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Sudan's Violent Unrest: A Brewing Humanitarian Crisis and Regional Threat

Sudan's ongoing unrest, resulting from a power struggle between the Sudanese Army led by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) under Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, has led to a devastating humanitarian crisis and potential regional spillover. Since April 15, at least 700 lives have been lost, with 479 reported as civilians by the Sudanese doctors' union. The United Nations warns of a deepening crisis with the potential for famine, as hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

Despite multiple truce deals declared and violated, fighting continues in the capital, Khartoum. Ceasefire talks are underway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with support from Saudi Arabia and the United States. However, both the army and RSF continue to seek military advantage on the ground. US intelligence chief Avril Haines warns of a protracted conflict with potential regional spillover challenges.

The conflict has forced refugees to flee Sudan, crossing into Ethiopia, Chad, and South Sudan, with Chad facing the threat of instability. The crisis disrupts plans for a transition to civilian rule in Sudan and raises concerns about shared Nile waters, oil pipelines, and potential humanitarian crises. Egypt and Sudan are worried about threats to their water supplies from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. Sudanese mercenaries and militia fighters have been active in Libya's conflict, contributing to tensions in Sudan's Darfur region. Gulf Arab states, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, which have investments in Sudan, seek to stabilize the region. South Sudan's oil output is exported via a pipeline through Sudan, and the fighting has hampered logistics and transport links.

The crisis highlights the limitations of neighboring countries in mediating and the potential impact on negotiations over the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The US, UN, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have called for an immediate ceasefire and warn of potential risks to the Horn of Africa region.

The Sudanese army has expressed willingness to extend the ceasefire for 72 hours, with General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan approving a plan to extend the truce and send an envoy to South Sudan's capital, Juba, for talks. Presidents of South Sudan, Kenya, and Djibouti are working on a proposal to extend the truce and hold talks between forces.

The international community must act swiftly and decisively to end the violence and support the Sudanese people in their quest for peace, stability, and democracy. The stakes are high for Sudan and its neighbors, with potential regional destabilization and the involvement of foreign powers.