The overthrow of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir could have important implications for Sudan and the broader region, says Susan Stigant. “What we see in Sudan at the moment isn’t just about what’s happening in the country … it could also have far reaching ramifications in the region in other locations like Libya that are priorities for the United States.”

On Peace is a weekly podcast sponsored by USIP and Sirius XM POTUS Ch. 124. Each week, USIP experts tackle the latest foreign policy issues from around the world.

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42 Months on, How Does Sudan’s Democracy Movement Endure?

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Three and a half years after Sudan’s military deposed the authoritarian ruler, Omar Bashir, in response to massive protests, the current military leadership and divisions among political factions are stalling a return to elected civilian government. This year has brought a deepening economic crisis and violent communal clashes — but also a new wave of nonviolent, grassroots campaigns for a return to democracy. As Sudanese democracy advocates and their international allies seek ways to press the military for that transition, all sides should note, and work to sustain, Sudan’s nonviolent civic action.

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From 2013 to 2018, Sudanese civil society actors carved out a variety of civic spaces that laid the foundation for Sudan’s 2018–2019 December Revolution. This report assesses the factors that gave rise to this remarkable mobilization—in particular how civil society development ultimately enabled the Sudanese opposition to sustain a decentralized, nationwide, and robust nonviolent campaign characterized by widespread mass participation, unity of leadership and purpose, and a commitment to nonviolent discipline—and what it will take to keep the country’s democratic transition on track.

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