Sudan: The most affected by conflicts in the world

The past year has seen the outbreak of devastating wars and conflicts around the world, yet the conflict in Sudan – which turned into a wide-ranging war last April – has received scant coverage from Western media, being deemed less significant than the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, according to an article in the American magazine Newsweek.

The article’s author, Mohamed Al-Bandari, an independent researcher who has taught journalism in the United States and New Zealand, believes there is ambiguity in Western positions toward what is happening in Sudan, as “we rarely saw reports about it last year in the press” regarding the challenges this war poses to other African countries, including Egypt, and to unstable countries in the Sahel and North Africa region.

Similarly, there was little coverage of the peace summit held in Egypt in July to discuss the negative repercussions of the Sudan war on its seven neighboring countries, the author adds.

The independent researcher points out that Sudan has remained mired in “dire” economic problems, street protests, and new violence in Darfur since the popular uprising that toppled the “dictator” Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

Fighting erupted on April 15, 2023, between the Sudanese army led by Lieutenant General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemeti.

While Western media focus on other conflicts, such as the two ongoing wars in Gaza and Ukraine, the Sudanese people remain caught in a conflict “not of their making” as famine spreads.

Comparing Western coverage of these three wars, any media researcher can note a media deficit in how news of the Sudan war is conveyed, according to the author, who adds that Sudanese refugees fleeing the conflict are often depicted as “weak, naive, and backward.”

The author claims that Western media view the lives of Sudanese, and Africans in general, as not deserving more compassion than those of Ukrainians, Israelis, or Palestinians.

He adds that Sudan is facing a “catastrophe” with the depletion of United Nations funds, while relief workers describe the crisis there as the “forgotten war.”

What has angered many Africans is that the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted in early December to end the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), established in Khartoum in 2020 to support the country’s political transition process.

Ending that mission, according to the article, poses grave consequences for Sudanese civilians and drags the country toward a disaster in 2024. UNITAMS’s withdrawal also represents a “new setback” for the United Nations, which faces a degree of hostility – mostly in Africa – regarding its political and security effectiveness.

The article concludes that the weak Western media coverage of the war in Sudan has diminished the chances of launching peace initiatives to end the conflict between the army and the Rapid Support Forces.

The author ends by advising Western media to expand their coverage of events in Sudan, and in Africa in general, beyond just the issue of the “frightening flow” of Sudanese and African refugees to the West.

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