On 17 January, the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) organised an online symposium entitled "Developments in the Situation in Sudan and their Future Impacts." The event was moderated by Dr Hassan Al-Haj Ali Ahmed, a visiting researcher at CHS.
The agenda of the symposium included three main interventions presented by Abdullah Ali Ibrahim, Professor of the History of Africa and Islam at the University of Missouri; Engineer Muhammad Farouk Salman, a former member of the Central Council for Freedom and Change; and Dr Khaled Al-Tijani Al-Nour, writer, journalist, and editor-in-chief of Elaph newspaper.
The speakers began with a discussion of the challenges faced by the Sudanese elites in the current crisis, which necessitates a historical contextualisation of the ongoing conflict. To this end, they sought to identify the various barriers and points of difference, such as the lack of a consensus around the definition of a modern state. According to the speakers, a distinction must be made between the state and chaos, while respecting both justice and order for those demanding rights. The speakers also pointed out that the war taking place in the capital cities is not merely a war between the periphery and the centre, because Khartoum comprises a significant population of individuals displaced from the peripheral regions as a result of previous wars.
The speakers then highlighted the political powers' inability to take advantage of two crucial events. First, the signing of the peace agreement in 2005, and second, the transitional phase that came after the December 2018 revolution. Whilst the political forces succeeded in provoking the revolution, they failed to manage the transitional phase. The speakers referred to the persistent political mentality of resorting to the use of violent force and the attempts of the political forces to resuscitate the previous conditions, expanding the ongoing war to take the form of a war on civilians. According to the speakers, the failure of the political powers to create a vision for ending the war and the insufficient national will to address the core issues have attracted external powers to intervene significantly in Sudanese affairs. The speakers then touched on the absence of talks about reforming the political institutions, emphasising that such reforms are very important for the future of Sudanese politics.
Additionally, the speakers discussed some solutions, with a greater emphasis being placed on the importance of strict commitment to confront a new, different reality. Moreover, it was highlighted that the future of conflict resolution in Sudan must be based on the separation between resolving the military conflict on one hand and the country's political future on the other. The speakers called for de-escalation, whilst achieving the justice that has been absent and breaking the monopoly of power by the elites in determining the future of the country.
The symposium concluded with a Q&A session, where the participants asked questions on a variety of topics, mainly regarding concerns of democratic transition and reforming the political institution for a better future in Sudan.