Escalation, Resources, and Intervention: Navigating Pathways to Peace in Sudan’s Conflict

The escalation of conflicts in Sudan, has resulted in increased instability (chiefly political, economic, social instability) in the region.

The escalation of conflicts in Sudan, rekindled in April 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has resulted in increased instability (chiefly political, economic, social instability) in the region. The epicenter of this upheaval is Darfur, a region characterized by ethnic discord between Arab and non-Arab groups, historically vying for key resources such as water, land and other natural untouched resources. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), derived from the infamous Janjaweed militias, has already showed a notably ferocious approach, exactly directing their actions at non-Arab tribes like the Masalit, notoriously engaging in ruthless campaigns aimed at ethnic cleansing. The origins of this conflict may be traced back to Sudan’s attainment of independence in 1956, marked by the central government’s disregard and exploitation of Darfur. In 2003, the war intensified significantly with the outbreak of rebellion aimed at toppling the then-Islamist military regime of President Omar al-Bashir. As a response, Bashir mobilized Janjaweed militias, whose brutal actions caused extensive suffering all the way, ultimately resulting in their official incorporation into the RSF by 2013, under the command of Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemeti. In 2019, Hemeti and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan removed Bashir from power during a rebellion, but their partnership quickly fell apart, resulting in additional conflicts by 2023.

Aside from its ethnic and political conflicts, Darfur holds significant strategic value due to its abundant natural resources, mainly gold. This precious metal plays a vital role in the economic self-sufficiency and military activities of the RSF. The RSF’s dominance over these resources has greatly enhanced their operational and economic might, establishing them as a pivotal force in the ongoing battle. The international dynamics of this battle are noteworthy, as the RSF is receiving support from other entities such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia. The UAE has made substantial investments in Sudanese agriculture and infrastructure, driven by geopolitical objectives and economic benefits. Moreover, the RSF has received military assistance from the Wagner Group, which is associated with Russia. Although the U.S.A. has imposed international sanctions on RSF leaders and entities, the effectiveness of these actions has been normal and weakened (less effective in true sense) owing to ongoing external funding, particularly from the UAE and other unknown international actors or game-makers. The international response to the situation in Sudan has been lukewarm, with criticism directed towards its insufficiency and lack of concentration, which has been worsened by other worldwide problems such as Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Palestine conflicts. Efforts to negotiate ceasefire agreements have been unsuccessful and futile despite numerous attempts, as both the SAF and RSF have violated completely the terms and conditions. This has led to increased uncertainty in the region and has made peace efforts more complex outright. As the crisis intensifies, the leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Dagalo, can withdraw to his stronghold in Darfur, utilizing his influence over crucial supplies.

To end the occurrence of these lethal and inhumane atrocities in Sudan, an array of measures must be taken and implemented. The country should consider the following established strategies owing to reach a peaceful solution. Agreements, especially ceasefire agreements, play a vital role in the process of resolving conflicts. Their chief objective is to put a stop to violence and promote discussion. A practical example of such agreements can be seen in the temporary ceasefires during the Syrian civil war. These ceasefires allowed for the delivery of humanitarian aid and created a milieu for peace negotiations, though being frequently violated. Neutral international mediators, like U.S. Senator George Mitchell in the Good Friday Agreement, may greatly assist in settling disputes by facilitating inclusive debate and negotiations, ultimately leading to long-lasting peace solutions. Providing prompt humanitarian aid, as demonstrated by the Red Cross (an international organization) in Rwanda after the genocide, is increasingly indispensable for bringing stability to afflicted areas and facilitating the process of rehabilitation, while also fostering positive relationships among the populations associated with it. Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) programmes play a vital role in helping soldiers adapt to civilian life and curtailing their potential for violence. This was evident in Colombia after the peace accord with FARC rebels. Facilitating inclusive political processes, similar to the negotiations in South Africa that brought an end to apartheid, serves to tackle ethnic or group tensions and cultivate a unified society. Economic development and integration are crucial factors as well in resolving conflicts by shrinking inequalities and fostering peace, as seen by the significant influence of the Marshall Plan on the post-World War II European reconstruction. The utilization of institutions such as Rwanda’s Gacaca courts serves the purpose of not only promoting justice but also facilitating national healing and reconciliation in response to past crimes. The application of international pressure and sanctions, as exemplified by the measures taken against Iran in response to its nuclear programme, can effectively induce disputing parties to engage in discussion and adhere to international standards. Utilizing international peacekeeping forces, such as those deployed by the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, serves to uphold peace and safeguard civilians in the vulnerable stages after an agreement. Additionally, the incorporation of resilient monitoring and verification procedures, similar to those employed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan, guarantees adherence to peace agreements and fosters confidence among all participating parties.

Abdullah Al-Mamun
Abdullah Al-Mamun
Md. Abdullah-Al-Mamun is an experienced researcher and analyst with specializations in security analysis, public policy, diplomacy, and international politics and economy. He is a skilled writer, known for his insightful editorials, commentaries, and academic discussions. He might be reached abdullahalmamunhbri[at]