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Is Sudan the Next Libya?

Whereas the conflict in Libya has done little to erode stability in the Maghreb, a war in Sudan would upend a precarious regional order in the Horn of Africa. To prevent such an outcome, the US must make ensuring the return of civilian leadership in Sudan a high priority.

TEL AVIV – When a post-colonial country with little or no democratic tradition escapes a brutal dictatorship, it rarely becomes a democracy. Instead, it is likely to be confronted by political chaos and foreign actors jostling for strategic advantage. This occurred in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and in Libya after Muammar el-Qaddafi was ousted. Is Sudan destined for the same fate?

So far, the answer seems to be yes. When longtime Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir was removed in a military coup in 2019, the same foreign powers that have made Libya their strategic playground saw an opportunity to gain a foothold at the crossroads of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

To be sure, a Sovereignty Council was quickly established to lead the country through a transition to civilian leadership. But last month – just over a year before the transition would be complete – Sudan’s military chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, dissolved the Sovereignty Council and had the civilian prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, arrested.

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