Sunday 28 April 2024

Who Will Come To Sudan’s Aid?

Mark Seddon writes:

This week, the United States Senate finally signed off on a series of supplemental foreign aid bills that contain $95.3 billion in military funding for Ukraine, Israel & the Indo Pacific. The new House legislation provides $60.8 billion for Ukraine, $26.4 billion for Israel, and $8.1 billion for Indo-Pacific security. When added to the $843.7 billion base budget enacted by Congress in March, the foreign aid would increase the total defence budget to around $939 billion in 2024. The move ended a prolonged standoff in the Senate that began when the Biden administration first released its supplemental aid package back in October. The amounts are huge and especially controversial for many Americans in the case of Israel, which continues to give every impression of wanting to ignore strictures from the Biden administration at each and every turn. The package of aid for Ukraine had been held up as prominent Donald Trump supporting Republicans sought to put US border security ahead of a war in Europe that has become a stalemate. Funding foreign wars, at the same time as public services and infrastructure are creaking back home, is always going to be controversial. But in all of the commentary and coverage it has been impossible to find anyone asking the question; how much was signed off by the Senate for global peacekeeping and increased humanitarian aid?

The answer is; ‘nothing’. Wars and major upheaval now straddle the globe, burning their way through from Haiti to eastern Europe, the Sahel, Yemen and of course Sudan. But where once upon a time a huge focus would have been directed at for instance ending the gang warfare and anarchy in Haiti or putting together a major UN led peacekeeping mission to Sudan, today all we tend to see is handwringing and inaction. The yearlong war in Sudan has also become ‘the forgotten war’. The statistics of are indeed staggering. The war has created the largest displaced population in the world and the largest population of displaced children in the World. According to the United Nations;

• More than 8.6 million people have been forced out of their homes
• 25 million are in dire need of humanitarian assistance
• 18 million are facing severe hunger, five million of them are at emergency levels
• 3.5 million children under the age of five - every seventh child in Sudan - has acute malnutrition. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 70% of health facilities in conflict-affected states are non-functional or partially functional. As of December 2023, the WHO verified 60 attacks on health care which killed at least 34 people.

The war in Sudan is not only horrific, it carries severe ramifications for the country’s immediate neighbours and in the Maghreb, which may be seeing a substantial increase in the numbers of desperate people fleeing from the fighting. The history of conflicts in Sudan has consisted of foreign invasions and resistance, ethnic tensions, religious disputes, and disputes over resources. Prevention is always better than the cure. But neither has there been prevention, nor serious attempts at a cure. With the World’s most powerful super-power immersed in conflicts elsewhere, the question is, who will come to Sudan’s aid?