The Washington Post | George Clooney and John Prendergast: Sudan needs more than words. It needs action.

George Clooney and John Prendergast are co-founders of the Sentry.

For the past decade, governments around the world lined up to legitimize the regime of Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Sudan — even as it continued to attack civilians in Darfur, burn Christian churches, deny food to areas of the Nuba Mountains, provide support to extremist groups, and arrest and torture protesters. Instead of confronting these abuses, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the African Union, China, Russia and Persian Gulf countries all sought ways to strengthen relations with his government.

Only one constituency stood up to Bashir and his allied generals: the Sudanese people themselves. After years of organizing and resisting, Sudan’s pro-reform social movement catalyzed protests across the country, resulting in a “palace coup ” on Thursday . Bashir was replaced by his ally and defense minister, Awad Ibn Auf, who has been sanctioned for his role in genocidal crimes in Darfur. The next day, he was replaced by another military leader, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan.

This chain of succession is a move straight out of the autocratic playbook, in which a regime perpetuates itself by changing the figurehead at the top without changing the violent, corruption-fueled system beneath.

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