U.S. Government Still Determined to Keep the al-Bashir Regime in Power—With or Without al-Bashir
Eric Reeves | January 5, 2019 | https://wp.me/p45rOG-2ma
In one of the most despicably cynical moments in the U.S. articulation of its “Sudan policies,” Obama administration Special Envoy for the Sudans Princeton Lyman declared the following:
“We [the Obama administration] do not want to see the ouster of the [Khartoum] regime, nor regime change. We want to see the regime carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures.” (Princeton Lyman, former U.S. Special Envoy for the Sudans during the Obama administration, interview with Asharq al-Awsat, December 3, 2011 | http://english.aawsat.com/2011/12/article55244147/asharq-al-awsat-talks-to-us-special-envoy-to-sudan-princeton-lyman )
The notion that this regime, as it had revealed itself then for over 20 years, could preside over “reform via constitutional democratic measures” was so ludicrous, so viciously preposterous, that we know Lyman couldn’t have believed what he was saying. He was, in fact, simply seeking to preserve a repressive, finally genocidal regime that the Obama and Bush administration had concluded was essential in providing the U.S. with what it regarded as important counter-terrorism intelligence. The regime had, of course, long been involved in international terrorism, and notably hosted Osama bin Laden from 1992 – 1996, the formative years for al-Qaeda.
The Obama administration, shortly before Lyman was uttering his absurd lie, actually decided that—in order to further progress on the central issues between Khartoum and Washington—henceforth genocide in Darfur would be “de-coupled” from these central issues. The word “de-coupled” is explicitly used by a senior Obama administration State Department official in an official State Department transcript (November 2010). Given how unctuously candidate Obama had traded on genocide in Darfur during his 2008 presidential campaign—declaring it was a “stain on our souls” and that he would never countenance such human destruction were he to be elected President—this “de-coupling” was as cynical and despicable as Lyman’s statement about wanting to “see the regime carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures.”
[For a lengthy analysis of the implications of this “de-coupling,” see | http://sudanreeves.org/2011/02/15/darfur-de-emphasized-de-coupled-and-finally-denied-february-15-2011/ ]
U.S. Sudan policy long ago left the State Department purview and moved to that of the U.S. intelligence community and those interested in securing counter-terrorism intelligence by any means, even if it meant cozying up to the génocidaires in Khartoum. Recognition of this reality is what led former Senator Russ Feingold to declare early in the Obama administration (May 2009):
“I take serious issue with the way the report [on international terrorism by the U.S. State Department] overstates the level of cooperation in our counterterrorism relationship with Sudan, a nation which the U.S. classifies as a state sponsor of terrorism. A more accurate assessment is important not only for effectively countering terrorism in the region, but as part of a review of our overall policy toward Sudan, including U.S. pressure to address the ongoing crisis in Darfur and maintain the fragile peace between the North and the South.” (emphasis in bold added) (Statement by Senator Russell Feingold, Chair of the Africa Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, May 1, 2009)
All this makes extremely alarming the dispatch from Sudan Tribune of today, in which the U.S. seems to be the primary actor in an effort to secure a “soft landing” for the al-Bashir regime in the face of mounting demonstrations and protests against the brutality and savage rapacity of that regime. Whether al-Bashir is or is not part of this regime is evidently not the concern of the Trump administration officials; but ensuring that a pliable regime remains in place, one willing to cooperate in counter-terrorism intelligence matters on presently existing terms, is apparently of utmost importance.
Here again we see an unspeakable cynicism—a willingness to sacrifice the legitimate aspiration of those Sudanese who almost unanimously with to see regime change…and not simply the removal of President al-Bashir. The regime has never been dominated by al-Bashir, even if he has been titular head since June 1989. He has always depended on a shifting set of alliance within the National Congress Party (formerly the National Islamic Front), the army, the intelligence services, and a large, self-serving contingent of economic/financial cronies.
Simply removing al-Bashir and leaving in place the tyranny he has helped orchestrate does nothing to address the grievances of ordinary Sudanese—indeed, such a cynical move would betray in deepest consequence those we have seen over the past few weeks exhibit extraordinary courage, determination, and resolve to bring justice and freedom to Sudan. The U.S. is completely without rights—having so long implicitly and explicitly supporting this regime—to determine the political future of Sudan.
We may not have all the details; the Sudan Tribune may have not got all the relevant information; but there seems little doubt that the expedient attitudes that have shaped U.S. Sudan policies for more than a decade still prevail. This is outrageous, and investigative journalism should spare no effort in revealing just what betrayal the U.S. is seeking to make of the people of Sudan.
Sudanese Communists denounce U.S. efforts to secure soft landing for al-Bashir regime | Sudan Tribune, January 5, 2018 (KHARTOUM)
The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) rejected any negotiated solution with the government of President Omer al-Bashir and denounced U.S. contacts with the Sudanese opposition to ensure a soft-landing for his regime.
The SCP and its allied left forces in Sudan of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) and other opposition groups—Sudan Call, Sudanese Professionals Association and Unionist Gathering—formed a coordination body to support the nationwide protests which call on President al-Bashir to leave.
This [coordination] was reached under the pressure of the street as the NCF kept denouncing the Sudan Call’s approach for a negotiated settlement with the regime and called for a regime change through a peaceful popular uprising.
In a statement issued on Friday night, the Sudanese communist recalled their attachment to the regime change and full dismantlement of its institutions: “At this historical juncture (…) we in the Communist Party reject calls to include the outcome of the national dialogue as a reference to the transitional period. We also reject any appeal to the army to take over the power,” reads the statement.
To counter the mounting popular pressure, the regime has sought to break up the unity of the Sudanese opposition with the support of the international community, which seeks to “implement a soft-landing scheme through the U.S. Administration Representative, who met with some opposition parties in order to curtail the revolution and abort it,” said the statement.
Sources close to the Sudanese opposition groups told Sudan Tribune that the statement was referring to a meeting recently held in Khartoum by a diplomat from the office of Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan at the State Department with a leading member from the National Umma Party as representative of the Sudan Call opposition alliance.
“The meeting meant to explore the way out of the current crisis and if the Sudanese opposition can set on the negotiating table with the government of President al-Bashir,” said the source who preferred anonymity.
So, there were no discussions but an attempt to understand and assess the ongoing developments in Sudan as it has an immediate regional impact particularly on South Sudan and other countries in the region,” the source further stressed.
The United States and other Troika countries have been backing an African Union process aiming to achieve a holistic peace and democratic transition in Sudan. However, the process has been stalled due to Khartoum’s intransigence to hold a new national dialogue process with the opposition groups. Also, the African mediation team has been blamed for its weakness and failure to bring the parties to make the needed concessions.
The Communist party emphasised that the regime should be overthrown and dismantled, after what a transitional government must be formed to lead the country for four years and prepare for general elections once a constitution is adopted. Sudanese took to the street on 19 December to protest the increase in bread price and difficult living conditions but quickly turned to call on al-Bashir to step down. However, the Sudanese president remained defiant and warned against displacement of civilians as a result of probable armed conflict, pointing to the civil wars in Syria and Yemen.