20-12-2021: “People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises” – V.I. Lenin (The Three Sources and Three Constituent Parts of Marxism, March 1913). Writing more than 100 years ago, the paramount leader of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia could scarcely have imagined that his profound words would apply not only to domestic or national political and social forces, but internal socio-political forces orchestrated and animated by capitalist agents based tens of thousands of kilometres away. In Africa today, US imperialism is waging a pitch battle against a loss of relevance which the economic rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the military superiority of the Russian Federation represents. For the first time, the nations of Africa which have suffered from centuries of colonialist depredation at the hands of “Old Europe” and the US Empire have a way forward which does not involve the imperialism of the 19th and 20th centuries. Sudan is no exception.
Sudan “pivots” to the East
In 2017, news broke that PRC firms would build a railway from the Red Sea city of Port Sudan to the Chadian capital of N’Djamena, which would connect Africa’s largest country of Nigeria to Eurasia. The “Sahelian-Saharan Silk Road” would provide an economic corridor for the development of Nigeria, Chad and Sudan, which could by-pass South Sudan – cleaved from Sudan with no small amount of assistance from Washington. Yet even South Sudan has realised that at least some economic partnership with the PRC is the only way forward and has signed on to the PRC’s multi-billion dollar trade and infrastructure mega-project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In fact, 49 of the 54 African countries have either signed on to the BRI or have signed BRI Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs). For Africa, the BRI is the only chance many countries have for potentially raising themselves up from the main legacy of historical European colonialism – grinding underdevelopment.
The PRC’s involvement in utilising Sudan’s significant oil resources is ongoing and is a partnership which benefits both economies. The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Sudan’s Ministry of Energy and Mining began a 50-50 joint venture to build the Khartoum Oil Refinery in 1997. The project turned Sudan from an importer of petroleum products to an oil exporter, with an output of 4.5 million tons. The CNPC assisted and trained Sudanese engineers and technical workers to run the plant and associated projects. In addition, the CNPC donated and built 104 schools, 50 hospitals and clinics, and 400 water wells. No one is suggesting that the CNPC and therefore China’s economy does not obtain some commercial benefits from its investments in Sudan. Yet it cannot be denied that this type of cooperation leads to enormous social and economic gains for working people in Sudan.
The previous Sudanese government led by long-time leader Omar Al-Bashir signed a Russia-Sudan accord in 2017. Under this agreement, Russia would be invited to build a military and naval port facility on the Red Sea, partially in exchange for allowing “M Invest” to engage in gold mining in Sudan. M Invest is associated with US sanctioned Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. Not without basis, then President Bashir stated that Russian military assistance was needed to counter “US aggression”. Despite Bashir’s fall in 2019, in November 2020 Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a 25-year agreement to build the Red Sea naval logistics facility, which could host 300 military personnel and four naval vessels (some which are nuclear powered). Sudan would receive a military counterforce to the US military presence in Africa, while Russia would gain port access to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean – as well as some commercial gain for Russian based companies.
Washington had restored diplomatic ties to Sudan after the ouster of former President Bashir. However, it then exerted pressure on Khartoum to abandon the military agreement with Russia. The Sudanese government relented, suspended the Russia-Sudan accord, and reportedly asked Russia to remove already installed equipment. On October 25 however, Sudan’s military re-took power, dissolving the military-civilian “Sovereign Council”, and arresting Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Washington and its European Union (EU) and Gulf monarchy allies condemned the take-over led by General Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan and suspended $700 million in aid. It was at this time that the contrived protests against “military rule” were triggered. As it can be demonstrated, these protests are thus NOT about military rule or “repression” in Sudan – they are about severing Sudan’s economic and military ties with Moscow and Beijing in favour of Washington.
US backed “CSOs”
It should be noted that Sudan, and Africa in general, exposes the fraudulent Covid-19 “pandemic”, which is a cover for a capitalist attack of the Western powers against “their own” working people. With a 6% vaccination rate across the continent, Africa has “mysteriously” avoided Covid-19. There is no mystery – Covid is a frame-up, much like the US backed “anti-coup” protests in Sudan. Washington has changed its tactics in recent decades when it comes to regime change operations. No longer able to send its military forces to invade and overthrow, as in Iraq – the US government subcontracts out its foreign subversion attempts to dubious “Civil Society Organisations” (CSOs), taking up this name due to some exposure of the openly political nature of Western backed “Non-Government Organisations” (NGOs). In the geo-strategically vital region of the Horn of Africa, such US based CSOs largely operate with impunity. For example, the Ford Foundation operates an Eastern Africa office in Nairobi, Kenya and blatantly states that “civil society” in Africa must have opportunities to “participate in decision making” and to “work in partnership with government and the private sector to better their societies”. In reality, the Ford Foundation works in tandem with the US state department to advance US foreign policy interests. The rhetoric around protecting civil society, governance and social justice in Sudan is a deceitful cover for a range of destabilisation activities up to and including regime change.
The Open Society Foundation, funded by the billionaire anti-socialist regime change specialist George Soros, has operated in Sudan and Eastern Africa for years. The Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa admits to spending approximately $111 million dollars since 2010 throughout Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. This money, funnelled to so-called civil society organisations, pseudo-activists and some religious groups can easily buy off or simply swindle poor Africans into rising up for “social justice” when a signal is given. In response to the October 25 military takeover, an open letter was sent to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) demanding the return of power to a civilian government, the release of PM Hamdok, and the non-use of force on civilians and protestors, amongst other things. Sounds innocuous, until you glance at the signatories, which include: the Advocacy Network for Africa (based in Washington DC!), the Oromo Professionals Group (based in Washington DC!) and the George Soros Open Society Offices in Johannesburg, and the office of Freedom House in Johannesburg.
Direct interference from the US Government
Freedom House, as is well known, is a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED is the specialised regime change arm of the CIA, funded by the US Congress. The NED, on its own website, openly admits that it funded Sudan’s alleged peaceful revolution by donating grants to Sudanese “civil society activists” during 2020. If that wasn’t explicit enough, the NED released a statement condemning the October 25 military takeover, and tested the lunar limits of hypocrisy by calling on the Sudanese military to respect freedom of speech and assembly and respect peaceful demonstrations. Needless to say, these are the very demonstrations that the NED themselves orchestrated and choreographed! Just the name alone of the “opposition” groups in Sudan has the NED written all over it – the so-called “Forces for Freedom and Change”(FFC). Likewise the “Sudan Professionals Association” (SPA) on October 28 called for “full civil disobedience” in response to October 25. Suffice to say, in a country with a population of some 45 million, the dubious sounding SPA would hardly call for “full civil disobedience” unless they were sure they had the backing of a very strong state, or the strongest state of them all – the USA.
The US government itself makes no secret of its backing of the fake uprising in Sudan, even if it denies links to US funded CSOs. On December 9 the US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Sudan Democracy Act. Not even attempting to be subtle, the Sudan Democracy Act is subtitled “To support a civilian-led democratic transition, peace and stability in Sudan”. Alongside the Orwellian named Sudan Democracy Act, the same US House Committee adopted a resolution calling on the US Government to “uphold the founding democratic principles” of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and to establish a “Centre for Democratic Resilience” within the headquarters of NATO. It barely needs to be stated that NATO is a Cold War relic, formed decades ago to counter the former Soviet Union. Today, it is used as one of the primary tools for enforcing the will of US imperialism to all corners of the globe. The US government and NATO use the fig-leaf of “democracy” to impose the flailing fortunes of a declining US hegemon, even as many African countries can see with their own eyes that Russia and China are stepping up to its vacated stage.
Lockdown left stumps for the CIA
Fresh from marching to the ruling class beat on Covid repression, the parties of the lockdown left stand to attention for US backed regime change in Sudan. Befuddled by the Stalinist Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), which has prostrated itself by offering full-throated endorsement of the reactionary regime change protests, the lockdown left follows suit without pausing for breath. The US based Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) heartily endorse the SCP, while shutting their eyes to the actions of the US state department. The Workers World Party (WWP) goes even further, and reprints SCP statements verbatim, and without comment. The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) likewise bolsters the SCP, even despite it nominally disagreeing with the SCP falsely labelling both Russia and China as “imperialist”. The Australian Communist Party (ACP) hails the alleged resistance of the Sudanese workers and people as they seek to “shake themselves free of reaction and dictatorship.” Never mind that such a statement could have emanated from the CIA headquarters in Virginia..!
Socialist Alternative (SALT) laud the operatives of the FFC and the SPA in Sudan, without even an inkling of who might be behind them. The Socialist Equality Party (SEP), for its part, recognises the political limitations of the FFC and the SPA, referring to the “opposition” alliance as “bourgeois and petty-bourgeois”. Yet their naivete is on display when they imagine that fake uprising could be better led by an East African section of the SEP. CIA operatives on the ground would surely welcome such assistance! The Socialist Alliance (SA), meanwhile, does not even blush while doing the bidding of the US security state. It openly supports calls for the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces (RSF or Janjaweed) to be officially labelled as “terrorist”. The White House in DC would be the first to endorse this call.
Regardless of how we politically appraise General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and the Janjaweed, the fact remains that the Sudanese military is the only entity that is currently blocking a full-scale overthrow by US funded subversion. To that end, Leninist internationalists urge workers to form a temporary bloc with Sudan against imperialist subterfuge. While not endorsing the politics of the Russian government or the Stalinist leadership of the PRC, Marxists should defend the right of Sudan to engage in economic and military co-operation with whomsoever it chooses. While firms of the Russian Federation and the PRC do not operate in Sudan without gaining some economic benefit for themselves, the non-imperialist nature of both Russia and China ensures that their economic involvement and military engagement cannot approach the level of super-exploitation. First and foremost, socialists should be able to see through transparent regime change operations with strings being pulled from afar – especially those under the false guise of a CSO or a “freedom coalition” or a “professionals association”. A classless movement for “democracy” should raise an immediate alarm, especially one in the geo-strategic Horn of Africa. Paraphrasing Russian revolutionary leader L Trotsky, falsehood is the weapon of reaction while truth is the weapon of socialism.
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