The prolonged nature of the current war in Sudan portrays an uneasy outlook because there has been no resolution or closure for it to date. It is awful to see how two opposing generals, motivated only by their personal grudges, have successfully turned the tranquil capital of Khartoum into a bloody conflict. Two influential individuals are engaged in a continuous struggle for power and control in Sudan. Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, a well-known military leader who has acquired the de facto leadership role in Sudan for a considerable amount of time through his dominating presence and deeds, is at the forefront. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is in charge of the Rapid Support Forces, a potent paramilitary force in the nation, is opposing him.
The power struggle between Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo has plunged Sudan into prolonged conflict, turning the once tranquil capital of Khartoum into a bloody battleground.
These two men, who were once allies, conspired to remove Omar al-Bashir as president of Sudan in 2019 but in October 2021, when Al-Burhan and Dagalo joined forces to plan a military coup that elevated them to the roles of effective leader and deputy leader of Sudan, respectively, this complex power dynamic underwent a crucial turning point. The harmony between these two leaders has, however, eroded, resulting in confrontations and arguments in front of the public. Both generals have been reported deploying extra troops and equipment to military camps in Khartoum and other parts of the country, showing how these tensions have manifested in public and private maneuvers. Their heightened competitiveness and eagerness to increase their authority and influence are reflected in this unsettling escalation of forces.
Since the outbreak of the ongoing conflict, no single statement regarding the Sudan crisis has been made by the International Criminal Court. News about Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan’s humanitarian work in Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Venezuela are frequently posted on the court’s social media websites. Still, the court’s silence in cases where it has jurisdiction is inexplicable. The court’s strategy of “silence in exchange for potential cooperation” is also unlikely to succeed. By employing such a tactic, the court is not only prevented from taking prompt action against individuals committing blatant international crimes but it also gives the appearance that it would not think twice about appeasing cooperating parties to carry out its current arrest warrants. This would undoubtedly reinforce rather than challenge those who disobey national and international laws’ impunity.
The court may have diverted its attention away from Sudan and onto other countries, particularly Ukraine. If accurate, this only highlights the discrimination Sudanese people face from European refugee policies. Special accommodations are made for Ukrainians impacted by war, but none are made for Sudanese creating a false impression of the impartiality of global justice.
To resolve the conflict between them and bring about peace, there are several actions the US might take. First, it may use diplomacy to its advantage by holding high-level talks with the rival factions in Sudan. The US may encourage the opposing sides to find common ground by actively mediating and encouraging dialogue while highlighting the significance of human rights, stability, and reconciliation in their negotiations. By working with international allies and organizations like the UN and regional organizations like the African Union, Biden’s administration may also apply diplomatic pressure on Sudan. A united front can be presented to Sudanese authorities, stressing the necessity of a rights-based approach and enticing them to actively pursue a peaceful resolution by coordinating efforts and using collective influence. The US can fund Sudanese humanitarian efforts in addition to such diplomatic measures.
The US can help to improve the grave humanitarian situations the Sudanese populace is facing by offering substantial assistance, including funds, resources, and expertise. This could entail making it easier for them to acquire food, safe drinking water, healthcare, and shelter, meeting their immediate needs and those of the affected civilians.
Furthermore, the leaders of great nations would come up together to start initiatives to strengthen Sudan’s institutions, rule of law, and governance structures. By encouraging openness, accountability, and inclusive governance, these countries might contribute to laying the groundwork for lasting peace and security. Supporting activities that preserve human rights, democracy, and the rule of law and encouraging civil society engagement are a few ways to do this. The US administration may demonstrate its dedication to protecting its core values and principles while attempting to find a satisfactory solution in Sudan by acting consistent with its commitment to human rights.
The situation in Sudan has changed so drastically in recent months that merely returning to the prior status quo is no longer practicable. Due to the urgency and dimensions of the problems at hand, a concerted and cooperative effort is needed to change Sudan for the better and bring about stability. Key actions include diplomatic initiatives, international mediation, resolving economic disparities, encouraging good governance, and backing peace accords. A sustainable solution requires cooperation between local stakeholders and the global community.
The author is a scholar of Peace and Conflict studies at the National Defence University, Islamabad. Her Area of interest is globalization and the great powers of Asia.