Will Sudan’s Bashir step down?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

He sold one third of Sudan, once the biggest Arab country by area, in order to establish South Sudan so that he could stay in power.

Omar al-Bashir surrendered all of Sudan's oil, becoming the first president with unmatched generosity.

He gave away all of his country's petroleum without asking or apologizing for the thousands of citizens who died for the sake of the country's unity.

He sacrificed Sudan's youths for 15 years during the war with the South, announcing that he would not hand over a single inch of his country. Then he gave up 600,000 square kilometers – an area which is approximately the size of France.

Let's not forget that he took over power through a coup in cooperation with Hassan al-Torabi in 1989, under the slogan of Islam and saving the country. And ever since, he's been doing everything to stay president.


Despite his bad history, we can only hope that for once Bashir makes the Sudanese people happy and that he gives up his position in power.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

During his reign, Bashir succeeded in turning oil-wealthy Sudan into one of the poorest countries in the world. Most of its competent citizens subsequently fled abroad looking for a livelihood beyond the borders. His forces committed massacres in Darfur, west of the country. They committed massacres that are no less hideous than those committed by Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The only exception is that there are no cameras and media outlets covering the bloody terror in Sudan.

When the Sudanese took to the streets to protest increasing fuel prices, they did so because there's nothing left to fear. Bashir has destroyed the country's resources and state institutions and turned them into a big farm for his friends in the military and for the members of the ruling party. Whether protesters succeed in holding Bashir accountable or whether he suppresses them like he's previously done, Sudan has been destroyed and restoring it to its previous form will require a political miracle.

This is what prevents the typical leadership, whom Bashir succeeded at eliminating, from leading the current uprising. These leaderships are aware that the legacy which Bashir will leave behind will not be easy to manage. They are also aware that it will not be easy to repair the democratic system against which Bashir staged a coup.


During his long years in governance, Bashir cooperated with al-Qaeda. He formed an alliance with Libya's former leader Muammar Qaddafi for years. But he disagreed with him at the end and sealed deals with the Iranian regime leasing them areas to use them as camps and weapons' storage. He sympathized with Syrian president Assad when his people revolted against him. And when he fell ill, he traveled to Saudi Arabia for treatment despite his political stances against the Kingdom!

Don't think that Bashir will deal mercifully with those who protested against him. On the contrary, he intends to do to them what he's previously done to the people of Darfur, the south and Khartoum during their previous revolts against him. The general will not retreat despite his illness and incapability and despite the most Sudanese people's hatred of his government.

Despite his bad history, we can only hope that for once Bashir makes the Sudanese people happy and that he gives up his position in power. This would prevent bloodshed and allow the Sudanese people to decide their future and turn a new page without vendettas or civil wars.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Oct. 1, 2013.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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