A Revolution in Sudan. What Comes Next?

Protesters in Sudan have secured the ouster of longtime ruler Omar al Bashir.  The protests began in earnest in December and steadily gained momentum and traction. Then, suddenly,  after nearly thirty years in power Omar al Bashir was deposed in coup on April 11. Now, he is reportedly in prison in Khartoum.

But despite the ouster of Bashir, protesters have not dispersed and are now rallying against the cadre of military officials who have assumed control.

So what comes next in this volatile moment of political upheaval in Sudan?

On the line with me to discuss these events is Payton Knopf. He is a former U.S. diplomat and UN official who has worked on Sudan issues for many years. He is currently an advisor to the United States Institute for Peace

We kick off discussing the events that lead to the ouster of al Bashir. (Note: a podcast episode from January covers these protests in detail,  so we do dwell too much on them in this episode. Rather, we spend the bulk of the conversation discussing this unfolding and fluid situation.)

Payton Knopf explains who these military rulers of Sudan are–and why it is significant that some of them have trained and deployed militias to Yemen and Libya. We also discuss the implications of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for al Bashir and the unfolding geo-political dynamic that may influence how this political crisis is resolved.

If you have 25 minutes and want to understand this moment of profound political change in one of Africa’s largest and most strategically significant countries, have a listen.


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About Payton Knopf

Payton Knopf is an advisor to the Africa program where his work focuses on the intersecting political, economic and security dynamics in the Red Sea. He is concurrently an advisor to the European Institute of Peace.

Knopf is a former U.S. diplomat with expertise in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East. Immediately prior to joining USIP, Knopf was the first coordinator the United Nations Panel of Experts on South Sudan, from its inception in 2015 until April 2017. He was also formerly a senior advisor at the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI)/Martti Ahtisaari Centre and the PeaceWorks Foundation.

Before leaving government, he was spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations under then-Ambassador Susan E. Rice, having previously served as a policy advisor to U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell. From 2006 to 2008, he was based at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, where he advised the then-U.S Special Envoys for Sudan Andrew Natsios and Richard Williamson on issues related to the conflict in Darfur and to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Sudan.

His other State Department assignments included in the Office of Egypt and the Levant and at the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  He was an International Affairs fellow in residence at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2010-2011 where is researched focused on diplomatic engagement with non-state armed groups.