The Unthinkable Inferno is Yet to Come: Sudan’s Expanding War

Dr. Bakry Eljak Elmedni

(August 30, 2023) In mid-April war erupted in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). As we edge towards six months since the conflict began, five realities started to become clearer. First, the conflict is metastasizing in ways that may be difficult to contain, for the conflict is morphing into multiple conflicts. It can be argued that both SAF and RSF forces are no longer under their respective central commands. Second, both SAF and RSF have a pool of civilians to draw from using narratives that are largely rooted in ethnicity and tribalism. Third, any peace deal built on the assumption that there are only two sides to this war who have clear objectives is likely to be unsustainable. Fourth, the longer the war continues, the more likely it will create conditions to sustain and expand it, perhaps beyond Sudan. Finally, the role of regional players in this war is no secret and without the regional players coming to terms that would create the path for Sudan to be stable after the collapse of the state it is hard to imagine a stable and peaceful Sudan. This is not to say Sudanese people do not have agency, but to suggest that the regional dynamics are becoming more critical.  

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