Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :
Faisal Mohamed Saleh
Sudan's former Minister of Information

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Moments Before the Collapse

Sudan is likely to witness a major transformation in the coming weeks that will lead it towards two options: either a political and military agreement to achieve a ceasefire, followed by an expanded political dialogue over the future of the country, or complete collapse and the start of a phase of chaos with unpredictable gravity and an uncertain exit horizon.

The war has reached a logical end and there is no longer any escape from the limited options available. One of the indicators is the state of collapse that the Sudanese Armed Forces are witnessing, to the point that military barracks and sites are falling like dominoes, while the Sudanese are watching with regret and grief as the Rapid Support Forces occupy cities and villages at an accelerating pace.

Within a few days, the RSF attacked the city of Sennar, then turned around to capture the strategic Jebel Moya area, which allowed them to seize the intersection of a number of important roads. Then, within hours, they took control over the city of Singa and arrived in the city of Al-Dinder, then Al-Mazmoum, and the Doba Bridge.

In parallel, the Rapid Support Forces were moving in the states of Darfur and Kordofan, returning to attack El Fasher, and occupying the area and garrison of Al-Meirm in Kordofan. In all of these locations, except for Jebel Moya, no real clashes occurred. Rather, the army forces were withdrawing from the areas without fighting, which raised many questions in the Sudanese people’s minds.

What is surprising is that after each withdrawal, the RSF videos showed the quantities of military equipment, weapons and ammunition that the withdrawing units left behind. This confirms that the matter is not related to the size of armament or combat capabilities, but rather with the low or absent morale on the one hand, and the missing leadership and planning on the other.

For decades, the armed forces fell under the weight of politicization and partisan exploitation by the ruling Islamic movement, which was evident in the processes of getting rid of qualified officers and replacing them with loyal ones, regardless of competence. This was followed by the economic and industrial activity of the military institution, which occupied the senior leadership in the army and distracted them from paying attention to recruitment, training, and rehabilitation.

The opportunity came to address the situation with the fall of the old regime in April 2019 and the establishment of the transitional government institutions. However, the military group, and behind it the remnants of the old regime, resisted these attempts, and moved to form an alliance with the Rapid Support Forces to confront the civilian transitional authority and then overthrow it on October 25, 2021.

As a token of the alliance with the RSF, the military group opened the door wide for General Hemedti to recruit tens of thousands of soldiers, provide his forces with the latest weapons, and establish regional and international relations through his position as Vice President of the Sovereignty Council.

The army leadership did not try to develop any vision for integrating the RSF into the armed forces or demobilizing them in a peaceful manner. Rather, it rejected street calls and attacked demonstrators who shouted for the dissolution and integration of these forces. During the year and a half between the military coup and the eruption of war in April 2023, security forces killed at least 150 victims in peaceful protests that demanded the dissolution of the RSF and the return of the military to the barracks.

The undeniable fact is that both sides were preparing for war, each according to their capabilities. There was a general impression that the army would crush the RSF within a few days. But there was fear over the loss of lives and buildings in the capital, Khartoum, and concerns over the various rapid support groups taking refuge in the Darfur valley.

All these perceptions and speculations turned out to be wrong, and it became clear that the army, which had been neglected for decades, was neither prepared nor ready, and that it had been implicated in a war that it could not deal with.

If the withdrawals continue and cities and sites are handed over with a key, a complete collapse is likely to occur, for the entire country, not just the army.

No one should think that the Rapid Support Forces will be able to declare victory, form a government, and run the country. Rather, what will happen is the dissolution and disappearance of the unified Sudanese state.

There is still only one chance for the second option, which is to stop the war and move towards a comprehensive political dialogue to develop visions for the post-war phase. The process of translating the opportunity into reality requires a courageous national decision by those who understand the seriousness of the situation, then a firm regional and international consensus that works to exploit the opportunity and provide the capabilities for its realization... This or the flood.