The gap between any nation’s stability and the onset of substantial instability might be, oh, three seconds: “You are under arrest”; “We are detaining you”; “Please come with us.”
Add the boots, troops, and guns.
What is power in a weak state?
Evidently, power is the power to cut communications, detain officials, including the head of state, and kill protesters with impunity.
In Khartoum’s twin city Omdurman, security forces stormed the state radio and television headquarters and detained a number of employees, following which the state TV had been reportedly playing patriotic songs and showing images of the Nile. Internet connectivity has been suspended.
Dictators may have just two options when challenged: accept safe harbor, if available, step down, and try to appreciate (and survive) the “golden years”. (In BackChannels memory, Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf is the only General and President to have done that, and he today lives in exile — and declining health — in London; Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has been recently removed from power by his former bodyguard, Emmerson Manangagwa — of course there’s more to that story — who may protect the old man while getting hands and head around the disaster left him by the former dictator).
The other is to suppress the revolution.
Beatings. Secret detention centers. Held without charges. Torture.
The gangs conveyed by white Toyota pick-up trucks as depicted in the above video may be known as “Shadow Battalions”.
The ISS article suggested for any protest to bring about change in Sudan, it would have to dislodge the government’s power base in the army and security apparatus, as well as the ruling coalition and the Islamic movement.
As former vice president Ali Osman Taha has said, “the authorities have full shadow battalions ready to sacrifice their lives to defend the regime”.
Omar al-Bashir must make clear the depths of the sadism he will indulge in his quest to remain in power by intimidating all who oppose his stay.
Aside: one BackChannels source has reported the use of shotgun bird shot aimed at faces to take out eyes.
The same sadism that once served Moscow (and may again serve it) at Lubyanka Prison appears repeated in the Soviet / Post-Soviet sphere of influence. Also infamous for murder and torture: Evin Prison, Iran; Sednaya Prison, Syria.
Now we have the “Ghost Houses” of Sudan.
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Security forces arrested 14 professors who were gathering to protest outside Khartoum University on Tuesday, witnesses said, as anti-government demonstrations neared the end of their eighth week.
The Sudanese have only to look toward Syria to know how bad revolution before a tyrant may become. While the spectacle of the Syrian Tragedy may have been expected to quell enthusiasm for a similarly motivated revolution in Sudan, it appears to BackChannels at this hour that caught between starvation and a tyrant, the Sudanese motivation — and perhaps the motivation of the military as well — may grow the violence and the level of direct threat encountered by President(-for-Life) Omar al-Bashir.
Of particular and peculiar interest in that story may be the bonding expressed between dictatorships
In Ankara, deputy chairperson of the ruling Justice and Development party Cevdet Yilmaz also expressed support for Al-Bashir’s government after a meeting with the Sudanese ambassador on Wednesday
“We support the legitimate government of Sudan. Turkey has faced similar ploys many times,” Yilmaz said, adding that Turkey is confident that the government is sensitive to the demands of the Sudanese people and would avoid violence.
Although Erdogan’s Turkey exploits NATO for its military defense from Russian aggression in that dimension, it has effectively destroyed democracy in the state and bonded with Russia — or leveraged itself — with the “Turkish Stream” energy project. Basically for the Turks, liberal democracy and freedom have died in their homeland, and they have become part of an increasingly family-run business masquerading some as a sultanate.
“In most of Sudan’s almost 170 cities and big towns, someone has been shot. In some of them, more than 15 people have been shot. The shooting is happening through unofficial types of militia that the regime is using,” says Khansaa Al Kaarib, a Sudanese human rights lawyer and activist.
“For 30 years, this is what the Sudanese people have been getting from Bashir: Killing, killing, killing and more killing. People are simply fed up with this and they want to change this regime. They want to get out of the perception of a people lying under an ICC-wanted criminal, as soon as possible.”
The Sudanese story has had a similar start with a modest protest driven by hunger — i.e., economic protest with ecological variables in play — met by escalating means of repression, including live fire that taken or produced martyrs that in turn have become the focus of additional protests.
For Sudanese now active in shutting down Bashir’s goverment and replacing with a government more modern, responsive, and responsible, here is the voice from that other protest against continued (and Russian) feudal political absolutism as once represented by the corrupt and thuggish Viktor Yanukovych:
BackChannels awaits the Sudanese version: “I am Sudanese, and we have tired of the war criminal in Khartoum . . . .