Sudan at crossroad, destiny of paramilitary, ex-regime remnants among thorny issues

Situation throughout Sudan turned seriously tense after delaying deadline for inking a final political conciliation accord among the local stakeholders and forming a civilian-led government.

Limelight suddenly shifted from the negotiating table to the street, when conditions took a dramatic turn with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary force, were deployed in large numbers at public locations early on Thursday without coordination with the army command.

Envoys of foreign nations namely France, Germany, Norway, the UK, the US and the EU called on the military and civilian leaders to defuse the tension, warning that such escalatory measures would impede negotiations for forming an interim government.

The Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a broad coalition of various civilian groups that reject military rule, said in a statement that the crisis could only be resolved by completing the political process noting that it was in contact with the military to tackle it. The movement said in its statement that “the basis of the crisis is not between the army and the rapid forces but in bids by remnants of the former regime to restore power,” accusing these officers of dragging the nation into a civil war.

Meanwhile, leader of the Transitional Sovereign Council (TSC) Lieutenant General Abdelfattah Al-Burhan called on all stakeholders to reach a consensus, indicating that disagreements on reforms delayed the conciliation process. He also said that the military “were not seeking to foment discords or cause wars.” Kholoud Khair, a political analyst, told KUNA that reforming the security and military institutions constituted core of the interim process, noting that disagreements centered on integrating the rapid forces into the army. According to observers, the army wants to place the rapid forces under authority of the army general commander.

Sources familiar with the ongoing deliberations, told KUNA that the army commanders demanded a timetable for the rapid forces’ merger, indicating that the stakeholders differed on other issues such as military enlistment, reforming the army and ousting elements of the defunct regime.

Khair indicated at the lack of compromise for elements of the former regime who continued to serve in the regular forces, in addition to disputes among the change forces, thus adding to the snags hindering the reconciliation efforts.

A military expert, Amin Majzoub, ruled out a military confrontation between the army and the rapid forces, revealing commanders of the two sides were holding regular meetings to maintain restraint.

Maher Abuljokh, a journalist, expressed his belief that the nation would face several scenarios: Reaching a final settlement, referring the dispute to the council of defense and security or seeking external intervention.

The military option will lead to losses for all the stakeholders, he said.

On December 5, the ruling military council and civilian forces signed a tentative agreement to settle the situation after the army enforced extraordinary measures in October 2021. The army had dissolved the sovereignty council, arrested ministers and declared a state of emergency.

The African Union had condemned the army measures as a military quo, suspended Sudan’s membership in the union, while international agencies froze financial aid worth billions of dollars for the afflicted nation.

Sudan had been governed by the regime of Omar Al-Bashir, a military officer, who faced trial for the 1989 military coup that brought down an elected government, and who himself was ousted in 2019.

Majority of the Sudanese have expressed aspiration to see the military loosening grip on power and kicking off the process of building a civil democratic rule.

Source: Kuwait News Agency