|"The immediate challenge for the opposition is intellectual."|
President Bashir has survived to fight another day...
After their zenith on September 25-28, [the protests] began to fade. The government remains in power, the austerity measures will be implemented, and the impact will be painful....
[President Bashir] will count on improvements in Sudan’s economic situation, the continued disarray and weak strategy of the opposition, and the genuine [repeat genuine] fear, at home and abroad that Sudan might slide into state failureThat's as pro-government as he gets. In many ways, de Waal is a reflection of the Sudanese state of mind. After much analysis he casually reverts to the usual refrain of hope in reform. But don't be misled by his appearance.
de Waal says:
The street protests that erupted on September 23 in Wad Madani and Khartoum have a superficial resemblance to the April 1985 popular uprising that brought down the dictatorship of President Jaafar Nimeiri, and also the Arab Spring protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Syria....This was certainly an uprising, but it was not entirely non-violent. As the Sudanese Government’s ablest press officer, Khalid al Mubarak, pointed out...[In reality]...The September protests chiefly took the form of loosely-coordinated rioting and demonstrations. Most of the protesters were drawn from the urban poor, but there was also an element of middle-class protest.He uses Khalid al-Mubarak to his purpose (showing how directed the violence was):
Khalid al Mubarak, pointed out, “42 gas stations, 9 pharmacies, 2 companies, 40 public vehicles, 8 police stations, 81 comprehensive security sites, 35 police vehicles, 5 banks and 23 government buildings were attacked.” - See more at: http://forums.ssrc.org/african-futures/2013/10/11/making-sense-of-the-protests-in-khartoum/#sthash.FNkUd4yP.dpufde Waal tells us where it went wrong. Here he gets clinical:
- "The protests lacked a deep organizational structure." de Waal tells us why.
- The protests were not clearly non-violent in message and strategy.
- Protesters did not devise a system of intercepting and counter strategizing security agents.
- Protesters did not anticipate nor devise a counter-strategy to NIF's offer of raising minimum wage or any other abortive measures by the ruling party.
- Islamists never sided with the protesters. They criticized the government but never committed to protests, increasing distrust and fear of profiteering and destructive post-revolutionary opportunism. The protester organization did not devise a united voice on developments by the Saihoon.
- The army's meddlesome and obstructive history in Sudanese politics was also not addressed. Some protest movements called on army intervention to "fulfill historic obligations and side with the people." de Waal recognizes that this is beneficial because recognition of a hostile army is tantamount to recognition of a state of Khartoum civil war, which is ironically Sudan's state, as de Waal implies. de Waal also suggests that there are no indications that the army would split (like Yemen) or repress Khartoum residents like in Syria. Where de Waal gets it wrong is his suggestion that "the Sudanese protesters hope SAF high command will refuse to follow orders of the President." It is the young officers corps that Sudanese protesters hope will disobey their superiors' command and split the army. And that is not a bad thing to hope and strategize for.
- de Waal also says that the lack of engagement by the SRF with civic opposition, the self-aggrandizing promotion and advertisement of Sudan's "new south" by belligerents, the absence of intellectual persuasion by the SRF, the image of hotel guerrillas, intense lobbying of Washington big whigs, and promotion of a "protected uprising--an intifada where opposition fighters would rush to Khartoum to bring the intifada to successful conclusion" all dissuade the non-violent civic opposition.
- de Waal then takes aim at Twitter chatter (which is plain weird). He says
Much of the Twitter conversation was in English or French, and even that in Arabic often seemed aimed at an external audience. The focus of at least some of the activists was borrowing and applying a script derived from a particular narrative of the Arab Spring, or even the Enough Project, rather than exploring how best to innovate methods appropriate to the specific circumstances of Sudan. It is rare, for example, to see discussion of the main theorists of progressive change in Sudan such as Khatim Adlan, despite the acute relevance of their writings to the current situation. - See more at: http://forums.ssrc.org/african-futures/2013/10/11/making-sense-of-the-protests-in-khartoum/#sthash.FNkUd4yP.dpuf(The link de Waal provides requires monetary subscription to a journal, a curious expectation to starting a public conversation on change in a country beset by rising fuel and cooking gas container costs on the family pocket book... but rest assured, here he's directing his teases at tweeps like you and I who can read but don't read private academic journals that tickle our fantasies). Do note that this is the second time de Waal mentions Khatim Adlan's tract, "It's time for change".
The rest of his commentary (sub-titled "Sudan's Economic Crisis" and "Analysis") panders to the government of Sudan and can be ignored:
"Sudan’s political economy needs a structural transformation, and dismantling the ruling party and security institutions will not achieve that." --Alex de Waal