Sudan: The Double Coup D'état?
By: Khaled A. BaRahma
Roadblocks impede movement in Khartoum. In most regions of the country, the Internet is down. However, Sudan remains calm in other parts, with no major incidents reported but some reports of demonstrations. Humanitarian organizations are experiencing difficulties, with staff having to implement alternative work modes (where internet is available), and critical staff working in offices.
170 cases of moderate to severe injuries were confirmed in hospitals in Khartoum by the Federal Ministry of Health and Doctors Committee, seven persons are confirmed dead. Among trauma supplies that are lacking are dressings, surgical supplies, IV fluids, narcotics, and anesthesia supplies. As a result of the blockage in Port Sudan, health partners report limited availability of surgical supplies. A limited number of trauma kits are available in the region, but transportation is needed.
Humanitarian partners delivered trauma supplies to the State Ministry of Health (SMoH) in Khartoum State on 28 October, including IV fluids, surgical supplies, anesthesia supplies, kits, and different dressing materials. Ten referral hospitals around Khartoum will receive the supplies to deal with the influx of wounded. Several more donations are being prepared. Emergency planning and surveillance technical assistance is also being prepared. There are increased protection concerns. Several states experience interruptions in case management, legal services, and psychosocial support services due to government interference. The closure of schools impacts the educational and protection services provided to children.
An Official Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued by the Civil Aviation Authority on 25 October requiring all scheduled flights to and from Khartoum and other Sudanese airports to be temporarily suspended from 26 October (11:00am) through 29 October 23:30. UNHAS was granted special permission to fly roundtrip from Khartoum to Kadugli, El Fasher, and Ag Geneina on 26 October. Up until the resumption of scheduled flights, UNHAS is prepared for any evacuation flights needed.
A humanitarian convoy with 29 containers carrying humanitarian aid started moving out of Port Sudan on 26 October. One container contains WFP food (lentils), and four containers contain UNICEF WASH supplies. There is no operation at the southern port. Thus, bulk cargo is still handled at the northern port. As reported by the World Food Programme (WFP) on 28 October, fuel tankers are being loaded and port Sudan has assured that they will be able to leave.
By 2021, humanitarian organizations hope to provide humanitarian assistance to 8.9 million vulnerable people. Humanitarian groups assisted 7.4 million Sudanese from January to June 2021. The humanitarian sector implores donors to support impartial, neutral, and independent humanitarian funding. Humanitarian operations in Sudan have been generously supported by donors with $727.4 million. In addition to that, $1.36 billion will be needed for the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).
The Ambassadors’ Crisis
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's army, relieved six Sudanese ambassadors from their posts on Wednesday for backing protesters against Monday's coup. The ambassadors say they do not recognize such a decision. Sacked ambassadors include those to the U.S., EU, China, Qatar, France, and the head of Sudan's diplomatic mission in Geneva. The envoys state that they have "been appointed by the legitimate prime minister (Abdalla Hamdok)" in a letter seen by Middle East Eye.
On Tuesday, Hamdok returned home under tight security after being placed under house arrest early on Monday morning. There are still several other government officials in custody. In their statement, the envoys said they hoped the esteemed government of the Republic of Sudan would continue to recognize Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the cabinet as the only legitimate authority of the Republic of Sudan, which is what they represent. A coordinated campaign of civil disobedience in Sudan continued at the embassies as ambassadors declared their embassies safe havens for the Sudanese. A letter addressed to "our heroic people" had been signed by 41 ambassadors and diplomats from Sudan, along with those from the UAE, Turkey and Canada. Those releasing the statement stated their "complete alignment with your heroic resistance" and strongly condemned the coup against the glorious revolution.
Is it late to stop it?
It is still not too late, from my humble point of view. International pressure and widespread protests could force the generals to back down. There is still a chance of reversing the counterrevolution. The most obvious recent comparison, After an Egyptian revolution in 2011, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi led a coup that halted the country's democratic transition, that experience is far from promising.
Despite this, the Tunisian uprising of 2011 and the Burkinabe uprising of 2014 avoided the return of military rule. (Though troubling, the suspension of Parliament and assumption of executive power by the Tunisian president was done without military assistance.) As far as coups are concerned, the popular response has always been the key. There was a notable lack of it in Egypt. During the second half of 2013, the revolutionary coalition was fracturing, with many religious leaders openly backing the military. The Muslim Brotherhood and other supporters of the democratic government mobilized in response to the coup. However, their actions were not enough to force the military to step down.
Lastly, Sudan has been ruled by the military for 52 of the 65 years since independence. As such, the military is reluctant to relinquish power, and the country is about to suffer a massive civil uprising.
External assistance is required.