KHARTOUM – A difficult day was experienced by the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, today, Saturday, after the political debate turned into an exchange of bullets between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, as a result of which the residents of the capital panicked over a fierce fighting between the two largest military forces in the country, amid fears of an expansion of the confrontation between them.
The two sides leveled mutual accusations of being responsible for starting the battle, amid conflicting information about the course of the military clashes, which threatens to stagnate the faltering political process in the country.
Security sources revealed to Al-Jazeera Net that the army and the Rapid Support Forces raised the level of readiness among their forces more than two months ago, mobilized their weapons, and brought forces and military reinforcements from the states to Khartoum.
The sources stated that the lack of trust between the President of the Sovereignty Council and the Army Commander, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and his deputy, the Commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Muhammad Hamdan Daglo (Hamedti), is behind the failure of the mediation initiatives to contain the differences between them, but the two parties committed themselves not to initiate shooting towards the other.
According to the same sources, the state of mobilization among the army and rapid support forces created a tense atmosphere, and made the occurrence of the military confrontation between them dependent on the firing of the first bullet, while the outbreak of fighting in Khartoum was considered a result of intersections in positions regarding the political process and attempts to create alliances and change the balance of power.
Conflict between Al-Burhan and Hamidti
And the army commander, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, held the Rapid Support Forces responsible for the initiative in the attack when they harassed a force of the army near the Sports City, south of Khartoum, at nine in the morning, before attacking his residence inside the headquarters of the army's general command in the center of the capital.
Al-Burhan said – in a statement to Al-Jazeera – "They still rule the voice of reason, and call on the Rapid Support Forces to withdraw their forces from Khartoum to the states from which they came," adding that the Rapid Support forces infiltrated Khartoum airport through the Hajj and Umrah hall, and burned planes parked at the airport. .
Al-Burhan stressed that the situation is under control, "and they have good precautions and bases outside Khartoum that can be called in if the fighting continues."
On the other hand, the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo (Hamidati), said – in statements to Al-Jazeera Mubasher – that the army began the war by besieging its forces in the Soba area, south of Khartoum, and attacking it with large forces.
Hamidti, the army commander, held Al-Burhan responsible, describing him as "evasive and a liar," and said, "His forces took control of the army headquarters, the presidential palace, and the guest house in which Al-Burhan's house is located, and took control of the airports of Khartoum, Marawi, and Al-Obeid in the state of North Kordofan, and destroyed the air force, completely neutralized it, and captured About 100 officers and more than a thousand soldiers.
Hamidti added that the battle will not stop until he controls all the army's headquarters and bases, pledging to pursue Al-Burhan and bring him to justice, accusing him of destroying Sudan.
An official in the army operations room told Al-Jazeera Net that the army forces were able to destroy the bases of the support forces in the Soba and Taiba area in the south of Khartoum with military aviation, and control a headquarters near the Al-Jili area in the north of the capital and another in Al-Salha in Omdurman, and destroy the main headquarters in which Hemedti's office is located. In central Khartoum, control of the headquarters of the Special Forces of the Rapid Support Forces and their surrender.
The official stated that more than 1,200 army officers who were assigned to the Rapid Support Forces finished their assignment and returned to the army, and the Rapid Support Forces in Kosti, White Nile State, Gedaref in Gedaref State, and Port Sudan in the Red Sea State refused to engage in battles.
In the same context, military expert Muhammad al-Senussi said that the army possesses tanks and air force, which makes the capabilities of its forces more likely than the Rapid Support Forces, which move in fast-moving four-wheel drive vehicles, but they do not resolve the battles despite their use of heavy weapons, cannons, missiles and anti-aircraft guns.
Al-Senussi warned – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that the outbreak of the battle in Khartoum will prolong its duration for days because it is a urban war that is difficult to resolve with aircraft and heavy weapons and will cause civilian casualties, because the majority of military sites are in residential neighborhoods and the use of heavy weapons and aviation will increase the number of victims.
Al-Senussi believed that the army deals with the Rapid Support Forces as a rebel force, as it deals with it through military rather than political means, and that the relationship between Al-Burhan and Hamidti will not return to what it was after bloodshed between their forces, in addition to that the latter's language towards the army leadership crossed "red lines".
African diplomatic sources in Khartoum confirmed to Al-Jazeera Net that parties contacted Al-Burhan and Hamidti for calm and a cease-fire, and the first informed them that the calm begins with the withdrawal of the Rapid Support Forces that he mobilized during the past weeks in Khartoum, their exit from the cities, and a timetable for their integration into the army and placing them under his command.
On the other hand, Hamidti told the mediators that he could not deal with Al-Burhan and did not trust him, and demanded that the army commander step down, purify the army from the elements of the former regime (the regime of former President Omar Al-Bashir), and carry out security and military reforms to unify the forces.
And he believed that the two sides give the military solution priority at this stage, and have not shown a willingness to make concessions, and the two sides feel that they have been betrayed and betrayed, and they hold each other to endanger the safety of the country by responding to the desires and agenda of political parties that want to seize power or return to it after losing it.
the future of the political process
Analysts believe that the political process will freeze until the end of the military confrontations, and university professor and political analyst Omar al-Tayeb says that the ongoing battles will put the political process in a “refrigerator” if it has not entered the “intensive care” room, and it is unlikely that it will resume soon.
Al-Tayeb expected – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that Al-Burhan would impose a state of emergency in the country, and form a caretaker government with a civilian prime minister and assign it to hold elections within a period not exceeding 18 months, pointing out that the Forces for Freedom and Change – the Central Council will reject this, while political parties will support it. Others, which enters the country into a state of tension and conflict and the continuation of the state of instability.
In the context, security expert Salem Ezz El-Din expects the army to resolve the military confrontations in Khartoum due to its military superiority, but the Rapid Support Forces will shift to Darfur, in which tens of thousands of fighters are deployed, and additional forces are recruited and armed across the country's western borders with Libya, Chad and Central Africa, especially since they have cooperation. With regional countries and Russia.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Ezz El-Din believes that the Rapid Support Forces will seek from the Darfur region to confront the government forces, which will return the region to the war square and put pressure on Khartoum to negotiate with it.
It is not excluded that the ongoing war will lead to an intensification of international pressure on Al-Burhan and Hamidti to calm down, and that any settlement to resolve the crisis may lead to the two men stepping down to open the door to the return of the path of transition and democratic transformation, indicating that the aspirations of the President of the Sovereignty Council and his deputy to rule the country are behind the divergence of their positions and the struggle to control the reins. the control.