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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

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Coup attempt strained relations between civilian and military components of transition; unity of transitional govt at stake in coming weeks. PM Hamdok 21 Sept said authorities had thwarted same day “coup attempt” by remnants of former President Bashir’s regime; 21 officers and unspecified number of soldiers reportedly arrested. Reported coup attempt heightened tensions between transitional authorities’ civilian and military components. PM Hamdok same day said incident confirmed “need to reform the security and military apparatus” and hundreds immediately took to streets in several cities to denounce coup and support civilian-led govt. Sovereign Council head Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” – who also heads paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – next day accused politicians of creating conditions for coups by seeking personal gains and neglecting citizens; governing coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) 23 Sept said military’s “baseless accusations” posed “direct threat” to democratic transition. Military unit tasked with protecting committee in charge of dismantling Bashir regime’s political and financial apparatus 26 Sept reportedly withdrew from committee’s headquarters; civil society group Sudanese Professionals Association same day called for end to civilian partnership with military. Earlier in month, groups within FFC 8 Sept signed pledge to better cooperate to advance transition’s agenda; rebel groups turned members of transitional govt Justice and Equity Movement and Minni Minnawi’s Sudan Liberation Movement/Army faction refused to sign. Five security forces reportedly killed in raid targeting Islamic State (ISIS)-affiliated cell 28 Sept in capital Khartoum. Amid continued violence in Darfur region, particularly North Darfur state, authorities 14 Sept formed long-delayed Joint Force – comprising police, army, RSF and armed groups signatories to Oct 2020 peace deal – to protect civilians; many fear move could legitimise and empower actors involved in abuses. Meanwhile, tensions persisted with Ethiopia over disputed al-Fashaga border zone. Notably, Sudan 26 Sept said it had previous day thwarted incursion in Umm Barakit district by Ethiopian troops, which latter denied; Ethiopia’s Amhara regional forces and Sudan’s military reportedly clashed in al-Fashaga starting mid-Sept. Govt 26 Sept reached deal with tribal group in east after days of protests against region’s marginalisation, which were threatening energy supplies.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

15 Oct 2021
[The] completion of Sudan’s transition to a civilian government would imperil the military’s tight hold over the economy and its impunity over abuses during and after the Bashir years. Al-Monitor

Jonas Horner

Deputy Project Director, Horn of Africa & Senior Analyst, Sudan
30 Jun 2021
It's imperative that [the Sudanese government] communicate properly to the population...on this [IMF debt relief program] so people don't look up and just see the pain. Reuters

Jonas Horner

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

Latest Updates

Podcast / Africa

Sudan's U.S. Terror Delisting: Too Little, Too Late?

Sudan's transition is in deep trouble, and Crisis Group’s Sudan expert Jonas Horner explains why on this week’s episode of The Horn. President Trump’s recent promise to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism may not be enough to mitigate the spiralling economic crisis.

Podcast / Africa

A Rare Glimpse into Darfur’s Last Rebel Stronghold

In early 2020, Vice News correspondent Julia Steers was the first foreign journalist in five years to set foot in the Jebel Marra mountains, Darfur’s last rebel-held area. This week on The Horn, Julia tells of a region traumatised by war and explains why these rebels stayed out of an August peace deal.

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.

Our People

Jonas Horner

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