From Sudan’s Protesters, a Warning to Saudi Arabia and the UAE: Don’t Meddle

4/25/2019

Amid the chants praising the “revolution of the people,” a new slogan appeared this week at a massive sit-in protest in Sudan’s capital: “We do not want Saudi aid even if we have to eat beans and falafel!” The chant underscored the suspicion in the protest camp about the motives of Saudi Arabia and its close ally, the United Arab Emirates, after they jointly pledged USD $3 billion in aid to Sudan’s transitional military government.

Many within the protests fear that both countries are using their immense wealth to suppress democracy and support a “counterrevolution,” as they have been accused of doing elsewhere in the region. However, the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C. insists that the money will be used to improve the country’s financial health, and support the people of Sudan through food, medicine, and fuel derivatives.

“A soft landing for the old regime is being orchestrated by some Middle Eastern powers so that they can keep their allies in power,” Mohamed Yusuf al-Mustafa, the head of the Sudanese Professionals Association, said in an interview. “They are not our enemies. But they are risking the goodwill of the Sudanese people.”

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Washington Post