May 18, 2023
The recent coup attempt by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo was a threat to the whole of Sudan, including his own Rapid Support Forces militia, and created grave dangers that will continue to have dire consequences for decades to come. This is particularly troubling for a country like Sudan, which is seeking to recover from multiple internal conflicts and which has suffered greatly throughout its modern history.
As one of the most powerful military forces in Africa, the Sudanese Armed Forces has a rich tradition of patriotism, bravery and professionalism. Its military doctrine dates back nearly 100 years and it is known to have taken part in the fight against Nazism and fascism during the Second World War, including liberating two of our neighbors, Libya and Ethiopia/Eritrea, from the perils of fascism. It was the first threat that Dagalo, the rebel leader, disregarded.
There is no comparison between regular forces with this background and his forces, which are primarily made up of tribal and mercenary groups from other African nations seeking to profit from Sudan’s looted money, especially gold revenues. At the same time, Dagalo has benefited and greatly enriched himself by sending young fighters from poor African countries to take part in wars in the region. Above all, these rebel forces lack a well-established combat doctrine.
Dagalo’s biggest mistake was attempting a coup in a situation where the Sudanese political arena was experiencing extreme divisions and a complete lack of consensus — in addition to the international community’s position on military coups, including the firm opposition of the African Union. This represented both political and military suicide, even if the intention was to hand over power to a civilian government, as it was claimed. However, that was just a pretext for circumventing power and is not supported by the facts of the man’s history of treachery.
Dagalo previously betrayed the isolated President Omar Bashir, who had established and sponsored his RSF, as well as his president in the Transitional Military Council and the Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan. Before that, he had betrayed the masses of young revolutionaries in the vicinity of the General Command of the Sudanese Armed Forces in the wake of the fall of the previous regime and pounced on them, leaving large numbers of dead and missing.
It is the accepted norm globally that the path to democracy involves enhancing societal and political discourse in order to arrive at a fair agreement on the key issues and guiding principles for the state. One of Dagalo’s paradoxes is that he was the one who was adamant and refused to integrate his forces into the Sudanese Armed Forces. He demanded a minimum period of 10 years to integrate his forces, in contrast to the Sudanese Armed Forces’ position, which demanded two years, or the total length of the transitional period, allowing the elected government to take office without being constrained by the remnants of the past.
The systematic destruction of water and electricity infrastructure, the theft of public funds from banks and government institutions, the looting of people’s money and the forced eviction of residents from their homes, while using them as human shields, are just some of the negative effects of the use of rebel forces that lack proper military doctrine and training. For example, Dagalo’s forces this week attacked a church, injuring the priest and some of the congregation. All of the violations committed by the dissolved rebel RSF in the wake of the failure of its coup attempt will be remembered for generations to come.
The RSF will face wider isolation from the international community if it attempts to take advantage of the latest ceasefire.
Ali Mohamed Ahmed Osman
Along with the economic destruction brought on by the disruption of Sudan’s market mobilization, the deep psychological effects on the majority of Sudanese people caused by the rebel forces’ violations and hijacking of the political dialogue, which was in its final stages, will have a significant negative economic impact on the nation, especially in the shadow of the Russian-Ukrainian war, which has affected wheat imports to Sudan, thus threatening food security.
All these unfavorable consequences have extended to the many foreign nationals living in Sudan, including the staff members of diplomatic missions and international organizations. The rebel forces have continued to inflict harm on these people even after they made the decision to leave Sudan, as the RSF intercepted the evacuations of many diplomatic missions.
In conclusion, the Jeddah Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan, which was agreed last week by the Sudanese government and the rebel forces’ leaders, is a first step toward resolving certain pressing humanitarian challenges. However, there are certified and documented violations by the rebel forces of the similar previous truce initiatives. Therefore, the rebel RSF will face wider isolation from the international community, which has indicated its support for this declaration, if it attempts to take advantage of the latest ceasefire.
- Ali Mohamed Ahmed Osman is the Charge d’affaires of the embassy of the Republic of the Sudan in Tokyo.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point of view