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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Sudan: One Year of War


Devastation in the Sudanese city of Omdurman -- image via X video screenshot


The terrible war in Sudan began one year ago, April 15, 2023. After a year of death, brutality, sexual violence and devastation, Fathi Al-Fadl of the Central Committee of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) has issued a statement reflecting on where the conflict stands and what must be done to not only end it, but to ensure peace, justice and democracy going forward.



As the war approaches its first anniversary, it rages on relentlessly with no sign of resolution. Each passing day deepens the suffering endured by the Sudanese people. Recent weeks have seen a marked escalation in the conflict, characterized by both sides acquiring more sophisticated weaponry from their respective allies.


The Burhan faction has bolstered its arsenal with advanced drones from Iran, along with new tanks, artillery, and helicopters supplied by Turkey. Ukrainian special forces are actively supporting the army in its clashes against the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) and the Russian Wanger PMC (Private Military Company).


Meanwhile, the RSF militia continues to receive substantial military backing from the UAE via Chad and the Central African Republic. Its ranks are swelling with recruits from Mali, Niger, and factions loyal to General Hafter in Libya.

 

-This overt foreign military intervention is dangerously escalating the conflict, transforming it into a proxy war.

-The repercussions of this catastrophic war have reached alarming levels. According to UN agencies, as of February 2024, between 13,000 to 15,000 Sudanese have lost their lives (excluding the tens of thousands brutally murdered in Al Gezeria province). The number of wounded since April 2023 has reached nearly 100,000. There are no available statistics on those who perished due to diseases like cholera. Furthermore, the already fragile healthcare system has been further debilitated with over 70% of hospitals and clinics destroyed. Adding to this crisis, doctors and health workers have faced severe mistreatment, detention, beatings, and some have been forced to flee for their lives. It's essential to consider the widespread hunger in the conflict zones; those fortunate enough to have one meal a day are considered lucky.

- More than 9.5 million people have been displaced, seeking refuge either in neighboring countries or within Sudan itself.

- The Sudanese Red Crescent Society reported that over 4,000 young females have fallen victim to violent sex crimes, with over 170 cases of young women being taken as sex slaves in the capital by the RSF militia.

- The economic impact of violent robberies, factory destruction, and property confiscation is estimated to be nearly $7 billion USD.

-It is evident that the RSF militia bears significant responsibility for a majority of the crimes, particularly mass murders and sexual violence. Additionally, the regular army and militias affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood have also committed their share of atrocities. These crimes, acknowledged by UN agencies and human rights organizations, encompass acts classified as crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

-Given the circumstances outlined above, it is challenging to anticipate a swift ceasefire or period of calm in the near future. This is particularly the case as the international community, including the UN, EU, and AU, appears either hesitant or unable to broker a truce. It's important to recall that both international and regional forces were initially unprepared to support the December 2018 Revolution. Instead, they were pursuing the AU's Road Map, which aimed to integrate part of the Al-Bashir regime and broaden its social base by incorporating right-wing political parties into power-sharing arrangements. However, the Sudanese masses surprised everyone and compelled a change of plans.

-Furthermore, as the two warring sides persist in their seemingly unwinnable conflict, they increasingly rely on foreign recruits. Some individuals join as mercenaries for the RSF, while Islamist terrorists align themselves with the army.

-The catastrophic war, even if touted as a "victory" by either side, will only exacerbate and intensify the suffering of our people, ultimately leading the country towards becoming a failed state. One year into the conflict, it is evident that neither side has achieved its stated objectives. The international and regional initiatives lack a clear vision, plan, or structure to attain a ceasefire and establish lasting peace.


Previous attempts by international and regional actors to mediate and contribute to halting the civil war, restoring peace, and reinstating democracy have yielded meager and short-lived results. The Sudanese experience illustrates this, as seen in the 1965 Round Table Conference organized under the auspices of the African Unity Organization (now the AU), which resulted in a brief cessation of hostilities, only for a more violent conflict to erupt in the South of the country within years. Similarly, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement brokered between the Muslim Brotherhood regime and the SPLM in 2005 ultimately led to the country's fragmentation.


These failed efforts, along with similar examples in Africa like Somalia, underscore the limitations of such initiatives, which typically achieve no more than fragile accommodations. They often fail to address the root causes of the national crisis, thereby perpetuating instability and conflict.

 

- The majority of Sudanese people, including democratic and patriotic forces, welcome all efforts to achieve a ceasefire and provide humanitarian aid. In this context, we welcome the convening of the Donors Conference in Paris on April 15th. However, we caution against attempts to create and impose a politically non-representative civil body claiming to represent the Sudanese people.

- The devastating war has shifted the balance of power in the country. Gradually, the forces of change, including the SCP (Sudanese Communist Party), Resistance Committees, and trade unions, are regrouping and rebuilding their structures. Significant progress has been made during this challenging period; Emergency Committees have emerged to alleviate the suffering of the people amidst war conditions, and the Doctors' Union is providing medical aid whenever possible. Particularly noteworthy are the meetings and consultations between the SCP and Resistance Committees aimed at agreeing on a unified program to establish a broad people's front based on grassroots consultations. Similar efforts are underway between the Doctors' Union, journalists, and lawyers organizations to form a trade union framework. Here, we appeal for support from British, European, and international trade unions. Contacts have been made with the International Labour Organization (ILO). 

-In summary, the war is orchestrated to suppress the revolution and reinstate the Muslim Brotherhood regime or a modified version thereof. As previously mentioned, the outbreak of war originated from the Security Committees' coup aimed at defeating the revolution. Democratic and patriotic forces, including the SCP, are actively engaged in efforts to halt the war and reinstate the revolution. Their objectives include bringing an end to the war as a first step, removing the military and RSF militia from politics, and implementing measures to dissolve the RSF, other militias, and the Muslim Brotherhood's armies. This would establish a unified, professional national army under civilian government supervision. Furthermore, ensuring accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity is of paramount importance. 

-Achieving these fundamental demands would pave the way to restore the revolution's objectives and establish a fully civil, democratic authority.

 

Fathi Al-Fadl 


Member of Central Committee, Sudanese Communist Party

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