KHARTOUM, SUDAN — Late Thursday evening, less than two weeks after murdering more than 100 civilian protesters, Sudan’s ruling military council tried to save face by telling a group of international reporters that those responsible for the slaughter had “deviated” from the official military plan to disperse protesters. Gen. Shams Eddin Kabashi, spokesman for the ruling military council, called the murders “painful and outrageous” and promised accountability while also downplaying the death toll, claiming that only 61 protesters were killed while the opposition has claimed the number of deaths surpassed 100.
“We feel sorry for what happened…We will show no leniency and we will hold accountable anyone, regardless of their rank, if proven to have committed violations,” the Associated Press quoted Kabashi as saying.
However, Kabashi failed to comment on recent reports that the official military plan had been discussed in advance with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates — all authoritarian governments that back the current head of Sudan’s military council, Lt. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdelrahman — and the fact that that very plan had involved removing protesters from their encampment by brute force.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the Trump administration, after being accused of inaction by the international community, also attempted to save face by appointing a new envoy to Sudan — Donald Booth, who was described by numerous media outlets simply as a “veteran diplomat,” despite his role in fomenting the war in South Sudan that has left nearly 400,000 dead. Booth’s appointment, much like the Sudanese military council’s own recent statements, appears aimed at mollifying international outrage while doing little to change the actual situation.
This outcome, though undeniably unfortunate, is hardly surprising given that the U.S. and its top two regional allies — Israel and Saudi Arabia — actively sought to remove the former leader of Sudan, Omar Bashir, and replace him with a regime more friendly to Saudi, Israeli and American interests….