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Sudan: Stopping a Spiral into Civil War
Sudan: Stopping a Spiral into Civil War
Report 194 / Africa

苏丹:大刀阔斧的改革还是更多的战争

执行摘要

“苏丹问题”并没有因为南方分离出去而消失。权力和资源集中于政治中心从而导致的积年累月的冲突仍然困扰着苏丹。作为该问题的解决方案,一个更具包容性的政府得以建立。这个政府至少解决了一些边缘地区的不满情绪,但是对政府治理进行改革的承诺仍然没有得到兑现。一个主要的——尽管并不是唯一的——障碍是巴希尔总统,他将权力进一步地集中到了一个受其信任的官员的小圈子中,也不愿意从总统的职位上退下来。许多人希望通过政变来实现政权更迭,但是却没有考虑过其中的危险性。解决苏丹问题的目标应该是实现管理有序的政府转型,转型之后总统巴希尔领导的全国大会党(National Congress Party, NCP)可以继续参政但不占主导地位。如果巴希尔断定很有可能出现更混乱无序的局面甚至是政变的话,他可能会愿意进行这种转型,但前提是要有适当的激励因素。国际社会应该促成这些激励因素,但是首要的条件是建立一个可信的、具包容性的过渡政府,开展一个有意义的关于新宪法的全国性对话,以及制定一个对苏丹治理方式进行永久性改革的路线图。

喀土穆政权处于危机之中,面临着多重挑战,这些挑战合在一起严重威胁到喀土穆政权的存在和苏丹的稳定。经济正在急速下滑,任何与南苏丹的石油交易仅能减缓但无法阻止经济的衰落。全国大会党的成员对该党的领导人、党的政策以及普遍的腐败现象深感不满。执政党内部的长期敌对派系和“伊斯兰运动”(the Islamic movement)都在不择手段地提出一个能被大众接受的新政府,来替代全国大会党领导的政府。与此同时,政治反对派们变得愈加自信,政府与苏丹革命阵线(Sudan Revolutionary Front, SRF)的战争也在慢慢扩大,造成军队人员的大量伤亡,同时也在耗空国库。

许多人希望一场政变或者规模广泛的起义会迫使巴希尔和全国大会党交出权力,但这存在一个很大的风险:不管是政变还是起义都可能引发更多的暴力。巴希尔是在1989年的军事政变中上台的,所以他有意瓦解了安全力量,并频繁地让指挥官们轮换岗位,以使发动一场军事政变变得更加困难。除非指挥官们联合起来,否则军队很容易就会分裂成敌对的派别。另外也存在有一些其它的安全力量和忠于全国大会党不同领导人的武装民兵。给这种紧张的混乱局面火上浇油的是还存在有众多的武装部落,这些武装部落扎根于喀土穆以外的其他地区,寻求利用首都的动荡来造就一些事实——一些对于一个新政权而言很难逆转的事实。

巴希尔和全国大会党可能认识到现阶段的危险比起以前他们挺过去的那些社会和经济危难更棘手。他们的本能是与分裂的反对派达成协议(将一些权力和资源割让给一两个政党和/或一个主要的武装组织),并利用与南苏丹的部分和解来恢复石油供应。但是这些行动只会争取到一些时间而已,并不能解决造成长期冲突的根源或者阻止内战的蔓延。

国际社会应该从过去失败的协议倡议中汲取教训:苏丹需要一个真正意义上的全面和平协议,而不是一个局部的协议,这个局部协议仅仅为政府的分而治之策略所服务,且使得让人无法接受的这种现状延续下去。同时,任何的转型过程都需要全国大会党参与其中,将其置之事外会付出巨大代价。该党的政治精英过于强大,以致于不可忽视;反对党则过于分裂,且没有单独治理国家的经验。有全国大会党参与其中,执行一个全面的解决方案和一个包括民族和解在内的为全民所接受的、真正的政治改革,才是摆脱无尽冲突的困境的唯一出路。

总统及其同事必须要自己来得出以下结论,那就是比起之前他们为挺过危机所作出的调整而言,为应对当前危机所需要的政策调整会更加激进。但是,如果他们得出这种结论,那么国际社会可以通过提供激励因素,来帮助他们就该结论采取相应的和负责的行动。国际社会的激励因素应该精心地与以下条件联系起来:巴希尔和全国大会党要达到具体的、不可逆转的基准(例如危机组织早在2009年提出的基准),而且他们还需要被证实是在继续进行转型。这种合作可能对一些人来说难以接受,这些人认为巴希尔是暴行的罪魁祸首,但是,防止进一步的冲突以及在苏丹和南苏丹持续发生的人道主义危机是很有必要的。对于一个管理有序的转型,一个把全国大会党和反对派双方的领导人都纳入其中的转型——无论这些反对派领导人是文职还是武装领导人,一个可以把苏丹带上一条更具包容性的、可持续发展的道路的转型,巴沙尔都是至关重要的因素。不进行转型的另一种局面则会是维持现状,全国大会党将不考虑任何人道主义成本而拼命抱住权力不放,反对派则会寻求使用一种更可能出现国家分裂风险的军事战略。

大多数苏丹人知道,要结束数十年的冲突,哪些因素是必要的。即使在1956年独立之前,人们也很清楚权力和资源应该更公平地与被边缘化的地区进行分享。历史上,人们的注意力往往集中在南苏丹,但其它的地区也深受其害。在不同的时期,多数的外围地区都发生了武装叛乱,要求得到更大的代表性和更多的发展。这种动态不会发生改变,除非展开以下行动:对国家的治理方式进行根本性的结构改革,以及所有的政治势力——全国大会党、传统政党、苏丹革命阵线和青年团体——一同建立一个更具包容性和代表性的政府,这个政府要接受和尊重苏丹人民具有巨大的多样性的特点。

内罗毕⁄布鲁塞尔,2012年11月29日

Sudanese forces are deployed around Khartoum's army headquarters on 3 June 2019 as they try to disperse Khartoum's sit-in. AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY
Statement / Africa

Sudan: Stopping a Spiral into Civil War

Sudan’s political transition is in great peril following the unprovoked killing of dozens of protesters. The African Union has rightly suspended the country’s membership. Western and Gulf powers should take urgent steps to compel Sudan’s interim leaders to accept a civilian-led transitional administration. 

On 3 June, Sudan’s security forces launched a bloody crackdown on unarmed protesters in Khartoum, clearing a sit-in outside the country’s military headquarters and bringing its political transition to a screeching halt. The horrific rampage left dozens dead and many more injured. State-affiliated militias now roam the streets of the capital and other major cities, with residents sheltering at home. Many Sudanese fear the prospect of fractures among the army, intelligence services and Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the paramilitaries blamed for the attacks. The risk of widespread conflict is at its highest since the military removed Omar al-Bashir on 11 April. But the alarming course of events is reversible. On 6 June, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council took an important first step in the right direction, suspending Sudan’s African Union (AU) membership until authorities put a civilian administration in place. Other world leaders, including Sudan’s backers in the Arab world, must now follow suit, quickly and in concert, to force the military junta to resume talks aimed at handing power to a civilian-led transitional authority.

The ouster of Bashir was set in motion by a remarkable, non-violent campaign, which began in the provinces in mid-December and quickly spread countrywide, eventually forcing the toppling of one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders. Since 11 April talks have been marked by periods of apparent progress, only to be followed by stalemate. On one side is the Transitional Military Council – an awkward marriage of the Sudan Armed Forces, now led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the RSF, a rural militia primarily from Darfur led by General Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who many consider the true power behind the scenes. (The RSF rose to prominence as a counter-insurgency force during the civil war in Darfur.) On the other side is the opposition – the Forces of the Declaration for Freedom and Change, comprising traditional parties and active rebel movements as well as a coalition of professional trade unions known as the Sudanese Professionals Association.

There had been hopeful signs: the two sides agreed on the outlines of a deal built around a civilian-led executive overseen by a sovereign council for a three-year transitional period leading up to elections. The sovereign council’s composition and chairmanship remained in dispute, but the parties reportedly came close to a compromise under which they would have had an equal number of seats, with the chair rotating between the two sides, and with the civilian-dominated council of ministers and legislative council wielding more power in any case.

What happened next is not entirely clear. According to various reports, parts of the military council were unhappy with the tentative deal, fearing it ceded too much power. The RSF and other disgruntled elements scrapped the deal and moved to disperse the protesters. On 4 June, Burhan announced plans to form a government and hold elections in nine months.  That the crackdown came immediately on the heels of the junta leaders’ first state visits from 23 May, including to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), fuelled protesters’ suspicions that external actors encouraged the Sudanese officers down the path of violence instead of compromise.

All concerned with peace and stability in Sudan should take every possible step to stop this prospect in its tracks and press for a genuine transition to a civilian-led transitional administration.

The attacks on the protesters have muddied the road ahead. The RSF now patrols the streets of Khartoum as residents hole up at home, fearing to go out and without internet access, which the state has cut off. The crackdown could in principle bring together the factious opposition against the military council, which had been quietly trying to peel off some of the established opposition parties. Protesters say they will continue their campaign of civil disobedience rather than negotiate to share power with the military rulers responsible for the mass killings. They have demanded that the junta step down.

The junta’s most powerful constituency lies, by all appearances, outside Sudan – in Cairo, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. The Saudis and Emiratis know Burhan and Hemedti well due to their command of Sudanese forces in the Yemen war. They trust the generals to shepherd the country through a managed transition from one military-led regime to another, avoiding the interlude that occurred in Egypt – elections with uncertain outcomes followed by brief Muslim Brotherhood rule – by sidelining those favouring more wholesale reform among civilian protesters. This gambit is risky, however: it could lead to greater unrest, or perhaps even civil war, precisely the outcomes Arab allies say they dread. The recent two-day general strike has made clear that popular protest can continue to render the country ungovernable. Sudan’s economic troubles are already severe, and both Saudi Arabia and the UAE would be on the hook for open-ended subsidies to keep the ship of state afloat.

The gambit also appears based on a faulty analogy. An Egyptian-style managed transition in Sudan lacks a critical ingredient: a cohesive military. Bashir gutted the Sudan Armed Forces, gradually outsourcing security tasks to a dysfunctional array of state-backed militias and paramilitaries, in order to forestall a coordinated challenge to his rule. In recent years he bolstered the RSF in particular to counterbalance other elements of the security apparatus. The RSF also gained influence as it contributed to the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Indeed, Bashir so divided his security forces that, in the end, he could only be ousted through a coup-by-committee. Today, many of Sudan’s officer corps would sooner trust their fate to Khartoum’s opposition elite than to Hemedti, whom they view as a thuggish provincial warlord and who lacks the legitimacy and political constituency to rule on his own. In short, this bloated and fissiparous security apparatus offers no clear foundation for a political regime.

A key to a peaceful settlement thus lies in prompting the junta’s Arab backers to rapidly shift tack. There are signs that they and their Gulf backers have softened their position in the face of widespread condemnation and revulsion at the attack on unarmed protesters. On 5 June, Saudi Arabia publicly expressed “great concern” over the loss of life in Sudan, calling for a resumption of dialogue. As if in response, Burhan quickly changed his tune, calling on 5 June for the opposition to return to talks. A day earlier, the U.S. State Department released an unusually blunt readout from a call between Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman in which the Americans pressed for a transition to a civilian-led government “in accordance with the will of the Sudanese people”. This call may be directly related to the softening of Riyadh’s stance – and Khartoum’s.

Still, Sudan’s peaceful transition to more inclusive governance is in great and immediate peril. International actors should take the following steps:

  • The AU Peace and Security Council should follow up on its suspension of Sudan’s membership by pressing authorities there to drop their unilateral decision to hold elections within nine months. The military rulers should instead go back to the deal earlier broadly agreed with protesters for a civilian-led transitional administration. The Council should set a new deadline for the conclusion of a final round of talks on the hand-over to an authority led by civilians. AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki should visit Khartoum at the earliest opportunity to convey the urgent need to meaningfully advance the dialogue process.
     
  • Parties with influence over Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, particularly the U.S., should urge them to lean on the generals in Khartoum to back down from their attempts to rule through repression. They should instead ask Sudan’s military rulers to resume talks with the protesters and swiftly accede to a civilian-led transitional authority that can restore stability.
     
  • To persuade an understandably reluctant civilian protest movement to resume talks, the junta will need to take a number of confidence-building measures. It should release all political prisoners, accede to an outside-led commission of inquiry into the killings and swiftly reinstate access to telecommunications. A more difficult step might be persuading the RSF, whose reputation arguably is beyond repair following its role in the violence, to retreat to the barracks. To this end, the RSF’s backers, notably Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, should rein in its leaders and urge them to back down, to avert the descent into chaos they fear. Egypt, a key regional power broker and current chair of the AU Assembly, ought to have every interest in avoiding a Libya-style meltdown in one of its key neighbours. It should lean on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to persuade the RSF leadership to pull their men out of Khartoum and to give space to parties able to strike a deal that could prevent a dangerous slide to civil war.
     
  • The AU Peace and Security Council, the U.S. and the EU should warn members of Sudan’s security forces who stand in the way of a political deal that they will face targeted sanctions, asset freezes and travel bans. The Council, which on 6 June took the additional welcome step of cautioning those obstructing a path to a political settlement that they would face individual sanctions, could start compiling a list of targets. 
     
  • The U.S. should reiterate that no talks with Khartoum toward the normalisation of ties, which could lead to the lifting of Sudan’s state sponsor of terrorism designation, the potential return of a permanent ambassador to Khartoum and Washington’s enabling of debt-relief, will resume until the military junta reaches a deal on a civilian-led transitional authority.   

As early as 2012, Crisis Group had warned that the security forces might fly apart in a post-Bashir Sudan. The danger of such a split – and the conflict it portends – is real and growing. All concerned with peace and stability in Sudan should take every possible step to stop this prospect in its tracks and press for a genuine transition to a civilian-led transitional administration.