Rassegna Esteri

Israel between two generals

Mehr News – While some regional actors are playing a role, the Israel stands to be the winner of an all-out war in the northeastern African country of Sudan. In less than two weeks of intense clashes, residential areas of the capital Khartoum have turned into warzones.

Despite failed truce attempts, the violence is going on. So far hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands of residents are trying to flee the capital as the main focus of the war at the moment.

Heavily armed forces loyal to the highest ranking general and his now former deputy have put the resource-rich African nation at risk of collapse and a military dictatorship, something Israel and the U.S. strongly desire.

After a popular and largely peaceful uprising that saw months of street protests in 2019 against President Omar al-Bashir, the military stepped in and jailed the long-time ruler. But, the path to a civilian transition was halted by the October 2021 military coup. 

The two generals who formed a “transitional military council” controlled Sudan to the despair of the civilians who held regular protests and were met with open fire. More than 100 protesters had been killed since the coup. They are now rivals. They are fighting each other for power. 

After the ouster of Bashir, army chief Abdul Fatah al-Burhan took the helm and swiftly appointed a deputy, Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. Better known as Hemedti, Dagalo is the head of the powerful Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

These are the same forces, which stemmed from militias that crushed the Darfur rebellion and other restive areas, where severe atrocities were committed. 

In recent months, negotiations had been under way for democratic transition, but Hemedti wanted more integration of his forces into the army as well as the extension of the military rule for ten more years. 

The proposal to extend the military rule by ten years goes against the pledges made in 2021 by the “transitional military council”. Unlike the army, which has ties to the political Islamic Movement, Hemedti is known to be at odds with the Islamic Movement in Sudan.

Hemedti also has tens of thousands of soldiers under his command, which he dispatched to war zones such as Yemen to fight on behalf of the Saudi-U.S. coalition against the popular revolution in Sana’a or the civil war in Libya. That gave the Sundanese military powerful friends in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as funds to the tune of $3 billion. 

Once a close ally of al-Bashir, Hemedti also enjoys powers enshrined to him by the former president. These include control of the gold mines, a main source of revenue for the country. In 2022, Sudan produced more than 18 tons of gold. 

He displays little tolerance for dissent. Eyewitnesses say his forces shot and killed pro-democracy protesters and waging a bloody crackdown on a protest camp in 2019 outside the Ministry of Defense, where more than 100 people were killed. Hemedti denies it. 

What Hemedti doesn’t deny is that Sudan needs to establish closer ties with Israel. The victor of this bloody violence will likely emerge as the country’s next dictator. 

Before the military took over Sudan, the country supported the Palestinian cause. Over the years, Sudan’s shift away from the anti-Israel axis was widely welcomed by the Zionist regime. “We need Israel,” Hemedti claimed in October 2020. “Whether we like it or not, relations with Israel are tied to removing Sudan from the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism,” he added.

Apparently, if you normalize ties with Israel, Washington will remove you from its “list of states sponsoring terrorism”. Wherever there is an authoritarian regime on the planet with vast economic resources, the U.S.’s top proxy in West Asia, Israel can also be found lurking.

In essence, Hemedti ticks all the boxes for Israel, not only because the regime’s normalization process with the Arab and Muslim world isn’t going as planned but more importantly, like the U.S., it views Sudan for its geopolitical assets.

U.S. and Israeli dominance over Sudan will give them a foothold over the lucrative military holdings in gold, agriculture, trade, and other industries.

In addition to control over the Sahel region, the Red Sea, and the Suez Canal, it gives them a significant route for energy, commodities, consumer goods from West Asia to Europe and essentially the Horn of Africa, a geopolitically important region.

Both Hemedti and al-Burhan have been open to business with Israel. It appears the Zionist regime prefers Hemedti, considering the RSF’s decades-old combat experience in warfare. That would be an extra bonus for Israel to stir up regional trouble.

But Israel needs to brush up Hemedti’s track record of human rights abuses and vice-versa. The regime helped him by dispatching former Israeli spy Ari Ben-Menashe, who runs the Canadian based PR firm Dickens and Madson to “polish the image of Sudan’s military council” as stated on one of the company’s social media pages.

Since the military took power, the Zionist regime has been playing a major role in Sudan through its foreign ministry and its Mossad spy agency. These activities have been under radar for years.

With Sudan, the U.S. and Israel have a lot to gain from preserving Hemedti’s rule in the large African country in view of its gold mines oil and other natural recourses coupled with its strategic location on the Red Sea and Nile River. 

On the other hand, Israel is also playing a balancing act by maintaining ties with al-Burhan as it remains to be seen who will emerge victorious from this conflict. The regime can’t afford to lose its grip on the African country if Hemedti is defeated.

This would explain why Israel proposed hosting the rival Sudanese military leaders for ceasefire talks after “very promising” progress in mediation efforts led by an anonymous senior Israeli official over the past few days.

“Since fighting erupted in the country, Israel has been operating in various channels to reach a ceasefire, and the progress over the past few days in discussions with the sides is very promising,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a statement.

The statement gave no further details other than saying the official had been holding discussions with the warring generals. Cohen has also expressed hope that working to achieve calm “would allow for the signing of a historic peace agreement” between Sudan and the child-killing regime.

That would mean a Sudan no longer sovereign, with Israel and the U.S. violating the country’s territorial integrity and plundering its gold and other natural resources. For the Sudanese people, democratic elections scheduled for this month may appear like a pipedream now.

But all is not lost yet. The Islamic Movement has not been involved until now and there is a huge risk of a refugee exodus should the violence escalate further. Europe, in particular, knows this very well. 

With the Ukraine war damaging the continent, the last thing Europe can cope with at the moment is another round of a refugee crisis with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese arriving at its shores. International calls for a permanent truce and return to normal transition could grow much louder.

By Ali Karbalaei

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