Home » Sudan on the Brink: Rival Generals’ Power Struggle Pushes Nation Towards Collapse

Sudan on the Brink: Rival Generals’ Power Struggle Pushes Nation Towards Collapse

by Mohammed Ahmed

Sudan is on the verge of collapse as forces loyal to two rival generals battle for control of the resource-rich North African nation. The ongoing conflict has resulted in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands, according to the United Nations. This has prompted several countries, including the United States, to evacuate personnel from Sudan and close diplomatic missions indefinitely.

The conflict erupted on April 15 in Khartoum, the capital, following weeks of escalating tensions between Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces, and Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Both men were once allies who orchestrated a military coup in 2021, derailing Sudan’s transition to democracy after the ousting of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

The RSF, officially formed in 2013, evolved from the notorious Janjaweed militias accused of committing war crimes in Darfur. After overthrowing al-Bashir, Burhan became Sudan’s de facto ruler, with Hemedti as his right-hand man. Recent tensions boiled over due to disagreements on integrating the RSF into the army, with Burhan advocating for a two-year timeline and Hemedti insisting on a decade-long process.

Negotiations mediated by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in Jeddah fell apart on May 31, with both sides accusing each other of violating a humanitarian cease-fire. The situation now appears to be a worst-case scenario, with neither general showing willingness to back down, leading to a potential protracted civil war.

The international community has called for an immediate cease-fire and dialogue. However, proposed cease-fires have failed to hold. Prolonged conflict could result in a disastrous civil war with regional and global ramifications, including massive refugee flows and destabilization in neighboring countries already grappling with economic woes.

The U.S. has expressed deep concern over the conflict’s potential spread. John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, emphasized the importance of Sudan’s stability to regional and global security. However, the extent of U.S. influence over Sudan’s warring factions remains uncertain.

If the conflict continues, there is a risk of creating a security vacuum that could attract militant groups and exacerbate regional instability. Sudan has a history of hosting militants, including al Qaida founder Osama bin Laden in the mid-1990s. The absence of strong national institutions exacerbates the situation, highlighting the need for stability provided by the military.

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