UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Thursday an immediate truce of at least three days in Sudan. A pause in the conflict in the African country that can serve as a first step towards a permanent ceasefire. The proposal would coincide with the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
“The cessation of hostilities must be followed by a serious dialogue, which allows for a successful transition, starting with the appointment of a civilian government,” Guterres said.
More than 300 people have been killed since fighting broke out last Saturday between forces loyal to Sudan’s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhanand his lieutenant, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (known as Hemedti), who commands the paramilitaries Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The focus of the fighting is concentrating on the capital Khartoum, a city of five million inhabitants. The violence has left hundreds of thousands of people without food, without water and without electricity.
Both sides control mineral wealth that allows them to have access to millionaire resources to arm the tens of thousands of soldiers they have.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the African country and the impact it could have on the region.
What happens in Sudan?
The conflict in the Sudan broke out between the two main factions of the military regime vying for power.
This struggle has its roots in the years prior to the uprising that overthrew Omar al-Bashir in 2019. He was the same dictator who created both forces to deliberately play against each other. A way to keep any threat to his power at bay, but which ended up playing against the dictator.
The protagonists of this confrontation are the army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his lieutenant Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (known as Hemedti), who commands the RSF.
In October 2021, the two military officers orchestrated a coup that ended an attempt to transition to a civilian and democratic government that had begun after the ouster of al-Bashir.
Whoever wins the fighting is likely to take control of Sudan and become its next president. The defeated, for his part, will face death, jail or, in the best of cases, exile.
“Unless it ends quickly, the Conflict will become a multi-tiered game with regional and some international actors pursuing their interests, using money, weapons supplies, and possibly their own troops or proxies.says Alex De Waal, a Sudan expert at Tufts University.
Interests of foreign countries and impact on the region
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, perhaps the two most powerful countries in the region, maintain close ties with the RSF. Receiving help from the two Arab countries, Hemedti sent thousands of fighters to fight in Yemen.
For his part, the russian regime has plans to build a naval base in Port Sudan, a city located in the northeast of the country that is located on the shores of the Red Sea. This would allow the Kremlin access to a major trade route essential for energy shipments to Europe.
In addition, there is the wagner groupthe Russian mercenary group, which has been operating in Sudan since 2017 and is linked to gold mining companies that were sanctioned by the US and the European Union.
“What happens in Sudan will not stay in Sudan,” Alan Boswell of the International Crisis Group told PA.
“Chad and South Sudan immediately see the risk of a possible contagion. But the longer (the fighting) goes on, the more likely it is that we will see major outside intervention,” the expert added.
In the 1990s, Sudan became an international pariah when it harbored Osama bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists. Their isolation deepened during the conflict in western Darfur in the 2000s, when Sudanese forces and the Janjaweed were accused of committing crimes against humanity.
In 2020, after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir, the United States removed Sudan from its list of country sponsors of terrorism. However, after the 2021 coup, billions of dollars in loans and aid were frozen.
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