The World Today for July 13, 2023


Twenty Years


The Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, the rebel paramilitary group fighting against the central government of Sudan in the country’s civil war, has laid siege to the southern city of el-Obeid for more than a month. Located at a strategic crossroads, the RSF has been extorting payments from anyone entering and leaving the city while also looting food supplies designated for some 4.4 million people facing food shortages.

The situation shows little signs of improving anytime soon. After failing to defeat the RSF, Sudanese army Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the de facto ruler of the strife-torn African nation, has called on Sudanese citizens to take up arms against the rebel group, reported Middle East Eye. In the meantime, the war has displaced almost 2.6 million people, according to the United Nations. As the BBC explained, the fighting between the RSF under Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also widely known as “Hemedti,” and Sudanese government forces under al-Burhan erupted after disputes over power-sharing surfaced in April.

Experts believe an international peacekeeping force will be necessary to bring an end to the Sudanese civil war – the latest turn in the country’s recent violent history – and inaugurate peace in the region, Voice of America wrote.

Pressure is on world leaders to do something. As Crux noted, the civil war is evoking memories of 2003: The RSF is affiliated with the Janjaweed militias that committed genocide in the western Sudanese region of Darfur in that period. As Al Jazeera detailed, the fighting has been raging in some shape or form in Darfur ever since, while Hemedti turned the Janjaweed into a more effective fighting force.

Many observers fear that the RSF fighters are now returning to their past behavior. British lawmakers have called for sanctions against the RSF, which generates revenue from gold mines via sales to the United Arab Emirates, the Guardian explained.

Others fear that Islamists tied to former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who served between 1993 and 2019 when he was deposed in a popular uprising and coup, are working with the Sudanese army, too, Reuters reported. Al-Bashir has since been convicted of corruption charges. He’s now facing charges of crimes against humanity, including genocide, at the International Criminal Court.

The US and Saudi Arabia have worked together to institute at least one ceasefire that, unfortunately, proved ineffective, the Washington-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies wrote. The US has cycled through envoys to the country, incidentally, as the situation there has deteriorated, added Foreign Policy magazine.

The only solution might be for one general to win.

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