The Middle East Channel Editor's Reader, #5
Last week's outbreak of the largest wave of popular protests in Sudan in nearly two decades has opened up the possibility for change in one of the cruelest regimes in the Middle East and Africa. Few regimes are more deserving of popular challenge than that of Omar Bashir, who should long since have been in custody in the Hague answering for his indictment by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur.
The "Arab spring" is hardly needed to account for the protests in Khartoum, which has a long history of popular uprisings, but it certainly frames the perception and politics of what is unfolding. The current wave of protests were triggered by austerity measures, including cuts to food subsidies, in a tenuous political arena framed by the tensions surrounding the new South Sudan. Activists, especially students who had been trying to keep protests alive for over a year and a half, have moved creatively to embrace the online communications and organizational tactics made familiar by the Arab uprisings of the last year and a half. The tortuous path of popular struggles in Syria, Yemen and so many other Arab countries following early waves of enthusiasm should be a cautionary tale about overly high expectations. But Sudan's rising protest movement in the face of a growing crackdown clearly merits the world's attention.
Foreign Policy has been on top of this rapidly developing story. For the latest coverage and analysis, see:
Amir Ahmed Nasr, aka @Sudanese_Thinker, Sudan Needs a Revolution
Christian Caryl, The Sudanese Stand Up
Sigurd Thorsen, Sandstorm Friday
And don't miss this outstanding slideshow of photos from the Sudanese protests.
For background beyond Foreign Policy, The Middle East Channel recommends:
- Khaled Medani, Understanding the Prospects and Challenges for Another Popular Intifada in Sudan (Jadaliyya) and Strife and Seccession in Sudan (Journal of Democracy) --- insights from one of the best scholarly Sudan experts
- Asmaa el-Husseini, Sudan's Imminent Uprising (Al-Ahram Weekly)
- Abdelwahhab El-Affendi, Revolutionary anatomy: the lessons of the Sudanese revolutions of October 1964 and April 1985 (Contemporary Arab Affairs) --- essential background on Sudan's history of popular upheaval
- Gerard Prunier, Darfur: A 21st Century Genocide (Cornell University Press) ---remains an authoritative reference on that internal conflict
- The Economist, "The Spectre of Sudan's Popular Uprisings" - prescient short note from February 2011
- Top Twitter feeds for the Sudan protests -- prepared by Carol Jean Gallo for UN Dispatch
We will update with useful articles as they cross my desk.
- Marc Lynch, June 26, 2012