Sudan Crisis Breaks Out Between Two Generals For Power Struggle
Violent battles between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been going on since Saturday in the nation's capital Khartoum and other key locations. Hundreds of people have already died in the battle, which started as Sudan tried to move towards democracy, and millions are still stranded in cities where they must seek refuge from gunfire and explosives. Although it's not clear who started the combat, it pits Sudan's de facto leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of the SAF, against his deputy, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo of the RSF, commonly known as "Hemetti." Fighting has broken out in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities as strong rival military factions fight for control, raising the possibility of a general civil war.
Former military officer Omar al-Bashir controlled Sudan for thirty years with an iron fist and indiscriminate murder. Many believed that the resource-rich nation in the Horn of Africa would finally have the chance to progress towards a freer society with a representative and responsive government when he was overthrown in an uprising in April 2019. However, Sudan's tragedy is that Mr. Bashir's horrific government survived his time in power. After his downfall, the military returned two years later. The two generals gained control of the nation by overthrowing a transitional civilian government while standing shoulder to shoulder. As a result of internal and international pressure, they consented to hand back control to the people. But there were disagreements about who should run the military after the change. Gen. Dagalo wants to put off the merger of the RSF into the regular military and the transition to civilian administration by ten years because of fear that he will lose his influence, whereas Gen. Burhan favours doing so in two years. Mistrust developed from the discord, and fighting followed. Currently, Sudan is on the verge of a civil war due to a power struggle between the top two generals.
In order to put an end to a revolt in Darfur that had been going on for more than 20 years due to the locals being ignored politically and economically by the central government of Sudan, Bashir founded the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The RSF was sometimes referred to as the Janjaweed, a term that came to be associated with a number of crimes. Before sending the Janjaweed to put down an uprising in South Darfur in 2013, Bashir gave their leaders military ranks and converted them into a semi-organized paramilitary force. Many of them were then sent to fight in the wars in Libya and Yemen.
Sudan is situated in a risky region that borders the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and the Red Sea. Its strategic location and agricultural wealth, which have attracted regional power conflicts, make a smooth transition to a civilian-led government less likely. Concerns like contested farmland along their border have affected Sudan's relations, particularly with Ethiopia. Several of Sudan's neighbours have been affected by political unrest and conflict, including Ethiopia, Chad, and South Sudan. Geopolitical rivalries between the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other nations seeking influence in Sudan are also important geopolitical elements at play. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates see the change in Sudan as an opportunity to combat the influence of Islamists in the region. They are a part of the "Quad," which also consists of the US, the UK, and the UN and has supported Sudanese mediation. The idea of a Russian base on the Red Sea, which Sudanese military leaders have acknowledged they are open to, worries Western countries.
The generals of Sudan are infamous for having little concern for the wellbeing of their people. The nation is contending with a hunger crisis, soaring inflation, and an economic crisis. A civil war is the last thing Sudan needs right now. If the generals' top objective is to solve Sudan's fundamental issues, they should heed the appeal for dialogue and a cease-fire and commit to a democratic transition that takes time into account. Numerous atrocities have occurred in Sudan as a result of decades of military control. It is not advisable for Generals Burhan and Dagalo to take the same path. Both sides are engaged in an existential power battle. Both generals are on the warpath, so it's improbable that they'll enter negotiations without one or both of them taking significant damage. The greater the civilian casualty rate and the more challenging it will be for either general to maintain control over the rubble, the longer they fight it out in the streets of cities. No one will prevail in this conflict, and it will irreparably harm nonetheless but Sudan.