Hamdok’s resignation triggers calls for sanctions and direct aid to revolutionaries

With thousands of protesters taking to the streets this week to demand the dissolution of the ruling Sovereign Council, the Joe Biden administration is under increasing pressure to take a more forceful approach.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, January 4 along with other Troika members, Norway and the United Kingdom as well as the European Union, the United States said the killing of dozens of protesters was “unacceptable” and reiterated calls for independent investigations. The group then called for free and fair elections to put the democratic transition back on track.

“In the absence of progress,” the group warned, “we would seek to accelerate efforts to hold accountable those actors who obstruct the democratic process.”

Meanwhile, former US and Sudanese officials have taken to the pages of Washington platforms favored by policymakers to call for direct aid to resistance committees which formed the backbone of the protests that toppled longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019. And lawmakers are once again considering sanctions legislation that has been bottled up in Congress over the past busy days 2021.

“Prime Minister Hamdok has worked to try to achieve the goals of the revolution and to build a more free, peaceful and prosperous country,” said Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, sponsor of the Sudan sanctions legislation. in a statement emailed to The Africa Report. “His resignation [on 2 January] cements the October 25 military coup and exposes the intentions of the Sudanese military leaders cling to power and continue to sabotage the country’s transition to democracy.

Sen. James Risch of Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has jurisdiction over the measure, made similar remarks.

“The Sudanese military junta should return power to civilian leaders and the Biden administration should treat what happened on October 25 as it was – a military coup. Anything less than these actions is a failure for the people of Sudan,” Risch said in a statement on Monday. “Congress will continue to lead in once again recalibrating the bilateral relationship between the United States and Sudan, including adjustments to commitments made before the coup. We will also support the people of Sudan by prosecuting those responsible for the coup and those who continue to use state-sponsored violence and other means to suppress the voice of the people of Sudan.

Sanctions push

Coons introduced his Sudan Democracy Bill to the Senate on Nov. 29, a month after the military placed the prime minister under house arrest and upended Sudan’s fragile democratic transition. A similar bill was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Dec. 10 and is now awaiting a vote in the plenum.

With no political agreement or civilian leader to undermine, Washington and its allies should now pursue a tougher approach to the military that holds it responsible for the October coup and the deadly response to peaceful protests. since then.

The bills include calling on the US president to impose financial sanctions and visa bans on anyone found responsible for undermining the transition to democracy, threatening Sudan’s peace and security or violating human rights. Coons says Sudan’s military leaders should immediately hand over leadership of the Sovereign Council to civilians and end their “brutal crackdown on protesters” or face US consequences.

“I led congressional efforts to remove crippling historic sanctions against Sudan and appropriate more than $1 billion in aid to support the transition,” he said. The Africa Report. “My colleagues and I will continue to support the people of Sudan during this difficult time, and we will continue to invest in democratic progress in Sudan and punish those who threaten it.”

According to Cameron Hudson, former chief of staff to the United States special envoy for Sudan, who is now a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, the main purposes of sanctions include:

  • Director of Military Intelligence Yasser Mohammed Osman;
  • Director of the General Intelligence Service Jamal Abdelmagid;
  • Abdarahim Daglo, deputy commander of the Sudan Rapid Support Forces.

“With no political agreement or civilian leader to undermine, Washington and its allies should now pursue a tougher approach to the military that holds it responsible for the October coup and the deadly response to the protests. peaceful ever since,” Hudson wrote in an Atlantic Council blog post.

“Sudan’s formal transition to democracy is complete, even though his revolution lives on in the hearts of millions of peaceful pro-democracy protesters,” he wrote. “Washington and its international partners have now lost the last pretext that allowed them – for too long – to frame their engagement in terms of supporting a ‘civilian-led transitional government’.”

Time to switch partners?

Officially, the Biden administration remains hopeful that it can save a transitional government that the United States has done much to help support since Bashir’s fall.

Former President Donald Trump began lifting decades-old sanctions in 2017 in a bid to encourage democratic reforms. The United States has removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism end of 2020 in exchange for a promise to compensate the victims of the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and other victims of terrorism and the normalization of relations with Israel.

In December 2020, Congress earmarked $700 million in economic support for the country, but the Biden administration froze aid after the October coup.

The Troika and the European Union will not support a Prime Minister or an appointed government without the participation of a wide range of civil actors.

Amid an international outcry, Burhan partially reversed course in late November and reinstated Hamdok as head of an independent technocratic cabinet, still under military tutelage. The United States and other Western powers tentatively welcomed his surprise reinstatement, but it quickly fell apart as the prime minister found his position untenable as pro-democracy protesters rejected his 21 power-sharing deal. November with the army.

In their joint statement on Tuesday, the Troika and the EU called on Khartoum to avoid any “unilateral action to appoint a new prime minister and a new cabinet”, arguing that this would “undermine the credibility of these institutions and risk sinking the nation in the conflict”. ”

“The troika and the European Union will not support an appointed prime minister or government without the participation of a wide range of civilian actors,” they said. “We look forward to working with a transitional government and parliament that enjoys credibility with the Sudanese people and can lead the country to free and fair elections as a priority.”

Hudson, for his part, declared Sudan’s democratic transition ‘complete’ and said it was “time to support the revolution”.

In his article on the Atlantic Council, he wrote that the United States should “go beyond weary bromides pretending to ‘stand with the Sudanese people'” and instead “shamelessly throw its weight behind the country’s pro-democracy movement in a tangible and meaningful way that will begin to further tilt the balance of power in favor of the protesters.This includes channeling some of the currently frozen financial aid to resistance committees and neighborhood committees “to help them better organize, communicate and develop their own political platform – to become a more formal part of the political process”.

write in Foreign Police, Prime Minister Hamdok’s former deputy chief of staff, Amgad Fareid Eltayeb, echoed that sentiment.

“An inclusive political process facilitated by the international community is needed to end this crisis and begin a renewed political transition,” he wrote. “It is essential to include new influential forces that had the strongest voices in the resistance to the coup, such as the resistance committees.”

Thelma J. Longworth