Skip to content

Cart

Your cart is empty

Article: Intel Update: Sudan

Intel Update: Sudan

Intel Update: Sudan

BY GABRIEL FANELLI

 

(Photo via Reuters)

 

Sudan is no stranger to conflict and civil war. In its 68-year existence as an independent state, three civil wars have consumed 40 years and counting of its short history. The latest chapter of unrest that has gripped Sudan since former president Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in a military coup in 2019 broke out during Ramadan of 2023. Since April, a power struggle ensued between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), now controlled by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), controlled by a general referred to simply as Hemedti. Hemedti was leader in the Arab Janjaweed militia charged with committing major atrocities in Darfur under al-Bashir’s direction. The RSF was guilty of mass murder, rape, torture and human rights abuses in Darfur well before this current conflict began. Burhan and Hemedti have turned the country upside down trying to control the fate of Khartoum.


The RSF marshaled its forces in early April 2023 in Khartoum and Merowe, north of the capital. When the Sudanese Armed Forces ordered them to leave, they refused. Instead, they took over a military base to the south of Khartoum and began its siege of the city. Over the next 24 hours the RSF captured the airport in Khartoum, as well as the headquarters of Sudan TV, the national TV station. They declared all roads out of the capital to the north closed, airspace over Sudan was shut down entirely, and the internet saw a near blackout when the RSF attacked portions of the electrical grid. Hemedti then turned his focus to his rival, al-Burhan, issuing a capture or kill order on him. Burhan was forced to relocate his forces and transitional government to Port Sudan.


By October 2023, the RSF had captured significant territory and resources, including the base that was home of the SAFs 16th Infantry Division. SAF troops were low on supplies, food and water due to the seizures of supply routes by the RSF. Towards the end of the year, the SAF was arming civilians living in towns in the path of the impending RSF invasion. In 2024 al-Burhan traveled abroad seeking support for the SAF cause and rejecting all ideas of peace negotiations with the RSF unless they offered a full withdrawal from SAF territory.


Despite the SAF being much more heavily equipped, the RSF has had the advantage at nearly every battle due to its foreign aid from Russia via the Wagner Group – who rebranded themselves into Africa Corps in early 2024. Africa Corps (AC) has funneled weaponized drones and portable surface to air missiles from its bases in Libya and the Central African Republic to the RSF. While AC has a vested interest in filling the power vacuum left by the expulsion of U.S. troops from other nations in the Sahel, there is always and underlying economic motive. Every nation that welcomes AC gives them either mining rights, or rights to the minerals extracted from the mines.


In the case of Sudan, Hemedti had made millions in gold and Russia has had their hands in their reserves for years before the 2023 civil war. While Sudan’s economy was hanging on by a thread, Hemedti was sending gold bars to Dubai worth millions. Reuters reported in 2019 that in the final month of 2018, Hemedti’s family firm transferred 30 million worth of gold to the Gulf. In turn, the RSF uses gold revenues to fuel their war against the SAF. Russia, via Africa Corps, has been plundering gold from Sudan to fuel their operations in Ukraine and enrich the Kremlin for years. Days after Russia invaded Ukraine, a Russian cargo plane sat on the tarmac in Khartoum loaded with “cookies.” Upon further inspection, a metric ton of gold was found under the cookies.


The RSFs success against the SAF is intricately tied to Russia, and their ability to commit acts of mass murder in Darfur – which has claimed the lives of 15,000 Darfuri since April 2023 – has been financed in part by the Kremlin. On May 24, 2024, the UN warned the international community of the genocide in Darfur, as 700 deaths were reported in just ten days in al-Fasher city alone. It isn’t just Russia who has aided the RSF in their war crimes, the UAE has sent military support to the RSF since the beginning of the conflict. The civil war shows no sign of ending any time soon, and the international community bears the responsibility to help bring it to an end through some sort of intervention. But so long as someone stands to gain monetarily from the genocide of innocent civilians, partnerships like that of the RSF and Russia will flourish in Africa, Latin America and beyond.

MORE FROM THE

OAF NATION NEWSROOM

The Green Man, Pt. IV

The Green Man, Pt. IV

“To both the Americans looking to end his reign of terror and to AQ looking to get rid of the thorn in their side, it was time for Zarqawi to go.” - Gabriel Fanelli

Read more
Intel Update: Somalia

Intel Update: Somalia

“Despite the wrath of insurgencies, separatist movements, and echoes of its recent history as a failed state still fresh in the mind of the international community, Somalia is proving to the world ...

Read more
#3