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Sudan Conflict: Can We Stop Another African Nation's Descent into a Human-Engineered Inferno?

By S. M. Saifee Islam
Article Sudan Conflict: Can We Stop Another African Nation's Descent into a Human-Engineered Inferno?
TUE, 25 APR 2023 LISTEN

The endless sorrow of the Sudanese people is like a scar that refuses to heal, a constant reminder of the pain and suffering that has plagued the African continent for far too long. They fight for freedom, for a chance to live without fear, but their struggle seems to fall on deaf ears, drowned out by the apathy of the world. It's as if humanity has put on a pair of tinted glasses, seeing only the surface of the crisis in African countries, ignoring the depths of despair that lie beneath. The recent massacre and emergency in Sudan are just another chapter in this tragic story of ignorance and neglect.

The current crisis: effects on various stakeholders?

The political upheaval resulting from the recent coup and anti-coup in Sudan has caused significant turmoil within the nation. The potential for a protracted civil war or territorial fragmentation looms over Sudan due to the ongoing power struggle between General Abdel Fattah Burhan and General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. The outcome of the election holds significant consequences, as the prevailing candidate is expected to assume the presidency, whereas the defeated candidate may encounter banishment, detainment, or potentially fatal repercussions.

Nevertheless, it is not solely Sudan that is in jeopardy. The neighbouring nations of the country, such as Egypt and Ethiopia, are observing the situation with an increasing level of apprehension. Egypt is dependent on the Nile River, which is shared with Sudan, as a crucial resource to sustain its population exceeding 100 million. In contrast, Ethiopia is currently engaged in the construction of a substantial dam upstream, which has caused concern for both Cairo and Khartoum.

Furthermore, there exists a possibility of spillover into adjacent nations, with Chad and South Sudan being the most susceptible in the near term. Both countries are currently embroiled in internal conflicts, with multiple insurgent factions operating in proximity to their permeable borders. As the duration of the conflict in Sudan persists, there is an increasing possibility of external actors intervening, which could potentially worsen the situation.

Conversely, Arab Gulf nations, specifically the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have demonstrated a proclivity for the Horn of Africa, endeavouring to extend their influence throughout the area. The United Arab Emirates maintains strong connections with the Rapid Support Forces, a group that has dispatched numerous combatants to assist Gulf nations in their conflict against Houthi insurgents in Yemen, who are believed to be supported by Iran. Russia has expressed intentions to construct a naval facility in Port Sudan, a strategically significant passageway for energy exports to Europe via the Red Sea. Consequently, the current power dynamics are likely to prompt a shift in the strategies employed by these various stakeholders.

However, the relationship between Sudan and western countries is complex. During the 1990s, the nation gained notoriety on the global stage due to its association with Osama bin Laden and other militants. Additionally, the leadership of al-Bashir resulted in the establishment of a hard-line Islamist government, further contributing to the country's international isolation. The region experienced increased isolation during the Darfur conflict of the 2000s, wherein Sudanese military forces and the Janjaweed militia were accused of perpetrating atrocities in their efforts to quell a regional insurgency. Al-Bashir was charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court.

Following Sudan's agreement to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, the United States delisted Sudan from its roster of state sponsors of terrorism. However, subsequent to the military coup in 2021, billions of dollars in loans and aid were suspended. The confluence of the conflict in Ukraine, global inflation, and other factors has precipitated a severe economic downturn in Sudan. If the ongoing crisis extends beyond the provision of aid, there is a possibility that investments will decrease, leading to a catastrophic impact on Sudan's economy. There is a possibility that Sudan may be deemed a pariah state once more, even by Western nations.

Can We Stop Another African Nation's Descent into a Human-Engineered Inferno?

The current state of affairs in Sudan is characterised by a severe and pressing predicament, for which there appears to be no definitive resolution within immediate reach. The destiny of the country is in a precarious state, with the possibility of overflow into adjacent nations and the participation of foreign entities casting a shadow over the predicament. The Sudanese populace is currently embroiled in a political conflict that poses a significant risk of fracturing their country. The expressions of the individuals, their aspirations, and their ambitions appear to have been overshadowed amidst the tumultuous circumstances of the coup and the anti-coup.

However, within the context of obscurity, there exists a faint indication of optimism. The Sudanese populace has demonstrated noteworthy perseverance in the face of hardship, as evidenced by their ongoing protests and demonstrations despite the prevailing crisis. The individuals in question exhibit a steadfast determination to persist in their endeavours, despite facing obstacles and opposition. The individuals are engaged in a struggle to secure their future, that of their offspring, and that of their country. Despite global scrutiny and anticipation, they will persist.

On the other hand, the events of the recent coup and anti-coup in Sudan have highlighted the significant ramifications of power abuse and the associated costs. This statement serves as a prompt to reflect on the significant impact that the actions of a nation's leaders can have on the trajectory of that nation, highlighting the crucial role that these individuals play in shaping the course of history.

Moreover, the current occurrences in Sudan have once more emphasised the critical necessity for tranquilly and steadiness within the nation. The plight of the Sudanese populace demands our immediate attention and cannot be ignored any further. It is imperative for the global community to unite and implement resolute measures to bring an end to the ongoing crisis.

Besides, it is imperative that the United Nations assume a proactive stance in addressing the issue at hand, and that all parties involved acknowledge the gravity of the situation in terms of its impact on the welfare, autonomy, and fundamental rights of the Sudanese populace. Sudan's significance extends beyond its oil reserves to encompass the profound emotional investment of its populace. The utilisation of energy resources cannot be sustained through the shedding of blood. The Sudanese population is a constituent of humanity, and their existence holds equivalent significance to that of any other individual.

The attainment of peace is contingent upon the practise of negotiation, and it is incumbent upon all individuals to strive towards this paramount objective. In order to promote the betterment of humanity, it is imperative for leaders and institutions to take action and establish a peace line. It is imperative to pursue peace and prevent the detrimental impact of war and conflict on individuals and societies.

In summary, the portrayal of Africa is one characterised by subjugation and grief, depicted as a medium imbued with the anguish and suffering of those who have endured protracted periods of hardship. Despite the burden of their history, the Sudanese populace persists in their struggle, maintaining optimism and aspirations for better tomorrow. Hence, it is advisable to opt for peace instead of firearms and align oneself with the symbol of roses. Collaborative efforts are imperative for the advancement of Sudan, Africa, and the global community. The need for time is to set aside divergences and strive towards a shared objective of achieving tranquilly and affluence for the entire populace.

S. M. Saifee Islam
Research Associate
The KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA)

Dhaka, Bangladesh

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