If it was not for his lack of vision of what was taking over Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s three-decade-long leadership would not have seen the end it did in April this year.
The man who had risen from rags and went onto rule over Sudan had two major mistakes. To start with, political analysts believe he had mishandled and misjudged his key alliance the United Arab Emirates.
Oil-rich UAE had previously pumped billions of dollars into Sudan’s coffers. This is confirmed by the news. Bashir served UAE interests in Yemen, where the Emirates and Saudi Arabia are waging a proxy war against Iran. But at the end of 2018, as Sudan’s economy imploded and protesters took to the streets, Bashir found himself without this powerful, and wealthy, friend.
For some time, Bashir had also been getting help from Qatar, much to the displeasure of UAE who has been against Iran’s notorious behavior. For obvious economic reasons, the UAE was not interested in fanning any Islamic groups. It is known that the prince, known among diplomats as MbZ, was hoping for Bashir’s cooperation cracking down such Islamists. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have considered the Muslim Brotherhood also as terrorists.
Starting from 1989, Sudan saw a great influence of Islamists, more deeply entrenched than in Egypt. This was the time when Bashir was coming into power. Now Islamists controlled the military, intelligence services and key ministries. According to the senior government official, Bashir and MbZ reached “an understanding” that Bashir would root out Islamists and, in return, the UAE would provide Sudan with financial support. Bashir didn’t indicate how he planned to do this.
As time passed by Bashir was caught in cross-firing between continuing support for Islamists and relations with Qatar, or keep his part of the bargain with UAE. He couldn’t handle the balancing game for too long. Meanwhile, a plot conspired to overthrow Bashir as the country started to reel under pressure from an economic breakdown.
A detailed report by Reuters suggests that National Intelligence and Security Service head Gosh had contacted political prisoners and Sudanese opposition groups to seek their support in the weeks before the generals moved against Bashir. Gosh betrayed Bashir that fateful night, overthrowing his rule.
And in the days before the coup, the sources confirmed that Gosh made at least one phone call to intelligence officials in the UAE to give them advance warning of what was about to happen.
Had Bashir kept his alliances clear, where the buck stopped, Sudanwould have been a more peaceful situation today.