Sudan: The Great Powers’ Battleground

By Simachew Tebeje

In Eastern Africa, persistent issues including drought, famine, conflict, and climate change afflict politically and economically fragile states.

Sudan, which borders Ethiopia for more than 700 kilometers, is experiencing a bloody conflict. Political analysts believe that an immediate cease-fire is necessary to lessen the harm that the country has caused because it is located in an unstable region of east Africa.

General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhanis in charge of the Sudanese army, while General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, is in charge of the militia-based rapid support force (RSF). The country devolves into brutal conflict as a result of the power struggle between these military men.

Since Sudan shares greater borders with Chad, Eritrea, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Egypt, and the Central African Republic, the conflict may prove contagious. Because most of these surrounding countries are not politically stable.

Residents are reporting Water and electricity are now unavailable in major cities, including Khartoum. Due to the murders of three of its employees earlier this month, the United Nations World Food Program discontinued its assistance. As a result, the eyewitness claimed that Khartoum and other war-torn towns have persistent issues with food shortages and empty stores.

The two military leaders moved their own diplomatic conversations based on their unilateral interests, including the neighboring countries, after toppling the civilian leader Abdulla Hamdok.

Abdulrahman Al Burhan’s formal journey to Egypt last year and Hamdan Dagalo’s official trip to neighboring Eritrea and Russia have raised suspicions because of a possible schism between the two military chiefs.

Additionally, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali (PhD) met with Lieutenant General al-Burhan and senior government officials while in Khartoum in January on an official visit.

The enormous Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the disputed border matters were the two main topics of conversation between the two leaders, Abiy and Al burhan.

In a side meeting with the UN LDC5 conference early last march in Qatar Doha, the two leaders also discussed border and economic cooperation.

When speaking about the unrest that occurred a year ago when a coup d’état occurred, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed remarked that the Ethiopian position is non- interventionist and Sudanese have the wisdom of handling problems on their own.

Using the conditions as a suitable moment without Ethiopian agreement, the Sudanese military government maintained control of the Alfashaga area during the Ethiopian northern war by starting constructing infrastructure for reinforcing as its strong hold.

Political scholars recently suggested that Ethiopia should maintain authority over the area, but the Ethiopian government denies this and says is ready to support the nation in finding solutions to its problems.

The country, which has a population of about 46 million, is located in a key region between the Middle East and the Red Sea. As a result, the major western powers including the US, EU, Russia, and the Arab nations, especially Saudi Arabia might incite the fight.

The West is aggressively trying to secure a strategic position in the region, while Russia and its allies are trying to infiltrate the key, western-influenced African region. The Arabs are engaging in so to fight anti-Islamic forces and for economic reasons.

The United States is moving to send its troops from Djibouti to Khartoum, just as it did in Iraq and during Operation Odyssey in Libya. The BBC said that Volker Perthes, the UN’s special envoy in Sudan, expressed concern over Mr. Hamdok’s resignation from office, which sheds light on how the current situation came about.
Strong nations have the potential to use the current crisis in Sudan to further their interests in Africa. Western media outlets accuse the Russian Wagner Group of backing Hamdan Dagalo.

The conflict in Somaliland between the de facto state security forces and armed fighters poses another security concern to Ethiopia from the east. Amnesty International reports that thousands of people fled to Ethiopia and nearby cities, with over a hundred people also killed.

The countries that built military bases in Eritrea and Djibouti are interested in the area and engaging in talks to keep their interest. Despite concerns over ethnic problems and internal political disagreements Ethiopia is today a rather strong state.

Since, Sudan is strategically significant for Ethiopia’s security and economy, Ethiopia can act as a mediator for the nation. Since the conflict is expanding migrants will march in the neighboring countries including Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Thousands of Ethiopians, including members of armed groups engaged in the northern war, reside in Sudan. On the other hand, the nation is home to hundreds of thousands of Eritrean refugees in the country. As a result, the warring parties might employ these people in the course of conflict.

If border controls are not strictly enforced, insurgent infiltration could lead to another crisis in Ethiopia.

The tide of statelessness is moving from Libya to the neighboring Sudan in the south. After the coup, military leader Al-Burhan has been proclaiming that elections will be held in July to hand over control to civilian authority, but security forces have killed dozens of people while trying to pressure the military to step down. 

Following the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, the Libyan forces were split into two factions: the Government of National Unity (GNU) led by Abdul Hamid al-Dabaiba and the administration led by Fathi Bashagha.

While the larger portion of the country was governed by the eastern and other rebel groups, notably Khalifa Haftar, the United Nations only recognized the government located in Tripoli.

In a similar circumstance, Sudan’s military chiefs’ conflict is not just a simple disagreement; it is backed by major international powers like Russia, western nations, and Arab countries. Egypt might stoke the flames in order to solidify its position regarding the Halaib Triangle, other problematic borders, and Nile water control.

Countries are evacuating their citizens, and the British government returned its council staff to their country of origin. While the United States sets up its military in the tiny horn country of Djibouti for the purpose of evacuating US citizens in the country, South Korea also plans to send a military plane to evacuate its citizens.

According to UN data, there are currently more than 20000 migrants in Chad, and if the war continues for many more days or weeks, there will be a flow of migrants from Sudan into the neighboring countries.  So, the Ethiopian government must cooperate with the UN, AU, and international assistance organizations. 

While evacuating their nationals, various governments may send military equipment, personnel, and planes. However, it might be to support the ruler who might turn out to be a friend in the future, while the Sudanese people get no support other than worsening the situation.

Editor’s note: – views in the article reflect the views of the writer only!!


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