The President’s Inbox Recap: Sudan’s Civil War

The President’s Inbox Recap: Sudan’s Civil War

The latest episode of The President’s Inbox is live. This week Jim sat down with Michelle Gavin, the Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council.

They discussed the deadly armed conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) for control of Sudan.

Here are five highlights from their conversation: 

1.) The fighting pits the SAF and the RSF. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan leads Sudan’s armed forces. General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as “Hemedti,” leads the RSF paramilitary group. The two men worked together in October 2021 to overthrow the transitional government that formed after long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in April 2019. Michelle noted that Bashir created the RSF “as part of a divide-and-conquer strategy to ensure that none of his entities of enforcement were ever strong enough to challenge him and the others.” She added, “they were designed to be at odds with each other.” That design ultimately produced the current crisis.

2.) Neither side is on track to defeat the other. The SAF has an advantage in advanced military equipment like planes. The RSF meanwhile has considerable experience in urban warfare. Protracted fighting without a clear winner could maximize the conflict’s destructiveness.

3.) The conflict is roiling Sudan and could upend the region. The conflict is devastating Sudan. More than 3 million people have already been displaced. The conflict could spill over Sudan’s borders. Chad and Ethiopia in particular worry that the Sudanese conflict will aggravate instability within their borders.


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