Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sudanese Opposition Leader Calls for Nonviolence

Sadiq Al-Mahdi, the leader of Sudan’s main opposition party known as the UNP, recently stated that the regime of the NCP’s Omer Al-Bashir is crumbling and on the brink of imploding. While speaking to the press this past Monday Mahdi explained, “why the opposition parties disagree with the rebel groups on the use of violence…” in order to topple Omer Al-Bashir’s regime (Sudan Tribune). He explained that the loss of a violent conflict with the government would give the Bashir regime a new reason to oppress the people to an even greater extent than it had before. Mahdi also said that if a violent revolution were successful, the rewards (governmental control) would only be limited to the group that participated in the violence, excluding all other opposition groups from the new government. Sudanese rebel groups like the SRF continue to believe that a violent revolutionary uprising is the only method possible in order to topple Bashir’s regime. After dismissing the “New Dawn Charter”, a document aimed at creating a secular Sudanese state through violent governmental overthrow, opposition groups vowed to continue discussions with the Rebels until a peaceful settlement is reached. The Sudanese government continues to threaten the opposition into halting these dialogues with rebel groups.

Sudanese Rebel Fighter

Sudan has fallen out of the Western spotlight since the creation of South Sudan in 2011 and many just assume the problem is resolved. Unfortunately, Omer Al-Bashir’s regime continues to oppress and kill the Sudanese people in the name of defeating the rebel groups and maintaining his power. This violence is causing major destabilization in the region and threatens the success of the newly formed South Sudan state. The fragility of the Sudanese government deters foreign aid and keeps citizens stuck in the clutches of the poverty trap. If the Sudanese government implodes, as Mahdi believes, a power vacuum will form leading to a situation similar to the war in Syria.   

Sadiq Al-Mahdi

 If no consensus is reached between the opposition and rebel groups present in the country and a violent conflict ensues, then the coup attempt will be seen as nothing more than a continuation of past violence and gain very little international legitimacy. Chenoweth states domestic and international legitimacy encourage broader participation, which then places greater pressure on the government, resulting in a higher chance of success. If the groups decide on nonviolent methods, participation can become more widespread and their chance at success dramatically increases. The rebel groups should listen to Mahdi’s reasoning on why nonviolent revolution is the best route to overthrow Bashir’s regime and major international bodies, such as the UN, should publically back the Sudanese opposition calls for a nonviolent transition.


Sudan Tribune. "Opposition Leader Explains Why He Is against Use of Arms to Topple Bashir's Regime." - Sudan Tribune: Plural News and Views on Sudan. Sudan Tribune, 18 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.

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