Leading member of Sudan’s Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) Yasir Arman warned that the war between the army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) will go one for a long time, remarking that neither party has managed to achieve a decisive victory after six months of fighting.
In an interview to Asharq Al-Awsat, he also warned that the conflict was still restricted to these two parties but could grow to become a civil war between various segments of society.
This demands the formation of a broad civilian front of national powers that can stop the conflict from growing, suggested Arman, who is also head of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a main faction of the FFC.
On army commander Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, he noted that he was incapable of uniting the military behind a peace agenda, so he sought a conflict – which the Islamists are behind – to destroy the December 2019 revolution.
He explained that the army resorted to war after it had failed in its coup against the revolt in October 2021.
Moreover, Arman said: “This war is an opportunity for the isolated National Congress and Islamists to return to power.”
He added that they were keen on making the RSF their junior partner, so they won’t be opposed to reaching an agreement with them according to certain conditions.
‘War of wars’
Arman said the current war is different than the ones that erupted in Sudan after its independence. This is a “war of wars,” he remarked, explaining that it is a culmination of the failure of the national project that took shape when Omar al-Bashir, backed by Islamists, seized power in 1989.
They usurped the state, politicized the armed forces and couldn’t maintain one state institution, he lamented.
The army, for its part, resorted to forming smaller armies that could eliminate armed resistance groups so that it could maintain its grip on power, he went on to say.
The current war has destroyed the old version of the Sudanese state and has deeply harmed civilians and state infrastructure. The war will go on for decades, he said, adding that the state is on the verge of collapse.
Moreover, Arman denied claims that the FFC was the political wing of the RSF.
These are claims made by the Islamists who want to destroy the political and civilian society movement, he continued. They believed that the current war could be decided in their favor within three days, but they failed.
Burhan doesn’t represent Sudan
Commenting on Burhan’s speech before the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly last week, Arman said Burhan represents the armed forces, not Sudan, since he carried out a military coup against the civilian democratic rule.
During his foreign trip, Burhan didn’t offer any practical solutions or proposals to end the conflict, he remarked. All he did was discuss the possibility of prolonging the “reckless” war.
Meanwhile, RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, has offered a clear vision of how to end the war and has made clear commitments to the people.
Arman added that Burhan and Hemedti have announced that they were ready to end the war and commit to the Jeddah platform. “We demand that they sign a long-term ceasefire agreement, open safe passages for the delivery of humanitarian aid and cease violations,” he added.
They must also join hands with civilians who want to achieve change and address the roots of the crisis, he said. They must build a professional army that is far removed from the current armed forces.
Remnants of ousted regime
Arman noted, however, that the remnants of the ousted Bashir regime are the ones who are really controlling this war.
They are behind the mobilization of civilians to take part in the fighting and even attacking Burhan himself, he charged.
They had warned him against heading to Jeddah to sign a ceasefire deal and have instead encouraged him to continue the war, Arman said.
He described the Jeddah mediation, led by Saudi Arabia and the United States, as “the most important attempt to end the war, but it stumbled at the lack of political will to really end it.”
The platform needs to incorporate the initiatives of the African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). New forces should join the efforts, such as the European Union, Troika and Arab and African nations, to create a new drive for peace, he went on to say.
“The greatest obstacle, however, are the delusions of the Islamists who believe that they will be victorious in this war,” Arman told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“They want to prolong the war to replicate the scenario in Syria in Sudan,” he warned. They ultimately want the international community to recognize them.
An opportunity is at hand to stop the war and seek a new national project where Sudan is the winner, not any party against the other, he stressed.
“No progress can be made without the parties displaying a political will to end the war,” he stated.
Moreover, initiatives need pressure from regional and international powers so that they can be implemented.
“Yes, the current efforts include important countries, but without coordination and collective work, they won’t be able to influence the parties” on the ground, he noted, underlining the importance of pressure from the EU and UN in making an impact.
Other obstacles include a clash in regional and international interests and failure to effectively bring in civilians to the peace process.
Arman said all initiatives should be combined at one platform – Jeddah – to create a cohesive vision and for the civilians to be an active player in the process.
The international community must also take real resolutions against everyone prolonging the conflict, he urged.
The real pressure must also come from the Sudanese people themselves, he added. The political movement that was forced to flee Khartoum needs time to regroup and refocus its agenda.
No one in Sudan wants foreign intervention to end the war, he said.