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 »

Sudanese protesters during a demonstration in Khartoum. Marwan Ali/EPA-EFE

Just under a year ago, Sudan’s long-time dictator, Omar al-Bashir, was ousted from power. He was replaced by an 11-member sovereign council and technocratic government which will run the country until 2022.

There have been growing calls in recent months to have Sudan removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. Sudan was put on the list in 1993 for “supporting international terrorist groups” and remained on the list for hosting Osama bin Laden, supporting the bombing of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, and attacking the USS Cole in 2000.

The calls have come from Sudan’s new Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, the African Union and former American president Jimmy Carter, among others.…  Seguir leyendo »

Firefights rocked Sudan’s capital on Tuesday, as members of the country’s security service, the General Intelligence Service, mutinied against the government. The rebellion prompted the closure of Khartoum’s airport and raised fears about a coup that could overturn the democratic progress the country has made since a revolution overthrew longtime President Omar Hassan al-Bashir last year.

These developments triggered a flurry of speculation about the motives of the mutineers. Sudan is negotiating a perilous political transition, in which civilians representing the opposition to Bashir share power with representatives of the military junta that overthrew him. Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan currently heads the Sovereignty Council, Sudan’s transitional governance body, pending national elections that are expected to take place in late 2022.…  Seguir leyendo »

A train carrying protesters from Atbara, the birthplace of an uprising that toppled Sudan's former president Omar al-Bashir, approaches a Khartoum train station to support demonstrators outside the defense ministry compound on April 23. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

On a hot May afternoon in Khartoum, less than a month after the ouster of former Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, I met a 29-year-old college graduate at a tent that served as a base for Darfuri protesters near the army headquarters. The protesters had vowed to stay until the military leaders who took over when Bashir stepped down transferred power to civilian rulers.

“I am worried that political compromises [by the military] would lead to a situation of, ‘Let’s move on,’ ” he told me. “Every single one of us here at the sit-in has a story with [the Bashir regime], and their stories must be heard.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pour tous ceux qui ont suivi les événements survenus au Soudan ces neuf derniers mois, une question, cruciale, demeure : y a-t-il une chance que la révolution se conclue par l’instauration d’une démocratie stable et durable ? Dans toute la région, les soulèvements populaires se sont heurtés à des répressions sanglantes qui ont conduit à la restauration de régimes autoritaires et anéanti tout espoir de réforme. Nous avons tous été témoins de l’enlisement tragique des conflits en Libye, au Yémen et en Syrie. Tandis qu’en Egypte la junte militaire, plus cruelle que l’ancienne, a réduit à néant tous espoirs de voir s’imposer dans un avenir proche un gouvernement véritablement représentatif.…  Seguir leyendo »

Following the ouster of Sudan’s strongman Omar al-Bashir, sustained pressure yielded a power-sharing agreement between the military and opposition alliance. But the settlement is fragile and the economy is in deep distress. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2019 – Third Update for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to support the civilian cabinet during the country’s delicate transition.

This commentary is part of our Watch List 2019 – Third Update.

Against long odds, a protest movement triggered the ouster of Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir, one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders. He was finally deposed by military coup on 11 April 2019.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pro-democracy protesters rally in Cairo in February 2011. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

After eight months of protest, Sudan’s ongoing transition to civilian democratic rule will reach a milestone this week when the country’s transitional government is announced. Meanwhile in Algeria, protesters continue to gather weekly to demand fundamental changes to the political system five months after the removal of the country’s president.

In the face of ruthless security apparatuses, how can protesters in Sudan and Algeria avoid the fate of Egypt, where the old regime was able to engineer a comeback only two years after the ouster of the country’s erstwhile dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

What makes a revolution successful?

Many factors determine whether a revolution is successful in installing a stable democracy, from international intervention to a country’s economic conditions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudan’s former president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, inside a cage at the courthouse where he is facing corruption charges, in Khartoum, Sudan, on Monday.CreditCreditMohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

The sight of the former president of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, sitting caged inside a courtroom in Khartoum on Monday had an absurdly theatrical aspect to it. For nearly 30 years Mr. al-Bashir pranced arrogantly about, overcoming political opposition and surviving global condemnation after his 2009 indictment for war crimes. The old man in his white gallabia and floppy turban seemed unperturbed, hardly aware of the bars around him. Understandably, perhaps.

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, the generals who served and eventually replaced the dictator, made it clear that while he faced charges for corruption and money laundering, Mr. al-Bashir will not be handed over to the International Criminal Court or stand trial for human rights abuses or war crimes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese demonstrators in Khartoum celebrate a hard-won transitional agreement on 4 August 2019. The agreement provides for a joint civilian-military body to oversee a civilian government and parliament for a three year transition period. Photo: Getty Images.

A compromise agreement

After more than seven months of peaceful pro-democracy protests, leading to the fall of former President Omar al Bashir’s regime in April, Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition coalition of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) agreed on 4 August to form a civilian-led transitional government, paving the way for democratic transition.

The agreement is a step forward but still leaves considerable power in the hands of the military. Given the power imbalance between the military and unarmed civilians, the FFC concluded that a compromise was needed in order to establish a transitional government, however imperfect, so that civilians could push their reform agenda from inside government and avoid a political vacuum.…  Seguir leyendo »

People celebrate in Khartoum on July 5 after Sudan’s ruling military council and a coalition of opposition and protest groups reached an agreement to share power leading up to elections. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

The announcement Thursday by Sudan’s transitional military government that it had foiled an attempted coup was the latest setback to a power-sharing deal meant to structure a three-year transition set to culminate in democratic elections.

The agreement came after months of sustained protest that forced Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the country’s long-ruling president, to step down in April. After Bashir’s departure, the protest movement struggled to negotiate with a transitional military government led by top lieutenants of the former regime. The negotiations ended abruptly June 3, when troops attacked pro-democracy demonstrators in Khartoum, killing at least 100 people and injuring 300.

International pressure helped restart negotiations that surprised many observers by producing an agreement initially hailed by both sides.…  Seguir leyendo »

Months of massive protests led to the presidents of both Algeria and Sudan being forced from office — and citizens from both countries are demanding radical change, including constitutional reform. Government and military officials in both countries have promised changes. But what are the prospects for meaningful reform?

In many democracies, constitutions have a number of purposes, including establishing the relationship between the individual and the state and the rules for how key state institutions should interact with each other. Constitutions in the Arab region function differently, in that their main focus is organizing the relationship between institutions.

Arab constitutions therefore dedicate most of their attention to issues such as who is responsible for forming governments, in what circumstances parliament can be dissolved, who exercises oversight over security institutions, and other more detailed rules such as candidacy requirements for elections, among many others.…  Seguir leyendo »

Worshippers gather at a mosque behind a roadblock set by protesters on a main street in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to stop military vehicles from driving through the area on June 5, 2019. (AP)

When the Janjaweed militia attacked protesters at the peaceful sit-in in front of the army headquarters in Khartoum last week, eyewitnesses told me the militia forces said, «You used to chant the whole country is Darfur. Now we brought Darfur to you, to Khartoum.”

They were referring to one of the most famous chants used during the protest movement that toppled Omar Hassan Al-Bashir after three decades in power. “The whole country is Darfur” was repeated over and over again in protests all over the country, but especially in Khartoum as a way to recognize the suffering that was ignored for so long in Darfur.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of Sudan's alliance of opposition and protest groups chant slogans outside Sudan's central bank during the second day of a strike in Khartoum on May 29. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

Since December, Sudan’s capital of Khartoum has been swarming with protesters demanding democratic elections and freedoms rather than autocratic rule. The government has responded with physical violence and online censorship. From December through April, the government ordered its telecommunications companies to block social media and to periodically disable access to the Internet nationwide.

Nevertheless, the demonstrators forced longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir to step down, and have begun negotiating with the military for a transitional civilian government.

On June 5, Sudan’s Internet was disrupted yet again, starting with mobile phone service providers MTN and Mobitel and spreading to Sudan’s other mobile services.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le 3 juin, des hommes en armes du régime ont tiré, violé, fouetté, jeté dans le Nil des civils. Le bilan fait état de plus d’une centaine de morts, de centaines de blessés et de centaines de disparus. La contre-révolution est à l’offensive. Il y a urgence à agir, y compris pour la diaspora soudanaise, les citoyens européens, et leurs institutions, dont l’UE.

Comme un rayon de lumière au cœur des ténèbres. Comme un coup de tonnerre qui briserait des années de silence. La révolution soudanaise s’est levée pour mettre fin à trente ans de tyrannie, d’oppression et de répression. Pour les Soudanais, les cendres des 3 000 villages incendiés au Darfour par le régime islamiste du dictateur Omar el-Béchir sont encore chaudes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudanese protesters open their smartphones lights as they gather for a "million-strong" march outside the army headquarters in Khartoum on April 25, 2019. Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images.

Many Sudanese believe that the uprising is moving in the right direction and will ultimately deliver a transition to a legitimate civilian government. However, this outcome remains finely balanced and there are valid concerns about the intentions of the new transitional military council and a possible return to dictatorship.

The military council maintains the need for a transitional period of up to two years before handing over power to civilians. But the protests have continued, despite the military’s attempts at gentle dispersion, and there are worries about how much patience the armed forces will continue to show.

There is significant potential for increased violence, particularly if demands for a rapid transition towards an inclusive, transitional civilian government are not met.…  Seguir leyendo »

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 »