Sunday, May 26, 2024

US warns of ‘imminent offensive’ that could put civilians at ‘extreme danger’ in Sudan’s Darfur

HomeWARUS warns of 'imminent offensive' that could put civilians at 'extreme danger'...

The sleepy desert city of al-Fashir in Sudan’s conflict-ravaged Darfur region is hurtling towards an explosive confrontation that could spell catastrophe for millions. The United States has sounded urgent alarms over “credible” intelligence pointing to an imminent offensive by the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to seize control of the humanitarian hub.

For over a year, Sudan has been ripped apart by a vicious civil war between the military forces of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the RSF headed by his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. The internecine conflict has unleashed a tsunami of human suffering, with millions uprooted from their homes across the vast northeastern African nation.

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But throughout the turmoil, al-Fashir remained a rare pocket of relative calm in the drought-stricken Darfur region that spans an area the size of Spain. The city’s sturdy mud-brick buildings have providentially sheltered huge influxes of refugees escaping the fighting and ethnic cleansing raging elsewhere.

That fragile oasis of stability now teeters on the brink. Since mid-April, the thud of artillery shells and roar of warplanes have shattered al-Fashir’s eerie quietude. At least 25 civilians lay dead, according to pro-democracy groups, with over 36,000 fleeing the growing maelstrom on the city’s fringes.

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“The United States calls on all armed forces to immediately cease attacks in al-Fashir,” the State Department said, decrying “arbitrary shelling, airstrikes” and the razing of nearby villages. “An offensive…would subject civilians to extreme danger.”

The world has been here before. In 2003, Darfur became a byword for genocide when Arab janjaweed militias backed by Sudan’s ruling Bashir regime murdered up to 300,000 non-Arab civilians in a scorched earth campaign of unrestrained brutality. The flashpoint city of al-Fashir witnessed some of the worst atrocities.

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Now, two decades later, al-Fashir stands pivot-point once more in an existential battle for control of Darfur’s humanitarian lifeline. With food scarce and malnutrition spiking, any rupture in the flow of aid could prove cataclysmic for the region’s 12 million souls.

The gathering storm begs haunting questions – has Sudan’s anguished people learned nothing from its blood-drenched past? Or will the ghosts of al-Fashir be resurrected in a new orgy of man’s inhumanity to man?

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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