After more than four months of constant demonstrations, the Sudanese popular uprising, begun on December 19, 2018, and led by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), forced the high-ranking generals of the Sudanese Armed Forces to side with the protestors in removing the dictatorial regime of Omar al-Bashir on April 11, 2019. The SPA developed new tactics for organizing and mobilizing the masses in the face of crippling public fear to put an end to thirty years of al-Bashir's dictatorship. However, the peaceful revolution has yet to declare its final victory and finds itself facing a major enemy, the Transitional Military Council (TMC), which intends to maintain the status quo ante. This essay asks: can Sudanese civil society challenge the TMC and lead the country out of autocracy, achieving genuine democratization, or will the TMC cut short such transformation?
Sudan's popular uprising, begun on December 19, 2018, marked an important development in the contemporary history of social protest in the Global South. For the third time since Sudan gained independence in 1956, a social movement in the country organized to peacefully topple a military dictatorship. In each case, this occurred despite the extreme brutality of the ruling regime. The most recent of these regimes, led by Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his Islamist National Congress Party, formerly known as the National Islamic Front, overthrew the democratically elected government of Sadiq Al-Mahdi during a June 30, 1989, coup d'état. The two earlier popular uprisings that deposed dictators and ushered in civilian, democratic rule occurred in October 1964 and April 1985.
At the time of writing, Sudan remains at a dangerous political stalemate; it remains uncertain who will lead the country out of kleptocracy and toward a system based on accountability and the rule of law. This is a confrontation between two visions and two forces. On the one hand, there are the popular civic groups who led the uprising and who are represented by the Declaration of Freedom and Change, also known as the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), which includes the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA). The SPA led the massive demonstrations for four consecutive months from the country's peripheries and into the capital, Khartoum, and the FFC led the sit-in at the headquarters of the Sudanese Armed Forces in Khartoum, which forced the leadership of the Army to overthrow al-Bashir's regime. On the other hand, there is the Transitional Military Council (TMC), which seized power and ousted al-Bashir on April 11, 2019, under the pressure of demonstrations.
In what follows, I suggest that in an age of hyper-individualism, securitization, and neoliberalism, civil revolts against dictatorships require sophisticated (rural and urban) grassroots social movements that ground themselves in local struggles for transformative change, while also looking beyond national boundaries. These movements are capable of embracing the diverse and common human aspirations to freedom and social, racial, and ethnic justice. Only such movements have the capacity and imagination to lead a revolution fought by citizens for structural change and through peaceful means.
In an era of neoliberal globalization and of globalized social and political resistances to it, such a new path for social movements in Sudan can only be forged when prominent actors in the sociopolitical arena (political parties, women's groups, student activists and young people more generally, marginalized urban and rural groups, and organized and unorganized laborers) manage to embrace Sudan's multiple Afro-Arab identities and to value the collective systems of knowledge forged by Sudanese civil society, drawing on the participation of the masses and intellectuals, and on collective cultural, literary, and creative experiences.
The de facto ruling body, the TMC, has claimed the right to run the country for a two-year period before handing over power to an elected civilian government. Meanwhile the opposition, led by the FFC, continues to challenge the TMC's position on the grounds that the military council is not a government chosen by the people, and that it includes several generals who had been part of, and served, the deposed regime until April 11. Moreover, the FFC argues that the military council is impeding the dismantling of security apparatus structures and the uprooting of the deep state put in place by the deposed regime. Thus, according to the FFC, the military council should hand over power to a civilian-led transitional government to run the country for a four-year term and implement a comprehensive democratic program free of the remnants of the deposed regime.1
To account for this complex and peculiar political crossroads in Sudan, I first trace the characteristics of the new type of collective action, resource mobilization, and “street politics” that has both articulated social discontent and brought it to the mainstream as a means by which to confront and challenge a brutal dictatorial regime. I then show how the SPA's success in organizing and mobilizing the Sudanese people, particularly women and youths, during the December uprising was pivotal to the peaceful removal of the head of Sudan's notorious regime after nearly three decades in power. Finally, I seek to revive the debate about the future of the political coexistence of Sudan's various political parties, rebel factions, and strands of public opinion given the country's history and legacy of military coups, civil wars, and violence. More specifically, I reflect on the possibilities opened and foreclosed by the 2009 International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment of Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.2
“The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born”
The military has ruled for more than fifty-two of the sixty-three years since Sudan gained independence. The National Congress Party (NCP) governed for thirty of these fifty-two years, during which the political debate in Sudan centered on the state's behavior (its ability to protect civilians during internal armed conflicts) as opposed to the state's responsibility (to move away from the use of violence in solving political challenges). This narrow and limited debate shaped the political discourse in Sudan. It excluded possibilities for political action by paralyzing the urgent work that might have consolidated political and intellectual democratic opposition to authoritarianism.
Renowned Senegalese historian, anthropologist, and physicist Cheikh Anta Diop suggested that the conditions for the success or failure of any revolution in history, including those that have occurred in both ancient and modern times, have depended on a combination of five factors: (1) the economic functions of the state and its relationships with communities; (2) the characteristics of production; (3) the fundamental contradiction in societies, as defined by modes of production; (4) the administration of land; and (5) the role of commerce and urban life in these societies.3 In the same vein, Amilcar Cabral, the leader of the movement for national independence in Guinea-Bissau, argued that we must “always bear in mind that people are not fighting for ideas, [or] for the things in anyone's head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.”4 If Diop's and Cabral's arguments are correct, then the question that emerges is: can the third Sudanese revolution realize the people's aspirations, countering the “holy trinity” of neoliberalism, extreme injustice, and undemocratic institutions? Why have the victories of popular revolts in Sudan always been short-lived, giving way to military rule? To answer these questions, one must understand the dominant forces in Sudan during the last three decades and assess the extent to which they will impact the future of democracy in the country.
During these decades, two sets of sociopolitical forces—Islamists within Sudan and neoliberals outside the country—dominated the political landscape. Together these forces paralyzed the older social movements that led the April 1985 popular uprising and helped the ruling party to hold onto power despite popular discontent. Within Sudan, Islamists worked to reshape and racialize the nation, treating citizens as hostage-subjects in a highly securitized and socially controlled state governed by a particular religious doctrine and a coercive ideology. At the same time, neoliberal policies promoted a “free-market” economic logic and austerity politics. These sets of forces, internal and external, Islamist and neoliberal, worked to demoralize Sudanese people and to prevent them from engaging in social action. It was in the face of these impediments that Sudan witnessed the emergence of a new type of social movement (led by the SPA and the FFC), forced to create new tools with which to struggle for social, political, economic, and cultural rights. The struggles that these movements engaged in reached their peak on December 19, 2018, and they led to the ousting of the head of the regime on April 11, 2019.
Since the early 1950s and throughout Sudan's postcolonial political history, Sudanese social movements have produced innovative models of resistance to guide their mobilizations for civil and democratic alternatives to totalitarian regimes. They have done so through deliberate and patient organizing, and by mobilizing the masses to overthrow three dictatorial regimes, as was the case in the popular uprisings of October 1964 and April 1985 as well as in the most recent uprising. In December 2018 Sudanese social movements successfully popularized the slogan “Freedom, Peace, Justice, and Revolution are the people's choice” to draw attention to the futile policies of the Islamist NCP and denounce its failures at the levels of governance, development, and the rule of law. It is worth noting that the SPA and the FFC are urgently engaged in concretizing the slogan and have taken several steps to forge a path forward. They first invited all political parties and civil society to participate in a new social contract, the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which was signed on January 1, 2019.5 The newly formed FFC comprised political parties and civil society organizations opposing the dictatorial regime, and it agreed to a specific transitional recovery program to be led by a civilian government after the overthrow of the dictatorship.6
The new social movement created in the wake of the December revolt, led by the SPA,7 was visionary because it understood the inevitability of social change and focused on pressing sociopolitical and economic grievances. The movement recruited into its ranks victims of the regime, including young people, women, rural people, and the urban intelligentsia. In this way, it managed to create a well-organized, underground, carefully designed, inclusive, and accountable grassroots critical mass. The SPA, which comprised many professional associations banned by the regime, including associations of young doctors, farmers, lawyers, teachers, workers, and other civil servants, engaged in novel styles of protest. They used places of worship and learning, neighborhoods, and rural community centers, and they wielded different tools and technologies for protest, including cultural and art forms to reach many segments of society, both within and beyond Sudan. In this way, they have been able to spread their message, exposing the regime's crimes and weaknesses. For example, their focus on corruption within the ruling party enabled them to critique both the relationship between the state and religion, on the one hand, and austerity politics, on the other.
The protests first erupted in Ad-Dmazin, the capital city of the Blue Nile state, and in Al-Fashir, the capital city of North Darfur state. However, it was the December 19, 2018, demonstration in the city of Atbara in northeast Sudan that gave the protests their capacity to object to austerity measures declared by the central government.8 The news of Atbara's revolt immediately spread on all social media platforms and was accompanied by messages from the SPA to other cities and rural areas, encouraging them to follow suit. The SPA's messages thus reflected and uplifted the daily struggle of the Sudanese people against the regime in every corner of the country. The SPA's strategy aimed at breaking the paralysis sustained by social fear. The SPA was aware that such fear prevents the masses from imagining other realities, which come to seem impossible. As Atbara's revolt continued and twenty-six other cities joined the call, the SPA capitalized on these events and further intensified protests. As a result, the SPA, which had been an unknown organization, gained strength in confronting the security apparatuses of the regime. The SPA's victory over fear in Atbara freed the imaginations of those living in other cities, particularly in Sudan's peripheries, offering a new hope for other possibilities on the horizon. This new era of hope also began to resonate in many neighborhoods in Khartoum, where harassment, humiliation, and violence have long been endured by many, particularly young women. At that conjuncture of liberation from fear and rising hope, social contestation achieved its first goal of overcoming social paralysis, and after four months of sustained peaceful demonstrations, the brutal and formerly unshakable regime of al-Bashir fell apart.
The FFC's ability to organize and mobilize has allowed it to create the material conditions to build popular power through resistance, and to reappropriate public space (including the headquarters of the armed forces) for exercising that power. This in turn has allowed the FFC to challenge the legitimacy of the TMC and to insist on the removal of the remaining symbols of the project of political Islam from Sudan's future. In this context, the FFC was able to temporarily exercise a form of popular power that made it different from previous popular uprisings, by utilizing the “street” rather than superficial electoral democratic avenues. By staging an unbroken sit-in at the headquarters of the armed forces with large numbers of protesters, the FFC successfully mobilized the masses to support their democratic platform. This platform calls for a civilian-led transitional government to restructure the state's institutions, uproot the deep state of the deposed regime, write the new constitution, and prepare the country for a free and fair democratic system in a four-year time frame.
However, the FFC is aware that, for such a plan to work, its forces need to forge a political, social, and economic alternative to the devastated, formerly ruling model of political Islam. This alternative will need to honor the aspirations that motivated the Sudanese people's revolt. It will require the FFC's persistence and the persistence of its civilian-led transitional government, whose aims include: (1) an immediate national economic recovery plan beyond austerity measures; (2) a restructuring of state institutions and a revival of civil society based on the rule of law; (3) attention to the demands of a just transition; (4) the strengthening of the culture of peace within the social fabric of society; and (5) the transcendence of the state itself, its transformation to achieve the goals and objectives laid out in the FFC's guiding principles.9
The process of forging this new path will, however, also necessarily require something other than guiding future objectives. It will require a reckoning with legacies of past atrocities, including al-Bashir's own war crimes. The ICC has carried out one version of this work of reckoning by pursuing the criminal punishment of al-Bashir. Meanwhile, the ongoing revolution against al-Bashir and the political regime he represents, a regime that is still alive in the TMC, might compel us to think of other ways of reckoning with past atrocities, including the civil wars and legacies of violence that have scarred Sudanese history. The ongoing revolution, with the aspiration to peace forming a bond in Sudanese society, might open up other ways of imagining justice for al-Bashir's victims and survivors, as well as for Sudanese survivors of other atrocities, including unprosecutable ones.
Moving beyond the International Criminal Court
The ICC issued its first-ever arrest warrant in March 2009, against al-Bashir, who stood accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to the ICC, al-Bashir “is suspected of being criminally responsible, as an indirect co-perpetrator, for intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing, and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property.”10 Since the arrest warrant, debates about retributive justice and the question of “the responsibility to protect” in Sudan have divided human rights and social justice activists.11 The disagreement is over whether to deliver al-Bashir to the ICC or to try him in Sudan. This question is related to another: whether the Sudanese will pursue the path of “survivors' justice” or “victors' justice.”12 What is more important to pursue: retributive justice or peace and reconciliation? Can we have one without the other? Can we have either without understanding the historical context of the conflict in Darfur?
One view is shared by most rebel groups—who fought al-Bashir in Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile regions—and their political allies within and beyond Sudan, who argue that al-Bashir should be tried at the ICC. There is another view held by many pan-Africanist Sudanese and non-Sudanese intellectuals who also opposed al-Bashir's rule. This view holds that neither the ICC's 2009 indictment nor trying al-Bashir in the Hague will suffice to put an end to the grievances related to war crimes committed by his regime. They add that the ICC's methods are inadequate to the task of contending with Sudan's post-conflict complexities.
Many people around the world, including many African citizens, have applauded the ICC's decision and its guiding framework of retributive justice (or justice before peace). Others, such as the African Union and the Group of 77—an influential bloc of countries in the United Nations, comprising nations in the Global South—hesitate to join the chorus of affirmation, characterizing the court's decision as a failure to protect innocent civilians in Darfur. Those who support the ICC's indictment, focusing on the pursuit of retributive justice and the application of the doctrine of the “responsibility to protect,” would do well to examine the current situation in Darfur and to consider the indictment's power to “save” people's lives. The ICC's indictment lacks fundamental grounds for credibility and accountability. The credibility of the ICC is further called into question by the fact that al-Bashir continued to travel freely through international airspace to neighboring countries, and the Sudanese regime continued to receive unconditional support from major regional and international actors after 2009. Despite the criminal indictment, for reasons related to geopolitics and Sudan's natural resources, al-Bashir's de facto acceptance by the international community continued.
Critics of the ICC and its former chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, perceive the indictment as politically motivated and have expressed resentment toward what has been dubbed a double standard for countries in the Global South. Others have suggested that the ICC should address other conflicts (including the Israeli occupation of Palestine since 1967 and crimes committed thereafter, and the United States' invasion and occupation of Iraq, among other instances) given the international community's stated commitment to the “responsibility to protect.” Moreover, a number of prominent observers have questioned the credibility of the ICC's former chief prosecutor, who pursued the charges against al-Bashir, and his investigation methodology. In 2009 the African Union, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, and the Group of 77 all condemned the timing of the indictment and characterized it as counterproductive when it came to the peace efforts in Darfur. Moreover, two members of the Security Council of the United Nations, China and Russia, expressed serious concern over the indictment.13
Prominent African scholar Mahmood Mamdani has argued that ending conflicts in Africa does not necessarily call for the mechanical application of prosecution. He points out that several major African conflicts reached settlement and political reform without prosecutions, including conflicts in South Africa, Mozambique, and South Sudan.14 In his words, “if peace and justice are to be complementary rather than conflicting objectives, we must distinguish victors' justice from survivors' justice. . . . In a situation where there is no winner and thus no possibility of victors' justice, survivors' justice may indeed be the only form of justice possible.”15
Mamdani's call for survivors' justice means that the key question is not whether to put al-Bashir on trial at the ICC or before the Sudanese authorities. The horizon of another future for the people of Darfur, Kordofan, the Blue Nile, and other regions—one in which different ethnic groups can live together—compels us to ask after the pursuit of justice outside the framework of criminalization, whether that framework is embodied in international or in Sudanese courts. Sudan's various regions are still yearning for real peace, democracy, equal opportunity for development, and political representation. While “victors' justice” methods cannot avert a return to the vicious cycle of vengeance, “survivors' justice” methods are more adequate to moving Sudan along a path of political coexistence and reconciliation. Thus, rather than pursuing further criminal punishment, the transitional, civilian-led government should focus on implementing a comprehensive program for reform in Sudan that would address the grievances of the peripheries. This calls for an understanding of the history of the Darfur conflict.
Many of the present-day complexities of the conflict in Darfur are rooted in the history of colonial Sudan. The conflict can be traced to the colonial British administration's effort during the 1920s to create two confederations in the Darfur region, by racializing the region's inhabitants: the pastoralist Arabic-speaking “Arab” groups were pitted against the “Zurga” (dark-skinned, non-Arab) sedentary farmers. During the recent Darfur conflict of 2003, the regime of al-Bashir allied itself with the pastoral Arab groups, who supported his regime, by allocating farmlands, political power, and weapons to them, and excluding sedentary Zurga groups, who supported the rebel groups in Darfur. Exacerbating the racialization of the Darfuri people, meanwhile, were the effects of climate change (desertification), the unequal distribution of land, and the impact of the Chadian Civil War, which was carried out during the Cold War as a proxy standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union and which spilled over into Darfur. Taken together, these factors contributed to the erosion of public infrastructure and rule of law, as well as the exclusion of the region from any national development plans.
Historically, socioeconomic and political realities in the Darfur region—and in Sudan as a whole—have been racialized by deliberate and systematic policies of colonial Britain, in particular policies related to land ownership and land reforms in the post-independence era. These racialized policies, which the Sudanese elite continued after independence, have created great social stratification in Sudanese society. The Zurga and other ethnic minorities in Sudan have been highly marginalized and oppressed; their only option has been to fight constantly against the status quo in order to gain equal access to political representation, socioeconomic rights, wealth sharing, and inclusion.
Since colonial Britain left the country in 1956, coloniality has never ceased to govern Sudan, and the power of the central government has continued the colonial policies that led to social stratification, ethnic division, discrimination, and the marginality of the Sudanese in the peripheries. For example, in 1983, when the National Islamic Front allied itself with the dictatorial regime of Gaafar Nimeiry (1969–85), it abandoned the Addis Ababa Peace Accords of 1972—which had been signed with the Southern rebel movement of Anyanya I—and declared Sudan an Islamic republic, implementing the “Islamic Law of Sharia” of September 1983 as the supreme law of the land. That declaration led to a bloodier civil war, waged to ensure that the central government would retain hegemony in the south (now the Republic of South Sudan) and power over its population. Devastatingly, the following twenty-two years of the civil war led to over 2 million deaths, the displacement of more than 4 million people, severe social regression, economic setbacks, and massive physical destruction. The central government project failed yet again when the Sudanese people overthrew the dictatorship by a popular uprising in April 1985.16
During the years of parliamentary democracy between 1985 and 1989, civilian-led governments were not able to forge lasting peace due to mistrust and the unchanged nature of the central government. As a result, conditions were ripe for the escalation of antagonistic relationships and constant clashes among the region's diverse ethnic and sub-ethnic groups. Ultimately, this led to the eruption of the first civil war in Darfur, which took place between 1987 and 1989. Long before al-Bashir's rise to power, this civil war was fought along the ethnic lines delineated during the colonial period and reinforced during decades of marginalization.
The coup d'état of June 30, 1989, sought to reenergize the civil war by making religion the ultimate dimension of the conflict. The result was a destructive civil war waged by the central government against the people of South Sudan. The war aimed at assimilating the indigenous population of South Sudan into the central government's effort to Islamize and Arabize South Sudan. This war was part of a larger project referred to by the regime of al-Bashir as the “civilizing project” of the Sudanese society. Here the irony is obvious: the ruling party's brand of political Islam described its own national project as a “civilizing” one, as if following in the footsteps of the “civilizing mission” of former colonial rulers.17
The inhabitants of the Darfur region are Afro-Arab, they speak Arabic, and they adhere to Islam. Most of their leaders (both Arab and Zurga) decided to turn a blind eye to the racialized war waged by the ruling Islamist government and fight alongside the central government to Islamize and Arabize South Sudan. This war ended with the defeat of the central government after seventeen years of unprecedented human, environmental, and physical destruction of the peripheries, including both the South and Darfur, and their inhabitants.18
The Darfur conflict was born out of this long history of struggles over national identity, power relations, governing systems, and interventions in Sudanese affairs by international and regional powers. Hence, for many Western observers (including Ocampo after he issued the ICC indictment) to suggest that there is no colonial footprint in the antagonistic relationship between center and periphery (or between elite and marginalized populations) is disingenuous at best.19 Likewise, when these observers imply that the rebel groups and the Sudanese government are merely ideological opponents, they ignore the political reality of Sudan. For example, Ibrahim Khalil—the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), who was killed in 2011 by the Sudanese Army—was one of the most active leaders of the Islamist movement in Sudan until 1999, when it split into two factions after a power struggle over which direction and regional alliances Sudan should pursue.20 One faction, led by Hassan al-Turabi, the founder and ideologue of the movement, was politically defeated. He later formed the Popular Congress Party. Ibrahim Khalil and JEM were closely allied with al-Turabi's faction and operated as part of its clandestine wing in late 1990s. The other faction merged with the armed forces and was led by al-Bashir and the NCP.21
The question that reemerges here is thus whether the indictment has protected and/or brought peace and security to the people of Darfur, to the region, and/or to the Republic of Sudan. Ten years after the indictment, the answer is categorically: it has not. The former chief prosecutor of the ICC, Ocampo, may have even become an obstacle to peace negotiations between the government of Sudan and the major rebel movement. The indictment has contributed to a situation in which Darfur and Sudan enjoy neither peace nor security.
Recent history has taught us that neither humanitarian nor military intervention can “save” innocent civilians. Consider the cases of Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Consequently, we need to employ a radical framework that differs from the “responsibility to protect” and from “boots on the ground”22 interventionist approaches in order to put an end to the atrocities in Darfur and elsewhere.23
The ICC's indictment is not a useful mechanism for resolving conflicts in Sudan or for averting unjust socioeconomic and political outcomes in the process. The indictment has been perceived as evidence of a double standard that is selectively applied. As such, it has only led to even greater political instability and, at times, to even more violence. Sudan's most pressing need is for survivors' justice, which alone will let it pursue the path of a political solution and reconciliation, guaranteeing rule of law, fundamental human rights, democracy, and equitable and sustainable natural resource sharing between the center and the peripheries. Furthermore, to achieve the December popular uprising's dream of building a democratic inclusive society beyond the thunderous demands for vengeance, violence, and authoritarianism, it will be necessary to restructure the state's institutions. There is thus an urgent need to restructure the central government to enable democratization and rule of law, and to facilitate real socio-political transformation for Sudan. Additionally, this model must endorse social and economic policies opposed to austerity, instead promoting development with self-reliant economic policies in keeping with the dream of decolonization, and moving forward to build a society of the new Sudan. Such an alternative should reject empty nationalistic propaganda and embrace indigenous mechanisms for resolving conflicts, sustaining development, and creating equal citizenship status. In order for a pluralistic society to function well, pluralism must not only operate as a political system with policies encouraging toleration and coexistence among different ethnicities; it must also operate as a social principle of real equity, social justice, and direct democracy.
For the last sixty-three years, the authoritarian model of a centralized government has been proven to be a complete failure, one that entailed unthinkable destruction. An alternative to such a model exists in the vision of a decentralized government that embraces pluralism in governance and accepts the actual wealth of identities, cultures, and diverse languages in Sudan. Only the achievement of this vision can help Sudanese people to overcome pains of the past. These political actions might be what the people of Sudan need most as they attempt to steer clear of continuing political atrocities and liberate themselves from the remnants of a ruthless dictatorship.
SPA: Joint Statement: Formation of Transitional Civil Government, April 18, 2019, www.sudaneseprofessionals.org/en/joint-statement-formulation-of-transitional-civil-government/.
Alleged Crimes (non-exhaustive list), www.icc-cpi.int/darfur/albashir/pages/alleged-crimes.aspx.
SPA, Declaration of Freedom and Change, www.sudaneseprofessionals.org/en/declaration-of-freedom-and-change/.
SPA, Declaration of Freedom and Change, www.sudaneseprofessionals.org/en/declaration-of-freedom-and-change/.
Atbara is a historic city in northeastern Sudan. Its history is inextricable from its anticolonial struggles against the Anglo-Turko Condominium of the nineteenth century. During the 1970s, Atbara emerged as the headquarters of the Sudanese railway industry, which employed most of the city's labor force of about 112,000 inhabitants. As a result, Atbara became the center of the railway union and its various associations. Atbara has also been a stronghold of the Sudanese Communist Party since the 1970s.
See the SPA's statement on the meeting between the armed forces and the liaising delegation representing the forces signatory to the DFC, April 15, 2019, at www.sudaneseprofessionals.org/en/statement-on-the-meeting-between-the-armed-forces-and-the-liaising-delegation-representing-the-forces-signatory-to-the-dfc/.
For detailed arguments on the “right” of the international community to intervene in the internal affairs of a sovereign state in the event that the government or state in question is not able to protect its own citizens from avoidable harms such as mass murder and rape, indiscriminate atrocities, and starvation, see the Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (2001), at responsibilitytoprotect.org/ICISS%20Report.pdf.
United to End Genocide (formerly “Save Darfur Coalition”), at endgenocide.org/who-we-are/history/.