Globall News

Why Sudan’s conflict matters to the rest of the world

The fighting in Sudan between the loyalists of two top generals has placed the country’s stability at risk and could potentially have consequences beyond its borders. Both sides have tens of thousands of fighters, mineral riches, and other resources that could protect them from sanctions. The conflict, which began as Sudan aimed to transition to democracy, has already claimed the lives of hundreds of people and left millions trapped in urban areas. The two generals seeking to take control of Sudan are Abdel Fattah Burhan and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. The fighting puts Sudan’s neighbors, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Chad, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, and South Sudan, at risk of spillover violence. External powers, including Arab Gulf countries, Russia, and Western nations, are also interested in Sudan. The UAE has close ties to the Rapid Support Forces, while Russia has long harbored plans to build a naval base in the country. The US and EU have imposed sanctions on Wagner-linked gold mining firms in Sudan accused of smuggling. Although Sudan’s economic troubles could provide an opportunity for Western nations to use economic sanctions to pressure both sides to end the fighting, armed groups continue to enrich themselves through the shadowy trade of rare minerals and natural resources. The conflict must be ended quickly; otherwise, it will transform into a multi-level game in which regional and international actors will use their resources and potentially their own troops or proxies, warns Sudan expert Alex De Waal. There is a risk that external mediation efforts by the US, the UN, the EU, Egypt, the African Union, Gulf countries, and the eastern African bloc known as IGAD could become more complicated than the war itself.

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