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.
Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) advanced south into Sennar, White and Blue Nile states, and began consolidating power in Darfur region; RSF leader’s diplomatic tour continued.
RSF advanced south and began consolidating power in Darfur. Following RSF’s Dec advance toward central-eastern Sudan and subsequent capture of Gezira state capital, army early Jan began arming civilians in Gezira; RSF 18 Jan threatened to continue offensives into eastern Gedarif, Kassala and Port Sudan states if civilian recruitment continues. In south, RSF early Jan surrounded Sennar city, Sennar state, and advanced toward White and Blue Nile states, triggering formation of new militias that support army. Meanwhile, RSF stepped up efforts to form civil administration and security structures in parts of Darfur region it controls. Notably, in West Darfur state it appointed new governor and pursued peace deals with local actors; in North Darfur state, it worked to de-escalate tensions with Darfuri armed groups, most of whom are Juba Peace Agreement signatories, and forged alliances to bolster security presence in state capital El Fasher. Fighting fuelled ethnic conflict in Kordofan region. In South Kordofan state, RSF 8 Jan attacked army position around Dilling town, leading to skirmishes with rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (al-Hilu) due to group’s ethnic affiliation with army; confrontation turned into ethnic-based conflict between non-Arab Nubian SPLM-N (al-Hilu) and RSF-affiliated Misseriya and Hawazma Arab militias. In West Kordofan state’s Babanusa town, RSF-army clashes 22-24 Jan reportedly killed and injured dozens.Army stepped up offensives. Army renewed aerial offensives in capital Khartoum, as well as South Darfur and Gezira states; 27 Jan launched ground attacks in Khartoum’s north and south east amid offensive in sister city Omdurman. Addressing troops in Kassala state, Burhan 30 Jan announced shift in strategy, directing army and allies to launch full-scale offensive against RSF.RSF leader continued diplomatic engagement. RSF leader Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” continued regional tour, 18 Jan attended Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit in Uganda, prompting army 20 Jan to suspend Sudan’s membership in setback for IGAD mediation effort. Hemedti 2 Jan signed declaration with civilian coalition TAQADDUM, agreeing to ceasefire talks with army; army leader 5 Jan rejected declaration.
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.
The [Sudanese] army has never had to fight a war like this before and has shown itself not fit for purpose.
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 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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