Thousands of people are flocking to port cities in eastern Sudan in hopes of finding space on boats heading to Saudi Arabia in order to escape violence in the capital city of Khartoum.
Rachel Beatty Riedl, a scholar of Sub-Saharan Africa political systems, says a return to civilian-lead government in Sudan is imperative.
“The current conflict between rival military leaders in Sudan is at great risk of spiraling intro a broader regional conflict, where control of the precious Nile River and mineral resources are at stake. The potential for regional involvement includes the UAE, Egypt, as well as Russia (Wagner Group), Israel and Libya," says Riedl, professor of government in the College of Arts & Sciences, and the John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. She is also a professor in the Cornell Brooks School of Public Policy.
“A revolutionary mobilization of citizens in 2018-2019 led to the downfall of the longstanding strongman Omar al-Bashir. It also pushed the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the traditional army, the Sudanese Armed Forces, to both cut their losses with Bashir and agree to a joint transitional rule.
“But, these two rivals have never fully supported civilian rule – they cut short the civilian transitional government in 2021. Nor have they integrated into a united governing body. The hope, therefore, for Sudan’s return to peace is to re-empower the transitional civilian forces with external support to stem the flow of weapons and funding to both sides of the rival military forces.”
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