GZERO Media logo

A Spring In Sudan?

A Spring In Sudan?

In recent weeks, thousands of young people across Sudan have taken to the streets in protest against strongman Omar al-Bashir, the leader of one of the world's most repressive governments.


While the protests were initially sparked by economic issues – inflation in Sudan is currently running around 70 percent – a brutal crackdown has helped stoke broader popular demands for Mr. Bashir's resignation.

Mr. Bashir, a former paratrooper, is a wily and brutal survivor. He first took power 29 years ago in a coup backed by Islamic fundamentalists, and immediately dialed up the Arab-dominated government's long-running war against black and predominantly Christian separatists in the country's oil rich South. By the time that war fully ended with the South's internationally-brokered secession in 2011, more than 2 million people had been killed.

Even as that war was winding down, Bashir crushed a rebellion in the Western Sudanese region of Darfur with such brutality that he became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide. Tight US sanctions imposed in 1997 over human rights abuses and support for terrorism (Osama bin Laden briefly called Sudan home) helped him burnish his image as a populist defender of his people against a neo-colonial West.

In 2013, he crushed a street movement in the capital that was inspired by the Arab Spring. But this time around protests appear more sustained and widespread, even if they lack coherent leadership and structure. And stripped of the cash that South Sudan's oil fields once pumped into Khartoum, Bashir has much less room to prop up a badly mismanaged economy, even with the help of Gulf Arab allies.

In addition, the removal of long-standing US sanctions in 2017 exposed the deeper rot of Sudan's economy while stripping Bashir of one of his go-to excuses for economic hardship.

The future of Africa's largest country, and one of its most turbulent, may be about to take another historic turn.

Musical interlude: The rich history of Sudanese music over the past century offers an extraordinary way to understand the political, cultural, and global forces that have shaken and shaped the country. For those of you into this sort of thing, this Afro-Pop Worldwide podcast is a mindblower.

A century after the rise and destruction of Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood, Greenwood Rising is turning the site of a tragedy into a vibrant community hub, supported by a $1 million grant from Bank of America.

Greenwood, or Black Wall Street, was a thriving community of Black-owned businesses until the race-fueled massacre of 1921 that killed hundreds of Black residents and wiped out the neighborhood's homes and businesses. Nearing the 100th anniversary of this tragedy, focused activity in the neighborhood—including a history center—is bringing to life the spirit of Black Wall Street.

The most ambitious global vaccination drive in history is in motion. Over the past three months, more than 213 million COVID-19 shots have been administered across 95 countries, and the vaccination rate is slowly increasing. At the current rate, around 6.11 million doses are being administered daily.

It's a rare bit of hopeful news after 15 months of collective misery. So where do things stand at the moment, and what's keeping the world from getting to herd immunity faster?

More Show less

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

With protests growing, where does that leave the Myanmar coup?

Well, certainly no feeling on the part of the military that they need to back down under either domestic or international pressure. There's been relatively limited violence, thankfully so far. A few protesters have been killed. They've used tear gas, they've used water cannons, but much less of a crackdown than certainly they're capable of or that we've seen from the Myanmar military historically. That, of course, gives the protesters on the ground more incentive to think that they have success, and they can continue.

More Show less

Reducing carbon emissions is good for the planet and good for your lungs, but there's one group of countries that might not be so keen on green: those that rely heavily on oil and gas exports to run their economies. As the rest of the world gets closer to "Net Zero" in the coming decades, these petrostates will be in big trouble unless they diversify their economies — fast. So, how vulnerable are the world's top oil and gas producers to a low-carbon future? We look at how the treasuries of the 20 most hydrocarbon-dependent nations will fare over the next two decades under what the Carbon Tracker Initiative refers to as a scenario in which global demand for oil and gas will be much lower than today.

US to release Khashoggi report: The Biden administration's intel chief is expected to release on Thursday a report on the murder of Saudi dissident journalist — and US resident — Jamal Khashoggi. In line with previously reported findings, the assessment will say that Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman was involved in the plot to kill and dismember Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Aside from a sprinkling of new details, we don't expect much from the report itself, but we are keen to see how it shapes US-Saudi relations under Joe Biden, who has promised to take a harder line with Riyadh over human rights and security issues than his predecessor did. Part of that new approach is that the US president will no longer speak directly to the Crown Prince himself as Trump did — from now on, only his dad, King Salman, gets calls from the White House.

More Show less
The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal