Currently viewing the tag: "political marketplace"

It’s rare in political science to be able to say, authoritatively, that an extensive sub-field of study has been operating under a false assumption, and that there’s an adjacent sub-field that has been almost entirely neglected. But this is the case with civil war and transnational/inter-state war in Africa. A Google Scholar search for the […]

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Starvation isn’t at the core of these malign political developments. But it’s clear that xenophobia, corruption and dishonesty are the enemies of humanitarian action and advocacy in the short term, and in the longer term they will impede sustained action to mitigate climate crisis and its traumas. The people who are deprived of what is indispensable for sustaining life, whether in Yemen or South Sudan, in refugee camps in Bangladesh or in detention facilities on the U.S.-Mexico border, are not only the victims of starvation crimes in need of our aid and advocacy, but are the wind chimes that warn of approaching storms.

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The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) have hammered out a deal with the generals who took power after the fall of long-serving ruler Omar al-Bashir. They have agreed to a 39-month transitional period. During this time, Sudan’s ultimate authority will be a Sovereign Council of five civilians and five generals, with an eleventh member to chair it – initially a soldier, later a civilian. A technocratic government is being set up and an interim national assembly appointed. Negotiating the power-sharing formula was hard enough – solving Sudan’s deep-seated political and economic problems is going to be harder still. Newly-appointed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is under no illusions about the challenge he faces. He is not a politician. He is an economist, a technocrat who has spent the last decades in the African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

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As Sudan’s military rulers and the pro-democracy coalition of Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) resume their fraught negotiations over the composition of a civilian government, real power is being transacted according to a different logic—the political marketplace. A political marketplace analysis of Sudan is an important tool for democracy activists in Sudan to understand the power base of the forces they are confronting. Otherwise the leaders of the FFC risk finding themselves with formal responsibility for a political apparatus, which runs according to a set of logics they simply cannot control.

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The struggle in Khartoum today is not just between military rule and democracy, but over whether Sudan should be ruled by those from the historic center of power on the Nile River or by the people of the vast and underprivileged peripheries.

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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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