Sudan is beset by power conflicts between imperialist-backed aspirant army commanders


African country Sudan is in boil again. A power conflict between the regular army of Sudan, the Sudan Armed Forces, led by General Abdel Fatah Al-Burhan and the para-military Rapid Support Force led by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, or Hemedti, both having tacit backing of imperialist powers, is ravaging Sudan, causing death of several hundreds of innocent people and grievous injury to several thousands more, including women, children and senior citizens. Between 10,000 and 20,000 people have fled the fighting to neighbouring Chad, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.
Vast parts of the capital of Sudan, Khartoum, are already devastated by war, people is perishing not only due to war, but due to absence of electricity, water and severe food crisis. Apparently, the devastating civil war seems to be merely domestic affair of Sudan.
But, in fact this African country with its vast oil fields, repository of natural gas, biggest gold mine and other mineral deposits, has been the hunting ground of imperialist powers particularly US imperialism for long. And the common Sudanese have been victims of the long drawn overt and covert struggle between imperialist powers for establishment of their domination over the huge natural resources of this land.
Backward Capitalist Country Sudan had to bargain between imperialist and socialist Camp after independence
Since 1959, China then a socialist country, had been a close friend of Sudan people. After Sudan achieved independence from British colonial occupation following a treaty between Britain and Egypt, socialist China under great Mao Zedong provided the nascent capitalist state of Sudan with technological assistance as well as humanitarian and economic aids. After sad dismantling of socialism in post—Mao China following completion of counter-revolution in 2004 hatched by the revisionist capitalist-roaders, China has emerged as a formidable global imperialist power. Using its friendly ties with Sudan, imperialist China began exporting capital to Sudan on a large scale, in the form of FDI to tighten its grip on it through neo-colonial route.

US imperialists had a hawk’s eye on Sudan
Before we enter into further discussion on present situation, a brief recap of the spate of events in Sudan from the mid of the 20th century is considered necessary. After the full-fledged arms assistance and military support to Israel by US imperialists in the 3rd Arab Israel war in 1967, most of the Arab countries including Sudan but excluding Saudi Arabia and UAE, tore off all links with US and gradually became closer to the erstwhile USSR, for technological and military support. After painful collapse of Soviet socialism in 1991 following counter-revolution orchestrated by the defeated bourgeoisie aided and abetted by global imperialist powers with the revisionists acting as their agents, the US, in the new unipolar world, geared up its imperialist machination to establish control over the oil rich countries of the Middle-East. First it overpowered President Saddam Hussein of Iraq by unleashing full-fledged military assault and occupied that highly oil-rich country. Then, in the same manner, it assassinated Muammar Gaddafi, President of Libya, and captured another oil-rich East African country bordering Sudan. Next target of US was to bring Sudan under its domination. In fact, the US sharks were slobbering and added momentum to their intriguing activities in 2008-09.

President Al-Bashir stood staunchly against US intrusion
But the then Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir who assumed power in 1989, was unbending to US pressure. In fact, to counter US move, Bashir had fostered close ties with China and India to play an important role in developing the country’s oil sector in the 1990s. Then when Russia became an imperialist country after counter-revolution, and gradually started to challenge the unchallenged global domination of US imperialism, particularly as a military power, Omar Al-Bashir quickly built up close ties with Putin’s Russia also for technological and military support. In spite of his pro-capitalist military dictatorial rule by 2010 Bashir emerged as a hero within the Arab world and Africa, for his staunch anti-US imperialist stance.
Thus, on the one hand, imperialist China held the largest FDI in Sudan, with technological support invested in variety of development sectors including construction of dams, bridges, power stations, oilfields etc., in Sudan and provided Sudanese army with arms and ammunitions as well, while, on the other hand, Russia too lent considerable military assistance to Sudan. According to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) data, in around 2010, only 8% of arms under the control of Sudan Government was supplied by China, while Russian supply rose to 87%. Thus, the closeness of Sudan government under President Omar Al-Bashir, with rival imperialist powers like Russia and China, and greed to control the rich oilfields of Sudan made the western powers led by USA to find and exploit the cracks and fissures in the Sudanese social polity with no concern for the well-being of the people.

Imperialists sowed the seed of disunity among people
Moreover, Sudan is a land of great ethnic diversity, with people having lived in harmony over centuries, intermarrying and sharing common cultural and religious traits. However long under the yoke of the British imperialist rule from 1899 to 1956, it remained undeveloped and poor, despite its resources. Moreover, famine, drought, and other calamities caused acute food shortage followed by rampant starvation and malnutrition. Naturally, there accumulated grievances among the poverty-stricken hungry tribal people seething to break out in revolt. Lest this outrage should be directed against the exploiting British imperialists and their local servitors, the imperialist rulers in pursuit of their age-old policy of divide and rule to perpetuate their colonial rule, instigated various ethnic groups against each other to divert the outburst of rage. They, in a planned way, fomented mistrust and division among the different ethnic groups so that they are locked in internecine clashes, and remain ever poor, underdeveloped and weak.
Thus, the tribal-populated south Sudan has remained a hotbed of sinister imperialist machinations and torn apart by sustained ethnic conflicts and clashes shattering normal life. The situation so worsened that being instigated by the imperialist sharks, ethnic conflicts and divisive mentalities not only lingered on but have led to protracted war between the north and south Sudan ever since the British left the country in 1956. Fratricidal bloodshed has so far taken a toll of around two million lives, millions more were displaced. The imperialist powers, principally Britain, France, and the US, have kept alive this internal conflict by playing off one group against the other. Independent Sudan, fostered by a nationalist fervour, tried to follow a policy of development of its economic resources not guided by the imperialist dictates. As a result, the Muslim and Arab dominated North Sudan and black Christian dominated South Sudan, in spite of being in one nation, remained virtually separated. The US and other western powers started to perpetrate rebellions, instigate communal and ethnic conflicts in Sudan, through underhand financial and military assistance to different rebel groups.
The US supported the demand of secession by black African Christian dominated South Sudanese political forces against the Muslim and Arab dominated Khartoum based north Sudan. But at the same time, it fanned up both Christian and Islamic fundamentalism and all sorts of ethnic racial fanaticism. US imperialism is intensely involved behind the scenes in an effort to sabotage the revolutionary struggle arising in this strategic African country. The US can draw on its vast financial leverage, global military reach, intelligence agencies, capitalist media and a web of NGOs and other well-funded organizations.

Division of the country
Ultimately, in the year 2011, Sudan got divided into Sudan and South Sudan as two separate countries. Meanwhile, after overpowering Iraq and Libya, by the beginning of 21st century, the US in collusion with its Western allies, started to fan up conflict between Arabs and black ethnic groups in Darfur province. It provided military and financial support to different rebel groups, like Justice and Equality Movement(JEM), Sudanese Liberation Front, etc., within Sudan, particularly in the Darfur province bordering Chad. In 2008, the JEM became so powerful that it organized a direct attack to the capital city of Sudan, the Khartoum and its twin city the Omdurman and during that campaign the JEM guerillas, with their sophisticated weaponry did shot down a Russian fighter plane piloted by a Russian Air Force trainer, fighting along with the forces of Sudan Government.

US backed coup to oust Bashir
In order to combat the rebellion in Darfur, Sudan government also resorted to method of forcible suppression deploying the regular army and an Arab dominated chauvinist militia group ‘Janjaweed’ armed majorly with Russian arsenal. In 2007 China convinced the President of Sudan to accept the entry and presence of a joint peace keeping force in Darfur by UNAMID (Composed of the Forces of United Nations and African Union).
However, making the oppression of Sudan Government an excuse, with highly exaggerated reports of excesses by official government forces and government backed forces in Darfur, US and its allies created a widespread campaign of human rights violation in Darfur by Omar Al-Bashir. They even moved International Criminal Court, regrettably pliable to their dictates, to have him falsely indicted of war crimes and crime against humanity in the same way they had attacked and occupied independent sovereign Iraq under fraudulent pretext of President Saddam Hussein possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). ICC, in humble obedience, issued arrest warrant against the seating President Omar Al-Bashir on 4th March 2009 and a second warrant on 12th July 2010.
China and Russia, from their respective imperialist aspirations to keep Sudan under their control, opposed UN sanctions upon Sudan and ICC arrest warrant against Omar Al-Bashir in charge of war crimes in Darfur. In return Bashir government provided political support to Russia’s military intervention in Syria and annexation of Crimea. Furthermore, Wagner group, Russia’s private military force, which is active in Ukraine war, made a deep inroad into the internal affairs of Sudan during the last parts of Bashir’s regime. In the last phase of his regime, US imperialists were visibly irked at Bashir’s closeness with Russia. After Sudan signed $ 1 billion arms agreement with Russia, US moved its nuclear-powered battleship to Red Sea. Bashir signed an agreement with Putin in 2019 to allow Russia build a naval base in Port Sudan, on Red Sea much to the chagrin of the Biden-led US imperialist rule. US military envoys met some of the officers of SAF (Sudan’s Armed Forces) and immediately after that, the SAF led by General Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by Hemedti, jointly organized a Coup on 11 April 2019 to oust President Omar Al-Bashir.
After ouster of Bashir, military rule was clamped again on Sudan. While common people of Sudan had been demanding end of military dictatorship and establishment of democracy, the US imperialists, adept in exporting ‘democracy’ to other countries on gunboats, announced that they would help terminating military rule and firm up democracy in Sudan. It was evident that like many other countries, the Pentagon rulers were out to establish a pliant regime in Sudan camouflaged as democracy.
Accordingly, a pro-US Government with Abdalla Hamdok as the new Prime Minister was installed in Khartoum in September 2019. Hamdok government declared that it will handover ousted President Omar Al-Bashir to ICC which showed its extent of allegiance to western powers. The government and the Sudan Armed Forces also declared that they would review the Port Sudan Treaty with Russia. But again, in October 2021, the military dismissed the civilian ministers in a coup but restored Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok following a month of protests. Most civilian parties refused to support the new power-sharing deal. Country-wide protests against Hamdok’s cooperation with the military led Hamdok to step down permanently in 2022. Al-Burhan has since pledged to establish a technocratic government and dismissed the five civilian members of council. Thus, a military rule was re-established ensued in Sudan. Although US champions itself as protagonist of democracy, the US, as well as imperialist China and Russia tried to maintain good relations with Sudan and win it over to their sides all the military rulers howsoever oppression and repression they bring down on the respective people.

What is happening in Sudan now?
In fact, now a power conflict is going on between the partners of the 2019 coup, that is the SAF and the paramilitary RSF. Although the personal aspirations of the belligerent leaders have triggered this fratricidal war, both the forces are backed by imperialist powers, directly or indirectly. For example, the RSF was developed by former President Omar Al-Bashir from the remnants of Janjaweed militia. In 2013 he gave it shape of a regular paramilitary force. Afterwards, SAF developed close links with the Russian Wagner group. Actually, Hemdeti, the leader of the SAF reaped fortunes from the gold mines of Sudan through cooperation with the Wagner group. Hemdeti visited Russia on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, Burhan sent high level military envoy to Israel just before the October coup of 2021. Fact is that both RSF and SAF used the Treaty of Port Sudan with Russia, as a bait and bargaining tactics. Virtually, both of them are now making hectic parleys with both US and Russia in order to obtain their support for their military rule. Recently Burhan, the Chief of SAF and Chief of the military government, announced a decree that the Port Sudan will be exclusively under the ministry of defence, meaning the SAF will be the sole authority to bargain with US and Russia in deciding the fate of the treaty of Port Sudan. This decree enraged Hemedti and RSF.

Brunt is borne by the common suffering people
The imperialist rivalry in Sudan shows that the US and western imperialist powers versus the Russia-China imperialist combine is the main global imperialist-imperialist contradiction today. Whatever may be the reason behind the jockeying of the imperialist forces and Sudanese military leaders, the life of common people are beset with rising death, misery, poverty, starvation and endless uncertainty. In the first and second civil wars, more than 50 lakh (5 million) people had died. During the Darfur crisis, more than 3 million people had lost their lives. The death toll is increasing daily now as a result of rivalry between US and Russian imperialists. Rivalry between the two imperialist super-powers has become a curse for the people of Sudan. A ray of hope in this pervading darkness is that since 2021, oppressed people of Sudan have been bursting forth in widespread mass movements in different parts of the country, against fundamentalism and in demand of peace, democracy, food, shelter and education. Many teachers, students and youths have been taking to the streets demanding end of military rule and abolition of misery and penury of Sudanese people. As usual, the military rulers are arraying their entire coercive arsenal to subdue the peoples protests, killing and injuring many. But, the mainstream media all over the world are trying to suppress this truth and continuing to highlight the power struggle of two warring military heads. It is pertinent to mention that economic shortages, spiralling food prices and hyperinflation, created by years of US sanctions and competing separatist movements have been wreaking havoc in people’s life. There was an uprising in 2018 involving millions of Sudanese workers, peasant farmers and herders, youth and oppressed nationalities. The mobilization also pulled in US funded organizations, middle-class business councils and moderate political parties. But then it had faded out.
Now also, conscientious people of Sudan are voicing protest against the gory power struggle. 42 organizations in Sudan had issued a signed statement on 19 April calling for ending this ongoing fight in Sudan. the statement, inter alia, mentioned that ‘‘We, in the resistance committees and democratic political, civil, and professional forces, hereby declare that our country has slid into the abyss of total war, in which generals use their weapons to eliminate everything in their path, and excessive violence has been used by the regime forces as a tool to settle the disputes and conflicts over power. This is contrary to the rules of democratic transition and peaceful power-sharing’’. ‘‘Despite our differences in political views, we are completely united in our stance against the war and its continuation, and in our opposition to the return of the remnants of the previous regime to the political scene.’’
Expressing deep concern, the Sudanese communist party also released an appeal which, among other things, said: ‘‘This clash is a result of the deviation of the military and civil forces that assumed the leadership and rule of the country since the beginning of the revolution in April 2019…. What is happening now is a continuation of the struggle over power and the country’s wealth, encouraged by some foreign powers, and being carried out by armed groups subservient to these foreign powers… the Communist Party considers it necessary to expedite the dissolution of all militias, collecting the weapons deployed in cities and rural areas, and rebuilding a unified professional national army…
The Sudanese Communist Party also calls upon the peoples of the world and the democratic and Communist forces to raise the banners of solidarity with the struggle of the Sudanese people and to restrain the forces hostile to the glorious December Revolution.’’
While hailing the struggling people of Sudan, the resistance committee members and the Sudanese communist party, our appeal to them is to ponder over an all-important issue.

Correct path under correct revolutionary leadership is imperative

In many parts of the world, people’s struggles, even upheavals, are surging forth against ruthless repression and merciless exploitation of the imperialist-capitalist rulers. But all these movements are fizzling out after some time and the forces of reaction are emerging triumphant.
Why so? Because, to lead people’s struggles along right direction and culmination, it is imperative that a correct revolutionary leadership is established over them and the battles are developed as united, organized, protracted struggles, rising above all divisiveness and basing on higher proletarian culture, ethics and morality, against capitalism-imperialism, the root of all evils, to ultimately overthrow them from power.
This alone can bring succour to the toiling masses all over the world including Sudan. Moreover, the ideological-organizational guideline of bringing about anti-capitalist socialist revolution is ingrained in creative application of Marxism-Leninism and its contemporized as well as enriched understanding contained in the thoughts of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Founder General Secretary of SUCI(C) and an outstanding Marxist thinker of the era. This historical truth needs to be imbibed in right earnest.

(Source:, Oxfam 07-07-21, Workers World 02-11-21, 04-05-23, BBC 17-04-23, idcommunism 17-04-23, 20-04-23, The Economist 22-04-23, Al Jazeera-22-04-23, Newsweek 23-04-23, 27-04-23,, cbs-25-04-23, The Telegraph 25-04-23)

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