Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
The political situation in Sudan remains highly volatile and uncertain as the country grapples with a power struggle between its two leading military figures, Generals Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, also known as ‘Hemedti’, and Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, the army chief. While both generals have been at the forefront of Sudan’s political scene since the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir, the cracks in their relationship are taking a violent turn as they compete for power and influence.
Hemedti is accused of being a puppet of regional powers such as the United Arab Emirates and an ally of Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, allegedly driving the war in Sudan. On the other hand, Al-Burhan is accused of being weak and unwilling to confront regional powers or take a firm stand against his old friend and deputy he is fighting. Hemedti’s growing influence within the military has forced out Chief of Staff Muhammad Othman Al-Husseini’s unease with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Many military officers are said to have expressed dissatisfaction towards al-Burhan’s alleged lack of firmness and confusion about the possible reason for such a flexible attitude towards the head of a militia (Hemedti).
However, it is difficult to believe that Al-Burhan, a former army chief and Inspector General who took power after President Omar al-Bashir, could be weak and move within the military institution without a firm decision. The division of roles between Al-Burhan and Hemedti allowed the latter to gain significant power, causing the current unrest in the country.
Hemedti’s influence and power stem from his position as commander of the Rapid Support Forces, accused of killing civilians in Darfur and protesters in Khartoum. Despite his controversial reputation, Hemedti maintains close ties with many countries, including the UAE, Ethiopia, Chad, Libya, Russia, Israel, Europe and the United States. Hemedti’s close relations with these nations, and the fact that he has never been on the US terrorist list, suggest that he has long enjoyed significant influence and support from the West.
What is more intriguing is the announcement of the UN envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, that “even if one side wins over another, he will be isolated by the international community”. Why would the UN and the international community refuse the victory of the legitimate army chief over a militia commander? What kind of protection from the “international community” Hemedti enjoys? These remain unanswered questions unless the partition of Sudan is already on the table and Darfur may be on the West’s agenda to follow South Sudan’s partition example. Dividing the Middle East and Africa has been the West’s best hobby in recent decades.
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