Last Thursday, the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir stepped down in response to massive public protests and pressure from within his own government. A committed Islamist, Bashir has in the past cooperated with both al-Qaeda and Iran and presided over the genocidal slaughter in Darfur. Alberto Fernandez comments on the implications of his ouster:
In the months leading up to April 11, many sensed that Bashir was a dead man walking. No one in the region, including the Qataris, Saudis, or Egyptians, had the cash or the will to ameliorate Sudan’s major problems. Formerly, Gulf states had provided substantial temporary relief to Khartoum after South Sudan’s independence in 2011 prompted a steep decline in the north’s oil exports, and in 2015 after the regime distanced itself from Iran. Nor could the country’s new friends in Ankara or old ones in Tehran provide sufficient backing to restore a sustainable status quo. . . .
Past instances of . . . tactical flexibility showed the ruling party’s will to survive. . . . Consider that Sudan went from being a center of global jihadism and a host to Osama bin Laden to signing a peace deal and sharing power from 2005 to 2011 with largely non-Muslim, leftist, and secular rebels. . . . It also went from being a state sponsor of terrorism to cooperating closely with the Central Intelligence Agency on counterterrorism. Moreover, a decade ago, the regime was helpful to Washington on counterterrorism [while simultaneously continuing to aid] Iran in smuggling weapons into Gaza for use by Hamas. . . .
Solely in terms of survival, the Sudanese regime is the most successful Islamist government in the Arab world, excepting the hereditary rulers of the Arabian Peninsula. . . .