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War is politics, but through other means, as the Prussian thinker Carl von Clausewitz said. The nature of war never changes as it is fought for political goals, but undoubtedly, the characteristics of war change according to economic, political, and social dimensions.

 

Many anticipated this war due to the political deadlock between civilian powers and remnants of the former regime within the security committee and the Janjaweed, failing to agree on managing the political strife. Before delving into a post-war vision, it is best to start with the repercussions and consequences of the war and draw an objective picture of the country post-war.


Despicable Practices

 

It is evident the ongoing Sudan war will end without a clear victor, and the process of ending this war will confirm the validity of this statement. The RSF, through their despicable practices of looting, pillaging, killing, raping, and their complete disregard for any concepts of humanity, honor, or respect for peaceful citizens, positioned themselves as completely immoral human monsters.

 

They sowed discord and reaped its consequences in the collective stance of the population, except for those who allied with them, even the presumed social incubator began to reject them. Their partners in crime and their creators, the keizan (National Congress Party Islamists) are not any better; as they have practiced their acts since the beginning of the Al-Ingaz (Salvation) regime. 


Former Sudan President and head of the National Congress Party Omar Al-Bashir addressing a military unit in April 2012. Source: AP/Abd Raouf)

 

This is reflected in the prevalent public opinion of accepting the existence of the army as a state institution under the condition of comprehensive reform, while completely rejecting its corrupt, weak, and professionally incompetent keizan leadership. The return of the military to their barracks and any agreements with militias due to the absence of a clear victor, and institutional issues are among the most significant post-war challenges.


The second and biggest challenge is related to the population. The displacement affected ten million Khartoum city residents, the massive exodus to neighboring countries and abroad, in an unprecedented diversity and scale of refugees, in dire and unprepared conditions. This large displacement heavily affected all aspects of life, from education, healthcare, and psychological well-being, to the sense of stability and security.


People flee the southern part of Sudan's capital as street battles between the forces of two rival Sudanese generals continue. Source: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP

 

The second implication of this issue was the return of millions of people to the Sudanese villages and cities of their ancestors, finding them in remnants due to the failures of the keizan state; the collapse of educational, healthcare, and productive systems, neighboring relations, and the corruption of its governance structure.

 

The ingaz/keizan regime pushed concepts of ethnic, tribal, and racial dispute. The ethnic overlapping of the RSF original tribal components with Arab tribes in southern Darfur and their extensions in West African countries put the ancient historical ties between these groups and the rest of the nation in extreme danger, elevating concepts of division and animosity among population groups.

 

Related to the population problem, the war has clearly exposed the worst and best societal behaviors. It starkly and insanely revealed the overall bad behaviors sown by the keizan regime, including manipulation, selfishness, and opportunism. Remnants of the keizan and RSF behavior vividly displayed theft, robbery, lack of honor, and ethics during this war as in others before it.

 

Meanwhile, good morals of assistance, bravery, sacrifice, and nobility resonated loudly among the majority of Sudanese in all their migrations and displacements, as did the spirit of solidarity and gallantry. On both sides, such behaviors were not as starkly and vividly displayed before.


Path of Doom

 

The third issue lies in the fall of masks worn by the civic elites with colonial, regional, and international affiliations since post-colonialism. These connections existed within certain sectarian and religious parties and gelatinous bodies hiding behind civil society organizations.

 

The civic and political elites led the post-revolutionary country unbelievably by relinquishing their sovereignty in favor of economic colonialism represented by the International Monetary Fund and the international community umbrella. They lost any vision that resonated with the slogans of the Sudanese revolution for liberation, reducing 'freedom' to mere freedom of expression and 'justice' to amnesty for criminals, while 'peace' was more a sad distribution of power they did not possess, and vacant job positions, and money.

 

The fourth problem lies in our lack of engagement with geopolitics at all levels, attributing it to the elite's confinement within the mindset and concepts of 'Sudan Notes and Records' magazine, drowned in local colonial needs. During the war, the world we knew ceased to exist. Wars in Ukraine, Gaza, and coups in West African countries produced an entirely different reality. Western dominance is gradually being shattered by China, the BRICS, the fragmentation of European countries, the weakening of NATO, and widespread rejection by global populations of the American and British perspectives.


An illustration of how corruption politicians and government staff steal from their citizens. Source. Quote master

 

The problem in the political thought of the elites, as we have discussed previously and come to know it, exposes them to compromise, betrayal, and a lack of trust from their constituencies that they'll prioritize national interests over individual and party gains. Our disregard for geopolitics has led to our nation being swallowed up by those who played on it and composed their symphonies.

 

The fifth and final issue is related to our country's ability to resolve issues dating to the previous century of rebuilding the state with all its institutions, resolving the economic crisis, and the state's control over resources. It involves attaining a suitable governance system based on the people's authority, a stable programmatic political life, and a revised education system aimed at instilling ethical, national, and efficient behaviors, among others.

 

If we fail to comprehend this change in shaping geopolitical factors globally, regionally, and locally, and prepare for them adequately in addition to not reading and understanding our history to avoid repeating its mistakes, we will find ourselves entering the new era as we did before. An emergency program was formulated during the revolution, including all these pillars, and we will need to refine it through a societal dialogue led by the people's authority at its various levels including grassroots, regional, and transitional legislative councils.

 

Time to Prepare

 

We have outlined the five problematic issues we expect to face post-war, which are extremely comprehensive, as each constitutes a complex set of problems. They are assumptions, so I will approach them more abstractly. The population issues are multifaceted, and complex, and require comprehensive studies to clarify them and develop short-term and long-term strategies, as they are integral to the reconstruction of the Sudanese nation, which originally suffered from incomplete development dilemmas.

 

The difficulty in resolving them, especially in the capital and affected cities, lies in their intertwining with issues related to creating appropriate service, social, and architectural environments. Not forgetting issues of restoration, compensation, support, and assistance for families and communities.

 

Considering the Sudanese state's financial deficit and economic collapse, attention must be paid to efforts to recover the plundered and stolen money from the keizan, RSF, and the military, as well as demanding compensation from the countries responsible for supporting the RSF's insurgency against the country's fragile de facto government.


Sudan's Rapid Support Forces has been accused of gross human rights abuses. Source: AP


One of the most significant challenges that Sudan will face post-war is ending the vicious cycle represented by the slogan 'The military to the barracks' and its implications of dissolving militias, whether the official keizan security apparatus or secret organizations and formations affiliated with the military institutions of the keizan. Dealing with this complex issue requires a package of decisions and measures.

 

This package includes the return of the armed forces to their barracks as professional and duty-bound forces, safeguarding the nation, defending its territory, and protecting the constitution. This necessitates a review of their structure, personnel, ranks, laws, and regulations, restructuring them into professional forces and modernizing them into technologically advanced, efficient units.



Figures show the billions of US dollars required to support the humanitarian response plan. Source: OCHA


Future Imaginations


The problems of the colonial elites, their corruption, and their continuous betrayals have persisted since pre-colonial times and throughout the national liberation phase. The crisis deepened with this elite's acquisition of power without a clear national project, a lack of consensus, and an absence of vision regarding democratic orientations and social justice.

 

The blatant military intervention always under the guise or approval of one or more political parties aggravated the crisis. These elites were the main reason for accepting power sharing with the military and the security committee, mismanaging governance, surrendering sovereignty, and instigating divisions and fragmentation among the revolutionaries and Sudanese society segments.


Political parties are a fundamental pillar of democracy, a legitimate right for all citizens, not constrained by general laws of freedom of expression devoted in the constitution, and the regulations agreed upon by the formed group. The banning of any forms of National Congress Party and its affiliates, parties based on religious or racial foundations, political funding, and external financing is crucial to ensure this right is exercised effectively.


While their role involves participation during the transitional period with competent members, political parties require deep institutional and programmatic reforms to regain people's trust after their mistakes during the initial transitional phase. Finally, civil forces must agree that governance levels should consist of independent entities apart from political parties as organizations, participating based on their members' competencies. They should dedicate their time to reorganizing structurally and programmatically during the transitional period and engaging in national issues such as the constitution, vision, and program.


The general framework to address further issue draws on Sudanese heritage and a global legacy to solve these problems away from violence and violations through transitional justice. This process does not cover cases of criminal violence and established crimes against specific groups or individuals reported or documented.

 

These crimes, from the martyr Taya Abu Aqila to the last martyr who will fall, require investigation committees, potentially composed of unfairly dismissed police officers, officers, and soldiers appropriate for these committees. These accountabilities will take considerable time but are crucial to re-establishing a prosperous Sudanese state based on the rule of law and citizen rights, the most important of which is the principle of no impunity. 


The relative cohesion and adherence to values, principles, and ethics while rejecting all forms of moral decay and societal disapproval are important in the next phase. Additionally, the presence of change leaders who succeeded in their revolution in all the fierce battles throughout Sudan, exchanging shared experiences among revolutionary leaders and bases. This practical achievement of the revolution's call for 'people's authority' established the core foundation of people's authority and represented it democratically by grassroots groups and local assemblies, forming resistance committees, change and services committees at administrative levels, emergency committees, and more, leaving only the integration at the state level and the formation of the transitional legislative council.


This social-political formation must be rooted in popular bases, democratically representing them with diverse support that represents all groups within the Sudanese national civic space, serving as a safety valve in solving population-related problems, including good diversity management. Resolving issues and cultural development, anchoring citizenship, and disseminating democratic thought in political, media, and educational practices are all additional steps that are needed. More will be explored in the 2nd part of this article, titled "Writing about the Future in a Cloudy Present: Post-war Tasks Priorities".


Amr Abbas

Dr. Amro Abbas is a retired doctor and public health advisor. He dedicated his retirement to participating in cultural and political discussions and debates, authoring articles, books and papers on Sudanese politics, building a national identity and vision, among other topics, and partaking in intergenerational research, education and engagement initiatives in Sudan.