In April 2023, war broke out in the capital Khartoum between the Sudanese army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces headed by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti”. Fighting quickly spread to other parts of Sudan, particularly Darfur to the west and Kordofan to the south. Instability in Sudan, a strategic country that connects the Sahel, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, will have ramifications well beyond its borders. The war has already sucked in outside actors. Meanwhile, long-running rebellions in several of the country’s peripheral regions persist. Through research and advocacy, Crisis Group aims to contribute to mitigating and resolving the conflicts in Sudan.
Zeinab Badawi speaks about the failure of international diplomacy to respond effectively to the war in Sudan.
Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) launched offensives against paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), both sides faced internal challenges, and U.S. named special envoy in push to end war.
SAF offensives yielded some success, RSF advanced in North Kordofan. Following months of setbacks, SAF made gains in Omdurman city, Khartoum state, 16 Feb claimed to have broken RSF siege on Engineers and Medical Corps there. SAF also defended positions in West Kordofan state’s Babanussa town, splitting Misseriya community’s allegiance to RSF. Reports of summary executions of alleged RSF supporters, however, increased opposition to SAF. Meanwhile, RSF 17 Feb claimed capture of SAF’s Jebel Al Daier base in North Kordofan, leaving paramilitary in control of state apart from state capital and paving way for expansion into White Nile state. In South Kordofan, SAF, rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (al-Hilu) and SAF-affiliated Public Defence Forces, mostly from Nuba community, 9-10 Feb attacked RSF in Habila town; RSF counterattack 9 Feb killed over twenty as fighting turned into communal conflict between RSF-affiliated Arab tribes and Nuba.
SAF faced internal divisions and RSF struggled to administer areas it controls. SAF 6 Feb arrested officers in Omdurman, sparking flurry of rumours including that army had foiled coup attempt, laying bare divisions within SAF and raising fears of breakdown in command and control. Meanwhile, RSF faced mounting opposition among local communities in Gezira state and struggled to enforce law and order in South Darfur; it also struggled to protect Reziegat communities in North and South Darfur from SAF bombardment, fuelling discontent among paramilitary’s main support base.
U.S. appointed special envoy for Sudan. U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 26 Feb announced appointment of Special Envoy for Sudan, signalling stepped-up efforts to end war following months of failed mediation. Humanitarian situation remained dire; SAF late Jan-early Feb reportedly blocked aid to RSF-controlled areas, while RSF and SAF traded blame for early Feb disruptions to telecommunications networks that impacted aid deliveries. UN Human Rights Office 23 Feb issued report detailing abuses by both sides, some of which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said “would amount to war crimes”.
Regaining an ally in Sudan, especially along the Red Sea, would be a major win for Iran but will spook other regional and Western powers.
There hasn't been a major ceasefire push since the first few weeks of the war in Sudan … It's been a giant mess.
The [Sudanese] army has never had to fight a war like this before and has shown itself not fit for purpose.
The east [of Sudan] is a powder keg. We just haven’t seen it blow up yet.
The concern now is if these Jeddah talks collapse, it confirms more or less that Sudan is basically in freefall into a full civil war.
Both sides [fighting in Sudan] have their own reasons for confidence, which is one reason we haven’t gotten to peace talks.
Sudan’s war is entering an even more dangerous phase as fighting spreads to the heavily contested east, spelling more atrocities and mass displacement. Diplomats should seize a new opportunity to halt the spiral into state failure and stimulate direct talks between the belligerents.
This week on The Horn, we are bringing you a panel discussion on Sudan hosted by Crisis Group’s President and CEO Comfort Ero at the 2023 Doha Forum with Ambassador Mike Hammer, Ambassador Hanna Tetteh, Kholood Khair and Crisis Group’s Africa director Murithi Mutiga.
This week on The Horn, Alan hosts a roundtable discussion with Kholood Khair, Abdul Mohammed, and Alexander Rondos to discuss the multiple crises engulfing the Horn of Africa and why diplomacy has been on the back foot.
Dans cet épisode d’Afrique 360, Enrica Picco reçoit Jérôme Tubiana, conseiller de Médecins Sans Frontières sur les questions des réfugiés, pour parler de la guerre qui ravage le Soudan depuis plus de six mois et de ses retombées dans la région, notamment au Tchad. Ils évoquent la crise humanitaire et migratoire et les affrontements ethniques au Darfour.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard is joined by Crisis Group’s experts Shewit Woldemichael and Alan Boswell to discuss the recent advances of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in Sudan’s Darfur region and what to expect from the resumption of talks between Sudan’s warring factions in the Saudi city Jeddah.
This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Dr Suliman Baldo, Executive Director of the Sudan Transparency and Policy Tracker, to discuss the situation in Sudan six months into the war and where the country is headed.
This week on The Horn, Alan speaks with Maryam Elfaki, an active member of Sudan’s resistance committees, about life inside Khartoum's war zones and the future of grassroots activism in Sudan.
Amid shifting military dynamics, a narrow window for dialogue about stopping the fighting in Sudan may have opened. But diplomacy is in disarray. Outside actors should urgently coordinate efforts to steer the belligerents toward a negotiated end to hostilities.
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