The United States is currently faced with multiple international crises that are occupying much of Washington’s attention, but it should not lose sight of events in Sudan. Since last October’s military coup, millions of people across the country have taken to the streets week after week to show their determination to get Sudan back on the path toward democracy. The U.S. reacted swiftly after the military takeover with words of support for a return to civilian rule and blocks on bilateral aid to the coup regime. But these necessary steps have not changed the calculations of Sudan’s military leaders, and the country is now in a dangerous period of drift, repression and violence.
U.S. diplomacy should now go further in coordinating with its partners and making clear to Sudan’s generals that they will face serious consequences unless they are able to come together with civilian leaders to put the country back on a credible transitional path.
There is still hope for a new Sudan. The protesters’ persistence in the face of a brutal crackdown by security forces shows that military takeovers are not so readily accepted, and civilians refuse to take a back seat. Today’s Sudan has one of the youngest populations in the world, and the current generation appears ready to continue its fight for a just transition to democracy.