A Sudanese man waves his country's flag as he stands in front of a barricaded street during protests in the capital Khartoum to mark the second anniversary of the revolt that toppled the previous government, on Dec. 19, 2020. ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images

Three years ago last month, Sudan overthrew its autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir. For the United States, the United Nations, and the international community, Sudan’s revolution was seen as a historic opportunity to transition a dictatorship into a democracy. The United States pledged $700 million to support the transition to democracy in addition to around $600 million in annual assistance. The U.N. set up a mission to support the elections. French leader Emmanuel Macron held a high-profile international donor conference to support the civilian government.

But today, Sudan’s democratic movement is all but stamped out. A military coup against the civilian prime minister in October 2021 halted hopes of a real transition.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2022. Africa. Sudan: Toward a Reset for the Transition

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

Sudan’s once-promising transition away from autocratic rule has veered off course. On 25 October 2021, the country’s generals deposed the civilian-led cabinet in a coup, abruptly ending the civilian-military power-sharing arrangement that was to steer the country to free elections. Under considerable international pressure, armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on 21 November. That concession did little to mollify protesters furious at the military’s power grab.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators in Khartoum, Sudan, during a Jan. 9 rally against military rule. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

On Monday, the U.N. mission in Sudan initiated consultations aimed at helping resurrect the country’s democratic transition, amid a growing political crisis after Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned Jan. 2. His resignation followed months of turmoil after a military coup on Oct. 25 derailed Sudan’s two-year effort to transition toward democracy. Hamdok had agreed to return as prime minister after being placed under house arrest in October, but he quit after the military interfered in his governance.

Hamdok’s resignation leaves only Sudan’s military leaders in control, complicating U.S. and international efforts to facilitate the return to a civil-military power-sharing agreement. His return had failed to persuade a highly mobilized grass-roots movement that Sudan is back on track toward full civilian rule.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese anti-coup protesters take to the streets during a demonstration in Khartoum, Sudan, on Nov. 30. Thousands of protesters rallied against a deal reinstating the prime minister after his ouster in a military coup last month. (EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

On Oct. 25, the head of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power from Sudan’s transitional government, established after mass protests in 2019 ousted longtime dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The Sudanese people and the international community promptly condemned Burhan’s coup. Now, an agreement between Burhan and the prime minister of the transitional government, Abdalla Hamdok, purports to reverse the coup. In reality, it entrenches military rule.

The Sudanese people did not hesitate in calling out the duplicitous nature of references to democracy in the agreement, signed Nov. 21. Tellingly, 12 ministers of the pre-coup government resigned in response to the signing.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Es Sudán la próxima Libia?

Los países poscoloniales con nula o escasa tradición democrática que se libran de dictaduras brutales no suelen convertirse en democracias. En vez de eso, es común que deban enfrentar caos político y una competencia de actores extranjeros en busca de ventajas estratégicas. Es lo que ocurrió en Irak después de la caída de Saddam Hussein y en Libia tras el derrocamiento de Muammar el Gaddafi. ¿Le aguarda a Sudán el mismo destino?

Hasta ahora, parece que sí. Cuando en 2019 un golpe militar sacó del poder al viejo dictador sudanés Omar al Bashir, las mismas potencias extranjeras que hicieron de Libia su campo de juego estratégico vieron una oportunidad para sentar presencia en el cruce de caminos entre África subsahariana y Medio Oriente.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Se puede reabrir la apertura democrática de Sudán?

La implementación del acuerdo de 2019 para compartir el poder entre los líderes civiles y militares de Sudán, que preveía una transición a un orden democrático después del derrocamiento del dictador Omar al-Bashir, nunca se vio fácil; pero después del golpe militar del mes pasado, la pregunta ahora es si la democracia sigue incluida en la agenda en absoluto.

Los militares y la Fuerzas de la Libertad y el Cambio (FFC, por su sigla en inglés), que representaban a los revolucionarios que derrocaron a Bashir en abril de 2019, desconfiaban entre sí desde el primer momento, pero no tenían más alternativa que llegar a un acuerdo después de su destitución.…  Seguir leyendo »

Spraying next to a stencil painting of Sudan's top army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan with a writing in Arabic that reads 'leave' during a protest in Khartoum against the 2021 military coup. Photo by AFP via Getty Images.

The head of Sudan’s armed forces Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan claims the military coup of 25 October was to protect the transition to democracy because political infighting was stalling progress on establishing crucial institutions. But despite a clear determination to make the coup stick, the military is clearly under pressure and may have overestimated its chances of success.

The coup has been accompanied by arrests of politicians, activists, and leaders of local resistance committees, including some of Sudan’s most effective advocates for democratic transformation. Additionally, administrators appointed since the revolution have been dismissed while members of the old regime and Bashir’s feared intelligence service have reappeared.…  Seguir leyendo »

KHARTOUM, SUDAN - OCTOBER 30: Sudanese people stage a demonstration demanding the end of the military intervention and the transfer of administration to civilians in Khartoum, Sudan on October 30, 2021. Mahmoud Hjaj/ANADOLU AGENCY/Anadolu Agency via AFP

What has been the reaction to the coup over the past two weeks?

The Sudanese people have mobilised swiftly and peacefully against the 25 October coup, recalling the protests that toppled the dictator Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. Since the generals wrested full control of government from the civilian-military power-sharing arrangement made to oversee the post-Bashir transition, men and women in the capital Khartoum and other towns have taken to the streets, culminating in coordinated countrywide demonstrations numbering hundreds of thousands on 30 October. Many Sudanese workers are meanwhile striking, paralysing the country’s economy, though banks and key businesses such as pharmacies have occasionally reopened as organisers sought to ease the burden on the public.…  Seguir leyendo »

People protest in Khartoum, Sudan, on Oct. 30. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

As an unpopular military coup engulfed Sudan in recent days, I was reminded of a different vision for that country: the democratic one where a multitude of voices can express themselves freely without fear of repercussion.

From afar, that seemed to be the path the country was on after a popular uprising brought down the dictatorship of former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir in 2019. We in the free world should be doing everything in our power to help the Sudanese people get back on that path.

“In a new Sudan, never again we will jail journalists,” Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said in his closing remarks at the United Nations in September 2019.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tens of thousands of Sudanese marched on 21 October in several cities, such as here in Khartoum, the capital, to demand a complete transfer of power to civilians. © Ashraf Shazly / AFP

On September 21, Sudan’s government announced it had averted another attempted coup by army officers and supporters of the former deposed president Omar al-Bashir.  The army quashed it quickly, arresting scores of suspects.

Sudan’s history is replete with coups, including one in 1989 that brought al-Bashir into power. Even after al-Bashir’s ouster 30 years later, the new transitional government has already faced several, including a brazen attempt on Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok’s life, in early 2020.  But this one appears to have shaken the transitional government to its core. Amid speculation about who orchestrated it, leaders have traded recriminations and blame for weeks.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of the civilian government at a demonstration in Khartoum, Sudan, on Oct. 21. The counterrevolution can still be reversed. Credit Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images

On Monday, the Sudanese military launched a coup. Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the military, seized control of the transitional government — which was established in the aftermath of the 2018-19 revolution that ousted the autocrat Omar Hassan al-Bashir — and announced a state of emergency. He took the prime minister captive and arrested numerous other cabinet ministers.

General al-Burhan justified the intervention by citing strife and deadlock within the transitional government, whose popularity has waned as the country’s economic conditions have deteriorated. But the real reason for the coup is likely to be more straightforward: General al-Burhan was due to hand over the chairmanship of the Sovereignty Council, the country’s collective head of state, as early as November.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese security forces keep watch as they protect a military hospital and government offices during protests against a military coup overthrowing the transition to civilian rule on Monday in the capital's twin city of Omdurman. (AFP/Getty Images)

Just days ago, tens of thousands of Sudanese joined protests in memory of the October 1964 Revolution, a peaceful uprising that brought down a military regime and installed a democratic government. On Monday, many Sudanese were back out on the streets, this time in a desperate bid to keep democracy alive.

The origins of the current crisis go back to 2019, when the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a broad coalition of activists, opposition political parties and rebel groups, came together to topple the government of Omar al-Bashir. In the wake of Bashir’s fall, civilian and military leaders formed the Sovereignty Council, an 11-member body charged with scheduling elections and overseeing the transition to permanent democratic rule.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese protesters lift national flags as they rally on 60th Street in the capital Khartoum, to denounce overnight detentions by the army of government members. 25 October 2021. AFP

Sudan is in peril. On 25 October, just weeks after a failed coup attempt, the country’s generals removed the civilian-led government that had been piloting a transition after an uprising unseated long-serving ruler Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. Soldiers surrounded Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s residence in the capital Khartoum, detaining him and other senior officials. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who headed the Sovereign Council, a joint civilian-military body that has governed the country since August 2019, announced its dissolution, declaring a nationwide state of emergency. Reaction to the coup from the street was swift. Thousands of protesters massed in Khartoum and across the country, raising the spectre of a reprise of past crackdowns on dissent.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pro-democracy protesters take to the streets to condemn a takeover by military officials, in Khartoum, Sudan, on Oct. 25. (Ashraf Idris/AP)

The Sudanese military staged a coup on Monday and arrested members of the ruling Sovereignty Council, a joint civilian-military government charged with navigating Sudan’s transition to democratic rule. Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of Sudan’s military, announced on Monday afternoon that he was dissolving the government and the Sovereignty Council. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, was among those arrested.

The coup comes amid recent widespread and highly polarized protests. Pro-military demonstrators marched in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, on Oct. 16. Marchers reportedly implored the Sudanese armed forces to stage a coup. Days later, on Oct. 21, thousands of counterprotesters turned out in Khartoum and other cities in Sudan, calling for a fully civilian government.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese drivers queue up for fuel in Omdourman as the country's economy sinks into deep crisis following the fall of Omar al-Bashir's regime. Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images.

Sudan is in the international spotlight on 17 May at a high-level conference in Paris hosted by President Macron in support of its fledgling democratic transition. This important moment is intended to signal Sudan’s reintegration into the international community, following its removal from the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) in 2020. It is also an opportunity for Sudan to rebrand itself and tell the world that it is open for business.

Yet the difficulties of transitioning from authoritarian rule to democracy are enormous. Success ultimately depends on the civilian-led government’s ability to address the continued economic crisis, which has caused widespread daily hardship for millions of Sudanese, as well as hindering sustainable development and the implementation of peace.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudan's ousted president Omar al-Bashir (centre) during his trial along with others over the 1989 military coup that brought them to power, at a courthouse in Khartoum. Photo by Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

The demand for justice was a major driver of the December 2018 Sudanese revolution that saw former President Omar al-Bashir removed after almost three decades in power, and ensuring accountability is now one of the biggest challenges facing the transitional government which replaced him.

Atrocities committed under the Bashir regime are already well documented, such as the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile.

The Darfur situation was referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the UN Security Council back in 2005, and arrest warrants were issued against Bashir and four others.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudan's ousted president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, right, arrives for his trial in Khartoum on Tuesday along with 27 co-accused over the 1989 military coup that brought him to power. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. government is poised to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, based on an agreement that requires Khartoum to pay $335 million to American victims of terrorist attacks. The deal recognizes that Sudan has met the delisting requirement of a “fundamental change” in leadership following courageous work by the Sudanese people to overthrow a 30-year dictatorship. But this hard-won achievement may be squandered by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who oppose the deal in the mistaken belief that doing so will help secure justice for families of 9/11 victims.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Lt General Abdel Fattah al Burhan (left), South Sudan President Salva Kiir (centre) and the Sudanese Prime Minister Dr Abdalla Hamdok (right) greet people gathering during the initialling of the Sudan peace deal with the rebel groups in Juba, South Sudan. Photo by AKUOT CHOL/AFP via Getty Images.

Although there is a long road ahead to achieve sustainable peace and formidable challenges remain, the hope is Sudan can turn the page on decades of war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, particularly in Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile).

The peace agreement, between Sudan’s transitional government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a broad alliance of armed and other movements, and Minni Minawi’s Sudan Liberation Movement, is not yet comprehensive as it did not include two other important armed movements.

Expected to be formally signed in early October, the deal has been hailed as a ’historic achievement’ by the UN secretary-general, and the international community also commended the government of South Sudan for its positive role as mediator and urged hold-out groups to join the peace process.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese mark the anniversary of a transitional power-sharing deal with demands for quicker political reforms in Khartoum on Aug. 17, 2020. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

Last month, Nasredeen Abdulbari, Sudan’s justice minister, announced the end of bans on alcohol and apostasy, and prohibited the use of traditional corporal punishment. These moves are part of a wider effort to shift Sudan away from traditional sharia, or Islamic law, which has been the basis of law in the country for decades.

Some observers in the West might see this as Sudan taking a step toward liberal democracy, recognizing that the transition remains delicate. But survey data from Arab Barometer — a nonpartisan research network providing insights on the views of citizens across the Arab world — suggest that Sudan’s population may not widely support these moves.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Blue Nile river passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) near Guba in Ethiopia. Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images.

Ongoing talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan attempting to find a diplomatic and peaceful solution to the dispute over the Blue Nile Basin offer a unique opportunity for trans-boundary cooperation and have huge significance for a region dealing with multiple complex issues.

With trust clearly at a premium, the continuation of talks demonstrates good faith, but there is an urgent need to strengthen negotiations through all available diplomatic channels. The African Union (AU) is well-placed to continue mediating, but sustained high-level engagement is also needed from regional and international partners such as the EU and US, as well as multilateral support in terms of both financial and technical resources.…  Seguir leyendo »