Sudan lived under US sanctions for 20 years until about a week ago when the sanctions were lifted.
The country’s strongman, Omar al-bashir, in power for 28 years, has seen off many rivals and looks even more entrenched today.
The first warrant of arrest for war crimes and alleged genocide in Darfur was issued against al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009, and a second in 2012, but no one has apprehended him. Now that is unlikely to happen.
Like the Iranians, the Sudanese are good at engineering. looking to secure itself military, Sudan poured its engineering Knowledge and developed a local arms industry. Over years, it became an arms exporter
Sudan nationalists were outraged when south Sudan eventually broke off in 2011. Sudan lost a chunk of its oil revenues, as the oil fields are in the south. And even after got a plump deal to share the oil revenues, global crude prices collapsed.
With an ICC arrest warrant, enemies on all sides, sanctions, an economic crisis, and nationalist anger for losing nearly half the country, most leaders would have fallen. Al-Bashir and is thriving. So how did he do it? A visit to Sudan last week offered some glimpses of al-Bashir’s political potion.
Sudan is still largely a police State. But many attempts to run the police State have ended in failure, so there is more to this tale.
For starters, Sudan is actually a solid State.
For example, the country has over 800,000 hectares of irrigated land, the highest in sub-Saharan African.
Some analysts also argue that the country’s elite has “strategic consensus” on many things that serves it well.
Thus Sudan for example, has a vast scholarship program for foreign students that gives it some good soft power.
There are currently over 20,000 foreign students studying in Sudan’s universities on scholarships from the government, it is most certainly an African record.
Sudan, therefore, has many friends in the shadows. When it was hit with US sanctions, Qatar and China were quick to step up.
Soon, the Gulf powers were fighting for Khartoum’s affection and al-Bashir exploited it. One result was a building and infrastructure boom.
Like the Iranians, the Sudanese are good at shift like engineering. Looking to secure itself military, with the sanctions Sudan poured its engine3ering Knowledge into, among other things, a loc al arms industry. Over the sanctions period, Sudan became an arms exporter.
Al-Bashir holds many keys
With a troubled horn of Africa, and wobbly long-term rulers all around the region and the continent, diplomats in Khartoum say global powers think al-Bashir’s hand is needed. He holds many of the keys to ending the madness in south Sudan, for one.
Now al-Bashir has bludgeoned the rebels in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.
With a conference on the horn of Africa security taking place in Khartoum, al-Bashir invited the delegates for supper at his presidential palace. There were no security checks, no guards visible (though the waiters probably were his security).
Charles onyango -Obbo is a publisher of data visualiser Africapedia and Rouge Chiefs. Twitter@cobbo3