Las protestas masivas en Argelia y Sudán recientemente han derrocado a dos autócratas envejecidos, poniendo fin a 20 y 30 años, respectivamente, de régimen absolutista. En ambos países, los insurgentes hoy están enfrascados en negociaciones con el ejército, los gestores de facto de una transición hacia un nuevo orden político. El resultado de estas luchas de poder ayudará a determinar si Argelia y Sudán se vuelven más democráticos y prósperos o si, en cambio, se suman a una cadena de décadas de esperanzas frustradas en la región.

Los manifestantes parecen ser plenamente conscientes de los peligros de la “trampa egipcia”, por la cual un general que asume el cargo de un gobierno supuestamente interino termina convirtiéndose en un presidente de por vida.…  Seguir leyendo »

On April 19, Sudanese viewers who tuned into the national TV channel saw something extraordinary: an extended interview with two famous dissidents. One was Mohamed Nagi al-Asam, a doctor who is a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the coalition of independent trade unions that has played a crucial role in the protests in Khartoum that toppled then-President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Asam had spent about three months in detention when he was freed on April 6 thanks to the uprising. He was joined in the broadcast by Modathir Taysir, another political activist who has served multiple jail terms for his work.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Sudanese child walks past a mural depicting protesters and soldiers on a street in Khartoum, Sudan, on Tuesday. Sudanese protesters continued their sit-in and gatherings near the army headquarters, pressing for a civilian council instead of the current military one. (Str/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

On April 11, after months of intensifying street protests, Sudan’s military ousted president Omar Hassan al-Bashir after nearly 30 years in power. The African Union, like other international bodies, responded by expressing dismay at the unconstitutional overthrow while calling for a calm and restrained transition to civilian, democratic rule.

Bashir is just the latest long-standing African leader to be deposed recently, including Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaoré in 2014, Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh in 2017, and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe in 2017.

In theory, the African Union is committed to rejecting unconstitutional changes in government. How strong is that commitment — and practically, what can and will the African Union do when there’s a military overthrow?…  Seguir leyendo »

A mother washes her infant at a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in a civilian protection site in Malakal, South Sudan, in March. (Alex Mcbride/AFP/Getty Images)

The military overthrow of Sudan’s longtime president last week raises new concerns for the fragile peace process in South Sudan, where a five-year civil war left 400,000 people dead and 4 million displaced. Will the new government in Khartoum continue to put pressure on South Sudanese parties to maintain peace — something that ousted Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir had made a priority?

The risk of renewed conflict puts a new spotlight on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and whether it is able to protect civilians in a territory the size of France with only 17,000 troops, a task that some call mission impossible.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese protesters hold up brooms as they rally Monday near a military headquarters in Khartoum, after the ouster of longtime president Omar al-Bashir. (AFP/Getty Images)

Last week, after months of increasing protests, the Sudanese army announced that it would soon make an important statement, leading to speculation about an imminent coup. Within what seemed like minutes, the news service Arabiya announced that President Omar al-Bashir, after 20 years in power, was stepping down. A transitional military council announced it would rule for two years, followed by al-Bashir’s arrest.

Clearly, the military did topple the government. The African Union denounced the military takeover, and protesters are still in the streets demanding civilian rule.

Since the end of World War II, the top three most common ways autocrats have left power are through coups, elections, and negotiated settlements.…  Seguir leyendo »

On April 11, the Sudanese military carried out a takeover against President Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s dictator for the past 30 years. The military takeover came after months of popular protests, with citizens demanding a democratic transition.

General Awad Ibn Auf, an ally of Bashir’s, became president — but just for a day. On April 12, Ibn Auf bowed out as the protests continued. Lt. General Abdel-Fattah Burhan then assumed power.

Despite ousting two autocrats in two days, it’s unclear whether Sudan will transition to democracy in the near term. Here are four things to know about the political situation:

1. Popular mobilization against Bashir intensified over the past four months

Last week’s sudden shifts came amid widespread popular dissatisfaction with Bashir — some of it long-standing.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators gather in Sudan's capital of Khartoum Friday as the Sudanese protest movement has rejected the military's declaration that it has no ambitions to hold the reins of power for long after ousting the president of 30 years, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. (Anonymous/AP)

For the past decade, governments around the world lined up to legitimize the regime of Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Sudan — even as it continued to attack civilians in Darfur, burn Christian churches, deny food to areas of the Nuba Mountains, provide support to extremist groups, and arrest and torture protesters. Instead of confronting these abuses, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the African Union, China, Russia and Persian Gulf countries all sought ways to strengthen relations with his government.

Only one constituency stood up to Bashir and his allied generals: the Sudanese people themselves. After years of organizing and resisting, Sudan’s pro-reform social movement catalyzed protests across the country, resulting in a “palace coup ” on Thursday .…  Seguir leyendo »

The ouster of Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir after 30 years in power has been a long time coming. His removal and arrest — by his former military colleagues — were the culmination of popular protests in several Sudanese cities, which have effectively been going on for the past four months, initially sparked by a spiraling cost of living and the deterioration of economic conditions. However, the manner of his departure has left a sour taste in the mouths of many protesters.

That Bashir has basically been removed by his second in command, Awad Ibn Auf, implies that little has actually changed.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Thursday, after about four months of continuous protests, the Sudanese people achieved the seemingly improbable. They brought down one of the world’s most corrupt and inhumane military dictators — peacefully.

This momentous event, which can only be described as a revolution, would not have been possible if Sudan’s youth had not dared to dream of freedom and to persist in that dream. Theirs is a revolution born of great pain and frustration, but also increasingly fueled by witty humor, joy and a stubbornness that insists on the celebration of life and Sudan’s diversity, in conscious and dramatic contrast to the violence and inhumanity of the regime of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.…  Seguir leyendo »

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, now the former president, in 2017. Credit Ashraf Shazly/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Thirty years feels like a lifetime. On Thursday, months of peaceful, popular protests finally forced Sudan’s military to oust President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. It feels as if a century has passed since I was in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, just after Mr. al-Bashir ousted Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi in a bloodless coup supported by the Islamists and the army in December 1989.

Six months after the coup the mood was already shifting from shock to gloomy resignation. Nobody in his wildest dreams thought the new leadership would last three decades.

I had no idea then that the Khartoum I knew would disappear: the evening lights, the cinemas and ice cream parlors.…  Seguir leyendo »

Crowds of Sudanese gathered at the army headquarters on Thursday, chanting “The regime has fallen.” Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Widespread peaceful protests have forced Sudan’s long-serving military ruler, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, out of office. But a transition to democracy is going to be far more difficult and will need prompt international support.

During his 30 years in power, Mr. Bashir built a hydra-headed military and security apparatus. On Thursday, a cabal of his henchmen in the military replaced him and took over. Gen. Awad Ibn Auf, Sudan’s minister of defense, appeared on state television and announced the end of Mr. Bashir’s era and the beginning of a two-year transition period during which the army will rule. Though he promised “representation of the people,” many Sudanese will see this as betraying their demand for democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

A tide of demonstrators marched onto the headquarters of the Sudanese military in Khartoum on Saturday, to celebrate the 100th day of the protest movement and demand an end to the regime of President Omar al-Bashir. From a high floor of the ground forces’ building, a soldier filmed a dense crowd of people along the airport road as far as the eye could see. After months of scattered demonstrations, the large turnout marked a sharp escalation of the mobilization.

News that a few soldiers had joined demonstrators enthused activists, while one colonel, Hamid Othman Hamid, chanted, “the people want the downfall of the regime.” After protesters began a sit-in, loyalist forces pushed in with tear gas and live ammunition, but soldiers intervened to protect them, opening the gates of their compound to provide shelter and exchanging heavy fire with assailants.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dr Georges Fahmi Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa

Over the past few months, protesters have been taking to the streets in Sudan and Algeria, calling for political change.

In Sudan, the protest movement started as a reaction to an increase in the price of bread in December, eventually escalating into demands for regime change. Although the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, has promised economic and political reforms, protestors have continued calling for him to step down.

In Algeria, the protests started in February in objection to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision to run for a fifth term. Under pressure from the protests, Bouteflika has decided to drop his plan to run again and has proposed postponing the elections while political reforms are implemented.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Omar al-Bashir, who came to power in an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989, is facing the most serious challenge to his regime to date. Now entering their fourth month, nationwide protests calling for regime change are continuing in defiance of the national state of emergency declared by the president on 22 February.

The government has responded to the protests with a brutal security crackdown. Peaceful demonstrations have been fired on using live ammunition, and thousands of arrests have been made, with some detainees reported to have been tortured.

President Bashir has appointed a new government, installed military and security officers in all state governorships, issued emergency decrees banning unlicensed protests, established emergency courts, and deployed large numbers of security forces on the streets.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Feb. 22, Sudan’s embattled president, Omar al-Bashir, declared a one-year, nationwide state of emergency. He subsequently issued five decrees to implement the declaration that collectively curtail fundamental rights to a degree that is unprecedented in the post-independence history of Sudan.

The state of emergency came during peaceful protests — started by the Sudanese people late last year, which now pose a credible threat to the 30-year rule of Bashir’s National Congress Party. Bashir, already wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for atrocities against his own people, clearly recognizes the precariousness of his position following his government’s conspicuous failure to stem the protests through use of excessive force.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is seen during a swearing in ceremony of new officials after he dissolved the central and state governments in Khartoum, Sudan February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

President Omar al-Bashir’s address to the nation on the evening of 22 February attempted to defuse the crisis that has engulfed his administration in the longest wave of protests in decades. Instead, the president’s words infuriated protesters and steered the confrontation, pitting the regime against a diffuse, still-peaceful protest movement into a new, more dangerous phase. Bashir spoke of the need for dialogue but in declaring a state of emergency, he placed more obstacles in the way of talks. He dissolved the government at the federal and provincial levels and, shortly after his speech, appointed security chiefs to head all 18 of the country’s regional states.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators march during anti-government protests in Khartoum, Sudan, on Jan. 24, 2019. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

The Arab Spring’s legacy is proving to be irrepressible. Since mid-December, protesters in Sudan have been demonstrating in increasing numbers across the economically strapped country. They have been calling for an end to 30 years of repressive rule by Gen. Omar al-Bashir.

Long before 2011 swept four autocratic leaders into the dustbin of Arab history, Sudan was a template for a successful Arab mass revolt. The first Sudanese uprising took place in 1964 just eight years after its independence from Britain. Another on April 6, 1985, toppled its military president, Jaafar Nimeri, while he was visiting the United States.

I was the last foreign journalist to interview Nimeri before his downfall.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese protesters chanting slogans against President Omar al-Bashir during a demonstration last week in Omdurman.CreditCreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

Despite at least 45 people being killed by security forces, tens of thousands of people across Sudan have been peacefully protesting against the oppressive rule of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has ruled the country for 30 years.

The protests started in mid-December in Atbara, a city in River Nile state, about 180 miles from Khartoum, as a spontaneous reaction to rising prices after Mr. Bashir’s decision to end fuel and wheat subsidies, following the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund. When the protests broke out, inflation in Sudan had soared to 72.94 percent, the second highest rate in the world after Venezuela.…  Seguir leyendo »

People chanted slogans during a protest on Dec. 23 in Kordofan, Sudan. (Sudanese Activist/AP)

On Dec. 19, the town of Atbara in northeastern Sudan erupted in protest against the military dictatorship that has ruled the country for almost three decades. People took to the streets following a tripling of bread prices to demand “freedom, peace, justice and the downfall of the regime.” But international coverage framing the protests as bread riots obscures the larger political context, misrepresents protesters’ demands and inadvertently supports the regime’s insistence that the crisis can be resolved by simply reintroducing targeted subsidies and stabilizing the Sudanese pound.

What do the protests look like?

Representing potentially the greatest threat to the regime of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir since it came to power in a military coup in 1989, protests have been intensifying.…  Seguir leyendo »

Violence against civilians in Darfur . Darker shades of red represent higher numbers of recorded instances of violence against civilians in a locality, while lighter shades represent fewer recorded instances of violence. The black bullets indicate instances of obstruction and/or intimidation of peacekeepers, while the shade of the localities in Darfur indicate the number of documented instances of violence against civilians between January 2008 and April 2009. (Figure from: Duursma, A. Obstruction and intimidation of peacekeepers: How armed actors undermine civilian protection efforts. Journal of Peace Research.)

Congolese rebels killed eight U.N. peacekeepers on Nov. 15. The same rebel group was responsible for the death of 15 peacekeepers in December 2017, the deadliest single assault on the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo in its 25 years of existence.

U.N. peacekeepers also face heavy armed resistance in places such as Mali, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. These serious attacks may obscure another crucial threat to peacekeeping missions: Government forces and rebels obstruct and intimidate peacekeepers to prevent them from fulfilling their civilian protection mandate.

For instance, government forces and the Kamuina Nsapu militia fought in Congo’s Kasai-Central province in March 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »