Profile: How Ibn Auf went from regime insider to new Sudan ruler

Sudanese General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, who now heads the transitional military council, sat next to former President Omar Al-Bashir last month. (AFP)
Updated 12 April 2019
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Profile: How Ibn Auf went from regime insider to new Sudan ruler

  • Born in 1950, Ibn Auf, a career soldier has been a regime insider and a close aide of Al-Bashir
  • His alleged role in the conflict in Darfur might make Western powers wary of dealing with him directly

CAIRO: Sudanese General Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, who led the overthrow of veteran leader Omar Al-Bashir and has emerged as the country’s new ruler, is already under US sanctions for his alleged role in the brutal Darfur conflict.
In a somber televised statement on Thursday, Ibn Auf announced the ouster of Bashir, who ruled the northeast African country with an iron-fist for 30 years before angry protesters brought him down.
“I announce as minister of defense the toppling of the regime and detaining its chief in a secure place,” Ibn Auf said.
“We have replaced him by a transitional military council for two years and have suspended Sudan’s 2005 constitution.”
Later on Thursday state television announced that Ibn Auf had been sworn in as head of the military council triggering anger among the protesters.
“The regime has conducted a military coup by bringing back the same faces and the same institutions which our people rose up against,” the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the group that is leading the protests said in a statement.
“We call on our people to continue their sit-in in front of army headquarters and across all regions and in the streets.”
Protesters remained camped at the army headquarters in the capital for seventh straight day, vowing not to leave until the new military rulers quit.
Born in 1950, Ibn Auf, a career soldier has been a regime insider and a close aide of Al-Bashir since the former leader came to power in a coup in 1989.
Ibn Auf held several top ranking positions in the army as well as in the foreign ministry.
He rose through the ranks first to become a commander of the military’s artillery division and then to head the army intelligence wing.
In 2010 he retired but was brought back five years later as the country’s defense minister. In February Al-Bashir made him his first vice president
“Awad Ibn Auf is not only a high-ranking officer of Bashir’s old guard, but one of the few in the army to be able to maintain the cohesion between the rival branches of the regime’s security apparatus,” said Paris-based Sudan analyst, Jerome Tubiana.
Between 2010 and 2015, Ibn Auf served as a counsel in Khartoum’s embassy in Cairo and later as ambassador to Muscat.
But it is his alleged role in the conflict in Darfur that analysts say might make Western powers wary of dealing with him directly.
Analysts say Ibn Auf, a close aide of Bashir, played a key role in managing militias like the feared Janjaweed, who have been accused of committing genocide during the initial years of the conflict.
The United States put his name on its backlist of Sudanese officers sanctioned for their role in the conflict that has seen his assets blocked by the US treasury since 2007.
In May 2007, Washington said Ibn Auf has been “linked to violence, atrocities and human rights abuses” in Darfur.
Bashir himself has been indicted for alleged war crimes and genocide in the Darfur conflict, in which according to the United Nations about 300,000 people have been killed and millions displaced.
Hundreds of thousands of people still live in sprawling camps across the region.
The conflict erupted in 2003 when ethnic black rebels took up arms against Khartoum’s Arab-dominated government, accusing it of economic and political marginalization.
Ibn Auf was as “deeply involved” in the conflict as Bashir himself, said Hollywood actor George Clooney on Thursday.
“Removing the leader of a violent, corrupt system without dismantling that system is inadequate,” said Clooney, founder of The Sentry Project, which researches illicit money and war crimes in Africa.
But analyst Tubiana said the fact that Bashir agreed to go and Ibn Auf had replaced him showed that it was “a palace revolution, aimed at protecting the regime and preventing the opposition, civilians and non-Islamists ... from taking power.”
Some analysts say however that Ibn Auf might not remain for long time as head of the military council.
“He’s been taking decisions for a long time when it comes to the armed forces, but the task ahead is not going to be easy,” said an analyst.
“The anger among protesters will be a continuous challenge. For all you know he might not be there for a long time.”
Protesters vow to do exactly that.
“Ibn Auf is weak, we will ensure he quits,” said a protester without revealing his name for security reasons as he prepared for Friday prayers at the army complex.


Kushner: Trump wants fair deal for Palestinians

Updated 25 June 2019
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Kushner: Trump wants fair deal for Palestinians

  • Fighting new economic plan ‘a strategic mistake,’ White House adviser says
  • Says plan would double Palestinian GDP in 10 years, create over a million jobs

MANAMA, Bahrain: Donald Trump wants a fair deal for Palestinians, the US president’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said on the eve of the launch in Bahrain of the White House’s $50 billion “peace for prosperity” plan.

The Palestinians are missing an opportunity to participate in the Middle East peace process by boycotting the Bahrain conference, Kushner said. “This is a strong package that has been put together. Fighting it instead of embracing it, I think, is a strategic mistake.”

The plan proposes a global investment fund for Palestine and neighboring Arab states, and a $5 billion transport corridor between the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian leaders have rejected it, but Kushner said their criticism was “more emotional than specific.”

“Nobody has refuted our core premise that this would do a lot to stimulate the economy,” he said. “The Palestinian people have been trapped in a situation for a long time and we wanted to show them, and their leadership, that there is a pathway forward that could be quite exciting.”

The Palestinian people have been trapped in a situation for a long time and we wanted to show them, and their leadership, that there is a pathway forward that could be quite exciting.

Jared Kushner, US president’s adviser

Kushner said Trump decisions such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv were evidence that the president kept his promises.

“The Palestinians might not have liked his Jerusalem decision, but he made a promise and he did it,” he said. What the president wanted now was “to give the Palestinian people a fair solution.”

Kushner said the plan would double the GDP in 10 years, create over a million jobs, reduce poverty by 50 percent and bring unemployment to below 10 percent.

“We believe this doable,” he said. “It’s hard, but if there’s a peace agreement and we set up the right structure, we think it could really lead to improving people’s lives in a substantial way.

“I think there is a lot of enthusiasm in the West Bank and Gaza to see if we can find a political solution so that this can be implemented.”

The political element of the White House plan has been delayed by uncertainty in Israel, where there will be elections this year after an earlier vote failed to produce a stable coalition, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may also face a criminal trial for corruption.