The latest clashes in Sudan have been predicted by the dedicated journalists and humanitarian workers who have been covering this troubled region for the past two decades. The causes (power, religion and resources) are well-known and date to the first civil-war after independence. The embers of previous conflicts have been stoked by external actors and led to an eruption of violence and the murder of three World Food Programme workers.
The reaction of the United Nations has been lamentable. Instead of deploying a protection force for its staff and telling the protagonists that it will not be intimidated by warlords and violent extremist organisations, it has fled from the scene when it is most needed. The US and UK reaction reminds me of the retreat from Afghanistan two years ago. This spineless capitulation has been disguised by the energetic work of British service personnel who have conducted the Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) with great aplomb. In the meantime, the vacuum left by the West is being filled by Russia and other countries, which are less sensitive to casualties suffered abroad.
When will learn that words are not enough when it comes to physical security in conflict zones?