Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Has Sudan Been Forgotten?

We are five months into the war in Sudan between the Sudanese armed forces and the Rapid Support Forces, and there is not even a glimmer of hope that opportunities are forthcoming to end this conflict deepening the Sudanese crisis.

It has been five months, and this armed conflict has taken the lives of at least 5,000 people, left over four million people internally displaced, forced a million people to flee to neighboring countries, and caused around 500 children to die of hunger.

Despite all these travesties, and the deteriorating living conditions of Sudanese citizens, there are no signs of an imminent solution. The war between the army commander, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the leader of the Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, has turned into another ordinary part of the news cycle.

The story here is not that the region is becoming accustomed to news about war. Rather, the story is that the region as a whole can be divided by prioritization. One team is developing its capacities, another team is trying to overcome economic and political conditions, and a third is in perpetual crisis.

As all of this is happening, Sudanese leaders of all stripes, both military and civilian, have not yet grasped the gravity of the situation. The mindset there, and I am referring to everyone, remains a belligerent one that is driven by a desire to exclude the other from the political scene, which has essentially been obliterated.

Before blaming any Arab, regional, or even international party for not seriously seeking to end the crisis in Sudan, the Sudanese should remember an important and grave rule in our region: Those who leave do not return, and we saw that in Somalia.

Moreover, it is difficult to get back up after falling in our region. We see this in Syria, and before it Lebanon and Iraq, which is still working hard to overcome the repercussions of the occupation and the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime. And there are many other examples as well.

The danger in Sudan is that these conflicts destroy the already weak social fabric and fundamentals of the state. Despite all of this, we have not yet heard a voice of reason in Sudan calling for prudence and prioritizing the interests of the people and the country. Instead, all we hear is talk of division and fragmentation.

More frighteningly, all the factions in Sudan, regardless of their claims, are doing nothing to make it easier for foreign actors striving to bring rivals closer together and end this devastating military crisis, even with minimal damage.

Regionally and internationally, it seems that the desire to try to save Sudan is no longer as robust as it had been early on. I do not blame these external players as much as I do Sudanese military and civilian figures.

Of course, mediating a crisis between factions that do not want your mediation and do not seek workable and realistic solutions, is impossible. The formula before us has become clear: either the palace or the grave. They are clinging to it although it leads to the devastation and destruction of the state and immense suffering, which is currently being seen in Sudan.

When we ask: Has Sudan been forgotten? We are not posing this question to Arab, regional and international players or the media alone. The question is also directed to the Sudanese themselves, its military and civilian figures, and its political parties: What is left for you to fight over?