Western Officials: Iran Supplies Sudan’s Army with Combat Drones

The war in Sudan began on 15 April 2023. Reuters file photo
The war in Sudan began on 15 April 2023. Reuters file photo
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Western Officials: Iran Supplies Sudan’s Army with Combat Drones

The war in Sudan began on 15 April 2023. Reuters file photo
The war in Sudan began on 15 April 2023. Reuters file photo

Iran has supplied Sudan’s army with combat drones, Bloomberg cited senior Western officials.

The war in Sudan between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, began on 15 April 2023.

Both factions have asserted their influence over various states. However, recent months have borne witness to a noteworthy surge in the RSF, gaining ground at the expense of the army, which has faced significant setbacks in key strategic locations, notably in Darfur and Gezira.

Sudan received shipments of the Mohajer-6, a single-engine unmanned aircraft manufactured in Iran that carries precision-guided munitions, said three Western officials, requesting anonymity to divulge sensitive information.

Analysts who examined satellite imagery confirmed the drone’s presence in the country.

Among the evidence proving the Mohajer-6’s presence in Sudan is a Jan. 9 satellite image of the UAV at the Wadi Sayyidna air base north of the capital, Khartoum, according to Wim Zwijnenburg, project leader of humanitarian disarmament at PAX, a Dutch organization seeking to foster peaceful societies.

He also identified a radio antenna from a control center inside a truck on the airstrip as a common sight where the UAV is operated.

The Mohajer-6 is capable of conducting air-to-surface attacks, electronic warfare and targeting on the battlefield, according to US officials.

Arming Sudan would bolster Tehran’s military sway in the broader Middle East - where it supports groups ranging from armed groups in Gaza to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen - as well as groups in Syria and Iraq.

On Saturday, Sudan's Foreign Minister-designate Ali al-Sadiq met in Uganda with the Iranian First Vice President, Mohamed Mokhber, on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Kampala.

A Sudanese statement said the officials discussed restoring bilateral relations and accelerating steps to reopen embassies.

Sudan severed its relationship with Iran in 2016, but last October, its foreign ministry announced the resumption of diplomatic relations. No additional steps have been taken since then.

Sudan has a pivotal 800 km stretch of the Red Sea coastline. Its ports have become the center of international competition for major powers such as the US, China, Russia, and Türkiye. The growing influence of Iran in Sudan has raised significant international concerns.

“Regaining an ally in Sudan, especially along the Red Sea, would be a major win for Iran but will spook other regional and Western powers,” said Alan Boswell, Horn of Africa project director for the International Crisis Group.

The US has accused Iran of providing Mohajer-6 drones to Russia in its war against Ukraine. Washington last year expanded its Iran-related sanctions, citing Tehran’s “continued, deliberate proliferation of UAVs enabling Russia, its proxies in the Middle East and other destabilizing actors.”



Clashes Escalate in Sudan’s North Darfur

Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)
Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)
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Clashes Escalate in Sudan’s North Darfur

Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)
Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)

Clashes renewed on Monday between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in several locations in North Darfur, while each side claimed to have inflicted the other with heavy losses in lives and military equipment.

Eyewitnesses said fierce ground clashes took place early in the morning in the vicinity of El Fasher, and around the Zarq and Um Baar areas, which are controlled by the RSF.

Meanwhile, residents fear counter-attacks following threats launched by several RSF leaders, who vowed to strongly respond to the killing of Ali Yagoub Gibril, one of their senior commanders during a battle in the besieged north Darfur city of El Fasher last Friday.

Social media accounts affiliated with the RSF posted videos showing violent clashes that took place Monday in the Um Baar area.

The video also showed destroyed military and armored vehicles of the army and the armed movements backing it.

Since the outbreak of fighting in Sudan, the RSF has pushed large numbers of its forces to capture the town of El Fasher. The city is the army's last stronghold in the western Darfur region.

On Sunday, RSF commander Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, also known as Hemedti, blamed the escalation in El Fasher on armed factions “that have abandoned neutrality and chosen to side with their slaughterer.”

A resident of El Fasher said the Eid Al-Adha celebrations were completely absent, and that many residents did not leave their homes to perform religious rituals for fear of bombs targeting residential neighborhoods.