by Johannes Dieterich
read the original article by Frankfurter Rundschaue here.
The Crumbling Revolution
The new beginning in Sudan after decades of dictatorship threatens to fail because of the country's old powers. And the murder gangs from Darfur are also involved. An analysis.
In view of the worldwide complaints about the "year of horror 2020", what should the people of Sudan say? Their state, too, was affected by this year's two scourges, Covid and Trump. But beyond that, the country in North-East Africa, which a year and a half ago got rid of its dictator Omar al-Bashir in a glorious revolution, also has to deal with the consequences of a flood of the century, a civil war in neighbouring Ethiopia, an acute economic crisis and an explosive power struggle between civilian government and the stubborn military. "Sudan is trickling into a multifaceted crisis, which has received far too little attention in this year's general chaos," says Zachary Donnenfeld of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, South Africa.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is up to his neck in the water. Recently, Donald Trump, the still-US president, urged him to radically redirect his foreign policy: only if he makes peace with Israel will the USA remove the former Islamic Republic from its list of terrorists. Not the only condition for a long overdue step: the Sudanese government also had to agree to pay $ 335 million in compensation for the 1995 terrorist attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salam. Ten million for each person from the USA, 800,000 for each foreigner.
Hamdok had to give in to the pressure from Washington: Only then could he count on an aid package of $ 80 million. After the worst floods in the country for more than 30 years, Khartoum is in urgent need of foreign assistance: More than 100 people drowned, more than 500,000 lost their homes, and the harvest of over one million tonnes of wheat and sorghum was destroyed. A large proportion of the people in Sudan currently have to make do with one meal a day: The UN Relief and Works Agency Ocha has so far been unable to secure even half of the $1.6 billion it needs to support Sudan.
As a result of the floods, people are being attacked by intestinal diseases and malaria: With well over one million cases per month, swamp fever has reached epidemic proportions in 15 of the country's 18 provinces. The corona pandemic is also threatening to spiral out of control, with reported cases rising from 10 to 50 per day in recent weeks. The health system has all but collapsed: Maternity wards have been closed and more than 100,000 children cannot be provided with the necessary vaccinations. The next disaster is looming in the east of the country: Some 50,000 hungry refugees from Ethiopia's Tigray province are in urgent need of help.
Weakened by disasters and political instability, the Sudanese pound has lost more than two-thirds of its value in the past two years. The price of food tripled last year, and an average family now has to spend 75 % of its income on food.
If anyone benefits from the emergency, it is the military, which presents itself as a guarantor of stability: Responsibility for the precarious humanitarian situation is shifted to the civilian government. It is not yet clear how the power struggle between the army and civil society, the mother of the revolution, will turn out. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (alias Hemedti), the stone-rich commander of the militia "Rapid Support Forces", is considered a candidate for another military coup. Hemedti amassed his wealth in the unofficial gold mines of his homeland, the Darfur provinces, and lent his fighters to Arab friends like the Saudi royal family or the United Emirates for good money. His militiamen fight in Yemen and Libya and are said to be receiving money from the EU itself to control the flow of refugees from the Horn of Africa to the Mediterranean. A man with a dark past and a dangerously bright future.