Friday, June 30, 2023

Sudan: Eid in Wad Hamid, prayers in east of Sudan. Twitter has started blocking unregistered users

Wondering what the boy in photo is thinking and what his future holds. Most Sudanese children have lost 3 months of schooling since April 15.
Photos at BBC News Africa
Published Friday 30 June 2023

Africa's week in pictures: 23-29 June 2023

From a selection of the best photos from across Africa and beyond this week, here are two taken in Sudan.


Image caption,

In Wad Hamid, about 100km (60 miles) north of Sudan's capital, Khartoum, a man skins a sheep for an Eid feast, where people marked the festival despite the conflict...


Image caption,

But the fighting, which began in April, has forced millions from their homes - including this boy seen on Wednesday at Eid prayers in the east of Sudan.

View more here:



Post script from Sudan Watch Editor:

1. Currently reading 'Explainer: when does a conflict become war'

2. Spending time creating different ways to fact-check, curate and chronicle news now that microblogging platform Twitter is closed to people who are not registered or can't register/sign in.

If it is a permanent change by Twitter, I'll sign in for a short time daily and manually copy tweets suitable for documenting at Sudan Watch so readers can see a tweet without having to register/sign in to Twitter.

Tweeters will lose new readers from many sources such as journalists embedding tweets into news reports. Sudan Watch has a high quality longstanding readership. Many are in countries where for security reasons they are unable/unwilling to register at Twitter/sign in to read a tweet

Sadly, Twitter is no longer a village square open to all. It's marginalising millions of people across the world who rely on it to check on news and emergencies. Can't imagine Twitter's advertisers are pleased. 

When I signed in today I saw it costs approx £100 GBP annually for an individual (not a business) to have a blue tick and perks. Anyone can buy one if they have verifiable phone number but it has to be a mobile number, marginalising people without a mobile phone. It's a disappointing mess. 

From the Verge, today:

Twitter has started blocking unregistered users

If you want to browse tweets, user profiles, and comment threads on the web, then you currently need to be signed in to a Twitter account. Twitter has yet to address if the update was intentional

The new sign-in prompt now appears as soon as you try to access Twitter and removes the previously available background preview. Image: Twitter / The Verge

View original:


South Sudan: Troika Statement on reports of armed groups mobilising in Malakal, Upper Nile State


Thursday, June 29, 2023

Islamists wield hidden hand in Sudan conflict. Burhan calls for Sudan’s young civilians to fight against RSF

NOTE from Sudan Watch Editor: This article shows a photo of Hemeti dated 2019. Not seen his face since he was demoted to a rebel. Two unverified voice messages from him are online. Can't find news of his whereabouts. Is he still alive? No-one's asking. Rumours online say he's in a Kenyan hospital, not true says Kenyan President Ruto in a recent video news report. 

Four writers of this article use the words "conflict" and "war"to describe Sudan's current crisis. Many writers casually use the words "war" and "genocide" whether true or not. Words have power. Young people now rely on social media for news, mainstream media is not seen as trustworthy. 

The article is followed by a cartoon from a report at Radio Dabanga titled 'El Burhan calls for Sudan's 'young and capable' civilians to fight against RSF'. 

The caption for the cartoon says 'Civilians who were killed for their protests against the actions of the military and Rapid Support Forces are now being asked to defend Sudan for Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan. 

Article at
By Khalid Abdelaziz
Writing by Michael Georgy and Aidan Lewis, Editing by William Maclean
Published June 28, 2023, 5:05 AM GMT+1 - here is a full copy:

Exclusive: Islamists wield hidden hand in Sudan conflict, military sources say


  • Ex-intelligence agents fighting alongside army-sources
  • Army has leant on Bashir-era veterans since 2021 coup
  • Conflict pits army general against ex-militia leader

[1/5]Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the military council and head of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), greets his supporters as he arrives at a meeting in Aprag village, 60 kilometers away from Khartoum, Sudan, June 22, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

DUBAI, June 28 (Reuters) - Thousands of men who worked as intelligence operatives under former president Omar al-Bashir and have ties to his Islamist movement are fighting alongside the army in Sudan's war, three military sources and one intelligence source said, complicating efforts to end the bloodshed.

The army and a paramilitary force have been battling each other in Khartoum, Darfur and elsewhere for 10 weeks in Africa's third largest country by area, displacing 2.5 million people, causing a humanitarian crisis and threatening to destabilise the region. Reinforcements for either side could deepen the conflict.

The army has long denied accusations by its rivals in the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that it depends on discredited loyalists of Bashir, an Islamist long shunned by the West, who was toppled during a popular uprising in 2019.

In response to a question from Reuters for this article, an army official said: "The Sudanese army has no relation with any political party or ideologue. It is a professional institution."

Yet the three military sources and an intelligence source said thousands of Islamists were battling alongside the army.

"Around 6,000 members of the intelligence agency joined the army several weeks before the conflict," said a military official familiar with the army's operations, speaking on condition on anonymity.

"They are fighting to save the country."

Former officials of the country's now-disbanded National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), a powerful institution composed mainly of Islamists, confirmed these numbers.

An Islamist resurgence in Sudan could complicate how regional powers deal with the army, hamper any move towards civilian rule and ultimately set the country, which once hosted al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, on a path for more internal conflict and international isolation.

Reuters spoke to 10 sources for this article, including military and intelligence sources and several Islamists.

In a development indicative of Islamist involvement, an Islamist fighter named Mohammed al-Fadl was killed this month in clashes between RSF forces and the army, said family members and Islamists. He had been fighting alongside the army, they said.

Ali Karti, secretary general of Sudan's main Islamic organisation, sent a statement of condolences for al-Fadl.


"We are fighting and supporting the army to protect our country from external intervention and keep our identity and our religion," said one Islamist fighting alongside the army.

Bashir's former ruling National Congress Party said in a statement it had no ties to the fighting and only backed the army politically.

The army accused the RSF of promoting Islamists and former regime loyalists in their top ranks, a charge the RSF denied. Army chief Abdel Fattah Burhan, who analysts see as a non-ideological army man, has publicly dismissed claims that Islamists are helping his forces. "Where are they?" he cried out to cheering troops in a video posted in May.

The military, which under Bashir had many Islamist officers, has been a dominant force in Sudan for decades, staging coups, fighting internal wars and amassing economic holdings.

But following the overthrow of Bashir, Burhan developed good ties with states that have worked against Islamists in the region, notably the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The Gulf states provided Khartoum with significant aid.

Nowadays, former NISS officers also help the military by collecting intelligence on its enemies in the latest conflict. The NISS was replaced by the General Intelligence Service (GIS) after Bashir was toppled, and stripped of its armed "operations" unit, according to a constitutional agreement.

Most of the men from that unit have sided with the army, but some former operations unit members and Islamists who served under Bashir entered the RSF, one army source and one intelligence source said.

"We are working in a very hard situation on the ground to back up the army, especially with information about RSF troops and their deployment," said a GIS official.

Reuters Graphics


The army outnumbers the RSF nationally, but analysts say it has little capacity for street fighting because it outsourced previous wars in remote regions to militias. Those militias include the "Janjaweed" that helped crush an insurgency in Darfur and later developed into the RSF.

Nimble RSF units have occupied large areas of Khartoum and this week took control of the main base of the Central Reserve Police, a force that the army had deployed in ground combat in the capital. They seized large amounts of weaponry.

But the army, which has depended mainly on air strikes and heavy artillery, could benefit from GIS intelligence gathering skills honed over decades as it tries to root out the RSF.

On June 7, fire engulfed the intelligence headquarters in a disputed area in central Khartoum. Both sides accused the other of attacking the building.

After Burhan and RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, carried out a coup in 2021 which derailed a transition to democracy, Hemedti said the move was a mistake and warned it would encourage Islamists to seek power.

Regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the UAE had seen Sudan's transition towards democracy as a way to counter Islamist influence in the region, which they consider a threat.

Publicly, the army has asserted its loyalty to the uprising that ousted Bashir in 2019.

But after the military staged a coup in 2021 that provoked a resurgence of mass street protests, it leaned on Bashir-era veterans to keep the country running. A taskforce that had been working to dismantle the former ruling system was disbanded.

Before the outbreak of violence, Bashir supporters had been lobbying against a plan for a transition to elections under a civilian government. Disputes over the chain of command and the structure of the military under the plan triggered the fighting.

About a week after fighting broke out in April, a video on social media showed about a dozen former intelligence officials in army uniforms announcing themselves as reserve forces.

The footage could not be independently verified by Reuters.

Several senior Bashir loyalists walked free from prison in Bahri, across the Nile from central Khartoum, during a wider prison break amid fighting in late April. The circumstances of their release remain unclear. Bashir is in a military hospital.

[2/5]Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir addresses supporters during his visit to the war-torn Darfur region, in Bilal, Darfur, Sudan September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

[3/5]A Sudanese national flag is attached to a machine gun of Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) soldiers as they wait for the arrival of Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the military council and head of RSF, before a meeting in Aprag village 60, kilometers away from Khartoum, Sudan, June 22, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo 

[4/5]A burned vehicle is seen in Khartoum, Sudan April 26, 2023. REUTERS/El-Tayeb Siddig/File Photo

[5/5]Sudan's General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan walks with troops, in an unknown location, in this picture released on May 30, 2023. Sudanese Armed Forces/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

View original:



Post script from Sudan Watch Editor:

Cartoon by Omar Dafallah, published in Radio Dabanga's report below.

Caption: Civilians who were killed for their protests against the actions of the military and Rapid Support Forces are now being asked to defend Sudan for Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan 

- Cartoon by Omar Dafallah (RD)

Read more in report at Radio Dabanga, Thur 29 Jun 2023: El Burhan calls for Sudan’s ‘young and capable’ civilians to fight against RSF )


- - -

UPDATED Fri 30 Jun 2023 00:25 GMT+1 - added the following:

Report at Sudan Tribune

Published Tues 27 Jun 2023 - here is an excerpt:

Burhan calls on Sudanese youth to join the army

Sudan’s political parties have called for an end to the war and negotiations to integrate the RSF ahead of an inclusive political conference. For their part, the armed groups in Darfur that have signed a peace deal have declared their neutrality.

The SPLM-N, led by Malik Agar, is now fighting alongside the army after its full integration. In contrast, the SPLM-N led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu in the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile has recently launched attacks against the Sudanese army, speaking about its failure to protect civilians.

Al-Burhan announced a one-day truce on the first day of Eid and reaffirmed the commitment of the armed forces to transfer power to a civilian government chosen by the Sudanese people. He further denounced the ongoing violations against civilians in Darfur as “ethnic cleansing and genocide.”

Read more:


Guard, gunman die in attack at US consulate in Jeddah

Report at Yahoo News
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
Published Thursday 29 June 2023, 12:31 am BST - here is a full copy:

Guard, gunman die in attack at US consulate in Jeddah: police

No Americans were harmed in the shooting outside the consulate in Jeddah, which was put under lockdown, the State Department said (MANDEL NGAN)

A security guard and a gunman were killed in an exchange of gunfire in front of the US consulate in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on Wednesday, officials said.

No Americans were harmed in the shooting outside the consulate, which was put under lockdown, the State Department said.

"At 6:45 pm (1545 GMT), a man stopped in a car in front of the consulate building and got out with a weapon in his hand," the official Saudi Press Agency quoted a police spokesman as saying.

"Security forces reacted... resulting in an exchange of fire that killed the assailant," it said.

A Nepalese security officer was wounded and later died, it said.

"We offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased local guards member," the State Department said in a statement in Washington.

The State Department said that Saudi forces killed the assailant and that the United States was in touch with the kingdom as it starts an investigation.

"The consulate was appropriately locked down and no Americans were harmed in the attack," it said.

The attack occurred as Saudi Arabia welcomed some 1.8 million Muslim faithful for the annual hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, some 70 kilometres (44 miles) from Jeddah.

The US consulate in the coastal city of Jeddah on the Red Sea has been the target of previous attacks, one on July 4, 2016, American Independence Day, when a suicide bomber blew himself up.

In December 2004, another attack left five people dead.

Jeddah has recently been a hub of US diplomatic activity as the United States and Saudi Arabia together try to mediate between warring generals in Sudan.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Jeddah earlier in June when he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


View original:


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Moving away from military rule in Sudan is essential

NOTE from Sudan Watch Ed: Thanks to a Sudanese reader for sending this in for documenting here, much appreciated. Hope to write more on it at a later date after reading it again along with several reports on the root cause of conflict in Sudan, racism in Sudan, Arabs v Africans, Sudanese identity.

Report at Foreign Affairs -
By Comfort Ero and Richard Atwood
Published 26 May 2023 - here is a full copy:

Sudan and the New Age of Conflict

How Regional Power Politics Are Fueling Deadly Wars

Holding bullet cartridges in Khartoum, Sudan, May 2023

Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters

For the past year, much of the world’s attention has been focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan—flash points that could trigger direct or even nuclear confrontation between the major powers. But the outbreak of fighting in Sudan should also give world leaders pause: it threatens to be the latest in a wave of devastating wars in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia that over the past decade have ushered in a new era of instability and strife. Mostly because of conflicts, more people are displaced (100 million) or in need of humanitarian aid (339 million) than at any point since World War II.

Since fighting erupted in April between Sudan’s armed forces and a paramilitary group notorious for atrocities committed two decades ago in Darfur, at least 700,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, hundreds have been killed, and thousands more injured. Street battles, explosions, and aerial bombardments are devastating the capital, Khartoum, as the two factions vie for control over this northeastern African country of 45 million. In Darfur, tribal militias have entered the fray, raising fears of a wider conflagration. Cease-fires have repeatedly broken down.  

The dynamics at play in Sudan’s crisis mirror those of many wars in this recent wave. The roots of these conflicts lie in struggles to shake off decades of dictatorial rule, they disproportionately affect civilians, and they are prone to foreign meddling. The involvement of an ever-larger cast of outside actors—not only major powers but also so-called middle powers such as Iran, Turkey, and the Gulf monarchies—has fueled and prolonged this latest spate of wars, as regional powers compete for influence amid uncertainty about the future of the global order.

In Sudan, a diverse crowd of foreign actors had a hand in the country’s derailed transition to democracy following longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir’s ouster in 2019. Several could now get sucked into the fighting. At a time when most recent wars have dragged on for years without resolution, both the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), helmed by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, seem to be settling in for a long and bloody slog—one that could reverberate far beyond the country’s borders.


In the years following the end of the Cold War, the global outlook seemed less gloomy. According to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, the number of active wars declined throughout the 1990s. So, too, did the number of people killed in conflicts each year (with the notable exception of 1994, when the Rwandan genocide occurred). Although battle deaths don’t tell the whole story—conflicts often kill more people indirectly, through starvation or preventable disease—overall, a more peaceful future beckoned, buoyed in part by favorable geopolitics. Major powers at the United Nations mostly agreed on sending peacekeepers and envoys to help settle wars in the Balkans, West Africa, and elsewhere. The decade of optimism about liberal democracy and capitalism that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union was also one of UN activism and a burgeoning peacemaking industry, which likely contributed to the global decline in conflicts.

Then came the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the United States’ invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. These wars did not, according to Uppsala’s data, reverse the global dip in armed conflicts. But they did set the stage for what was to come by eroding Washington’s international credibility. The war in Iraq, moreover, upset the regional balance of power between Iran and the Gulf monarchies and paved the way for a resurgent Islamist militancy and, ultimately, the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Since about 2010, the number of conflicts and battle deaths has crept back up. Wars triggered by the 2010–11 Arab uprisings in Libya, Syria, and Yemen and new conflicts in Africa, some shaped by spillover from the Arab conflicts, initially fueled the uptick. These new wars were not originally part of the United States’ post-9/11 struggle against al Qaeda, but as Islamist militants including ISIS profited from the chaos, Western counterterrorism operations overlaid other feuds. More recently, fresh bouts of fighting have broken out between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, and in Myanmar. According to Uppsala's latest data, contemporary conflicts are now killing more than three times as many people per year around the world as wars did two decades ago.


These new conflicts have several things in common. The first is that several stem from thwarted efforts to escape authoritarian rule. In Libya, Myanmar, Syria, Yemen, and to some degree Ethiopia, movements began with social unrest and rousing street protests—often triggered by economic hardship or fury at autocratic and inept rule—but ended in chaos. In some cases, regimes fought back; in Syria, for instance, President Bashar al-Assad has clung to power. In others, dictators fell, but institutions they had hollowed out and societies they had divided couldn’t withstand the ensuing contests for power. These struggles follow a recurring pattern: people expect change; the old guard seeks to preserve its privilege; new armed factions want a share. Uncorked ethnic, religious, or racial tensions fuel division. Settlements that divvy up power and resources in an equitable or satisfactory way prove elusive.

Seen in this light, Sudan’s story is all too familiar. After an inspiring countrywide protest movement overthrew Bashir, Sudan has fallen victim to the autocrat’s own legacy. Hemedti is a warlord from Darfur who aided Bashir’s genocidal war against rebels in the region starting in 2003. In 2013, Bashir banded various Janjaweed militias together under Hemedti and renamed them the Rapid Support Forces, empowering the paramilitary’s units as a hedge against an army takeover and using them repeatedly to suppress uprisings in western Sudan. The other belligerent in the country’s conflict, Burhan, is a career military officer who participated with Hemedti in the Darfur campaigns and whose aversion to civilian rule has obstructed Sudan’s democratic transition. The RSF and the SAF united briefly to overthrow Bashir and then kicked out the civilian leaders with whom they had pledged to share power. Eventually, Hemedti and Burhan turned on each other.

Although the violence was ostensibly triggered by Hemedti’s refusal to put his paramilitaries under SAF command, the power struggle runs deeper than that. Ultimately, Sudan’s transition ran aground because neither Burhan and his fellow generals nor Hemedti and his allies would relinquish power and risk losing their grip on the country’s resources or facing justice for earlier atrocities.

Today, more midsize foreign powers are jockeying for influence in unstable political arenas.

A second hallmark of recent conflicts present in Sudan is the disproportionate suffering of civilians. Belligerents of the past decade have shown scant regard for international law. Although the 1990s and early 2000s also saw their share of horror—indeed, the United States’ conduct in its own wars in Iraq and elsewhere likely contributed to the sense of lawlessness that currently reigns on many battlefields—today’s conflicts display a striking degree of impunity. Warring parties of all stripes appear to have thrown the rule book out the window.  

Deliberate assaults on civilians—including the aerial destruction of cities; attacks on hospitals, clinics, and schools; the obstruction of aid; and the weaponization of hunger and famine—have become commonplace. In Syria, the Assad regime’s routine use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons was exceptionally barbaric. But in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Yemen, and elsewhere, governments and rebels alike have purposefully or recklessly targeted civilians or denied them the medical care, food, water, and shelter they need to survive.

The signs in Sudan are already troubling. The country has suffered atrocities against civilians in the past, but the sustained urban warfare this time around is unprecedented. The sudden escalation of street fighting in Khartoum left residents unprepared. Millions have been caught in the crossfire, trapped in their homes and struggling to get food, water, and other essentials. Hemedti has sent tens of thousands of fighters from the hinterlands into the capital, where they shelter among civilians, commandeer houses, and loot to survive as supply lines break down. As for the army, its shelling in densely populated parts of Khartoum appears indiscriminate. Its refusal to stop fighting shows it cares more for safeguarding its power and privilege than for the war’s human toll.


The third and perhaps biggest shift in crises over the past decade has been the changing nature of foreign involvement. Outside meddling in wars is nothing new. But today, more foreign powers, particularly non-Western midsize powers, are jockeying for influence in unstable political arenas. This dynamic has helped fuel the deadliest wars of the past decade.

These entanglements are symptomatic of larger shifts in global power. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States was left with unmatched power in what is known as the unipolar moment. Too much nostalgia for Western hegemony would be misplaced; the bloody wars in Somalia and the former Yugoslavia, the Rwandan genocide, the brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Afghan and Iraq wars, and even previous wars in Sudan all happened at a time of American predominance (and, in some cases, because of it). Nonetheless, the emergence of a strong and confident West, along with the United States’ growing network of alliances and security guarantees, played an outsize role in structuring global affairs.

The extent to which one assesses the unipolar moment as over depends, to some degree, on the metrics used to measure. (The United States remains the only country that can project military power on a global scale, for example.) Nonetheless, governments around the world no longer see the United States as a lone hegemon and are recalibrating accordingly. The uncertainty they sense about what comes next is destabilizing. Regional powers are jostling and probing to see how far they can go. Many sense a vacuum of influence and see a need to cultivate proxies in weaker states to protect their interests or stop rivals from advancing their own (as, they would argue, big powers have long done). Their forays into power projection have often been as counterproductive and disruptive as the U.S.-led efforts that preceded them.

If one outside party makes a move in Sudan, others will follow.  

The Middle East’s major fault lines—notably, a bitter contest for regional influence between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its allies and a competition pitting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt against Qatar and Turkey—have proved especially destructive. For years, these rivalries have upended democratic transitions and prolonged conflicts, mostly in the Arab world but also in the Horn of Africa, as competing powers pitched in behind local allies. Some geopolitical struggles have been less zero-sum: Russia and Turkey, for instance, back opposing sides in Libya, Syria, and, to some degree, the South Caucasus but maintain reasonably cordial bilateral ties and have even cooperated to broker cease-fires in Syria. Overall, though, increased outside involvement has complicated efforts to end wars.

In Sudan, as well, a wider array of foreign powers is enmeshed than might have been the case some decades ago. Both Hemedti and Burhan have ties to the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE shoring up Sudan’s security forces after Bashir’s fall. Hemedti’s paramilitary units have fought for Gulf powers in Yemen, an arrangement that has earned Hemedti wealth and power, and he has ties to powerful actors in Chad, the Central African Republic, and across the Sahel. He has also been linked to the Wagner paramilitary group and the Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, who may have funneled weapons his way in the early days of the fighting in Khartoum. Burhan and the SAF, on the other hand, are backed by neighboring Egypt.

Western powers have also played a role in the unfolding Sudanese tragedy. Sudanese activists accuse Washington of picking favorites among civilian leaders and leaving others, notably the resistance committees that championed the revolution, out of the negotiations during the transition. Western powers clearly missed opportunities to support civilian authority and waited too long to unlock aid in the wake of the 2019 revolution. The United States was also too slow to lift its anachronistic designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism—a step that might have empowered civilian leaders when they ostensibly held power with the security forces. But whether Western governments could actually have nudged Hemedti and Burhan aside, as some analysts argue, is unclear, given their powerful militaries and the support they enjoyed from outside.

Sudan’s transition to democracy would have always faced an uphill battle given its troubled domestic politics—namely, Bashir’s autocratic legacy and the difficulty of finding a modus vivendi among the remaining political actors. But foreign involvement and the external support granted to both the SAF and the RSF made it harder still.


The Sudan crisis, like other recent ones, has many of the ingredients of a protracted war. According to the International Rescue Committee, wars now last on average about twice as long as they did 20 years ago and four times longer than they did during the Cold War. No end is in sight for conflicts in the Sahel, for example, where fighting between Islamists, rival militias, and security forces engulfs ever-larger tracts of the countryside, or in Myanmar, which is still in the throes of a calamity triggered by the 2021 coup. Even in places where bloodshed has declined recently—such as Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen—the lull has not produced any real settlements or ended long-standing humanitarian disasters. The question is whether Sudan will now join this list.

Today’s conflicts often persist in part because they tend to be more complex than in the past, often involving not only more foreign powers but multiple battling parties. Warlords can now more easily tap global criminal networks and markets to sustain their campaigns. In many war zones, jihadis are among the main protagonists, which complicates peacemaking: militants’ demands are hard to accommodate, many leaders refuse to engage in talks with them, and counterterrorism operations hinder diplomacy.

Moving away from military rule in Sudan is essential.

Alarmingly, these dynamics are nearly all potentially at play in Sudan. For now, the struggle is a two-sided confrontation between the SAF and the RSF—but other parties may well get dragged in. Former rebels and other militias, which thus far have mostly sat out the conflict and refused to pick sides, could mobilize to defend themselves. The longer the crisis lasts, the graver the danger that militants with links to al Qaeda or ISIS—which hold sway on several other African battlefields—move in.

The SAF and the RSF seem determined to fight on until one side gains a decisive upper hand, paving the way for talks in which the victor dictates the terms. In neighboring Ethiopia, the war in Tigray ended largely because Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal forces prevailed on the battlefield, and the outgunned Tigrayans were forced to accept a settlement largely on Abiy’s terms. But Sudan is not Ethiopia. After decades of Bashir’s misrule, Burhan’s army is weak and divided. It will struggle to root out the tens of thousands of RSF fighters entrenched in parts of Khartoum, including in the presidential palace, in government buildings, and elsewhere. A decisive triumph for either side seems unlikely—and would certainly come at an enormous civilian cost.

A protracted war in Sudan would be devastating. Even before today’s conflict, about a third of Sudanese—more than 15 million people—relied on emergency aid. Should the humanitarian crisis devolve into a full-blown catastrophe, the instability could well spill over into neighboring countries, which are themselves ill equipped to manage an accelerated exodus of Sudanese fleeing violence or fighters flowing across borders. Moreover, the strategic location of Sudan’s coastline along one of the world’s most vital waterways, with an estimated 10 percent of global trade passing through the Red Sea each year, means the country’s collapse would reverberate even farther afield.


There is, perhaps, a sliver of hope in the geopolitics of Sudan’s crisis. The mood in Arab capitals is more measured than it was a few years ago. Riyadh, in particular, has recalibrated, turning the page on its 2017 spat with Qatar and even seeking to reestablish diplomatic relations with Iran, including through a deal brokered by China in March. Moreover, the regional powers most involved in Sudan—Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt—belong to what has traditionally been the same bloc. The Saudis, whose development plans hinge on stability around the Red Sea, have especially strong motives to halt the fighting. Riyadh’s influence with both Burhan and Hemedti and its close ties to the UAE and Egypt probably give it the best shot of reining in the warring parties, particularly with U.S. support.

Whether Saudi leaders can restrain Egypt and the UAE from providing support to Burhan and Hemedti, respectively, is not clear. There are signs of strain in the usually friendly relations between Riyadh, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi. Nor are Arab capitals the only ones that could weigh in; neighboring Ethiopia and Eritrea fret about instability along their borders and may intervene more directly if Egypt does so. So far, all outside powers, seemingly fearful of an all-out war, appear to be acting with some restraint—but if one outside party makes a move, others will follow.  

For now, continued fighting seems the likeliest scenario. Both Burhan and Hemedti see the conflict as existential—and SAF officers as a group are bent on wiping out the RSF. Even if the two parties were to pause hostilities, the dispute over control of the RSF’s future that sparked the fighting in the first place would remain. Although today’s crisis makes the prospect of the two generals stepping aside seemingly unlikely, moving away from military rule is essential, all the more so given the public revulsion at the battling forces in the Sudanese capital. Talks convened by the United States and Saudi Arabia in Jeddah in May involve only representatives from the two warring factions; wider dialogue that includes civilians, perhaps led by the African Union, is urgently needed to forge common ground even as cease-fires break down. The array of actors with influence and competing interests makes coordination among Arab, African, and Western actors crucial. Critically, as efforts to stop the fighting continue, more concerted diplomacy, including from the United States, is necessary to avert a proxy free-for-all among outside powers that would stifle all hope of a settlement anytime soon. 

No one should underestimate how disastrous a slide toward a protracted, all-out conflict in Sudan would be—primarily for the Sudanese but also more broadly. At a time when other crises are stretching the world’s humanitarian system to the breaking point and many capitals are consumed by the conflict in Ukraine or its knock-on effects, the world can ill afford another catastrophic war.

COMFORT ERO is President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, London.


RICHARD ATWOOD is Executive Vice President of the International Crisis Group, based in Brussels.



Sudan Geopolitics Foreign Policy Refugees & Migration Security Defense & Military Civil Wars Omar al-Bash

View original:


UPDATED Fri 30 Jun 2023: added title of the report: 

Sudan and the New Age of Conflict

How Regional Power Politics Are Fueling Deadly Wars

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Attacks on embassies in Sudan 'sheer criminality'

ATTACKS AND LOOTING of foreign diplomatic missions in Sudan continue, with Algeria being the latest country to protest. 

The Algerian foreign ministry said the attack on its ambassador's residence in Khartoum constituted a violation of international law and called on Sudanese authorities to prosecute those responsible. Read more.

Report at BBC News Sudan
By BBC Monitoring
Published Thursday 22 June 2023 at 9:18 BST - here is a full copy:

Attacks on embassies in Sudan 'sheer criminality'

Image caption: The army has repeatedly blamed the attacks on diplomatic missions on the RSF, which denies involvement

Attacks and looting of foreign diplomatic missions in Sudan continue, with Algeria being the latest country to protest.

On Wednesday [21 June], the Algerian foreign ministry said its ambassador's residence in the capital, Khartoum, was “stormed and ransacked” the day before.

It said the attack constituted a violation of international law, and called on Sudanese authorities to prosecute those responsible.

Zimbabwe on the same day condemned attacks on its embassy and on its ambassador’s residence in Khartoum, with the foreign ministry spokesperson accusing paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fighters of being responsible .

"We have reports that most of the countries' properties were also targeted. It's sheer criminality, to take advantage of the war to loot properties of our diplomats and our embassy there," Livit Mugejo said.

On Tuesday, Mauritania said its embassy in Khartoum was similarly stormed and looted by armed men.

Mauritanian media reported that at least three vehicles used by the ambassador and staff were stolen.

The Sudanese army has repeatedly blamed the attacks on diplomatic missions on the RSF, which denies involvement.

Click here to view original at BBC News - Topics - Sudan.


S. Sudan won 4 medals at Special Olympics, Germany

"These are amazing results! Congratulations to all South Sudanese athletes participating in the Games. The Champions are returning home to South Sudan on Monday, 26 June 2023."  Read more.

Report at Radio Tamazuj -
Published Monday 26 June 2023 - here is a full copy:

L-R: Richard Peter, Rebecca. J Okwaci, Sarah Juru, and Ester Weyet. (Photo: Rebecca Joshua Okwaci)

Three South Sudanese athletes who participated in the Special Olympics World Games 2023 which came to a close with a ceremony held at the iconic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, on Sunday, won four medals.

According to a press statement from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Juba, the South Sudanese athletes brought pride to the country and “exemplified this spirit with their remarkable performances”.

“The contingent, led by the Honorable Rebecca Joshua Okwaci (SPLM Chief Whip in parliament) brought pride to South Sudan, securing four medals,” the statement read. “Sarah Juru earned a silver medal in athletic competition and a bronze medal in the long jump. In the same discipline, Ester Wayet triumphed with a silver medal, while Richard Peter secured a bronze medal.”

“The Champions are returning home to South Sudan on Monday, 26 June 2023,” the statement added.

The grand celebration at the end of the games culminated in exceptional sporting achievements, fostering an inclusive environment for participants and visitors alike to rejoice in their accomplishments, cherish shared moments, and bid farewell, the embassy said.

Simon Ruf, Chargé d'Affairs of the German Embassy in South Sudan, extended heartfelt congratulations to the South Sudanese athletes on their exceptional achievements

“These are amazing results! Congratulations to all South Sudanese athletes participating in the Games, particularly to Sarah Juru, Ester Wayet, and Richard Peter who secured medals,” he said. “You can be proud of your achievements! I hope you remain in touch with the friends you made during your time in Berlin.” 

View original:   n-berlin