Monday, June 24, 2024

How did the fighting in Sudan turn into a “proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the UAE”?


As the fighting in Sudan enters its third month, the magazine says the fighting shows no sign of abating.Foreign policyThe conflict between the two rival generals is not an internal conflict, but a contest between the UAE and Saudi Arabia to strengthen Sudan’s territorial presence and control.

Several ceasefire agreements in Sudan have been violated by army chief Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his rival, Lt. Gen. Muhammad Hamdan Tagalo, commander of the Rapid Support Forces known as “Hamiti,” the paper said.

The magazine spoke of Sudan’s importance in the region, noting that it is “a bridge connecting the Middle East and Africa, and its abundant natural resources have made the war in Khartoum take on a regional dimension”.

He pointed out that the two Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, “have an opportunity to strengthen their hegemonic position in the Middle East, and while Saudi Arabia supports al-Burhan, the United Arab Emirates supports Hamidi.” “

Given al-Burhan’s international legitimacy, “Foreign Policy” believes that the RSF’s chances of victory over the Sudanese military are slim.

According to the magazine, Al-Burhan and Hamidi are establishing competing areas of control in Sudan, mirroring the situation in Libya, where constant competition between various political and military factions has led to a fragmented state. A state with many centers of power.

In such a scenario, “rapid support forces will be a thorn in the side of al-Burhan and his external actors, giving the UAE additional leverage over the country’s future and helping to establish Abu Dhabi as a major emerging power in the Gulf.”

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According to the paper, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, both members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, have been virtual allies for decades, but their current relationship has turned into a competition for regional supremacy that is now escalating.

He explained that in recent years, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have expanded their rivalry to include Africa, especially Sudan due to its strategic location and abundant resources.

According to the paper, the Gulf states have played an important role in Sudan since Bashir’s overthrow, and Abu Dhabi and Riyadh immediately funded the interim military council that seized power, with $3 billion in aid.

At the time, Saudi and Emirati interests in Sudan were generally aligned, and according to the paper, both helped play a role in the country’s short-lived democratic transition. Both countries received concessions from Khartoum, including Sudan’s military support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and the UAE brokered Khartoum’s accession to the Abraham Accords.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have long invested in the Sudanese economy. As of 2018, Abu Dhabi has invested $7.6 billion in Sudan. Since Bashir’s fall, the UAE has poured in another $6 billion in investments, including agricultural projects and a port on the Red Sea.

In October 2022, Riyadh announced it would invest up to $24 billion in sectors of the Sudanese economy, including infrastructure, mining and agriculture, the paper said.

As emerging dominant powers in the Middle East, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are now “at odds, each seeking to control Sudan’s resources, energy and logistical gateways by aligning themselves with Burhan and Hamiti respectively.”

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As RSF fighters have been operating in southern Yemen since 2015, the UAE has gained confidence in Hemeti. And in 2019, it expanded to Libya to support one of the country’s rival leaders, General Khalifa Haftar, backed by Abu Dhabi, the paper says. .

While Saudi Arabia has cooperated with Egypt in supporting al-Burhan, the UAE has cooperated with Russia in supporting rapid support forces through the Wagner paramilitary group, which has been operating in Sudan since 2017 and signed agreements with the country’s Ministry of Resources. Projects in Darfur, where Rapid Support Forces are based, are active.

Reports indicate that Hamiti acted as a watchdog for Emirati interests in Sudan, protecting gold mines controlled by the Wagner Company, from which gold was shipped to the Emirates en route to Russia.

Thus, the magazine concluded, “The fall of Sudan under the control of al-Burhan or Hamidi, thus a Saudi or Emirati sphere of influence, would change the balance of power in the Gulf and increase tensions between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. But the outcome of the war is unlikely to be so clear-cut, as the Libyan scenario can be expected to repeat itself.” , in which Sudan would be divided into various spheres of power, perhaps based on ethnic and tribal affiliations.

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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