Aside from the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel, there is something that is receiving unfair coverage. Let’s discuss about Sudan because the conflict there has faded from the news. Sudan’s fall into murder and destruction has never been seen before. So, if you haven’t been keeping up with what’s going on in Sudan, here’s what you need to know.
There are two main players General Abdel Fatah al-Burhan, he’s head of the Sudanese armed forces and then there’s General Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo also known as Hemedti who leads the Rapid Support Forces – the RSF. They’re a powerful paramilitary group. The quick backstory is that General Al-Burhan and Hemedti used to be on the same side. Big protests in favor of President Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled for thirty years, took place in 2019; the two generals effectively took over the demonstrations to remove Al-Bashir from office. However, the nation persisted in applying pressure since they did not want the military to rule over them, and eventually, a caretaker government was established with plans to move toward democracy. The two generals were part of that but in 2021 they staged another coup. Al-Burhan took control of the government and Hemedti remained in a powerful position. But as time went on, a fight for dominance between them showed up. In April 2023, that rivalry turned into a full-blown war, they were trying not just to win but to eradicate the other and to have complete control over the country and its resources.
There is a lot of violence in and around the capital. Although it’s unclear whose side is in control, Khartoum is a combat zone. The RSF has more territory and some vital infrastructure, including power plants, water plants, and oil refineries, in addition to some government institutions that can maneuver with more agile vehicles than the Army, despite the Army managing to hold onto its spaces and having planes. There are also a lot more military on the streets of Khartoum.
The suffering is incomprehensible; 4.3 million people were internally displaced within Sudan, and 1.4 million people—roughly 15% of the city’s population—left Khartoum for neighboring towns, leaving many stranded civilians who are dying in the conflict. The RSF has also been accused of terrorizing victims whose homes have been vandalized, looted, robbed, and there are an estimated 4.2 million women and girls at risk of vulnerability. The nation is functional but sparse. Hospitals have been attacked and plundered, while banks and the majority of businesses have closed. Parts of Khartoum have had no electricity for months. In a horrific incident children and babies in an orphanage died over several months because of hunger and fever.
The situation in West Darfur is far worse; there has been a resurgence and flare-up of an ethnic conflict. In 2003 there was a rebellion in Darfur it was mostly led by non-Arab tribes who felt discriminated against by the Arab-dominated government of President Omar al-Bashir. In response, he gathered fighters from Arab tribes to launch a counteroffensive; these fighters were known as the Janjaweed. Remember that the events in Darfur led to Omar al-Bashir’s subsequent indictment by the International Criminal Court. The Janjaweed were led by Hemedti in 2013. They were rebranded as the RSF a few years later. They were officially recognized as a paramilitary force and their links to Darfur have remained strong. They’re aligned with local Arab militias there, and the RSF controlled many gold mines – a lucrative source of revenue for them.
The country is in the midst of a renewed cycle of genocidal violence. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported that thousands of refugees from Sudan have crossed the border into Chad. Chad has received the highest number of refugees since the start of the conflict, followed by Egypt and South Sudan, as well as Ethiopia and the Central African Republic. Chad is one of the world’s most impoverished countries and lacks the infrastructure to cope with a large-scale refugee crisis of this magnitude. There are no camps in Chad, and people are attempting to establish their camps with the clothes or fabrics.
About half of Sudan’s population does not meet the country’s enormous demand for humanitarian relief; aid organizations operating there claim to be severely underfunded; they require more than $3 billion in funding but only receive $445 million. I believe there has to be a global wake-up call about how quickly this needs to be done, as inaction might destabilize an entire area. When compared to other conflicts, especially those in Ukraine, the pledged funds are significantly less than the actual commitments made there. Work together with global civil society organizations to efficiently handle the refugee situation. A significant obstacle to providing aid in Sudan is getting it to the people who need it the most; the conflict is not the only reason.
The last thing I want to say is that there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight to the conflict without immense international efforts. Attempts to mediate between the two sides have been made, but they have encountered obstacles. The main push has come from Saudi Arabia, and the United States has mediated a few rounds of talks in Jeddah. The main goals are to negotiate ceasefires and humanitarian corridors so that aid can enter. Both sides view this as an existential struggle, and neither side is willing to make tactical concessions when they fear they will lose ground on the battlefield or might forgo an opportunity to win. The necessary function of the International Court of Justice, diplomatic pressure, sanctions, and peacekeeping missions would probably settle the situation.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.