The recent round of negotiations between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the Saudi city of Jeddah witnessed important consensuses on confidence-building and humanitarian affairs.
On the one hand, this breakthrough can be considered a crucial element in the market of the two parties to the conflict to later rounds that pave the way for larger breakthroughs, but on the other hand, some leaders of the two groups may see the recent breakthrough as marginal and ineffective, which means continuing the military option, and continuing to rely on the guns that the Sudanese in a large number of regions have been sleeping on since April 15.
However, calibrating the two options presented and which one is closer to the ground requires a close reading of many factors with direct and indirect impact, foremost of which is the military situation on the ground.
Despite the importance of the situation on the ground, whether it is the only way to a solution, as some military people believe, or a means used to win negotiations, the biases of the leaders, which are themselves based on professional and personal conflicts, are a factor of great weight.
Obviously, the positions of the leaders lead us to the conflicts within the army – or to mitigate differences – in views on ways to end the crisis, and the answer to this question is enough to know where the situation is headed.
On the morning of April 15, the army and the Rapid Support Forces entered into an open military confrontation in Khartoum and Meroe, and the lack of will and conviction of the ability to resolve militarily, led to the expansion of the scope of the battle to include other states and regions, especially Darfur and Kordofan.
More than 9,000 Sudanese have died in the ongoing battle, and at least 7.4 million people have been displaced from their homes, amid unprecedented destruction of civilian objects and infrastructure.
The army commander, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, continued his confusing statements, as he and his comrades from the military – in particular – are a conflict for military resolution, even if the price is the annihilation of all his soldiers, and he with diplomats and international news agencies shows unhidden tendencies to drift to peace.
Close observers of Sudanese affairs believe that Burhan’s statements reflect a political thinking approach aimed at staying in power by satisfying all parties, which implicates the army in the practice of politics in an irrational manner, despite the general’s continuous disparagement of what he describes as politicians’ interference in the affairs of the military.
But what about the rest of the army leaders’ visions to resolve the crisis, who is sheltering in the trenches, and who wants negotiating tables? What is the authority of each party in its doctrine? Is it able to sell this to the public, especially those directly affected by the consequences of the conflict?
Commanders within the ranks of the army elevate the military option to such lengths that the rest of the options are diminishing to the point of vanishing.
Al-Burhan sometimes emerges as the leader of that team, as we mentioned earlier, with his statements refusing to sit with what he considers a rebel and terrorist militia.
This view is held by other leaders, such as Rafiq al-Burhan in the army and the Sovereignty Council, General Yasser al-Atta, who is superior in outbidding his commander, to the extent that he calls anyone who refuses to support the army in its battle a traitor and an agent.
At this point, the dissolved Islamic Movement (IHIM), or the porter of firewood and firewood, appears.
Initially, local and international reports go to the remnants of the regime of deposed President Omar al-Bashir, that they are behind the first shootings that took place – later – on both sides of the conflict to the war, and then they outlined the option of military resolution for the army commanders to block the way to the ongoing mediations, but the goals of this are to return to power, and eliminate the framework of an agreement that restores power to civilians.
In order not to be the accusations of Bashir’s supporters, they recruited an entire battalion in the name of (Al-Baraa bin Malik) to fight in the Khartoum war, and a number of their dismissed commanders were returned to military service, and the largest media campaign in support of the army and criminal for all those rejecting the war.
In supporting the option of war, Islamists go to puzzling doctrines, as they see civilian losses, the destruction of cities, and the collapse of the economy as low prices that should be paid willingly, and more importantly, some of the extreme currents of war see self-sacrifice as a goal, even if the army fails to achieve the goals of the military operation.
Military researcher Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Fadl al-Mawla believes that al-Bashir’s regime has contributed to the unprecedented politicization of military institutions and the forces of militias to guard his king, at the expense of the national army.
He told Al-Tagheer Electronic that the operations of weakening the army by creating parallel bodies (popular defense, border guards, rapid support, etc.), and the removal of qualified professional elements, are evident in the current war that the Darfur region is out of control, which is expanding to Kordofan, while the army forces are still unable to control the capital, Khartoum.
He pointed out that the Islamists’ fear of the return of civilian forces, and their fears of oppression at the hands of the Rapid Support, leads them desperately to continue the war, even if they turn against Burhan, or support sabotage as a price for victory, as was the case in the destruction of the Shambat bridge linking Bahri and Omdurman.
Fadl al-Mawla expressed his fear of the rise of Islamists in the army command cabinet, and did not hide his concern about the rumors that one of their commanders, Major General Amn Muhammad Abbas al-Labib, was named commander of the Military Operations Authority.
Professionals with war
The Islamists’ position on the war is known far and wide, but is there a professional current in the army that is opposed to negotiation and supports military decisiveness?
Fadl al-Mawla responds that it cannot be said that there is a pro-war current within the army, and noted that there are pockets that see the war as an opportunity for the army to monopolize the tools of violence and end all military presence outside the walls of the military academy.
However, these pockets, according to the mawla, are easy to deal with, because their opposition to rapid support arises out of jealousy for the safety and goodness of the army, and therefore this noble feeling – as he described – can be tamed whenever its members feel that the leadership is occupied by the same interest, and stressed that the professional officer, even if his commanders disagree with the opinion, either obey the military hierarchy, or choose to put his rifle and take off the military uniform obediently chosen.
Al Salam School
General Shams al-Din Kabashi stands out among the military leaders who support a peaceful solution, albeit with conditions.
Since leaving the General Command, after months in the siege, Kabashi has shown a tolerant language, placing the option of negotiations side by side with the option of war, with a clear tendency to the peaceful option.
Political analyst Sami Bariqa says Kabbashi’s departure clearly demonstrated the mediation’s desire for a new, more open leadership to negotiate to end the months-long crisis of the Sudanese.
He added in his conversation with (Change) that the general was able in one language, to address everyone, including the soldiers crouching in the field, unlike Burhan with two tongues, as he put it.
Kabbashi is the most prominent hawk in dealing with the RSF after the signing of the framework, he said, and his views on the solution are now accepted by his opponents before his supporters in the army.
In strengthening the wing of ending the crisis through negotiation, news carried news of the rise of two well-known military competencies in the ranks of the army, namely Generals Adam Haroun and Muhammad Minti, to the leadership of the Wadi Sedna military region.
This is likely to lead to shifts in the direction of the fight, in line with professional military rules, away from outside influences.
In any case, the battle – metaphorically – between the army commanders, who are divided between professional and ideological tendencies, will have a great impact on the direction of events in the future, although the people affected by the yoke of war are inclined to stop it as soon as possible.