New Delhi (India)/Khartoum (Sudan): Whatever happens militarily or politically in the capital, Khartoum, ripples across some of the most fragile parts of the continent. There’s a reason why the fighting that has erupted there over the past week is ringing so many international alarm bells.
Sudan is not only huge – the third largest country in Africa – it also stretches across an unstable and geopolitically vital region. Abdalla Omer Bashir, Ambassador of Sudan in India is also worried about the consequences. He explained the Sudan crisis during the discussion with media.
It has been somewhat inevitable that #Sudan ’s geopolitical position has seen the crisis in that country spill over into the region including the Sahel and N.African countries. To understand Inside-Out and it’s implications,I had a discussion with the Sudan envoy to India.🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/7Xuo7uDlyd
— Dr. Shahid Siddiqui (@shahidsiddiqui) May 17, 2023
“Fighting in Sudan between the forces of two rival generals could have far-reaching consequences not only for the northeast African country but also for an already unstable region”, he warns while discussing the Sudan crisis in a media talk show called “INs & OUTs with Sid”.
Sudan borders seven countries in all, each with security challenges that are intertwined with the politics of Khartoum. The country straddles the Nile River, making the nation’s fate of almost existential importance; downstream, to water-hungry Egypt, and upstream, to land-locked Ethiopia with its ambitious hydro-electric plans that now affect the river’s flow.
In a reply to a question on any kind of external conspiracy, Ambassador Abdalla Bashir said, “No, there have been no attempts to take advantage of the crisis but people support to Sudanese Armed Forces prevented exploitation. Despite their own differences, all the Arab countries lended unconditional support. I hope the situation will return to normal.”
The Sudanese envoy to India also appreciated India’s prompt action to evacuate its stranded citizens from the war-torn country.
The conflict between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) was triggered by a dispute over the paramilitary’s incorporation into the Sudanese military as part of an internationally-mediated deal to kickstart Sudan’s transition back to civilian government.
The deal was meant to be signed at the beginning of April. Instead, the two generals, whose rivalry had been growing ever more intense, went to war. Ambassador Abdalla Bashir also highlighted the issues and reasons behind the conflict in an interview to the media.
Sudan is one the world’s poorest countries, and in February the UN said more than one-third of its population was facing a growing hunger crisis.
Similarly, on Thursday the International Crisis Group (ICG) said, “Millions of civilians are caught in the crossfire and fast running out of basic necessities.”
Launching an appeal for some $3 billion in aid, the United Nations said 25 million people needed help – the highest number ever recorded in Sudan, where around 15 million needed aid before the conflict.
Across Sudan, the fighting has uprooted around 1 million people, 220,000 of whom have fled into neighbouring states like Chad, Sudan, Egypt, Central African Republic and Ethiopia.
Talks mediated by the United States and Saudi Arabia in Jeddah have so far failed to secure a ceasefire.
However, the conflict is likely to feature on the agenda of an Arab Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia on Friday. Sudan is expected to be represented by special envoy Dafallah Alhaj while Burhan, the de facto head of state, will remain in Sudan. Leaders from Oman, Mauritania, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen have also arrived in Jeddah to participate in the summit.
-Dr. M Shahid Siddiqui (PhD), Follow via Twitter @shahidsiddiqui
WATCH FULL VIDEO TALK WITH AMBASSADOR OF SUDAN IN INDIA.