The (counter) Revolution in Sudan: A Litmus Test of Gulf Influence
In line with Sudan’s cyclical history of revolutions and coups, recent months have seen the country once-again on the precipice of governmental reforms. The strength of protesters was able to oust long-time authoritarian ruler Omar Al-Basheer from power, putting him in the ranks of past Sudanese leaders whose terms were ended following popular uprisings. Also evocative of the past, are subsequent efforts of these protestors to establish principles, laws and institutions to put Sudan on the path to representative democracy. However, complicating the efforts of reformers is the Sudanese military, a time-tested institution that has been needed by protestors to depose dictators, but also one that uses subsequent power vacuums to entrench its power, thereby blocking democratic gains. Distinguishing Sudan’s most recent protests has been an abject determination by activists that the military is not a partner in reform. Perhaps upon this realization, the military has cracked-down on protestors, killing over 100 in a harsh display of state-power. Meanwhile, observing a continent-away have been the states of the GCC, which have used their financial means in an attempt to sway the trajectory of Sudan’s future. In doing so however, Sudan has perhaps become one more theatre for rival Gulf States to deploy competing ideologies in order to boost their respective states’ regional influence. Why are Gulf governments so interested in Sudan’s outcome? How have Gulf states impacted recent events in the country? In what ways is Sudan yet another platform for the Gulf states to challenge one another’s influence?
Giorgio Cafiero (Moderator), Dr. Nabeel Khoury, Ms. Niemat Ahamdi, Prof. David Des Roches, Dr. William Lawrence,
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Giorgio Cafiero (Moderator)
CEO of Gulf States Analytics
Giorgio Cafiero is the CEO of Gulf State Analytics. He is a frequent contributor to Middle East Institute, Atlantic Council, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Middle East Policy Council, Al Jazeera, New Arab, Qatar Peninsula, Al Monitor, TRT World, and LobeLog. Throughout Cafiero’s career, he has spoken at international conferences and participated in closed door meetings with high-ranking government officials, diplomats, scholars, businessmen, and journalists in GCC states, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt. From 2014-2015, he worked as analyst at Kroll. Cafiero holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of San Diego.
Dr. Nabeel Khoury
Non-Resident Senior Fellow; Atlantic Council
Dr. Khoury is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Hariri Center for the Middle East. His commentaries appear on the Atlantic Council’s MENA Resource, The Hill, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs and on his own blog, Middle East Corner.
After twenty five years in the Foreign Service, Dr. Khoury retired from the U.S. Department of State in 2013 with the rank of Minister Counselor. He taught Middle East and US strategy courses at the National Defense University and Northwestern University. In his last overseas posting, Khoury served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Yemen (2004-2007). In 2003, during the Iraq war, he served as Department spokesperson at US Central Command in Doha and in Baghdad.
Khoury earned his BA in political science from the American University of Beirut and his MA and PhD in political science from the State University of New York at Albany. Before his Foreign Service career, Khoury was an assistant professor of political science at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, and earlier, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Jordan in Amman. Dr. Khoury has published articles on issues of leadership and development in the Arab world in The Middle East Journal, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and The International Journal of Middle East Studies. Articles on the regional impact of the Arab uprising and on U.S. policy in Yemen appear in the summer 2013 and summer 2014 issues of Middle East Policy. A forthcoming book entitled, No Regrets, an Arab-American in the U.S. Foreign Service, will be published soon by Westphalia Press.
Ms. Niemat Ahmadi
Founder and President, Darfur Women Action Group
David Des Roches
Associate Professor of at the Near East South Asia Center for Security Studies
David Des Roches is currently Associate Professor of at the Near East South Asia Center for Security Studies. Prior to this, he was the Defense Department director responsible for policy concerning Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Prior to this assignment, he has served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Liaison to the Department of Homeland Security, as senior country director for Pakistan, as NATO operations director, and as deputy director for peacekeeping. His first job in government was as a special assistant for strategy and later as the international law enforcement analyst in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He graduated from the United States Military Academy and obtained advanced degrees in Arab Politics from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, in War Studies from Kings College London, and Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. He has also attended the Federal Executive Institute, the German Staff College’s Higher Officer Seminar, the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School and the US Army Command and General Staff College.
Dr. William Lawrence
Professor of Political Science & International Affairs; George Washington University
Dr. William Lawrence has thirty-two year’s experience working on the MENA region and wider Muslim world and lived immersively for thirteen years in seven Muslim majority countries. Since 2011, he has served successively as International Crisis Group’s North Africa Project Director, as the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director, and as Control Risk’s Middle East and North Africa Associate Director. Previously, he served as Senior Advisor for Global Engagement in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), working closely with the White House on core Obama administration Cairo-speech-related initiatives. He co-created the Global Innovation Through Science and Technology (GIST) Program, the U.S. Science Envoy Program, and the Maghreb Digital Library; co-chaired of the U.S.-Egypt S&T development fund for four years; and served at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, helping negotiate the first U.S.-Libya bilateral agreement in decades. He has taught at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Tufts/Fletcher School, Amideast/Mohamed V in Rabat, and Cadi Ayyad in Marrakesh and lectured at over 100 universities worldwide. He appears regularly on NPR, BBC, VOA, France 24, Al Jazeera Arabic and English, and CCTV (China). He received six merit awards from the U.S. State Department, two medals from the Egyptian government, and an alumni achievement award from Duke University. He co-produced 6 MENA-related documentary films and 14 albums of North African music.