September 27, 2013


Is Sudan's Uprising the Beginning of the End of Omar al Bashir? (John Prendergast Sep 28, 2013, Daily Beast)

An uprising throughout Sudan's cities is gaining traction and metastasizing hourly. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of protesters have been killed by Bashir's security services, which are using live ammunition to attempt to quell the unrest. Young protesters appear to comprise the bulk of those killed so far. (Here is a Flickr account with sometimes graphic photos from the protests.)

These latest killings have occurred in the context of a spiral of popular protests triggered by the removal of subsidies on essential commodities, which has led to a burst of inflation. More deeply, the street action is driven by an explosion of anger after nearly two and a half decades of total and unilateral control of the political life and national economy by Khartoum's Islamist regime, led by the ruling National Congress Party (known as the NCP).

"This wide range in the geographic scope of the protests is exhausting police and security efforts, who have to scatter their resources."
Regime policies of concentrating political and economic power in the hands of NCP members and their cronies have led the country to economic implosion, making life worse for the average Sudanese. The ruling party's discriminatory and, in some instances, blatantly racist policies led South Sudan to opt for independence in 2011, and have since fueled raging wars in the "New South" of the Sudan, the historically marginalized regions of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. In these war zones, the NCP regime unleashes daily bombing raids against civilian targets aimed at forcing the population to leave rebel-held areas, supplemented by attacks by the ethnic-based militias as well as obstruction of humanitarian aid and agricultural activities. It is, in total, a blunt form of ethnic cleansing, as vicious and insidious as Slobodan Milosevic's efforts in the former Yugoslavia. Famine becomes a convenient and cheap weapon of war.

However, although rebellions have raged nonstop in Sudan since Bashir's coup in 1989, what has been missing is a corresponding urban uprising that complemented the rural wars. Without any pressure in Sudan's northern cities, the Islamist regime has remained somewhat comfortably in power. That is why this week's violence is potentially so significant.

The spread of information through the Internet and social media has emboldened protesters throughout Sudan's cities.

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Posted by at September 27, 2013 11:04 PM

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