The U.S. Must Help to Consolidate Civilian Government in Sudan Against Entrenched Security Hardliners
Senior Policy Analyst, Africa and the Middle East
Joshua Meservey is the Senior Policy Analyst for Africa and the Middle East at the Heritage Foundation.
A series of agreements between representatives of Sudan’s popular uprising and leaders of the country’s security services has brought a transitional government that gives the U.S. an opportunity to encourage the consolidation of a friendly, non-Islamist civilian government. Yet the security hardliners are unlikely to abide by the new arrangement that could strip them of the extensive privileges they have enjoyed for decades. They are likely to try to appear to honor their commitments while ensuring that an independent civilian government does not form. Sudan sits in a geostrategically important and fragile region, and the transition period will be fraught. U.S. strategy should focus on empowering the civilian elements of the government with diplomatic support and technical assistance, and helping them erode the hardliners’ power, but subtly enough to avoid a bloody backlash.