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Sudan

Sudan is undergoing a major transition following the 11 April ouster of Omar al-Bashir, one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders. The strongman’s toppling, prompted by a sustained, peaceful campaign by a diverse and well-organised protest movement, raised hopes that the country might make a transition to more inclusive, civilian-led rule. That transition has been halting and is fraught with risk, with the old military regime showing little appetite for real change. Sudan matters not least because it sits in one of the most geostrategic locations on the continent, straddling the Horn and North Africa, with a long Red Sea coastline, and serving as a historical bridge between North and sub-Saharan Africa. Through field research and advocacy with Sudanese and international actors in the region, we aim to reduce the likelihood of conflict inside Sudan and encourage a genuine transition to more inclusive governance by Khartoum and an attendant shift toward positively engaged regional and international relations.

CrisisWatch Sudan

Unchanged Situation

Deadly clashes in disputed border areas with Ethiopia continued, rebel coalition joined govt following Oct 2020 peace agreement, and protests over deteriorating economic situation held nationwide. Amid troop build-up on both sides, Sudanese army and Ethiopian regular and irregular forces clashed throughout month in Al-Fashqa and nearby Al-Qureisha border regions, killing several Sudanese security personnel and civilians and leaving unknown number of Ethiopian forces dead. Khartoum 14 Feb accused Ethiopian forces of entering Sudan, condemned “aggression” and “unacceptable escalation”, 20 Feb threatened to expel Ethiopian UN peacekeepers stationed in disputed Abyei area between Sudan and South Sudan. Mauritanian media 17 Feb reported AU had tasked Special Envoy to Sudan Mohamed el Hacen Lebatt with mediating border dispute. Following Oct 2020 peace deal with rebel coalition Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), Sovereign Council 4 Feb integrated three SRF members; PM Hamdok 8 Feb appointed seven SRF and 18 members of political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) to cabinet; new cabinet sworn in 10 Feb. In Central Darfur state, holdout rebel group Sudan Liberation Movement/Army led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur 4 Feb said it had repelled attack by “govt militias” in Rukona area, killing 24 and capturing one. Demonstrations over deteriorating economic situation, including rising price of basic commodities, held countrywide; police early Feb reportedly arrested some 100 protesters including in North Kordofan state’s capital Obeid, and seven states had declared state of emergency by 11 Feb. Authorities 11-12 Feb detained four senior figures of dissolved National Congress Party, ruling party under former President Bashir, for allegedly fomenting unrest. Central Bank 21 Feb sharply devalued Sudanese pound in move to address vast gap between official and black-market rates, and to secure debt relief. Amid stalled AU-led negotiations with Egypt and Ethiopia over filling and operation of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Blue Nile River, govt 18 Feb proposed quadripartite mediation by AU, EU, U.S. and UN, drawing support from Egypt.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

6 Oct 2020
The military [...] simply has not had the time nor shown the will to address violence in the way that many rural Sudanese would need to see in order to put down their weapons. AFP

Jonas Horner

Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
1 Oct 2020
Sudan’s economy is in freefall and there has been limited international assistance. Al-Jazeera

Jonas Horner

Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
26 Aug 2020
Sudan has been pretty isolated for a long time. It is very keen to get off this [terror] list. This is the carrot. Financial Times

Jonas Horner

Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
29 Jul 2020
The violence [in Sudan] has triggered a wave of sit-ins across the region, demanding authorities protect civilians from the militias, who are scrambling to secure their gains now that Bashir has gone. The New York Times

Jonas Horner

Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
13 Mar 2020
The transitional government and the international community [in Sudan] must move quickly to avert an economic collapse and accompanying disintegration of the transitional dispensation. France24/AFP

Jonas Horner

Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
9 Mar 2020
The attack [in Sudan] may have the effect of increasing the solidarity between the civilian and military components of the transition. Wall Street Journal

Jonas Horner

Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan

Latest Updates

Podcast / Africa

The Horn: As Rains Begin, Crisis Looms over the Nile Dam

The Horn of Africa faces myriad crises. Beyond the potentially devastating impact of COVID-19 on politics and the economy, the region is grappling with deeply troubled transitions, cross-border jihadism and remains a playground for great power competition. In this Episode, Host Alan Boswell and William Davison, Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Ethiopia, discuss Ethiopia's plans to start filling the massive dam it is building, including the complex dynamics at play, negotiations, and the parties' varius concerns.

Briefing / Africa

Financing the Revival of Sudan’s Troubled Transition

Mounting economic turbulence is rocking Sudan’s delicate political transition. Without urgent donor assistance to provide economic relief to a suffering population, public support for the cabinet’s reform agenda could collapse. Any failure in the civilian-military government could have tragic consequences for Sudan and the region.

Video / Africa

Reducing tensions as Ethiopia Moves to Fill its Blue Nile Dam

With rains swelling the Blue Nile, Ethiopia is just weeks away from beginning to fill the massive dam it is building. Egypt and Sudan demand that it not do so without an agreement. All three countries urgently need to make concessions for a deal.

Statement / Africa

Nile Dam Talks: A Short Window to Embrace Compromise

With rains swelling the Blue Nile, Ethiopia is just weeks away from beginning to fill the massive dam it is building. Egypt and Sudan demand that it not do so without an agreement. All three countries urgently need to make concessions for a deal.

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Jonas Horner

Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan