Sudan’s military and a powerful paramilitary force battled brutally in the capital and other areas, dealing a new blow to hopes for a transition to democracy and raising fears of a wider conflict.
What is the Background of the Sudan Crisis?
For the past several months, Sudan has been witnessing nationwide protests, resulting in a military intervention that removed Omar al-Bashir (Sudan’s longtime president) from power, thereby ending his brutal 30-year rule. The protests have been praised for using peaceful methods.
Since its independence from British and Egyptian Colonial Rule in 1956, Sudan has seen famines, sectarian violence, and political crisis. The latest coup removing Bashir from the throne is actually the fifth such forcible takeover of the regime in Sudan.
Long-term Reasons for Ongoing Conflicts
The ouster of President Omar al-Bashir
The roots of the ongoing conflict go back to April 2019, when Sudan’s long-serving authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown.
He was overthrown by military generals following a countrywide uprising against him.
Constitution of the Sovereignty Council – a power-sharing body
Despite Bashir’s ouster, civilians continued their demonstrations, seeking democratic elections and the establishment of a civilian government.
This led to the constitution of the Sovereignty Council, a power-sharing body of military officers and civilians.
This council would lead Sudan to elections at the end of 2023 and Abdalla Hamdok was appointed Prime Minister for the transitional period
The military overthrew Hamdok’s government in October 2021
The new arrangement was short-lived as the military overthrew Hamdok’s government in October 2021, and Burhan became the de-facto leader of the country.
Dagalo, Vice-President of the ruling council and Burhan’s partner in the military seizure of power became the second-in-command.
Burhan announced that the military would hold power until elections are held in July 2023.
Tussle between Army and RSF
Soon after the 2021 coup, relations between the military and the RSF deteriorated.
RSF was formed in 2013, and has been accused of human rights abuses, including the massacre of more than 120 protesters in June 2019.
Burhan and Dagalo disagree over how the 10,000-strong RSF should be integrated into the army, and which authority should oversee that process.
Other fault lines
Civilians have called for the handover of lucrative military holdings in agriculture, trade, and other industries.
These are crucial sources of power for an army that has often outsourced military action to regional militias.
Another point of contention is the pursuit of justice over allegations of war crimes by the military and its allies in the conflict in Darfur from 2003.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking trials for Bashir and other Sudanese suspects.
A ferocious battle broke out
Later, the RSF was redeployed around the country, which the army saw as a provocation and threat.
With both sides on edge, a ferocious battle broke out recently.
What is the Impact of the SudanCrisis?
Impact On Sudan
The third largest country in Africa by size has seen repeated pro-democracy protests since the 2021 coup.
But the battle between the army and RSF has likely made Sudan’s transition to democracy more difficult.
Some experts fear the tussle could transform into a wider conflict leading to the country’s collapse.
Sudan’s economy is struggling, battered by hyperinflation and crippled by massive foreign debt.
Billions of dollars given in international support and debt relief were frozen after the ouster of the Hamdok government.
What is impact of Sudan crisis on regional stability?
Sudan is in a volatile region, bordering the Red Sea, the Sahel, and the Horn of Africa.
The country’s strategic location and agricultural wealth have attracted regional power plays.
Hence, stability in Sudan is vital for regional peace and security.
Several of Sudan’s neighbors, including Ethiopia, Chad, and South Sudan, have been affected by political upheavals and conflict.
Western powers fear the potential for a Russian base on the Red Sea, which Sudanese military leaders have expressed openness to.
What is the impact of the Sudan crisis On India?
Over the years, India has developed close ties with Sudan and in recent years warmed up to the Government of South Sudan as well.
India’s Election Commission had helped organize Sudan’s first general elections in the 1950s.
Indian engineers played a major role in setting up the country’s sugar industry and railways.
In the last decade, India’s investments have been mainly in the energy sector.
In 2003, India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) invested $750 million to acquire 25 percent equity held by the Talisman group in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC).
Therefore, it is natural that conflict and instability in the region will have an adverse impact on India.
What efforts Government of India doing for the Safety of Indian nationals?
The Indian authorities were in touch with the “The Quartet” countries – U.S., U.K, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E – to ensure the safety of Indian nationals in Sudan.
Diplomatic pressure appeared to be mounting. Top diplomats, including the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.N. secretary-general, the EU foreign policy chief, the head of the Arab League, and the head of the African Union Commission urged the sides to stop fighting.
Arab states with stakes in Sudan — Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — also called for a cease-fire and for both parties to return to negotiations.
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