The U.S. embassy in Sudan was evacuated as the nation descended into chaos and violence. Power struggles involving opposing military groups which were attempting to come together have led to violent conflicts lasting more than nine days and killing hundreds already. Now, the East African nation’s future remains in uncertain balance.
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Fighting Goes Into its Ninth Day, Prompting Evacuation of U.S. Embassy in Sudan
Military operations involving the U.S. embassy in Sudan took place on April 23, 2023, throughout Khartoum, the capital of the African nation. The good news is that there appear to be conflicted casualty reports, but as the situation was rapidly devolving, evacuations were made.
Now, the status of the U.S. embassy in Sudan is in question. Every employee has left the Sudan embassy, but there are still thousands of American citizens caught up in a volatile situation as a power grab and subsequent conflict sweep through the East African nation.
Because of the heightened possibility of carrying out evacuations beyond the U.S. embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, Americans were unfortunately left behind as other options were and are being evaluated.
After attacks between rivaling Sudanese forces, which lasted at least nine days at the time of the evacuation, the closing of the main international airport and roads exiting the nation was taken over by armed groups. So far, over 400 people have died as a result of the conflict.
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President Biden thanked troops for assisting in the evacuation of approximately 70 remaining American employees from Sudan to an undisclosed location in Ethiopia. The operation involved about 100 U.S. troops in three MH-47 helicopters, with support from Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia.
The violence in Sudan, which broke out on April 15, has cost the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians, and Biden called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. Embassy evacuations by the U.S. military are rare and usually take place under extreme conditions.
Power Vacuums, Forever Wars, Africa, and Possibly Unlearned Lessons
Adding the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to the Sudanese Armed Forces was never going to be an easy task, yet now, it seems like a major error. Some are saying that U.S. policy paved the way for war as African conflicts continue to grow and concern about American involvement grows from a number of critical voices.
While too early to tell, it’s very easy to point out some of the parallels between conflicts in Africa today and those that afflicted the Middle East for the last several decades. In the middle of it all, is the U.S. military.
Beyond the obvious possibility of a prolonged war are the immediate issues presenting the Sudanese people. Right now, they’re facing human rights violations, potential war crimes, and violence of unspeakable terms that war will inevitably bring with it.
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Sudan, U.S. Embassy Evacuation Likely Only the Beginning
No conflict of this nature is simple and the issues afflicting Sudan are no exception. There are many reasons for the fighting in the region including, but not limited to, the following:
- There are tensions about integrating the RSF into the nation’s military. This has created a direct power struggle between the legitimate military of the nation and the RSF.
- Following a deal to end political uncertainty in the nation, this would ascend RSF leader, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, to the same level as General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan for the nation’s army. Obviously, conflicts would ensure because of these leadership tensions.
- Controversy has always followed the RSF, as they are a group with roots that date back to the Janjaweed militias that are accused of committing war crimes in Darfur.
- There are several complex issues facing the nation, including the region’s economic situation, in which Sudan finds itself with valuable positioning and agricultural significance. This has hindered the nation’s ability for a peaceful transition of power.
Even though more and more violence is expected and death tolls are predicted to climb, it’s very clear that neither side has much to gain and a lot to lose. Sadly, the U.S. embassy in Sudan evacuating feels more like the beginning of something bigger in a nation with an uncertain future.
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