Sudan: Weekly Press Columns Digest

20 December 2020

Khartoum — The most-noted three local issues of the foregoing week that have been reviewed by press columnists include two recently-issued US resolutions concerning Sudan: a. the delisting of Sudan as state-sponsor of terrorism, and b. the passing by the US congress of Sudan's democratic transition, accountability and Fiscal Transparency Act of 2020 which aims at facilitating the democratic reforms in Sudan, and tightening oversight of the Sudanese security and intelligence forces in such a way that places the uniformed and regular forces under civil rule and obliges the military investment corporations and the banking system to adopt transparent and accountable functioning systems; the second issue was the popular demonstrations planned for Saturday 19th December to mark the second anniversary of the sparking events of December revolution; and the third issue was the recent border skirmishes between Sudanese and Ethiopian troops.

University professor of political science and columnist at 'Elsudani' newspaper, Abdel-latif Albooni, commented on the two recently-issued US resolutions concerning Sudan. As regards the delisting resolution, Albooni wondered whether Sudanese people should thank the US administration and president Trump for the resolution. He responded in the negative stating that the US administration had already punished the whole nation of Sudan, causing them a lot of suffering, for wrongful acts committed solely by an illegitimate government. Moreover, the writer stated that instead of apologizing to the Sudanese people for the incurred sufferings and hardships, the US administration has added to the Sudanese people's suffering by setting a price, at millions of dollars, for setting free the Sudan's economy from the shackles of listing and embargo restrictions. Not only that, but the US administration has imposed a value-added tax (VAT) on the delisting bill in terms of forced normalizing of relations with Israel.

Despite the delisting and embargo lifting resolutions, journalist Albooni sounds pessimistic about Sudan's future relations with the US, as he sees in the proposed sovereign immunity restoration law and the recently passed Sudan's democratic transition and transparency Act of 2020, new shackles to maintain Sudan under US dominance. Accordingly, Albooni believes that the scenes of jubilation among Sudanese people over the delisting and embargo-lifting resolutions may be looked upon as celebration of a mere break-up interval to catch breath in anticipation for the coming calamities from the American front, as may suit and satisfy US interests.

In conclusion the writer reiterates the need for Sudanese people to look after their own interests, stating that the requirements of internal political, economic and military policy reforms, as required under the recently ratified Sudan's democratic transition act 2020, have essentially been Sudanese people's requirements even before the December revolution. It is Sudanese people's long-standing aspirations and goals to have an able civil government enjoying full authority over public funds and assets and a professional well-equipped army. Therefore, they'd better work to achieve those goals for themselves, by themselves, instead of having foreign powers ordering them about to achieve them.

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Columnist Yousuf Elsundi, of 'Eltahrir' e-newspaper, commented on the various calls for public demonstrations on Saturday 19th December, to mark the second anniversary of December revolution. He specifically referred to the retreating tactics adopted by certain political factions that had previously brandished slogans demanding the removal of the transitional government; where the now call instead for the reforming of transitional government structures. Elsundi suggested two reasons for this surprise shift in tactics by those factions: either they have become aware of their real size on the ground and of their inability to mobilize enough supporters to topple the transitional government, or they are just playing for time until the time comes when they will infiltrate the popular demonstrations with their slogans for transitional government removal.

However, the writer thinks that it could be ages before this faction could mobilize enough supporters around its government removal slogans, especially in light of the transitional government's remarkable successes on many fronts. Another aspect that makes it most difficult, almost impossible, for these opposing factions to topple the transitional government, is the fact that this is a revolutionary transitional government that enjoys huge political and popular support internally, and has also managed to garner regional and international key players' recognition. Moreover, there is potential risk of the country getting trapped into a civil war and commotion edifice if such calls for toppling the transitional government are nurtured, concluded the writer.

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Editor-in-chief of 'El-Saiha' newspaper, Mr. Eltahir Satti, comments on the military skirmishes on Sudan's eastern borders between Sudanese and Ethiopian troops stating that Sudanese troops are fighting a justifiable battle for a fair and just cause to reclaim Sudan's occupied territories. Satti also admits that border skirmishes have been a long-standing issue that needs to be dealt with wisely and rationally in order to avoid undesired complications between Sudan and Ethiopia, especially that there are no disputed borders between the two countries. Alfashaqa region, the focal area of the current skirmishes, is a Sudanese land as per international demarcation maps, and no Ethiopian regime has ever claimed otherwise, stated the writer.

The writer also believes that once a final border settlement agreement is reached, this fertile region can be turned into a hub for joint venture enterprises that benefit the resident border communities in both countries. The writer attributes the fragile security situation in this region to the lack of government's presence on the ground. He referred to the example of Sudan's virtual borders with Central Africa state at Omm Dagog district where the mixed tribal population exchange benefits and share cultivation and pastoral lands across the border without any friction or sensitivities.

In conclusion, the writer stresses the point that exemplary demarcation of border is made through the exchange of mutual benefits between border communities, especially where such communities share the same tribal, ethnic and social characteristics and backgrounds.

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