Apr 11, 2019

Sudan's Omar al-Bashir toppled after 30 years in power

Protesters today in Khartoum. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Sudan's defense minister said longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir has been removed from office and arrested following months of protests against Bashir's brutal regime.

The big picture: This is clearly not a democratic transition — at least not yet. Awad Ibn Ouf, the defense minister, announced a three-month state of emergency and said the army would oversee a two year transition period before elections can be held.

  • Bashir's ouster follows that of Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika, meaning two of the longest-serving leaders in the region have been toppled by protests in just over a week.
  • Per the BBC, protesters in Khartoum have been chanting: "It has fallen, we won."

The backdrop, via GZERO Media's Alex Kliment: "Bashir first took power three decades ago in a coup backed by Islamic fundamentalists, and he immediately dialed up the Arab-dominated government’s long-running war against black and predominantly Christian separatists in the country’s oil rich south."

  • "By the time that war fully ended with the south’s internationally brokered secession in 2011, more than 2 million people had been killed." 
  • "Even as that war was winding down, Bashir crushed a rebellion in the western Sudanese region of Darfur with such brutality that he became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide."
  • "Tight U.S. sanctions imposed in 1997 over human rights abuses and support for terrorism (Osama bin Laden briefly called Sudan home) helped him burnish his image as a populist defender of his people against a neo-colonial West." 

Go deeper: The world's longest-serving leaders

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George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla. seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

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Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

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Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."