Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian General and military theorist who is best known for his book “On War”, provided a definition of war which has become a cornerstone of modern military theory and strategic studies. According to Clausewitz, “war is a continuation of politics by other means”. In other words, war is not an isolated event but rather a means to achieve political objectives.
Clausewitz believed that war is a result of political disagreements between states or groups, and that the use of military force is often required to resolve these disagreements. In his view, war is a complex and fluid process which can rarely be predicted with absolute certainty, and which demands constant adaptation and flexibility from military commanders. The crisis in Sudan is a complex and multifaceted issue that has been caused by a combination of immediate and remote factors. What then are the immediate and remote causes of the Sudan crisis?
The Sudan crisis has the potential to cause a catastrophic humanitarian disaster in the region, particularly if it escalates into a nationwide civil war
In December 2018, the Sudanese people began protesting against the government of Omar al-Bashir due to issues such as economic hardship, corruption, and political oppression. These protests eventually led to the ouster of al-Bashir in April 2019.
The Sudanese economy has been struggling for years, with high levels of inflation, a shortage of foreign currency, and high unemployment rates. This has led to significant economic hardship for many Sudanese people. During al-Bashir’s regime, there were widespread human rights violations, including torture, extrajudicial killings, and the use of excessive force against protesters.
Sudan was a colony of the British Empire until 1956, and its borders were drawn in a way that did not take into account the ethnic, linguistic, and religious divisions within the country. This has led to ongoing tensions between the different groups within the country. Sudan has experienced numerous civil wars, including a decade-long war between the north and south that ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. However, the conflict in Darfur continues to this day.
Sudan has a long history of political instability, with numerous coups and attempted coups. This has prevented the development of stable, democratic institutions. Sudan has been subject to international sanctions and isolation for many years, which has hindered its economic development and political stability. These are just some of the many factors that have contributed to the ongoing crisis in Sudan.
Regarding the crisis in Sudan, one cannot predict with certainty the events that will happen in the future. However, it can be stated that the country’s instability has the potential to cause security implications not just for Sudan but also for the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Sudan currently faces several security challenges, including armed conflicts, intercommunal violence, and terrorism. These issues could spill over into neighbouring countries and exacerbate existing security threats in the region.
Moreover, the current instability in Sudan could lead to the proliferation of weapons, which could supply other extremist groups in the Sahel and West Africa regions. This could also make it more difficult for African governments to combat terrorism and secure porous borders. Therefore, the ongoing instability in Sudan could have far-reaching implications for the entire Sub-Saharan African region, calling for urgent attention and support to restore stability in the country.
The current armed conflict in Sudan poses a significant threat to the region, as it is already causing a massive humanitarian crisis. With thousands of people fleeing the country due to the fighting between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, the situation is worsening by the day.
The disagreement between the two sides about creating a combined force during the transition to democratic rule has led to violent clashes, resulting in over 400 deaths and 4,000 injuries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The precarious situation in Sudan has raised alarms and concerns for its neighbouring countries, including Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Libya, and Egypt. Most of these countries have experienced political instability in recent years, and the possible influx of refugees from Sudan could exacerbate the already dire situation.
Even with over 20,000 people having fled to Chad, experts warn of an impending humanitarian crisis, with neighbouring countries potentially overwhelmed and unprepared to deal with the massive influx of refugees. Peter Pham, the former U.S. special envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes Region, has described the situation as a “wave of humanity” that may confront Sudan’s neighbours, but they remain ill-prepared for its impact.
The Sudan crisis has the potential to cause a catastrophic humanitarian disaster in the region, particularly if it escalates into a nationwide civil war, according to an African risk analyst. These concerns prompted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to announce a 72-hour ceasefire aimed at enabling safe evacuations and the provision of essential aid to those affected by the conflict.
Despite the ceasefire, prolonged fighting is still probable, largely due to the involvement of external actors such as Egypt, Libya, and Gulf states, each pursuing their strategic interests in the mineral-rich north-east African country. These outside interventions will likely hinder efforts to resolve the conflict.
Lesson for Nigeria
Nigeria can draw some useful lessons from the Sudan crisis. One of the lessons that Nigeria can learn is the importance of political stability. Nigeria has a history of political instability, and the country continues to face security challenges, such as the Boko Haram insurgency, communal clashes, and militancy in the Niger Delta and IPOB in the South East.
Another lesson that Nigeria can draw from the Sudan crisis is the importance of inclusive politics. Nigeria has also had challenges with inclusivity in its political system, which has resulted in feelings of marginalization and exclusion by some ethnic and regional groups.
Furthermore, Nigeria can learn from the importance of addressing the root causes of conflicts. In Sudan, the conflict between the government and the opposition groups is partly due to the marginalization of certain regions and groups. Nigeria also has experienced similar issues in the South East and other areas of the country, where the communities feel marginalized and neglected by the government.
In summary, Nigeria can draw useful lessons from the Sudan crisis in terms of the importance of political stability, inclusive politics, and addressing the root causes of conflicts. By addressing these issues, Nigeria can help prevent similar conflicts from occurring in the country and promote long-term peace and stability in the West African subregion.