Posts by: Alex DeWaal

Full article available with subscription through the Times Literary Supplement. Excerpt:

The Sudanese know the script of non- violent popular uprising. Indeed, they have a strong claim to being pioneers in the field, long before the 2011 Arab Spring, in October 1964, when peaceful protests forced the country’s military ruler, General Ibrahim Abboud, to quit. […]

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Al Shabaab has a remarkable intelligence apparatus. The title of this book alludes to a phone call that Mary Harper, a BBC journalist and longtime reporter on Somalia, received following a visit to Baidoa in the southwest of the country. The caller was a member of Al Shabaab, who described precisely where she had gone, whom she had met and what she had done in that town, and also in Mogadishu, down to the tube of Pringles she was holding when coming out of a shop. After her itinerary was read back to her, Harper told the caller that everything he had told her was true. She writes, ‘it is ironic that Al Shabaab has been able to describe to me so accurately what I do and whom I see when I visit Somalia while I have found it almost impossible to establish a single certifiable truth about the group.’

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The Arab world’s rivalries aren’t driving the unfolding Sudanese drama. But these regional power games could soon play out within Sudanese politics, with each state backing its favored client with money and, perhaps even guns. Such an outcome could have the same calamitous results in Sudan that it has had in Libya and Yemen. The “troika” of countries that sponsored the north-south peace negotiations in Sudan 15 years ago—Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States—have been conspicuously absent during the protests and the coup.

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Sudan after Bashir

On April 18, 2019 By

If the civic opposition can seize the day, they could well set the agenda in their talks with a disoriented soldiery. If they cannot, the situation could quickly deteriorate. Gosh’s resignation is a warning. He is a merciless operator and no one expects him to go quietly into retirement. The security bosses all have foreign ties: the Islamists (currently sidelined by the coup) have backers in Qatar and Turkey; Ibn Auf may be gone but others in the high command are close to Egypt; Burhan and Hemeti have led troop deployments in Yemen on the Saudi payroll; Gosh is close to the United Arab Emirates. The security hydra – multitudinous, avaricious, with each faction backed by a rivalrous foreign patron – poses an ominous threat.

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On Thursday, a cabal of military officers, security chiefs and paramilitary commanders overthrew President Omar al Bashir, who had been in power since 1989. All were Pres. Bashir’s most senior lieutenants. Their intent is clearly to keep the existing system intact—with all the power and privilege that they enjoy. But it was one of the […]

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It will be tempting for the United States, the United Nations and the African Union to congratulate General Ibn Auf on the overdue removal of Mr. Bashir and the promise of stability, and leave democratic change to news bulletins. That would be a mistake: The work of solving Sudan’s problems is only just beginning.

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