When the Arab Spring started in 2011, it proved that the path to democracy from authoritarianism is often filled with blood and uncertainty. What is happening in Sudan is another example of how difficult it is to throw dictatorship and bring democracy. Located in northeastern Africa, Sudan has a history of political and economic turmoil. It has seen both civil war and coup since its independence.
The protests in Sudan started last year in December, against rising food prices and deteriorating living standard after the country devalued its currency. But, who would have thought that protests initially started against economic crisis will become anti-establishment? The peaceful protests were successful in toppling the president, Omar Al-Bashir, who came to power after a bloodless coup in 1989.
However, things took a turn bad turn when military after deposing Bashir, announced a transitional government by the Military Council. This irked the pro-democracy protesters following which they demanded a civil government. Therefore, the protests after toppling Bashir instead of dying down continued. The military refusing to hand over power to civil government violently cracked down on peaceful protesters and killed at least 100 people. What is startling to see is that even the waters of the Nile River turned red with the blood of innocent Sudanese.
Crisis Unfolding and challenges
This African Country is now staring at a human rights crisis. Besides killing, the paramilitary forces have also reportedly raped and robbed the people. Sudan’s history of conflicts between various ethnic groups makes the task even more difficult for pro-democracy people. If the conflicts were to rise again then Sudan might not have any chance of achieving its objective of democracy. Besides, its internal problems, Sudan’s pro-democracy people also have to face Saudi Arabia and UAE which are reportedly backing the Military Generals. These authoritarian governments fear an uprising at home if Sudan transitions to democracy. Fighting these extremely rich regimes providing all kinds of resources from money to ammunition to the military is not going to be easy for pro-democracy Sudanese.
The path to democracy for Sudanese is extremely tough viewing how Saudi Arabia tried to suppress the protests during the Arab Spring. The US, being a close ally of Saudi, should intervene and try to make way for democracy. The Sudanese needs help from the democratic countries at the international level. The countries should build up International Pressure on Sudan’s Military establishment so that Sudan transitions to democracy peacefully.