tv Inside Story LINKTV October 4, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT
solution plan is put in place and soon. adam rainey, al jazeera, milan. ♪ >> these are the top stories on al jazeera. the united nations told ethiopia's prime minister it doesn't except the country's decision to expel seven of its senior personnel. ethiopia says the officials are told to leave because they meddled in the internal affairs of the country. white house says the u.s. president and members of his democratic party made progress as they try to rescue joe biden's economic agenda. in a rare move, biden met with his party members on capitol hill. divisions among democrats threatened his ambitious plans.
we have more from washington. reporter: it comes down to whether members of congress in the president's party can agree on terms on both social spending/environmental bell as well as the infrastructure spending bill. if they can work out their differences on the actual price tag for the first bill, because there are some in the senate to say that bill is too expensive, at $3.5 trillion, as well as worked out the idea that there is going to be a guarantee that that bill is going to be passed if more liberal members of the house of representatives actually decide to vote for the infrastructure bill. so there is a lot of horsetrading going on. >> the former president of georgia has been detained hours after arriving back in the country for the first time in years. he said he wanted to support the
opposition and saturday's election despite the risk of arrest. california has become the first u.s. state to make it compulsory for schoolchildren to be vaccinated against covid-19. governor gavin newsom says it could go into effect as early as january, pending approval from the u.s. food and drug administration for 12-15-year-olds. in the global scheme designed to ensure their access to the covid vaccine says it will begin targeting countries with the lowest levels of vaccinations. covax has largely allocated levels according to population supplies but starting this month, it will send 75 million doses 249 of the least covered nations. you are up-to-date with the latest headlines from al jazeera. the latest edition of "inside story," up next. ♪
>> it was a tough partnership from the start, but now cracks are showing between civilian and military players in sudan. is it on the break? where does this leave the drive towards democracy. this is "inside story." ♪ hello, and welcome to the show. i'm sami zeidan. a split is widening between sudan's military and civilian leaders ended attempted coup has worsened tensions. the coup was blamed on soldiers loyal to the former president. pro-democracy rallies have been held in the capital of khartoum by supporters of the civilian
leadership. sudan's military accuses politicians of failing to govern effectively. protesters have gathered in khartoum. they say the army is trying to seize power. we have reports from the capital. [chanting] reporter: familiar slogans from the protests of 2018 and 2019 once again across sudan. in the capital of khartoum, hundreds took to the streets to express anger at what they say is an attempt by the military to disrupt the transition to democracy. >> we were expecting a speedy transition to civilian rule. we don't feel there is a transition to anything yet. today, there is no freedom, peace or justice in sudan. reporter: tensions between military and civilian politicians reached a low point this week after an attempted coup. when it took power two years ago, the transitional government must to fix decades of
mismanagement, internal conflict and international sanctions. but it has yet to demonstrate to the people of sudan that it can undo damage by the former regime, kickstart the struggling economy and move the country to a genuine democratic governance. >> we need to revamp and strengthen government institutions, especially our weakened institutions of justice. only then will we stop worrying about who rules sudan. reporter: against all odds, the young people are working to topple -- the young people work to topple the former regime and they are now threatened by infighting and squabbling. they are once again finding themselves trying hard to get their voices heard. [protesters chanting] these protesters are angry that
those who died during protests three years ago are yet to get justice. public discontent is also mounting over economic reforms that's early that severely reduced subsidies on petrol and diesel, more than doubling the price. there is a loss of cash from the economy. activists say nothing will stop them from achieving a better way of life and they will bring hope to a nation that has no little for decades. al jazeera, khartoum, suzanne. sami: three years ago, and uprising in sudan lead to a revolution that forced the government out of office. protests began in december 2018 over the rising cost of living, but evolved into a wider movement calling for an end to the 30 year rule. in april 2019, the president was overthrown by the military. four months later, the military
stepped aside in favor of a civilian transitional government. soldiers were accused of using excessive violence against protesters. in october last year, it signed a peace deal with rebel groups to end 17 years of fighting. it was meant to lead to elections in 2023. in february this year, the prime minister announced a cabinet shuffle to push through reforms so the country can get international aid. ♪ sami: let's bring our guests in now. joining us into law, an expert on sudan and former director of the al jazeera center for studies. in somerville, massachusetts, the executive director of the world peace foundation and former director of the african union mediation team for sudan. a warm welcome to you both. alex, why are people so worried about the transition in sudan
that they have cut out on trains from around the country to protest in the capital? >> the immediate spark was a report of a coup attempt about a week ago. but if it was a coup attempt, it was extraordinarily amateurish. it really revealed not so much the fragility of the regime to the potential come back of the former islamists, but more the power of the military within this delicate balance between the army and civilians. one of the responses of some of the civilian leaders to the events was, we are more worried about the army and government supposedly defending us that we are about the threat of a coup. it shows potentially that sudan
might follow the trajectory of its historic transitions in 1964, 1985, when you had a civilian uprising, democratic rule and that the army took power once again. >> that is a worrying precedent for many civilians who want civilian rule. is the military and the civilian component in the transitional council, are they heading towards a collapse? how do you read the situation? >> thank you very much. the main challenge that faces the transition in sudan now is the fragmentation of the leadership. the whole setup was an agreement between the military side and the civilian side to share the burden of transitioning the country to a democratic era in
three years and a few months. but then, we started to see the cracks from the beginning. it started as a competition between the two sides and that developed into open conflict between the two sides, i need the civilian and the military -- i mean the civilian and the military. and the recent events that follow the attempted coup showed first that there are so many areas of disagreement between the two sides and second, that within even the civilian camp, there is no coherent leadership. the politics of division has inflicted a lot of damage to the civilian side, that made the military side look more in charge. and i think what is happening
now is that unless the civilian side can come together for a unified framework of how they are going to handle the different issues, from the economy to the politics to the foreign relations, the issues about peace and so forth, unless they agree on a clear structure of leadership, they will always find themselves very vulnerable in front of the military establishment. i think the situation in the country, especially when it comes to the worsening economic situation, makes the whole issue now that people look for leadership, for people who can lead the country into more stability, so at least they can see a light at the end of the tunnel. and i see it all lies in the
hands at the moment of the civilian side. sami: let me jump in and ask a question to alex. are you reading signals the military doesn't want, as time goes on, they don't want to transition toward civilian rule? no date has been set for even the chairmanship of the sovereign counsel to be transferred civilians. >> i think that is part of the fear. anybody who expected this revolution quickly to lead to a stable civilian government must have been very naive. in fact, in retrospect, the slogan of the protesters was perhaps simplistic. the challenges faced setting up a civilian government work immense -- were immense.
the economy under the previous regime had become thoroughly corrupt. it was a crony capitalist system in which there was what many of the democratic activists called the deep state of the islamists. but the deep state was really the penetration of the military into almost every commercial sector, including the paramilitaries that have risen more recently, and led by a general, they controlled for example, a lot of the gold trade. in order for the civilian government to deliver on the aspirations of the people for cheaper bread, employment, loweri inflation and a better standard of living, two things needed to happen. number one, sudan needed an inflow of foreign assistance, get off the temer list, have
sanctions lifted to have debt rescheduled, etc. the international community was extremely slow in responding. the prime minister, a very skilled economist, was essentially sent in to salvage the sudan easy economy, but with his hands tied behind his back and with a culpability to a large extent with the internationals. the other effect was that the military, not just a fighting force, the military also have enormous control over the economy. they have a military budget that is completely out of control. there are military and security investments in all the key sectors. and until that can be dismantled, there simply is no level playing field for the legitimate civilian government to compete. and it will not be possible for
the sudanese economy to recover. so the civilian government as been fighting a struggle on two fronts that it is very difficult for them to win. sami: is there a third front? are we oversimplifying by -- are we oversimplifying this by simply looking at this as a struggle between military and civilian elements? when you look at criticism coming from parts of the civilian elites as well as from the military, they say that even the civilian component of the transitional sovereign counsel has been too narrow in inclusiveness to include all political forces and positions. they have been busy, says the deputy chairman of the sovereign counsel, in distributing positions and carving up power amongst their people rather than
focusing on helping the civilian population. is that criticism valid? >> that is absolutely correct. if we look a few months back, the prime minister, when he addressed the nation and announced an initiative, the way forward, he acknowledged there was not only division between the civilian and the military, but there are also very deep divisions among the civilian side. and if you look at so many issues that they failed result -- failed to resolve because of these issues -- they failed to agree on civilian governance, they failed to agree on the composition of different commissions required by the constitutional document, they failed to agree on the establishment of the legislative body, all these because of
divisions among the civilians themselves. in addition to the disagreement with the military. secondly, let's not forget the situation in sudan after the fall was so complex and it required them to build a coalition with the consensus on the civilian side to move forward. unfortunately, these divisions did not allow the government to move forward. because the issues are so complex, and the prime minister himself, yes, we agree that he came with a lot of expertise as a technocrat, but for him coming from outside the country, being away for some time, he learned a lot of knowledge about internal politics and the intricacies of politics, and to be the leader at this moment, without support from the forces of freedom and
change, i think that also created a big burden on him. so, the way forward requires us to go back and try to build a broader coalition of forces that are really interested in transitioning the country into a stable democracy. and ringing in efferent players so that they can work together -- and bringing in different players so that they can all work together. otherwise, the politics of division the country, i don't think the civilians will have a possibility it succeed. sami: do think the country can get on track for a new constitution, new election laws, forgetting more armed groups to sign up for peace? or do you agree to some analysts i spoke to who said the civilian forces themselves are not in a hurry for new elections.
because they fear whether they could win an election and some of them are seen as outsiders, spent most of their life outside the country. >> let's have no illusions -- of course there are going to be these divisions, these huge controversies. over the last 60 plus years, the sudanese have not been able to agree on the most fundamental elements of the identity of their nation, of what political direction it should take. so, to expect unity is unrealistic, to be frank. where i think important progress needs to be made is turning these discussions, these controversies, these debates, bringing them within the formal system of government itself. and i think setting up the
transitional national legislative assembly is absolutely essential, so that there can be some sense of democratic oversight and accountability over the actions of the executive, both the civilian and more importantly the military, because the military continues to operate in the shadows. i think also there is misapprehension here that there could be a fixed and final formal settlement, a permanent constitution and a system of governance in sudan that is going to satisfy everybody. what the sudanese have a particular talent for, and a very underappreciated talent perhaps come is continuing national discussions and a very civic and open ended way, so that it is not in a transition
to a fixed, permanent, future state, but we are in a transition to another transition. and endlessly, sudan will be evolving in the response to changing circumstances, the management of these radical differences in view about the nature of the country, the future direction, and the particular talent sudan ease political leaders need to have is to keep that dialogue ongoing, to keep it civic, and to keep violence out of the equation. and that responsibility falls particularly on the military. sami: can they do that task, especially when you look at some parts of the country, tribes disrupting pipelines, shutting down ports? you have got to wonder whether the government is mismanaging sudan's very unity. >> this in my view is a
reflection of the crisis of leadership. the way the transitional government handled the negotiations leading to the agreement created the conditions that led to what is happening in the eastern part of the country. and if it is not addressed in a proper way, it could lead to another part of the country also getting into trouble. so, it is a reflection of the crisis of leadership that we are facing right now. unfortunately, the prime minister, the military and -- sami: who wins in the end if you have tribes trying to break away, you have civilian authorities fighting each other, the split between military and civilian authorities, who comes out the winner? >> unfortunately, it might pave
the way for the military to consolidate its power in the country, something everybody doesn't want at the beginning of this transition. in 2019, the country was aspiring towards men's visioning into democratic civilian rule. but unfortunately, because of mismanagement over the last two years, it seems and opened the way for consolidating the power of the military. it is not going to offer a solution to the country, but that seems to be the way things are moving right now. until i believe there is an opportunity, if the political elite come together and realized that the only way forward is to establish a consensus around transitioning the country and start preparing for a real democratic election two years from now, and to move forward.
because at the moment, the debate seems to be moving back and forth around issues that are not the core issues of transition to democracy. at the politics of division seem to have taken over. and sudan, from the time of independence in the 1950's, we went through this process three or four times. and now the country has a wealth of civilians it can build on and move forward. sami: alex, you mentioned economic challenges facing the configured there have been success stories, getting sudan off the sections list, but how much of that has really translated into real progress for the average man on the street when it comes to
inflation, when it comes to debt , subsidies, the exchange rate, the trade deficit and so on? >> all these things are moving painfully slowly. and i think this -- the fact of it is underlying the frustration of the people of the streets about the pace and direction of the transition. that said, one thing we are seeing at the moment is that people interpret the signals coming out of the military leadership, the generals, very clearly. they very clearly identify that there is a military threat to the civilian government. and even those elements on the civilian side that have been most critical of the leader sure -- of the leadership of the prime minister would undoubtedly
have him than the military coming back. and there is a lot of experience in sudan about managing transitions. there is also a lot of experience about the perfidy of military leaders who promise that they will have a shortcut to quick solutions, to national salvation, and they take power and for a moment they may be acclaimed, because they appear to offer that resolved, that decisiveness. but actually, the country is more deeply into crisis. when i see at the moment that is encouraging is that not only is the street aware of the issues, people are politically very conscious of the stakes that are implant the moment, and the need to restore that civilian unity,
that spirit of the revolution, but also belatedly, we are seeing results from the international community. we are seeing the u.s. special envoy in sudan and we are seeing the world bank making serious promises. sami: let's hope they will be able to salvage the revolution. let's think our guests, and thank you for watching. you can see the show again any time by visiting our website. al the space to zero.com. head to our -- our website, aljazeera.com. for me, sami zeidan and the home team here for now, goodbye.
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