Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: The transition in Sudan is put on hold amid violence, Europe balks at the U.S. military response to Iran, and the United States hits Chinese firm Huawei with sanctions.
Sudan’s Transition Hits a Wall
From FP’s Jefcoate O’Donnell:
Sudan’s Transitional Military Council announced that it has put talks with opposition protesters on hold for 72 hours, citing “media escalation” amid violence. The military council demanded that barricades outside a designated area be removed and at least nine protesters were injured on Wednesday when Sudanese forces reportedly fired live ammunition to disperse demonstrations in Khartoum, the country’s capital. Five protesters and a soldier were killed the night before.
The violence overshadowed the talks between the military and the civilian opposition, which seemed to be on track to form a three-year transitional government, including a 300-seat legislative council with a majority of seats going to the opposition coalition.
Who is responsible? There were reports that men in uniforms bearing the markings of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces were responsible for the live rounds on Wednesday, but it is still unconfirmed who was firing into crowds of protesters. Irfan Siddiq, the British ambassador in Khartoum, condemned the use of live ammunition by “Sudanese security.”
What is clear, however, are the deep divisions within Sudan’s military—a central part of ousted ex-President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year legacy, as he engineered a factionalized military to prevent a coup. “What we’re seeing now is that the remnants of the regime are convulsing as some elements are trying to destabilize the process of transition,” said Ahmed Kodouda, a PhD candidate at George Washington University.
What’s next? Sudan’s transition initially appeared to be unfolding peacefully, but it is becoming increasingly confrontational. “The protesters are learning the lessons of Egypt—where the military fully led the transition and basically ensured that any democratic governance that takes over was set up to fail,” Kodouda said.