsed.
  • So paramilitary groups unleashed deadly violence to break the sit-in, killing at least 100 people and injuring hundreds.
  • The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) threw the dead into the River Nile and reportedly, 40 bodies have been pulled from the river in Khartoum.
  • The RSF are the paramilitary troops notorious for atrocities committed in the impoverished western province of Darfur in the early 2000s.

How does the future look?

  • After the crackdown, Lt. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the military ruler, has offered to hold elections in 9 months, upturning an earlier plan of a 2-year transition.
  • But there is no immediate plan to transfer power to a civilian transitional government, a key demand of the protesters.
  • So unsurprisingly, protesters have rejected the military’s offer.
  • At present, Sudan’s generals enjoy regional and international support too.
  • The UN Security Council could not even condemn the violence as China, backed by Russia, blocked the move.
  • Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which offered financial aid to the people as soon as Mr. Bashir was removed from power, also support the generals now.
  • This gives the military rulers a sense of impunity even when they unleash murderous paramilitaries on peaceful protesters.
  • So it is evident that the military will not easily give up power any time soon.

What is the way forward?

  • If the military wants to keep its grip on power, there could be more bloodshed as the protesters are defiant.
  • It will have to necessarily build a more oppressive regime, as in Egypt after the 2013 coup.
  • So the other, wiser option is to compromise, resume talks with the protesters and facilitate a quick and orderly transition to civilian rule.
  • Arab countries as well as the UN should put meaningful pressure on the military council to pay heed to popular demands.
  • They should also hold those responsible for the recent massacre accountable.


Source: The Hindu

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