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A hunger crisis in Sudan, a golden era of space exploration, and German transportation strikes

Is history repeating itself in Sudan?


The 10-month conflict between Sudan's military and paramilitary groups risks creating the "world's largest hunger crisis," the U.N. has warned. "Millions of lives and the peace and stability of an entire region are at stake," said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain after visiting South Sudan. Two decades after the world rallied to respond to famine in the country's Darfur region, the people of Sudan have been "forgotten," she added. 


What did the commentators say? 


"Sudan has not so much slid down the international agenda as off it entirely," said the Financial Times. Yet the fighting that has raged since civil war broke out last April has "both geopolitical and humanitarian consequences the world has yet to digest."


The Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (known as Hemedti), attempted to seize control of the government in a coup last April. As the Sudanese Armed Forces, headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, stood firm, the conflict quickly spread across the whole country, including Darfur, where famine and genocide raged in 2003. According to the U.N., more than 8 million people have been displaced in Sudan during the current conflict, and more than 13,000 have been killed. Almost half the population needs humanitarian assistance.


Both the RSF and army have been accused of "indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, targeting civilians and obstructing and commandeering essential aid," said Al Jazeera. Multiple sources across Sudan said to Middle East Eye that children are also dying every day of hunger. The situation is "perhaps worst in Darfur, the vast western region that serves as the RSF's power base," said the site. 


In 2003, Darfur's famine arose due to internecine violence between its Arabs and Masalit ethnic groups. That history has "now resurfaced," said Euronews. International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan said in late January that there were grounds to believe both sides were committing possible war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide in Darfur. 


Swathes of the region "haven't received aid since before the war began," said Reuters after speaking to residents and aid agencies. After previously blocking the entry of aid from Chad into Darfur, a U.N. official said on X on Tuesday that the Sudanese authorities had agreed to the transfer of aid through a border crossing into North Darfur. 


"Although it is a sideshow," said the FT, reports that a small unit of Ukrainian troops is fighting Russian mercenaries inside Sudan underline the "extent to which the country has become a magnet for global mayhem." 


What next? 

With no letup in the war, the "stalled diplomatic process must be urgently revived," said the FT. Last month, Sudan's warring factions participated in secret talks in Bahrain, a "sign that even the deluded generals may realize that neither side can win." 


Stopping the violence will be "critical to restoring critical humanitarian aid to Sudan's people and a democratic transition — something that the Sudanese have demonstrated for and demanded," said Vox. "The conflict and humanitarian situation will only continue to spiral if the international community keeps ignoring it."


 

The Week, 2024

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