Sudan: former premier Sadiq al-Mahdi redux

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Sudan’s veteran opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi has called for an ‘objective’ international investigation into last week’s deadly crackdown on protesters, after the ruling military council rejected such an intervention.
Mr Nagy, speaking in a telephone briefing from Addis Ababa, said Washington’s newly named envoy to Sudan, veteran diplomat Donald Booth, would focus on supporting mediation efforts led by the African Union and IGAD, an African trade bloc.

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The country’s top opposition leader and former premier Sadiq al-Mahdi called for Sudan to join the international criminal court. An agreement has been reached in principle to form a joint civilian-military council, but not on the division of seats in the new body, with the military apparently insisting on a majority of seats. Western governments have expressed support for the protesters’ demands, but Sudan’s key Gulf lenders back the military council.

Sudan has seen this movie play out before. In 1985, Siwar al-Dahab became chairman of a transitional military council after he had ousted President Gaafar Nimeiry in a coup. After elections, he surrendered power to prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. Dr. WILLOW BERRIDGE, lecturer Newcastle University

[Apeil 17 2019 al-Bashir in Kobar Prison ]

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Kobar Prison, Khartoum Sudan

Omar al-Bashir has been moved to Kobar prison. Kobar Prison is next to University of Khartoum and is located in Khartoum State, Sudan. Kobar Prison has a length of 0.65 kilometres. But it is divided in separate ways

Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council ordered the “suspension of the transfer of ownership of any shares until further notice and for any large or suspect transfers of shares or companies to be reported” to authorities.

[April 13 2019 an internal dilemma between security forces ]

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April 8 2019 Army protects crowd from Security force

April 15 2019 Lieutenant General Adam Harun Idris named as head of the Joint Operations Command

April 10 2019 The eruption of violence between different armed government forces is a major development in the four-month long protest movement against the president, said Magdi el-Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute, a think tank based in Kenya.

“In a way, it has been turned into an internal dilemma between security forces,” said Mr. el-Gizouli, who is Sudanese.

During his long rule, Mr. al-Bashir has bolstered security forces outside the military’s command structures — which has prevented any one security organ from growing powerful enough to challenge him. He has built up the National Intelligence and Security Service and also supported the Arab militias known as janjaweed that have more recently been constituted as the Rapid Support Forces.

[April 13 2019 Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo ]
dagalo - Edited On April 13 the army named Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo as the deputy head of the Transitional Military Council, from the feared Janjaweed militia.

“As part of the Yemen portfolio Burhan worked closely with Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces[Janjaweed]. It is with the support of this group that “he now appears to have come to power”, Willow Berridge

The Secretary-General of the rebel SPLM-N confirmed this on Sunday. “We received specific and detailed information about a plan drawn by [President] Omar Al Bashir and his security apparatus to finance the Janjaweed, reconstituted as the Rapid Support Forces, from funds provided to Sudan by the EU,” Yasir Arman said in a statement. [2016]

Bashir, Auf, Gosh out —  Umma party ‘s Sadiq   ]

Salah Gosh, Sudan’s powerful security and intelligence chief, resigned April 12 2019
Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf announced his withdrawal on state TV. He named as his successor Lt Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan. Younger officers and rank and file will have been emboldened by their role and public reception during the protests. Will they be content to allow the Mr Bashir generation monopolise military power?

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Assistant of the President of the Republic, Gen Abdul Rahaman Al Sadiq Al Mahdi

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was deposed by the army on April 11 2019 and consultations were under way to form a transitional council to run the country. He is 75, and was at the presidential residence under “heavy guard”. Bashir was being held with “a number of leaders of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group”.

A principal opposition figure is Assistant of the President of the Republic, Gen Abdul Rahaman Al Sadiq Al Mahdi .
He is the paternal grandson of Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi, founder of the Umma party and great-grandson of Muhammad Ahmad, the Sudanese sufi sheikh of the Ansar and self-proclaimed Mahdi who led the Mahdist War to reclaim Sudan from Anglo-Egyptian rule.

Since December, Sudan has been rocked by persistent protests sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages

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Bashir deposed Sadiq 1989

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir with Egypt’s Sisi, right

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Mali: tit-for-tat violence

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“About 100 unidentified armed men circulating on motos all of a sudden invaded Yoro and fired on the population,” said Issiaka Ganame, the mayor of Yoro. “Then they descended on the village of Gangafani 2, which is about 15km (9 miles) away.”

The tit-for-tat violence in recent months has largely pitted Dogon hunters against Fulani herders. Attackers believed to be Fulani raided a Dogon village last week, killing at least 35 people.

[June 16 2019 French kill terrorists ]

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French in Akabar

Allied French and Malian forces killed 20 militants in an operation in the district of Akabar, a remote part of a game reserve near the border with Niger and not far from the Malian city of Menaka,

 

[June 11 2019   after attack on Fulanis, reply on Dogons   [

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Mali’s central Mopti region

[June 12 2019] The number of people killed in an attack on Sobame Da in Mopti central Mali has been revised to 35, down from nearly 100, the initial figure corresponded to the combined number of dead and disappeared.
At least 95 people were killed when gunmen raided their village in central Mali late on June 9 2019.

The attack took place in the ethnic Dogon village of Sobane, in Mali’s central Mopti region,
Members of the Dogon and Fulani groups often clash over access to land and water. The Dogon also accuse Fulanis of having ties to local jihadist groups, while Fulanis claim that Mali’s army has armed Dogon hunters to attack them.

Earlier this year, the massacre of more than 150 Fulani villagers, including women and children, prompted Mali’s government to sack senior military officials and dissolve a militia composed of Dogon hunters.

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Tunis: bombs: Body parts were strewn

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Two suicide blasts rocked the Tunisian capital on June 27 2019 killing at least one police officer and wounding several people.

The first blast involved a suicide bomber who targeted a police patrol on Tunis’ central Charles de Gaulle street, not far from the French embassy.

One police officer was killed, while another was injured, according to the interior ministry. Three civilians were also wounded.

Body parts were strewn on the road around the police car,

[May 2 2019 Square one: Tunisia in trouble ]

Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, lefi

 

TUNIS (Reuters) – Fuel distribution workers in Tunisia began a three-day strike on May 2 2019 to demand higher wages, leading to long queues and empty pumps at petrol stations across the North African nation. Tunisians have complained about a decline of state services since Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in 2011. The uprising to topple the autocrat heralded a democratic transition but the associated turmoil also led to an economic crisis.

The government is facing rising public demands for more pay as price rise, with inflation at about 7 percent. It is also contending with pressure from international lenders to cut the public wage bill and other spending to shore up state finances. “All services have gone down, we have become like a country where there is a war – no fuel, no medicines, no milk.”

Tunisia raised the minimum wage for industrial and farm workers, as well as pensions for hundreds of thousands of private-sector retirees, by 6.5 percent on May 1 2019, a move aimed at defusing discontent about economic hardship.

Saber Hamrouni  met Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at his residence in Jeddah on two occasions in January and April 2018.   “Ben Ali informed me that he made a mistake in 2011, when the Tunisian revolution broke out. This was not being honest with the Tunisian people about his relatives’ crimes. He wished he had been honest with the Tunisian people since his first speech rather than the third,” claimed Saber Hamrouni.

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Brig. Gen.Ben Ali in Saudi 2018

There is now a danger that the second wave of popular protest in the region may also be heavily influenced by external players.
Factors that are shaping the contemporary Middle East include the growing role of the Saudis who, along with their Gulf allies, are waging a multi-front battle for influence against Qatar and especially Turkey. This regional rivalry is to a large extent both facilitated and explained by the notable absence of the US as a serious diplomatic actor

The Saudis have to a considerable extent seized and held the diplomatic initiative.

They and the UAE have pitched in with financial aid, and Riyadh’s ally, Egypt, has played a role in deploying its diplomatic muscle at the African Union.
While the Saudis appear to be backing the country’s generals, Turkey and Qatar are more closely aligned with Islamists.

It should be clearly stated that none of these external parties are much interested in the voices of popular protest on the ground. .
What you have are effectively two “brands” of authoritarianism which are attempting to push their supporters into positions where they can influence the future. Jonathan Marcus excerpt

 

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Nitro Zeus: Patriot batteries and reconnaissance

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U.S. Army Pvt. Bridger Clifford, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Battalion, 11th ADA Brigade patriot missile maintainer and operator, performs patriot missile readiness drills at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 16, 2019

President Donald Trump is sending an additional 1,500 US troops to the Middle East as part of a “mostly protective” effort to deter Iranian threats. Many of the new forces will be engineers to support Patriot missile batteries and reconnaissance aircraft that are being newly deployed. About 600 of the 1,500 troops are part of a “Patriot battalion that’s going to end up being extended, so the number of deploying personnel is really less than a thousand.” The Pentagon later said that the number of boots on the ground will indeed increase by 1,500, explaining that the 600 members of the extended Patriot battalion will be joined by 900 new troops, as well as a Patriot unit that was originally intended to relieve the extended battalion as part of a normal rotation. JUNE 24, 2019

[May 30 2019   Threats from Iran to U.S. forces   ]

DUBAI (Reuters) – The United States will respond with military force if its interests are attacked by Iran, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said May 30 2019. “I don’t think this threat is over,” U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton.

MAY 24, 2019 Iran is responsible for at least three recent attacks in the region, including the attacks on oil tankers in Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, drone attacks on oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia, and rocket attacks on the Green Zone in Baghdad. Navy Vice Adm. Mike Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff said the intelligence indicated the origins of these threats trace back to Iranian leaders at the highest levels.

https://www.defense.gov/explore/story/Article/1857913/shanahan-approves-force-protection-deployment-for-middle-east/

May 25 2019

Navy Rear Adm. Michael Gilday said that the actual deployment would be about 900 additional troops.
https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-to-send-troops-to-middle-east-/4931299.html

900 plus another 600 troops whose deployment in the region is being extended.

https://www.stripes.com/pentagon-to-deploy-another-900-troops-to-middle-east-extend-patriot-missile-battalion-amid-tensions-with-iran-1.582792

900 troops will operate intelligence surveillance radar and drones.

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/24/726680414/trump-orders-an-additional-1-500-troops-to-the-middle-east

The deployments announced May 24 2019 include a squadron of 12 fighter jets, manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, and a number of military engineers to beef up protection for forces. In addition a battalion of four Patriot missile batteries that were scheduled to leave the Middle East has been ordered to stay. The total number of troops involved is about 1,500, with roughly 600 included in the Patriot battalion.

[May 23 2019]

https://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/VIDEO-AND-IMAGERY/VIDEOS/videoid/676562/

There will be a meeting at the White House on May 23 2019 where a Central Command request will be considered. 5,000 to 10,000 additional troops may be sent to the Middle East to deter Iran.
The U.S. official said that defensive capabilities and weapons systems are being requested, and the number of additional forces will depend on which capabilities are approved.

The CENTCOM request has been in the works for some time, the U.S. official said.

[May 22 2019]

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Nitro Zeus

The U.S. removed Patriot missile batteries from Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan late last year. It was not clear if the battery would go back to one of those countries. LOLITA C. BALDOR[AP] May 10, 2019. The U.S. State Department cleared a possible foreign military sale of the Raytheon-made Patriot air and missile defense system to Bahrain. Congress was notified of the sale May 3. It must approve the sale, and quantity of items. .Jen Judson [Defense News] May 3 2019.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. Navy says it has conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with an aircraft carrier strike group ordered to the Persian Gulf to counter an alleged, unspecified threat from Iran.

“If you make threats and then people decide you aren’t going to follow through, if you’re looking for the reaction and you stop getting the reaction, the options are either to make larger threats, or to stop going down that road at all,” said Jon Alterman, Middle East Program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

By Karen DeYoung, Liz Sly and Josh Dawsey | Washington Post

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The USS Abraham Lincoln and its carrier strike group have yet to reach the Strait of Hormuz, Sat 18 May 2019 09.20 EDT. Abraham Carrier Strike Group, which has been operating off the coast of Oman, MAY 17, 2019 / 11:13 AM Four B-52 bombers were being deployed to the Middle East. Two of the bombers left May 7 2019 from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, arriving at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on May 8 ,MAY 7, 2019 / 12:15 PM / CBS/AP

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Iranian military speedboats

The Times report said overhead imagery had captured Iranian paramilitaries arming small boats in the Persian Gulf with fully assembled missiles, prompting fears they might be used to attack American ships in the region. Images showed the boats—believed to be under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—being armed at several ports, raising concerns of imminent attack or that the weapons would be transferred to regional Iranian proxies for use in more deniable operations.

The U.S. State Department has ordered the pullout of the employees from both the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on May 14 2019 he was getting indications from talks with both the United States and Iran that “things will end well.”

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Erbil consulate

[May 14 2019 ]

“Recent comments from OIR’s Deputy Commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region,” said Capt. Bill Urban, CENTCOM’s lead spokesman. “U.S. Central Command, in coordination with Operation Inherent Resolve, has increased the force posture level for all service members assigned to OIR in Iraq and Syria.”

“It’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens,” Trump told reporters Monday, May 13 2019. An updated version of a destabilizing cyberwarfare operation is called “Nitro Zeus,” which would target Iran’s power grid and military. Some officials reportedly said the plan was updated in past years. The number of troops deployed to the Middle East would be close to the roughly 130,600 service members deployed to Iraq in 2003.

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B-52H Stratofortress assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron takes off from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, May 12 2019.

The deployment of B-52H Stratofortress bombers, 20th Bomb Squadron, as well as a Patriot missile battery, aircraft carrier strike group and amphibious transport dock, come after the Pentagon said it received “clear indications” of threats from Iran to U.S. forces in the Middle East through Iranian military and proxy forces.
“No, there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, May 14 2019.ghika

Israel passed information on an alleged Iranian plot to attack U.S. interests in the Gulf to the U.S. before national security adviser John Bolton threatened Iran with “unrelenting force” May 5 2019.

[ December 1 2015  Thanksgiving meal Nov. 26, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar    ]

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Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work shows off his turkey carving skills Thanksgiving Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar,  November 26. The deputy defense secretary thanked service members as he served them their Thanksgiving meal.

Undersecretary for Political Affairs, William J. Burns in Algeria

Undersecretary for Political Affairs, William J. Burns in Algeria

Koussa is expected in the Qatari capital of Doha on Wednesday where an international conference on the future of Libya is being held with representatives from the Benghazi-based opposition.
Travel of Undersecretary for Political Affairs, William J. Burns

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 11, 2011

Undersecretary for Political Affairs, William J. Burns will travel to Doha, Qatar, for the meeting of the Contact Group on Libya April 12-13. He will be accompanied by Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip H. Gordon and Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman

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Ethiopia: ethnic bloodshed once held in check arising

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Four high-ranking officials in Amhara, including the deputy head of security there, were taken into custody June 24 2019, according to Abere Adamu, chief of the Amhara police commission. An additional 178 people have also been arrested on suspicion of taking part in violence in the region

[June 23 2019]

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Abiy Ahmed

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Asamnew Tsige

Asamnew was shot on June 24 2019 near Amhara’s capital Bahir Dar, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed named Amhara state security head General Asamnew Tsige as responsible for a foiled coup, without giving details of his whereabouts. Asamnew was released from prison last year, having been given an amnesty for a similar coup attempt. Asamnew had openly advised the Amhara people, Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group, to arm themselves in preparation for fighting against other groups. Abiy Ahmed is battling ethnic bloodshed once held in check by the state’s iron grip. Ethiopia has Oromo 34.6% and Amhara 27.1% people, Tigrayan 6.1%. The former ruling Party had 27 years in power by a small, mostly Tigrayan, elite. Ethiopia is predominately Christian, with Muslim 31.9%. Abiy Ahmed with a Christian mother and a Muslim father, converted to Christianity.
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Sudan: a technocratic government ? Dagalo

Deputy head of the military council, Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, said on June 25 2019 the mission of the Ethiopian envoy, Mahmoud Dirir, was to pave the way for resuming talks with the FDFC, “not to offer proposals for solutions.”

“The mission of the Ethiopian mediator was limited to prepare the parties for negotiations. We did not agree on shares in the sovereign council. We do not accept prescriptions,” he said.

The deputy head of the military council said on June 16 2019 it was ready to accept nominees for top government positions proposed by the coalition.

“We are actually not in dispute and we are partners in this glorious revolution,” General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo said. “They say a technocratic government and we are ready”

[May 28 2019 safe hands ]

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Hemedti

General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti said May 24 2019 he was overseeing judicial proceedings against Bashir and 25 regime figures detained since the coup – thereby controlling the process and ensuring they pose no threat to the new order. “That’s why, by God almighty, we will not hand this country except to safe hands.”

[May 26 2019   Yasir Arman returns for the talks   ]

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Yasir Arman has returned to the country after years in exile despite having been sentenced to death in absentia. He is reported to have faced no problem from the authorities on his arrival.

He returns six weeks after President Omar al-Bashir was ousted from power and observers speculate that he could take part in peace talks.
He was elected governor of Blue Nile State in the Republic of the Sudan in April 2010

Mr Arman joined the SPLM rebel group in the south of Sudan in the 1980s when it was fighting against the Khartoum government.

After South Sudan seceded in 2011 he formed the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North, SPLM-N, rebel group which kept fighting President Omar al-Bashir’s troops in Blue Nile State

[May 24 2019 arrest of Salah Gosh blocked ]

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Salah Gosh is former chief of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services. Gosh was to be questioned about an account containing more than $1 million (46 million Sudanese pounds), which was only accessible by him. But his guards blocked his arrest May 22 2019, saying they did not receive an arrest warrant in advance. Gosh was important for protesters, as he has all of the Bashir regime’s corruption files.

[May 22 2019 calls for civilian government ]

May 8 2019 Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan spoke with the Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) Chairman, General Abdel Fattah el-Burhan…He urged the TMC to move expeditiously toward a civilian-led interim government, and noted General Burhan’s commitment in this regard.

Deputy Secretary Sullivan encouraged the TMC to reach agreement with the Forces for Freedom and Change that reflects the will of the Sudanese people.

[May 20 2019 United Arab Emirates, Saudis both give $250m ]
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Saudi Arabia says it has deposited $250m (£196m) in Sudan’s central bank as part of a support package for the country which is in the midst of an economic and political crisis.

The gift, plus a similar recent deposit from the United Arab Emirates, will help alleviate some of Sudan’s economic pain – but it won’t address the symptoms.

This is merely a very short-term fix to a deep crisis. People are having to get used to long queues outside banks where withdrawals are often limited to a maximum of $40 and spending hours in the sweltering heat lining up for fuel.

Sudan was always going to face economic challenges after 2011 when South Sudan seceded, taking with it most of the oil.

[February 22 2011 12 senior military commanders retired ]

Defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein

Defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein

Sudan Defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein

Sudan Defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein

The Sudanese army dismissed reports that recent shuffling made within its ranks have anything to do with politics stressing that the military institution “is a model of fairness and discipline”.

There have been reports that around 12 senior military commanders were sent to retirement over their growing criticism of president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein.
Some of those allegedly affected by these changes were Brigade Commander Al-Tayeb Mosbah head of El-Fasher division, Brigadier General Ahmad Abdoon over Nyala division, Major General Al-Naeem Khidir chief of staff at the Minister of Defence’s office, Major-General Abbas Taj al-Din from the military intelligence
Discontent has reportedly been over the work of paramilitary units such as the popular defense forces and the Janjaweed militias operating in Darfur as well as the handling of war in Sudan’s western region.
Thousands of young Sudanese, inspired by the events in other parts of the Arab world, have been calling for his departure. In the past month, protests have broken out across northern Sudan, many organized through Facebook, much like the movements in Egypt and Tunisia that drove out the leaders of those countries. Scores of Sudanese students have been beaten by the police or arrested — one student was killed — and now some opposition parties seem to want to push it further.

“We have the rich experience of two popular uprisings,” said Faruq Abu Issa, a spokesman for a coalition of opposition parties, referring to popular uprisings in Sudan in 1964 and 1985, which brought down the governments of their day. He said his colleagues were “preparing ourselves, like Tunisia and Egypt.”

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Hormuz: Trump blinked, sanctions distract

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Screenshot 2019-06-20 at 8.45.45 AM - Edited

in a shocking twist it subsequently emerged that the same image – albeit in a wider crop – was previously used on a report of a drone being shot down over Yemen two year’s ago.

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“It’s in the realm of the symbolic.” The sanctions are “a sideshow to a threat of military escalation and all-out conflict,” . They fuel a narrative focussed on Iran rather than the United States—and the fact that Trump blinked when he called off a retaliatory military strike June 20 2019.
Elizabeth Rosenberg, Center for a New American Security

Sanctions are applied to Ali Khamenei directly and three IRGC officers: Alireza Tangsiri, head of the IRGC Navy, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force, and Mohammed Pakpour, head of the IRGC’s Ground Forces.

[June 21 2019   Chris Wallace “Cost to inaction” ||George Conway “resign”   ]
Trump thinks he can avoid the quagmire of another Middle East war, but he may already be in too deep. Patrick Cockburn

“Fox and Friends,” Brian Kilmeade: “ in the Middle East, no action looks like weakness. And weakness begets more attacks,”

Wallace said that while there is a “cost to action” there is also a “cost to inaction” if the president threatens to do something and not go forward, specifically referencing former President Obama’s “red line” threat in 2012 to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the use of chemical weapons

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband George …called on him to resign after, at the last minute, he backed away from strikes on Iran.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said June 19 2019 that President Trump must retaliate quickly against Iran to deter other hostile nations like North Korea and Russia from taking “provocative” acts toward the U.S.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi said June 21 2019 that she was not informed of President Trump’s plans to strike Iran Thursday night, a military action that he said he called off minutes before it was to occur,” the Washington Post reports.

“Traditionally, House and Senate leadership, and chair and ranking members on the national security-related and other key committees are told about an imminent U.S. military action.”

ABC News confirmed Trump called off the attack abruptly, reportedly against the advice of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

[june 21 2019] Brent futures were up 72 cents, or 1.1%, to $65.17 a barrel by 1:20 p.m. EDT (1720 GMT), while the most active U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude contract was up 47 cents, or 0.8%, at $57.54.

That put Brent on track to gain about 5% for the week, its first weekly gain in five weeks, and WTI to jump about 10%, which would be its biggest weekly percentage gain since December 2016.

The July WTI contract price added $2.89 Thursday, settling at $56.65 per barrel. The benchmark traded within a range from $54.11 to $57.02.

Brent crude oil for August delivery also rose sharply, gaining $2.63 to end the day at $64.45 per barrel.

Trump said he could not imagine the missile attack on the drone was intentional and he had a feeling “a general or somebody” mistakenly ordered the attack.

Centcom General says it was flying at high altitude in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, approximately 34 km from the nearest point of land on the Iranian coast.

[June 20 2018 Navy RQ-4a down, Oil up ]
The debris field is in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz, and if the location of the debris field is confirmed, it would appear to provide physical evidence casting doubt on Iran’s account that it shot down the drone over the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan,

LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) – Oil rose more than 3% towards $64 a barrel on Thursday after Iran shot down a U.S. military drone, raising fears of a military confrontation between Tehran and Washington. London’s Brent North Sea crude up 2.78 percent to $63.54 per barrel in midday trading and New York’s West Texas Intermediate up 3.42 percent to $55.60.

TAMPA, Fla., June 20, 2019 —
“U.S. Central Command can confirm that a U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (or BAMS-D) ISR aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 11:35 p.m. GMT on June 19, 2019.

Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false.

This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.

The Revolutionary Guard shot down an Air Force RQ-4 drone. U.S. Officials told The Associated Press the downing happened over international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz which at its narrowest point is about 3 kilometers (2 miles) wide. Different accounts could not be immediately reconciled. A new surface-to-air missile battery called Khordad 15 using the Sayyad-3 missile was used. RQ-4 can reach altitudes of 60,000 feet (18.3 km), costs $222.7 million.

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Hormuz: Trump denies warning Iran

President Donald Trump told NBC News on June 23 2019 that he did not send a message to Tehran warning Iran of a U.S. attack, which he later called off.

Iranian sources told Reuters that Trump had warned Tehran via Oman that a U.S. attack was imminent, but had said he was against war and wanted talks.

[June 22 2019 drone capture,catfishing ]
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“They’ve been thinking a lot about drone capture because we’ve been flying drones over them for years,” said James Lewis. Iranian intelligence officers are also capable of hijacking digital systems used in drones, and potentially even in ships, to spoof the GPS location of the device and plug in false coordinates.
“Note that the Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a $130m (£100m) drone, in practice an unmanned aircraft stuffed with electronic equipment that was designed to be invulnerable to such an attack.” Patrick Cockburn;

“The Global Hawk also has limits. Although its altitude puts it out of range of enemy fire, the plane is too high for video cameras to be used. “[2002]   If so…

“honey-potting” or catfishing operations. The Department of Justice revealed a similar Iranian intelligence-gathering method in its recent indictment against former Air Force Special Agent and counterintelligence officer Monica Witt, who defected to Iran in August 2013.

After Witt defected, Iranian officers targeted current and former U.S. government officials using “fictitious and imposter personas” created on Facebook and through email, according to the indictment.

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