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The Unrest in Sudan and the GCC States’ Role

Featured speakers:

Anas Alqaed, Dr. Khalid Mustafa Medani, Niemat Ahmadi, Mohamed Abu Bakr, and Umer Karim.


Two months ago, violence broke out across Sudan between the country’s armed forces, led by General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary “Rapid Support Forces” (RSF) led by Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo. Although the conflict began in Khartoum as a struggle for control over government buildings and military bases, it has since spread across the country, leading to a dramatic escalation of violence and thousands of civilian deaths. According to the United Nations, 500,000 Sudanese have fled the country and 1.6 million have been internally displaced. In the last three weeks, the conflict in Darfur—a region still healing from the horrific campaign of ethnic cleansing by the “Janjaweed” militia, the RSF’s predecessor organization—has intensified, with the kidnapping and murder of a provincial governor, attacks on civilians, sexual violence against women and girls, and the renewed specter of crimes against humanity.

To de-escalate the conflict, the international community has arranged peace talks in Jeddah, where representatives from both the SAF and the RSF have met for negotiations. These negotiations have been widely supported in the international community and have featured mediation from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Israel, Ethiopia, South Sudan, the United States, the European Union, the African Union, the United Nations, and other international organizations and regional stakeholders. However, these talks have made limited to no progress, due in part to the conflicting interests of the peacemakers within the country. The Gulf states in particular have sought to increase their influence in Khartoum since the overthrow of longtime Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, while the rivalry between Burhan and Hemedti has given Russia, Israel, Egypt, and the GCC a reason for greater involvement in Sudan’s affairs.

How can the Gulf states constructively contribute to the end of the crisis in Sudan? What responsibility, if any, do the GCC states hold for the conflict? Why have the Jeddah talks failed to bring about a lasting ceasefire? What is the role of regional and international powers outside the Gulf in supporting the different groups? How do Russian, Israeli, Egyptian, and American interests intersect with interests of the Gulf states?

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