Sudan’s Ukraine Connection: A New Cold War Proxy?

Photo by Kyle Glenn / Unsplash

The civil war in Sudan looks like another U.S. versus Russia proxy war. Looking closer, an interesting timeline comes into focus. Back in 2021, U.S. officials stressed support for a “civilian-led transition to democracy” in Sudan. Russia is a top arms dealer to Sudan, and has agreed to continue its sales as a result of a February agreement that allows for the “opening of a Russian Navy base in Sudan,” giving Russia “control [of] access to the Suez Canal and…the Indian Ocean” as well as allow for “a naval base of up to 300 Russian soldiers and maintain up to four naval ships, including nuclear ones.” The U.S. has warned Sudan of “consequences” for this decision. The Wagner Group, a private Russian military group, also has interests in the country related to “lucrative gold mining operations.”

What’s going on? Sudan’s “transition to democracy” has been disrupted, and it is uncertain who is in control of the nation. The Sudanese civil war between rival generals has resulted in deadly violence, with the majority of the fighting occurring in Khartoum, the nation's capital. Clashes have also been reported throughout the country, with over 500 civilians killed and 5,000 injured. Aid workers and diplomats have become targets in the fighting, and many are fleeing to neighboring countries. The conflict has garnered international attention, as many are concerned about the instability and the potential for the conflict to spread, and have urged both sides to extend cease-fire agreements.

The Ukraine connection: Victoria Nuland, a controversial Biden administration official seen by some as responsible, at least in part, for U.S. involvement in the 2014 Ukrainian ‘Color Revolution’ and in imposing “democracy” around the world, seems to have some association in the U.S. response to the current Sudan crisis. Nuland made headlines recently by claiming that Ukraine has “biological research facilities that “Russia may seize” if the U.S. doesn’t act. Interestingly, the WHO has warned that similar captured research facilities are also in Sudan holding samples of diseases including measles, polio, and cholera.

Key takeaway: In the fog of war, it is often hard to discern what is really going on. Sudan, which has suffered from rampant violence, inflation, and food insecurity as a result of Western sanctions on Russia and reverberations from the war in Ukraine, is at the mercy of much larger countries and international coalitions. Russia is attempting to strategically expand its global presence through Africa. The U.S. has also gotten involved to prevent these efforts under the familiar guise of promoting “democracy.” The country has now caught itself in a civil war with America and Russia caught in the crosshairs. This is shaping up to be another proxy war in the Cold War 2.0. Watch this space as we continue our reporting.

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