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US Website News Talk Florida: Interviews Mekki ELMOGRABI

Exclusive Interview: On Sudan Conflict With Mekki ELMOGRABI

By NTF Staff

Firstly, what title do you prefer? Writer and journalist? Former diplomat? I believe you are doing some work for the existing military government?

The title is not important. Choose what you want, and ask any question you want. You will find frank and direct answers, and if I am not the right person to answer, I will connect you with the appropriate person in Sudan.

Are you employed by the existing military government?

I am not an employee of the current government in Sudan—I disagree with describing it as military—but I do provide consultations to some of its officials due to my expertise with the US file and international media file, and my position as head of the US-Sudanese Relations Department at the Sudanese Center for Thought and Strategic Studies. It is a legitimate government fighting a genocidal and terrorist militia. We must support it; this is my ethical stand.

It is a military government. It made a coup against civilians.

If you mean what happened on October 25, 2021, I think the correct description is ‘the collapse of the partnership’ due to its flaws. The partnership was restored in November of the same year with the Burhan-Hamdok agreement. Unfortunately, the flaws persisted, and Hamdok preferred not to face the problems and resigned in January 2022. You can continue to describe it as a military government and a coup if you prefer, but those are inaccurate descriptions, they express a political point of view that I do not agree with. There were also civilians involved who were military figures, including leaders from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement\Army, who were part of Hamdok’s administration and contributed to the collapse of the partnership.

Now, part of the partnership is missing, which is the Prime Minister, and I assume that the political and civil forces are consulting on this matter. The issue is no longer limited to those forces that caused the collapse of the partnership. I hope it is about to be solved.

Are you defending the existing regime in Sudan then?

Yes, if it means defending the legitimacy of the regime and its duty in the transition towards democracy. I support that. Africa deserves stability. The options are limited in Sudan: either the existing government or the genocidal militia. This government and the national army are better for stability and democratic transformation.

Well, my question is, what caused the outbreak of war?

The reason is clear: there was a military duality in Sudan, an army and a militia. In any country where this happens, along with severe external polarization and some countries exploiting the ambitions of the militia and its leaders to seize power, the result is war. This is what happened in Sudan.

For example, if disputes develop in Texas and tension rises between the National Guard and the US Army, do you think that Putin would not take advantage of this conflict?

It is certain that if war is possible, there are enemies and perhaps friends of America who will take advantage of it. If the external factor of conflicts exists in a great country like the USA, how could it be absent in Sudan? What happened in Sudan was a war launched by the militia against the army with external support, harming stability and security in the region. The US Congress sent a memo to those supporting the militia to stop their support. US newspapers wrote about the sources of weapons; it is no longer a secret.

However, before the war, the civil forces had solutions and an agreement to integrate the militia. Is that correct?

Have you seen that document? Did you follow what was going on at the time? Unfortunately, it aimed to integrate the army into the militia. It was to integrate part of the army into the militia and demobilize the rest. How does the army agree to such proposals?

But Army Commander Al-Burhan agreed and signed the framework agreement before the war?!

You said it, framework. Check the legal definition of a framework agreement—an incomplete agreement. Do you know what is missing? Determining the duration of the RSF integration into SAF. Hemedti wanted it to be ten years, and the army wanted it to be two years. What was missing from the agreement is the most important thing. It was possible to complete the framework agreement and expand the base of signatories, but those who called themselves civilians refused. This description must be removed from them.

Let’s get to reality now. Can the Sudanese army decide the battle in its favor? Reality says otherwise.

The reality is that a huge force of more than a hundred thousand fighters with very high armament was relied upon by those who called themselves civilian politicians, countries, advisors, and foreign intelligence. They all relied on it to be an alternative to the Sudanese army, with the final blow being the killing of the army commander on April 15, 2023. This force turned into gangs of criminals. Two days after they failed to assassinate the army commander and implement the major plan, they looted almost all the embassies, expelled citizens from their homes, robbed, and killed innocent people. Those who call themselves civilians did not evaluate the danger of their support for the militia against the army, and whoever made a mistake in assessing reality the first time should not continue to evaluate the army’s position. They must give us a chance to re-evaluate and decide.

What is your assessment of the situation now?

There was talk about integrating RSF into SAF and the assumption of two regular forces. This assumption turned out to be wrong. There is now one army, and the other side is criminal gangs and the remnants of a regular force that committed terrible crimes against humanity in Darfur, Khartoum, and throughout Sudan, and is still committing crimes. There are no two armies as they imagined. There is an army whose duty must be recognized to defend citizens and stop the militia from committing more crimes. The international community must take a courageous stance in favor of the Sudanese people and stability in the region.

But the Sudanese army also committed crimes. Do you deny that they bombed civilians? There are videos, eyewitnesses, and testimonies from victims. The Sudanese army mutilates bodies and beheads. Do you deny that? Answer with yes or no.

What I deny is equating incidents attributed to the army or its individuals with serial and systematic crimes committed by militia and its gangs. I reject this as a general and fundamental rule, but the events you spoke about can be raised case by case, and I will answer them all. There are also answers from the official army spokesman. In general, talking about accusations against a regular army that has laws of accountability and courts cannot be equated with a militia or a group of gangs and a mafia of collaborators, and also a political mafia that defends it in politics and media. On the other hand, the Sudanese army has precedents for holding and punishing its members, and it has a military prosecution and a military judiciary.

What about the Al-Baraa Battalion affiliated with the Islamic Movement?

What is meant by being affiliated with Islamic movement? If it refers to individuals in the Al-Baraa Battalion (or even in the national army) sharing ideas with organizations such as the Islamic Movement, then this commonality of ideas is not called affiliation. There is no chance for soldiers in a professional army to belong to a group outside the army. You know, actually, they see themselves in a higher level than organizations.

For example, I believe that the general Islamic orientation is beneficial to Sudan, and I call myself an “Islamist Democrat.” At the same time, the Islamic movement believes in the Islamic orientation, we share some Islamic ideas but I am not member. There is no organization controlling the people inside and outside the government and the army. There are dominant and prevailing ideas and trends, but not a party or organization.

I also share with conservatives in America and with some church groups in defending the family and faith, and I will be very annoyed when they are exposed to unjust campaigns. If the law allows me, I would donate to them and volunteer in their work. Am I a Christian? No, I am Muslim. I share with them the need to protect the family, and I pray for their victory in their battle against those who are ruining American society. Whatever the situation, this choice has nothing to do with my work. For example, when I represented my country in Washington as a diplomat, I dealt with the Democratic administration during the Obama era with respect and with the Republican administration during the Trump era with respect because it was the choice of the American people. My role was to strengthen US-Sudanese relations, not to promote my ideas.

Again, regarding Islamic ideas, is there anyone who wants to prevent and ban members of the Sudanese army or any army in the world from belonging to a religion or ideas?

I would like to establish a point before the discussion, which is that any army in the world is naturally a reflection of society in its ideas and beliefs. If this is true, we move to the second point, which is that this similarity means that the same percentage of dominant ideas in society will be the dominant ideas in the army. Anyone who wants to change this reality through terrorizing and forcing the army to change, he is wrong, and any politician who agrees with external power to change the army is wrong. The majority of Sudanese society believes in the Islamic orientation. This is an unavoidable fact that must be dealt with. Whoever wants to create a Sudanese army hostile to the general Islamic orientation is someone who wants to subvert Sudan. This is a matter that does not concern other countries, and it is advisable to stay away from it so as not to affect relations with Sudan.

Regarding the Al-Baraa Battalion, why did the Western media not talk about the Netzah Yehuda Battalion in the Israeli army? They have been allowed this situation because they do not want to fight alongside women and because they have restrictions on food and drink that do not correspond to those in the Israeli army.

Imagine if the Sudanese army allowed Salafists to form a battalion in the army. How would the media deal with it?

What is happening in Sudan now is much, much less than the Netzah Yehuda Battalion. There is a regular, professional army with popular reserve brigades, and some of them have experience as professionals and commandos, and the nature of their tasks is private work and exposure to risks. Logic says that they should be together in one group. Does it make sense to bring together commandos with ordinary fighters?

But the name of this battalion is Islamic Jihadist.

The Assistant Commander of the Sudanese Army Yasir Atta changed its name to the Fourth Battalion because the army has 12 battalions. For me, I support the continuation of the name Al-Baraa, and I believe it strengthens the concept of counterterrorism.

How does Al-Baraa, an Islamic battalion, strengthen the fight against terrorism?

The discussion is long, but I fully confirm that it is a concept and not just a name. The concept strengthens the fight against terrorism, and the USA must learn from this developed mixture. I suggest studying their experience away from the media misinformation practiced by the militia. It is best not to miss the opportunity.

How? Can you explain?

Let me first explain why they chose the name Al-Baraa, this symbolic Islamic name. That will explain who they are!

‘Al-Baraa Ibn Malik’ is one of the companions of the prophet Muhammad, who once ordered his soldiers to put him on a mangonel and throw him inside the enemy’s stronghold. They did it, and he fought and reached the gate from inside, opening it for other fighters to storm the fort. So, it wasn’t a suicidal attack; it was a commando operation. Also, in another operation, Al-Baraa chose to enter a dangerous crypt with some commandos. So, the message is to say the commando fighter is different from the suicidal operator. In Islam, there is a commando, a brave soldier, a risk-taker, but not one who believes in killing himself to kill other people. This trend of thinking should be supported, not falsely accused.

In the USA, there is Christian symbolism. Read ABC’s article “U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed with Secret ‘Jesus’ Bible Codes.” Also, there are many other symbolic names in the Western world. The problem is not the religious symbolism but the ethics and message you want to convey.

As a Sudanese, it is my pleasure to hear that Al-Baraa commandos are taking the risk to liberate the cities and villages from the bloody terrorist RSF elements. It is worth mentioning that Al-Baraa Brigade, or “Barra’oon,” is under the control of SAF (by 100%) because they are professional fighters and part of the listed reserve, called on by the army whenever needed. Also, SAF has the right to integrate them into the army units or to end their duty.

Again, I advise not to be fooled by the leftists or some fake activists in Sudan. Those people, Barra’oon and also the National Popular Resistance (NPR), are extremely popular now in Sudan, all under the SAF reserve umbrella.

Interesting explanation. I’m sorry for the length, but what is the way out? How do we stop the war?

The way out is to work with the Sudanese army to eliminate the terrorist militia and gangs. This is the solution through security and military cooperation. Politically, the civilian political forces must continue their meetings and come up with a clear vision for forming a non-partisan government and designing a realistic electoral schedule. There are elections that do not need to consider the completion of the transitional period, for example, trade unions’ elections, and local-level elections. There are other examples that I can list.

Why is the solution not in negotiations between the army and the militia?

Negotiations are required for the purpose of removing the militia and its gangs from the houses of citizens and civil facilities, and for the purpose of procedures for integrating and dismantling the militia.

You say they are terrorist criminal gangs.

How can they be integrated into the army or demobilized without accountability?

Who said without accountability? Whoever is integrated into the army is subject to laws that hold him accountable, and whoever is discharged is subject to general civil law. Pardoning is not a right of the government or the army. Most of the crimes are committed against people; the citizen is the one who pardons or refuses to pardon, not the government.

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