April 15, 2024 Editor

Sudan marks grim anniversary of civil war in shadow of other conflicts

Exactly a year ago, Sudan’s ruinous collapse began.

By Ishaan Tharoor with Sammy Westfall


image above: More than 15,000 people have fled Sudan via Metema since fighting broke out in Khartoum in mid-April, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration, with around a thousand arrivals registered per day on average. [Amanuel Sileshi / AFP]. Sudan has been in near-constant civil war since its founding in 1956.

WN: Thank God for Mr. Tharoor’s reminders (in a Washington Post series known as Today’s World View) of troubled spots in other parts of the world, often forgotten or simply unknown. . .


Tensions between two powerful rival factions that had already carved out fiefdoms in the country — the Sudanese Armed Forces, headed by Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), headed by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo — exploded into open war. Airstrikes hit civilian centers; militiamen and vigilantes set up checkpoints and looted neighborhoods. The capital, Khartoum, transformed into a sprawling battlefield. The conflict flared elsewhere in the African nation of close to 50 million people, including the already war-ravaged region of Darfur.

For a time, Sudan’s civil war attracted some global attention. President Biden and his European counterparts whirred into action to evacuate their embassies and hundreds of foreign citizens and dual nationals based mostly in Sudan’s big cities. International journalists met convoys of refugees in the Saudi port city of Jeddah to hear their desperate, harrowing journeys to escape the country.

The conflict marked a sad turn of events: A fledgling transition toward democracy in the years prior had won Sudan closer ties to a host of Western governments, and some relief from decades of U.S. sanctions. Even after Burhan and Dagalo, known universally by his sobriquet Hemedti, collaborated in interrupting that transition in 2021, ousting a civilian-led government, Sudan remained the subject of eager diplomacy. A U.S.-led initiative hoped to add Khartoum to the list of Arab capitals that could normalize relations with Israel.

But the war seems to have doomed all that. The Sudanese state has essentially collapsed in many parts of the country.

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

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