Sudan coup

October 26, 2021
Sudan coup

The stakes couldn’t be higher right now.

Africa director at Human Rights Watch, Mausi Segun, on the military coup and upheaval in Sudan.
  • Important Context: Sudan was once designated by the U.S. State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism for its role in supporting members of Al Qaeda (such as Osama Bin Laden, who lived in and worked from Sudan in the 1990s). During the final months of the Trump administration, this designation was removed as the nation was part of a larger effort to normalize relations with Israel *in the hopes of* creating a bloc against terrorist groups, as well as a more pro-West contingent.
  • Sudan was ruled by dictator Omar al-Bashir for more than 20 years until he was overthrown in 2019. As the country charts a new course, tensions have continued between military and civilian leaders.
  • With telecommunications spotty, reports indicate the military has taken power in a coup, moving civilian leaders to an undisclosed location ahead of expected elections in 2023. Sudanese protested in the streets.
  • Economic aid that accompanied the nation's move towards democracy is now uncertain; this aid is a critical part of Sudan's next chapter under new leadership.

Why It Matters: This is a strategically important nation for the continent of Africa and beyond – rich in resources and geographically positioned with the Middle East to its own east, and important African nations (such as Egypt and Libya) to its north. In recent years, the U.S. and others have attempted to influence Sudan toward a more pro-West posture, e.g. dropping the state of terrorism designation, and trying to negotiate alliances with American allies. The coup puts aid in jeopardy, and raises questions about not only Sudan's current political leadership but the nation's future overall.

Sudan’s military has seized power in a coup. Here’s why it matters

by Jenna Lee,