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Pulling Sudan Back from the Brink

In the wake of a military crackdown on June 3 that left over 100 peaceful protesters dead, Sudan is sliding toward anarchy. With trust between the military and the protesters destroyed, external mediators are vital to secure a transitional agreement reflecting compromises by both sides.

NEW YORK – Sudan is on the threshold of disaster. On June 3, paramilitary forces opened fire on peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Khartoum, killing over 100 and wounding hundreds more. Now, hope for a smooth transition to civilian rule is giving way to fear that the country will go the way of Yemen, Syria, or Libya.

Just a few weeks ago, the military seemed to be on the protesters’ side. In April, following months of demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir, the military forced Bashir to resign. The commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (better known as Hemeti), even claimed that he had refused an order by Bashir to open fire on protesters.

Bashir’s regime, in power for nearly 30 years, was replaced by the Transitional Military Council (TMC), headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, with Hemeti as his deputy. But protests continued, now demanding a transition to civilian rule. This spurred the TMC to initiate negotiations with representatives of the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has spearheaded the protests.

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