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Sudan’s forgotten war: A new diplomatic push is needed


After nearly a year of devastating conflict, there is little sign of a ceasefire. Concerted high-level international pressure is needed to change the calculations of the generals and support a democratic transition.

On 8 March, the UN Security Council adopted a UK-drafted resolution calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Sudan during the month of Ramadan, a sustainable resolution to the conflict through dialogue, compliance with international humanitarian law and unhindered humanitarian access.

Eleven months into the war, this is the first time that the Council has been able to agree on a resolution. The mandate of the UN Panel of Experts that monitors the sanctions regime in Darfur was also renewed by the Council. Does this signify hope that efforts to end the war might gather momentum? Or is Sudan likely to face a protracted conflict?

The war between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) led by General Abdel Fatah Al Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (known as ‘Hemedti’) is a competition for power and resources between rival factions of the regular armed forces.

But it is also rooted in Sudan’s long history of internal conflict, marginalization of the peripheries and lack of accountability for atrocity crimes. Both the SAF’s officer corps and the RSF are creations of former President Omer al-Bashir’s regime. 

Each has shown disregard for the lives of Sudanese civilians by waging war in densely populated urban areas. The scale of destruction is unprecedented in Sudan’s modern history.

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