Developing

12
Nov
11:51 UTC

Sudan SITUATION UPDATE: General Burhan announces formation of new Sovereign Council (SC) on November 11, as SPA calls for mass protests nationwide on November 13

Executive Summary

  • The announcement of a new Sovereign Council (SC) by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is a major blow to international efforts to sanction a return to a power-sharing agreement between the military and civilian leaders. 
  • The fact that the new SC consists of military members, and civilians not associated with the Declaration of Freedom and Change (DFC) exemplifies Burhan’s attempt to build a general consensus without the DFC, given the general’s disdain for negotiations with the group. 
  • However, the unilateral formation of the SC is likely to further agitate the DFC and the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA). This move will further galvanize civilian groups into pushing for a complete military withdrawal from politics, as will be expressed in massive anti-military rallies in Khartoum and nationwide on November 13.

Please be advised

  • According to state media citing a decree, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced the formation of a new 14 member Sovereign Council (SC) on November 11. The new SC excludes all the civilian members appointed by the Declaration of Freedom and Change (DFC). 
  • Within the new SC, Burhan would remain the head of the body, while Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo ‘Hemetti’, the leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) would remain his deputy. 
  • Furthermore, only 13 members have thus far been announced, including three senior army figures and five civilians. 
  • The civilian appointments include rebel leaders such as Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) commander Malik Agar, Alhady Idris of The Gathering of the Sudan Liberation Forces (GSLF), and Altaher Hagar of the Sudan Liberation Movement – Transitional Council (SLM-TC). 
  • General Burhan also appointed four members representing different Sudanese regions with the exception of eastern Sudan, stating that the representative of this region will be appointed after further consultations with relevant stakeholders. 
  • Following the announcement of the new SC, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) issued a notice stating that the new appointments “had no legitimacy, and will be met only with contempt and resistance”. 
  • The SPA, Khartoum Resistance Committees, and various DFC members reiterated their calls for the public to hold mass protests against the military in Khartoum, and nationwide on November 13.
  • As of writing, the SPA has not published the locations for the gatherings or the exact routes of the protest marches, stating that the various neighborhood committees within the organization would determine their own routes.

Assessments & Forecast

  1. General Burhan’s announcement of a new SC is a major blow to international efforts to foster a return to a power-sharing agreement between the military and civilian leaders, that was in place before the October 25 coup. Given that the new SC completely excludes members of the DFC is indicative of Burhan’s contempt for civilian leaders, who have consistently rejected any compromise with the military and have backed a civilian government in Sudan. It is notable that even DFC components that had previously supported the military’s role in the government such as the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), have not gained any seats within the new SC. The exclusion of even groups that professed support for Burhan exemplifies the military’s intent to consolidate power unto itself, and only appoint civilian figures who will pose little threat to their dominance. 
  2. That said, the inclusion of rebel leaders such as Malik Agar, Alhady Idris, and Altaher Hagar is notable, given that all three had previously issued a joint statement denouncing the military coup and called to restore the transitional government with deposed PM Abdallah Hamdok as the leader. Given the seemingly unilateral announcement of the new SC and Burhan’s general disdain for negotiations with the DFC, it is plausible that the rebel leaders were not taken into confidence over their nomination to the SC. It remains likely that these leaders were named in the SC as a means to portray the military’s perceived efforts to build a national consensus without the DFC. However, given the military’s entrenched position within Khartoum, it is also equally plausible that the rebel leaders were offered significant positions and other secondary benefits to proffer their support for Burhan’s new government. 
  3. Similarly, the appointment of non-DFC affiliated civilians to be representatives of the four different regions, except eastern Sudan is notable. Burhan likely delayed the announcement of the representative of the eastern region, given that it is a highly sensitive appointment in light of the late September to early October Beja ethnic group’s protests blockading roads around Port Sudan, disrupting oil and food supplies directed to Khartoum.
  4. FORECAST: While negotiations are likely to continue, given that Beja leaders lifted the blockade following the October 25 coup, and expressed support for Burhan means that the representative of the eastern region is likely to be an ethnic Beja. However, given that the Eastern Sudan Track protocol of the October 2020 Juba Peace Agreement had nominated the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance, it will likely mean renewed isolation of rebel groups. This is likely to agitate the SRF leaders and heighten the possibility of the rebel group inciting unrest against the government in the region, again threatening crucial supply routes.
  5. More broadly, the unilateral announcement of the SC is likely to rile the SPA and its associated resistance committees in Khartoum and across Sudan. Given that the SPA has repeatedly stated its conviction that the military was not acting in the perceived best interests of the Sudanese people, these latest developments are likely to further entrench its stance of “No negotiations, no compromise, no power-sharing”.
  6. FORECAST: Given the precedent of the SPA’s proven capability to mobilize people, crowds ranging in the high hundreds of thousands are likely across Sudan. The security forces will attempt to shut down bridges that lead into Central Khartoum from Omdurman. Security forces may also cordon off railway stations, to prevent protesters gathering in Khartoum from nearby towns. Given the escalatory political situation, there is a high risk of unrest and forcible dispersal of protesters, using live ammunition and tear gas.

Recommendations

  1. Those operating or residing in Khartoum, as well as other urban centers across Sudan, are advised to avoid the vicinity of all gatherings and protests given the associated risks of violence.
  2. We advise against all travel to the Darfur region, as well as Red Sea State given the volatile security situation.
  3. For any further questions or consultation, please contact us at [email protected] or +44 203 540 0434.
COUNTRY RISK LEVEL High
AFFECTED AREA Nationwide
INCIDENT RISK LEVEL High
STRENGTH OF SOURCE Confirmed

Executive Summary

  • The announcement of a new Sovereign Council (SC) by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is a major blow to international efforts to sanction a return to a power-sharing agreement between the military and civilian leaders. 
  • The fact that the new SC consists of military members, and civilians not associated with the Declaration of Freedom and Change (DFC) exemplifies Burhan’s attempt to build a general consensus without the DFC, given the general’s disdain for negotiations with the group. 
  • However, the unilateral formation of the SC is likely to further agitate the DFC and the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA). This move will further galvanize civilian groups into pushing for a complete military withdrawal from politics, as will be expressed in massive anti-military rallies in Khartoum and nationwide on November 13.

Please be advised

  • According to state media citing a decree, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced the formation of a new 14 member Sovereign Council (SC) on November 11. The new SC excludes all the civilian members appointed by the Declaration of Freedom and Change (DFC). 
  • Within the new SC, Burhan would remain the head of the body, while Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo ‘Hemetti’, the leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) would remain his deputy. 
  • Furthermore, only 13 members have thus far been announced, including three senior army figures and five civilians. 
  • The civilian appointments include rebel leaders such as Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) commander Malik Agar, Alhady Idris of The Gathering of the Sudan Liberation Forces (GSLF), and Altaher Hagar of the Sudan Liberation Movement – Transitional Council (SLM-TC). 
  • General Burhan also appointed four members representing different Sudanese regions with the exception of eastern Sudan, stating that the representative of this region will be appointed after further consultations with relevant stakeholders. 
  • Following the announcement of the new SC, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) issued a notice stating that the new appointments “had no legitimacy, and will be met only with contempt and resistance”. 
  • The SPA, Khartoum Resistance Committees, and various DFC members reiterated their calls for the public to hold mass protests against the military in Khartoum, and nationwide on November 13.
  • As of writing, the SPA has not published the locations for the gatherings or the exact routes of the protest marches, stating that the various neighborhood committees within the organization would determine their own routes.

Assessments & Forecast

  1. General Burhan’s announcement of a new SC is a major blow to international efforts to foster a return to a power-sharing agreement between the military and civilian leaders, that was in place before the October 25 coup. Given that the new SC completely excludes members of the DFC is indicative of Burhan’s contempt for civilian leaders, who have consistently rejected any compromise with the military and have backed a civilian government in Sudan. It is notable that even DFC components that had previously supported the military’s role in the government such as the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), have not gained any seats within the new SC. The exclusion of even groups that professed support for Burhan exemplifies the military’s intent to consolidate power unto itself, and only appoint civilian figures who will pose little threat to their dominance. 
  2. That said, the inclusion of rebel leaders such as Malik Agar, Alhady Idris, and Altaher Hagar is notable, given that all three had previously issued a joint statement denouncing the military coup and called to restore the transitional government with deposed PM Abdallah Hamdok as the leader. Given the seemingly unilateral announcement of the new SC and Burhan’s general disdain for negotiations with the DFC, it is plausible that the rebel leaders were not taken into confidence over their nomination to the SC. It remains likely that these leaders were named in the SC as a means to portray the military’s perceived efforts to build a national consensus without the DFC. However, given the military’s entrenched position within Khartoum, it is also equally plausible that the rebel leaders were offered significant positions and other secondary benefits to proffer their support for Burhan’s new government. 
  3. Similarly, the appointment of non-DFC affiliated civilians to be representatives of the four different regions, except eastern Sudan is notable. Burhan likely delayed the announcement of the representative of the eastern region, given that it is a highly sensitive appointment in light of the late September to early October Beja ethnic group’s protests blockading roads around Port Sudan, disrupting oil and food supplies directed to Khartoum.
  4. FORECAST: While negotiations are likely to continue, given that Beja leaders lifted the blockade following the October 25 coup, and expressed support for Burhan means that the representative of the eastern region is likely to be an ethnic Beja. However, given that the Eastern Sudan Track protocol of the October 2020 Juba Peace Agreement had nominated the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance, it will likely mean renewed isolation of rebel groups. This is likely to agitate the SRF leaders and heighten the possibility of the rebel group inciting unrest against the government in the region, again threatening crucial supply routes.
  5. More broadly, the unilateral announcement of the SC is likely to rile the SPA and its associated resistance committees in Khartoum and across Sudan. Given that the SPA has repeatedly stated its conviction that the military was not acting in the perceived best interests of the Sudanese people, these latest developments are likely to further entrench its stance of “No negotiations, no compromise, no power-sharing”.
  6. FORECAST: Given the precedent of the SPA’s proven capability to mobilize people, crowds ranging in the high hundreds of thousands are likely across Sudan. The security forces will attempt to shut down bridges that lead into Central Khartoum from Omdurman. Security forces may also cordon off railway stations, to prevent protesters gathering in Khartoum from nearby towns. Given the escalatory political situation, there is a high risk of unrest and forcible dispersal of protesters, using live ammunition and tear gas.

Recommendations

  1. Those operating or residing in Khartoum, as well as other urban centers across Sudan, are advised to avoid the vicinity of all gatherings and protests given the associated risks of violence.
  2. We advise against all travel to the Darfur region, as well as Red Sea State given the volatile security situation.
  3. For any further questions or consultation, please contact us at [email protected] or +44 203 540 0434.
COUNTRY RISK LEVEL High
AFFECTED AREA Nationwide
INCIDENT RISK LEVEL High
STRENGTH OF SOURCE Confirmed

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What’s better, facing disaster or avoiding it altogether? MAX Security Solutions is a leading player in comprehensive security and risk management solutions.