Press Writer on African Affairs
What was the message General Abdel-Fattah AL-Burhan, Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, conveyed to his army when it was rumored that he has surrendered to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF militia)? The rumor led to elements of the militia coming out to celebrate (sources later said Sudanese intelligence played this game to reveal the locations of the militia’s sleeping cells in Khartoum). More importantly is the message from the Burhan, he returned to the SAF General Command Compound meeting table with a grenade bomb in his belt, which he then placed on the table over his cap in front of him and the meeting began. “They can’t catch a goat, they can’t catch an ant, they can’t catch anything,” he mocked RSF. According to army traditions, they know what it means to keep a bomb very close.
Burhan has appeared among his soldiers three times before, but this time was special. This means there is a new decision after growing rumors of a strong siege around SAF General Command and repeated attempts to arrest him – all claimed by RSF. If that happens, he would end it by throwing the bomb that will cost him his life and the lives of those who want to kill or arrest him.
This means that pressuring Burhan and forcing him to sign an agreement with RSF because he is under siege will not work at all because he has made decisions in the chain of command making General Shams Aldeen Kabashi his deputy in the army, General Yasir Atta as an assistant, and there may be a leadership series after them that is not known to the public. It is clear that they put the sovereignty and dignity of Sudan above their lives.
This means the decision of the senior generals of the army: “we will die, but the army remains united, steadfast and determined to suppress the rebellion, even if it costs us our lives”, repeated several times by General Kabashi and others.
Not only the military has chosen this position, but public opinion does not care that the conflict continues and leads to the destruction of Khartoum. The people of Sudan – whom British MP George Gallawy has described as “the most dignified people in the Arab world” – refuse to be crushed by a criminal militia, and their position is well articulated by activist, journalist and influencer Attaf Abdel-Wahhab. He suggested evacuating citizens and bombing Khartoum. “Burhan, bomb Khartoum, because it is possible to rebuild it, following the example of Germany and Japan, but if the Janjaweed control it, we will never build it.” Attaf posted after getting married outside Khartoum, telling us life will be normal in all areas of Sudan, but no peace with murderers and rapists.
Attaf leads a number of social media groups, including politicians, journalists and activists from different political backgrounds. he is able to bring together military leaders, FFC, armed movements, communists, Islamists, Salafists and Sophies in one WhatsApp group. Many people said the same as Attaf, but I chose him as an example for the anger against the RSF militia. He was targeted by the militia and repeatedly escaped capture. He then left his home in the suburb of Al-Kalakla by boat after the militia occupied it, telling of the afflictions he endured with RSF.
The majority of Sudanese are not buying the idea that RSF will defeat SAF as it is seen as a crushing of Sudanese dignity, people do not even tolerate thinking about it.
On the other hand, the longer the war lasted, the more accusations were made against the civilians and politicians who supported RSF against SAF, whether directly or impartially under the slogan “No to War”.
Also, and this is the most dangerous issue, the continuation of the war climate will make Sudan more radical and stronger in its Islamist orientation, here the mobilization of the army could be a good solution to organize public anger because the army only allows armament or recruitment if fully controlled by SAF. Otherwise, terrorists and tribalists will appear using public anger.
It is better for Western interests in general and US interests in particular to side with the Sudanese military against the genocidal militia and to withdraw any support from political forces associated with the RSF militia, even if they present themselves as pro-democracy.