The American Atlantic Council published a report that carried what was called the “complete recipe” for dealing with the Sudanese issue, and included imposing sanctions on military figures, nominating an American ambassador to Sudan, and sending an envoy to the Horn of Africa with a message calling for dialogue, choosing a new prime minister, or preparing for a wave of new sanctions.
Washington- A number of Sudanese experts in the American capital, Washington, criticized the position of the administration of President Joe Biden on the developments in the situation in their country, especially after the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.
In the first reaction to the resignation, the US State Department called on Sudanese leaders to put aside differences, reach consensus and ensure the continuation of civilian rule, adding – in a statement – that “Washington continues to stand by the Sudanese people and calls for an end to violence against demonstrators.”
For his part, the head of the Transitional Sovereign Council in Sudan, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, stressed – when meeting with Chargé d’Affairs of the US Embassy in Khartoum, Brian Shawkan – “the continuation of partnership and cooperation with the United States in various fields, in a manner that preserves the achievements made during the past period and builds on them in the future.” to serve the common interests of both countries.
The US official called for the necessity of continuing the path of democratic transition, accelerating the formation of the executive government, and completing the rest of the structures of the transitional authority.
Data does not mean better policies
Cameron Hudson, a former official in President Barack Obama’s administration on Sudan and currently an expert in the Atlantic Council, criticized his country’s position, especially after issuing the “troika” statement.
Hudson tweeted, “After the release of the troika’s statement today. No concrete offers have been made so far from the United States on how they are proposing to conduct an international facilitated dialogue, and what are the consequences that await Sudan’s leaders if the use of lethal force against protesters continues, as happened previously and is happening now.” More data does not equal better policy.”
Following the Troika statement today. Still no concrete offers from the US on how they propose to bring about an “internationally facilitated dialogue” and what consequences await for past and future cases of lethal force against protesters. More statements ≠ better policy. https://t.co/2fcaSsbyTi
— Cameron Hudson (@_hudsonc) January 5, 2022
The Troika group concerned with Sudan – which includes the United States, Britain and Norway – issued a joint statement two days after the resignation of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, in which it said that it “will not support a prime minister or a government appointed without the participation of a wide range of civilian stakeholders.”
The Troika said that it still believes in the democratic transition in Sudan, which was announced in 2019 after mass demonstrations, but it sent a veiled warning to the army in the event that it does not move forward with it.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that his country “is looking for all means to support the transitional process in Sudan, including the use of sanctions.”
“We need to see a future prime minister who has credibility with the Sudanese people, and the transition process should remain under civilian leadership,” Price added.
The need for a coherent policy
“Since the military coup, the Biden administration has been hoping that the military council will reform on its own. With Hamdok’s resignation, this claim cannot continue,” says Professor Rebecca Hamilton, a professor at American University’s Washington School of Law who specializes in Sudan.
Hamilton noted that if the United States wants to continue to use terms such as “democracy” and “civil government” in its public statements about Sudan, it should develop coherent policy to help turn those words into reality.
Hamilton told Al Jazeera Net that this begins with abandoning “the naive thinking that defined the American approach to Sudan since the coup.” It also means “punishing leaders in the military, paramilitary and intelligence services.”
The academic and expert on Sudanese affairs calls for “investment in the pro-democracy groups that form the backbone of any democratic future for Sudan.”
“While American influence in Sudan is not as strong as it was in previous decades, this is not an excuse to abandon the clear aspirations of the Sudanese people for true democracy,” she says.
A recipe for pressure on the military
In a report published by the Atlantic Council website, Cameron Hudson presented an integrated recipe for dealing with the Sudanese issue at this critical period, the most important of which are:
First: The need for Washington and its allies to adopt a more hardline approach towards the Sudanese army, which it holds responsible for the “October coup” and the subsequent widespread use of force against peaceful protests. This means imposing sanctions on figures such as Yasser Muhammad Othman, Director of Military Intelligence, Jamal Abdel Majid, Director of the General Intelligence Service, and Abd al-Rahim Daglo, Deputy Commander of the Rapid Support Forces. The report accuses them of playing a direct role in “organizing campaigns of repression and killing protesters.”
Secondly: In addition to punitive measures, Washington needs actions that support the Sudanese people’s aspiration for democracy, support the strategic interests of the United States in the region, and reflect President Joe Biden’s alleged commitment to democracy and human rights. Former Mike Pompeo, two years ago, but not yet met.
Third: The US administration should send the Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, to Khartoum with a message from Biden explaining the logic behind US sanctions, and giving the generals a clear choice; Either engage in a serious, transparent and inclusive political dialogue to select a new prime minister, refrain from any further abuses against peaceful protesters, and return to full implementation of the 2019 Constitutional Declaration, or risk facing a new wave of sanctions targeting the regime’s leaders and their vast network of financial interests and military companies.
Fourthly: For this option to be credible, US pressure must have the support of Sudan’s key international partners such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey.