By Walid & Theodore Shoebat
After the military overthrew the regime of Omar al-Bashir, now the people want a transition of government power given to the people. Now there are protests and today the military opened fire, killing 13.
According to a report from RT:
Sudan’s military has used live ammunition to disperse protesters in the capital, Khartoum, according to reports. A medical association close to the protesters said that at least 13 people have been killed and dozens injured.
Sudan has been ruled by the Transitional Military Council since the ousting of authoritarian president Omar al-Bashir in April. The crackdown comes as participants in a long-running sit-in outside the army’s HQ have been demanding democratic reforms and for generals to hand over power.
On Monday, security forces started an operation to clear protesters from the camp. There have been reports of gunfire and explosions heard in the centre of Khartoum and neighbouring city Omdurman. Videos by Arab media and on social media show people fleeing the site of the sit-in. The central committee of Sudanese doctors, which confirmed the deaths of protesters, accused the military council of firing live bullets at people. The council has dismissed the accusation, saying the security forces had targeted criminals.
There is a mercenary organization heavily connected with the Sudanese government called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) which is led by one Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo or as he is better known as, “Hemeti.” In a recent banqueting meeting hall in Khartoum, in which numerous officials gathered together for a iftar dinner, Hemeti was praised with traditional Islamic ululations. There was even a prayer declared requesting Allah to bless Sudan and Hemeti, demonstrating just how much political leverage this paramilitary leader has. Now there are massive protests in Khartoum demanding a government represented by the people and not the military. Hemeti appears to be capitalizing on the situation. Its possible that he is positioning himself to be the next leader of Sudan, which is currently being ruled by a military government established after the army forced Omar al-Bashir to step down from power.
It wasn’t just Bashir who was arrested. Numerous other government officials, including the prime minister and the head of the ruling National Congress Party, were also arrested.
Hemeti is now the second in command of the military council that is ruling Sudan.
Hemeti is “trying to depict himself as a man of the people, as a populist,” said Khalid Medani, associate professor of political science and Islamic studies at Montreal’s McGill University. While Bashir is gone, Hemeti is there to make sure that the ways of the prior regime are maintained. As Medani informs us:
“It wasn’t unlikely that there would emerge a figure from the previous regime who would basically try to upgrade authoritarianism by offering some semblance of civilian rule but at the same time making sure the remnants and the most important institutions of the old regime would remain”
Hemeti has been very politically active, showing on his social media accounts him meeting with Khartoum-based ambassadors. At an iftar dinner for Darfuri sultans, Hemeti welcomed Saudi and American envoys, and he made sure that the Khartoum hotels informed international media of his appearances.
Just recently, while General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visited Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Hemati visited Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The two together succeeded in meeting with the three countries that are the most supportive of the military council, as well as the three most despised by the protestors who accuse Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt of interfering in their revolution.
Since these protests began in December of 2018, Hemeti has been doing two things: acting as a friend of the protestors while at the same time keeping them under control. In the first week of the protests (December 25th), Hemeti live-streamed himself via Faceook on the back of a pickup truck giving a speech to his troops expressing his support for the protestors. He later told the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram, that negotiations were going well and that the military council intended to hand over power to the people as soon as possible. It doesn’t look like the military council intends to give power to the people. After Bashir was thrown out, Sudan’s defense minister, Lt. Gen. Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf said the military had toppled the regime and, in his own words: “A military council has taken power and will rule Sudan for two years”.
However, on May 13, 2019, soldiers dressed as Hemeti’s RSF opened fire on protestors, killing six. Since Bashir’s removal, the presence of the trucks of the RSF, with their conspicuous grenade launchers, has become more and more ubiquitous. The history of the RSF is quite dark. Originally, the paramilitary group was known as the Janjaweed, and it was involved in a horrific massacre of at least a quarter of a million people (according to the United Nations). According to one report from Middle East Eye:
The militias, primarily composed of Darfuri Arab fighters, were deployed by Khartoum to fight against rebels in the area. But the Janjaweed were accused of instead targeting civilian non-Arab tribes with executions, torture and rape. Hemeti was made leader of one of the largest Janjaweed militias in 2003, and then took command of the RSF when those militias were formalised in 2013, rising through the ranks as a reward for his loyalty to Khartoum while other Janjaweed leaders rebelled.
His forces have since been deployed against other rebellions in Sudan, including in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state, and have taken on anti-migration operations funded by the European Union, though they have themselves also been accused of facilitating smuggling.
Whatever the volatile situation, we can be certain that Turkey will be pursuing the expansion of its hegemony in Sudan. Turkey has a military presence in the Sudanese island of Suakin which it established back in 2017. Shoebat.com wrote an article on Turkey’s military presence in and intentions for Sudan.
Suakin is crucial for it now becomes a military base close to the ports of Qunfudah, the port of Jeddah, the port of Laith, the port of Yanbu in Saudi Arabia, and the ports of Quseir and Safaga in Egypt. This gets Turkey closer to Egypt’s Adam’s apple and tightens the noose around Saudi Arabia especially after the Gulf crisis. Sudan’s relations with Egypt and Saudi Arabia is tense. The four countries (the Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia) tried to pressure Sudan to compel them to stand with them against Qatar. Erdogan made his stand against Saudi Arabia standing with Qatar where Turkish military bases are also established there.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia are supposedly happy that Bashir has been toppled since he was a puppet for the Turks (according to Ahval, Turkey used Sudan to pressure Egypt after President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013). What we could be looking at is a potential proxy struggle between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and as David Hearst recently pointed out:
There are obvious dangers to turning the Sudanese revolution into a proxy struggle between the Saudis and Emiratis supporting the generals and secular forces, with Turkey and Qatar backing the Islamists.
But it does not appear that a dramatic change in the relationship between Ankara and Khartoum is going to be happening anytime soon. Turkey has been making major investments into the Sudanese economy and this is something that the Sudanese obviously don’t want to lose. Back in 2017 Erdogan said that Turkey invested around $650 million in Sudan, including $300 million worth of direct investments. No matter the situation of Sudan’s government, Turkey is going to want to continue expanding its influence in Africa. Erdogan is tremendously influential in Sudan:
Why the interest in Africa? You cannot have a world war without Africa, with all of its oil, diamonds and other rich resources. Erdogan wants not only the treasures of Egypt, but Africa. Hence why Turkey is expanding its military presence in Africa. The biggest military base in Somalia belongs to Turkey, spanning over four square kilometres and taking two years to construct. As we read in a report from October of 2017:
Turkey has set up its biggest overseas military base in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, increasing Ankara’s presence in the Horn of Africa country.
Officially opened on Saturday, the base, which reportedly cost $50m, will train 10,000 Somali troops and has the capacity to train at least 1,500 soldiers at a time, according to Turkish and Somali officials.
Hulusi Akar, Turkey’s chief of General Staff, said at the opening ceremony for the military base:
“This is the largest training base of its kind outside of Turkey … The government of Turkey and its army will provide all the needed support to our brothers in Somalia”
Sudan has been a place where a number of outside governments have entered to expand their own influences and military industrial hegemonies.
Sudan has been called the “arm’s dump” of Africa. It was a country that had a huge absorption and circulation of arms way before South Sudan succeeded in 2011. When South Sudan did split, there was an estimated 3.2 million small arms being used in that country. In 2010 and 2011, numerous rebel and militia groups began popping up in the Jonglei and Upper Nile states, and the ownership and possession of guns has been precipitously increasing partially due to this.
Former West Germany started a weapons flow into Muslim dominated North Sudan. Germany even built an ammunition factory in Khartoum, which is the capital of North Sudan today. In the 1980s, East Germany (under the Soviet Union) responded to the West German’s distribution of arms into the north, by sending weapons into the more Christian dominated South Sudan. As we read in one report:
“Meanwhile, research has shown the international role in weapon supply, with former West Germany introducing automatic small arms in vast numbers to Sudan, which, until then, mainly had old British carbines. West Germany also set up the ammunition factory in Sheggera, Khartoum, in effect, providing the bullets to keep the guns firing. In the 1980s, East Germany responded by supplying the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) with AK47s via Ethiopia. In this way, Cold War animosities were played out in the Greater Horn of Africa.”
In 2009, a major German mercenary group, Asgaard, which is ran by Thomas Kaltegartner, agreed to send one hundred mercenaries to Somalia to back a Somalian warlord named Abdinur Ahmed Darman, and even train his men. According to the German publication, Der Speigel:
“Thomas Kaltegärtner, CEO of Asgaard German Security Group, confirmed a report by the German public broadcaster ARD that his company plans to send former German soldiers to Somalia.
In a December 2009 press release, Asgaard announced it had signed an “exclusive agreement on security services” with Abdinur Ahmed Darman. Darman, a Somali warlord who styles himself as the country’s president, does not recognize the legitimacy of the United Nations-backed transitional government of Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. The agreement, the company said, would cover “all necessary measures to reintroduce security and peace to Somalia.” The country has not had a functioning central government since 1991.
According to Kaltegärtner, himself a former Bundeswehr soldier, Asgaard employees would provide security for Darman and train police and military forces. He stressed, however, that combat operations were not planned. He said that over 100 mercenaries could be involved in operations.”
In every world war, Africa is at the center of focus, getting invaded and controlled by foreign militaries. Ultimately, this is about reviving the Ottoman Empire, and the Sudanese, the Somalis, the Chadians and the Tunisians — that is, the people of Cush — are receiving Turkey in Submission.