"Escaping forward from military setbacks".

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan puts Sudan's future at crossroads ahead of military setback

The UAE has announced on more than one occasion that it stands at the same distance from the two sides of the war in Sudan, has repeatedly called for a ceasefire, and has focused its efforts on humanitarian support by sending convoys of aid to the displaced and conflict-affected people, in coordination with UN bodies.

RSF Commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and Sudanese Army Commander Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan – Vehicle


The Rapid Support Forces in Sudan continue to achieve field gains against the army forces dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, following the control of the forces of "Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo", on strategic sites, the most important of which is the city of Wad Madani a few days ago, and the acquisition of large weapons stores in one of the bases of Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan's army, who rushed to accuse the United Arab Emirates, in an attempt to escape the successive setbacks suffered by his forces, which handed over a military base with all its equipment and withdrew during the past days.

The catastrophic consequences of the deterioration of Sudanese-Emirati relations are affecting the entire Sudanese economy because Abu Dhabi has been Khartoum's number one trading partner for the past two decades.

Sudanese media said that after the sudden fall of "Wadmadani", the capital of Gezira state, the security and intelligence service of the isolated regime began to prepare public opinion to accept the "dismissal" of Burhan from the command of the armed forces.

Local Sudanese newspapers published news of movements in the Sudanese army that Burhan's headquarters in Port Sudan had been besieged, in a move that indicates a coup against him.

The Islamists seem to have despaired of the current army chiefs in bringing them back to power, and have begun an alternative plan of replacing the current leadership with a more radical one that will turn Sudan into a fire.

The Rapid Support Forces led by Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (Hemedti) confirmed in a statement (Friday) that its elements are "moving strongly and steadily, achieving victories in more than one axis," renewing the call "to the honorable armed forces and police, to align themselves with the desire of the Sudanese people to establish a state of citizenship without discrimination and restore the path of democratic transformation leading to a new Sudan in which the values of peace, justice and freedom prevail," and urged officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, divisions and military units in various states of Sudan "to surrender and engage alongside our forces." In order to preserve lives and property and to judge the voice of reason."

Media reported that Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is leading a campaign to distort the UAE's humanitarian role, with Abu Dhabi focusing its efforts since the beginning of the war in supporting the displaced and those affected by the armed conflict through medical and humanitarian relief convoys sent in coordination with the competent UN bodies. However, this aid is being marketed by Burhan and his team as military support, in an attempt to cover up the army's defeats in more than one area controlled by the RSF.

Al-Arab newspaper pointed out that this campaign is not an exception in the context of systematic campaigns to demonize the UAE and throw it into conflicts and crises that Abu Dhabi has been dealing with according to the principle of positive neutrality, pushing for dialogue and diplomatic solutions, and focusing its efforts on supporting stability and development as an alternative to conflicts.

Trying to export the crisis and flee forward is a maneuver that Burhan has always used for domestic media consumption and also serves external parties opposed to the UAE's diplomatic efforts to resolve crises.

Chad, which bears burdens that have burdened it financially and security-wise, due to the influx of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees and displaced persons, has not been spared the smear campaign, as it recently exchanged the expulsion of diplomats with Khartoum after statements from Burhan's political team accusing N'Djamena of supplying the Rapid Support Forces with weapons, the same accusations made by the same team against Abu Dhabi, which indicates that the Sudanese Sovereignty Council has adopted a policy of escaping forward in covering up its setbacks on the ground.

According to the newspaper, Burhan and his political and military team are trying to involve Abu Dhabi and N'Djamena in the Sudanese war, which was triggered by the army in mid-April, in a step that does not go beyond an attempt to export the crisis and search for pretexts to cover up the defeats it suffered, especially after it lost control of the island following the control of the Rapid Support Forces on the city of Wad Madani.

The positions of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, led by Burhan and managed by my brothers from behind a curtain, fluctuate between a position and its opposite whenever the noose tightens on its forces, which face successive defeats in the face of the Rapid Support Forces, from engaging in the Jeddah negotiations and opening up to a peaceful solution to the crisis to a coup against its outputs, and from boycotting the settlement efforts led by African countries to participating in the IGAD summit and accepting a direct meeting with Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (Hemedti), the leader of the Rapid Support, to breaking his pledges, leading to a campaign against my country. The UAE and Chad allegedly supported Dagalo's forces.

The UAE has announced on more than one occasion that it stands at the same distance from the two sides of the war in Sudan and has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and focused its efforts in the meantime on humanitarian support by sending convoys of aid to the displaced and those affected by the conflict, in coordination with UN bodies.

In the latest episode to export the crisis and escape forward, Lieutenant General Yasser Al-Atta, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, blamed the UAE for the losses suffered by the Sudanese army, accusing Abu Dhabi of supplying the Rapid Support Forces with weapons without evidence, ignoring the Emirati positions and efforts calling since the beginning of the crisis for calm and dialogue as the only way to end the armed conflict.

In a show speech to his soldiers on Nov. 28, Atta accused the UAE of sending weapons to the RSF since the outbreak of the war via Uganda and Central Africa "with the help of Wagner." Tensions subsequently increased with military developments on the ground and the defeat of the army in Gezira state.

The army resorted to escalation against the UAE with statements by Lieutenant General Yasser Al-Atta, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, in which he accused the UAE of supplying weapons to the Rapid Support Forces led by Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (Hemedti) without evidence of this, while Abu Dhabi has consistently called since the beginning of the war for de-escalation, a ceasefire and the start of a diplomatic dialogue in Sudan.

Jalal Harshawi, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, believes the Sudanese army's behavior is a "desperate act" of a force that "narrows its options", especially at the military level, in front of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which controls Khartoum and most of the Darfur region, as well as other areas where its influence is gradually expanding.

"Until recently, General Burhan was cautious and diplomatic and avoided any direct verbal confrontation with key actors such as Haftar, Russia and Abu Dhabi," Harchaoui said. But Lieutenant General Atta's remarks were a turning point.

Sudanese residents in the UAE believe that the Sudanese army's statements lack tact and diplomacy and do not take into account their interests and throw accusations arbitrarily against the UAE, which took the initiative to provide great facilities to Sudanese residents and visitors, exempted them from delay fines, established an "emergency residence" to allow Sudanese to continue residing in the UAE last May, one month after the outbreak of war in Sudan, and provided significant assistance to Sudanese refugees in Chad's western neighbor.

Some view the UAE's historical ties with Sudan as potentially the reason for Abu Dhabi's support for one of the parties to the conflict, despite its firm denial of Western media allegations.

On Dec. 10, Sudan's Foreign Ministry asked 15 Emirati diplomats to leave the country within "48 hours" after deeming them persona non grata. The pro-military foreign minister said Lieutenant General Atta's remarks came "because things with the UAE have reached a dead end".

The newspaper stresses that the catastrophic results of the deterioration of Sudanese-Emirati relations affect the entire Sudanese economy because the UAE is Sudan's first trade partner during the past two decades, as 45 percent of Sudan's exports go to it and 31 percent of Sudan's imports come from it, according to 2022 statistics.

Sudan's dependence on the UAE export and import market has been perpetuated by more than three decades of international blockade and sanctions imposed on Sudan under former President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Since that time, the Sudanese government and businessmen have taken the UAE as a center for international trade to overcome the obstacles of sanctions and a market for importing and re-exporting Sudanese products, especially gold, gum Arabic and oilseeds, and importing all the needs of the Sudanese market.

Specialists confirm that it is difficult for Sudan to find another port soon, flexible and low fees and taxes like the UAE, especially at the present time, which exposes hundreds of Sudanese businessmen to heavy losses and raises the prices of imported goods in Sudan.

Informed Sudanese sources confirm that the army's allegations regarding the UAE's support for the rapid support are to cover up the fact that the support forces have gained great equipment due to their control of many army military bases, and in the past period information has circulated about the Sudanese army receiving military assistance from both Tehran and Ankara, especially drones, a number of which the RSF obtained from army warehouses in Khartoum.

In early June, the Rapid Support Forces launched an attack on military headquarters of a special military industrial nature, such as the Yarmouk complex, in order to obtain ammunition and various qualitative weapons and increase the percentage of their armament and possession of weapons.

According to the sources, the attacks carried out by the Rapid Support Forces in that period were for the purpose of obtaining the necessary military supplies after the loss of a large percentage of their ammunition. The attacks on the headquarters of the Central Reserve Forces and Yarmouk have given the rapid support they need, and subsequent attacks on ammunition and armored vehicles reveal the forces' plans to acquire special weapons such as armored combat vehicles.

The support command followed a clear plan by controlling the armoured vehicles and using them to achieve a special advantage on the ground, and the recent attacks in Darfur were in the context of armament.

The RSF seized huge quantities of weapons and ammunition, especially Chinese and Russian multiple artillery weapons produced locally, and a Rapid Support officer who asked not to be named said that the forces took control of fuel tankers and personnel from military and commercial sites and transported hundreds of pieces of heavy machinery from special exhibitions and modified them to transport military equipment and soldiers. It held training courses for soldiers in the use of mortars.

Local drones are being manufactured or modified at the Yarmouk compound, a military compound in Khartoum that has been seized by the RSF.

Western reports said the RSF received a limited range of drones from the forces of retired Libyan General Khalifa Haftar and armoured vehicles, but RSF commander Hemedti said in an earlier audio recording that his forces had received drones from army warehouses.

The RSF has European-made armoured vehicles that they used to monitor illegal migrants on the border with Libya and transported to El Fasher and then Khartoum in April. With the rapid support when attacking the armored corps south of Khartoum, they appeared with the Belarusian armored vehicle "Cayman" and models of locally manufactured Sarsar 4 and Sarsar 5 armored vehicles, reflecting a new shift for the forces in the armament process during the war.

In a widely circulated video, a Khartoum RSF element is seen inside the structure of a building carrying a Chinese bomber produced locally by the military, which is likely to be captured by the RSF from the former's compounds and warehouses.