June 30, 2019 Will Be an Historic Day for the People of Sudan
Will it mark a move toward peace, freedom, and justice? Or will it signal that the international community remains willing to “compromise with evil”?
Eric Reeves | June 27, 2019 | https://wp.me/s45rOG-9384
“You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil; buy it, by compromising with evil.” – John Ruskin
To date the international community has proved all too willing to compromise with the evil that was the al-Bashir regime, and which has now been almost fully reincarnated as the “Transitional” Military Council (TMC). That the al-Bashir regime was evil is beyond doubt: we have overwhelming evidence in various forms, preeminently the serial genocides committed by the regime against people in the peripheries: the Nuba Mountains in the 1990s and again (along with Blue Nile) beginning in summer 2011; the ghastly civilian destruction and displacement of the African peoples of southern Sudan from 1998 – 2002 in the two major oil concession regions; and in Darfur, from 2003 to the present, with ongoing ethnically-targeted violence conduct primarily by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commanded by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, better known as Hemeti, deputy chair of the TMC.
Besides representing the most conspicuous continuity with the al-Bashir regime, it is Hemeti and his RSF who are of course overwhelmingly responsible for the terrible carnage of June 3, when the sit-in at Army Headquarters was savagely dispersed with the most barbaric violence. We will never know how many died; the figure of well over 100 might easily be twice that. The very effort to conceal bodies in the Nile River suggests that those still missing are likely dead. Other efforts by the RSF to conceal the dead have been reported.
The international community has been exceedingly slow to recognize the TMC—and in particular Hemeti and his RSF—for what they are. There has been a good deal of talk: “urging,” “condemning,” “demanding,” “insisting”—but precious little threatening of a sort that will affect the thinking or actions of the TMC. Targeted sanctions and travel bans, first suggested very recently by the Dutch foreign minister, are only a start. Many other threats must be made explicit, beginning with the firm declaration: “We will never recognize the Military Council in Sudan as the legitimate head of state”—full stop.
But other measures are desperately needed and need to be articulated the world now if they are to have any impact on what promise to be massive demonstrations throughout Sudan on June 30. Predictions of one million people participating seem almost understatements, given what we have seen of the people of Sudan, even after the brutal crackdown of June 3.
International actors of consequence have different obligations:
 The countries of Africa under the auspices of the African Union have suspended Sudan from the Union, but there has been almost no follow-up. It is unclear whether there is actually an AU plan to supplement the proposal of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed—a proposal accepted by the civilian Forces (or Alliance) for Freedom and Change (FFC), but rejected peremptorily by the TMC. Ethiopia, IGAD, and the African Union Peace and Security Council must convene the most urgent of deliberations to be able to put forward a unified proposal for transition to civilian governance of Sudan. The TMC must not be allowed to “forum shop,” a longtime strategy of the al-Bashir regime in negotiating peace with South Sudan. An immediate response from both the FFC and the TMC must be demanded.
 UN Secretary Antonio Guterres has been a disaster in responding to events in Sudan, a continuation of what we saw in previous Secretaries General Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan. He must bring the full weight of his office to bear on the TMC to move expeditiously to civilian governance. He should work to suspend all Sudanese presence at the UN in New York and Geneva; the Sudanese “ambassador” to the UN should have his credentials revoked so long as the TMC remains obdurately in power. Membership in the General Assembly should also be suspended if possible.
 The countries of Europe, so eager to do business with the al-Bashir regime in an effort to stanch the flow of African migration to the European continent, may well see extraordinary blow-back from this terribly misconceived plan, one that has ended up supporting Hemeti and his RSF in North Darfur, eastern Chad, Niger, and the southern border areas of Libya. Human trafficking, enslavement, and ransoming have been the primary activities of Hemeti and his RSF. See on this score two superbly researched reports from Small Arms Survey (Geneva). One report provides as its introduction:
“New report on armed groups along Libya’s southern border: Europe contributes to destabilizing dynamics”:
“Lost in Trans-Nation: Tubu and Other Armed Groups and Smugglers along Libya’s Southern Border,” December 2018 | Small Arms Survey (Geneva) (Jérôme Tubiana and Claudio Gramizzi)
See also on this topic:
“Remote-control breakdown: Sudanese paramilitary forces and pro-government militias,” Small Arms Survey (Issue Brief), April 2017
Too much of the catastrophic consequences represented by human trafficking can be traced back to an EU decision in spring 2016 to work with the al-Bashir regime to provide money and resources in exchange for the regime’s working to slow and even halt migration to Europe by way of Sudan and Libya. Der Spiegel (Germany) reported on this despicable deal in May 2016, and yet there has been no backtracking by the EU on the issue of immigrants: see | Der Spiegel (May 13, 2016), “Questionable Deal: EU to Work with [Sudan’s] Despot to Keep Refugees Out.”
 The U.S. has reappointed as Special Envoy for the Sudans Donald Booth, but this has so far led to no clear articulation of consequences if the TMC remains adamant in denying Sudan civilian governance. State Department policies toward Sudan have long been dominated by the interests of the U.S. intelligence community in securing counter-terrorism intelligence, with terrible decisions made as a consequence—including specious moral equivalence between the Khartoum regime and its many opponents. The senior U.S. diplomat resident in Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, went so far as to joint General Hemeti at an iftar meal on May 18, 2019 (see | https://wp.me/s45rOG-9368 ).
Perhaps most outrageously, former U.S. Special Envoy for the Sudans Princeton Lyman made clear U.S. contempt for the aspirations of the people of Sudan, aspirations for which Sudanese are right now demonstrating and dying:
“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 )
Such a preposterous and outrageously cynical wish for al-Bashir to lead efforts for “reform via constitutional dramatic measures” was nothing more than the U.S. effort to stabilize the counter-terrorism relationship between Khartoum and Washington at a time in which al-Bashir’s wars in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile were creating “problems” for U.S. policy.
 All countries should threaten to downgrade severely bilateral diplomatic relations with the TMC absent a clear and well-defined commitment to civilian governance.
 All countries should freeze any assets belonging to any member of the TMC, and support a travel ban on all these men.
 A rigorous and total arms embargo should be announced—including all dual-use equipment—and rigorously enforced.
 Countries with leverage over Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, especially the U.S., should use that leverage to maximize financial pressure on these key supporters of the Khartoum junta to stop the critical flow of cash.
 Countries with satellite reconnaissance capacities should be sure to have significant resources dedicated to the greater Khartoum urban area on June 30, with perhaps additional resources devoted to Port Sudan or Wad Madani or Nyala.
There is no lack of ways to confront the TMC junta, and to work to forestall all too imaginable massacres on June 30. There are many ways in which the world can refuse to “compromise with evil.” Sadly, the historic record—even in the midst of the current uprising—if far from encouraging. Pressure from all activist quarters is essential in achieving a few of the measures I have listed.