The Geopolitical Impact of the Civil War in the Sudan

In the shadow of the Palestinian Question with the war in Gaza, the war in Sudan has been forgotten by the Western media despite its great geopolitical importance for East Africa and the Red Sea. It broke out on 15 April 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) of Dictator General Borhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) of General Hemmeti, because coup plotters who, on behalf of the US, overthrew them in 2017-9 Period 2 sought alliance with Russia and agreed with Vladimir Putin to build a Russian naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast. The ongoing civil war is the latest bloody link in the Nile country’s chain of civil wars.

The origins of Sudan’s civil strife are traced to Western colonial policy, as the British administration in Sudan favored the Arab Muslim north over the predominantly non-Arab, Christian and animist south. Disputes over resources, especially oil, showed the tensions between the northern and southern regions. Marginalization, economic inequalities and struggles for political power further fueled the conflict.

The inter-military civil conflict that has been going on until recently the Anglo-American protectorate of Sudan is a result of the conflict between the Americans and the Russians. The conflict in Sudan can be interpreted as a result of       successful Russian foreign policy and an extension of the Egyptian-Saudi rivalry in the region. At the same time, however, the civil war in Sudan is an American failure, as Washington failed to prevent the civil war and did not foresee the consequences of the political struggle in a country that has been under its influence for decades.

The losses for the Sudanese people are great. From January 2024 to the present, according to the UN, an estimated 13,000–15,000 people had been killed and another 33,000 injured. By December 2023, more than 9,000 to 10,000 people had been killed and 12,000 others injured. At the same time there are at least 5.6 million internally displaced persons and 1.5 million refugees. Specifically on June 12, 2023, the Sudanese Doctors Union reported that at least 959 civilians were killed and another 4,750 were injured. The Sultanate of Dar Masalit, on June 20 that more than 5,000 people had been killed and about 8,000 wounded in the fighting in West Darfur alone[228], while a Masalit tribal chief told the Sudanese news network Ayin Network on July 22, 00 of 1. they had be killed in the state. On August 15, the UN reported that at least 435 children had been killed in the conflict. According to doctors’ warnings, the reported figures do not include all victims, as people could not reach hospitals due to difficulties in transportation. A spokesman for the Sudanese Red Crescent was quoted as saying the death toll was “not small”. Sudanese whistleblowers recorded more than 500 cases of missing persons across the country, some of the admissions were enforced disappearances with RSF as the main culprit.

The ongoing civil conflict in Sudan has geopolitical ramifications, with a focus on the Palestinian, shipping and migration issues, in East Africa, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The wider area of the Straits of Suez and Aden, the border between West and East, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The simultaneous war involvement in the Palestinian and Sudan has a combination of geopolitical instability in the wider region. Sudan emerges as an important factor of influence for the various in Palestine. In particular, the instability in Sudan makes the Sudanese shores on the Red Sea a suitable place for the transfer of weapons to the Palestinian Resistance in the Gaza Strip through the Sinai Peninsula in the middle of the war in Gaza and afterwards.

At the same time, the civil war in Sudan combined with Somali piracy question the status quo of the Straits of Suez and Aden for the first time since 1917 until today by the de facto pro-Palestinian Houthi government in the capital Sanaa. The Houthi attacks on ships bound for Israel are Houthi involvement in the Gaza war on the side of the Palestinians. The effects of this questioning on global navigation and economy are evident in the increased prices of energy and products mainly in Europe. At the same time, however, the geopolitical game in Aden acquires global dimensions of conflict between the US and Russia, China, which supports the Houthis and encourages the removal of the American monopoly on the control of the Straits, as demonstrated by the unprecedented agreement between Moscow and Beijing with Sana’a on unimpeded passage of commercial ships of Russian and Chinese interests at a time when the same does not apply to British and American ships due to the Anglo-American bombings against the Houthis. The Sino-Russian agreement with Sana’a makes the Houthis the regulator of global shipping at the expense of the US. The civil war in Sudan creates an additional serious focus of instability for the Americans in the Red Sea, making any attempt to regain control of the Straits with Operation Shields extremely difficult and inadequate.

At the same time, the geopolitical extensions of the Sudanese civil war reach the coasts of Gavdos and Crete with the refugee flows. By January 2024, 7.8 million people had been forcibly displaced. More than 1.6 million people had arrived in neighboring countries of the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan, including refugees, returnees and third-country nationals, with 6 million newly displaced in Sudan. It is certain, therefore, that the war in Sudan has exacerbated the problem of refugee flows through Egypt and Libya to Greece. In this context, Greece’s participation in “Operation Aspides” reinforces migration flows to Greece as, under the pretext of protecting navigation, it supports forces that continue the war in Palestine and contribute to the outflow of refugees from Palestine to Greece and the rest of Europe via North Africa.

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