The coalition of army and security bodies controls the levers of power, with President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir at the top beside the Defence Minister, General Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein (wanted, like Field Marshal Omer, by the International Criminal Court) and Gen. Bakri Hassan Salih. Omer el Beshir is unpopular in the Islamist movement and needs the blessing of one faction or the other to rule.
The latest round of courtroom battles in the West and arrests in Conakry have one certain result: that the plans to invest US$10 billion to produce iron ore from the giant Simandou reserves will be delayed indefinitely. At the heart of the fight for Simandou are President Alpha Condé’s government and three international mining houses: Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto, which has a controlling stake in Simandou Blocks 3 and 4, and Beny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR) which, together with Brazil’s Vale, control Simandou Blocks 1 and 2. The Conakry government took that lease from Rio Tinto in 2008 because of the company’s delays in starting in the project.
The 65% of the vote which carried President Macky Sall to victory over Abdoulaye Wade in March last year was always about who he wasn’t, not who he was. Sall made many election promises and is now under attack for not delivering. He replies that the state coffers were empty when he took over, which obliged him to go after stolen funds and the assets of the corrupt.
Late in the evening of 17 April, Karim Wade, son of former President Abdoulaye Wade and ex-Minister for International Cooperation, Infrastructure, Air Transport and Energy, was taken to Dakar’s main Rebeuss prison on a charge of illicit enrichment.