Woldemariam in FA on Political Upheaval in Sudan

Michael Woldemariam, Assistant Professor of International Relations and Political Science at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, co-wrote a recent article on the recent political upheaval in Sudan and its implications on the Horn of Africa as well as the entire African continent. 

Woldemariam’s Op-Ed, entitled “What Happens in Sudan Doesn’t Stay in Sudan,“was published in Foreign Affairs on July 19, 2019.

From the text of the article:

It’s the end of an era in the Horn of Africa. After three decades in power, Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir fell in April. Mass antigovernment protests erupted, and a military coup soon followed. Now the remnants of Bashir’s security state are locked in a protracted standoff with an indefatigable pro-democracy movement over control of the country. The governing Transitional Military Council has cracked down violently, killing more than 100 protesters in a wave of repression that began on June 3. But it has also promised to facilitate a transition to civilian rule as part of a tentative power-sharing agreement with the Forces of Freedom and Change, an umbrella organization representing the demonstrators.

The upheaval in Sudan comes at the same time as Ethiopia’s reform-minded prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is dramatically expanding political space in his country, while battling an attendant surge in ethnic violence. Together with subtler stirrings in Eritrea and elsewhere, the historic transitions in Sudan and Ethiopia could change the trajectory of a volatile corner of Africa for decades to come. The question that now hangs over the region is what the next era will bring: Will it usher in a new, more democratic order built on a shared foundation of national sovereignty and collective security? Or will it bring a closed, authoritarian order that is beholden to extraregional powers? Sudan, in particular, is a microcosm of this broader struggle to reshape the regional order, as well as a likely harbinger of its outcome. On one side of that struggle is a coalition of African states, bound together by the African Union and an important East African regional bloc. On the other are the oil-rich monarchies of the Persian Gulf.

Woldemariam’s teaching and research interests focus on African politics, particularly the dynamics of armed conflict, the behavior of rebel organizations and self-determination movements, and post-conflict institution building. He has special expertise in the Horn of Africa, and has conducted fieldwork in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somaliland, South Africa, and India. His first book, Insurgent Fragmentation in the Horn of Africa: Rebellion and its Discontents, was released by Cambridge University Press in 2018. It examines the causes and dynamics of rebel fragmentation in contemporary civil wars through a close examination of the Ethiopian and Somali conflicts. Research on this topic and others has been published (or is forthcoming) in Terrorism and Political Violence, the Journal of Strategic Studies, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Journal of Eastern African Studies, and a number of edited volumes.