The Conversation | No easy end to stand-off between al-Bashir and Sudan’s protesters

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir continues to hold the country hostage. While his intelligence chief Salah Abdallah Gosh announcedrecently that al-Bashir would be stepping down as head of the National Congress Party, the president himself has made no such commitment. 

The crisis in the country continues to deepen. Al-Bashir has declared a state of emergency , dismissed the federal government and sacked all state governors. He also subsequently appointed military and security officials to run Sudan’s 18 states, appointed a new state defence minister and reshuffled the army command. 

The US, Britain and France have expressed deep concerns, particularly over the nationwide state of emergency. Activists claim that at least 37 people have diedsince December 2018 when the first protests took place in the Nile-side town of Atbara. Demonstrations have been staged in cities across Sudan, including the capital Khartoum. Though the protests were initially about the high cost of living, including the prohibitive price of bread, demonstrators are now calling for al-Bashir to resign. 

All things considered, there are dangers down this road. The Sudanese state is weak after decades of war and sanctions. Removing al-Bashir would do little to change the structure of the state. The country is almost insolvent and it has become harder for him to keep everyone in line. Whoever takes control will need to take control over the security apparatus throughout the country or risk anarchy. 

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