Despite a government-led national dialogue in 2016, violence in Sudan persists in Darfur and elsewhere. Peace talks between the government and the armed opposition are deadlocked, while hundreds of thousands of displaced people are blocked from getting humanitarian aid. For over 20 years, the U.S. Institute of Peace has worked to build an inclusive peace in Sudan through expert advice and training. The Institute currently hosts youth leaders who conduct research on peace in their communities. USIP also supports a regional database of laws on sexual and gender-based violence.
Sudan’s Crisis Offers New Lessons for Building Peace in the Sahel
Sudan’s five-week war has killed or wounded over 5,000 people, uprooted a million more — and reignited understandable frustrations over how U.S. and international policies can better prevent or respond to such upheavals. Amid heated policy debates, we should step back briefly to pinpoint lessons from this crisis that can improve our responses in Sudan and across the Sahel’s web of coups, insurgencies and extremism. Indeed, that task is urgent — both to address the complex evolutions in the region’s crises and to build support for smarter, steadier engagement, rather than a self-defeating retreat from the Sahel by global partners seeking democracy and stability.
Sudan: Engage Civilians Now, Not Later
Over the last month, a series of cease-fires in Sudan have yielded minimal results. Fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has continued and even intensified in some places. While the capital Khartoum and areas surrounding key infrastructure remain the core battlegrounds, the clashes have spread into other parts of the country.
What Sudan Needs Right Now
The unthinkable is unfolding in Sudan. A humanitarian disaster is deepening, as the state is being torn apart. The spill over could impact East Africa and the broader region — already tens of thousands of Sudanese have fled. As we have seen with other conflicts in the region, it is likely that malign, foreign interests will seek to exploit the situation to advance their own interests. The risk of Somalia-like anarchy on the Red Sea is real if the current fighting continues and foreign support for the warring parties — the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) — continues to grow.
Generation Change Fellows Program
Generation Change works with young leaders across the globe to foster collaboration, build resilience and strengthen capacity as they transform local communities.
Red Sea Rising: Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East
The states on the western side of the Red Sea to the south of Egypt and the Arab states from the east of Egypt through the Arabian Gulf have long been considered distinct regions. This is increasingly a distinction without a difference, however, as these states now operate more as a common political, security, and economic zone.