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Sudan: Bashir out, generals in.What's next?

Sudan: Bashir out, generals in.What's next?

Thirty years in power ended after just three months of protests yesterday for Sudanese strongman Omar Bashir.

The army – faced with growing demonstrations and an image of defiance that suddenly went viral around the world – arrested Bashir and imposed a state of emergency. Defense Minister Awad Ibn Ouf has said elections will be held in two years.

Bashir's ouster comes just a week after the nearly incapacitated president of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, resigned under pressure from his own generals, following several weeks of mass protests. In his case, it ended a 20-year run in power.

Autocrats lose, but will democracy win? Both men were ousted after street demonstrations reached a point that the military chose to side with the protesters rather than gun them down.


But the generals now control what happens next in both countries, and there is no guarantee that they'll be willing to relinquish control to genuinely accountable civilian governments.

If they don't, it could spell trouble. While economic issues are what initially put millions of young Algerians and Sudanese on the streets over the past few months, their demands have since expanded to include political change and transparency. Popular discontent could persist in both countries if those demands aren't fulfilled.

Then again, the generals may look to Egypt, where the army skillfully used popular demands for change to oust a long-standing dictator, as well as the democratically elected leader who came to power after him. Eight years after the Arab Spring, the country is now under the control of a deeply authoritarian regime.

The upshot: It's one thing for the men with guns to side with the streets against suddenly vulnerable leaders – but would they be willing to side with protesters against… themselves?

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Biden's first scheduled call with a world leader will be with Canada's Justin Trudeau. What's going on with the Keystone Pipeline?

Well, Biden said that that's it. Executive order, one of the first is that he will stop any construction or development of the Keystone Pipeline. This is of course an oil pipeline that would allow further oil sands oil to come to the United States. The infrastructure is significantly overstretched, it's led to backlogs, inefficiency, accidents, all the rest, but it also facilitates more energy development and keeps prices comparatively down if you get it done. So, there are lots of reasons why the energy sector in Canada wants it. Having said all of that, Trudeau, even though he's been a supporter of Keystone XL, let's keep in mind that he did not win support in Alberta, which is where the big energy patch in Canada is located. This is a real problem for the government of Alberta, Canada is a very decentralized federal government, even more so than the United States. The premier of Alberta is immensely unhappy with Biden right now, they've taken a $1.5 billion equity stake in the project. I expect there will actually be litigation against the United States by the government of Alberta. But Trudeau is quite happy with Biden, his relationship was Trump was always walking on eggshells. The USMCA in negotiations ultimately successful but were very challenging for the Canadians, so too with the way Trump engaged in relations on China. All of this, the fact that Trump left the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Paris Climate Accords, WHO, all of that is stuff that Trudeau strongly opposed. He's going to be much more comfortable with this relationship. He's delighted that the first call from Biden is to him. And it certainly creates a level of normalcy in the US-Canada relationship that is very much appreciated by our neighbors to the North.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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