Since National Islamic Front (NIF) ascendancy to power in 1989, radical Islamists known since then as Inqaz regime, managed to stave off both internal and external threats to power, demonstrating a recombinant capacity in Hydamann’s term. With Sudan losing its oil revenue in 2011with secession of South Sudan, the government made a lot of fuss about negative impact of US imposed sanction on its dependent economy that became even more vulnerable to outside volatile economic and financial changes.
In January 2017 and before leaving office President Barak Obama eased some economic sanctions imposed on the country since 1990s and in October 2017 President Donald Trump finally lifted economic sanctions imposed on Sudan. How would competing power circles appropriate lifting of sanctions, capture expected rents and spoils and effect re-alignment of forces? What is the likely impact of lifting of economic scenarios on regime survival or reform?
This paper argues that post-sanctions represent a challenge for NCP/NIF ‘dominant’ fraction of Northern Arab-Muslism bourgeoise leaving the door open for ‘reformist’ elements to ponder for how long they would bear the cost of supporting al-Bashir autocracy who is backed by rentier, crony capitalists. While external actors haunted by security vacuum are likely to attempt mediate and encourage peaceful rather than violent change, one lesson learned from past experience is that external pressures never deliver credible regime change by themselves, meaningful regime change must be embedded in and led by internal democratic forces. As things stand now, the likelihood of such eventuality is rather remote.
Atta El-Battahani is a Professor in Political Science, Political Economy; educated at Khartoum University (Sudan) and Sussex University (Britain). Earlier, he served as Head Department of Political Science, Faculty of Economics, University of Khartoum; as Manager and Senior Advisor for International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) in Sudan.
He has extensive research experience and has published on Development Impact of Ethnic and Religious Conflicts in African Societies; Governance and state institutional reform in Africa and the Middle East; conflict and Cooperation in the Nile Valley; Gender Politics; Peripheral Capitalism and Political Islam; Elections and Political Transitions, and Democracy Deficit in the Arab World.
El-Battahani is Editor-in-Chief of Sudan Journal of Economic and Social Studies.