Civil War Continues in Sudan

Happy Wednesday! Some bars have begun using a new beer glass that is filled from the bottom up and sealed by a magnet. Sellers of the glass pitch it as a way to save bartenders time—but we’re pretty sure they just wanted to invent a way to shotgun a pint glass.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • U.S. and Chinese officials met in Beijing on Tuesday to kick off a joint working group that will address the flow of fentanyl into the United States and the chemical shipments from China used to make the drug. The talks are the product of President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s summit in San Francisco last November. “We reached common understanding on the work plan,” China’s Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong said yesterday. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the meeting represented “a good start, but it is just a start.”
  • Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia group in Iraq, announced the suspension of attacks on U.S. forces on Tuesday. “As we announce the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces—in order to prevent embarrassment of the Iraqi government—we will continue to defend our people in Gaza in other ways,” Ahmad al-Hamidawi, the group’s leader, said in a statement yesterday. The announcement comes two days after a drone strike that the Pentagon said had “the footprints of Kataib Hezbollah” killed three Americans and wounded dozens of others at a base in Jordan near the Syrian border—an attack for which the U.S. has vowed a strong response. 
  • The House Homeland Security Committee voted 18-15 early Wednesday morning—entirely along party lines—to advance two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas: for his “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust.” GOP Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee—chairman of the committee—argued that, “for three years, Secretary Mayorkas has willfully and systemically refused to comply with the laws enacted by Congress, and he has breached the public trust. His actions created this unprecedented crisis, turning every state into a border state.” A full House vote on the articles of impeachment could come as early as next week.
  • The Labor Department reported Tuesday that job openings ticked up from an upwardly revised 8.9 million in November to 9.0 million in December, bucking forecasts predicting a decline in openings. The hires rate also increased slightly, from 3.5 percent in November to 3.6 percent last month. But the quits rates—a sign of workers’ confidence in their ability to find new employment—remained at 2.2 percent, the lowest level in over three years.

Sudan Still Gripped by Brutal War

Refugees walk through the Gorom Refugee Settlement during a visit by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on January 26, 2024. (Photo by Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Safaa Abdel Karim, a member of the Masalit tribe from Geneina in West Darfur, told Reuters last month how she watched members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)—a paramilitary group allied with mostly Arab militias at war with the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF)—beat her 2-year-old son to death just 10 kilometers from the border with Chad. Abdel Karim and her children were trying to escape the days-long massacre that had already claimed her husband’s life. 

The RSF fighters killed Abdel Karim’s son, Ibrahim, because he was a boy. “You zurga won’t stay in El Geneina,” she recalled the RSF men shouting, using a derogatory term for people with darker skin. “They said if the boy grows up, he will fight us.” When Abdel Karim, also carrying her infant daughter, tried to intervene to save her son, one of the men shot her below the shoulder. She was one of 40 mothers to recount similar instances of gender- and ethnically motivated killings in the area.

The brutal war in Sudan between the once-allied RSF and SAF has claimed more than 10,000 lives and displaced some 6 million people since it began in April of last year. The conflict carries echoes of previous atrocities in Sudan and in Darfur in particular, where Janjaweed militias—the precursor to the RSF, backed by the then-dictator, Omar al-Bashir—committed genocide in the early 2000s. The war shows few signs of abating in its tenth month, even as the SAF loses ground. Rival regional powers are reportedly backing opposing sides in the hopes of gaining influence once the war is over, but it’s a strategy that may ultimately prolong the violence. The U.S., for its part, has accused both sides of war crimes and the RSF of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, but has seen little progress in its efforts to help broker peace. 

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