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What Happens in Sudan Doesn’t Stay in Sudan

Will Khartoum Become the Center of a New African Order or an Appendage of the Gulf?

Sudanese demonstrators wave flags at a rally in Khartoum honoring fallen protesters in July 2019 Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / REUTERS

It’s the end of an era in the Horn of Africa. After three decades in power, Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir fell in April. Mass antigovernment protests erupted, and a military coup soon followed. Now the remnants of Bashir’s security state are locked in a protracted standoff with an indefatigable pro-democracy movement over control of the country. The governing Transitional Military Council has cracked down violently, killing more than 100 protesters in a wave of repression that began on June 3. But it has also promised to facilitate a transition to civilian rule as part of a tentative power-sharing agreement with the Forces of Freedom and Change, an umbrella organization representing the demonstrators.

The upheaval in Sudan comes at the same time as Ethiopia’s reform-minded prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is dramatically expanding political space in his country, while battling an attendant surge in ethnic violence. Together with subtler stirrings in

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