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A man looks at belongings inside a damaged house during clashes between the RSF and the army in Khartoum.

Reuters

Why Sudan’s crisis is a regional affair

Fighting rages on in Sudan, with the two dueling armies having already broken the 24-hour ceasefire that was declared on Tuesday. Few have high hopes of a cessation of hostilities in the North African country anytime soon.

But this conflict isn’t just about Sudan. Indeed, a host of regional heavyweights with their own strategic interests in Sudan – and the Horn of Africa more broadly – have helped fuel the current political crisis and are closely watching events unfold.

Recap: Who is fighting whom? On one side is Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, the country's army chief and de facto leader since 2021. That was when the military took over in a violent coup, overthrowing a joint civilian-military government. On the other side is Burhan’s former ally and junta deputy Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who is head of the Rapid Support Forces, a militia that grew out of the Janjaweed death squads that committed genocide in Darfur.

Both men once had close ties to former despot Omar al-Bashir – who ruled the country with an iron fist until 2019 – and helped oust him in a military coup amid a popular uprising.

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Salem Al-Dawsari celebrates scoring Saudi Arabia's second goal against Argentina.

REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Saudi shocker is a victory for all Arabs — and a PR coup for MBS

Saudi Arabia's stunning victory over Argentina on Tuesday was one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history. The lowly Saudis defeated the mighty Argentines, overcoming odds so great that if you'd bet $100 on the Saudis, you'd have walked out with more than $2,200 in beer money. (Oops, you can't actually buy any beer at Qatar 2022.)

More importantly, it made the kingdom proud — and sent long-awaited ripples of soccer joy throughout the Arab world. Why?

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Luisa Vieira

The EU’s natural gas troubles won’t end after ditching Russia

When Russian energy giant Gazprom shut off the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline for routine summer maintenance last week, Germany and the rest of the EU feared that Russian President Vladimir Putin would refuse to turn the tap back on as a way of punishing the West for sanctions against Russia.

The jitters dissipated somewhat when Nordstream went back online Thursday, albeit at 40% capacity. But Berlin and other European capitals still worry that if things go south, they’ll need to ration gas at the worst possible time: when they need it to keep homes warm during the winter. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is urging EU members to ration natural gas by 15% through next March to prepare for a likely future cut in supply.

The Europeans have long realized that over-depending on (and over-investing in) a single energy source makes them geopolitically vulnerable. But cutting off Russia and turning to the Middle East and North Africa will be anything but smooth sailing.

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What We’re Watching: Protests in Chile, US vs Google, Middle East economic peril

Protests ahead of Chile's referendum: It's been one year since massive protests over inequality rocked the normally staid and ostensibly affluent country of Chile. To mark that anniversary this week, tens of thousands of protesters hit the streets again, in part to call for a "YES" vote in Sunday's upcoming referendum on whether to rewrite the country's constitution. But some of the demonstrators turned to violence and looting, setting the country on edge as the crucial vote looms. Replacing the country's current constitution — which dates from the days of Pinochet's dictatorship — was a key demand of last year's protesters, who say that it entrenches the country's dizzyingly high inequality by limiting the role of the state and constraining political choices. If the current protests continue through the weekend, authorities and street activists alike are concerned violence may deter some people from voting.

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Hard Numbers: The Young & Restless
Hard Numbers: The Young & Restless

Hard Numbers: The Young & Restless

GZERO World looks at the Hard Numbers facing the youth and women in the Middle East and North Africa.

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