09/13/2011 05:17 pm ET | Updated Nov 13, 2011

What the Arab Spring Means for Sudan

The level of violence in Sudan since South Sudan seceded has few parallels in the world right now. The instigator and party most responsible for the death and destruction is the regime in Khartoum. A 22-year dictatorship, it is deeply entrenched, and until recently changing the status quo was almost unthinkable. But the secession of South Sudan, a growing armed and unarmed coalition inside Sudan seeking fundamental change, the eruption of the Arab Spring throughout a number of Sudan's key neighbors, and international success in protecting civilians in places like Libya and Ivory Coast has provided a window of opportunity for historic change in Sudan.

In my policy essay on this moment of opportunity, I try to make the case that the Obama administration should shift its policy away from trying to negotiate a series of deals with regional actors, an approach which played right into Khartoum's divide and rule approach to governing, and move toward support for Sudanese efforts to change the status quo. In the first instance, U.S. and allied efforts should promote a comprehensive peace deal involving all parties in conflict with the government, alongside democratic elections. If that peaceful route is refused by the regime, then more forceful policy options should be employed.

My Enough Project colleague Omer Ismail recorded a video discussing some of these needed changes.

Take action in support of the Sudanese people and their aspirations for peace and democracy.

John Prendergast is co-founder of the Enough Project and co-author of Unlikely Brothers.