Analysts monitoring Sudan say it might take an internationally supported peacekeeping force to end the ongoing fighting there. That assessment follows multiple failed cease-fire attempts and talks facilitated by Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Until two weeks ago, Hala Alkarib lived in Khartoum, where she’s the regional director for the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa. But she and other colleagues had to relocate because of the horrors created by the ongoing war, including looting.
“I would say 75% or more of Khartoum inhabitants have experienced looting,” Alkarib said. “Our homes were completely looted, our vehicles, our personal properties, our papers and documents were destroyed and burned.”
She said the strategy of the Rapid Support Forces run by General Hamdan Dagalo is not new.
“The presence on the ground inside residential areas being in Khartoum, in Al Fasher, in Nyala or in [El] Geneina, the RSF strategy is to run a war from within and inside civilian residencies,” Alkarib said. “The RSF are the extension of the Janjaweed. It’s been done for over 20 years in rural Darfur, where villagers were terrorized, and infrastructure was completely destroyed.”
Alkarib blames the Sudanese Armed Forces led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, for enabling the RSF to flourish.
“SAF unfortunately, they were for years kind of relying on the RSF to do their dirty work and they were complacent and enabled this criminal organization to grow and right now it grew to the point that it actually threatens the existence of overall Sudan as a state.”
She said it’s unfortunate the international community is not exerting sufficient pressure on countries that could help end the war.
“Seventy-five percent of the causes of this war lies outside of Sudan,” Alkarib said. “UAE [United Arab Emirates] and their significant support to the RSF and Egypt and their position – anti- any type of democratic governance in Sudan and that constantly put them in a position where they support SAF as potential rulers.”
That sentiment was partly echoed by Dr. Edgar Githua, a lecturer at the United States International University and Strathmore University.
“The African Union and the world in general looking at this situation need to step up and need to call out Russia and tell Russia pull out the Wagner group, get it out,” Githua said. “Egypt is an easier group to deal with, the U.S. has a lot of leverage with Egypt. Libya, Khalifa Haftar can be told to back down also, and the UAE can be told to back off.”
Some of the countries mentioned offered to mediate the crisis and denied involvement in the war. Githua said the international community must become more directly involved.
“They are coming to the battlefield with renewed vigor and at some point, the world has no choice but there has to be some external intervention and for me it’ll be a peacekeeping force that creates a humanitarian corridor to just try to restore normalcy.”
The Jeddah talks overseen by the United States and Saudi Arabia were recently suspended and the most recent offer by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, to mediate the crisis also stalled because one of the generals said he didn’t want the Kenyan president leading the group that is made up of South Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
And that’s a problem, said Macharia Munene, professor of History and International Relations at USIU in Nairobi.
“One of the generals, Burhan, has said he doesn’t want anything to do with him, so he’s going nowhere,” Munene said. “He prefers [South Sudan political figure Salva Kiir. Yes, the team is an IGAD team, and he’s supposed to lead the team but if one of the participants, the major player, doesn’t want anything to do about him leading the team, there’s something wrong.”
For now, fighting is showing no signs of letting up.