On March 9, in Khartoum, unidentified individuals carried out an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister of the Sudan, Abdullah Hamdok. The politician was on his way to work in a convoy when he was attacked in the Kobar bridge by assailants armed with explosives. While the Prime Minister was not injured, the events have had a strong international impact.
Why was the assassination attempt carried out?
The Sudanese Prosecutor’s Office assumes that the attack was carried out with careful consideration – the authorities noted that there had been no assassination attempt of this magnitude in the country in decades.
The little-known Sudanese Islamic Youth Movement, also known as Sudanese Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack
“Hamdok’s convoy was attacked while the Prime Minister drove to work,” Al Arabiya TV reported on Monday. The prime minister survived, only one of his companions was slightly injured, the press service specified. The place of the attempt was cordoned off by the Sudanese security service and an investigation into the circumstances was launched.
الان في كوبر حي الواحة محاولة لاغتيال رئيس مجلس الوزراء عبد الله حمدوك تزامنا مع سير موكبه والحمد لله فشلت و هو الآن سليم pic.twitter.com/qASU255odg
— Awad (@Awad_Nataly17) March 9, 2020
The Sudanese Minister for Information, Faisal Mohamed Saleh, reported that security agents had already arrested a number of national and foreign nationals in connection with the attack. He did not specify either the number or the identity of the suspects.
Even the FBI has joined the investigation into the assassination – Bureau agents have already arrived at the scene, which is an extraordinary development for a country that is still on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
“We condemn this criminal act, which is trying to damage the name of Sudan regionally and internationally,” Interior Minister Attarifi Idris Dafallah told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.
He added that they would want to “identify the security responsibility on the incident and seek the support of our friends to identify the attackers and present them to the court of justice.”
General Awad Al Nill Dhahiya, a retired Sudanese police officer, said Sudanese security officers do not have the experience needed to deal with terrorist threats. He emphasized that the help of the FBI is necessary.
“The coordination is not at the best level currently. Putting the effort under one Ministry is better,” Dhahiya told South Sudan in Focus.
According to the prosecution, the assassination attempt was carefully planned.
“Rest assured that what happened today will not stand in the way of our transition, instead it is an additional push to the wheel of change in Sudan,” Hamdok said.
Sudan on the eve of a coup
Since late 2018, Sudan has been experiencing a period of instability caused by the economic downturn and the ensuing popular protests. In April, a military coup took place there. President Omar Al-Bashir, who ruled for 30 years, was ousted from power and later imprisoned.
The Government has indicated that it may refer Al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court to face charges related to the war in Darfur.
At the end of August 2019, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, head of the Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, was sworn in as head of the country’s Sovereign Council. The new Prime Minister of the Sudan, Abdallah Hamdok, was sworn in on 21 August 2019. In August 2019, the Sudanese Military Council and the opposition movement Forces for Liberty and Change signed a constitutional declaration that will be the basic law of the country for the forthcoming transitional period.
Who is Hamdok?
Hamdok himself is an openly pro-Western politician. Hamdok has worked for several international organizations with a British passport. Now, in addition to advocating for rapprochement with the U.S. and Israel, he advocates for a transitional period to put Sudan under EU control.
I was honoured to welcome Mr. @JosepBorrellF – high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. This visit is a testimony of the relentless support Sudan enjoyed from the EU throughout the years. pic.twitter.com/ulmcjyM3gY
— Abdalla Hamdok (@SudanPMHamdok) February 29, 2020
On the eve of the assassination, Europe transferred a 100 million euro tranche “to help Sudan steadily move towards reform”, which Hamdok proudly related to social media networks.
I would also like to thank the EU for extending its support by offering an additional 100 million Euros to help Sudan steadily move towards reform.
— Abdalla Hamdok (@SudanPMHamdok) February 29, 2020
Hamdok began his term of office by touring the West in December 2019. Washington was visited by a Sudanese Prime Minister for the first time in more than 30 years, followed by a historic meeting with an Israeli delegation.
Role of the US
Many details indicate that it was the US that upset the situation in Sudan, utilizing “color revolution” experts, supporting local pro-Western organizations and then helping to organize the coup.
Although the ostensible reason for the April coup was the Sudanese Cabinet of Ministers delay in implementing economic reforms, the real inspiration for the “drum revolution” were Western political technologies. The presence of Western dignitaries such as the Ambassador of The Netherlands to Sudan Karin Boven, British diplomat David Lelliott and US Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum Stephen Koutsis, who were spotted in the crowds during the revolutionary events seems a rather strange “coincidence.” The latter was active in meetings with the opposition on the eve of the coup.
Sit-in at Gen Command in #Khartoum for 'fall' of #Sudan Bashir regime started almost a month ago (6/3). Nice to see tireless efforts of people at sit-in recognised by international reps: NL (@Karin_Boven), UK (@DavidLelliottUK, @jamie6), US @USEmbassyKRT #اعتصام_القيادة_العامة pic.twitter.com/5lG9FqyHLc
— Benjamin Strick (@BenDoBrown) May 3, 2019
Much of what is happening now in Sudan was provoked by the US back under Barack Obama. For decades, the United States, on the one hand, made efforts to isolate Sudan, making it an international pariah comparable to North Korea and Iran, while, on the other hand holding behind-the-scenes talks with the authorities.
In 1993, when one of the most serious diplomatic scandals between countries broke out, the United States accused Khartoum of being a state sponsor of terrorism and imposed sanctions. At the same time, while official Washington tarnished Khartoum’s image, the CIA (according to Foreign Policy) maintained its own ties to the regime, benefiting from intelligence cooperation in the growing fight against terrorist groups in East Africa. As part of such “cooperation,” during the NATO intervention in Libya in 2011, Sudan provided intelligence to the alliance and became a channel for the transfer of weapons to the opposition, according to a report confirmed by two former US officials.
Now, after the coup and especially after the attempted assassination of the Prime Minister, the US has expressed a new and particularly warm attitude towards Sudan. The US State Department spokesman expressed that sentiment saying “the United States strongly supports Sudan’s civilian-led government. We stand with it and the Sudanese people in their pursuit of peace, security, prosperity, and equality.”
The same pro-Western forces that the US relied on during the revolution now speak of the revolution being sabotaged by the “old regime”:
“This attack is an extension of the attempts by the forces of regression to pounce on the Sudanese revolution and sabotage,” said the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which is at the core of the Freedom and Change Forces.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus wrote onTwitter that the US condemns the assassination attempt on Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.
The United States condemns today’s attack on @SudanPMHamdok’s convoy and offers condolences to loved ones of victims killed or injured in the attack. We stand with #Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government and the Sudanese people in their pursuit of peace and democracy.
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) March 10, 2020
New vectors of Sudanese politicians: US-Israel
As if by coincidence, with the advent of the new “transitional” power in Sudan, a radical change in geopolitical orientation has also begun. The country is now openly making gestures in favor of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Especially noteworthy is the “Zionist” turn of the new Sudan. For the first time in history, an Israeli passenger plane flew over Sudan and landed at Ben Gurion airport on February 15. Previously, no route of a regular or private flight to Israel passed through Sudan, a country with which the Jewish state had no diplomatic relations.
Such a flight was possible after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, Chairman of the Sudan’s sovereign council, met on February 3 in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. During the meeting, it was agreed that bilateral relations would gradually normalize.
During the reign of President Omar al-Bashir, the countries had extremely tense relations: the IDF repeatedly attacked Sudanese caravans, as well as Iranian vessels carrying weapons that entered Sudanese ports.
Netanyahu has now changed his rhetoric and states that since the coup, Sudan has followed a “progressive” path and has a chance to emerge from isolation.
For Israel, the meeting in Uganda is a continuation of Israeli policy aimed at rapprochement with moderate Muslim regimes, as well as an attempt to consolidate influence on the African continent. Al-Burhan also assures that the majority of Sudanese allegedly support rapprochement with Israel, while the opposition represents minority views. This is doubtful, given that the meeting in Uganda was closed to journalists.
Then we see the following news: Sudan authorizes direct flights to Israel over its territory.
In Sudan, there was a strong and negative response to the curtsy towards Israel. Sudanese Muslims demonstrated against “behind-the-scenes normalization” with Israel.
Al-Burhan explained in an interview with the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat that Tel Aviv could help get Sudan off the list of state sponsors of terrorism. In a separate statement, al-Burkhan even claimed that Allah himself had authorized a meeting with the Israeli side.
The United States first included Sudan in the list of sponsor states of terrorism in 1993, later imposing sanctions. It is curious that on the eve of unrest in Sudan, a number of sanctions were lifted, which can be seen as an advance to future revolutionaries.
After the meeting between the leaders of Israel and Sudan in Uganda, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed Al-Burhan’s “leadership” act and invited him to Washington.
Already in March 2020, Hamdok held a meeting with an American delegation led by Assistant Secretary Marshall Billingsley on this issue.
He said that the removal of Sudan from this list is just a matter of time, and several committees are working on it. He hoped that Sudan “can be removed from the list soon.”
Who hates Hamdok?
There are many explanations regarding who made the assassination attempt on Hamdok and why. Moreover, there are doubts as to whether the assassination attempt was a fake.
In fact, it is no longer as important who did it – but it is important how it is interpreted and what domestic and foreign policy measures that will follow.
Version 1: the Sudanese Taliban
The little-known Sudanese Islamic Youth Movement, also known as Sudanese Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. The movement, according to the media, has not been heard of before.
The group itself is rather mysterious: perhaps it is the fresh creativity of one of the politicians. It is possible that they were organized directly for media and poetic purposes for the upcoming assassination attempt.
Version 2: The generals of the “old regime”
The new authorities, like the Western media, are blaming the remnants of the former security forces and generals for the assassination attempt on al-Bashir’s “old regime.” In their view, the “old men” want to “undermine the process of democracy” and to portray the new regime as unreliable in the eyes of the West. Taking into account that many among the country’s military circles really do prefer the former power one way or another, it is not a stretch to accuse them of organizing an assassination attempt.
The Forces for Freedom and Change condemned generals who, in their opinion, tried “to abort our revolution.”
The prosecutors have not yet given any specific names to the suspects (although some media hint at the figure of General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the former right-hand man of Bashir), but have already outlined potential purges in the ranks of power.
Sudan’s ruling council said on Tuesday it would step up its drive to remove loyalists of former president Omar al-Bashir. As part of efforts to disempower Bashir’s supporters, the committee has already started to disband the former ruling party and dismiss senior officials at banks and embassies.
Senior party Muhanad al-Sheikh rejected this version, saying: “we have nothing to do with the violence and we believe that the government is circulating these claims to pave the way for repression and discrimination against us.”
After the accusations against the so-called “old men”, a serious reshuffle of internal security services immediately began. Recently some officers at the National Intelligence and Security Service have been dismissed, and the new structure is called the General Intelligence Service.
Following the incident, council spokesman Mohamed al-Faki said that the part of the GIS operating inside Sudan will be brought under the interior ministry.
Version 3: Radical Islamist
Another possibility is that this was a terrorist attack committed by perpetrators who are unknown now, but involved in some more powerful terrorist organization.
The new government and mainstream media often accuse former President Al-Bashir himself of controlling and influencing African Islamists. This is how they kill two birds with one stone: write this off as terrorist activity and havel al-Bashir killed in the run-up to the next trial.
The Atlantic council said the following: “overlapping substantially with the NCP for adherents, Islamist elements have been blamed for efforts to undermine the government’s reform efforts through a ‘deep state’ network that sees many of them still embedded across the new government’s ministries. Recent efforts to retire or simply purge their ranks—specifically from the Foreign Ministry and the General Intelligence Service—have been met with anger, defiance, and even armed resistance.
Version 4: “Shadowy forces”
Another version has a more economic twist. According to this version, some forces (possibly businesses) benefit from the current chaos and even the sanctions regime, and are not satisfied with the country’s new course. “In Sudan, there are also shadowy forces who have benefitted from illicit dealings under the long-imposed Western sanctions over the country, and would not like to see Khartoum be free from sanctions. They might also have played a role in the assassination attempt”, TRT writes.
Version 5: Left wing anti-capitalists
Leftist groups in the country, who were also encouraged by the success of the revolution, are dissatisfied with Sudan’s rapprochement with the US and Gulf states, believing that it will make Khartoum part of the capitalist system.
Version 6: The attempted assassination was a total fake
There is another curious version that is being talked about among experts. The new regime in Sudan, as they see it, has enough enemies. Nonetheless, it is possible that all the assassination attempt was a fake necessary for the broader media campaign.
It would be very convenient to organize a terrorist attack in order to have an excuse to invite FBI agents to the country and completely restructure the security system and secret services. The fact that the Prime Minister survived uninjured speaks in favor of the version, although this is hardly confirmation.
Given that the US has previously put so much effort into the coup, it is easy to believe that they would take such a measure.
Version 7: Spontaneous popular anger
It is also possible that the assassination attempt was made by opponents of the new authorities opposed to allowing a pro-Western and pro-Israeli orientation for Sudan. In that case, the assassination attempt on Hamdok was the act of resistance to the emerging Atlantic course of the country.
Why does the US need Sudan?
Sudan is important from the geopolitical point of view, allowing globalists and individual representatives of US foreign policy agencies to the continent. In the context of the Libyan war and the protracted conflict in Yemen, it is especially relevant.
Sudan’s strategic position (access to the Red Sea, borders with Libya, Egypt and Eritrea) and large territory are a priori attractive for major players. In this case, the US fears competition from Sudan’s partners – primarily Turkey, but also China, Iran and Russia.
Secondly, the US’ activity is explained by its interests in local resources. Sudan is one of the largest countries on the continent, rich in oil, gold and silver, copper, zinc, etc.
Third, there are potential economic interests. Gradually easing sanctions and promising to bring the country out of isolation, the US is counting on concessions from the new government to acquire profitable oil contracts. In February, the US embassy announced negotiations with Baker Hughes oil company, noting that Washington is offering investments in the energy and infrastructure industries in Sudan. US diplomat McKeela James, at the same time, regularly advises the Sudanese on economic issues.
Sudan’s proximity to the Middle East, as well as its cultural and religious image, has enabled it to establish ties with various powers. In addition to Turkey (interested in the base on the Red Sea), the US, Russia and China, Saudi Arabia (actively invested in Sudan), the UAE, Egypt (opposition shelters, common Nile River) and now Israel have high interest in Sudan.
It is clear that the radical Islam that has prevailed in North Africa no longer meets the needs of the population, and that models of secular liberal democracy, let alone socialist movements, find no support at all. This poses a serious challenge to Sudan: the need for a thorough political project, in the absence of which plans for the collapse of the country (which already lost half of its territory during the civil war) may well become a reality. Since the struggle for influence continues in Africa, globalists want to use the usual strategy of color revolutions and then impose colonial rule.