Morning Brief

What’s Next for Sudan?

Plus: Mexico continues talks at the White House, elections in Denmark, and the other stories we're following today.

A Sudanese protester outside Khartoum's army headquarters on June 3, 2019.
A Sudanese protester outside Khartoum's army headquarters on June 3, 2019. ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Sudan’s opposition refuses to meet with its military rulers, trade talks with Mexico continue at the White House, and a bipartisan bill aims to block U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

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Sudan’s Opposition Refuses Talks

Three days after security forces stormed the main protest camp in Khartoum, the mood in Sudan’s capital remains tense. Opposition groups have rejected the ruling military council’s offer to resume talks, which came amid international criticism. Protesters say that more than 100 people were killed in the deadly crackdown and subsequent violence, and the toll keeps rising. (Official numbers have not been released.) The United Nations pulled out some its staff amid the violence.

The attacks on protesters occurred as the ruling military council and the opposition debated who should lead Sudan: The protesters have demanded complete civilian rule since ex-President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April. The African Union’s deadline for the military to step down is at the end of the month.

Who’s in charge? Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagolo, the deputy head of the military council, claimed the council was investigating the violence. The opposition no longer trusts the military enough to meet for talks, however. The city is locked down, with members of the notoriously violent paramilitary Rapid Support Forces—which Hemeti commands—on the streets. On Wednesday, 40 bodies were pulled from the Nile, according to doctors connected to the opposition, after unconfirmed reports that members of the paramilitary group threw them in the river.

Outside involvement. Evidence on the ground in Sudan—including military vehicles—suggests the involvement of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, Justin Lynch and Robbie Gramer report. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have pledged $3 billion in aid to Sudan. Their involvement contrasts with that of the United States, which does not appear to have a solid strategy on Sudan.

“After weeks of unbridled optimism following Bashir’s April ouster, Sudan is now on the brink of a total breakdown,” they write. But the violence has not yet deterred those demanding democracy.

What We’re Following Today

U.S. and Mexico continue talks. Mexico and the United States will continue negotiations at the White House today after concluding on Wednesday without a compromise. Mexican officials are seeking to prevent Washington from imposing tariffs on Mexican goods, as threatened by U.S. President Donald Trump. The talks have so far focused only on Mexico’s efforts to curb illegal immigration. New figures show that May saw the largest number of arrests—144,000—on the U.S. side of the border in 13 years.

The U.S. secretary of agriculture is concerned that the tariffs could get in the way of a new trade agreement between the two countries and Canada. Meanwhile, Mexico has prepared a list of U.S. agricultural goods that it could hit with retaliatory tariffs if the administration’s plan goes forward next week.

A bipartisan bill to block U.S. arms sales. Republican and Democratic U.S. senators plan to introduce a bill to stop Trump’s plan to sell $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which bypassed congressional review. For months, members of Congress had blocked arms deals with the two Gulf countries, citing civilians deaths in Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

Police raid Australian public broadcaster. Australian authorities entered the headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday with search warrants related to an investigation into alleged abuses by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. Press freedom groups have condemned the raid. The police allege that the journalists published classified information. The law they are using is derived from Britain’s severe Official Secrets Act of 1911, the New York Times notes.

Keep an Eye On

FARC rebels in Colombia. A third of former members of the dissident Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have re-armed since the country’s 2016 peace accord, Reuters reports. While FARC fighters handed in their weapons then, many have returned to rebel groups due to economic pressure: There are now 2,600 FARC members in coca-growing regions across the country—an increasing security threat.

The crisis in Cameroon. Human rights groups have issued a warning over the ongoing conflict in Cameroon between Anglophone separatists and the government. Nearly 2,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands displaced in two years of fighting, but there hasn’t been any significant mediation effort.

Europe’s far-right coalition. Poland’s nationalist party and Britain’s Brexit Party won’t join a coalition of far-right parties in the European Parliament, undermining Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s efforts to form a strong Euroskeptic bloc. For the Polish nationalists, the dealbreaker was the other parties’ positive stance toward Russia.

The Greek definition of rape. Women in Greece are protesting a government proposal to rewrite the definition of rape in the country’s penal code, potentially leading to lesser punishment for rapists. The controversial bill has drawn criticism from jurists and rights groups. The Greek parliament votes on the legislation today.

Ballot Box

Denmark’s center-left parties won the country’s parliamentary election on Wednesday, taking 91 of 179 seats in the Folketing. The Social Democratic Party’s leader, Mette Frederiksen, 41, appears set to become the country’s youngest prime minister. Her Social Democrats have controversially endorsed stringent anti-immigration policies—once championed only by the far-right—a strategy that some analysts contend helped the party win back voters from the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, which suffered its worst result in a national election since it became a political force in the late 1990s. Frederiksen faces opposition to her hardline immigration policies from several centrist and left-wing parties that she will need to form a coalition.

Two months after general elections, Thailand’s parliament has voted to keep Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in power for a second term. Prayuth came to power during the 2014 military coup, and the ruling junta appeared to rig the election in his favor. He could find the role as a civilian leader with a fragile coalition more difficult.

A poll this week in Ukraine showed President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party leading by more than 30 points ahead of the snap parliamentary election next month. Zelensky dissolved the country’s parliament on his first day in office, hoping to cement his power.

Odds and Ends

North Korea has suspended the Mass Games, a state propaganda event popular with tourists, after the leader Kim Jong Un noted his dissatisfaction on opening night. The choreographed show, which feature child performers, had resumed last September after a five-year hiatus.

Temperatures in northern India hit 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) this week, nearly beating the country’s record high—set in 2016. A heat wave warning has been issued across the country, with the overdue monsoon rains likely to arrive by next week.

The first qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup takes place today in Mongolia, one of six first-round games across Asia. Mongolia, which hosts Brunei, has previously won only one World Cup qualifying match.

Foreign Policy Recommends

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That’s it for today.

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Audrey Wilson is the newsletter editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @audreybwilson

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