The commanders of armed groups in African countries are often portrayed as erratic tyrants with little understanding of the world—in both Hollywood films and in news coverage. Yet as clashes in Sudan escalate into civil war, it is becoming increasingly clear that the geopolitical sophistication of such warlords has been underestimated.
Few conflicts have been predicted by so many observers, so far in advance, as the fighting that erupted on April 15 in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. Almost every external and domestic powerbroker that has exerted influence over Sudan’s development over the past four decades shares in the blame for this devastating cycle of violence.
Sudan has been gripped by violence since fighting broke out just over a week ago between rival military factions vying for control in Khartoum. With the situation deteriorating, the plight of civilians has been in the spotlight, but protective infrastructure is scarce. For Sudanese civilians, the only option has been “self-protection.”