UNDERSTANDING SUDAN CRISIS.
The protracted clashes between Sudan's Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces have caused widespread devastation, resulting in countless civilian deaths and severe hardships for millions who are struggling to access basic necessities. The root of the conflict can be traced back to the integration of the RSF into the regular army following the 2019 popular uprising that ousted Sudan's former president, Omar al-Bashir. The crisis has been compounded by the fact that both army leaders, Abdelfattah al-Burhan and Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo, have seized full control of the state from the civilian authorities they once shared power with. Hemedti, an outsider to Sudan's traditional Nile elites, has become a dominant figure in the conflict, with his foreign connections further complicating the situation.
Though there is concern that the RSF aims to gain control over the country's valuable economic assets, such as its gold mines, the conflict is fundamentally a struggle for personal power between General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the de facto ruler of the country, and General Dagalo. Both are desperate to remain in control and avoid being ousted during the transition to an elected government. This violence is not rooted in ideology, religion, or race but rather echoes Sudan's tumultuous past of coups and civil strife since its independence in 1956. Unless the situation is resolved, the risk of further violence escalating threatens to destabilize the nation, putting its chances for a successful transition to democratic rule in jeopardy.
Sudan's current crisis is not an isolated incident, but rather has deep historical roots that stretch back decades. The country has a long and troubled history of political instability, ethnic tensions, and armed conflict. Following its independence from colonial rule in 1956, Sudan experienced several coups and periods of military rule, interspersed with brief periods of civilian governance. One of the most devastating conflicts in Sudan's recent history was the Second Sudanese Civil War, which lasted from 1983 to 2005. This conflict was fought between the Sudanese government and various rebel groups, primarily in the southern region of the country, resulting in the deaths of an estimated two million people and the displacement of millions more. After the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, which ended the Second Sudanese Civil War, the country held a referendum on independence for South Sudan in 2011. South Sudan became an independent nation following an overwhelming vote for secession.
Despite these significant developments, Sudan continued to face various challenges, including economic hardship, ethnic tensions, and political instability. In 2018, popular protests erupted across the country, leading to the eventual ousting of President Omar al-Bashir in a coup in April 2019. The recent violence in Khartoum highlights the fragile nature of the current political transition and the potential for further violence and instability.
The ongoing conflict between the military and militia forces highlights the deep-seated animosity and high stakes involved in the struggle for power. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the transition to civilian rule relied heavily on the good faith and commitment of the very armed actors now engaged in violent conflict. It is clear that attempts to revert to this approach lack credibility and support both domestically and internationally. To find a lasting solution to the crisis in Sudan, it is imperative that the international community works with the people of Sudan to address the underlying issues of ethnic tensions, economic hardship, and political fragmentation. Without a concerted effort to find a path towards peace, stability, and a democratic future, Sudan is likely to remain a fragile state with the potential for further violence and instability.
The situation in Sudan is particularly concerning for Chad, which is already dealing with fragile leadership and could be impacted by the intense fighting in Sudan's Darfur region. Egypt's involvement in the conflict as a supporter of the Sudanese Armed Forces also raises security questions for Ethiopia, which is in a tense standoff with Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. South Sudan, with its own internal conflicts, and the Central African Republic, plagued by violence for years, are also at risk of being affected by the destabilization in Sudan.
The potential consequences of Sudan's collapse are dire and could be worse than what was witnessed in Libya. Sudan's strategic location at the heart of the region and its deep-rooted conflicts make it a potent threat to regional stability. A worst-case scenario would be the spillover of conflict into neighboring countries, leading to the exacerbation of existing tensions and the ignition of new ones.
The international community has a critical role to play in preventing the situation in Sudan from spiraling out of control. Swift and decisive action is needed to address the underlying issues of ethnic tensions, economic hardship, and political fragmentation that have contributed to the current crisis. Failure to act could have catastrophic consequences for the region and beyond.
In the midst of these complex challenges, it is crucial to prioritize the voices and needs of the Sudanese people who have been tirelessly advocating for democratic change and justice. Their unwavering perseverance and determination can serve as an inspiration for the country's path forward. However, external actors like Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia have complicated the situation by interfering in the conflict, making it all the more necessary to work towards multilateral consensus.
It is imperative to prevent a protracted period of disintegration in Sudan and its potential destabilizing effects on the region. To achieve this, it is vital to strengthen multilateral cooperation and discourage any actions that would exacerbate the violence. By doing so, it may be possible to move towards a peaceful and stable future for Sudan, and in turn, create a more secure and prosperous region.
In light of the potential consequences of the conflict in Sudan, it is imperative to take stock of the situation and explore avenues towards peace and stability. The conflict has the potential to cause a humanitarian crisis and destabilize neighboring countries, making it crucial to prioritize multilateral efforts to resolve the conflict. Despite the complexity of the situation on the ground and the involvement of external actors, the voices of Sudanese civilians must be elevated and supported in their fight for democracy and justice. These voices can serve as a source of inspiration for a brighter future for Sudan. It is essential for the international community to continue engaging with the situation in Sudan and promoting collaborative efforts towards peace and stability in the region. Only through sustained efforts can we hope to achieve a lasting resolution to the conflict and ensure a better future for the people of Sudan and the wider region.