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I came back on Friday from a week in research in Khartoum, where I looked into recent political dynamics. Here are some thoughts on the #SudanUprising and its future [MEGATHREAD] 👇🇸🇩
First: the state. Bashir's ouster kept the military & security apparatus intact but the regime's internal power structure has changed significantly. The NCP appears sidelined from decision-making; NISS, though intact, seems to be under the tutelage of the military council.
Sudan is now ruled by an uneasy alliance between SAF and the RSF. With the resignation of 3 members of the military council last week, all members are now senior SAF officers, with the exception of Hemedti. #SudanUprising
Hemedti's spectacular rise to the second position within the state owes to his clever positioning since September, his role in removing Bashir, his proximity with Burhan, and his military strength in Khartoum. #SudanUprising
With ~50,000 RSF deployed in Khartoum (at intersections, bridges, SAF HQ, the presidential palace, NISS HQ, the national TV, the national radio, and Salah Gosh's house, Hemedti effectively controls the capital city, and can't be removed without a lot of bloodshed. #SudanUprising
Second: the opposition. Some Western diplomats in Khartoum appear to think that the sit-in is an extension of the various groups in the Declaration of Freedom and Change. But it's clear that the sit-in dynamics are largely autonomous from the strategy of the DFC... #SudanUprising
Revolutionary mobilization is continuing and appears to be expanding. When I was at the sit-in last week, new groups of demonstrators came from the regions on a daily basis. People are organizing on their workplaces. Junior police officers went on strike last week. #SudanUprising
And setbacks in negotiations with the military council have made demonstrators more defiant. Many now want an exclusively civilian sovereign council, when before they were open to the idea of some military representation. #SudanUprising
Opposition groups, on the other hand, are divided over how to deal with the military council. Communists are sticking to their demands for a civilian-led council, but reps of Sudan Call in the past week have taken positions which suggest they could acquiesce to military hegemony.
Sudan Call's conciliatory tone towards the military council comes after Mariam al-Sadig (Umma), Yasir Arman (SPLM-N Agar), and representatives of the Sudan Congress Party met UAE officials in Abu Dhabi last week, which raised questions about the UAE's methods of persuasion...
But the Sudan Congress Party's vacillation in the past 48h regarding the role of the military in a sovereign council shows that the pressure from the sit-in is strong and there is only so much the opposition can compromise on without losing legitimacy: sudantribune.com/spip.php?artic…
Where are things going? It's clear that the military council has no intention of relinquishing ultimate authority to civilians. The council is emboldened by support from the UAE, KSA, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Chad, which are pushing for continued military rule.
The UAE sent advisers to Khartoum. Taha Osman Hussein, who was fired by Bashir from his position as head of cabinet in 2017 because Bashir believed he was an agent of Saudi Arabia, and who has since worked as an adviser to the palace in Riyadh, came back to Khartoum.
On the opposition side, the SPA is considering a general strike and civil disobedience, which could occur this week or next. My guess would be that the strategy could be very successful. In short, we're going towards an escalation of the struggle for power. #SudanUprising
Some Western diplomats concerned over "stability" appear to warm to the idea of a transition under the aegis of the military. It's both cynical and naive. #SudanUprising
Given the imbalance in coercive resources, the military can't credibly commit to allowing a democratic transition to happen once demonstrators go home. That's unless it first formally places itself under the tutelage of civilians. #SudanUprising
SAF officers outside of Khartoum are open about their contempt towards the RSF, which they rightly see as a tribal militia. The SAF-RSF coalition is unstable. A regime split poses the biggest threat to peace. How could the military council offer any guarantee of stability?
The best hope for Sudan lies in a democratic transition under the aegis of civilians. It will be long and arduous, and could well fail. #SudanUprising
But civilians would be better positioned to address all central issues relating to "stability" (a politicized military-security apparatus, the economic crisis, & war at the margins) than this divided junta inherited from Bashir's era. #SudanUprising
PS: several people have pointed out that the 50k figure for RSF presence in Khartoum is inflated. 13k-20k men in the capital city seems like a more realistic estimate.
50k men would be an estimate for the overall RSF force, much of which is not in Khartoum. Someone also pointed out that the force’s non-Arab components, particularly the Zaghawa former rebels of Mohamedein Orgajor, have limited loyalty to Hemedti. I stand corrected. Thx Twitter!
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