•   
  •   
  •   

World Sudan’s military has seized power in a coup. Here’s why it matters

14:30  26 october  2021
14:30  26 october  2021 Source:   cnbc.com

Sudan's key Red Sea ports coveted by regional powers

  Sudan's key Red Sea ports coveted by regional powers From Washington to Moscow, Tehran to Ankara, Sudan's strategic Red Sea ports, blockaded for a month by protesters, have long been eyed by global powers far beyond Africa's borders. But for foreign powers who covet Sudan's Red Sea coast, the region has strategic military dimensions. It hosted Iranian fleets for decades under Bashir, to the dismay of Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia, whose Red Sea port of Jeddah lies opposite Port Sudan on the other side of the waterway.

  • The military arrested civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and dissolved the country's transitional government on Monday, sparking protests in several cities.
  • Due to its location, Sudan is politically important for stability in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Sahel.
  • The U.S., U.K. and Norway have condemned the coup and urged security forces to release unlawfully detained government officials.
KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudanese men protest against a military coup that overthrew the transition to civilian rule, on October 25, 2021 in the al-Shajara district in southern Khartoum © Provided by CNBC KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudanese men protest against a military coup that overthrew the transition to civilian rule, on October 25, 2021 in the al-Shajara district in southern Khartoum

A coup in Sudan has been met by widespread international condemnation, amid growing fears about the country's democratic transition and economy.

PM, officials detained, internet down in apparent Sudan coup

  PM, officials detained, internet down in apparent Sudan coup CAIRO (AP) — Sudan's interim prime minister and a number of senior government officials were arrested Monday, the information ministry said, describing the actions as a military coup. The internet in the country was largely cut off and military forces closed bridges, according to the ministry’s Facebook page. It said the whereabouts of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok were not immediately known. Meanwhile, the country’s state news channel played patriotic traditional music and scenes of the Nile river. The country's main pro-democracy group and the largest political party urged people in separate appeals to take to the streets to counter the apparent military coup.

The military arrested civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and dissolved the country's transitional government on Monday, sparking protests in several cities. According to Reuters, seven people have been killed and 140 injured in the ensuing clashes between security forces and protesters.

Experts say the coup could have a serious impact on the country and beyond.

The coup

Tensions in Sudan have been simmering since an attempted coup on Sept. 21, with the country divided between proponents of pro-military and pro-civilian rule.

On Monday, Hamdok and several other government officials were moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to endorse the latest coup.

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok chairs an emergency cabinet session in the capital Khartoum, on October 18, 2021. © Provided by CNBC KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok chairs an emergency cabinet session in the capital Khartoum, on October 18, 2021.

Telecommunications access has been restricted and various outlets have reported that the military has blocked roads and bridges into the capital city of Khartoum.

US 'deeply alarmed' by reports of military takeover in Sudan

  US 'deeply alarmed' by reports of military takeover in Sudan The U.S. expressed alarm on Monday over an apparent military coup in Sudan, shortly after the Biden administration's special envoy for the Horn of Africa was in the country encouraging cooperation between civilian and military leaders of Khartoum's transitional government. Thousands of protesters took to the streets after reports emerged that the country's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok was detained, with some reports suggesting the leader was put under house arrest, in addition to reports of detention of other senior government officials. "The US is deeply alarmed at reports of a military take-over of the transitional government.

Zaynab Mohamed, political analyst at Oxford Economics Africa, said in a note Monday that while these restrictions make the situation difficult to gauge in real time, an attempted coup appeared to be in progress.

"The continued rift between the civilian and military factions of government had been raising questions about whether the fragile power sharing agreement will hold until democratic elections are held in 2023, and the current situation suggests that it is unlikely to last," Mohamed said.

"If the military takes over, it will interrupt the transition to democracy, which threatens international donor support and IMF debt relief and, ultimately, puts the country's economic revival on the line."

Economic impact

Those advocating for a military-led government had staged a sit-in outside Khartoum's presidential palace for over a week, lamenting the rising cost of living and an economic situation they claim is worse now than under former dictator Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown in April 2019. Pro-civilian demonstrators have also turned out in Khartoum in recent weeks.

Protests erupt across Sudan against military coup

  Protests erupt across Sudan against military coup Tensions came to a critical point on Monday when armed forces detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Cabinet Affairs Minister Khalid Omer Yousif and other top civilian leaders. Related: After the revolution, a secular Sudan?“We still don’t know any news about the whereabouts of the prime minister, his wife, five of the ministers and a number of political leaders who were arrested in the early hours of this morning,” said Yousif’s adviser, Abdelmoniem el-Jack, over the phone from Khartoum.

"The coup comes amid acute tension between the military and civilian factions of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, with each blaming the other for the failure to resolve the cost-of-living crisis that has been ongoing since the start of the year," said Edward Hobey-Hamsher, senior Africa analyst at political risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

The cost of living crisis has been exacerbated by an effective blockade at Port Sudan by tribal protesters from the northeast. Among other demands, these demonstrators object to the cancellation of the Juba Peace Agreement signed between the government and rebel groups in Oct. 2020, which they argue does not represent their interests.

OMDURMAN, Sudan - Sudanese security forces keep watch as they protect a military hospital and government offices during protests against a military coup overthrowing the transition to civilian rule on October 25, 2021 in the capital's twin city of Omdurman. © Provided by CNBC OMDURMAN, Sudan - Sudanese security forces keep watch as they protect a military hospital and government offices during protests against a military coup overthrowing the transition to civilian rule on October 25, 2021 in the capital's twin city of Omdurman.

The blockade has put strain on the government's supplies of essential medicines, fuel and wheat, plunging the country's economic and humanitarian situation deeper into the mire.

Tense quiet after Sudan coup, protesters block some roads

  Tense quiet after Sudan coup, protesters block some roads CAIRO (AP) — Pro-democracy protesters blocked some roads in Sudan's capital with makeshift barricades and burning tires Tuesday, a day after the military seized power in a swift coup widely denounced by the international community. The prime minister and other senior officials in the transitional government who were arrested Monday by the military continued to be held at a military camp outside Khartoum, the capital. The military takeoverThe prime minister and other senior officials in the transitional government who were arrested Monday by the military continued to be held at a military camp outside Khartoum, the capital.

Democratic transition

Sudan became independent from British-Egyptian rule in 1956 and has endured a series of shaky parliamentary governments and military regimes ever since.

After a number of coups and a protracted civil war, the south of the country voted for independence and became the separate state of South Sudan in 2011. Wrangling over border demarcations and revenue distribution from natural resources has continued, and the IMF estimates that Sudan's GDP halved between 2011 and 2019 after the secession of the oil-rich south.

A military-civilian Sovereign Council was set up after al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019 in an effort to shepherd Sudan toward democracy, with elections scheduled for 2023. However, this transitional government was dissolved on Monday by coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who subsequently declared a state of emergency.

Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, highlighted that the sacrifices of the Sudanese people working towards a fairer and more rights-respecting Sudan were now at risk.

"The military authorities should instruct security forces to fully respect and protect the people's right to protest and that any members using excessive force will be promptly held to account," she said.

Amid plans of mass protests, Sudan's military suggests ousted prime minister can return to power

  Amid plans of mass protests, Sudan's military suggests ousted prime minister can return to power Civil disobedience continues across Sudan following the military's takeover on Monday. Now, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, the man behind the move, is suggesting civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok could return to his position. Regardless, demonstrators are moving forward on plans for mass, nationwide protests on Saturday.People protest in Khartoum, Sudan, after a military coup earlier this week, Oct. 29, 2021. The coup threatens to halt Sudan's fitful transition to democracy, which began after the 2019 ouster of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in a popular uprising.

Wider implications

Located in northeast Africa, Sudan is politically important for stability in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Sahel. The vast country is situated between Egypt to the north and Ethiopia and Eritrea to the south. It borders Libya in the northwest and the northeast extends to the Red Sea, across which lies Saudi Arabia.

Major Western powers had resumed cooperation with Sudan after the establishment of the transitional government in 2020.

Among international allies of the transition were the U.S., Israel and Russia, all of which joined with the UAE and Saudi Arabia to supply $3 billion in funding for the Sovereignty Council.

In 2020, Sudan and Israel agreed to a normalization of relations after UAE officials brokered meetings, while the Russian Ministry of Defense entered into a 25-year accord with Sudanese authorities to establish a new naval base for Russian troops at Port Sudan.

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudanese demonstrators take to the streets of the capital Khartoum to demand the government's transition to civilian rule, on October 21, 2021. © Provided by CNBC KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudanese demonstrators take to the streets of the capital Khartoum to demand the government's transition to civilian rule, on October 21, 2021.

The country is also rich in natural gas, gold, silver, zinc, iron and chromite. In Jan. 2020, Sudan opened up its gold market to generate revenue, and the new government sought ways to ensure safer mining and a greater contribution to public finances.

The promised reform, both domestically and in terms of international relations and stability, hangs in the balance in light of Monday's coup.

International condemnation

The U.S., U.K. and Norway have all condemned the coup and urged security forces to release unlawfully detained government officials, in a joint Troika statement published by the U.S. State Department.

The Biden administration also paused delivery of $700 million in emergency economic support to Sudan.

Human Rights Watch called on the U.S., U.K. and Germany, all of which had in recent days voiced support for Sudan's civilian transition, to ensure that the military leaders do not damage or reverse progress on the country's reform agenda.

"The stakes couldn't be higher right now," Segun said. "Sudan's international and regional partners need to make clear that small but important steps towards redress for past harm and establishing a more positive rights framework should not be lost."

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok says he'll never step down 'willingly' in the wake of coup .
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is under house arrest following a military coup on Monday, says that he will never "willingly" stand down, according to sources close to the prime minister. © AFP/Getty Images Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok chairs an emergency cabinet session in Khartoum, Sudan, on October 18, 2021. Hamdok's remarks come a day after hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated across the country in opposition to the October 25 takeover, and as international condemnation of the military's actions grows.

usr: 1
This is interesting!