Sudan can avoid Syria’s catastrophic path

Perhaps the first thing Sudan needs is a national administration keen on defending the people and the country’s future.
Sunday 12/05/2019
Sudanese protesters mix Iftar as they prepare to break their fast during the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan, in front of the Defence Ministry compound in Khartoum, May 6. (Reuters)
Sudanese protesters mix Iftar as they prepare to break their fast during the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan, in front of the Defence Ministry compound in Khartoum, May 6. (Reuters)

There have been encouraging signs recently that it is possible to reach a solution that would lead Sudan to safety.

The representatives of the Forces for Freedom and Change and the Transitional Military Council led by General Abdel Fattah Burhan have agreed on many points. The most important was the need for a reasonable transition period to enable the Sudanese to regain their strength, organise their ranks and free their country, as much as possible, from the heavy legacy of three decades of corrupt rule.

They also agreed that the sovereign council, which is to oversee the formation of the government and the parliament and the drafting of a constitution to be the basis for free elections, be mixed between military and civilian members.

That point is crucial. The presence of the military in the council is essential to maintaining security, stability and the integrity of the state and the presence of civilians is also indispensable to reassure Sudanese society that the country is on a path towards a democratic civil regime in which the military will protect the state and society.

However, what happened at the end of April cast doubt on quickly reaching a consensus. There were contradictory statements from spokesmen for each party that dampened the initial wave of optimism.

Open dialogue remains the best means to resolve differences, converge points of view and round corners. It is also the easiest and shortest way to resolve differences and keep Sudan safe from catastrophic evils, something that Syrians have suffered from for eight years.

The Sudanese Army declared, again, its commitment to safeguard the interests of the people and to block the return of repressive security apparatuses loyal to the deposed president and preventing them from threatening or assaulting demonstrators.

The Sudanese political forces, despite their various ideological orientations and their different modes of representation, have shown maturity and have reached minimal levels of consensus. They have exercised their duties in various forms, especially in communicating with demonstrators with some participating in demonstrations.

They have done all that and remained keen on keeping dialogue with the military alive and provided ground for talks’ success.

The experience in Syria with similar circumstances was a bitter one. From the first day of the revolution, the army was a tool in the hands of the regime. The army turned against the Syrian people, using all kinds of weapons, including aviation, missiles and chemical ones, systematically destroying cities and towns and displacing their inhabitants.

The result was that the country became a land open to greedy and insatiable international and regional forces.

The domesticated parties among the Syrian opposition failed to side with the people in the revolution. Opposition parties known for extremist positions and unflinching opposition to the regime were unable to play the role expected of them because of their inability to move freely in the harsh and authoritarian climate imposed by the regime.

Sudan had a different experience with the country’s military and political parties. There has always been an active and effective civil society in Sudan keen on defending the interest of all Sudanese, regardless of their social status and orientation. It stubbornly committed to defending the future of Sudanese youth.

The weight of this civil society was evident in the role played by the Sudanese Professionals Association, which includes representatives of various trade unions and grass-roots organisations. In Syria, the regime had been able since the 1980s to shrink the weight and role of trade unions and even turned them into tools of the repressive and totalitarian security apparatus.

Despite contradictory statements and accusations between negotiating sides in Sudan, the situation has not reached a critical stage, sources said. Hope exists that there will be intensive, focused and urgent efforts to solve outstanding issues, which are solvable with a firm will and sincere intentions.

Sudan has the resources for a definite jump forward. It has water reserves and vast arable land capable of ensuring strategic food security to it and neighbouring countries.

The country also has an unrivalled capital human resources, cutting across various disciplines. Sudanese expatriate workers in Gulf countries and elsewhere have an excellent reputation for their skills and professionalism. They are capable of boosting their country’s economic and social development in cooperation with Sudanese back home.

Perhaps the first thing Sudan needs is a national administration keen on defending the people and the country’s future. It has the task of removing obstacles for the Sudanese to harness their experience and energies in the service of society and the country and to move confidently towards a promising future that guarantees a fair and dignified life.

It must do that while maintaining excellent relations with Sudan’s neighbours and the international community at large based on common interests, mutual respect and the maintenance of regional security and stability.

We Syrians wish the best of luck to our dear Sudanese brethren and we hope that their success will serve as a shining example for us so we, too, can solve our crisis through responsible national dialogue that transcends the mentality of intimidation and revenge, especially on the part of the regime.

The regime has been relying on all and sundry from outside Syria to maintain its grip on power that was used to destroy the country, displace its people and jeopardise the fate of the country’s future.