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The revolution in Sudan seemed to be a beacon of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel for all the suffering people. The movement began in December 2018, in the city of Atbara, when a group of young people took to the streets to protest the government’s decision to triple the price of bread. The protests quickly spread beyond Atbara and turned into a popular uprising, with millions of Sudanese people demanding the overthrow of the corrupt regime of Omar al-Bashir. The revolution grew in strength, and eventually, the military overthrew al-Bashir in April 2019.
However, the euphoria of the revolution soon turned into despair. The struggle for power within the transitional government and the failure to dismantle the previous regime’s structures led to the rise of new authoritarian forces. The military junta and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group that was previously the Janjaweed, began to exert control over the country.
The RSF became notorious for their brutality towards protesters, with their leader, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (known as Hemeti), becoming one of the key powerbrokers in the country. He secured his position by making alliances with regional neighbors, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who provided funding and political support for the RSF. In return, Hemeti sent troops to fight in Yemen and deployed security forces to put down uprisings in Bahrain.
The civil war in Sudan began in the state of Darfur in 2003, when the government of al-Bashir launched an offensive against rebel groups. The conflict led to the displacement of millions of people and caused widespread atrocities, including rape, torture, and murder. After years of negotiations, rebel groups signed a peace agreement with the transitional government in October 2020.
However, peace in Darfur remains elusive. The RSF continues to control large parts of the region and has become a law unto itself. Reports of human rights abuses, including the forced displacement of population, continue to emerge, and there are fears that the region could slip back into conflict.
Meanwhile, the country is facing a severe economic crisis, with high levels of inflation and widespread poverty. The government has attempted to implement economic reforms, including the removal of fuel subsidies, but these have led to protests and strikes by workers and students.
The political stalemate between the military and civilian factions means that there is little progress on key issues, including constitutional reform and reconciliation with the victims of the previous regime’s abuses. The military is keen to maintain its grip on power and is unwilling to make concessions that could limit its influence.
The international community has been hesitant to engage with the transitional government, with many governments expressing concern about the continuity of the previous regime’s practices. However, the government has received support from other regional powers, including Egypt, who see Sudan as a strategic ally in their disputes with Ethiopia over the building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The situation in Sudan highlights the challenges of transitioning from authoritarianism to democracy. There is a need for strong institutions, political will, and accountability to prevent the emergence of new powerbrokers and the re-emergence of previous tyrants. Clear and specific steps, including consensus building, representation, and political dialogue, must be taken in a transparent and accountable manner to prevent future crises.
In conclusion, Sudan’s path from revolution to civil war was not inevitable. The uprising represented a genuine expression of popular discontent, but the transition has been marred by political infighting, external influences, and a lack of clear direction. The challenge now is for the transitional government to prioritize the needs of its citizens, ensure accountability, and gaurantee a future of lasting peace and prosperity.