Fletcher in the News

Sudan's Bashir Empowers Old Army Ally, Tightens Grip: WPF's Alex de Waal Comments

Reuters

Alex de Waal

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's appointment of an old military ally as his deputy may shield one of Africa's longest-serving rulers from risks at home and abroad.

In a government shake-up, Bashir named Lieutenant General Bakri Hassan Saleh - a confidant who helped him stage his 1989 coup and crush many rebellions - as first vice president, replacing veteran politician Ali Osman Taha.…

…The reshuffle announced on Sunday by Bashir underscores the diminishing role of Islamists such as Taha as the president turns to more trusted allies in the military, an organization important to his survival in a country with a history of coups.

"(Saleh) is a political clone of Bashir, and his appointment consolidates the military at the heart of politics," Alex de Waal, a Sudan expert and head of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University in the United States.

"This is Bashir's protection plan and signals that (he) may be ready to step aside if (Saleh) is his successor."

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